When my book was accepted for publication by Salt, one of my first thoughts, when I had stopped jumping up and down and weeping, was that I wanted Eco-Libris, a company founded by Israelis that I had written about when I was a journalist, to "balance out" the paper that would be used to print my short story collection by planting a tree for every book. I got in touch, we all got excited, and you will notice that on the back of The White Road and Other Stories is the beautiful Eco-Libris logo. I pay them a small amount per book and they use the money to plant trees, together with their planting partners in Central America and Africa. I like their ethos, it speaks to me:
"We believe in providing people with easy and affordable ways to take responsibility for their actions and go green. We don’t believe in preaching doom and gloom. It’s not our style. We do believe in taking action and in the power of small changes to make a big impact."
To this end, they aim to balance out (Eco-Libris doesn't like the term "offset") half a million books by the end of 2009. As well as collaborating with authors and publishers, any reader can go to the website and pay Eco-Libris to balance out their own books. Well, I was happy enough to be collaborating with Eco-Libris, but I didn't know how much effort they would also put in to publicise my book, which they have written about on all sorts of green websites, for which I am very grateful! And now, I am appearing on the Eco-Libris blog as part of my 11-stop Virtual Book Tour. We're talking about green issues, as well as other topics like living in Israel. A taster:
Q: One eco-friendly option for book lovers is going to the public library. Do you do that? if so, how often?
A: I loved libraries as a child in London, my weekly trip with my Dad, the hushed atmosphere, the miles of free books, so much to read, a seemingly endless supply. Here in Jerusalem, things are a little different. I don't read for pleasure in Hebrew.
We used to live a few doors from the British Council and they had a great English-language library, but budget cuts forced them to close, and I haven't found a replacement. But when we spent a year in the UK for me to do my MA in Creative Writing, we lived in Bristol and I spent a lot of time in all the city's libraries, and even set a story there. I wish there was somewhere here I could go to. But I must confess that I like to buy books and I like to own the books I love. It's a constant struggle.
Read the rest of the blog interview here and if you leave a comment you can win a free book! Authors - think about doing this yourselves. It doesn't cost a fortune, and, as someone recently said on their blog, if your book becomes a bestseller and it does end up costing more, then you'll be so rich and famous it won't matter! My book is only a teeny drop in that "half a million books" ocean, but every little helps.