Sunday, 11 November 2012

Guest Post: Jonathan Pinnock's Imaginary Bookshop

Today’s blog post is part of Jonathan Pinnock’s blog tour for this new short story collection, Dot Dash. Last year I read and enjoyed his novel, Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens and so I jumped at the chance to have Jonathan come over and visit Writer’s Little Helper.

So here is Jonathan’s response when I asked him 10 questions on the subject of running an imaginary bookshop.


Hi Jonathan, congratulations on the publication of your short story collection, Dot Dash and thank you for popping over to Writer’s Little Helper. I thought I would give you some questions that you may not have already answered on your blog tour. 

 1.     What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?

Paige and Turner. Or maybe Reedham and Weape.

2.     Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
Every single high street. In every single community with a population over 300.

3.     Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
The construction of the building would be a Faraday cage in order to block mobile phone signals. The in-house wi-fi would also intercept all traffic to online bookstores and divert requests to a virus-ridden site that dumped a load of incriminating photos onto the hard-drive before contacting the local police. I know this will be controversial, but it will at least level the playing field a bit.

4.     What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
It will only sell good quality books. Obviously. Also, the sales assistants will be encouraged to loiter around the outside of the shop, humiliating any passers-by who happen to have a copy of Pippa Middleton’s book in their shopping bag.

5.     What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
No celebrity bio section (again, obviously). No misery lit. And no books with a sparkly rainbow on the cover.

6.     Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
The complete works of Stanislaw Lem, because they’re awesome – especially “A Perfect Vacuum”. Every single title published by Salt, because not only are they awesome, they look gorgeous too. And probably everything ever written by Jon Ronson, as a concession to non-fiction.

7.     If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?
Boris Vian, author of “Froth on the Daydream”. I would expect him to read a bit and then conclude the evening by singing a few songs. With any luck he might also bring along some of his surrealist chums. There might be some cleaning up to do afterwards, but I think it’d be worth it.

8.     A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your short story collection, Dot Dash and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry and it’ll make you think. But most of all, it will entertain you.

9.     Which story from Dot Dash would you recommend?
I’d probably suggest starting with “Canine Mathematics”, as it’s quite short and it’ll give you a fair idea of where I’m coming from.

10.  What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
Coffee and salted caramel cake (recipe here from my daughter’s blog)

Details on where you can purchase Dot Dash can be found here > Buying Dot Dash

Bio: Jonathan Pinnock was born in Bedford, England and studied Mathematics at Cambridge University. He subsequently stumbled into a career in software development and has been there ever since. Somewhere along the way he wrote one book on software development and co-wrote a further twelve. His preference, however, is for fiction and his first novel Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens was published by Proxima in 2011. His short stories have won numerous prizes and have been widely published. He is married with two slightly grown-up children, several cats and a 1961 Ami Continental Jukebox. He blogs at

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