Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dear Charlie:

It's a funny thing, this "writing" thing. I guess most of the time, my books start out with a single idea: wouldn't it be cool if...?

Sometimes, the cool thing relates to me personally. Wouldn't it be cool if I bumped into someone famous and didn't know it? Wouldn't it be cool if my beloved sister mortified me by...errrr...sorry. That's an actual plot. You know, the finished one. Heh.

Wouldn't it be cool if I owned and ran my own used book store?

So, I start writing a book about a woman who owns her own used book store. I add a dash of suspense -- a dead body crashing through her display window -- a slice of hunk -- a stone-faced assassin who offers to protect her in return for her being bait for the killer -- and a splash of cheese. No explanation necessary for that one. This is me we're talking about here.

I write, and I plot, and I add stuff I think is interesting. Twists and turns. The paranormal and the mundane. Religion and paganism. Numerology and poker. I try to make the character different from me -- because I'm boring -- without stepping away from what I know. Too far, anyway.

And then I catch myself wanting to own a used book store. I even thought up a cool name for it. Practically painted the damn sign. Ideas on decor and book arrangement. Promotional days. Sale signs, for God's sake!


Can't you just see it??

Now, unless I sold my house for half again as much as I paid for it (so I could pay off my student loans, too, and break even) -- which is actually possible, thanks to improvements my dad and I have made -- and then lived with relatives for a few years while I scrimped and saved every penny I could get my hands on...there's no chance in hell of me owning my own book store. Not only do I not have the start-up capital, but I also don't have any business experience, very little accounting experience, no contacts in the book-selling world, and no real sense of style beyond knowing what doesn't match and using that knowledge ruthlessly.

But it still sounds like such a cool idea.

No, my used book store won't show up in The Book. While it is an unusual used book store in its own right, the MC's shop is more a statement of her personality and a link to her past (and a plot device, of course) than a business venture.

Mine? Well, even though it's only fantasy, the atmosphere is quirky and amusing, and business is booming.


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