Every other month I introduce to you a book club leader, what her club has been up to, and how TBCN (The Book Club Network) has been a resource for her club.

First, I’d like you to get to know a little bit about Rachel Savage, the leader of CCM Women’s Book Club (Calvary Chapel of Melbourne Women’s Book Club).

I am the manager of The Chapel Store at Calvary Chapel Melbourne, Florida. We have two store locations (West Melbourne and Viera) in Central Florida on the Space Coast. I have always enjoyed reading. In fact, when I was in school, I was in the library so much that they knew my library card number by heart! Since I had a love for reading, I was a frequent visitor to the local Family Christian Stores. One day, the assistant manager asked me if I wanted a job. I took it and was there for almost eight years.

Once our church began to expand, my pastor would often stop in to the Family Store and tell me that when the church opened a bookstore, I would be the one to run it. Here I am ten years later loving my job and helping people find great books.

Our book club began approximately two years ago. We started reading a nonfiction title, but we have since decided that we would be exclusively fiction. We are very fortunate to be blessed with quite a few authors in our area. Rachel Hauck and Mark Mynheir both shop in our store, and Davis Bunn lives very close by (when he’s not in England). In addition to the bookstore, I also do some photography on the side. I have photographed Rachel Hauck for her Website and Susan May Warren (look for the photo I took of her on her next Tyndale published book!).

Wow, Rachel, you are involved in many exciting things outside of your book club. Thanks for sharing what you’ve done, what you do, and which authors live by you. What fun! You’ve recently joined TBCN; how has this site enhanced or helped you with your book club?

TBCN is a great resource for our group. I like to see what other groups are reading, read what they thought, and learn if they read a great book that may be a fit for us.

What do you like best about TBCN?

The contests are fun, but I like to have a place to visit with people of the same mind-set (books!).

What lead up to your starting a book club? Had you ever been a part of a book club before?

Since I didn’t start the group, I can’t answer the first question. I had never been part of a book club prior to this experience, and I didn’t know what to expect. It has now become a highlight each month! 

You’ve recently joined TBCN how has this site enhanced or helped you with your book club? 

TBCN is a great resource for our group.  I like to see what other groups are reading, see what they thought, and if they read a great book that may be a fit for us.

What have you learned from other clubs at TBCN that have helped you?

Book choices and ideas they are using to enhance their meetings.

What do you like best about TBCN?  

The contests are fun, but I like to have a place to visit with people of the same mindset (books!).

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

Since I didn’t start the group, I can’t answer the first questions.  I had never been part of a book club prior to this experience and I didn’t know what to expect.  It had now become a highlight each month! 

Hi, Rachel, I’m interested in being a part of your book club; could you please describe for me what I can expect? What does your typical meeting look like?

We meet the last Monday of each month for an hour and a half.  We open each meeting with a short prayer and then jump right into the book discussion.  Depending on if we have the author in attendance, things may run a little differently.  Our group has two great facilitators that lead the discussions (month on, month off).  We tend to use the reader’s guide in the back of the book as an outline.  We don’t make anyone in attendance speak if they do not feel comfortable, but we keep everyone involved.  If we have a visiting author, we tend to let them lead the discussion and answer all questions.  Our February meeting will be something new for us:  Susan Meissner has agreed to upload a video to Vimeo of her answering questions that our group has emailed to her (The Shape of Mercy).  We will start our meeting with that, and then get into our own talks.  It should be exciting and different.

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

Since I am the one surrounded by books all the time, I usually make the selection.  I read reviews in the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) trade magazines and often get galleys from the publishers, so I know what it coming out in advance.  Once I read a book that I think would make a good choice, I run it past the facilitators and see what they think.  I then try to see what kind of pricing I can get on the book. 

What have you read at a book club recently that really touched everyone’s heart and created good discussion?  Just one??  

There were a few- Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and Riven by Jerry Jenkins have such a great message.  But we had a great discussion with A Hundred Years of Happiness by Nicole Seitz!  I had to give everyone a warning before they started the book, “It will seem strange and you won’t understand until the end of the story, but stick with it!”  More than half of the group said that it they didn’t have the warning, they probably would have put the book down.  In the end, everyone like it!

 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. 

Since our bookstore is on the church campus where we meet, we have the book (and flyers) right on the counter.  We also have digital signage featuring the book and the book club in the store and in the common area of the church.  Our Women’s Ministry table hands out flyers to ladies that stop.  The church bulletin mentions it each month.  We also have an email list and make good use of Twitter and Facebook.

What do you enjoy most about the book club experience? 

Interacting with the others in the group and hearing what they have to say.  Since my husband doesn’t read, I need to have someone to “talk books” with! We also had great fun when authors visit. We recently had dinner with Liz Curtis Higgs!! I have a few pictures to share with you. Authors always make book club fun!


What are your three favorite books of all time?

This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, The Wind in the Wheat by Reed Arvin, The Lion, The Witch &  The Wardrobe by CS Lewis.

Please name three things you’d rather not live without?

Besides the obvious-  I would rather not be without Carmex Lip Balm (because I think I’m addicted to it), my iPhone (because you can do so much with it- even read a book) and my annual Disney pass (because I love that place!). J

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?

 V.J. Day in Times Square- I just read a book called Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart.  It’s a memoir about her experience working at Tiffany & Co. in NYC.  She was in Times Square on VJ day, and although I don’t want her experience, I have always been charmed by that time period.

The parting of the Red Sea- Why not?  Wouldn’t you love to see that miracle?  WOW!  It always made me wonder what the wall of water looked like.  Was it still, like looking into an aquarium?  Or was it raging like a reverse waterfall?  What were the reactions of the people?

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?

AI've been intrigued by Princess Diana since I was 10 years old.  I would just love to spend the day with her and see what kind of person she really was.
Also, Ted Dekker.  I am fascinated by the way his mind works and would love to talk to him about how his stories all intertwine.  Did he really think that far ahead when he wrote his books, or did things just fall into place?  I am always wowed by his works of fiction.  Much like JK Rowling, there is a lot of depth in what he writes and how he tells a story.

What movie most impacted you as a child? Why?  

The Wizard of Oz.  It always makes me think of family.  When I was little and the movie came on once a year, the whole family would gather around the TV to watch it together.  Plus, the music was great!


Get in touch with authors.  Email them, call them, Facebook them, whatever!   If they are not able to physically get to your meeting, most are more than willing to set something up with you- Skype, conference call, video.  Even sending an autographed copy of a book or signed bookplates or bookmarks.  Anytime an author is involved (even in a small way) with your meeting, the participants seem to be very happy.
Start a book swap.   It doesn’t have to be at every meeting.  Have everyone bring in books- they can take home the amount of books they brought in.  It saves people money, and makes them happy!

Work with your local Christian bookstore.  Set up a meeting with the Manager or Book Buyer.  With enough notice, they may be able to order the books for your group at a reduced rate. They may also be able to provide you with free books for giveaways or review copies.  If there is a community bulletin board in the store, make sure to include a notice about your group.

Become familiar with Facebook and Twitter! Pick one of the free Kindle titles to read in your group—you may get new participants this way.  There great sites out there to let you know what freebies are being offered.  Finding Hope Through Fiction and the Facebook page, Free Books for Kindle, are among them.


THANKS Rachel for answering these questions and helping us get to know you and your book club better. I appreciate your final comments; since you’ve been at this for a while I value your input and experience. I know this will be an encouragement to others. I'm also glad that you are enjoying TBCN. We are young group, still learning and growing.

One of the book clubs has started having live book club discussions with the authors right at The Book Club Network. I'm so glad that everyone can benefit from her experience. This way everyone gets to see the book clubs reaction to a book and the authors’ responses. It's very helpful for book club leaders. I hope other book clubs consider doing this too.

It's exciting to see all the things happening at TBCN already.  I'm thankful book club leaders like you are there. I do believe we can encourage each other in love and have a great time at book club.

 If you are a book club and would like to be interested in being interviewed please contact me at The Book Club Network   or me on this blog. I’d love to talk to you and feature your group.


With a grateful heart

 Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

For a look at the Christian Fiction On-Line Magazine for great author interview and book selections go to There is so much helpful information there!


  1. What a great post. I've always wanted to be in a bookclub...I'm tempted to drive to Melbourne to be a part of yours...but I don't do well driving at night (I live in Lake Mary & work at a library in Eatonville.)
    Actually I worked at the FCS in Altamonte Springs for 10 yrs. and thourghly enjoyed it.
    Thanks for sharing.

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