Thursday, 14 August 2014

Signed Copies of 'The Bookshop Book'

pre-ordering signed copies of The Bookshop Book - shipping to anywhere in the world

Hello folks! The Bookshop Book is published on the 2nd October by Constable/Little, Brown in the UK & Commonwealth. Hurray! Copies will be available in bookshops in Australia and NZ by the beginning of November, but I'm afraid we don't have a release date for North America as yet - though if you can't wait for it, you can order a copy below. :) I'll edit this post with details of any foreign editions as and when, and if you have any questions, please just drop me an email

If you'd like to pre-order a signed copy of the book, I can ship to anywhere in the world. Details are below!

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

Every bookshop has a story. 

We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors (such as Audrey Niffenegger, Ian Rankin, Tracy Chevalier, Bill Bryson and many others) about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).

The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.

Copies are £12.99 plus postage (it's a hardback, 288 pages, with two sections of colour photographs). If you'd like to order more than one copy, just drop me a message and I can adjust the shipping costs.

 If you would like a dedication in the book as well as a signature, please leave me a note in the 'Note to Buyer' section at checkout. If it's a gift for someone, I'm very happy to gift wrap free of charge, too, just leave a note requesting it. 

1 x copy of The Bookshop Book - Jen Campbell

Select Postage Option

Hurray for bookshops! And I really hope you enjoy the book.

Lots of love,

Jen xx

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Final Cover Design!

Final cover design for The Bookshop Book - out 9th October. :)

(click to view full size)

Monday, 11 August 2014

Author Visit: Tom Vowler

Good morning, folks! The lovely Tom Vowler is here to chat about this new novel That Dark Remembered Day. It's a psychological thriller and it's a bit awesome. 

A copy of his novel is also up for grabs. If you leave a comment on this post before midnight Tuesday 19th August, your name will be put into a hat. The name pulled out the hat will win the book. :) Giveaway open worldwide. 

Pull up a seat!

British writer Tom Vowler's story collection, The Method, won the Scott Prize in 2010 and the Edge Hill Readers' Prize in 2011. His debut novel, What Lies Within, is set on the uplands of Dartmoor, and his second, That Dark Remembered Day, is out now. Tom is an associate lecturer at Plymouth University, where he's studying for a PhD. Represented by Ed Victor, he's co-editor of the literary journal Short FICTION and occasional all-rounder for the Authors Cricket XI

Hello, Tom! First, let's go back a bit. The last time we talked on here, your first novel 'What Lies Within' was about to be published. How did that go? Was the experience of having a novel published all that you thought it would be?

People said some lovely things about that book, which is most of what you hope for, to make some sort of a connection with readers. In the end you don’t even mind the less favourable responses – anything but indifference. You soon move on to the next one, though.

What book/publishing things have you learned over the past couple of years?

Not to read or respond to reviews. The bad ones sap creativity, the good ones encourage complacency. And to give yourself some down time: a novel takes a lot from you, two years or more on the same endeavour. You need distractions to help you switch off.

Did you approach the writing process differently for your second novel? Were there things you wanted to do differently after writing the first one?

The process was much the same, but I certainly wanted to challenge the reader more this time, morally speaking. I wanted similar aspects of pace and suspense, but also a more lyrically rich work, particularly when exploring the natural world and how it could be both cause and remedy for mental anguish. Structurally the book is more complex and layered, some of the narrative told in reverse, layers peeled back but then replaced.

Was this novel easier or harder to write than your first?

Harder in many ways, as you have the shadow of the first lingering. You want to continue with the elements that worked for you before, but the artist in you pleads for a new aesthetic, for risks to be taken. I also knew, unlike first time round, that this book would be published, which sounds a wonderful luxury to have but which brings its own attendant pressures.

Tell us a little bit about your book.

In part a psychological thriller, but probably more literary than its predecessor, the book examines how a family is torn apart by an hour’s madness. It’s also a meditation on the contrails of war, on fatherhood and the natural world. It asks how well you can really know someone, know what they’re capable of.

What advice would you give to writers with regard to building up suspense?

Credit the reader with the power to sense subtle clues, to sense and feel what’s there without being told. Less is always more. 

What do you plan to work on next?

After several years working on novels, I’m back to my first love, the short story, a collection coming together. 

Lastly, give us a recommendation of something you've recently read and loved. 

David Vann’s Goat Mountain, an extraordinary work, which I reviewed here. (link:

A thought-provoking and beautifully written thriller, taking the reader from the primeval plains of the Falkland Islands to a Yorkshire market town with a horrific past.

A son returns to where he grew up, where his mother still lives and where a terrible event in his childhood changed the lives of every person living there. As the story unfolds through the eyes of the son, the mother and finally the father, the reader experiences the taut build up to one day's tragic unravelling, and the shock waves that echoed through a once happy family and close-knit community. Will they ever be able to exorcise the damage of that day or do some wounds run too deep?

In exploring the darkest corners of the human heart, Vowler asks how well we can ever know someone. Part psychological suspense, part lyrical meditation on fatherhood, war and the natural world, That Dark Remembered Day is a gripping and moving literary thriller that will haunt you to the end.

A copy of Tom's novel is up for grabs. If you leave a comment on this post before midnight Tuesday 19th August, your name will be put into a hat. The name pulled out the hat will win the book. Giveaway open worldwide. 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

backpacking in Croatia

Sorry I've been quiet this past week, folks! Mr. M and I had eight days away in Croatia, backpacking along the Parenzana - an old railway line that runs through Istria - which was lovely. We also had a few days down by the coast. Now I'm back in London and ready to 1. Tackle bookshop customers (not literally... probably) 2. Crack on with preparations for the release of The Bookshop Book on 9th October and 3. Get back to writing The Novel. Oh yes. Thanks, Croatia. We had a lovely time!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Author Visit: Nik Perring

Good morning, guys! Today, Nik Perring is here to have a quick chat about his new book, Beautiful Words. A flash-fiction picturebook for adults, Beautiful Words is the first in the trilogy that explores three characters' lives through the words they love. 

As an aside, some of my favourite words are onomatopoeia, circus and skeleton. 

Hi Nik! Welcome! Pull up a seat.

Thanks for having me here, Jen. It is a fine place! 

What was your favourite word when you were a child?

Favourite word as a child? There must have been loads. Aquamarine's the first that comes to mind. It kind of sings. Actually, thinking about it, I think I came across it first in a song. (Possibly one from Alice in Wonderland. I'll have to check...)

What's your favourite word now?

Now I'm old and tired and work pretty much all the time, I'm going to go with sleep. Or happy. You've got to love happy.

What's the most powerful word you can think of?

That's a really tough question because I guess a lot of it depends on context. There are obvious ones like love and freedom and hope. I also chose to put this word in the book, too. (Click to see the entry, as it's a tad naughty ;))

What's a word you'd like to shout from the top of a mountain?


And what's a word you'd like to whisper quietly in somebody's ear?


Make up a word for us, and tell us its meaning.

Blunderful - a happy accident.

Tell us how 'Beautiful Words' came about, and what the rest of the series promises.

It started, by happy accident, a few years ago when I started collecting beautiful words. If I found one I liked, because it was interesting, or fun to say, or because I liked its meaning, I'd pop it into a small orange notebook. And then I thought that maybe it could make an interesting book - the sort of thing I'd love to be given as a gift. 

But a book listing the words some bloke you've probably never heard of thought were beautiful was never going to be that interesting so I decided to make it into a weird mix of fact told through a story. 

In the first book it's the story of Lucy, Lily, and Alexander, their relationship(s) told through beautiful words (with gorgeous illustrations by the wonderful Miranda Sofroniou).

The next in the series is Beautiful Trees, which continues their story, this time told through trees.

The third will be Beautiful Shapes...

Nik Perring is a short story writer and author from the UK. His stories have been published in many fine places both in the UK and abroad, in print and online. They’ve been used on High School distance learning courses in the US, printed on fliers, and recorded for radio. Nik is the author of the children’s book, I Met a Roman Last Night, What Did You Do? (EPS, 2006); the short story collection, Not So Perfect (Roastbooks 2010); and he’s the co-author of Freaks! (The Friday Project/HarperCollins, 2012). His online home is and he’s on Twitter as @nikperring Beautiful Trees is out now.

Friday, 25 July 2014

'Weird Things...' Book Club August 2014

The first 'Weird Things...' Read Along Book Club is live! Hurrah!  If you'd like to take part, all the details are over here.

This month we're reading The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey.

If you'd like to sign up to the Book Club mailing list, just drop me an email.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The 'Weird Things...' Read-Along Book Club

As we're all book-lovers here, I suggested the idea of a 'Weird Things...' Read-Along Book Club over on the 'Weird Things...' Facebook page. I suggested that once a month I could nominate a book and those who want to join in can read it with me, and we can chat about it.

I was pretty overwhelmed with the response - over 300 of you want to join in!

So, I thought I'd post about it here, on my blog, in case you want to get involved:

1. At the beginning of the month I will post a photo of the book we will be reading on the Facebook page, and we can discuss the book in the comments WITHOUT spoilers.

2. I will also set up a Note on the page for the book, where people can comment once they have finished the book, where there can be spoilers etc freely.

Those who want to take part can do so whenever they like (you don't have to read every book!). It's going to be a very laid back affair. (If the Book Club turns out to be rather large, we can think about setting up a separate Facebook group for it, but let's see how we get on first. :))

So, if you'd like to come and join in, please do!

If you'd like to receive an email once a month letting you know what book we're going to be reading, please drop me an email: The first email will go out at the beginning of next week. I'm excited. 

Hurray for books!