Without bookstores, I wouldn’t have my career as a full-time author and sole provider for my family. There, now my bias is out of the way, let me tell you a little story!

Growing up, I didn’t really enjoy reading at first. Sure, I loved writing stories, but they were the stories I wished I could read. My parents challenged me to go to the library and pick out a book in my age range and read it. The reward? I could read any book off of my Dad’s shelf. Now that had me interested because Stephen King was HUGE… and the movies I wasn’t allowed to watch… If the movies were too scary, how scary was the books? Couldn’t watch them, but I could read them? Hm…

Challenge Accepted.

I don’t even remember what book I got from the library the first time (and I had to get a library card), but I remember the first book off of my Dad’s bookshelf. Pet Sematary. Holy smokes! Reading a lot more fun and entertaining than watching the movies! I was soon back at the library reading more and more. My parents told the librarian I no longer had restrictions on material and I went wild.

Now listen, I grew up in a small town and our library was great, but it was small like the town was! They could order books in but it took time– And I found a great used book store just a little further away that I could go to. There I found entire shelves full of paperbacks, from the heights of early pulp fiction to the latest and greatest new releases. I was in heaven.

Until I discovered beer and girls later on in life, most of my disposable income went into buying books. Now I won’t get into how the black market of schools operated growing up, or how I used to sell fish at the small dam as a kid (I did), all of that money went into buying more books and my growing love of comics.

Fast forward some… oh… decades:

I decided to make writing my career and went full time, knowing three months in advance if I wasn’t going to be making enough to support my family, the way I had working for somebody else. I had a home office, two wonderful kids at home (Sometimes more!), but the summertimes really made writing difficult as the kids got older and wanted to hang out during my work time.

I tried writing at Starbucks (Sorry, blech), then at Tim Hortons (Yay!), restaurants, our local library, but unless they were open early, I got my work done from home. A mutual friend shared a post about a local writer’s group that was meeting up at a bookstore. Holy cow, I lived in this city for almost eight or nine years and hadn’t visited the local bookstore? Talk about feeling dumb (I was). I didn’t make that mistake again and became a regular.

That sparked a friendship with the owner, over our mutual love of a good story and books. Last week I stopped in to talk to her about some books she wanted to stock (Mine, mine all mine! Kidding. Sort of), and ended up getting my own out of the house writing spot. I’m off a back room in a secret spot. It’s a writer dude’s dream come true.

My little writing cubby is behind a bookshelf, hidden by a pocket door!

Amazing! I love it!

One thing I have noticed since I’ve become a full-time author and befriended the owner of R&B’s Used Books, reading for pleasure is still going strong. There is still a demand for paperback and hardback books, despite a lot of consumers going digital because of price points and availability.

Here’s a secret: If you don’t browse bookstores, you may never find a new author to STALK … er… find and read their books you might have never thought of before.

So for the love of reading, please go out and support your local bookstores! And who knows, you might make some new friends there like I did, and support local businesses.