Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

The little bookstore that's bigger on the inside

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on science fiction writer Zig Zag Claybourne. Zig Zag wrote an self-introduction for us, which is great to read:

 

 

There’s a clue in the number of names I use (C.E. Young, C. Young, Zig Zag Claybourne, Thor MF Jones) that I believe writers should have the same privileges as actors to inhabit a delightful variety of roles, but generally I go by Zig Zag Claybourne. I love blending genres, upending tropes, and inviting readers to run through a great big playground with me. Most salient fact about my whole life is I grew up watching The Twilight Zone and consider myself a better person for it. You can find my work scattered throughout the web, but if you really want to get to know me, the person, there are 2 essentials: Regarding Lost Socks & Kindling and On the Other Side of the Eye.

 

 

Zig Zag, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)

 

 

My work can be found among the usual suspects (Amazon, B&N, etc) and is available through Source Booksellers, Bookshop, Book Depository and other great indie outlets.

 

 

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

 

 

I’m on Twitter at @zzclaybourne, and please visit me at www.writeonrighton.com for awesomeness regarding craft, imagination, and books via the “42” blog where I and surprise sci fi guests write about life, the creative universe, and everything!

 

 

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from Afro Puffs Are the Antennae Of The Universe?

 

 

I don’t usually rely on blurbs, but Patty Templeton, a writer whose work I adore, said this about my latest release, and it says EVERYTHING about me: “…the sort of sci-fi that could get Prince’s sexyass ghost to slink outta the celestial void to host a book club.” I lean into fun, intriguing romps that (hopefully) linger with ya. With Afro Puffs Are The Antennae Of The Universe (the sequel to The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan) think “Buckaroo Banzai” by way of Douglas Adams and James Brown after a great night out!

 

 

What was the inspiration for Afro Puffs Are the Antennae Of The Universe? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

 

 

When beset by a thousand blazes…there’s a panicked reaction to think any liquid will do. We know that to be untrue. Putting out fires with gasoline is a helluva lot of work. When I wrote The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan my soul was pointed at a spirit of fun and rediscovery, kind of like Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool in book form, not that I pretend to stand anywhere near the continent, let alone vicinity, of Miles’s genius. I just share his sense of fun. Miles knew how to guide us through fires with sound without letting us stampede one another. The Brothers Jetstream tried to learn from that and blow. Jump five years later: fires in the trash can, fires in the street, fires in the dented pot, fires when we meet. The United States’ psychoses have been at full fever. Injustice. Brutality. Collusion. Incompetence. Covid. Things are cloudy, loud, hot and scary for everybody. Yes, the future feels very uncertain, but feelings are like musical notes; they flow, merge, go choral, skip beats, or change the entire tempo of inner sight. The future is jazz from a powerful horn. The note of hope remains. That’s where the soul of Afro Puffs Are The Antennae Of The Universe led me. This book’s a sequel but it’s not “Hey, let’s see what the characters are doing now” and leave it at that. It’s What Are We Gonna Do Now? How’re we putting out fires, how’re we living? The first book was the brothers. This one’s all about the sisters. And we know sistas put in the work. AFRO PUFFS is Minnie Riperton showing Miles how to take a note to meet its higher self. It’s the Brides of Funkenstein harmonizing us out of our seats and into the hell yeah of something bold. There was never a doubt that this book was gonna have the title it has and be precisely what it is: fun, rough-and-tumble, grinning outward just a tiny bit behind the beat. And there was never a doubt that I was gonna ask you to run in the sand under a bright sun with me. Two reasons: sand’s hella fun and—when we’re done playing with it—it’s great at dousing fires.

 

 

 

 

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?

 

 

I absolutely loved writing Bobo the Mag. Bobo’s an octopus, a thief, and thinks of himself as a bit of an adventurer (“Mag” being short for “magnificent”). I wanted to include him as a full character without totally anthropomorphizing him. I also wanted him to be psychic. Let’s face it, I just wanted a psychic octopus in my story in ways no one else has used psychic octopi yet!

 

 

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?

 

 

I’ve been compared to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams—which I’ll take in a heartbeat—in that both of those writers knew the rules of writing, heated those rules over a low flame, and reshaped them into twisty straws. I love the “let’s see what happens next” type of writing that won’t let me read it on autopilot, love reading it, love writing it. And when I’m done with either, I want a wild, gleeful look in my eyes. There are certain readers who run toward that sense of fun like honey badgers to whatever honey badgers run toward. Likely whatever they want. Honey badgers are fierce that way. We can drink from a regular straw any day, but plop a twisty straw into the drink and suddenly we’ve got a party!

 

 

What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?

 

 

Never forget you’re doing this to have fun! Writers live half in dream all the time, constantly playing make-believe. It’s the first draw toward wanting to put words on paper. A drive toward career and accomplishments can cloud that sense of fun and make the entire enterprise—when things aren’t going as hoped—an unwieldy, painful slog. Enjoying what we’re doing has to remain paramount.

 

 

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

 

 

I’m working on a fantasy, taking a mother/daughter witch duo from their debut in a short story to their own novel. It’ll be a mix of fantasy and Conan-type swordy bits. A complete departure from anything I’ve ever done.

 

 

What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?

 

 

Finding the soul of a story before ever setting down a word. Some writers focus on mechanics to get started: introduce character, introduce conflict, proceed to next paragraph. I tend to need to feel what the story as a whole will have given me/the reader by the time it’s over. The soul. I’ve learned that finding the soul sometimes takes time, so patience here truly is a virtue. I think that’s the only way I overcame that itch to get a story down. Patience. Knowing that the soul is there, which sounds esoteric but every writer looks for it. Soul’s a combination of intent, theme, and voice. The good stuff.

 

 

Thanks Zig Zag, for your very interesting interview! 

 

 

Some of the books that have been seen lurking around the shelves this week are very mysterious – some even downright murderous. Those new arrivals include GIRL FROM WIDOW HILLS by Megan Miranda and THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides. Other great fiction books include CAPE DOCTOR by E.J. Levy and THE SWEETNESS OF WATER by Nathan Harris. In addition, a popular graphic novel arriving for children is the MAGIC TREE HOUSE: DINOSAURS BEFORE DARK.

 

 

 

 

Thank you, as always, for making our shelves your destination.

 

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Welsh fantasy author Johannes T. Evans. Johannes wrote a great introduction to himself and his writing:

 

 

My name is Johannes T. Evans (pronouns he/him/his), and I’m a Welsh author living on the West Coast of Ireland. I’m a gay trans man and I’m also neurodivergent, which is a big contributor to a lot of the themes and characters I work with in all my fiction, including Heart of StoneHeart of Stone was my first novel, but my second novel, Powder and Feathers, will be coming out later this year, and I also write a lot of short form fiction.

 

 

Johannes, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!) 

 

 

Apart from my books, which are for sale via Amazon and Smashwords, I publish short stories every week, which are readable on my Patreon and Medium

 

 

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness? 

 

 

I’m most active on Twitter! (http://twitter.com/johannestevans)  And my website is: https://www.johannestevans.com/   

 

 

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Heart of Stone?

 

 

Heart of Stone is a slowburn period romance, set on a fantasy Earth, with a heavy emphasis on slice-of-life – it is purely about the relationship two men have with themselves and with one another. It emphasises intimacy, duty, and differences in styles of communication and affection: it is a book, in short, where absolutely nothing happens, except that two men fall in love. 

 

Heart of Stone also has vampires and the use of magic as part of the narrative, and is the first of many stories to come. The vast majority of the stories I write are within the same universe – Heart of Stone is the first novel of many planned within the same established world, Magic Beholden, and as well as other novels and extended narratives, there are a lot of short stories that tie into the broader universe.

 

 

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?

 

 

Henry Coffey was an absolute delight to write – it’s rare that I see depictions of characters with ADHD where they’re not used wholly as comic relief, and on the occasions where they are treated more seriously, it’s still uncommon that I see their POV and their narrative. ADHD is so often defined by the inconvenience it causes to those around us as opposed to by our experiences from the inside, what with how loud or inconsistent or difficult we are to work with, and writing from Henry’s perspective was something of a balm for the soul.

 

 

 

 

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?

 

 

Across different books and stories, I write a mix of genres, especially romance, horror, and slice-of-life, ordinarily all within a fantasy framework. It’s extremely rewarding to build an extended universe and an extended, interconnected cast of characters – especially as someone who really enjoys the wide-ranging worlds and universes that are common to comic and videogame universes, it’s a real challenge and a real delight to emulate that feeling of depth and equivalent reality through prose and fiction.

 

 

What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?

 

 

I’m extremely into macro photography, especially of insects and arachnids, and I really enjoy fishing – less so with a rod and line, more so with nets and traps. I also really love videogames, worldbuilding in different contexts – Discworld is one of my favourite book series – and I’m also a pretty big LEGO enthusiast and build a lot in my free time. I confess I’m not great at taking days off, but I always try to put time aside in my day to relax and chill out. 

 

 

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

 

 

A lot! There are two parts of my universe I’m building on most in the near future in short stories – one is centred around a magical hospital in Bristol, with most of the stories being a drama/comedy mix, and the other is centred around a fictional smuggling town called Lashton, which is going to be a lot of fantasy crime centred on conflict between magical gangs and between them and the Crown. The first story in this narrative is readable on Medium, Gellert’s New Job, like Heart of Stone, is about a man taking a secretarial position under a vampire, although the narrative is extremely different to Heart of Stone, is a lot darker and grittier, and I would advise taking note of the content warnings!

 

 

My next book, Powder and Feathers, will be coming out later this year, and it’s quite unlike Heart of Stone – it’s a modern day dark romance between a Fallen angel and a depressed, alcoholic artist, and it deals primarily with themes of abuse and identity recovery, mental illness, and the importance of community and found family. It’s quite a gritty and complex narrative with a good deal of unreliable narration and interpersonal disputes, but as much as it’s been a challenge to write, it’s also been tremendously cathartic, and I can’t wait to get it out to readers. 

 

Like Gellert’s New JobPowder and Feathers is set in the same universe as Heart of Stone – the angelic protagonist, Jean-Pierre Delacroix, actually studied at medical school under the father of Tholo Dufresne from Heart of Stone, and later on in Magic Beholden, there will be some narratives about Henry and Theophilus and Jean-Pierre and his family meeting and working together. 

 

And that these two narratives are a bit heavier isn’t at all to say I won’t still be writing more romance and sweeter slice-of-life – variety is the spice of life, as they say, and my work is at my best when I swap between heavier and more light-hearted narratives. Keeps me fresh and keeps it fun!

 

 

Thanks, Johannes, for answering our questions for us! 

 

 

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on the author of many children’s and adult books about animals, Sy Montgomery. Sy, can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?

 

 

I write about animals and their relationships with people for both adults and children. In researching articles, scripts and my 30 published books, I’ve been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire, hunted by a tiger in India, and worked in a pit crawling with 18,000 snakes. I learned scuba to get up close and personal with live great white sharks and octopuses, ridden camels in snow leopard country in Mongolia and hiked into the trackless cloud forest of Papua New Guinea in search of tree kangaroos.     

 

 

Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)

 

 

If a book of mine is not on the shelf, your local indie bookstore can easily order it for you. All my books are available online and many of them are probably in your local library.

 

 

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

 

 

My website, symontgomery.com, has excerpts from all my books, links to buy them, an active News section, my biography (symontgomery.com/aboutsy), and more.  I’m on FB (@SyTheAuthor), insta (@sytheauthor) and twitter (@SyTheAuthor).  

 

 

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from [newest release/spotlighted release]?

 

 

The Hummingbirds’ Gift is the true story of how I was privileged to help my friend the bird rehabilitator Brenda Sherburn La Belle rescue, raise and release two orphaned baby Allen’s hummingbirds—a project that entailed, among other things, feeding them every 20 minutes from dawn to dusk with a syringe we had to poke into their gaping tiny beaks! If we didn’t feed them enough, they would starve; but if we fed them too much, they could literally POP!  These babies had hatched from eggs small as Navy beans; they were born the size of bumblebees. And yet these tiny creatures grow into the only birds who can hover, the fastest birds on Earth (in terms of body lengths they can travel per second), and some of the longest distance migrants on the planet. Their gift to us was letting us have a hand in the miracle of their lives. It is really the story of a resurrection!

 

 

 

 

 What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Of the whole writing and publishing process?  What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?  

 

 

  I love the research—because in my case this entails not just interviews and library research, but planning expeditions to remote locations, including the Gobi desert of Mongolia, the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and Peru, the Australian outback, and scuba diving in both the Atlantic and Pacific ocean,   to be with the animals about whom I write. The best part? Being with the animals—whether they are  cheetahs in Namibia, tigers in West Bengal, Allen’s hummingbirds in California, or my border collie, Thurber, at home.    

 

 

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

 

 

My next book is a picture book about a true story—a sea captain who made friends with a seagull. It’s called THE SEA CAPTAIN AND THE SEAGULL, featuring art by Amy Schimmler.

 

 

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?  

 

 

People often think me fearless because I swim with sharks and work with snakes and cuddle with Giant Pacific octopuses. But I do have one fear: that I won’t be able to do justice to my animal teachers in my books. Here is what I do to get past that: When I can’t believe in myself as a writer—and even after 30 books I sometimes have my doubts—I believe in my teachers. I believe in the animals and people who helped me to see the amazing scenes and events and insights revealed in the journey researching the book. And then my soul is at ease, and I can write.

 

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions and to be interviewed for our YouTube Channel, Sy! Everyone can take a look at more wonderful answers to questions from Sy when they view Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester YouTube. 

 

 

 

 

Many new books have adorned our shelves this week, including some mysteries/thrillers, fiction books, Horror, Science Fiction, Romance and even a biography. Titles include EAGLE’S CLAW: A NOVEL OF THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY by Jeff Shaara  FOR THE WOLF by Hannah Whitten  FREED: FIFTY SHADES FREED by E.L. James  GOLDEN GIRL by Elin Hildebrand  IF IT BLEEDS BY Stephen King  INVISIBLE GIRL: A NOVEL by Lisa Jewell  JACKPOT by Stuart Woods  MALIBU RISING by Taylor Jenkins Reid  THE OTHER BLACK GIRL by Zakiya Dalila Harris  REMEMBERINGS by Sinead O’Connor  SHADOWS OF LONDON by Nick Jones and UNFINISHED BUSINESS by J.A. Jance. Come in for a look!

 

Thank you, as always, for making our shelves your destination.

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on  children’s book author and illustrator Corinna Luyken.

 

 

Corinna, can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your work? How would you like us to introduce you?

 

 

My official bio says I am the author-illustrator of THE TREE IN ME; as well as the NY Times bestseller, MY HEART; and THE BOOK OF MISTAKES, which received four starred reviews and has been praised by Entertainment Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and more.  I am also the illustrator of NOTHING IN COMMON, written by Kate Hoefler; ADRIAN SIMCOX DOES NOT HAVE A HORSE, written by Marcy Campbell; WEIRD LITTLE ROBOTS, written by Carolyn Crimi; and SOMETHING GOOD (fall 2021) also written by Marcy Campbell. I live near the Salish Sea; in Olympia, WA with my husband, daughter, and two cats.

 

 

Where can people find your work?

 

 

https://www.corinnaluyken.com

 

 

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

 

 

I’m most active on IG : https://www.instagram.com/corinnaluyken/

 

 

But you can also follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/CorinnaLuyken

 

 

and facebook: https://twitter.com/CorinnaLuyken

 

 

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you do?  What can readers expect from you next, or what is the last thing you worked on?

 

 

I am an author/illustrator of picture books, including The Book of Mistakes (my first book), My Heart, and my most recent book, The Tree in Me.  With each of these books I’m interested in the ability of art to alter people’s perception of the world around them in an expansive way. I’m interested in what art can make visible, that we might have otherwise missed. All of my books do this in one way or another. Often, this means telling stories that invite readers to look at the world with an open heart and an open mind.

 

 

What was the inspiration for The Tree in Me? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished piece of work?

 

 

The Tree In Me has roots in a book I read in 9th grade, PEACE IS EVERY STEP, by Thich Nhat Hanh.  In that book he talks about learning to look closely at things in the world around us—things like an orange, or a table.  And he guides the reader through a kind of deep looking that starts with the table, which is made of wood and nails.  But once you start looking, you see that the table also wouldn’t exist without the hands of the carpenter that built it.  And so the table is part carpenter, part wood, part nail.  Then, if you look even deeper, you can see that the table is also made up of the wind, rain and sun that fed the tree.  And also the factory, the workers, the miners who contributed to building the nails and tools that it took to build the table.  And if you look even more deeply, you will see the mother and father of the carpenter. You will see the farmer who grew the food that fed the carpenter.  You will see the carpenter’s teachers and friends and grandparents, and the grandparents of all the people who influenced and supported the life of that carpenter.  All of these elements, all of this life was necessary to make a simple table.  In this way, when you look deeply enough, you can see clearly that the entire world is connected.

 

 

As a young person, this story, this practice of looking deeply, changed the way I saw the world.  And I’ve carried it with me ever since.  Now that I am an author and illustrator of books for young people, I think about this perspective shift, and try to zoom out in one way or another with every book that I make.  Whether writing about mistakes or difficult emotions, I see connections.  

 

 

 

These days when I think about the big picture, I also think about the kinds of books that I’d like to make.  And I’ve always thought that someday I’d like to make a book about this practice of looking deeply. It took many years and many false starts, but eventually I wrote a poem, which inspired some pictures, and that pairing became my latest book, The Tree In Me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you create? What do you think draws customers to these works?

 

 

Picture books have a kind of magic—in the dance between pictures and words, and in the way they are meant to be shared.  They are an art form that allows us to share stories—ways of seeing and thinking about the world—with future generations.  And that is endlessly exciting to me. 

 

 

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

 

 

I have another book with Marcy Campbell, called Something Good, coming out this fall.  It is about something bad that is written on the bathroom wall of an elementary school.  It’s a story about connection and the way in which one school community moves through something difficult and transforms it into something beautiful. 

 

 

(Also, the book that I’m currently working on is Patchwork, by Matt de la Peña, which will be out Fall 2022.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is/are your passions when you’re not creating your works? How do you make time for your non-art based hobbies/things you love?

 

 

I also love to read, cook, garden and surf.  I find that the gardening and surfing, in particular, are a necessary balance to the long hours of sitting at a desk inside all day, which comes with being an illustrator.

 

 

What does your work space look like? What do you need to have around you while working?

 

 

My studio is filled with books and plants.  There are also two tabby cats who sometimes grace me with their presence. 

 

 

While you’re working, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!

 

 

I prefer silence or instrumental/mellow music.  The whole process of making a book requires a lot of thought and concentration and any music which isn’t in the mood/world of the book can distract me from the project.  But there is a point, toward the end of making a book, when I am mostly adding color, where I can listen to podcasts.  My favorite is Krista Tippett’s On Being.

 

 

Artists very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work.  Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your creations?

 

 

The aforementioned tabbies love to “help” by sitting on any large piles of paper that I leave around.  So my studio tends to be pretty tidy.

 

 

Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re creating a piece of work?

 

 

Earl Grey Tea. 

 

 

What do you consider the most challenging part of the publishing process? And how do you overcome that?

 

 

The more books I make, the more I realize that with every project, I am truly starting over from scratch. This means reacquainting myself with all of the uncertainty, self-doubt and confusion that comes with the beginning of anything.  But also, with all of the excitement and potential energy.  It’s a process that is equal parts wonderful and terrifying.  And making friends with that process, trusting it, means learning to tune out the external noise.  This means the noise of social media, and the praise as well as the criticism.  It means getting quiet and empty so that I can hear the voice of the project, and what it is asking me to do.   

 

 

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your career as an artist/author?

 

 

That you can trust the process.  You can trust the work to guide you from the beginning, when you really don’t quite know what you’re doing… all the way through to the end.  Also, I’ve learned that dissatisfaction, the feeling of not quite liking what you’ve made, is a very important part of the creative process.  I make a ton of work that I don’t like in order to end up with a few pieces that I do.  And that is part of the journey, at least for me.  There is no way around it… the only way is through.

 

 

  Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other artists/authors that have helped you in your career?

 

 

SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) is a wonderful resource.

 

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Corinna!

 

 

The hot weather is bringing in some hot new arrivals this week! New books coming in to our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside are mysteries, fiction and romance by some authors old and new, including:

 

  • THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES by Kristin Harmel
  • LEGACY by Nora Roberts
  • RESET by Sarina Dahlan
  • SABOTEURS by Clive Cussler
  • VERSION ZERO by David Yoon

 

 

 

Thank you for making our shelves your destination.  

 

 

The month of May has been a busy one here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside.  The nice weather and the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions has brought people out onto the streets, into the ball park, and into the shopping districts of Worcester.  We are pleased to see so many old friends and to meet new ones.

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The announcement of changes in the face covering directive put out by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, effective Saturday, May 29th, means that we will no longer REQUIRE face masks to be worn within our store, but for the safety of our customers and employees we do REQUEST that shoppers do so if they have not yet been vaccinated or cannot maintain social distancing within the aisles of the store.  We still have fabric masks available for purchase in a variety of colors and styles, crafted by our staffer Dot Woodcock, retailing at $5.00 each.


Memorial Day is this coming weekend, which means we will be open longer on Sundays.  Starting Sunday, May 30th, we’ll be open from 10AM to 6PM.  On Memorial Day itself, Monday the 31st, we’ll be open from 10AM until 8PM

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The end of May and the approach of June means the return of the school summer reading lists, and we have started to display some of the standard titles.  If your school has already issued its list, please e-mail us a copy at orders@anniesbooksworcester.com, so we can better stock your choices and needs!

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Our May publisher specials continue to fly out the door.

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This week is the US Book Show, a virtual sales conference for vendors, publishers, wholesalers, booksellers and librarians, sponsored by Publishers Weekly, which will give us the opportunity to acquire even more exciting new product.

A sneak peek at some of our June publisher AUTOGRAPHED specials:

  • THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides
  • SORROWLAND by Rivers Solomon
  • PERSIST by Elizabeth Warren

Place your pre-orders and reserve your autographed copy of these titles now!


Have you checked out our YouTube channel?  Are you a subscriber?  You won’t want to miss our fresh content!

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We recently interviewed speculative fiction authors Keith R.A. DeCandido, David Mack, and Greg Cox. Stay tuned for upcoming interviews with Una McCormack, author of many titles in the DOCTOR WHO Expanded Universe, as well as with astronomy presenter Jim Zebrowski and non-fiction writers such as J. William Zoldak, Sy Montgomery, and Andrew Rader.


Again, we cannot stress enough how much we appreciate the community support of Worcester’s full-service independent bookstore.  Thank you, as always, for making our shelves your destination.

—Patty and the staff of Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on the author of several young adult novels about kids of the larger variety, Julie Murphy. Julie is the author of Dumplin’, which was made into a Netflix movie.

 

 

I asked Julie three questions from our normal list that were not answered on her web page, and Julie kindly responded to them. The rest of the answers you can find at: http://www.imjuliemurphy.com.

 

 

How much research goes into writing your books? What is your favorite research story, if any, and what cool facts might you have discovered that surprised you?

 

 

It varies from book to book and just depends on what kind of personal knowledge and experience I can bring to each book. For Pumpkin, I’m a huge drag fan and had lots of knowledge to bring to the table, but Dumplin’ really required that I dig into the world of beauty pageants. I think my favorite research I’ve ever done was going to a Dolly Parton concert and learning more about what an incredible businesswoman she is and her Imagination Library program. All of that became very full circle when I was able to work with her on the Dumplin’ movie. Still pinching myself! 

 

 

 

What is your favorite part of being a writer? On the whole writing and publishing process?

 

 

I love being able to connect with people I’d likely never meet otherwise. It’s as simple as that. It makes the world feel smaller and more connected in a very comforting way. As for the actual logistics of publishing. I love editing. Problem-solving comes very naturally to me, so I feel right at home. 

 

 

What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process, and how do you overcome that?

 

 

I think the most difficult part is letting go of a book when it’s time to publish it. At that point you can no longer change anything in the book in a significant way and you have to find a way to be at peace with the fact that other people are going to read this book and make judgements about it. But that’s just part of the job and it can be ultimately very rewarding!

 

 

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions, Julie!

 

 

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on the author of many children’s books, Hans Wilhelm.

 

 

Hans, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester – though they should totally check here first)

 

 

I would say, at any good bookstore. And if they don’t have the book, they will order it for you.

 

 

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

 

 

 

I would say that my website and my Facebook page are the best way to keep in touch. Here is my website: www.hanswilhelm.com and my FB page is here: https://www.facebook.com/hans.wilhelm.399

 

 

 

 

What was the inspiration for your classic “I’ll Always Love You”?

 

 

The book was inspired by a true story about the death of my dog Elfie. It shows the importance of saying “I Love You” not only to our pets, but to everybody in our life. Not just thinking it – but actually saying it. It is the only cure against excessive mourning and grieving which is caused by ‘undeclared love’ according to Dr. Kuebler-Ross, the pioneer in death and dying research.

 

 

It is a universal subject which may be the reason why this book has been selling strongly for 27 years.

 

 

 

 

Elfie has obviously helped you with the inspiration of that book. Do you have other pets? And do they help you with your writing?

 

 

I no longer have any pets. As an author I have been on the road a lot with book signings and live presentations until Covid came. I hate to leave pets alone for any length of time. But I get inspiration from other furry friends that populate my garden like bunny Ralph who became the hero in my Bunny Trouble series. And then there are my imaginary dog friends like Waldo and Noodles and many more who have inspired countless adventures.

 

 

 

 

You have published over 200 books. What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?

 

 

 

Enjoy the process as the story unfolds in you and on the paper. Cherish every minute, even if at times you might get frustrated or impatient. For me this initial flow of creativity is the greatest gift and pleasure. When you truly enjoy being a channel for the inspiration and are thankful for it then it matters little if a book finds a publisher or not. It could very well be that the deeper meaning of the story was meant only for yourself and less so for others. Writing and illustrating is a powerful way of self-discovery.

 

 

What is your passion when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies you love?

 

 

Since my teenage years I have been deeply interested in spirituality. Having explored many paths over the years I have only recently begun to share my personal insights in short videos that have now become my main hobby. I visually explain the spiritual laws of the universe by using my gift of illustrating and draw the dynamics of these laws to show how all the dots connect. My mission is to inspire viewers to explore spirituality and to look at the bigger-picture perspective of their life. When we see how everything fits together and there are no mistakes, we will begin to grasp the perfection and the Love that is the foundation of everything. If anybody is interested, they can see them on www.LIFEexplained.com

 

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Hans!

 

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