Which do you prefer? Live, on the phone, or the on-line author chat? Why?

Having done both, I prefer meeting with groups in person, but I would gladly take meeting with a group over the phone over not meeting with a group at all! :) Conversation is a lot easier, for me anyway, when I'm face to face with people. Plus, my experience has been that one person tends to become the spokesperson for the group when doing a phone chat, and it turns it into more of an interview and less of a conversations.

Please describe a book club experience that really moved you, encouraged you. Why did it touch you?

The very first group I ever met with was also the first book club I'd ever met or attended. They were incredibly welcoming and just a fun group of women in general. It was the first time I'd ever gotten that much feedback from strangers on my book, and it was a huge relief to discover they all liked it. :) I eventually ended up joining that group and was with them for three years. Now that we've moved, I really miss them and hope I'll be able to find a new group in our new hometown.

What surprised you most about doing a live book club event?

Well, I'm not good at telling people to their face that I don't like something they've written. So if I were to ever attend a book club where the author was present, I would most likely not comment at all on the book before ever telling them the things I really didn't like. I'm always afraid of hurting people's feelings. That being said, I was really surprised when someone told me once in a book club meeting that they really didn't like my main character! She assured me she did eventually, but it took a couple chapters. I was really thankful for her honesty, and really fascinated to hear her reasons (all valid!).

What surprised you about doing a phone chat with a club?

I was surprised at how difficult it was to keep a smoothly-flowing conversation going. It quickly turned into question-answer-question-answer and lost the conversational feel. I think the next time I do a long-distance book club I'm going to try to do it over Skype or something similar so we can all see each other. I think that face-to-face element adds a really necessary component to the exchange.

What surprised you most about doing the on-line book club chat?

I've never done an online one, though I think I would enjoy it. I think a lot faster on my feet when I'm typing than when I'm talking. I have chronic dysnomia (tip of the tongue syndrome) and if I'm nervous I find it really hard to talk without constantly having to stop and search for words. It gets really frustrating! But the neural pathways from my brain to my fingers get a lot less tangled. :)

What do you like most about the book club experience?

As a reader, I love hearing what other people think of the books I've read. I will admit that I have a tendency to take books at face value; I don't think very deeply about what I read. (I'm trying to improve with that, though!) The book club I was in had a lot of very smart women, and the themes and symbolism they uncovered in books always astounded me. I spent a lot more time listening than talking in that group, and learned a lot about reading.

As an author, I love the feedback and the ability to hear how what I've written is being interpreted. And it's always rewarding to know that something I've poured so much of myself into has resonated with people and given them an enjoyable experience.

Did you get an unexpected reaction to a book your read? Didn't expect your audience to find something on one of your books or react they way they did?

Well, hearing that someone didn't like my main character was pretty unexpected! But other than that I haven't heard anything too surprising. I think my next two books (releasing in April and September of 2010) will spark a lot of good discussion, though, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover readers are finding layers and themes in them that I didn't anticipate.

Thanks Alison for stopping by and sharing your book club experience. I hope that my book club is the first to talk to you using the Skype. Of course in-person would be best but we'll settine for almost live!! Ha! Ha!

I'm excited about your new books coming out next year. Love the cover of your NEW BOOK-- THE WEIGHT OF SHADOWS--LOOKS FASCINATING!!

All the best to you Alison. We'll catch up with you again soon!! Blessings on your writing adventures.


Nora :D
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

1 comment:

  1. THanks so much for "having me over" Nora! And if I may do a little shameless promotion--for those of you in book clubs, I'm going to be running a pretty fun book club contest for the release of "The Weight of Shadows." BUT--you can only get in on the fun if you subscribe to my newsletter. So hop over to my website or blog (, and sign up! (There's a great contest for individuals, too, so even if you're not a book club member, sign up anyway!)

    Looking forward to chatting with your group, Nora!