As a writer, I love book clubs even more, and I’ve had some fabulous visits with groups over the course of three cozy mystery series. Luckily for me, these often involved food. (Fudge pie anyone? Or how about the onerous task of judging molasses cookies?) The latest was a book group in Connecticut that was reading AN APPETITE FOR MURDER. The hostess created a Key West-themed meal, including decorations and Hemingway cocktails. Oh how I wished I’d been there in person, rather than by FaceTime! (You can read that whole story here.)
But this book club photo has to take the cake—these girls are from northern Germany, so far north they are almost to Denmark, and their teacher sent me their questions about the book and I answered by email.
Over to you Reds. Do you belong to a book group or club? What’s your favorite book club story as a writer?
RHYS BOWEN: Unfortunately I don't have time to belong to a book club. I do belong to a hiking group and we find ourselves discussing books we've read as we hike--so I suppose it is an itinerant book club. I have led book club discussions at Book Passage bookstore. I've been a guest a many book clubs, lately more via Skype than in person, and I've
|photo from Wikipedia|
My favorite book club memory? Would have to be the first book club for my first Constable Evans book, when I realized that ten people, sitting around me, had all read my book!
HALLIE EPHRON: I don't belong to a book club, either. I have barely time to read what I have to for my own work.
I love going to book groups, or even Skyping. Better in person because there's always good food. A dear friend had me talk about "Night Night, Sleep Tight" to her book group - and she made food from the '60s when the book's set. Quiche! Pigs in a blanket! Just needed some Sara Lee cheesecake. It was lovely. Thanks, Nathalie!
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I, sigh, belonged to a book club once. It took up a LOT of time, and I didn't really love it...except for one fabulous discussion we had about Bel Canto, which was unforgettable. (And shows you how long ago it was...) I left the book club for two reasons: One, when my turn to pick the book came, I chose Edith Wharton's Custom of the Country, which I adore. NOBODY else liked it, and they proceeded to rip it to shreds.
And when I started writing PRIME TIME, so than I had NO more time.
I adore going to bookclubs, and I love it in person way more than Skype. It is SUCH a treat to be in a place where people have read my books, I so agree! And yes, there is that element of knowing no one is going to criticize--but hey, what's so bad about that? Nice and polite is good, right? Just, as they say, spell my name right.
Oh, sorry, one more thing. I always learn something at book clubs. For instance: One woman talked about how I have different characters leading different scenes. I said yes, it's multiple point of view.
She had NEVER heard that phrase, nor did she understand it. When I explained it, I absolutely saw the light dawn in her eyes.
"You should teach people about that," she said.
But from then on, I realized that people do not see the world in the same way we do. And that is such an important thing for a writer to remember.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: No book club for me, either, although I volunteer at our small local library, and the spontaneous conversations about reading are wonderful (and informative!) I do enjoy speaking to book clubs especially since Skype has made it so easy to do from home. I recently chatted with my mother's book club in upstate New York, and had a great time. (Although talk about not wanting to say anything bad...imagine if you have both the author AND her mother listening!)
Best book club experience was early on, when I went in person to the book club hosted by one of the teachers at Ross's school. Book club was also Fancy Desserts and Wine Club, and we all had a wonderful, caloric time. After the discussion had ended, one of the members said to me, "That was terrific! It's the first time we ever actually talked about the book!"
LUCY: How about you Red readers--do you belong to a book club?