“I always wanted to have a bookstore and I have been picturing this as long as I can remember. The previous owner was ready to sell and that bumped my schedule up from retirement to now. I have been open for three weeks and still trying to get books out. It is called the Haunted Book Shop because my grandmother started the Haunted Book Shop in Mobile in 1941 with Cameron Plumber. It was around the corner on Conception Street and was opened until the early nineties.
They named the store after their favorite book ‘The Haunted Book Shop’ by Christopher Morley. There was a sign in the story that said, ‘haunted by all of the ghosts of great literature.’ That is my slogan now. My grandmother was not married and had just finished college when they opened the store. That was was a bold step for a woman back then and borrowed money from her grandmother to open it. I think $500. It became a famous bookstore in the Southeast when many authors still did book tours. My grandmother sold her share after she got married. I want to live up to my grandmother’s legacy. Her name was Adelaide. My name is Angela Adelaide.
I didn’t grow up in Mobile, but every summer we came here on vacation to stay with my grandparents in their house on Dauphin street. I have loved books my whole life. They allow me to escape and explore other lives and people. They are like a security blanket and it would drive me nuts not to be surrounded by walls of them. I have a museum background and this will also be a bit of a museum of books to promote the love or reading itself.
Opening the store has happened so fast that it has had a hard time sinking in. I have a notebook full of daydreams and ideas but I had to do all of the unglamorous parts of starting a business first. I am trying to organize more into sub-genres to make it less overwhelming and gives people a chance to discover new authors.
I also have a ‘Writer-in-Residence’ program. I am a writer and we have a huge talent of writers in our region. Some are published, but many aren’t, and I want to nurture them. The last two or three years, the office for my writing has been in a co-share office space. I want to have an office like that for writers and the room upstairs is perfect for it. We will also have classes to help writers develop their craft.
Every month, the storefront window will change out with productions by local theaters if it is a play from a book or literature. They can dress the window like the set. It will be a showplace window like the department stores used to have. I want it to become a conversation piece and help drive tickets sales for the play.
I am a romance writer and my pen name is Angela Quarles. I have written 12 or 13 books and nine are published. I am waiting on the edits back on the tenth. Writing is a fun form of creative expression, but It is challenging. I always wanted to write but I thought you had to be born a writer. I would have an idea and think, ‘Too bad I am not a writer.’ I started writing after my grandmother died. The first book was a historical murder mystery set in The Haunted Book Shop and was based on some of the stories my grandmother told me. I never published it and the story is still under my bed
I love Mobile and the people here love books. This city is on its way up and The Haunted Book Shop is in a great location to be a part of it. We are close to hotels and tourists come in. I want this to become a community for people who love books and writing. I am so thankful to get to live this dream.”