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Authors give advice, send texts to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day

Amanda Hua of Seattle laughs as author Jess Walter writes a text message to her husband Saturday, April 30, 2016 inside Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane. Walter was at the bookstore  as part of national Independent Bookstore Day celebrations. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Amanda Hua of Seattle laughs as author Jess Walter writes a text message to her husband Saturday, April 30, 2016 inside Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane. Walter was at the bookstore as part of national Independent Bookstore Day celebrations. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Authors, belly dancers, actors and music filled Auntie’s Bookstore on Saturday as the business celebrated Independent Bookstore Day.

Several local authors were invited to participate, but they weren’t there to sign books. Each was asked to pick an activity they wanted to do and author Jess Walter volunteered to ghostwrite text messages and record voicemail greetings.

“When I first started writing I had to ghostwrite to make money,” Walter said. With that in mind it only made sense to ghostwrite texts, he said.

Almost as soon as Walter walked in the door he was approached by Karen Haeger, who wanted him to send a text to her sister, Anne-Marie Ophus.

“My sister loves him so much I can’t even tell you,” Haeger said.

The two posed for a picture together and Walter tapped on her phone for a minute before showing it to Haeger for her approval.

“Couldn’t be better,” Haeger said as she laughed.

Walter wrote, “Karen and I debating running off together, decided against it – we miss you here.”

At other places in the store author Sharma Shields ran an advice booth; Kris Dinnison put temporary tattoos on people; S.M. Hulse wrote book jacket-style blurbs about pets; and Joseph Haeger advertised bad animal drawings, though the drawings were anything but bad.

Independent Bookstore Day started in California a few years ago and was such a resounding success that it went national last year, said interim bookstore manager Melissa Opel. Auntie’s had a small celebration last year, but decided to go all in this year.

People can get authors to sign books anytime, so the staff decided to do something new. “Part of it was just letting the authors decide what they wanted to do,” Opel said.

In the end, the goal was to create a good day for employees and customers, she said.

“Today’s about having fun with what we do,” Opel said.


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