As promised, here’s the post about the Atlanta book club event I’ve been mentioning for several months now. In a nutshell: What a fabulous several hours! Thanks so much to the incredible group of women (who call themselves The Happy Bookers) who featured Separation of Faith for their April monthly meeting! I’ve been unbelievably excited about today for a very long time, and I’ll carry the wonderful memories with me forever!
We covered a lot of ground during the three+ hours we were together, so I’m not going to attempt a full summary in this single post. Instead, I’d like to spread the event out over several posts, as I think of additional things that might be of interest to those who regularly follow this blog, as well as to those who might be dropping by for the first time.
This evening, however, I’d like to touch on today’s format (especially for other book club folks who are coming across this post), and also a few of the initial questions that members of the group asked of me.
First of all,
monthly meetings rotate between their houses and include salad lunches where everyone brings something. That simple setup makes starting and sustaining a book club very easy, in case someone reading this post happens to be thinking about getting a new book club going.
This particular book club uses www.LitLovers.com as a base/guide for their discussions, under normal circumstances. And I did study up on those questions, so I would be prepared for anything. But what we learned is that things tend to be a little different when the author is actually there.
For example, the generic questions for fiction (http://www.litlovers.com/run-a-book-club/questions-for-fiction) are designed to get the discussion going among the members about “what the author might have had in mind” with respect to a character, scene, plot thread, etc. But when the author is sitting in the room, the questions on everyone’s minds don’t easily follow a predetermined set of guidelines.
The first thing I was asked about was how and when I got started writing in the first place. Since I’m really old now … and since I’ve been writing all of my life … that explanation took several minutes. And when we finally got to Separation of Faith in particular, there was a great deal of interest in how the idea first came to me, how the characters came into my head, and other questions that dealt with the book’s development and research processes. These are not questions that book club members would find easily answered without the author there, and I had a lot of fun telling the stories behind the scenes.
We did eventually get into specifics of the plot (which I need to be careful about sharing for those of you who have not yet read Separation of Faith :-). I was so excited to be a part of the discussion about the characters and events that I had created and that had become real experiences for those fabulous women as they each made their way through the story. There can hardly be anything more fun for an author than being in a room full of wonderful book club readers who have thoroughly enjoyed the featured book! What other possible reason could there be for doing this job?
As I sift through my memories of today over the next week or so, I will come up with additional elements of the discussion that I can share without giving away the story’s secrets. And I’m hopeful that there will be members of The Happy Bookers who stop by this blog and offer their own comments. The reading experience was theirs, after all, and what they might wish to add to these posts through their comments will be more interesting than anything I have to say anyway!
Attached are a few photos taken at the event, and there will be more posted after I return home to New Jersey (leaving on the train tomorrow [Wed] night–back by Thursday afternoon). And, in closing this post, let me say once again how much fun I had today and what an incredible group of women welcomed me! Book clubs rock! But The Happy Bookers will be hard to top!
Have a great night, everybody!