Author creates 'shopfiction', a new type of reading experience to keep readers engaged

Author creates 'shopfiction', a new type of reading experience to keep readers engaged
Updated: Sep. 5, 2018 at 3:34 PM EDT
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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Ten years and ten drafts later, Riley Costello is finally a published author who not only created a book, but also a whole new experience for readers.

"With this book I coined and branded a new reading experience: it's called shopfiction. It's the first book where you can shop all the characters clothes and home decor as you're reading," Costello said.

A lifelong reader of Nicholas Sparks novels, Costello set out to find inspiration for a love story of her own while at college in California.

"When I was in college, I was really discouraged with the college dating scene and I actually took a year off to move to the most romantic place I could think of which was Nicholas Sparks south, so then I just started writing a love story of my own."

Costello combined her love for writing, romance, and fashion to create her new book Waiting at Hayden's, which hit stores in July.

"My generation, in particular, is super visual with Instagram and all social media so I don't want my generation to stop reading but they are, so I wanted this to be a way to pull them back into reading stories again because I can't imagine a world without books and I just want everyone to keep reading them."

Costello also worked to create digital versions of scenes in the books, so readers can watch the most important parts come to life.

Whether reading hard copy or digital, the shopfiction experience makes it so readers can shop their favorite character's looks.

"Within the print version of the book there are actually web addresses to type into your phone or into your computer to have the exact same experience so if you know I'm an old-fashioned, I like my hardcover, so you can read it that way. And then the digital version has all the links to make it easy so if you're a Kindle reader or you read on your iPad that's also an interactive way to do it."

Collaboration has been a large part of the process for Costello, who worked with young designers to create outfits for the characters in the novel.

"I actually collaborated with a lot of young females who have clothing brands and they sent pieces from their collections for my readers to shop. I learned a lot through this process I have a fashion blog so that transition was sort of natural to me," she said.

She is now working on a platform for authors to add shopfiction into their novels.

The book itself is a love story that taps into the difficulties of modern day dating.

"It's a story about the complicated nature of timing in modern-day relationships so it's about a boy and a girl who meet and fall in love too early in life before they're ready to settle down and then a woman who is ready to settle down but hasn't met the love of her life yet," she said.

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