Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Guest Post: Ian Thornton's Imaginary Bookshop

Today's guest is Ian Thornton, the writer of The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms, which I reviewed the other month. I really enjoyed it and I really think you should buy it.

Ian has kindly agreed to be the next author to take up the Imaginary Bookshop challenge. I'm already liking the sound of Ian's bookshop - it's going to have a fish and chip shop within book throwing distance....


What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
Trenches Full of Poets. It's from Spanish Bombs by The Clash. It seems appropriately romantic and subversive.

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
Close enough to an English cricket ground to hear, with the front and back doors open, leather on willow, polite umpirical appeals and gentle applause. An old school low ceilinged boozer and a proper fish 'n' chip shop within yards.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
A heavily shaded English garden with gardenia, tuberoses and hammocks, in which readers are encouraged to read and sleep. Oak trees with hidden, 22nd century speakers, turned up for the BBC Proms on Radio Three, the shipping forecast on Radio 4, Wimbledon, Test Match Special and some thumping vintage island reggae. Technics 1210 and massed ranks of vinyl at a late Victorian serving hatch.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
Liberal marijuana use. I'm not a smoker myself as I'm not constitutionally built for it (I wish I were), but, in general, I firmly believe that almost everyone should be off their chops most of the time. This would also call for a busy kitchen, providing a cash cow to help fund the literary venture in tough times. Buttery low grade THC hash cookies for free, a grand piano and chess sets. All phone and internet coverage would be blocked.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
First-class cricket, chess and musical libraries would be a must. I would ditch celebrity anything, cookbooks, memoirs of those under 60 and ghost-written guff. As Gore Vidal once said, "That isn't writing. That's typing."

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
Regulars could own this for a week at a time with a "My favourite book" display or whatever they want. Jam tarts or coins; football programmes or Scrabble. Why? I want to see in the deranged minds of my twisted clientele.

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?
Edgar Allan Poe with Vincent Price helping with the readings. Or Emeric Pressburger talking about the movies.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel, The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
They will be welcome to sit in our hammocks under an oak tree for the day, reading, listening to Rachmaninov or Ludwig van, being fed and watered and having to move for urinary and defecatory reasons only.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
The illegal-in-48-States variety.

You can buy Ian's book via this link > The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms

Ian tweets from @IanThornton_

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