On January 18, 2018, we opened our upstairs space to the public with a reading and conversation with RogerJohns, author of the Wallace Hartman mysteries Dark River Rising and the to-be-released River of Secrets. Our conversation continues with this guest blog post by Roger:
This past January 18th was my first time to visit Tallahassee––a bit surprising for a born-and-raised Southerner with a bit of a history as a wayfarer. Just by happenstance you’d think I’d have made it here at least once during my 6.15 decades on this earth. For a couple of reasons, I’m glad I waited.
Reason Number One (Without Which, There Would Be No Reason Number Two)
After a long period during which independent retailers seemed to be sliding off the radar, they thankfully are beginning to flourish once again. I come from a long tradition of independent retailers, so I can claim some understanding of their significance. They’re much more than places to exchange money for goods and services.
When most things can be efficiently purchased at the mega-mart, or ordered online at rock-bottom prices and delivered to your doorstep with a few clicks of a mouse, something must account for our willingness to patronize independent retailers. I’m convinced this something is the human touch.
There is something intrinsically valuable about knowing you’ll be remembered when you walk through the door, where you’ll see a familiar face, and you’ll be seen as a familiar face. There is value in knowing you’ll be treated well because the people who were happy to see you last time will be there to take care of you this time. As a means of forming connections, social media is (can be) a great thing, but, by definition, it’s media––the something-in-the-middle, the something that stands between you and others. If you like your social unmediated, go where everybody knows your name.
Reason Number Two
After a couple of interesting early careers, I finally settled on mystery writing. As part of the writing life, I’m often on the road promoting my books. The third week of January found me touring north Florida, which returns me to my earlier point that my late-in-life visit to Tallahassee, is better than having breezed through some time ago.
Too long ago, and I would have missed the Midtown Reader––this very new, very beautiful, and very friendly independent bookstore. The people and the place are warm and inviting, and the inventory has something for everyone. What a thrill it was to meet and talk to fellow readers and writers in such a welcoming atmosphere. How fortunate for Tallahassee that the Midtown Reader has finally come to town.
It’s true what they say: Good things come to those who wait.
Roger Johns is a former corporate lawyer and retired college professor, and the author of the Wallace Hartman Mysteries, Dark River Rising (August 2017) and River of Secrets (August 2018) from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books. He is a native of Louisiana and, since 2004, a resident of Georgia. Roger is a member of the Atlanta Writers Club, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. Along with four other crime fiction authors, he co-authors the MurderBooks blog at www.murder-books.com. You can visit him at www.rogerjohnsbooks.com.