One More Page: Meeting Carolyn Parkhurst

This month for Indie Thursday, I’m writing about Arlington’s One More Page Books & More, owned and operated by Eileen McGervey.

I’ve staked out a folding chair on the cleared sales floor of One More Page. A few rows up, Carolyn Parkhurst is arranging sundry items on the table: a hat, a t-shirt, a framed picture of herself. These items appeared in Parkhurst’s promotional video for her latest book, The Nobodies Album—possibly the funniest book trailer ever.

Of the video, she jokes, “I’ve gotta find some way to get people to buy my books, and it’s better if you can involve humor and self-deprecation.”

Eileen McGervey, standing nearby, tells Carolyn that she always coordinates sales with author events and she jokes, “I have a feeling yours is going to be a wine crowd.”

In case you didn’t know, Parkhurst is one of my favorite authors, and I’m squirming in my chair with fangirl excitement.

Parkhurst begins reading a selection from The Nobodies Album, and then she fields questions. Of particular interest to me was her writing process. She writes her novels in order, from beginning to end, she says. Interestingly, Parkhurst revealed that she thought she knew who the murderer was throughout most of The Nobodies Album, but at the end, she changed it.

Book promotion has changed quite a bit since her first book came out in 2003, she says. The onus is on the author to engage potential readers, both through new media—social networks, blogs, and so forth—and through in-person appearances like this event at One More Page.

She begins raffling off her book-trailer swag for free to the audience. Her daughter claimed the embroidered throw pillow emblazoned with a rave review of one of Parkhurst’s books. “What are guests going to think of me when they see this in my house?” Parkhurst says with her signature dry wit.

I bring my copy of The Nobodies Album up to Carolyn to sign. “I’m the one who said I’m such a big fan, you’re going to file a restraining order!” I say by way of introduction. Instead of producing one, though, Parkhurst laughs and signs my copy of her book. “No restraining orders needed,” she writes on the title page.

Customers begin lining up to buy copies of Parkhurst’s three novels. Eileen  McGervey stands to the side of the counter, surveying the full house.

Stay tuned for one more post this month about the community that has sprung up around One More Page.

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