“If I don’t write, I’m not a pleasant person,” Terry Brooks said. “I write almost every day, otherwise I don’t feel whole.”

Ursula LeGuin said: “It’s different each time. I think I know where I’m going, but I don’t know how to get there.”

For more than 50 listeners, the banter among Brooks, LeGuin and five other authors was at times humorous and always valuable. The informal Q&A, moderated by book store owner Valerie Ryan, capped “Get Lit at the Beach” on Sunday, April 14 at the Coaster Theatre. This was Cannon Beach’s second annual celebration of literature.

Philip Margolin, a lawyer, said he did his best writing early in the mornings and enjoyed the freedom of working “in a T-shirt and shorts” much more than in a suit and tie.

Willy Vlautin, who is also an accomplished musician, told the audience that writing fiction is healthier than writing music. “If I’m writing fiction, I look good,” he said. “If I’ve been writing music, I tend to look like I slept under a car.”

Chelsea Cain described herself as a “control freak” and said that writing fiction is an extension of that. “I like to make the decisions,” she said. “I enjoy putting my characters in extreme situations and try to get them out.”

Erica Bauermeister agreed, calling her writing a “safe place that offers complete relief” from the regimented routines of daily life.

Garth Stein likened the creative process to “pushing a stone up a hill and watching it gain momentum as it reaches the top.”

There was humor. “My wife says I can never divorce her because then I’d never write,” Stein quipped. Brooks note that his wife “keeps me grounded.”

Like a pastor offering a benediction, Margolin offered an appropiate admonition to the departing crowd: “Don’t talk about writing a book, write it.”


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