Today we welcome Julia Crouch to the Writer's Little Helper sofa to talk about her fantasy bookshop.
I would definitely visit Julia's bookshop especially as it combines books with a cinema - I don't think I would ever leave!
Her Husband's Lover is now out and available in paperback in June and ebook right now!
What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
Julia's Book Barn
Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
It would be a destination bookshop in a beautifully converted barn, a little outside a town like Cambridge, where there are loads of readers. As well as parking places a-plenty, There would be a cycle path to get there, and a shuttle bus that runs on chip oil, and you'd get a discount for using your own steam or public transport. People would go and spend the whole day and part of the evening there.
Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
Yes - a stage, a cinema (both for events and themed, book related shows), a cocktail bar, a cafe, a children's book adventure area, couches to lie down and read on. There may even be an outdoor pool with sunbeds, but you'd have to buy the book before you went out there, because you might get it wet. A shop with bookish gifts and extensive stationery section, an antiquarian section – although all the books must be beautiful. A charity shop. A cross country running trail to work off all that lying around reading, with showers and a changing area. There would also be work areas for writers, who could come and spend all day there without feeling that they have to buy endless coffees to earn their place. There would be no wi-fi, except in a very limited area, like smoking areas used to be in airports.
What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
It would be entirely run on renewable energy. It would be a place to spend a day.
What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
I would have all the sections that there are in, say, Waterstones. But the labelling would come from a left-wing/feminist point of view. So Women's Studies would be just 'Studies'. History and Politics and philosophy would be divided into progressive and reactionary. As would literature. Gosh. Am I sounding a bit Orwellian? This might need further thought...
Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
I would judge purely on the aesthetics of the covers. Each week it would change – silhouetted man covers one week, predominantly yellow covers the next. Women looking back over shoulder, then shattered glass motifs.
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?
The Brontes: sisters or rivals? Charlotte, Emily and Anne battle it out in a flash fiction stand off. YOU get to decide who is the greatest of them all.
A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
Her Husband's Lover is crossover literary/psychological fiction: page-turning, vividly written and with enough twists to make you question every assumption you have ever made. It has recently featured on our 'two women silhouetted against a blue background' display.
What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
A literary cake - Alice B Toklas's pot brownies. That should get the party started.
Only for those arriving on public transport or under their own steam.