This is my favorite moment in the life cycle of a book–the moment it finds its way into readers’ hands. Suddenly it’s not my baby anymore. It belongs to the readers, the reviewers, the book groups, the librarians, and I can’t wait for them to read it.
I wrote The Lost and Found Bookshop during a momentous year in my life. It reflects one of my sweetest fantasies–owning an independent bookshop. Even when I was a little girl, I used to imagine what it would be like to live in the garret of a creaky old building, above a bookstore that is a vibrant community center.
The fantasy comes to life on Perdita Street in San Francisco’s historic district. (I made up the name of the street, and you see what I did there.) Natalie Harper is a successful wine exec in Archangel, California (shout out to readers of The Apple Orchard and The Beekeeper’s Ball). She never planned on taking over her mother’s beloved but struggling bookshop. She never planned on being in charge of her aging grandfather. But in a single moment, everything in her settled, predictable life changes.
The Lost and Found Bookshop is made up of my favorite elements of my favorite bookshops–the massive inventory of El Ateneo in Buenos Aires, the history and mystery of Shakespeare & Company in Paris, and the hometown feel of a hundred fiercely independent bookstores I’ve had the privilege of visiting in my 30+ years as a published author.
My local bookstores are Eagle Harbor Book Company here on Bainbridge Island, Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, which is owned by my friend and fellow author Suzanne Selfors, and Ballast Book Company in Bremerton, Washington. All three provide signed books on request, so please request! Shop Indie bookstores by using Bookshop.org.
The story had to be San Francisco because of the historical backstory of the actual building which Natalie inherits. In my research, I discovered that men being deployed to the Philippines (Spanish American War) sometimes left “artifacts” in the walls of their favorite saloons. Often it was the only place they could think of for safekeeping. Like all old buildings, this one is in dire need of repairs, and as the walls are opened up, mysterious relics from the past appear, setting Natalie on a quest to piece together the secret history of her family.
And also, of course, SAN FRANCISCO. I really loved Natalie’s nostalgic memories of growing up there in the 90s. Locals of a certain age will remember Counting Crows concerts, flyovers by the Blue Angels, school shopping at I. Magnin, Sunday brunch buffet at Cliff House…Natalie’s ties to the city are powerful, but she’s not sure they’re strong enough to hold her.
I love writing about a character at a moment of change or transition in her life. Readers might not understand Natalie instantly, because she’s living the life she thinks she wants–when her secret soul yearns for something altogether different. Once readers relate to her emotional dilemma, I think they’ll root for her as she embraces a completely different and unexpected journey.
The title of the book hints at several surprises inside. My favorite is that nearly all the books my fictional bookseller recommends to her patrons and friends were written by writers I admire, many of whom are friends of mine.
Please join me at one of my upcoming virtual events. We’re planning something fun for you, including gift card door prizes. Hope to see you there!
#newfiction #reading #readsusanwiggs