Every author has dreamed about opening a bookstore, but not many actually do it. On December 1, 2019 I launched a tiny bookstore in my tiny new hometown of Russell, Kansas. Our claim to fame is being the childhood home of Senator Bob Dole, who still has a house here though I don’t know how often he visits.
I have to thank all of the readers who bought my Jake and Emma books last year because on the strength of those sales, I was able to open the store. I carry a variety of authors, highlight Indy authors – especially mystery writers – and have a good selection of Kansas and World War II history.
The good news is the store was holding it’s own, serving people from a 60 mile radius because that’s how far you’d have to drive to find the nearest bookstore. The challenging news is that Kansas started a statewide stay at home on March 30. My county designated my bookstore a necessity because of the wealth of educational books and materials I carry but sales were less than half what they had been. My career consulting, which had been supporting the store and keeping me from dipping into my reserve, virtually disappeared.
It’s a story you are probably hearing in your own home towns because Indy booksellers are hurting everywhere. Wherever you are, I hope you’re seeking out and supporting your local bookstore.
You would think I’d be writing up a storm with business so slow but there’s so much stress in the air, it’s hard to write Caribou King, who is funny and lighthearted. I have book three plotted out, I’ve done the research and I’ve had her and Dan find “the body” so think kind thoughts for me and I know I can carry her through her next adventure.
Readers have been asking if there will be a seventh book in my Jake and Emma series and I’m happy to say, YES! I have a rough idea what’s in store for them but my focus right now is on Cara. Expect Jake and Emma in time for Christmas.
When the travel bans lift, if you’re ever passing Russell on I-70, come downtown and see me!