Local authors volunteer as booksellers for Indies First in Frisco | SummitDaily.com

Local authors volunteer as booksellers for Indies First in Frisco

Krista Driscoll
Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily |

If you go

What: Indies First, part of Small Business Saturday

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29

Where: The Next Page Books & Nosh, 409 Main St. No. 101, Frisco

Cost: Books available for sale

More information: Call (970) 668-9291, or visit www.nextpagebooks.com

Authors as booksellers

Each of the local authors taking part in Indies First at The Next Page Books & Nosh in Frisco on Saturday, Nov. 29, will be sharing specific titles that influenced them as writers and/or authors that they are proud to support. Here are a few that they are excited about.

Vera Dawson

• “The Angle of Repose,” by Wallace Stegner

• “The Shipping News,” by E. Annie Proulx

Beth Groundwater

• Sandra Dallas, author of “The Persian Pickle Club”

• Maggie Sefton, author of the Molly Malone and Kelly Flynn mysteries

• Ann Parker, who writes mysteries set in Leadville during the mining days

• Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mystery Series

Ben Whitmer

• Daniel Woodrell, author of “Give Us a Kiss: A Country Noir”

• Megan Abbott, author of “The End of Everything”

• Denis Johnson, author of “Jesus’ Son”

• James Ellroy, author of “The Black Dahlia”

Lisa Travis

• “A Wrinkle in Time,” by Madeline L’Engle

• “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” by Mo Willems

• “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” by Brian Selznick

• Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

If you happen to stop by The Next Page Books & Nosh on Main Street in Frisco on Saturday, Nov. 29, you may notice some new faces amongst the familiar ones walking the stacks. As part of Indies First, an offshoot of Small Business Saturday, The Next Page has invited a handful of local authors to volunteer at the store, recommending books by other authors they love and talking to readers about the importance of independent book stores.

“Indies First is a nationwide movement, and nationally more than 1,200 authors have signed on to show their support for independent booksellers by partnering with their local stores for the Indies First event,” said Karen Berg, owner of The Next Page. “We are so excited to be participating.

“Authors hone their craft by reading, and we just think it’s really exciting that authors are going to be joining us as booksellers for the day and give us some insight as to the kinds of books that inspired them to become authors.”


Indies First was started last year by Sherman Alexie (“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”) and is now promoted by Neil Gaiman (“Anansi Boys, “American Gods”), Amanda Palmer (“The Art of Asking”) and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), among hundreds of other writers. Authors who will be sharing their expertise at The Next Page include Vera Dawson, Maryann Gaug, Beth Groundwater, Ben Whitmer and Lisa Travis.

Whitmer said he wouldn’t have a career without independent bookstores hand-selling his books. Both he and Dawson, author of the high-altitude baking cookbook “Cookies in the Clouds,” said the shops are the beating hearts of their individual communities.

“They promote all the wonderful things that books promote, reading and experiencing through books,” Dawson said. “I think it’s a delightful idea to share books that you have enjoyed reading. That’s the main purpose of (Indies First) — and to honor indie bookstores, which is really important to me.”

“Independent bookstores have their pulse on a community much more than the national chains,” Travis said. “They really do adapt to reading tastes and interests faster.”

Mystery writer Beth Groundwater, known for her heroine Claire Hanover, said though she’s a traditionally published, paper-and-binding author, a large portion of her book signings have been at independent bookstores, and those signings are important to meet and connect with new readers.

“If you aren’t a best-seller or big-name author, many of the large chain stores aren’t interested in having you come do signings at their stores,” she said. “I do use social media a lot, but I also like to meet people who wander into the bookstores, see you doing a signer, wander over to chat. It’s another way to get your name out there.”


The local writers struggled to pare down their lists of favorite books and authors to a few that they could discuss with bookstore customers on Saturday. Travis, an admitted “indie bookstore geek,” who created the Pack-n-Go Girls Adventures series with her partner, Janelle Diller, said she had a particularly hard time with the task.

“As I told Lisa and Karen at The Next Page, I am one of those crazy people with a stack of 20 books next to my bed,” Travis said. “Since I am a children’s book author, I thought I would mostly stick in the genre and share some of my and my kids favorite reads.

“Madeline L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ really intrigued me as a child. ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!’ was hilarious to read to my kids when they were younger. My son loved the story and artistry of ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ and still reads loads of graphic novels and cartoons. My daughter dressed as Hermione Granger this past Halloween and is devouring the Harry Potter series. And maybe I’ll share a few adult ones, too.”

After a lot of self-promotion for his most recent piece of literary fiction, “Cry Father,” Whitmer said he’s looking forward to talking about other people’s books, for a change.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love my books, but that’s all I’ve been talking about since I just had one come out,” he said. “I can’t wait to try to talk some folks into reading some of the authors I love.

“There’s Daniel Woodrell, who I think is the best prose stylist working; Megan Abbott, who’s just a monster in my mind, sitting back there judging every word I write; Denis Johnson, who I read over and over, pretty much every day; and James Ellroy, because, well, he tears my heart out somehow.”

Travis said in addition to sharing her favorites she’s looking forward to discovering what other authors love to read. Dawson said she’s also interested in seeing what resonates with her contemporaries and how the event pans out as a whole.

“This is the first time I’ve realized that independent businesses come together like this and support one another, and I think it’s a wonderful thing to do when we have box stores that start to define our culture,” she said.

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