For me, bookshops have always been a big part of my life.
Thank you for taking the time to read This Lovely City. I hope you enjoy reading Lawrie and Evie’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
For me, bookshops have always been a big part of my life. Many of my childhood memories were formed in our local bookshop in Warrington (sadly deceased), a pound coin burning a hole in my pocket as I tried to decide which book deserved my pocket money that week. There is no time better spent than in browsing the bookshelves for an hour or so, having a chat with a bookseller, and emerging with hidden gems. Finding a new author whose books I enjoy is like making a friend, and so many of these friends I have made with the help of a knowledgeable bookseller. As clever as website algorithms are, they are no substitute for a real person taking time to listen and recommend. That is why independent bookshops are so important, but also why I believe the online behemoth will never take over.
For almost ten years I worked in a travel agency. I got used to people raising eyebrows at parties when they asked what I did. ‘But everyone books their holidays online!’ they would say. And yes, some do. But a lot don’t. A lot of people want to sit down and talk, to feel that someone cares about their holiday and have that human interaction form part of the experience. Bookshops fulfil that same need. Buying a book online can be convenient but the joy just isn’t there. The burst of pride I get when a bookseller praises my book choices may be out of proportion but it is real. The internet cannot compare.
When I travel to a new town or city, in the UK or further afield, the local independent bookshop is often the first place I’ll visit. Each is different but yet the feeling is the same: of somehow being at home. Even picking up books in a language I’ll never speak, seeing how the covers compare, the type and font, the other book browsers, is fascinating and yet so familiar.
I love bookshops and I love what booksellers do. The idea of my debut novel being out in the world is both exciting and terrifying but I know it’s in safe hands.
This Lovely City