7:30 BELLS Guest Post by author Brent Hartinger

I'm so pleased to share this 7:30 BELLS Guest Post by the prolific author/playwrite Brent Hartinger.

Anyone who's lived in Seattle over the past few years knows that the city has changed recently in ways that seem almost unimaginable. In fact, I just read in the newspaper that, with the amount of construction going on right now, Seattle might be changing faster than any major city in the last one hundred years. They're literally building a whole second downtown in the South Lake Union area. It's crazy!

And it's not all good, of course. Rents are insane, we now have the fourth-worst traffic in the country, and apparently both things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

But even with the crazy rents and horrible traffic, there's a sense of creative energy to the city right now that is just incredible. It really does feel like the focus of the whole world is on us, like people are listening to the things we say and do -- like we're setting trends and solving the problems of the whole country. We're literally curing cancer (among many other things)!

Late last spring, I was outlining my latest book, The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know, about a 23-year-old gay guy trying to make sense of life and love. I thought about where I should set it, and all I had to do was look outside my window to think, "Oh, this book can't be set anywhere else but Seattle. The city perfectly captures the character's sense of fear and optimism."

It was as clear as, well, the ringing of a bell!

Even better, I knew the time-lag on this book was going to be a lot faster than any of my earlier books. Rather than have to wait two or three years for it to be published, I knew the book would be out by the end of the year -- just months from when I was writing that first draft.

That meant I could try an interesting experiment: I could set the book in the place and time that I was actually writing it: Seattle in the summer of 2014.

It was one of the most interesting writing experiences of my career. My characters were reacting to the things going on around me, to things in the news, things that were happening to me. Amazon, Dan Savage, minimum wage, the weather, and on and on -- I was able to write about it all, while everything was still fresh and exciting and "real."

People often say, "The setting is like a *character* in this book" and I've always thought that was mostly pretentious nonsense. But for the first time in my career, it really did seem to describe what I was doing.

The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know is out now. And I guess I captured something about the city, because lots of people have told me how much they want to visit now.

That makes me smile. I confess, I love Seattle. And I'm excited it shows.

Be sure to check out Hartinger's new music video!  A song by Brett Every based on the Hartinger's novel THE THING I DIDN'T KNOW I DIDN'T KNOW.

Brent Hartinger is an author, playwright, and screenwriter. Geography Club, the first book in his Lambda Award-winning Russel Middlebrook Series, is also a successful stage play and a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky. 
Visit him at

7:30 BELLS Posts run every Tuesday.

7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. Join me on February 24 for a guest post with artist/designer Iskra Johnson.