Dear inquisitive reader,
My first official interview as an novelist appeared here this week on the Northwest Book Lovers blog. The blog’s editor, Jamie Passaro, asked me some great questions about my job as a bookseller at Fireside Books and how I came to write The Snow Child. I ended up having even more fun than I expected.
What’s it like working at Fireside?
And my answer?
Fireside Books is on main street in Palmer, a quaint and kind of artsy small town with a farming background. When I come in Saturday morning, I brew the coffee. (Our motto is “good books, bad coffee” but it is actually pretty good.) I turn on some Putumayo jazz or folk music. The bookstore is small and packed full, but neat and organized. It somehow manages to feel both cozy and light and airy. The floors and shelves are a golden, varnished wood, and customers who come in say it smells wonderful—like books and fresh brewed coffee.
Usually within minutes of turning on the OPEN sign, a few of my favorite customers come in, like the older man who swaps stories with me about gardening and snowstorms and old-time Alaska. Then a new customer will arrive, like the woman who, when I asked if she needed help finding anything, said “That’s what I love about a bookstore. If you knew what you were looking for, you’d miss out on half the fun.”
For the rest of the day, I receive new books, shelve, alphabetize, process and clean used books that customers bring in for credit, help people find and order books, answer phone calls, arrange the weekly Indie Bound bestseller display, banter with the customers and my co-workers.
Fireside Books attracts some of the more interesting, thoughtful, diverse people in our community. It is not unusual for several conversations to be going on at once—two teenagers in the young adult section talking about a new manga series, the owner and a customer standing near the counter discussing poetry and politics, two women from the same book club in the bestseller section choosing their next pick, and a mom reading a picture book to her little boy in the children’s section. It is a very stimulating, joyful place to be.
But my favorite question was her last one …