You are here

Island Books's blog

50 Years of Island Books: Elise Hooper

A native New Englander, Elise Hooper spent several years writing for television and online news outlets before getting a MA and teaching high-school literature and history. Her debut novel The Other Alcott was a nominee for the 2017 Washington Book Award. Three more novels—Learning to See, Fast Girls, and Angels of the Pacific—followed, all centered on the lives of extraordinary but overlooked historical women. Elise now lives in Seattle with her husband and two teenage daughters. You can read a great interview she did with Kelleen back in 2020 for the release of Fast Girls here.

Miriam: I loved The Other Alcott and Fast Girls. We're big fans and happy to have you on the blog. Let's start with your first visit to Island Books. Where were you in your career then, and what stood out about the store?

Elise: If I remember things correctly, I was on Mercer Island because my younger daughter had swim practice at the Mercerwood Shore Club. This must have been sometime in the winter of 2017 because it was already dark and rainy and my first book, The Other Alcott, had not yet been released. Usually when my daughter had these practices, I'd find a spot in the clubhouse and work on my second book, but I was feeling restless and had just heard about Island Books, so I decided to drop off the swim carpool kids and go on a little literary island adventure. Because, duh, why work when you can visit a bookstore? 

When I walked in the bookstore, I found the staff gathered around an opened bottle of champagne and they were celebrating, although I can't remember what the occasion was. The amazing part was that they poured me a glass and we started chatting. Instantly I felt at home. Books, bubbles, and smiling, welcoming faces on a dark and rainy night? Clearly the store was my kind of place. That evening marked the beginning of a great relationship.

A Double Dose of 50 Years of Island Books: Rachel Linden / Martha Brockenbrough

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures in over fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her writing. She is the author of The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie, The Enlightenment of Bees, Becoming the Talbot Sisters, and Ascension of Larks. Currently Rachel lives with her family on a sweet little island near Seattle, WA where she enjoys creating stories about strong women facing big challenges, travel, food, and second chances at love. She promises her readers a happy, or at least very hopeful, ending and infuses each of her stories with a touch of magical realism. Her newest novel, Recipe for a Charmed Life, comes out in early 2024.

Miriam: Welcome, Rachel. Let's start with your first visit to Island Books. Where were you in your career then, and what stood out about the store?

50 Years of Island Books: Laurie Frankel

Laurie Frankel is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of four novels. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, People Magazine, Lit Hub, The Sydney Morning Herald, and other publications. She is the recipient of the Washington State Book Award and the Endeavor Award. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and been optioned for film and TV. A former college professor, she now writes full-time in Seattle, Washington where she lives with her family and makes good soup.

Miriam: Let's start with your first visit to Island Books. Where were you in your career then, and what stood out about the store?

Laurie: Which is also the answer to your question, I’m afraid. I can’t remember my first visit to IB which I actually think speaks to what a great bookstore it is: it feels like it’s always been there and always been a part of my world. Island Books is my favorite kind of bookstore which is to say big enough to have a wide selection, small enough that good, smart readers have culled and curated, with booksellers (said good, smart readers) who are warm and welcoming but also give you space to browse and get lost looking for what you want to read next, plus the children’s section of my (and my kid’s) dreams. I also adore a neighborhood bookstore, and IB is the best kind (since your neighborhood is an island). MI is the perfect size — big enough to have everything you need, close enough to get anywhere you need to go, but small enough to be a community — and it seems to me that Island Books mirrors that exactly.


Subscribe to RSS - Island Books's blog