We’re delighted to have a guest blog from Katie Clapham, debut author of The Missing Bookshop – a warm and uplifting tale about the importance of stories, brought to life by Kirsti Beautyman’s gorgeous inside illustrations.
Would you believe me if I told you that I opened a bookshop so that I could become an author? It’s almost true. Books are my favourite and I have always loved to write. I went to University to study other people’s stories and poems, and concentrate more on writing my own. I got a job as an editor too, helping to check and tidy-up other people’s writing. Everything I wanted to do was connected to words and writing.
One day I had a conversation with my mum that went a bit like this:
[Mum] “I’d like to open a shop – do you want to do it with me?”
[Me] “Only if it’s a bookshop.”
So, I moved back to my seaside home, and we did exactly that.
I thought that working in a bookshop would give me lots of time to read, and that being surrounded by books would surely help my own writing. I was right in a way, but working in a bookshop kept me very busy, and I had more to read than ever so it took a few years before I got down to any serious writing again.
When my publisher, Stripes, asked if I could write a story about a bookshop that goes missing, I thought about how everyone would feel if my bookshop closed suddenly. I’m not Milly or Mrs Minty, but there’s definitely bits of me in both. I know what it feels like to run a bookshop and help people choose books that might go on to be really important to them, and I know what it feels like to be shaped by stories. I suppose I’m most like Mo Minty at the end of the story, I work with my Mum at the bookshop and I have my own daughter now too – she is a bookworm-in-the-making!
I love bookshops, not just my own. Whenever I visit somewhere new, I love to find a bookshop there and buy something to help me remember the trip. As soon as I pick up a book I remember where I was when I bought it, sometimes I can even remember what I was eating or wearing at the time, it’s like the book is a magic window into my memories.
I hope that people will enjoy reading The Missing Bookshop, and maybe one day they will find it on their bookshelves and remember where they were when they read it for the very first time.