One of the great pleasures of promoting a book, not to mention having a book to promote in the first place, is visiting book clubs.  To me, the incredible profusion of book clubs of all types, sizes, interests and genders is a key sign that our civilization is still alive and kicking.  Surely, the fact that people are not only reading books – be they paper or electronic – but are sharing the experience and discussing it must be a sign of cultural health.  That’s why I’ve insisted that both of my novels have a ready-made list of Book Club Questions in the back — to urge readers to sit for an additional moment with the book, to reflect and to share. 

I was lucky enough to meet with several book clubs to discuss “Tangled Roots.” Invariably, they started out by apologizing for not being “serious” enough, or for using the Book Club as an excuse to get together over a meal and/or a drink.  But is that something to apologize for? Absolutely not! What could be better than using a book as a social motivator, a springboard to discussion and (dare I say it) fun?

So I have done it again with “A Clash of Innocents.” I’ve drawn up a list of discussion points and I hope readers will feel free to use them to jump start a chat or an argument or just a toast to the powers of literature.  I thought I’d share them with you all now (with some minor changes so as not to spoil the plot):
      * Historic events continue to have an impact on the lives of the characters. What is the role of history in the novel? In what way does history continue into the present?
      * Deborah reacts strongly to Amanda’s response to The Baby.  Why does she treat Amanda the way that she does, and is her response cruel or kind?
      * How does Kyle change over the course of the story? What causes these changes?
      * What is the meaning of family as portrayed in the novel?
      * Why does Amanda make the final decision that she does?

I’d love to start a discussion on the blog about any of these, if anyone is interested.  I am also now scheduling times when I’ll go to book club meetings themselves to meet with readers and discuss with them in person the book and the process of writing it.  As many of you know, I travel a lot. A lot! And I love to travel. So invite me to come to your group – anywhere – and if it is at all possible, I will come (and at my own expense, usually). I think it would be fun for both of us.