Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Milwaukie writer's 'boomer' book series explores world of magic

Living in Milwaukie with her husband of 34 years and bossy cat, Courtney Pierce wrote the books in her “Stitches Trilogy” after being inspired by her own magical history, which encompassed a 20-year career as an executive in the Broadway entertainment industry.

Pierce says writing allows her to showcase her love of exquisite fabric, her passion for great art and her belief that lives can be transformed with the magic of music.

by: COURTNEY PIERCE - Three books in 'Stitches Trilogy'“Stitches,” the series’ eponymous first book that came out last year, is about a Baby Boomer couple in Milwaukie who want a magical life on the other side of the corporate grind. And that’s what Jean and Spence Collins get after they buy an old chest containing a magical piece of fabric at an elderly widow’s estate sale. Jean and Spence then stir up trouble with the widow’s greedy son and the FBI when they try to figure out what’s going on.

by: FILE PHOTO - PierceThe next book, “Brushes,” coming out this week, brings together the power of fine art and financial fraud when the Collins discover a painting called “The Dancing Boy” in their newly inherited bed-and-breakfast. Using magic in the painting, they help their new-found friend at the FBI bring down a Ponzi investment scheme. “Brushes” has a lot to say about the greed that Pierce thinks is rampant in the art and financial worlds.

Pierce’s short story of speculative fiction, “1313 Huidekoper Place,” was selected for the 2013 Northwest Independent Writer’s Association Short Story Anthology. She also has been elected to the board as vice president of the NIWA for 2014.

In an interview with the Clackamas Review, Pierce said the Collins are only getting started and will help a lot of people over several books. “Riffs,” the final book in the series in which the Collins will enlist the help of two elderly Jazz musicians who want to secure their own place in immortal music history, is scheduled to come out next year.

Q: What inspired you to come up with this story?

A: Real life. I watch the financial news and “American Greed,” “American Pickers” and “Antiques Roadshow.” What more inspiration could I have asked for? The sinister side of my story is taken from the news. You can’t make some of this stuff up! The framework of the story is about realizing life’s potential, without all of the negative energy.

Q: What genre would you consider your book to be?

A: It’s a genre that doesn’t exist in traditional publishing yet: Baby Boomer literature. Actually, there’s quite a bit of chatter going on among self-published authors about making this a legitimate genre. There are 78 million boomers out there, and many of us are writing books geared toward that demographic.

Q: Is this story a reflection of your own life experiences?

A: In many ways, it is. Like the character of Jean Collins, I’m obsessive-compulsive, overly-focused, and have lists with goofy cat sayings on them. When Jean leaves the corporate world, it was my story, too. The house, the cat and Spence — yes, it’s all real. Spence is based on my husband, Wayne, the man of my dreams. Just like Spence, he’s easygoing with a sly sense of humor, and is an obsessive collector of vinyl records. Mycroft, the Maine Coon cat in the book, is based on the cat we had for nearly 18 years. He was huge, fantastic and bossy — just like Mycroft.

Q: Are there any quirks you have in the writing process? How do you stay motivated?

A: I have a few quirks, for sure. I look at the process as a road trip with vista points. I write the vista points of key scenes first, and then pave the road in between to connect them. In “Stitches,” I actually wrote the ending first. Many times, a character would say something in my head before I got up in the morning, and that would be the scene that would get written that day. I’d start writing at 6 a.m., go to the East Side Athletic Club for an hour, and come home all hopped-up to write until the scene was done. There were many days — okay, most days — where I wrote for 12 to 14 hours per day.

I like to play my favorite movies while I write. I watch them over and over. While I wrote the lighter scenes, I’d watch “Uncle Buck,” “You’ve Got Mail” or “Bridesmaids.”

Q: What do you want readers to take away from your books?

A: It’s never too late to realize our potential as human beings. The magic is really a metaphor for the passions and dreams in your life. The magic gives Jean and Spence the confidence to truly follow their heart. My characters are inspired by helping others, not by being passive observers of life’s possibilities. I knew I was on the right track when my editor said she liked to curl up with my book with a glass of wine while she worked on it. That’s what I want — people to curl up and get lost in it. Then, go do something nice for someone.

Q: How can people buy your books?

A: They’ll all be available in soft-cover and as e-books for the Kindle at Amazon.com, and as Nook books at BarnesandNoble.com.