Thursday, 4 July 2013

Guest Post: Kerry Hudson's Imaginary Bookshop

Today is the paperback publication date for Kerry Hudson's Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma. Last year I reviewed her fabulous book. You can read my review here. Kerry has kindly agreed to take the Imaginary Bookshop challenge and to also let you know about a competition to win a signed copy....

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Hi Kerry, congratulations on the paperback publication of your debut novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma 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 in previous Q&As!

What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop? As a childhood devotee to Dirty Dancing, who spent much of her time in playgrounds 'doing the lift' with pals I don't hesitate for a moment in calling my bookshop 'Hungry Eyes'. 
 
Where would your imaginary bookshop be located? Just off a beach somewhere. I know sea air is probably awful for books but it's imaginary after all. I'd keep the windows open so you could hear the seagulls and waves. 
 
Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc. The most iconic bookshops I have ever been in (Shakespeare and Co., Booksworm in Hanoi, City Lights in San Francisco) invite people to sit and enjoy books, to stay to talk about them with passionate staff and encourage writers to make a base there. I'd have sofas and armchairs, with lambswool blankets for when it got a little cooler, lots of little signs asking people to relax, read and stay awhile. We'd have a great coffee machine and a projector to show films in the evenings. 
 
What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
One word: food. That's right, Hungry Eyes would be thus named because it would also be serving up delicious nosh. I've yet to meet a book lover who isn't passionate about food (I've no idea why this connection exists) and for me, there is something so comforting about filling your belly while you're feeding you mind and heart too. And we'd have a 'suspended' system where better off customers could order an extra coffee or meal on hold for someone who needed one but couldn't afford it. 
 
What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch? I think the joy of reading is that it is so personal and individual – so I would probably try and keep all the sections as they would normally be. But I'd include a library area where customers could donate books so people who weren't able to afford to buy books would be able to loan them from the shop. And I'd have a 'personal shopper' experience where people come and talk for an hour about their life, what they want, what they struggle with and what brings them joy and then the staff would put together a reading list; I'm a true believer that books can do incredible things for a person if they find their way to the right ones. 
 
Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
I think Foyles do some of the most imaginative display tables around – recently l've seen 'Writer's on Holiday', and the 'Also Rans' (books that almost won awards but didn't). I like the idea of curating display tables: The best council estates in books (The Killing Jar, Barry Town Trilogy, The Death of Bees) books to give teenagers so they make it to adulthood (The Bell Jar, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird) or Food in books (I actually did a list of 10 of these sorts of books here: http://untitledbooks.com/books/2012/07/kerry-hudsons-books-with-food.html
 
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? I'd have Roddy Doyle and the band who tour as The commitments. Roddy, if I may be so informal and in this instance I can because it's my imagination so he'd be my best friend, would run writing workshops and the band would do music workshops over a weekend and at the end there'd be a huge reading/gig/party till the wee hours. 
 
A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say? You might laugh and you might cry. You might end up wanting to pass it onto your sister/mother/daughter. You will definitely never look at an ice-cream float, National Express coach in the same way again. 
 
What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
Probably this ten-tonne double chocolate, strawberry buttercream frosted beast that I baked for Random House staff last year...I didn't know how else thank them than with a cake the size of house covered in swearwords.

Thanks Kerry! 

Kerry is also running a competition: 

'Want to win a signed copy of Tony Hogan? I'm  trying to put together a Tony Hogan soundtrack. Simply submit your song suggestion to me @kerryswindow on Twitter with the hashtag #tonyhogantune by Monday 8th of July. If your song is one of the ten selected for the soundtrack (and you were the first to suggest it!) I'll send you a signed copy of Tony Hogan.' 

You can buy Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma from your favourite online or offline book retailer.

Kerry's next stop on her blog tour is http://www.catherinenoble.com/

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