I started this business for the connection. I wanted to find an easier way to connect writers with readers and in the early days, I did it by publishing anyone who would have me via this little-known format called ebooks. This was back in 2008 and ebooks weren’t widely known. Over the years, Central Avenue has had a few transitions and evolved into the traditional press of fiction and poetry that we are now. I’m immensely proud to have worked with well over a hundred authors and published hundreds of books that have sold millions of copies to readers all over the world. Those connections I helped facilitate are something in which I continue to take a lot of pride.
I know in some ways that publishing others’ books helps to change their lives. Some are able to make a living doing what they love, some now have a formal outlet to create, and the dreams of some are realized by seeing their book in a store. But recently Hinnah Mian shared with me how having her book published categorically changed hers in a way I had never dreamed. I’m sharing her story with you because not only is it one of the best stories you might read all year, it happened to one of the sweetest humans and most talented young poets out there. Read on, knowing that when you support up-and-coming authors, neighborhood bookstores, and independent publishers, you too could be helping to change someone’s life…
It is April 30, 2022 in Charleston, WV. I am setting up for a book reading in the very same bookstore I used to write in as a kid. My days were spent filling pages with fantastical love stories and adventures that any young girl would dream up when stuck in a small town. Flash forward nearly a decade and here I am again — only this time, my book is on the very same shelves I used to browse. And I am giving my first book reading for my newest book, Pangaea. This might already seem surreal enough, but it doesn’t stop there. Tonight I’ll be meeting my future husband.
Fate works in funny ways. Taylor Swift would’ve said there was an invisible string tying him to me and every step out of the wrong arms collapsed time and space, bit by bit, to bring us together.
Now, here I am in this bookstore, reading the titular poem of my book, a poem describing my parents’ love story: how they conquered time and space across different countries and eventually got married. Little did I know, I was reading this poem to my future husband. As I was reading, someone was recording me and sent it to him with the words “I just found your future wife.” Knowing him now, he probably rolled his eyes and laughed.
“Love is the way we conquer: boundaries, lands, time, distance,” I read aloud, my words acting as a prophetic call to action.
Fate does, indeed, work in funny ways. If I hadn’t waited for Michelle to return to her Central Avenue booth at BookExpo in 2018, I wouldn’t be here in this bookstore. If I hadn’t taken a leap of faith and submitted my book to Central Avenue three years ago, hoping and praying she’d remember me from that fateful day in 2018, I wouldn’t be here in this bookstore. If I hadn’t boarded my plane just in the nick of time, if your friend hadn’t hit record, if I’d never picked up a pen in this very same bookstore ten years ago and started to write…
All this to say, I never thought I’d meet my future husband at my first book reading for my newly published book. I never thought that invisible string would tug me into that bookstore, into the arms of Central Avenue, and eventually, into the arms of you.
All the stories I wrote, all the poems, eventually led me here — to you.
— Hinnah Mian, author of Pangaea