Nicole here, and I am delighted to have award-winning author Katherine Reay join us today at Inkwell Inspirations to discuss her newest release The Printed Letter Bookshop. Katherine, thank you so much for joining us today!
As an avid reader, I absolutely love the idea of a novel taking place in a bookshop, so right away I was very interested in reading The Printed Letter Bookshop. Author Lindsay Harrel’s latest release The Secrets of Paper and Ink also takes place in a bookshop. Both books have similar themes of self-discovery and friendship, and the two of you recently did a live Facebook chat together about your bookshop books. Did you and Lindsay Harrel brainstorm ideas for your books together or discuss your storylines throughout the writing process?
Katherine: We never talked at all about our books. In fact, we didn’t know until she read The Printed Letter Bookshop how many themes we both tackled and how similar our stories felt in many ways. It was such a fun revelation. And I loved the way it all unfolded as there was this newness and excitement about our discoveries and commonality in our FB live event. I had just finished reading The Secrets of Paper and Ink days before.
Nicole: The characters in The Printed Letter Bookshop range from a younger career woman (Madeline) to middle age women (Claire and Janet), and the elderly Maddie, who made a lasting impact in many people’s lives during her own lifetime. The variety in characters will definitely appeal to a wide range of readers. Where did you get your inspiration for your characters, and did you base them off real-life and/or famous people? I always like hearing about if authors used specific photos or had specific people in mind as a basis for writing their character descriptions.
Katherine: No one came from real life, and yet they all came from real life — not a particular real life, just a glimpse into many lives. I loved the new turning point that Madeline faced and believe, for many women, that first real turning point can occur in the late twenties/ early thirties. At that time in life, a career shift might happen, a serious relationship begins or changes, or even just a clear understand of — as my kids say — “adulting” occurs. As for Claire and Janet, I loved playing with their stories. I loved exploring women my age wanting a “second chapter” and what that might mean for them and their families.
One of the inspirations for the entire story was the C.S. Lewis quote: For the present is the point at which time touches eternity. Each woman has to recognize how to examine the past and view the future in order to not dismiss — and completely miss — the beauty of the present.
Now… My favorite character in the story might the one who never appears on the page: Maddie Carter. She was inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. That book has always fascinated me. Rebecca is dead with no on page time at all, yet she dominates the story. I wanted to create a woman who influenced a story and lives beyond her own, but, unlike Rebecca, was light.
Nicole: What can you tell us about your 2020 release? I am already looking forward to it!
Katherine: I am returning to Winsome and I’m so excited about that. I have never returned to a town before — Well, I’ve returned to Chicago, but that’s not the same thing — and I am eager to stretch the borders of the town to include another story. I think I have a desire to create another Mitford — not that is possible. But wouldn’t it be fun to find such a wonderful town that welcomes you home once again? In my 2020 release — which has no title at the moment — Janet’s daughter Alyssa returns home and works out life in her home town. I also have my first male lead with his one point-of-view in this novel. Very excited about that too. Curtis was great fun to develop.
Nicole: I read primarily Christian fiction and love discovering new authors. As a member of the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook group, I have found so many new-to-me authors and my to-be-read list is always growing. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Katherine: Ah that’s a tough one because when you ask an author who are her favorites, you are actually asking Who are your friends? and I’ll feel horrible if I leave anyone out. That said, Rachel Hauck can’t write a bad story — she always writes a winner. Kristy Cambron writes lyrical historical prose. Sarah Ladd transports me into the past. Lindsay Harrell writes poignant contemporary — which I’m biased towards, of course. And… Goodness… too many to name. It’s an exciting time right now with writers getting more daring and creative by the minute.
Nicole: Do you have any fun plans for this summer or anywhere exciting that you will be traveling?
Katherine: I am so glad you asked this question! I have something very special coming up this summer and it will work its way into future books. My elder daughter graduates high school next month and she and I are going on a trip together — just the two of us. We will travel for ten days and visit Budapest, Vienna and Prague. I can’t wait. I am having so much fun with the research and know good stories will come from this — and getting to spend that kind of time with my daughter leaves me giddy.
Nicole: Katherine, thank you again for joining us today! This has been so fun chatting with you.
Katherine: Thank you so much for asking me here.
Katherine Reay is a national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels, including Dear Mr. Knightley and The Printed Letter Bookshop. She has enjoyed a lifelong affair with books and brings that love to her contemporary stories. Her first full-length nonfiction work will release in December 2019. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University. She currently writes full time and lives outside Chicago, IL with her husband and three children. You can meet Katherine at www.katherinereay.com or on Facebook: KatherineReayBooks, Twitter: @katherine_reay and Instagram: @katherinereay.
Katherine Reay’s latest novel, The Printed Letter Bookshop, is the perfect book for avid readers everywhere. She takes readers into the cozy, family owned Printed Letter Bookshop where book lovers come to visit, find their favorite books and the employees actually know the customers by name and can recommend books that the customers will love. What avid reader doesn’t love going to a cozy bookshop in real-life and getting to experience that joy? It’s a true booklover’s dream. Unfortunately, with the popularity of online shopping and e-books, many small, family owned bookshops are losing money and struggling to stay open.
This scenario plays out in The Printed Letter Bookshop when Madeline inherits the struggling bookshop from her late aunt Maddie and needs to modernize the bookshop to meet the needs of the customers in this digital world or else she will lose her beloved aunt’s legacy. With help from the bookshop’s employees, Janet and Claire, all three women work together to save the treasured bookshop and to find purpose and healing in their own lives.
This novel is a story of self-discovery, friendship, and forgiveness, and one that will appeal to a wide range of readers. The story is told through the different women’s perspectives, which provides more insight into each character’s background. Katherine Reay weaves many topics into the storyline that readers can relate to, such as infidelity, strained relationships with family members, and teenage rebellion. The Printed Letter Bookshop is highly recommended for readers of contemporary fiction, and especially those who loved Lindsay Harrel’s The Secrets of Paper and Ink, which also takes place in a bookshop.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter BookshopOne of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.
While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls.
When Madeline’s professional life falls apart, and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. Has she been too quick to dismiss her aunt’s beloved shop? And even if she has, the women’s best combined efforts may be too little, too late.
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