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General : Columns : Celia Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

A Jewel in the Centre
By Celia Anderson
3, Feb 2005 - 17:35

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As my avid readers (or bored readers) will know I have been a hopeful writer for quite some time. Now don’t jump the gun…this is not to bring glad tidings about my book being published….Not yet at least. This is just to tell you about how us desperate writers gain so much for our efforts before we publish our books. (Wishful thinking again.)

Today I spent most of my day looking for illustrators for my collection of stories. Mike on the Castlebar Bulletin Board suggested I ask some art students. This I did among other tasks of searching through the web. I came across wonderful illustrators on the IGI page and phoned Steve Cannon about our ideas and goals. What a great chap. Anyhow, it’s good to know there are others like me out there.

Browsing through the Castlebar Business Directory I came upon a new shop that had opened in December 2004. McCarthy’s Books. The owner is Michael McCarthy and I thought him to be the one and same as the Michael McCarthy, the illustrator. There was no phone number, so I gathered my things, jumped in my car and drove there.

No one seemed to know where the new bookstore was. I knew that they were close to Cox’s. So on foot I walked around. Good news. I found it and what a lovely surprise it was. I walked into this small bookstore; one could still smell the new wood of the shelf. A calm atmosphere lingered in the shop. So many books are offered, but without making it look commercial. Just homely. I recognized authors such as our Maeve Binchy, Michael Mullan, John Connelly right through to my favorite suspense writers Jonathan Kellerman, James Patterson. They even had Wilbur Smith, a South African writer. I was impressed.

But now for the cherry on the cake. This tall friendly man greeted me with such a smile. Not one of that "put on" salesperson smiles. But a genuine smile that lit up his eyes. It was the owner himself, Michael McCarthy,(not the illustrator by the way.) Here was a person who’s whole attitude said; "I have this shop because I love books." A real book person. He was not shy about admitting not having read some of the books, I mean, who could? Michael suggested many titles and when I told him about the other Michael McCarthy he offered to help me find an illustrator as well. He even agreed to have a book launch for my new book (once it’s published) right in Castlebar. Now if that is not service!!! If I had been one of those mystery shoppers, I would give him and the shop full marks.

There are many shops selling various items, but in my mind there is a vast difference between a shop that just sells goods and a shop that makes you feel welcome. Have I mentioned the good prices? No, I don’t think I’ll go there. I don’t want this article to sound like a sales pitch. And to think I didn’t even know the shop existed until I saw it on Castlebar Business Directory. Well done to the people of

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