Melbourne is such a wonderful city: hip eateries, cool book shops, and charming people who know how to live in the moment. I had such a fabulous time there promoting my book and it took me a while to settle myself back into a semblance of normalcy. Anyway, here – finally – is my wrap-up of the tour.
I hit the ground running and tweeted my way around some gorgeous bookstores on day one (If you missed the Twitter posts, there’s a few shots at the end of this post) , before heading up to Macedon, where I joined author Eliza Henry-Jones and we crisscrossed through divine little towns around the area, from Lancefield to Woodend. Unfortunately, I am missing a number of photos because of phone issues. The shops – and their dedicated owners – amazed me. Book Bonding in Gisborne, Red Door Books in Lancefield, Aesop’s Attic in Kyneton and the Paradise Bookshop in Daylesford are all notable for their quirky selections and friendly staff but my highlights were New Leaves in Woodend (who hosted our main event) and Maldon’s The Book Wolf.
Woody was an excellent host, welcoming us with champagne and chatting about the location, the local football finals, his book buyers, and – of course – all things bookish. There’s a lot packed into this beautiful little store and the people who came along to our event made Eliza and I feel at home as we chatted about our respective books (Eliza’s ‘Ache’ (Harper Collins) and my ‘Flame Tip’ (Hybrid Publishers)) which both feature bushfire. Champagne was sipped, laughter ensued. I fell in love with the resident cat, Jupiter. Woody told us about the Manbooker Man Book Club (MBMBC) that he runs there in Woodend (google it!). I think there’s around fifty members with anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen or so men turning up to each meeting where the blokes discuss the month’s chosen book. A very impressive book shop in a beautiful town, worth a drive out from the city.
The Book Wolf:
Another book shop that will not disappoint is The Book Wolf, nestled into the wide main street of Maldon, a beautiful town with tempting shops and great fudge. Mike is the dapper owner of The Book Wolf and he was so warm and welcoming. We had a cuppa and sat in the salon-like surrounds chatting about – you guessed it – books. Mike has some really cool plans for the store (he purchased it not too many months ago) and, as you can see by the pics, it is the perfect venue for bookish soirees, poetry readings, book club events, etc. So pop in and see Mike if you are visiting Maldon and, of course, purchase a copy of Flame Tip if you don’t already have one.
Once back in Melbourne, I was racing around stores just out of the city. Again, there are too many to mention but I particularly liked Avenue Bookstore and My Bookshop by Corrie Perkin. I have to play favourites though so my first place gong is a tie between Benn’s Books in Bentleigh and Top Titles in Brighton (both pictured here).
And – finally – I got to meet my publishers – Anna Blay and Louis de Vries from Hybrid Publishers. We have had so many interactions and in-depth email ‘conversations’ throughout the full publishing process that I felt I knew them well anyway but there is something special about face-to-face interaction. It was made all the more special by the company of Lisa Hill (ANZ LitLovers) and Ros Collins (writer/memoirist and wife of the late [fabulous author] Alan Collins), who hosted a marvellous afternoon tea.
Some of the stores I visited: