Wednesday, November 9, 2011

George Wright Has the Newport Blues

Broadway Books is happy to welcome back George Wright, a native Oregonian and a true friend of independent booksellers. George reads tonight at 7 from his fifth novel, Newport Blues, A Salesman's Lament.

George is a true Oregonian -- born in The Dalles and living in Baker City, Tillamook, and Roseburg growing up, and finally Portland, where he lives now with his wife Betsy. His "Oregon Trio" series of novels celebrate the small Oregon towns in which he was raised: Baker City 1948 was published in 2005, followed by Tillamook 1952, and Roseburg 1959.

In 2010, George moved from historical fiction to more contemporary fiction, but still honoring life in rural and small-town Oregon, publishing Driving to Vernonia and now his recently published novel, Newport Blues, A Salesman's Lament.

George's fiction-writing career blossomed after a lengthy career in the not-for-profit sector (primarily with the American Lung Association of Oregon) in which he wrote professionally, publishing books on management and board development, but finally returning to the writing he had first started at around age eight or nine. "The passion to create characters and tell their stories is something that has always just been there for me." 

His inspiration for Sidney Lister. the main character in Newport Blues, came from an obituary George read in The Oregonian of someone who just happened to have the same last name as George. Sidney is a ground-down ex-salesman who has been reduced to working as a shipping clerk for the small import gift business and is barely getting by. When the company's salesman dies, Sidney steps into Jonesy's shoes and begins a sales run down the Oregon Coast. At the same time, Sidney is being hunted down by a man from his past who suddenly wants him dead. Sidney is making one last grasp for life’s brass ring and hoping to live to enjoy it.

The book is filled with familiar landmarks and places - Seaside, Cannon Beach, Astoria, and lots of sites in the Newport area such as Nye Beach and Fisherman's Memorial. The book’s cover features the Yaquina Bay Bridge, which also serves as the site of a wild car chase -- which means this is probably the first time in the history of the store that we've had readings two months in a row from books featuring the Yaquina Bay Bridge on the covers! (Matt Love was here last month reading from his new book, Love & The Green Lady, all about the beautiful bridge.) 

George wrote the story from the premise that everyone is a salesman in some fashion: be it a product, a service, a cause or even an opinion. George knows a thing or two about sales. Because he runs his own publishing company, he not only writes his own books -- hard enough work, that! -- but he also handles the printing, distribution, marketing, and sales as well: "The writing eventually is over; the marketing never is." 

We hope you can join us tonight at 7 to hear George read from his new novel.

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