by Nancy Holley
When attending Visalia’s Taste the Arts street fair on Saturday, October 17, be sure to stop at Neighborhood Bookstore’s booth. Neighborhood Bookstore was inspired by Carole Firstman and Irene Morse, both published local authors.
Firstman noted, “Last year at Taste the Arts, Irene and I were the only occupants of our booth, but it was an inspiring experience, which led to a couple of Neighborhood Bookstore boutiques, one just before Christmas and the other in the spring.”
The boutiques included other local writers from Tulare and Kings Counties looking for an avenue to showcase their works in an area with no major local bookstore. The synergy among the authors created by the boutiques encouraged Firstman and Morse to focus that excitement and energy on an annual event in conjunction with Taste the Arts.
The Arts Consortium’s Taste the Arts event has grown during its six-year history into an event that promotes the works of local artists to thousands of participants. “The publicity provided by the Arts Consortium and the exposure engendered by Taste the Arts are perfect for Neighborhood Bookstore and its published local authors,” exclaims Firstman.
Neighborhood Bookstore’s contributors have an extensive age range and provide a wide variety of genre. Winnie Furrer, a writer of memoirs, may be the oldest, but she’s not admitting to anything.
In addition to Firstman, Furrer, and Morse, participants in Neighborhood Bookstore will include two historical fiction writers: Judith Boling and Stephanie Carroll. As the picture indicates, Stephanie really enjoyed the spring boutique.
Non-fiction writers John Fisher and Kathy Stevens are joined by Gloria Getman (mysteries), Jesalyn Harper (fantasy), and Dominique Vaughn (poetry). Some of the authors are self-published and others are published by traditional sources, but all need to self-market their work.
Completing Neighborhood Bookstore’s offerings is Jane Thomas, whose cards, calendars, and works of art display her considerable photographic talents.
“The entire area will be shaded with tables and chairs. If people want to buy books and have them signed by the author that opportunity will be available, but interaction with the authors is not required,” explains Firstman. Neighborhood Bookstore’s focus is on providing patrons a pleasant experience.