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
Mitzi Book Club Leader Interview
Mitzi’s bio: Mitzi works for a company that has a mission statement I know has helped her in being a book club leader for the Parkway Book Club for the past several years. The mission statement of her company is: To create a feeling of welcome, comfort and beauty in homes all across America, while fostering the spirit of generosity in the lives of our Consultants and their families.” Sounds like good book club leader training to me. I also had to share with you one of Mitzi’s favorite quotes too before we start with the interview:
"Treasure and use each day as if it were your last, and never give up hope; God has a limitless supply of new beginnings and He makes beautiful things out of broken pieces." ~ Tom McKinney
I agree with you there Mitzi. I had the privilege of meeting Mitzi a few months ago. She doesn’t live far from where I work and joined us a few months ago to hear Gina Holmes speak to our group about her new book Crossing Oceans. I was thrilled to meet Mitzi and so glad that she was able to hear Gina Holmes about her debut novel. It was a special night for everyone.
What lead up to you starting a book club? What's your club name? Had you ever been apart of a book club before?
A love of reading among our church women sparked the creation of our group. I’ve always been a reader and have been in two other book clubs over the past twenty years. My mother was a librarian! Our book club name is Parkway Book Club.
Please describe what does your typical meeting looks like?
Nora, we would love for you or anyone in our area to join us! You can expect a lot of fun and fellowship. We meet about every six weeks on a Monday night at 7 PM. We generally have around 8 in attendance. We keep in touch primarily by email. We also have flyers at church to spark interest among our members. We also have a booth at our church’s ministry fair to publicize our group among our church members – especially new members. We always encourage bringing a friend – especially if they love to read.
Please describe how the book selection process works for your club. Do you vote with a secret ballet? Or some other method? This will be helpful to book club leaders just starting out!
We rotate hosting the meeting among our members. Someone volunteers, and they pick the book for the meeting at their home. The criteria for selection is that the book has to be Christian fiction. The hostess also picks the theme for our food, and it’s usually related to the book. (Writers, keep this in mind when you are writing! Book clubs are basing their menu on what is eaten in your books!) Some examples of food themes: The Potluck Club by Linda Shepherd and Eva Everson - We served traditional church potluck fare. For the The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart, we enjoyed traditional wedding food. We enjoyed French cuisine when we met for Siri Mitchell’s Chateau of Echoes. The hostess also leads the discussion.
When did you become leader of your book club? You mentioned that the duties are shared in your group so the task of leading is not overwhelming? How does that work for your group? Inquiring minds would like to know.
Our book club started in 2002, and I became the leader in 2004. As I mentioned, we share hosting, book selection and discussion. It is definitely a group effort, and I think that’s why we enjoy it so much.
Does your book club socialize outside of your regular meetings? If so, what do you do?
Our group was started as a part of Parkway Church in Cumming, GA. We are part of our women’s ministry. We are friends through church but have become closer as a result of our book club interaction. The various discussions that result from the wide variety of books that we’ve read has deepened the bonds among the women in our group. We have had few outings together. The most memorable was a trip to the Swan House after reading The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser. After eating at The Swan Coach House, one of our church members lived in the area at one time, and she gave us a guided tour of the places mentioned in the book!
What have you read at a book club recently that touched everyone’s heart and created good discussion?
To learn the answer to this question and read the rest of this interview please check it out on my blog Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com. I can’t wait for you to join me next month when I’ll be talking about all the exciting things happening at The Book Club Network (TBCN). It’s so much fun to watch book clubs and authors connect. We are all learning and growing together. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
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