BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

SARAH SUDIN TALKS ABOUT THE BOOK CLUB EXPERIENCE


I’m so excited to give you a peek at an interview I’ve done with author, Sarah Sundin. She’s been a book club member for several years and has recently become a published author. Sarah Sundin is the author of A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us, both are historical Christian fiction books that depict war time scenarios focusing on a large family with many son’s and their experiences in World War II. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband, three children, a cat and a yellow lab. She works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s bible studies at her church.

I wanted to interview someone who’d been a book club member for years. I wanted to find out how her book club experience changed when she became an author. I wanted her to share with my readers how the book club experience was for her now that she was the author actually speaking to book clubs about her books. It was interesting to hear how she felt when she was asked to speek to her own book club members about her book.


1. As a book club member for several years what has surprised you about the book club experience?

I’ve been surprised at what a vibrant part of my life the book club has become. Not only have I been introduced to some amazing books and authors, but the friendships formed have become an important part of my life.

2. What do you look forward to every month at book club?

I look forward to meeting with dear friends and the great discussions we have—and all the laughter.

3. What is your favorite part of the book club experience?

At first it was the “excuse” to take time to read for fun and the opportunity to talk about a book written by someone other than Dr. Seuss. Over time my favorite part has become the deep friendships we’ve developed.

4. Now that you are a published author, how has the book club experience helped you speak to book clubs? What does the book club experience look like from an Author’s point of view?

Having belonged to a book club for years, I’ve seen what types of questions get conversation flowing and what story elements raise the most questions in the reader. This helped me write discussion questions for my books and prepared me for meeting with book clubs. The book club experience is a bit different from the author’s point of view—imagine ten people you’ve never met sitting around and talking about your work. Both exciting and scary.

5. What has surprised you about the book club experience from an author’s POV?

For years my characters have lived in my head. They’re very real to me. It’s surreal when readers say the characters are real to them too. But then to hear from a book club, where a group of people talk about the characters as they’d talk about dear friends—well, that’s very cool.

6. Has your own book club read and discussed your book? Were you present? What was that like for you? Hard or great because you were with good friends?

They did read it and discuss it. I was thankful I had another commitment that day. Part of the fun of book club is the open discussion, and my presence might have hindered that openness. Another book club with lots of friends also read it and invited me to come. They discussed my book for an hour, then I arrived, enjoyed dessert with them, and answered questions. That was a great compromise.

7. How has being a part of TBCN helped you as a author? Any aspect of the book club experience talked about from other book clubs helped you in creating discussion questions or helped you when you talked to other clubs?

The Book Club Network has already helped me connect with book clubs. I haven’t been able to meet in person or on-line with any of them, but I’ve been able to send signed bookmarks for a few groups, which was fun. TBCN has also shown me the wide variety of clubs, which has helped me craft discussion questions. For example, my group meets in members’ homes, and we have deep, personal discussions, so I wrote lots of deep, personal questions. However, many groups meet in public places or on-line, where those questions aren’t appropriate, so now I make sure to include a mix of personal and general questions.

8. How has being a part of TBCN helped your book club experience? Learn anything you wanted to try with your group? Tell your book club leader about TBCN and how it can be a tool for your group?

I haven’t made any suggestions for changes for our group—I love it the way it is. I did tell my book club leader about TBCN and encouraged her to join.

9. Have you asked book club members questions about your book when you spoke to them? Like how did that scene feel for you? Did you get this message from the book etc? Ask a book club questions and you were surprised by their answers?

Not really, but I’m always shocked and thrilled when they see symbolism or motivation—they got it!

10. Anything you'd like to say about TBCN? Can you see this as a great tool for book club leaders? Authors? Of so, why?

The Book Club Network is a great tool for book club leaders to find ideas to start groups, improve their groups, and to learn about new books. The network also gives them access to authors who love book clubs and would enjoy being involved. For authors, it’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with avid readers. And when a group selects your book, that’s a small group of new readers—some of whom might never have picked up the book on their own. My book club has introduced me to fabulous writers I never would have picked off the shelf—a big benefit for a writer who doesn’t have a “big name.” For example, I’ve connected on-line with a book club member who dislikes wartime books and was disappointed when her group picked my first novel, A Distant Melody, which is set during World War II. To her surprise, she liked it—and now she tells all her friends.

QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK!

1. What are your THREE Favorite books you enjoyed as a kid?

The Little House on the Prairie series—my sister and I owned the set and read them over and over, acting out our favorite scenes, arguing over who got to play Mary and who got to play Laura. Also the Betsy, Tacy, Tib books by Maud Hart Lovelace—I didn’t own these but almost wore out the library’s copies. And I devoured Marguerite Henry’s horse books—I even got to meet her at a children’s book festival. I didn’t discover Anne of Green Gables until I was in pharmacy school, thanks to the PBS movie, or I know Anne would have made my childhood list.

2. What THREE things would you not want to live without?
My family, books, and caffeine.

3. What THREE movies could you watch over and over again?


Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version), the Anne of Green Gables series from PBS, and You’ve Got Mail. Also I love classic movies from the 1930s-1950s. I think my DVR is permanently set on TCM.

4. If you had the opportunity to hang out with any two people in the history of the world—alive or dead; who would you pick and what would you do? (someone other than Jesus)

Lucy Maud Montgomery, in some hope we’d be “kindred spirits” like Anne of Green Gables and Diana. And could I write romance and not mention Jane Austen? She’s so darn funny.


5. A friend of yours has a time machine that they are letting you use. But you can only witness an event in this history of the world. What two events would you experience? Why?


That’s a hard question. Most historical events are events because of tragedy or danger—while I love to go there in the pages of a book, in real life I’m a great big chicken. How about something joyful like the big V-J celebration in Times Square at the end of World War II? Can you imagine the elation?


6. What two T.V. shows were you most passionate as a kid? (You know the ones you couldn’t miss each week)

Little House on the Prairie. There were no VCRs in those days (my kids gasp at the thought!), so if I missed it, I missed it FOREVER!!! I was also heavily into Emergency when I was little, which is odd because I had a deathly fear of fire. But maybe that was the appeal—if there was a fire, these funny, handsome firefighters would rescue me.

7. Name Three places you go on the web every day?
Facebook—I love to keep up with my family and friends. Since my oldest son is away for his first year of college, Facebook is a fantastic link to him and his new world. I check out my email accounts, check Twitter, and see if there were any comments on my blog, but I try to avoid too much surfing. I do follow interesting links I see on Facebook or Twitter, but I have to be careful or the day is gone!

ANY FINAL COMMENTS--THOUGHTS FOR MY READERS?

If God has given you a dream, have the courage to do what He asks you to do. Persevere, learn, seek support, and keep praying.

Sarah!



THANKS for stopping by Sarah!! I'm excited about your new book that will be out soon. Love the book cover. It's been very interesting to hear your perspective from a book club member and as an author that has spoken to book clubs! I've really enjoyed this time together and your books!

Until Next Time!

Nora :D
The Book Club Network
www.bookfun.org

6 comments:

  1. Nora,

    It was so nice to talk with you yesterday at Lifeway. Thank you for giving me the flyer about your book club. I'm going to grab your button and put it over at The Point in case any of my readers in the Atlanta area are looking for a book club.

    Blessings to you.

    Leah

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  2. Enjoyed the interview as always Nora! Sarah's books sound interesting.

    Gail Mundy

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  3. Facebook Comment

    Sarah, I appreciate your book club experiences!

    Alice Jay Wisler

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  4. Facebook Comment

    Fun, fun! We've been reading together a long time, Sarah!

    Sue Matt

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  5. Gail & Alice - thank you!
    Sue - we sure have! We're the only two original members left, but the group still has the same zing :)

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  6. Facebook Comment

    Thanks Sarah, that was interesting. and thank you for the note to your readers (me!) at the end. It felt very personal, and was much appreciated.

    Linda Abrojena

    ReplyDelete