Nora St. Laurent is the CEO of The Book Club Network Incorporated and runs two book clubs near Atlanta, Ga., Former ACFW On-Line Book Club. Nora currently writes a Book Club column for the Christian Fiction OnLine Magazine and is a Book Club Talk Columnist for Novel Rocket. You can read author interviews on her Finding Hope Through Fiction blog, located at http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com, and reviews around the web at The Christian Pulse Mag, Title Trakk, Novel Reviews, and Suspense Zone. Nora and her husband run The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org
TBCN INTERVIEW: The Book Club Lady
I usually interview book clubs, but today I thought I’d let you get to know the woman behind those interviews, The Book Club Lady. I have worked at a Christian bookstore for eleven years. When people are struggling to find a good title, author, or latest release, my coworkers call me for help. I’m known as The Book Club Lady because I run two face-to-face book clubs.
What inspired you start TBCN?
The Book Club Network was born out of a desire to share Christian fiction authors with other book clubs, to share book club ideas with other leaders, and to encourage the authors who are writing such amazing books. The economy has been really tough for a few years, and people are not parting with money like they used to. Through TBCN they can leisurely read about many authors and their books, finding the right book to read . . . or they can win it! We have giveaways each month. All of our contests are run from the nineteenth through the twenty-first of each month.
Because I love talking with people, and the main thing to talk about in a bookstore is books, I started reading Christian fiction when I first began working at the bookstore (publishers sent ARC copies to our store, which I eagerly read). The first book that rocked my world and got me hooked on Christian fiction was Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols. Her next book did me in, At the Scent of Water, and I couldn’t stop talking about it. I contacted her and let her know how much her book touched my spirit.
After reading these two books and telling customers about them, I found my reason to read. I’m dyslexic and had never been a fan of reading. Movies were more my thing. I could watch a movie of a book and have a lot more fun than trying to read the book.
Reading Christian fiction changed my life. I wasn’t expecting these stories to speak to me. They reminded me of the stories in the Bible. Jesus is the greatest storyteller, and He knew a story could change a life or prick our spirits and move us in a direction we never considered. I wanted to tell everyone about the greatest book I read, and I’d do that at the bookstore. But when At the Scent of Water and Not a Sparrow Falls were no longer on the shelf, I had to find other books to talk about at work. I’m not a very fast reader, so discovering the next new book was a challenge. Would I get the book read before it disappeared from the shelf? How long is a book’s shelf life? (That’s still a mystery to me.)
I whined to my husband, Fred, “How can I get the word out about great books for a very long period of time?” Being a man who loves a challenge, we began to talk about how we could do this.
I also told him as a book club leader I wanted to promote great books and share them with other groups. Not everyone has the advantage of working at a bookstore and sees what new books hit the shelves each week. I also wanted to share with other book clubs whenever authors spoke at my book club. How could I do that? Where are book clubs meeting?
Our answer to many of these questions and more was the birth of The Book Club Network (TBCN), which connects authors to book clubs and readers to their books; it’s also a network of book clubs as they post what they’ve read and about their meetings.
Anything else you’d like to share?
If you are an avid reader, TBCN is the place for you to learn about the latest in Christian fiction and interact with the author each month.
Are you a book club leader? This is the place for you to find your next book club pick. We’d also love for you to set up your book club page at our site for others to see. You can share your latest featured book, post pictures of your club and its events, tell about the authors you’ve met and the book fun you’ve had, and learn about other book clubs.
Want to start a book club but fear it’s too overwhelming? You can learn from other experienced book club leaders, and you can start right away making your book club list!
Do you like to win books? TBCN is for you. You’ll get to know the authors and their books, and read genres you normally wouldn’t. We’ve been giving away about 100 books a month, and for our birthday bash, starting August 1, we’ll be giving away ten books every day! Winners are picked weekly.
Thank you! You’ve been a grand host to have me here and let me talk about The Book Club Network and our birthday bash!! I hope to see you there @TBCN (www.bookfun.org).
You are a Blessing!!
Until Next time
BRING YOUR WHOLE GROUP!
Or create a group on our Network.