Kathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked and other books, retired from real estate to pursue writing full time. She’s here today to talk about how change doesn’t mean going back to the way things used to be, especially when it comes to reading and telling stories.
Purebred Dead, the first in the new Mary McGill series, was released in August 2015 and Curtains for Miss Plym was released in April 2016. Blood Red, White and Blue was released in July 2017 and was a finalist for best canine book of the year in the Dog Writers of America annual writing contest. Kathleen’s newest book in the series, Dressed to Kill, was released in the UK on August 1, 2019 and in the US on November 1, 2019.
The most overworked word in the English language today is change. If you pay any attention to politics, you can’t miss it. It’s in someone’s speech every other sentence. Our current President won office largely because he promised it. The current group of pol’s seeking to replace him promise we’re going to change back.
Not possible. A quick tour of history shows us that.
There was a time when only the very rich or the very religious could read. Monks spent their entire lives sitting on high stools, laboring to decorate the pages of bibles. The traveling storyteller visited small villages and a crowd gathered in the town square to hear the latest news but mainly to hear his stories. Along came Guttenberg and they were all out of a job. Books became available to those whose blood was more red than blue and rich or poor, religious or not, people learned to read them. Public libraries were born. People flocked to them and the world changed.
Sometime later, Henry Ford came along and so did the Tin Lizzie. The steam engine appeared, and the cotton gin. Farmers grew more crops on less land. Goods could be shipped further and faster on railroads that extended from coast to coast. Families could live further from their jobs, shop at stores other than the one down the block, and children could attend bigger and hopefully better schools, all on increasingly faster trains and paved roads. The small, neighborhood bookstore sprung up. And the world changed.
Then came the Internet and with it, Amazon. One morning, a mother discovered she could order the new mystery she had heard about while sitting in front of her computer, in her bathrobe and bunny slippers, a cup of coffee in her hand. She could order her children’s textbooks, and the book on baseball scores her husband had been hinting that he wanted, all while she started the next washing load. Once again, the world changed.
Today, we have the Kindle, The Nook, the I pad, and I have no idea how many other electronic things. Changes? They have turned publishing, writing, and yes, reading, upside down. Backpacks stuffed with heavy textbooks are disappearing off our children’s backs, replaced by computers, small reading devices are appearing in briefcases and purses everywhere, and people can afford to buy more books. And they are. Change? You bet.
One more thing.
Like most people in the book world, I’m not sure how all this will end. Some say the day of the paper book is gone for good. Others say that will never happen. Still others say it will close library doors, the Internet will replace all. I listen to them and get a little dizzy. However, there is one thing I am sure of. No matter how we deliver them, stories will never die. People still read bibles long after Guttenberg invented his press. Actually, more people read more bibles. The traveling storyteller may have disappeared from our town squares, but story telling didn’t, and when delivering stories in print instead of by mouth happened, we had a whole treasure trove of stories we will never lose. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, the Bronté sisters, Agatha Christie, I’m sure you have your own list. Think of all the people you have met through stories, people who have changed your lives, the way you think about things, the places you have visited.
The pol’s have it both right and wrong. We can’t go back. We’ll keep changing, though. I’m not sure what the next one will be, or when, but like death and taxes, there is one thing I’m sure of. Hard back, paper back, Kindle or Nook, telling and reading stories won’t stop any time soon.