What lead up to you starting a book club? Had you ever been apart of a book club before? What's your club name?

--The first book club I started was when I was the manager of the church bookstore. I had never participated in a book club before, but knew there was interest among the members who shopped in the store. We just called it the Book Club.

--After we changed churches several years later, the new church started Fusion group, groups with a similar interest to help people get to know other people. It was a rather large church. We called it the Fusion Book Club.

How did you handle conflict at your group? Do you remember a time where you had to be a referee over a heated discussion? If, so how did you handle that?

--I can honestly say we never had conflict in our book clubs.

Hi, Lena, I’m interested in being apart of your book club, could you please describe for me what I can expect? What does your typical meeting look like? (I know you told me that you don’t run one now but what did the club look like at church)

--We chose a book and gave the people a month to read the book. Then we met for a fellowship meal and to discuss the book. Actually, after sharing the meal, we were all in a good mood to discuss the books. We would discuss for about an hour, then choose the book for the next meeting. Different members brought possible books for us to choose from. The majority vote ruled.

Please describe to me how the book selection process worked for your club? Did you vote with a secret ballet? Or some other method? Do tell. This will be helpful to book club leaders just starting out!

--We did express our favorite genres, so we tried to rotate between the likes of the various members, but we just voted out loud.

Did your book club socialize outside of your regular meetings? If so, what did you do?
--Since we were members of the same church, we did see each other at various functions.

Did you ever have special book club events? If so, please explain.

--We did not have special events, but now having the author call the book club and answer questions is becoming quite popular. Actually, if a book club were to choose my new book for their selection, I would be glad to call at a specific time and answer their questions. There's more information on that on the Contact Me page on my blog:

Did you have special guidelines you had to follow since you met at the church? Any books you had to stay away from reading?

--While associated with the church, we always chose Christian titles. With the first book club, we alternated between fiction and nonfiction, but with the Fusion Book Club, we read only fiction.

What do you remember reading at a book club that really touched everyone’s heart and created good discussion?

--Our first fiction selection was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. A person would have to be completely hardened if that book didn't move them.

What is the most creative thing you all have ever done for book club? What was something that was way over the top for you and everyone loved? Special event, field trip, retreat?

--No, we just did the meal and discussion. Of course, one time I had new medication, and they didn't warn me that some people might not be able to take it. I was one of them. I passed out and they had to call 9-1-1. That was over the top.

How do you get the word out about your book club? How did you get this book club started? This will be helpful for new book clubs or people wanting to take the plunge into leading book clubs.

With the first one, I put up flyers around the church and announcements in the bulletin. With the Fusion Group, the church announced it in the Kiosks and on the website.

Have you ever had an author speak at your book club, in person, or on the phone? If so, who? How did the meeting go? Any surprises you learned about the author and/or the book you didn’t know about before the chat?

--We didn't, but that seems to be the going thing now.

I’m not sure if you were a published author at the time Lena; but did you ever read one of your books and discuss it? If so, how was that experience? Were you surprised at the discussion? Learn anything new about the book you wrote?

--I was a published author, but we never chose one of my books. I'd love to have a book club do that.


What are your three favorite books of all time?

--Redeeming Love (mentioned above). My favorites change often. There are some really good new authors who are writing awesome books. And I love the new Love Finds You series by Summerside Press.

Please name three of your favorite books your read growing up?

--I loved Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I read every one of those I could get my hands on. And I read Gone With the Wind as a young teenager and loved it.

A friend of yours has given you an opportunity to take a trip in a time machine—What two events in the history of the world would you like to experience?

--Jesus birth in Bethlehem. I'm sure we have it all wrong in our nativity scenes.

And I'd have liked to be on the Titanic, but I would to be in one of the lifeboats.

You have the chance to hang out with any two people (alive or dead) in the history of the world (besides Jesus) who would you pick and what would you do?

--Queen Esther and Joan of Arc, two women I admire for different reasons. I'd just like to be in the background and watch what was going on.


--I believe that leading a Book Club is such a service. So many people love to read and they don't know what all is out there. If you're going to start a book club, first do your homework about what's available in the Christian market. Too many Christians don't know that Christian fiction is the fastest growing segment of publishing today--across the board, not just in Christian circles.

Lena Nelson Dooley - President DFW Ready Writers - Characters Who Grip Your Heart - Author interviews/Free books - Regular Blogger -

Thanks Lena for doing this interview and giving us your insight into book clubs. You all can check Lena's books out at your local book store. Thanks for letting us get to know you better.


Nora :D



By Lena Nelson Dooley
Published by: Summerside Press
349 Pages

Back Cover: All that glitters is not gold. It’s 1890, and Golden, New Mexico, is a booming mining town where men far outnumber women. So when an old wealthy miner named Philip Smith finds himself in need of a nursemaid, he places an ad for a mail-order bride—despite the protests of his friend Jeremiah. Hoping to escape a perilous situation back East, young Madeleine Mercer answers the ad and arrives in town under a cloud of suspicion. But just as she begins to win over Philip—and Jeremiah himself—the secrets she left behind threaten to follow her to Golden...and tarnish her character beyond redemption

Review: I signed up for a review copy of this book for two reasons, one, because I’d never read anything by Lena Nelson Dooley before and the second, because I’d also never read a Love Finds You… book. I was quickly drawn into this sweet inspirational historical fiction story. I was fascinated by this time period in Boston and felt for Madeline, her fight and the mystery to be solved about her father’s death. Maddy learns from her father’s former business partner, Horace Johnstone that they are to wed within the week, just like her dad wanted. There was no way she was going to marry Horace, her father had never mentioned those wishes to her. Horace was a mean spirited man she wanted no part of.

With her fathers business coming to a holt, Frank Sneed, one of only two servants she could keep, discovers a hopeful possibility - a mail order bride ad in the Boston newspaper. The advertiser was a miner in Golden, New Mexico. Maddy feels lead to answer the ad.

Lena has likeable characters that drew me in and had me rooting for Maddy to escape the clutches of the evil Horace Johnstone. I liked Madeline; she’s a strong woman on a mission. She could hold her ground and didn’t need to marry a man to survive. She would work hard and do what she could to do. She’d make her own way and do what God called her to do, but she knew she couldn’t stay in Boston.

Philip is a Christian man and the only reason she responded to the ad. He’s requested a mail order bride to live with him in Golden, New Mexico. Philip is convinced that Madeline is the one, Madeline isn’t sure she is to be his bride, but she feared for her life.

Jeremiah, is Philips’ closest friend, he couldn’t see why a beautiful young lady would want to marry an old man like his friend. It had to be for his money, right? Philip trusted too much, he had to protect him from himself. Philip kept telling Jeremiah that the Lord would work it out. Madeline was the one. He would keep a close watch on this Madeline, which was easier said than done. Ever since Jeremiah met Maddy, it was hard to be around her. He got the weirdest, strongest, feelings in her presence. It about undid him and his conviction.

I enjoyed this romance story with it's mystery, intrigue and romance. It's a great summer read.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network


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