ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY: Kali McCrackin Goodenough
Some families ranch together, some share a love of cooking, but for Leila Monaghan, owner of Elm Books Publishing, stories are her family’s passion.
“My family does books,” Leila says. “My mom wrote a book, my dad wrote a book, I’ve written books, and so when I was thinking about what I wanted to go into, I thought I would continue this family tradition of books.”
In 2012, Leila started Elm Books Publishing, a new part of her family’s love for books.
“We started with short stories because we wanted to figure out how to do the publishing,” Leila says. “Short stories are less of a commitment for authors than entire novels.”
Leila decided she wanted to get her publisher’s feet beneath her before taking on larger works, but she found that there aren’t many markets for short stories, and so she has continued to focus on short stories, especially mysteries.
“We started with mysteries. Our first book is called Death on a Cold Night,” Leila says. “The common theme for all the stories is winter time, but the genres are very diverse. So after that, I thought we’d do collections that are a little more focused.”
The subsequent collections have continued in the genre of mystery, with the second collection focused on traditional detective stories and the third collection featuring female detectives.
“Each collection sort of developed out of the previous one,” Leila says.
The collections feature authors from all over, but Leila has also published and distributed local authors, including a collection of poetry from Laramie’s Kirk Van Dyke.
Elm Books publishes one to two books a year, and this year is preparing to release two new collections of stories: Death in the Age of Steel, a series of spooky steampunk stories set in the Victorian era, and Death by Cupcake, a series of fun, lighthearted stories. Leila is also hoping to republish her father’s book.
Leila started bringing Elm Books’ collections to the Thursday Local Market last year and has found the market to be a great place to meet people.
“I like talking to people about books,” Leila says. “I like finding out what they read and what I think they might like. The nice thing about seeing people face to face is I can understand how they like to read and what they like to read, and go from there.”
This week stop by the Elm Books table to peruse the collections and the hand-dyed scarves Leila makes. Leila would love to talk books with you and suggest a collection to add to your shelf.