This week we decided to have some speculative fun and talk about which houses we would be sorted into if we were students at Hogwarts.
In case you’re not familiar with Harry Potter, each house at Hogwarts (the school for wizards that Harry attends) comprises students with certain characteristics in common.
My name is Christopher Light, and I’m in charge of acquisitions here at Thinklings Books. Unlike the Bosses, my background isn’t in fiction writing or in editing, but in literary criticism—you know, the field in which clever nastiness is lauded for its hilarity.
Whether it’s a doctor’s office waiting room or a two-hour-long blizzard-induced traffic jam, we’ve all been stuck somewhere. That’s why most purses I own are big enough to hold whatever book I’m currently reading.* At least when we’re physically delayed or detained, our imagination can still fly free.
What if you were stuck somewhere for months—or years? Stranded on a desert island, no phone or other tech to call for help, just basic survival necessities. AND five books. (Yes, you can argue that counts as a necessity!) Which five books would you want to have with you? . . . Aside from How to Get the Heck Off a Desert Island by Sandy O’Shipwreck! ;)
In our digital age, book publishing involves so much more than, well, publishing books. Gone are the days of only a few companies printing and distributing all of the country’s literature. There are so many books and so many publishers now that skillful marketing has become essential. Life-and-death, even, to a company.
That last sentence sounded so serious! Maybe a bit dramatic. I promise this post is going to be fun—hang tight.
Thinklings Books is a publisher of speculative fiction. You may have heard the term (often shortened to “spec fic”) and wondered exactly what it meant. Today we’re not just going to speculate on what it is; we’re going to provide concrete answers!
When you speculate, you ask “What if?” But all fiction books pose that question in one way or another; it’s what makes them fictional. So whether something is spec fic or not depends on what, where, whom, etc., a book is speculating about.
At Thinklings, we strive to publish books that are not only readable and enjoyable but also re-readable. What makes a book re-readable? It depends on the reader! We’d love to see your comments below on what you think makes a book re-readable. The answers we came up with are: Nostalgia can certainly play a part—think favorite books from childhood. (One book Sarah is nostalgic about is No Flying in the House by Betty Brock: the first fantasy novel she remembers reading. For Jeannie, it’s Nancy Drew books, specifically The Hidden Staircase.) Wonderful characters who come alive, breathtaking settings, timeless themes that stir the heart, clever plot twists, a beautiful or engaging writing style, and personal connections also make a book re-readable.
Sarah here. I was just watching American Ninja Warrior (ANW) and marveling at the dedication of those athletes, how they’ve trained for hours upon hours upon hours to get where they are. And then, since my brain is always churning with metaphors and comparisons, I started thinking about the differences between sporting competitions and the publishing industry. The observations I made were quite staggering.
Back in their days at Toccoa Falls College, not only were Jeannie and Sarah roommates and fellow mischief-makers, but they were also members of a writing group called the Inklings Too. The handful of us met in the library on Thursday mornings to read and discuss the books, poems, or short stories we were crafting. Our illustrious mentor, head of the English department, was Dr. Don Williams (a.k.a. Gandalf). Another member of the group was author Mark Carver, who also writes as Michael Winstell.
As we’ve said elsewhere, Thinklings Books is named in honor of the Inklings, the writing group that J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were members of. Not only were the two of them colleagues—as professors and as authors—but they were also good friends. Although in their later years, they had a falling-out over a personal matter, “Tollers” (Tolkien) and “Jack” (Lewis) both shared the same passion and vision throughout their life: a deep love for fantasy writing, as well as a standard of quality above all in literature.