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Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Club Questions/Reader's Guide

With my books readers growing in number, I've had a few reach out to me asking for questions that would be good conversation starters for their book clubs. I've put together a list with some questions that are good for any of my books,The Charity, The Troubles, or The Wake. Yes, they are part of The Jessica Trilogy, but each book stands alone and you don't have to read a prior book to get up to speed. I've had great fun talking with book groups in person and LOVE meeting groups via Skype, Facebook chats, and Google Hangouts.

  • The Jessica Trilogy has been applauded for realistic portrayals of behaviors, motivations and consequences behind terrorist acts as well as the history of the Troubles. Do these books challenge your perspective on terrorism? How? 
  • Each book's plot hinges on a real event. Specifically, the Manchester shopping mall bombing in June 1996 propels action in The Troubles and the bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympic games in Atlanta, Georgia frames the action in The Wake. How did these books change your perspective of real life events?
  • Was there a point in the book when you knew you had to keep reading? What was it?
  • Who was your favorite character?
  • Do you feel as if your views on the struggle for Northern Ireland's independence or reunification have changed since you read the book?
  • Was there a theme you felt that I, as the author, emphasized through the story?What do you think I was trying to say?
  • What characters evolved throughout the book? If you read the whole trilogy, who changed the most? 
    • Was it the character who changed or your perspective on that character which changed? What were the reasons for that change and was that effective for you as a reader?
  • Was there a character that you first thought of as "good" or "bad" and then changed your mind? How did that happen?
  • What was it about Jessica that she could not disguise about herself? 
  • Readers often think fiction main characters expose an author's life. Did you see any ways in which you feel I was revealed through Jessica? How?
  • Were there any passages in the book that made you feel uncomfortable? Why? Does that say more about you or me as the author?
These are questions I most hear from different readers and book clubs. Questions I have for my readers is what do you think happens to Jessica after the book ends? What do you want to see happen to her?

This list should get the conversation rolling for most book groups. Of course, a glass of chardonnay or a Jessica Cocktail or two wouldn't hurt.


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