When I was seventeen my sister and I started book scouting for local used and rare bookstores. It started out as a hobby. I loved books, and scouting was a great way to get my hands on a lot of them. My writing and day job of selling used books have dovetailed for years now, and it only made sense I'd incorporate rare books into my fiction.
Christy Williams, the main character of my first novel Thicker than Blood, works at a fictional store called Dawson's Book Barn. It's her area's largest used and rare bookstore. She's a clerk, and has been for several years, but she dreams of being more involved in the actual book buying. It was so much fun to incorporate many of the interesting (and sometimes bizarre) book collecting facts I've learned over the years into this novel.
Taking center stage in Thicker than Blood is a signed first edition of Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls (pictured above - click to enlarge). This was one of the very first rare books I learned about from the manager of Baldwin's Book Barn, the first store I scouted for back in the day. What's especially interesting about first editions is a mistake made in the printing of the dust jacket. So while first editions of the actual book all look alike, the first state of the dust jacket differs in later editions. If you click on the picture, you'll notice the photographer is not credited beneath Hemingway's photo. That was a mistake that was later corrected.
It's this key point that plays a big role in the outcome of the novel. Learn more about the story behind the story of Thicker than Blood at my website. And you can now pre-order the book at Amazon and Christianbook.com!
(For Whom the Bell Tolls photo courtesy of The University of South Carolina)