BIO: Author and Speaker Robin Jones Gunn
Just like Christy, Robin was born in Wisconsin and lived on a dairy farm. Her father was a school teacher and moved his family to southern California when Robin was five years old. She grew up in Orange County with one older sister and one younger brother. The three “Jones kids” graduated from Santa Ana High School and spent their summers on the beach with a bunch of wonderful “God-Lover” friends. Robin didn’t meet her “Todd” until after she’d gone to Biola University for two years and then on to Europe for an unforgettable season that included transporting Bibles to underground churches in the former Soviet Union and attending Capernwray Bible School in Austria.
As her passion for teenagers grew, Robin took on more opportunities to assist with the youth group at her church. It was on a bike ride for middle schoolers that Robin met Ross. After they married they spent the next two decades working together in youth ministry. God blessed them with a son and then a daughter. When her children were young, Robin would rise at 3am when the house was quiet, make a pot of tea and write pages and pages about Christy and Todd. She then read those pages to the girls in the youth group and they gave advice on what needed to be changed. It took two years and ten rejections before Summer Promise was accepted for publication. Since its release in 1988, Summer Promise along with the rest of the Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen series have sold over 2.3 million copies and can be found in a dozen translations all over the world.
Robin Jones Gunn
1. What do you enjoy about doing a phone chat with a club? As opposed to doing it live.
What I like about the phone chats with clubs is hearing all the women laughing at the same time. Usually when I do the phone chats the hostess does most of the talking, all nice and polite. Then someone in the group pops off with something and the whole group starts laughing. That’s a beautiful sound – women laughing together. You know that some of them are going through really rough stuff and at least one of them almost didn’t come that night. But there they are, all together, and the fellowship and the laughter is just what all of them need.
I recently had a great time talking with a book club in South Dakota. They had just read “Sisterchicks in Sombreros!” so all the women wore sombreros and the hostess’ husband made Mexican food for them. They were great fun. I’ve included their photos, because they gave us the perfect idea for our special Book Club Package offer in my new online Shop.
The Book Club Package includes six autographed copies of “Sisterchicks in Sombreros!” a phone call from me to the book club and (are you ready for this?) six press-on Sisterchicks tattoos, (yes, they wash off in a few days).
All the details are at http://shop.robingunn.com/ I really hope some of your readers jump in and start their own little fiesta!
2. Please describe a book club experience that really moved you, encouraged you. Why did it touch you?
Several years ago I met with a book club in southern California that had read “Sisterchicks Do the Hula!” The hostess was from Hawai’i but had been in California for many years. After the delicious Hawaiian food and lively discussion our hostess said she wanted to give us a gift. She stood in front of the group and pushed a button on a boom box. A praise song began and she gave us the most beautiful, from-the-heart, original hula I’ve ever seen. We could see the story of the song in her elegant movements. I wasn’t the only one that needed a tissue. One of the women said that this is what we’re called to do as Believers. When we gather, each person brings what they have to give and together we offer it up as a gift of praise to the Lord. I left thinking I’d been to much more than a book club. It was a taste of heaven.
3. What sort of surprises have you experienced with “Live” in person book clubs?
Ha! Surprise is a good way to describe one terrific book club I visited in person in Memphis right after the release of “Sisterchicks on the Loose!” They had two big surprises for me. First, my cousin from Arkansas somehow heard I was going to be there. After arranging the details with the hostess, she drove for hours and then just walked in as if she were one of the regular book club readers. We hadn’t seen each other for years and I was stunned, as the photo shows. That book club got off to a joyful start. Then to keep the surprises going, those ladies invited Elvis to come sing to me! They said they wanted me to always remember the Memphis Sisterchicks and believe me, I always will.
***Robin, now that's a Book Club Event to Remember--The Pictures are Priceless!! Love your expression!! What a Surprise. THANKS for sharing this--What Fun!!****
4. What other experiences have you had with “Live” in person book clubs?
I’ll tell about one of the most unexpected live visits I made to a book club. I was going to get my hair cut at a new place because my favorite stylist had moved to a salon in a small town about 20 minutes from where I live. The salon is located behind a small café so you have to actually walk through the café to get to the salon. I didn’t know that, though. So when I saw the sign I opened the door, saw a group of women around a table and knew that wasn’t the salon. I walked down the block, past the neighboring building, then back the other way, then back to the cafe. I looked up at the sign and then opened the door and went in again. All of them had stopped their discussion and were just watching me go back and forth in front of the window.
As you might guess, they were a book club and yes, they were all sitting there discussing one of my books. (Awkward!)
5. Please explain your book club experience with me. Did they ask you a bunch of questions or let you talk? Or Both. Could you hear ok on the phone?
Usually the group leader asks the first few questions and then one or two others chime in with a comment or question. I’ve done a number of these sorts of call ins and so far I’ve been able to hear okay every time. Next week I’m doing my first web cam chat with a book club via SKYPE. I’m going to have to have to clean my office. Or at least the shelf right behind my desk. This is going to be a good thing in more ways than one!
6. Were book club members passionate about one of your characters and weren't happy about how you treated them?
You know, I met with one group over the phone that was more of a critique group than a book group. They had a lot of ideas for what I should do differently with my next book and where the one they read fell short. That was an oddish phone call-in. That was the only one I had like that. And no one was laughing. I think they took their work of evaluating very seriously.
***You are a GREAT sport!! and right about the critique group NOT being a book club experience. You have been on some wild adventures. Thanks for sharing this one.******
7. Did you learn something about your book that you hadn't expected to learn?
Yes. This happens all the time. Someone will say, “When you wrote suchandsuch I could relate because I know you were trying to say thisandthat and to me it meant . . .” I always know that has to be God’s Spirit at work because I often forget I even wrote suchandsuch and if I do remember what I wrote, I know I wasn’t trying to convey thisandthat. That’s always a fun part of getting fresh feedback. It’s what keeps storytelling alive for the readers and especially for the writers.
THANKS SO MUCH Robin for sharing all the GREAT pictures with us and telling about you interesting and unique book club experiences. I've really enjoyed your books and the many traveling journys you've taken me on.I wanted to repeat the fact that All the details are at http://shop.robingunn.com/
SPECIAL NOTE THE ON-LINE STORE WILL HAVE THIS AVAILABLE OCT. 3rd ****
CHECK OUT ROBINS TRAVELING PICTURES IN AN INTERVIEW I DID WITH HER-CLICK HERE
BLESSINGS TO YOU AND YOUR WRITING ADVENTURES!!
ACFW On-Line Book Club Coordinator
NOTE TO ALL AUTHORS,BOOK CLUB LEADERS AND MEMBERS. This is a NEW feature that I hope to publish weekly. I'd LOVE to hear from you about book club. Leave a comment and I'll contact you. I'd LOVE to talk about your book club experience here on my blog.