By the 'Books'

Michael Link, publisher relations and events manager at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, wears about 50 hats for Books by the Banks. Soapbox caught up with him in advance the one-day festival sets up shop in the Duke Energy Center this Saturday, Oct. 20, to get ask the hard questions.

Q: Describe BBTB in one sentence.
A: The best young literature festival in the US.  By “young” I mean the festival.  BBTB turns 6 this year.
Q: What will surprise readers about BBTB?
A: The breadth of authors & books. There are everything from local to nationally televised authors and first time novelists to #1 NYT Bestsellers.
Q: What has been the biggest surprise for you at BBTB?
A: For me personally, it was last year’s interview panel with Augusten Burroughs. I thought that I would be introducing his talk. He wanted to a full Q&A, so I ended up interviewing him for the better part of an hour. Luckily I had read his stuff and had 10+ years of bookselling under my belt.
Q: Name two BBTB authors we haven't read, but should. Then tell us why.
A: This year, I would say that the first sleepers are Sherry and John Petersik, whose blog “Young House Love” gets a bazillion hits per month; they have a great design on a dime book of the same name out (BBTB is allowed to sell it early).  The other one is children’s author Mac Barnett. If you haven’t read "Extra Yarn," you are really missing out.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at BBTB this year?
A: The unknown…and no this isn’t a dodge. I always walk away from the festival having discovered a new author that I love. Also the Kid’s Corner. They do an AMAZING job with costume characters, music, authors, crafts, etc. It could be its own festival.
Q: Will there be food?
A: Yes! Aside from the vendors at the Duke Energy Center, Anne Byrn (The Cake Mix Doctor) and Todd Kelly will both have samples at their cooking demos. I am still waiting for the year that we get to sample items from the bourbon books.
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