Nora St.Laurent runs two book clubs near the Atlanta area and this year became ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Book Club Coordinator. She currently writes a Book Club Column for Christian Fiction Online Magazine. You can read her reviews and author interviews on her Finding Hope Through Fiction blog located at http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com/ Nora also runs The Book Club Network on Facebook
The Book Club Network (TBCN)
The Book Club Network (TBCN) is an online site where book club members and authors meet. It’s where they share what they’ve read and the creative things they’ve done at their book clubs. Several book clubs have set up pages on TBCN so members can see what different clubs are reading and discussing.
I’m featuring one of TBCN’s The Faith in Fiction Book Club, and Brandi Fitzpatrick is their leader. Her group meets once a month at First Baptist Church in Branson, Missouri. She took advantage of the contest we were running and received a few giveaways for her club. I wanted you to hear from a member of TBCN and how it has been a resource for her club.
You’ve recently joined TBCN. How has this site enhanced or helped you with your book club?
I love TBCN! I’m excited to see where it is going to take our group. We have several members who are not living locally right now and this is a wonderful way for us all to stay connected. It is a great resource for those who come regularly but may miss a particular meeting. They can still see what we have been reading and make comments at TBCN for all the members to see. They can also read what other members thought of the book club selection that month.
What have you learned from other clubs at TBCN that have helped you?
I love to see what other clubs are doing and consider if it would be a good fit for our group. One of the ideas I got from TBCN was movie night. A book club read a novel that had been made into a movie and then watched the movie. The members compared how the book was different from the movie. We tried this and it was a success. I can’t wait to learn other things from the clubs there and share some ideas our group comes up with too.
What do you like best about TBCN?
I like the ease of navigation! I also like the idea of eventually being able to connect with an author whose book we are discussing. I think it would be another great way to connect and add depth to the discussion. Other clubs that have connect with authors have given me the courage to reach out to a few authors. If some authors made comments at the network, I can respond and get to know them and their books better. It’s been fun to connect with authors and other book club leaders.
Any comments about TBCN and how it could be used in the future?
I trust that we will all think out of the box on this one. Consider the possibilities of reaching people. Fiction is an amazing thing . . . authors have an ability to say things through fiction that we just couldn’t in everyday life. I see how the message has brought about great discussion in my group and affected lives. It’s powerful and fun. That’s the beauty of book club. It’s also a great way for other book club leaders to connect with and encourage one another.
What lead up to your starting a book club? Had you ever been a part of a book club before? What’s your club name?
Our book club is called The Faith in Fiction Book Club. Tracy Woods wanted to have a book club at our church, so she did the leg work to get it started. Several of us have been members in other book clubs, but we have a fair amount of members who are new to the book club experience.
What does your typical meeting look like?
We have two groups with different dynamics. The AM group meets in our church’s coffeehouse so the meeting usually starts with everyone getting settled in with their favorite cup of brew and chatting a bit. The evening group meets in what we call The Parlour, which is like a big living room. The evening group tends to have something to eat as well as drink and then we usually kick off our shoes and curl up on one of the couches or chairs and chat a bit. Once it looks like everyone is in place I usually begin by asking a general question about likes or dislikes of the particular selection.
We are having fun at TBCN and will be having another contest with a secret mission heading there soon. We will have book clubs finding clues to a buried treasure. More details to follow. I can’t wait to tell you about the grand prize.
For the complete interview, including the other fun questions I asked Brandi, go to my blog, Finding Hope Through Fiction at www.psalm516.blogspot.com. If you are a book club and would be interested in being interviewed, please contact me at The Book Club Network. I’d love to talk to you and feature your group.
Until next time.