So, Shaun who runs The Bookshop in Wigtown is one of my favourite people. He's like Bernard Black in overdrive and sometimes I'm surprised he has any customers left at all (I personally think he has a secret basement where he tortures the ones he really hates). But people still keep going to his bookshop. Why? Because his passive-aggressive shopkeeper ways are so quintessentially British it almost comes across as charming. (Also, he's a bit brilliant.) He's the first person featured in The Bookshop Book. Check out his facebook page - I'm sure it'll make you giggle. In the mean time, here he is a video of him fixing a malfunctioning Kindle... ;)
PS. You can find me at the Wigtown Book Festival on the 5th October. :)
Overheard in the bookshop... Customer: I've always wondered why God was called Harold. Customer's friend: Was he? I thought he was just called God. Customer: No. In the Lord's prayer, he's called Harold. Customer's friend: ...I don't think that's right. Customer: Yes it is; it goes: "Dear Heavenly father, who art in Heaven. Harold be thy name." Customer's friend: ...Isn't it 'hallowed be thy name'? Customer: I'm pretty sure it's Harold. Customer's friend: Oh. Customer: Let's ask the bookseller, she'll know.
(I'm quietly dying of laughter behind the desk)
signed copies of The Bookshop Book - shipping to anywhere in the world
Hello folks! The Bookshop Book was published on the 2nd October 2014 by Constable/Little, Brown in the UK & Commonwealth. Hurray! Copies are available in bookshops in Australia and NZ, Canada and English bookshops around the world. Release date for America is September 2015, though if you can't wait for it, you can order a copy below. :) I'll edit this post with details of any foreign editions as and when, and if you have any questions, please just drop me an email.
If you'd like to buy a signed copy of the book, I can ship to anywhere in the world. Details are below!
The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell
Every bookshop has a story.
We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.
From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors (such as Audrey Niffenegger, Ian Rankin, Tracy Chevalier, Bill Bryson and many others) about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).
The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.
Copies are £12.99 plus postage (it's a hardback, 288 pages, with two sections of colour photographs). If you'd like to order more than one copy, just drop me a message and I can adjust the shipping costs.
If you would like a name written in the book as well as a signature, please leave me a note in the 'Note to Buyer' section at checkout. If it's a gift for someone, I'm very happy to gift wrap free of charge, too, just leave a note requesting it.
Good morning, folks! The lovely Tom Vowler is here to chat about this new novel That Dark Remembered Day. It's a psychological thriller and it's a bit awesome. A copy of his novel is also up for grabs. If you leave a comment on this post before midnight Tuesday 19th August, your name will be put into a hat. The name pulled out the hat will win the book. :) Giveaway open worldwide.
Pull up a seat!
British writer Tom Vowler's story collection, The Method, won the Scott Prize in 2010 and the Edge Hill Readers' Prize in 2011.His debut novel, What Lies Within, is set on the uplands of Dartmoor, and his second, That Dark Remembered Day, is out now. Tom is an associate lecturer at Plymouth University, where he's studying for a PhD. Represented by Ed Victor, he's co-editor of the literary journal Short FICTION and occasional all-rounder for the Authors Cricket XI.
Hello, Tom! First, let's go back a bit. The last time we talked on here, your first novel 'What Lies Within' was about to be published. How did that go? Was the experience of having a novel published all that you thought it would be?
People said some lovely things about that book, which is most of what you hope for, to make some sort of a connection with readers. In the end you don’t even mind the less favourable responses – anything but indifference. You soon move on to the next one, though.
What book/publishing things have you learned over the past couple of years?
Not to read or respond to reviews. The bad ones sap creativity, the good ones encourage complacency. And to give yourself some down time: a novel takes a lot from you, two years or more on the same endeavour. You need distractions to help you switch off.
Did you approach the writing process differently for your second novel? Were there things you wanted to do differently after writing the first one?
The process was much the same, but I certainly wanted to challenge the reader more this time, morally speaking. I wanted similar aspects of pace and suspense, but also a more lyrically rich work, particularly when exploring the natural world and how it could be both cause and remedy for mental anguish. Structurally the book is more complex and layered, some of the narrative told in reverse, layers peeled back but then replaced.
Was this novel easier or harder to write than your first?
Harder in many ways, as you have the shadow of the first lingering. You want to continue with the elements that worked for you before, but the artist in you pleads for a new aesthetic, for risks to be taken. I also knew, unlike first time round, that this book would be published, which sounds a wonderful luxury to have but which brings its own attendant pressures.
Tell us a little bit about your book.
In part a psychological thriller, but probably more literary than its predecessor, the book examines how a family is torn apart by an hour’s madness. It’s also a meditation on the contrails of war, on fatherhood and the natural world. It asks how well you can really know someone, know what they’re capable of.
What advice would you give to writers with regard to building up suspense?
Credit the reader with the power to sense subtle clues, to sense and feel what’s there without being told. Less is always more.
What do you plan to work on next?
After several years working on novels, I’m back to my first love, the short story, a collection coming together.
Lastly, give us a recommendation of something you've recently read and loved.
A thought-provoking and beautifully written thriller, taking the reader from the primeval plains of the Falkland Islands to a Yorkshire market town with a horrific past.
A son returns to where he grew up, where his mother still lives and where a terrible event in his childhood changed the lives of every person living there. As the story unfolds through the eyes of the son, the mother and finally the father, the reader experiences the taut build up to one day's tragic unravelling, and the shock waves that echoed through a once happy family and close-knit community. Will they ever be able to exorcise the damage of that day or do some wounds run too deep?
In exploring the darkest corners of the human heart, Vowler asks how well we can ever know someone. Part psychological suspense, part lyrical meditation on fatherhood, war and the natural world, That Dark Remembered Day is a gripping and moving literary thriller that will haunt you to the end.
A copy of Tom's novel is up for grabs. If you leave a comment on this post before midnight Tuesday 19th August, your name will be put into a hat. The name pulled out the hat will win the book. Giveaway open worldwide.
Sorry I've been quiet this past week, folks! Mr. M and I had eight days away in Croatia, backpacking along the Parenzana - an old railway line that runs through Istria - which was lovely. We also had a few days down by the coast. Now I'm back in London and ready to 1. Tackle bookshop customers (not literally... probably) 2. Crack on with preparations for the release of The Bookshop Book on 9th October and 3. Get back to writing The Novel. Oh yes. Thanks, Croatia. We had a lovely time!
Jen Campbell is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' series, and 'The Bookshop Book.' She's also an award-winning poet and short story writer. Her poetry collection 'The Hungry Ghost Festival' is published by The Rialto and she is currently writing a short story collection. She runs a Booktube channel over at youtube.com/jenvcampbell
OUT NOW (click for details) signed copies
From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole). The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.