On the 19th (it was a Monday night, a dark and chilly Monday night) I ventured into another part of Charlotte to visit Park Road Books, a gem of an indie bookstore in the QC. They’d chosen local author Carrie Ryan to represent them in My Bookstore, a collection of thoughts by authors on independent shops and their local haunts.
“My Bookstore “collects the essays, stories, odes and words of gratitude and praise for stores across the country in 81 pieces written by our most beloved authors. It’s a joyful, industry-wide celebration of our bricks-and-mortar stores and a clarion call to readers everywhere at a time when the value and importance of these stores should be shouted from the rooftops…” Source.
I was glad I made it to the signing. Not only did I get to ask the adorable Carrie Ryan a few questions and hear her success story on making homemade fake zombie flesh, but I got to see fellow CRW-er Ann B. Stewart and, well, there was wine. I can’t say no to wine. If there’s wine, it becomes a book signing partay~!
If you’re not familiar with Carrie Ryan’s work… well, first you should be ashamed of yourself. Are you ashamed yet? I want to be sure you truly ruminate on the travesty you’ve committed.
Alrighty, I believe you understand your crime and will strive to atone in the future.
Carrie Ryan is the fantabalous author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places, many juicy contributions to anthologies, and much more. She’s also the editor of Foretold, a new anthology with an ‘end of days’ theme.
I’m NOT saying I have a giant fangirl crush on this woman, but dot dot dot. You shouldn’t judge me! If you’d met her (ermagerd her awesome boots) and read her work, then you’d want to plop down on a yoga mat, burn some incense, and learn the ways of the writer from her too.
But since Park Road Books had no spare mats and discouraged burning things around their inventory, I asked Miss Ryan a few questions. They must’ve been coherent even with the wine because I got back answers! Ha. Score.
D: What was it like editing an anthology? Was balancing writing and editing a challenge?
C: It was actually a lot of fun because you get to read all of these stories before anyone else does. I had no idea what people were going to write. I made the topic really broad. I wanted them to be able to come at it with anything… from any angle at all. Every time a new story came in it was a treasure. [Excited explanation of Meg Cabot’s story about interviews done after an alien invasion.] I remember when I got the email from Meg Cabot accepting the invitation.
D: Oh yeah, I’d drop everything to read an email from MEG CABOT.
C: I was at a rest stop when I got it and ran in screaming, ‘I GOT AN EMAIL FROM MEG CABOT.’
D: Oh the fangirl moments we’re glad no one has seen… [Insert me thinking of my many, many, many public fangirling episodes.]
C: A lot of the stories didn’t need editing. Maybe one where I questioned one word choice, but that was about it. They came in strong.
D: What inspired you to put the project together?
C: Actually my editor suggested doing an anthology and I really liked the idea, of working with other authors. I love the community and working with other authors in the community. It was fun making the list and when I sat down with my editor and agent, I had this big list of all of these possible authors. We didn’t just want one note. We were trying to bring in diversity and find a balance.
D: Do you prefer the in-person networking with authors or social media like Facebook and Twitter?
C: I think it’s different. When you sit down and talk to authors face-to-face or anybody face-to-face, it’s a little bit easier to get a better connection. You’re able to ask questions you may not feel comfortable putting into writing or answering in writing. I feel like that’s where you really establish connections whereas social media allows you to maintain them. There are people I only see two or three times a year… Twitter is a great way of keeping tabs. ‘What’s going on in your life?’ …They both serve a different purpose.
D: Last question. [I’d been dying to ask this one all night.] What brand of makeup do you use? You’re makeup is gorgeous!
C: Are you kidding me? Thank you! It’s a Chanel powder. Funny story actually. I saw a picture of myself six years ago and I was wearing the same powder. Told my husband I needed to start using it again because my skin looked really good. ‘That,’ he said, ‘and you were six years younger.’
I’m pretty sure we only have husbands, boyfriends, and significant others around to keep us humble. For some reason that seems to be a vital contribution or our writer egos would swell up. Mhm. Sure.
So, readers, do you have a favorite local bookstore or even a coffeeshop or favorite place to write?
You can visit Carrie Ryan on her website and get updates on new projects by following her @carrieryan. If you want more information on My Bookstore, Bookselling This Week did a nice little blog post and has the full list of contributors.