Today I have the joy of celebrating The Wandering Jellyfish, a new independent bookstore which opened last summer in Niwot, Colorado. The two owners are writers I know from SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and since they opened, I’ve been there more times than I can count. I recently visited to share a fun story time on 11/11 where I read ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON and shared some light and reflection experimenting with the children.
Jerilyn Patterson and Carissa Mina, like so many writers, dreamt of opening a bookstore. And now, this dream- come-true has become a happy place for so many writers and readers in the area. They are offering a wonderful giveaway – books and swag (US only) including another chance to win BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA, by Alda P. Dobbs. Comment on this post to enter the giveaway!
What were you like at the age of your target audience? (the bookstore features primarily children’s and YA books)
Carissa: Since our target audience is anywhere from 0-18, I’ll just split the difference and say that when I was 8(ish), I was quiet and shy. I loved to spend most of my time inside my own head (that hasn’t changed much), and I wasn’t a big reader (that has changed a lot!). I was a dreamer more than anything. I dreamt of becoming an actress, a singer, a dancer, as many kids do, but I also dreamt of discovering I had magical powers or that my closet had a hidden door that would take me to another world, and on and on. I dreamt of becoming a writer in my late teens, and in my mid-twenties, when I started reading voraciously, I dreamt of someday opening my own bookstore. I never became an actress, singer, or dancer, and I haven’t (yet) discovered any magical powers or doors to different worlds, but I am a writer and a bookstore owner and so I guess that means that, in a way, all of my dreams came true because when I’m writing and reading, I can be anything I want.
Jerilyn: I spent childhood summers reading while curled on the couch or late at night with a flashlight under the blankets getting lost in Narnia, Middle Earth, and Prince Edward Island. I discovered the joy of writing in third grade, and even though I vowed to never become a writer—little Jer was going to be a professional dancer, thank you very much—I grew up to be one anyway.
What inspires you?
Carissa: Reading! Every time I read a brilliant book, I’m inspired to write one of my own. This feeling is fleeting, though, so I am forced to read a lot of brilliant books and, of course, some not so brilliant books, but I find that those books to be inspiring as well, just in a different way.
Jerilyn: It is so inspiring when kids and families come into our store and find the perfect book, and the sight of a child’s eyes lighting up when they see their favorite book on our shelves is priceless!
What’s the one thing you hope readers take away from visiting your store?
Carissa and Jer: Inspiration! When readers read the books we’ve introduced to them or that they have found while browsing in our shop, we hope they’ll walk away feeling inspired. Whether that inspiration leads to reading more books by that author or in that genre, writing a book, or taking social or personal action, we hope that our readers will always walk away from our books feeling a spark of inspiration.
What’s next for you and The Wandering Jellyfish?
Carissa & Jerilyn: We’ve just launched our Shopify website at shop.twjbookshop.com, which allows us to sell preorders and signed copies as well as some Jellyfish swag (coming soon!). We’ve also launched our libro.fm/twjbookshop partner page, from which people can purchase audiobooks. We’re gearing up for the holiday season, which means ordering gobs of new and favorite books. We also have a holiday author fair scheduled to take place on November 27th and December 4th, featuring ten local authors who will be at the shop to sign and talk about their books. After the holiday, we’re going to take some much-needed time off. We’ve been on full speed ahead since the inception of this bookshop, which was back in April, and I don’t think either one of us has really taken a day off since. As much as we love our reading and writing community, it will be nice to ring in the new year with our families who haven’t seen much of us since this whole crazy, wonderful endeavor started. In the new year, we’re hoping to expand many of our programs for youth and adult writers. We love books, and we love writers! We hope that our store can be a means to inspiring others to create and tells stories.
You can also follow The Wandering Jellyfish on Facebook www.facebook.com/twjbooskhop,
Twitter & Instagram @twjbookshop
sign up for our newsletter on our website www.twjbookshop.com/events.
Carissa on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @CarissaMina