Though this group lives near me, I couldn’t join them due to family circumstances. But I sent along book club goodies, and they sent this gorgeous photo!

I love visiting Book Clubs–in person, on Skype, even on Facetime! I also love hearing about Book Clubs getting together to discuss THE WIDOWS even when I can’t be there.

I’ll admit it–there’s some pride involved. Yayyy! A Book Club is reading my book!

There’s also fun involved. Every Book Club I’ve visited has been gracious–I’ve enjoyed every repast, been touched by folks baking buttermilk pies (Daniel’s favorite!) for the first time, and felt warmly welcomed at each gathering. And I love the discussions about THE WIDOWS. Sometimes, we stick fairly closely to the discussion questions in the Reader’s Guide (a good resource for anyone reading THE WIDOWS.) Other times, we end up discussing other aspects of the novel. Occasionally, I get asked some tough questions about theme or point of view, and I have to stop and dig a little deeper into my own point of view as a writer–and as a human. I love that, too!

I also just love that Book Clubs are a “thing–” readers getting together, catching up on each other’s

An in-person visit on a July day that was blessedly cool!

lives, discussing ideas and characters and themes and plots. Book Clubs are really mini-communities. And the overaching theme that drives my Kinship Historical Mystery series (and that drives Lily) is, in fact, community: we’re all connected to one another. And we all matter. At their heart, isn’t that what all these Book Clubs are about?

I enjoyed Skyping in with this Book Club in Virginia! (A humorous side note: they also got to meet one of my cats, and my husband, as they passed by!)

On a lighter note… sometimes, a reader will pull me aside and confide: I like Lily the best!

Or: I like Marvena better!

Such confessions always make me smile. I love them both! For me, it’s as impossible as choosing a favorite kid: not gonna happen. But boy, do I love that these characters are so REAL to readers that they find themselves knowing who they’d rather hang out with (or go on a long trek through the Appalachian mountains with!)

And always on the drive home (or after closing Skype, or just knowing a group is discussing my book), I feel a quiet gratitude. After all, there are SO many good books and novels available, so truly, the notion of readers taking time from their lives to opt to read THE WIDOWS–and then discuss it–is always heartwarming. Truth be told–it also encourages me as a novelist and writer. I want to make each piece I craft better than the last–or at least give an honest effort toward doing so!

Anyway–when I know a Book Club has read my book, I thank them–sometimes in person, sometimes via email or Skype. With this blog post, I just wanted to make sure to give thanks for Book Clubs as well.