Sunday, 15 November 2015

Guest Post: Leigh Russell's Imaginary Bookshop

Hi Leigh, congratulations on the publication of your novel, Blood Axe! Thank you for popping over to Writer’s Little Helper and becoming the latest author to take part in the Imaginary Bookshop series.

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What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
My imaginary bookshop would be called 'Through the Looking Glass' with a line underneath to explain that 'Books Take You to Wonderland.' The shop front would be mirrors peppered with
images of books so in the reflection everyone who looks at the shop appears to be holding a book.

Or I might call it Russell's Reading Room and have a shop full of comfortable sofas and armchairs
with footstools, and books everywhere, on the floor, on the shelves, on the tables, in a glorious
disarray so everyone has to browse looking for a book that catches their eye. We can find the
specific book we are looking for at the touch of a screen, so my imaginary bookshop would not be
arranged by genre or have books displayed in any sort of order.

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
My imaginary bookshop would be located on every high street in every town and village in every
country in the world. People would be able to browse through books whenever they felt like it, and
stay as long as they wanted, reading. There would be no obligation to buy, as long as the books
were not damaged in any way. If that happened, the damaged book would be sent straight to my
imaginary bookmender for repairs.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar,
etc
.
A cocktail bar with appropriately literary drinks, serving whatever drink was appropriate for the
book you were reading: mint julip for The Great Gatsby, gin and beer for Dickens, Montepulciano
d'Abruzzo for Geraldine Steel, pina colada for Lucy Hall, and if there was no specific drink
associated with a book, there would be tea and scones or Champagne, or both - all free of course,
to encourage more people to read. We would have a fold away stage so my bookshop could
support all the arts. We would host occasional live performances of plays about literary figures, and
have regular live musicians playing appropriate songs like Paperback Writer, and we would display
art work whose subject matter was books and readers reading books.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
I've never visited a bookshop quite like the one described in my previous answers, so I think I've
already answered this, probably in far more detail than you wanted.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
There would be no sections. Customers would browse a completely random display of books,
because if you only read what you know you like, how do you know what else you might be
missing? Part of the joy of reading is to discover new worlds. So my bookshop would not put any
possible restraints on the kind of books people might stumble across.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display
table?

Mine.
Why?
Because I need to pay for all the free tea and scones and Champagne somehow.

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 would host an event where Shakespeare would write and produce a play. Everyone present
would be inspired by his creative genius and we would all be touched by it. I would make sure
every key person in the government attended, and afterwards the arts would receive some
sensible funding from the government, instead of having to be self-promoting in order to survive.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel, Blood Axe and asks you to
give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?

I could threaten them with my axe (yes, I do have one - it's plastic and someone brought it along to
a Champagne tea my publisher hosted for Blood Axe). The honest answer is that I would suggest
they read the opening pages and decide whether the book appeals to them. The last thing I ever
want to do is persuade someone to buy my book if they are not going to enjoy it. That serves no
one. That said, I would certainly recommend my books to anyone who enjoys reading crime fiction.
Fortunately that genre is very popular with readers.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
If we are talking about launching Blood Axe, then it would have to be a very large cake, so it could
be sliced with an axe... cake covered in chocolate...


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Links to all of Leigh's books, her Facebook page, twitter account, and blog can be found on Leigh's website http://leighrussell.co.uk

1 comment:

Gordon Brice said...

Well that lighthearted interview was certainly different......and I loved it. It was interesting to hear a different side to Leigh, but being aware of her passion for bookshops, I'm not surprised that the bookshops that she would introduce would be such that readers would flock to visit, especially with the installation of a cocktail bar.....LOL! One thing you can be sure of is that the cocktail bars would be well stocked with Leigh's favourite tipple.......Champagne. Oops! Maybe I am giving too much away here.