Keep­ing the printed word alive

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Tara Whitsed Love Your Book­store Day will in­clude sev­eral ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the day, with plenty of prizes up for grabs. The event will be held on Satur­day, Au­gust 11, at Collins Book­sell­ers, Maude St, Shep­par­ton.

In times past, your lo­cal book­store was the go-to place for all your read­ing needs.

From fic­tion to recipe books to bi­ogra­phies, the Sofra fam­ily from Collins Book­sell­ers in Shep­par­ton has ser­viced the com­mu­nity for the past 13 years, dur­ing a time when the re­tail and lit­er­ary in­dus­try took a huge blow.

Now the only spe­cial­ity book­store in Shep­par­ton, the Sofra fam­ily will cel­e­brate Love Your Book­store Day next month.

‘‘It’s an ini­tia­tive of the Aus­tralian Book­sell­ers As­so­ci­a­tion to give book­shops a date to cel­e­brate and re­mind peo­ple how much were in the com­mu­nity,’’ Collins Book­sell­ers co-owner He­len Sofra said.

A fam­ily-run busi­ness, daugh­ter Ge­or­gia Sofra said she had loved grow­ing up in the store.

‘‘I’ve lit­er­ally grown up here since I was nine years old,’’ she said.

‘‘I just love how fam­ily thing.’’

And Ge­or­gia ex­plained it was not just her fam­ily that had been touched by the power of books.

‘‘I had a grand­mother come in one day and she wanted to buy a se­ries for her grand­daugh­ter,’’ she said.

Af­ter Ge­or­gia se­lected a se­ries of 15 books, the grand­mother promptly pur­chased one and soon re­turned to snap up the lot.

‘‘She said she was go­ing to send her grand­daugh­ter a book each month and then she will call her and dis­cuss the book with her,’’ Ge­or­gia said.

He­len, Joe and Ge­or­gia all agreed it was the cus­tomers that made the job so fan­tas­tic and the op­por­tu­ni­ties they had had to meet renowned au­thors from near and far.

But sup­port­ing lo­cals is just as im­por­tant to the fam­ily, and they will host the launch of lo­cal au­thor Di

its a Walker’s de­but novel Un­pack­ing Harper Holt on Love Your Book­store Day on Satur­day, Au­gust 11.

The Tatura-based au­thor and school teacher had al­ways been in­ter­ested in writ­ing and, in late Jan­uary last year, the char­ac­ter of Harper Holt popped into her head along with the books first sen­tence.

‘‘I got up and started writ­ing and just kept go­ing,’’ Ms Walker said.

The novel tells how Harper Holt’s close-knit fam­ily is al­ways mov­ing. All she wants is to have a nor­mal, quiet life in one place.

But when she ex­pe­ri­ences a dev­as­tat­ing loss, she re­alises that her fu­ture will never be the way she imag­ined it.

Af­ter con­tact­ing pub­lish­ers, Walker Books took an in­ter­est in the novel and Ms Walker was guided by edi­tor Nancy Conescu through the process.

‘‘I have just fin­ished my fourth book and now I know I have a process,’’ she said.

‘‘It starts with a char­ac­ter’s name and a sit­u­a­tion and then I just write and see where the char­ac­ter takes me.

‘‘Some­times I am not in con­trol of what hap­pens to the char­ac­ters or how they deal with things.’’

Ms Walker said she was grate­ful to Collins Book­sell­ers for of­fer­ing to launch her book at their store.

‘‘I am prob­a­bly go­ing to read an ex­tract, an­swer ques­tions and hope­fully sign some copies. I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to it,’’ she said.

Pas­sion­ate about books: He­len Sofra at Collins Book­sell­ers in Shep­par­ton.

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