It Used to Be a Library

AmyBeth Inverness is a local speculative fiction and romance author who has a new collection of short fiction coming out soon. We’re handing over the reins to her to chat about some of her influences.

When my parents moved to Vermont in 1990, they bought a large old house that, although it had its issues and idiosyncrasies, had plenty of space for the grandchildren they would eventually have as well as my father’s model trains and my mother’s doll collection.

And the books. Many, many books.

I grew up swimming in books. Every trip to the used bookstore with my father was a free-for-all. Although I did not grow up in Vermont, my parents’ house was my home base while I was a nanny in Connecticut, and again later after I got married and went back to school.

One large bedroom was referred to as ‘The Library.’ Two full walls were lined from floor to ceiling with built-in-place shelves. It also had a guest bed, a side table, and several free-standing shelves, all covered with books. They weren’t even the only books in the house, as atlases were in the downstairs hall, encyclopedias in the upstairs hall, and my mother’s romance novels were in the living room.

I was spoiled rotten in that I could walk into that room at any time, peruse the titles, and choose something to read. If I recalled some book with a blue cover that I’d read once and wanted to read again, it wasn’t too hard to find. They were fairly well organized, and if I wanted a specific author, I knew where to look.

My parents retired to North Carolina in 2008. Since they weren’t able to sell their house, my husband and I moved into their house with our two kids.

The books are long gone. I have a box that I salvaged of books that I really wanted to keep, and the rest found good homes. The room that used to be a library is now our bedroom. Although we have plenty of books (my youngest used to treat my romance novels like building blocks) it’s nothing compared to my parents’ floor-to-ceiling collection.

I’m now a writer, both of romance and science fiction. Frequently, I remember ‘that novel with the blue cover’ and I can picture exactly where it is on the shelf. While writing, I often want to refer to one of the old classics by Asimov or Heinlein, and I know exactly where all those books used to be. When discussing science fiction on social media, I will either recall some novel I read as a teenager but don’t remember either the author or title, or my friends will suggest some novel that I’m sure is in my father’s collection. But now, when I walk into that room, I don’t find the books I want. I find my bed, an ever-growing to-be-read pile, and the books I’ve read since we moved in. Because we’re doing some fix-up work on the house, most of my book collection is packed very safe and water-resistant in boxes in the basement. The ugly green 1970’s wallpaper that used to be in the library is gone, but only one wall is repainted. The rest are waiting for some electrical work before we repair the walls and finish painting.

I miss the books. But I’ve moved so many times in my life, I’ve come to know paperbacks and hard covers as both a blessing and a curse. Although I lust after printed books, I buy more books in e-format these days. I know that this house is not a permanent home for us, and I shudder to think about either moving or losing my books when we move.

Someday, we will have a house that we will make our own. I will fill it with books. So many books that my future grandchildren will treat them like building blocks before they can read. I will have a library, and when someone asks “Do you remember that book? The one with the blue cover?” I’ll know exactly where to look.

My short story series The Cities of Luna explores what life will be like when humanity establishes permanent residence on the Moon. Cities of Luna: Collection One includes twelve short stories that are at once familiar and futuristic. It can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

In the first single-release story, Moon Dragons, Uncle Dave has always told his nieces and nephews about the dragons that share the caves in which their underground city, Arrakeen, is built. Then one day he begins to wonder if the fairy-tales have a grain of truth after all. Moon Dragons can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.

The latest short story, One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor, tells of the challenges two young siblings face when they find themselves outside their home city of Mordor, with no idea how to get back in. One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor, is available at Amazon.

A new story comes out with every full moon. Look for them wherever you buy e-books!

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice, and an outcast of Colorado by temporary necessity, AmyBeth Inverness is a creator of Speculative Fiction and Romance.   She can usually be found tapping away at her laptop, writing the next novel or procrastinating by posting a SciFi Question of the Day on Facebook and Google Plus. When she’s not writing, she’s kept very busy making aluminum foil hats and raising two energetic kids and many pets with her husband in their New England home.