The lovely @thequietscribe in Twitter posed a photo of the next book in her reading list.
The author loved it - and @thequietscribe took another! Yippee for literary cats.
INFINITE SKY is fourteen year old Iris Dancy’s story, spanning a single summer holiday. It is the summer that her mum runs away to North Africa; the summer that a family of bare-knuckle fighting Irish Travellers set up camp in the Dancy's abandoned paddock; the summer her beloved brother seems determined to fall out of reach.Sounds good to me!
Jen: Well, that tends to happen to me the most in the antiquarian bookshop where I work – so I guess that's more understandable as people are looking for books they read decades ago. Though expecting us to find it on a colour alone is another matter!
In the world-of-now [as well as back then!] covers are extremely important [I'll love Greg forever for the cover of 'Weird Things...']. People say 'don't judge a book...', but we do. If we're in a bookshop and we don't know what we're looking for, and we don't recognise the author's name when we spy a particular book, then the cover [or a catchy title] is what makes us pick it up to read the blurb. Publishers and writers already know this, but some customers probably need to realise that booksellers are unlikely to remember the title of a blue book that was sitting in the window two and a half years ago.
Jen: I don't think it's the kind of situation where you would recognise yourself. There are also no names or identifying features in the book. I doubt many of the people quoted go into bookshops regularly, especially if they think we sell bread, screwdrivers, ipod chargers, and if they themselves either hate the smell of books, or simply want to see if we have a secret drug stash hidden in the storeroom. [We don't, by the way, in case you were wondering!]
Jen: I would open a bookshop right slap bang in the middle of Hampstead Heath. It would sell all manner of books, and we'd have a cafe outside selling plenty of cakes, and people could buy books and sit on the heath and read and it would be wonderful [...in theory ;)]. And, at least then, the person in 'Weird Things...' who stuck her head round the bookshop door and said 'Is this Hampstead Heath?' would be spot on!V: Would you ever have an online bookshop? If so why? If not, why?
Jen: At Ripping Yarns we sell some of our antiquarian stock online, because we can't rely on north London wanting to collect old children's books, but we do that through necessity. We do it so that we can keep the shop open. The only way I could see us having an online only bookshop is if we had to close, and sell off the rest of our stock [*sob!*], and that would just be a short term thing. I wouldn't ever open a bookshop that was only online. For me, bookselling is all about the bookshop. I love the interaction with the customers [yes, all of them ;)]; I like hand-selling books, helping children buy books from month to month and so getting to know the kind of things they like to read. It's great!
Jen: Thank you! All the pamphlets sold, so I don't have any left I'm afraid, but all of the poems are ONLINE, over here. I'd definitely do a writer-type charity event in the future to raise for the EEC International, though. The poem writing weekend was a lot tougher than I thought it would be, especially the first 50 poems [I went to bed on the Saturday night having only written 42, and panicking quite a lot], but it was also great fun. As for it helping with my writing, I have used some of the ideas I unearthed and let them grow into different things. A couple of the rewrites have been published and placed in competitions.
My first poetry collection, 'The Hungry Ghost Festival' is going to be published by The Rialto this summer, and I'm rather excited about that.
‘Subtly angled glimpses of love, sex, marriage, which reveal them as they really are: matters of life and death. There’s a quiet sizzling underneath the surface of these poems, which can make you smile and wince at the same time.’