The Whitby Bookshop
There’s one very important thing every author needs to know if they’re going to do a book signing.
It’s incredibly important.
Super duper important.
And that is the answer to “Where the heck is the bookshop?”
You see, as a breed, authors are not always the most intelligent of species. (Case in point, when my brother told me on his wedding day I was in charge of the cravats, I inexplicably started trying to ring around fishmongers asking about the availability of their lobsters, rather than looking after the ties like a normal, sane person would.)
And when I was invited to the Whitby Bookshop, I said “sounds great!” because
- I like fish and chips, and
- I was quietly confident Whitby was 25 minutes from my house.
Well, dear reader, if you knew that it was over an hour and a half from Beverley to Whitby, then you’re a brighter button than I. Or you’re a Geography Teacher. Either way, I would have appreciated your input before I journeyed off across snowy roads, risking my life across the cold icy landscape of North Yorkshire.
However, when I arrived, I discovered what turned out to be the most beautiful and charming independent book shop I have ever had the pleasure to set foot inside.
I was greeted by a wonderful young lady named Isla, who not only knows about books, but is more than happy to pause for photos with authors and penguin glove puppets. She’s even the sort of good egg that will let you joyfully take photos of her shop staircase, because frankly, when your bookshop has a floating oak and wrought iron stairs that wouldn’t look out of place in Hogwarts, how can any author NOT be allowed to photograph themselves in front of it?
Whilst I was there doing a signing of my new book, Where Has All The Cake Gone? (which incidentally is loved by a load of folk including The Times newspaper) I was also lucky enough to meet a wide array of wonderful folk, including some visitors to the coast named Ellie, Evie, Samuel and Arthur. We had a great time talking about penguins (and some of them live in South Africa!) and we also discussed the best way to launch Christmas puddings into Santa’s mouth from 100 yards. (On which note, I should mention I have subsequently bought a mini-catapult, and based on the fact I discussed catapults in Whitby, I am quietly confident the cost of it is now officially tax deductible.*)
It was great too, to see how many parents were delighted to spend time with their children in the children’s book section, and even encourage their kids towards writing as a career when they grow up. It’s the kind of thing that can make a grown illustrator cry tears of joy into his mug of coffee.
The whole day – from Isla, her staircase, the customers and the coffee – were absolutely magical.
So yes, it turns out knowing how far away book shops are is quite important. But when they’re this brilliant, it really doesn’t matter.
*This is a joke in case the Inland Revenue are reading this.