We have a new independent little book shop in town called Bookclub bookstore & more!. It opened less than a month ago. They sell a combination of used and new books and will order new releases for you. They host book launch parties, like for the new Harry Potter book. They also are very active in supporting local authors by hosting author events nearly every weekend!
Today I was very fortunate to meet Shelburne Falls, MA author Emily Arsenault who was there to discuss her new novel The Evening Spider, a thriller with a true crime story from the 1800's woven into it. The novel is set in Connecticut.
As an author, I also enjoy meeting other authors and hearing about how they go about writing their novels. I'm also a voracious reader. Anything set in the mid-to-late 1800's is going to catch my eye. It also caught my attention that sections of the novel are set at the Northampton Lunatic Asylum. In the early 1950's my mother went to the Cooley Dickinson School of Nursing in Northampton, MA. Part of her training was conducted at the Northampton State Hospital (the insane asylum). When we were old enough she told us chilling stories from her training days, so the place (now demolished) has been a big part of the landscape of my life.
I hadn't read any of Emily's books but researched her online and discovered she writes books I would be interested in reading- mysteries mainly. I discovered that she'd also worked for awhile at Merriam-Webster in Springfield, MA where the dictionaries are made. She described a very strange work atmosphere there. When I worked for Western New England University one of their satellite dorms was on Federal Street across from Merriam-Webster and that building always fascinated me, as did the annual new words added to the dictionary list published in the Springfield newspaper. One of her books is set in a place based on Merriam-Webster.
The bookstore offers a cozy, intimate setting in which readers and authors can meet. Emily is a warm, friendly young woman who made herself comfortable and discussed her new book before doing several readings from it. Between readings she filled in details. After the readings a question and answer session was held and she graciously responded to our questions and participated in a tangential discussion. Then she signed copies of her book for us. It was a very positive experience and I was happy to have gotten out of the house to attend.
This afternoon I began reading The Evening Spider. During a brief break from reading I jumped online and looked for her other books, finding them still available on the Barnes&Noble website. I own a nook, so opted to purchase and download four more of her books to my device. I might not have time to read them right now, but they're there when I'm ready to read more!
I have a list of additional author events scheduled at the store that I plan on attending, and have directed two author friends to the store, and they've reported back to me that they have book signings scheduled on the calendar. Although I own their books already I'll still go to visit with them and listen to them read and be supportive of their work.
In a world where we idolize actors and actresses who only portray characters screenwriters have devoted themselves to creating it's nice to have a place to go to meet the authors of the characters we will love or hate, root for or hiss at within the pages of their books. Without writers and their imaginations there would be no actors and actresses on the screen or stage and the world would be a much duller place to dwell in. So when you see an author event don't walk by- go in and meet the person who dedicates their life to entertaining you be it in print or depicted on the big screen. It all starts with a writer with a vision. Some authors are idolized but so many more quietly labor in near anonymity- so even if you don't recognize the name, go in and check out what that author/writer is doing- there're still many surprises in this world if you only open your eyes and look!
I recommend Emily Arsenault! Go read her!