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Erik Dane Wirsing

Aside from being the Chief Content Officer for an agency in Seattle, Dane has a few fiction books to his name, ditched his car for a sailboat, and has a knack for making the perfect cocktail.  

Photography by Matthew Brush @brush

Dane, hey. Tell us about who you are and what you spend your time doing…

I grew up in Nashville, and I live in Pioneer Square in Seattle. I make my living as a writer and storyteller, and am the Chief Content Officer for an agency called Sappington. We actually use the humanities to build bridges and better communication between business and technology. I also write fiction and just published a new book—a sci-fi story called So Far Out to Sea.

Amazing. Congrats on the book! Nashville to Seattle? That’s not a move we hear about every day.

Before writing, I worked in the music industry, at EMI Records. I got out of Nashville when digital exploded on the scene and changed everything, and came to Seattle to start a new kind of career in marketing, copywriting, and eventually speechwriting. Turns out, there are a lot of tech companies out here that need help with their internal and external communications.

Tell us about your writing.

I write sci-fi and historical fiction under the pen name Dane St. John. My first sci-fi—If Not for the Dawn—came out in 2012. It’s a crime-thriller set in the near future about an agent investigating crimes committed by people who are living out their nightmares—thanks to a drug that’s been invented that allows humans to function while asleep. The new book is called So Far Out to Sea. It’s about an astrophysicist who’s receiving messages from a distant planet in another solar system that turn out to be warnings from his deceased wife. It’s a bit like Ghost meets Interstellar. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great voice talent to have most of my work turned into audiobooks on, so that’s been fun.

Speaking of spirits—we noticed a pretty incredible cocktail setup in your loft.

Thanks! I’ve been building the bar for a while and am already outgrowing it. I got really into cocktailing and mixology over the last few years—hosting parties, talking to bartenders around Seattle to find out a few of their secrets, and reading books. Been teaching myself the craft and am still very much an amateur!

Every bartender has a go-to drink. What’s yours?

I usually go for a Perfect Rye Manhattan with a splash of Luxardo. I also love a classic Aviation—which is gin-based, or a Sidecar. [Check out a recipe below for the Wool & Prince—a tasty drink Dane invented just for us.]

We hear you’re also a sailor.

Sort of. Just like mixing or writing, I’m not officially trained—I seem to prefer to learn things in my own way. Anyway, when I moved here, I got rid of my car and bought a sailboat, a 27-foot Coronado. It’s very tied into my writing—the name of the boat is actually “The First Draft” because it’s my first boat and I’m working on it all the time.

You’re quite the polymath.

I don’t think I would call myself that! But my pops was an amateur historian and genealogist as he worked his day job for the government. And mom was an algebra teacher, so I kind of got both perspectives on the world. They encouraged me to be creative in all things—in other words, they didn’t freak out when I said I wanted to do a Master’s degree in history in England!

Favorite writers?

Umberto Eco, because of his profound sense of history and how it’s affected the here and now. He’s great at merging history with contemporary culture. He was talking about Templars long before Dan Brown was. And Justin Cronan. He wrote The Passage, which is being made into a film that I think will go beyond other zombie-vampire entertainment, and I also love it when literature professors write novels.

So. The shirts. What did you think?

Really. Awesome. I think it’s like what a lot of guys say about Wool & Prince shirts… I can’t believe it’s wool. So easy to maintain, it fits well, and holds up under conditions like sailing and everyday life, like work or even mixing. They really work for Seattle—but they’d work just as well in a more fashion-forward city like New York. I’m jealous of that city… people just know how to dress there and they’re very deliberate about their clothing. Next time I go to NYC, I’m packing my W&P shirts!

{{ get-the-look }}

The Wool & Prince
  • 1.5 oz. 12 or 16-year Scotch
  • .75 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • .5 oz. Luxardo Dash Peychaud bitters
  • Dash rhubarb bitters
  • Egg white
  • Bourbon-smoked sugar
  • Spoonful maple syrup

  • To make it:
  • Place scotch, vermouth, Luxardo, maple syrup, and both bitters in a shaker, along with one egg white
  • Dry shake vigorously
  • Add cracked ice and shake again
  • Double strain into egg coupe or lowball
  • Sprinkle the bourbon-smoked sugar on top Garnish with cherry (optional)

  • Dane is 6 ft, 160 lbs, and wears a size S if he's going for a slim fit or a size M if he's going for a more casual fit.

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