Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Between the Lines: Indie Books and Writers

by Zinta Aistars
Host of "Between the Lines" on WMUK
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate

Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Jim Donahue, owner of Battle Creek Books, and Sandy Carlson, Battle Creek author

Independent booksellers and local writers: it’s a literary marriage made in book heaven. The owner of the new Battle Creek Books, Jim Donahue, and “tween” author Sandy Carlson from Battle Creek are in full agreement.

Donahue opened the doors of his bookstore in April. After more than 30 years as a physician specializing in geriatrics at the VA Hospital in Battle Creek, the Brooklyn, New York, native decided it was time for a career change. Donahue says he believes his store can join the national resurgence of independent bookstores. And he says that includes a beneficial collaboration with local authors like Sandy Carlson.

Carlson is a retired elementary school teacher who writes historical fiction and fantasy for kids aged 8 to 14. She now tutors dyslexic children and speaks at schools to encourage reading and an enjoyment of the art of storytelling. Her books include The Town That DisappearedWar UnicornLogging WinterTales of the Lost SchoonerStacks of FlapjacksWildfire; and Star Opening.

“I must have called Jim three or four times before he even opened the bookstore,” Carlson laughs. She says local authors are always eager to establish a good business relationship with local booksellers. Having an “indie” in town gives authors a venue for book sales and author events. Those events give bookstore owners increased traffic.

The two see reading trends from sometimes similar, and sometimes opposing viewpoints. Carlson says, as an author ...

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