BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

NORA INTERVIEWS DONNA MOORE - BOOK CLUB LEADER

BIO: Donna Moore lives in the small town of Joshua, Texas where she drinks entirely too many diet cokes and inhales large quantities of dark chocolate. She loves old musicals and Christian romances. She is a wife and the mother of three children who she says makes her laugh more than she ever should. She left teaching to stay home after having her third child. This has given her the opportunity to write and study the craft of writing fiction hopefully leading to her being published someday. She is an avid reader and blogger. Her blog Write by Faith host author interviews and book reviews along with other things that strike her fancy. She is a Deacon at St. Matthew Cumberland Presbyterian Church where she is actively involved in the women’s ministry and adult discipleship.

So, Donna I've decided to check out your book club for this month, can you describe to me what I can expect typically at your meeting? Does your book club have a name?


Faith Meets Fiction is the name of the book club. We are a group of women who share a love of reading novels that reflect our Christian views. Doesn’t that sound like a great beginning of a purpose statement?

Every month we read one book and meet on the fourth Thursday at 6:00 pm. We always, always, always have chocolate. I think the ladies would have my head if it didn’t appear on the table.

At the beginning of every meeting we start with prayer and of course when you have women together in one room we all have to share stories about what’s happened in our lives over the past month. Every month, I also share books that I have reviewed on my blog. These are generally pretty short book talks just to introduce other books that we might not have a chance to read. Then we dive in and discuss the book. I have a list of discussion questions to get the ball rolling but usually after a question or two the discussion takes on a life of its own.

Can you tell me some books that you have read at book club that your members just raved about? What made them love the book so much? This might help other clubs in the book selection process.

We tend to really like the romance novels and lean more toward contemporary but we are flipping between historical and contemporary. I just can’t get them to jump into a fantasy or science fiction novel. It’s important to know what the people in your group like to read, but it is just as important to try new things.





· The Guy I’m not Dating; Too Good to be True; and Beach Dreams by Trish Perry’s. We loved this series and it’s probably one of our favorites.








· Kissing Adrien by Siri Mitchell’s. This discussion centered on the differences of Christianity in other cultures. We also enjoyed The Cubicle Next Door. Siri Mitchell writes wonderful romance with lots of humor.








· A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman’s. This was one of the first historical novels we read.








· Elvis Takes a Backseat by Leanna Ellis I have to day since many of the ladies are Elvis fans this was a particular hit.









· Faking Grace and Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh Okay, when we read Splitting Harriet we had to have jelly bellies instead of chocolate. One of the things we identified with Tamara Leighs writing is that she looks into the world of contemporary Christians. She looks at life inside todays churches work and what it is like to be a Christian in todays world.







· Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy. We love her humor first and foremost but she also does a great job and demonstrating the differences between men and women and pokes fun at those differences.







· The Shack by William Young. By far the liveliest discussion and we opened this one up to men.


3. Have you ever had an author speak at your book club, in person or on the telephone? I so who. How did the meeting go? Any surprises your learned about the author?










Britta Coleman the author of Potter Springs came to our book club last September. She is an incredibly sweet woman. I had met her at a writing conference the year before and purchased her book. I hate to admit it but I didn’t read it until much later.

She attended the meeting and discussed how she came up with the idea for the book while laying in her bathtub trying to relax while her kids called for her under the door. If you haven’t read Potter Springs it is about a wife of a pastor who runs away to Mexico. Britta Coleman is truly one of the sweetest authors I have met.




Another author who has come to visit with us is Leanna Ellis. She was the keynote speaker at the mother daughter tea last April and she will attend the book club this April while we discuss Lookin’ Back Texas.

We’re not able to do phone conferences but we do have local authors come and speak. So if there are any authors in the Fort Worth, Texas area and would want us to discuss their book I would love for them to contact me.

You have said that your club picks books two months out. Please describe to me how the book selections process works for your club? Do you vote with a secret ballot?This will be helpful to book club leaders just starting out.


Generally, I bring in a large tote of about ten books that I have read and enjoyed. From the books I bring, I do a quick book talk on each book describing the genre, a short description of the book and anything else important that pertains to each book. From these pre-selected books, the group picks. We are so laid back that we only do a verbal vote.

We’re always two books out due to when the church newsletter is printed and other marketing material. I also learned from experience to always preview the selections. If you don’t pre-read the book you could be in for a disappointment. It is not worth spending a month on a poorly written book.

Since you meet at a church and you have a couple of different churches represented in your book club are their strict guidelines you have to meet for book club selections? Are there some books that just haven't worked for your book club? Why?




Faith Meets Fiction is a group of ladies from at least four different churches. I think one of the things I love most about our group is the diversity. Our group is all women but we vary in age from late twenties to late fifties. It’s so wonderful to see group of women from many different walks in life able to sit together and discuss not only the novel but also to look at how we are living the Christian walk. We’re a very respectful group and we understand as a whole, no matter if we are Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterians, Catholics or Disciples of Christ we all are part of the body of the Church. Yes, at times we disagree but it is always done with respect.

As to have there been some books that just haven’t worked for our book club. The answer would be there have been books that we didn’t embrace. It normally had to do with it not being a genre we liked or perhaps the characters where just not very relatable.

What has your book club read recently? Was the discussion lively? What types of books just don’t work for you book club members? Please explain.

We recently read Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh. This novel led to some very funny discussion fish on cars I’ll report to all I don’t have a fish sticker on the back on my car. I’m not the nicest driver on the road so I wouldn’t be a good witness while behind the wheel. The discussion surrounded the “Jesus junk” as Tamara Leigh describes it and how we get hung up in all of that. It was a great discussion.
As for books that just don’t work for us, I have to say science fiction and fantasy. I know there’re some great novels out there that fall in these genres. Another type of book that just doesn’t fit is ones where the main characters are too young or immature. It is harder for the older women in our group to relate to these characters.

I noticed that you have a blog. What made you start blogging? I love the layout of your blog, what made you go with that style? How do you decide which books to talk about on your blog?

Thanks you! Write by Faith is so much fun. I started blogging December 12, 2007. It originally was going to be a journal about my writing and my journey along that path with other little nuggets about being a mom of three. However, it took another turn. I love to share new authors with others and have been doing so for a few years. With the blog, I had a bigger opportunity to share with others. I also found I could have short interviews with authors and ask them questions I wanted to know the answers to. And of course I love that authors are willing to allow me to give a copy of one of their books.


I am very picky about what I review on my blog. I’ll only post books that I like or are interested in. Some of the books I get are from publishing houses and authors. Others are books that I picked up at the store and loved. I know that many bloggers will write a review about a book they don’t like but I don’t. If I can’t find something good about the book; I simply won’t publish a review about the book. Snarky is just not my style, besides I know how dear that novel is to the author.

As for the interviews I am part of AFCW and about every three to four months I’ll let the loop know I have openings. It always amazes me that these authors want to be on my blog. The slots always fill pretty quickly.

For readers that are interested in starting a book club at their church, how did you reach out to the members that you have? Did you put announcements in the bulletins etc.? How did you reach out to the other members that are from other churches?

Restrooms. Yes, that’s the place to put up announcements. Face it, you have a captive audience. By the way, did you know there are 20 women’s stalls in my church? I have been in every one of them to hang a flyer up. Now, I only use a few stalls and hang a flyer on a bulletin board in each restroom. I also put a notice in the newsletter each month.

We reached other churches through an accounting firm. I know an unlikely place right. All it took was an invitation and sharing a copy of a novel for it to spread to others. Now all the books we have read sit on a bookshelf in the waiting room. If someone asks about the books, they are invited to attend that month even if they haven’t read the book. Crazy the places God uses isn’t it?

I know that you are a member of the ACFW on-line book club, how did you become aware of the club? and how long have you been a member? What do you like best about that type of book club?



I have been a member of the on-line book club for about a year. After I joined ACFW, I saw the link for the book club on the home page and became a member. I love the online format. I love that I can lurk or participate as much as I want in the discussion. Not to mention the people I have met through the book club. With every book discussed the author of that particular novel chimes in and the on-line chats are really fun to participate in. The online format allows you to be as involved as you want.

I noticed on your blog that you enjoy quilting, how did you start doing that? What quilt is most special to you and why?

I started quilting baby quilts for friends. I would do simple rag quilts made of different flannels. Eventually I tried my hand at making other baby quilts. My favorite quilt is a fireman quilt I made for my cousin Dave who is an actual fire fighter and was having a son. It was so much fun to make. My neighbor Kim is a great quilter and taught me all I know. I plan on making a lap quilt for my husband for his birthday and one for each of my kids by their next birthdays.

QUESTIONS I KNOW YOU WANTED TO ASK DONNA BUT WERE AFRAID TO SO I DID! :D
1. What movie most impacted you as a child? Why?


Oh, I have to give two. First one is Meet Me in Saint Louis because I loved musicals as a child and this is one of my favorites. I can remember sitting with my mom and sister watching this show when it would come on. I loved the songs and the family dynamics. I can’t tell you how often my sister and I would sing the songs out loud.


I would also have to say E.T. It is one of the only movies I really remember as a kid going to see at the theatre and I love the romantic idea that love could be so powerful.

2. If you had 48 hours to hang out with anyone dead or alive in the history of the world; what 2 people would you pick and why? What would you do?


I lost sleep over this question. I think Jesus would be a given so I assumed you wanted me to come up with two others. My first pick would be Eleanor Roosevelt because she was such a dynamic figure. She was an incredible force for the rights of women. I think it would be fun to go to Washington D.C. and tour with her. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see what she would think of our world today?



My second choice is Jane Austen. I love her novels and I would have tea with her and pepper her with questions about writing. Then we would go and browse the bookstores looking at all the Jane Austen fan fiction out there. I wonder what she would say to all of the continuations to the Darcy’s.

3. What TV shows were you passionate about when you were a kid? You know the ones you couldn't miss each week?











Growing Pains with Kirk Cameron was never missed unless under duress. He used to hold a place of honor on my wall in my bedroom. I thought he was the cutest guy on earth. I know many of my friends had him plastered all over their walls too.

4. Someone has just created an invention that would allow you to change one thing about yourself! First of all would you use the machine? Second what would you change and what would that look like in your life?



Well, if it would make me a better person I guess I would use it. Now what I would change about me, I would change my procrastinating tendency. I would never wait until the last minute to run out the door for an appointment. I would actually spend more time completing task rather than avoiding them although I am not sure that this would work on laundry. That might always be avoided.

5. Say you were chosen to be a guest speaker on a TV Talk show, which show would you most want to be on and why?



I don’t watch a lot of T.V talk shows with small kids in the house we are always watching some form of animated show. So I guess I would want to be on Oprah and share with her some great Christian fiction and authors she has never tried reading before.

6. What three things are you most thankful for in your life?


I am most thankful for a forgiving Father who provided salvation for someone like me.







Second, for a wonderful loving husband who supports my endeavors and always stands by me.






And finally, my children who make me laugh more than I should and bring me joy that you can only find in being a mother.



7. If you had all the time in the world and just as much money; to do anything you wanted, what would you do? Why?



I would travel to all the places I have dreamed of going to with my family. I really don’t like to fly but I love to travel to other places and see how people live. I would love to go and just travel the world at leisure.

8. If you could go back in history (yours or the world) and witness or re-live an event what would that be and why?



I would love to go back in time and see Jesus speak to the masses. I would love to witness some of the miracles that He did during his life on Earth. Can you just imagine standing in a crowd and seeing Jesus speaking and knowing in your heart that He is the Messiah.

9. What were some of your favorite books read as a kid?



Oh I have several Anne of Green Gables and Little Women were two of my favorite books as a child. I still have my copy of these books. I remember we had a tree in our back yard that had a large branch I would sit on and read. I would shove a book into a bag and the scurry up the tree like a monkey. Another book I loved is a book of poetry called Where the Sidewalk Ends. I remember the book was always in high demand at the library. I bought my own copy of this book when I started teaching. It is one of my favorite things to read with my own children.

10. What was the last movie you saw that the threatre? Did you like it? Did you have snacks? If yes, what?



I only seem to get to go to the movie to see kid’s movies with my children. The last movie we High School Musical III. I can’t say that I loved it but my daughter loved it. We did have snacks while we were at the movies. It would be unheard of not to. We shared a diet coke and skittles. Doesn’t the diet coke cancel the sugar in the candy?

ANY FINAL COMMENTS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEAVE OUR READERS WITH - ANY ENCOURAGEMENT FOR FUTURE BOOK CLUB LEADERS?

Have fun with the book club and don’t get too hung up in the rules. Let the group evolved and grow as it needs to.

Donna Moore
Book reviews, interviews and a bundle of book giveaways
Write By Faith

Thanks so much Donna for letting us get to know you and your book club better. I look forward meeting you, remember if you are ever in Atlanta, we'll have to get together.

Blessings on your writing journey.

Sincerely,
Nora :D

7 comments:

  1. Nora,
    Thanks you for having me on. I had fun!

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  2. From another Where the Sidewalk Ends fan, Donna, thanks for sharing! Thank you for taking time in your busy schedule to "mentor" women with Christian books! Or if it's like the book clubs I'm involved with, they mentor you!

    Blessings to both of you,
    Patti

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  3. Donna and Nora, I really enjoyed this interview, getting to know Donna other than through occasional e-mails -- very fun!! Nobody does interviews like Nora, eh, Donna?

    And Meet Me in St. Louis is one of my favorite films too ... of course that could be because I'm from St. Louis, but I think mostly it's because of the family setting of the film and the great music and several powerful scenes.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  4. Loved the interview. It's very nice seeing how other book clubs work! Thanks Nora for another great interview.

    Gail Mundy

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  5. Great interview. I wish I was in her book club. *smiles* This might get me motivated to start a book club in our church.

    I wish I could have been there when they discussed "The Shack." I haven't read it yet, but the pastor really encourages it. I will have to see what I think.

    Gayla

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  6. Wonderful interview! I especially enjoy the wisdom of hanging notices in the bathroom. There's one I never would have thought of! And "Where the Sidewalk Ends" is definitely required reading. Great job to both of you!

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  7. I, too, am interested in getting a Christian book club going. Preferably novels, but could be Christan living, also.

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