Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Club Exchange: Eileen Clymer Schwab & Giveaway

I'd like to welcome author Eileen Clymer Schwab to Book Club Exchange, a feature on Booking Mama which highlights anything and everything book club-related! I have been a fan of Eileen's every since I read her debut novel PROMISE BRIDGE -- you can read my review here.  In addition, I was fortunate enough to meet Eileen at my favorite bookstore Aaron's Books last fall. It was evident to everyone there that she is passionate about her subject matter and a very special person.

Eileen's second book SHADOW OF A QUARTER MOON is now available. I haven't had a chance to finish it yet (summer vacation plans got in the way), but I hope to have my review posted within the next week or so. If it's anything like PROMISE BRIDGE, then I know I'm in for a treat.

Since Eileen's first novel definitely lends itself to discussion (and I'm sure her second one will too), I specifically asked her to write a guest post for Book Club Exchange. There is no doubt that Eileen is one author who truly appreciates book clubs.

Say the words “book club” around any author, and I guarantee the author will smile. We share a passion for books and a love of literary adventure. The life force of every novel begins with the author and is graciously carried on by its readers. This means that once a book is released into the world, we are forever joined by its journey and I wonder if you truly understand the power you have in shifting its course.

One of the great perks of a book club (besides the good company and good wine!) is that reading tastes vary from member to member. This allows for a varied selection of books and often leads readers to discover authors in genres outside their norm. My current novel, SHADOW OF A QUARTER MOON, is set in the pre-Civil War South, therefore it is categorized as historical fiction. Does this mean that someone who prefers mystery and suspense, or romance, or chick lit will not enjoy the book? My answer is… a reader can love a book of any genre, because when all is said and done… it’s all about the story.

In truth, it’s about the characters too. I love writing about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and though the premise and setting of my novel makes it “historical”, there are elements of suspense, intrigue, and romance in the layered plot and characters. I think any good novel balances these elements to some degree, regardless of the genre, and while we as readers get comfortable in the feel and style of certain categories, we shouldn’t lose our sense of adventure. That’s the magic of book clubs. We spread our wings and are swept away to places we’ve never been. Sharing the experience with other book club members adds to the depth and dimension of the journey.

Whenever possible, I love attending book club events. After countless solitary hours in front of a keyboard, the thrill of talking with readers is energizing. I love being a part of the conversation. During discussions, I frequently hear the comment, “This isn’t the kind of book I usually buy, but once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.” These are very kind and gratefully received words that exhilarate me as an author, but even more so are the words, “I recommended it to my friend in another club.”

And so the journey continues. In the precarious world of publishing, new and mid-list authors are given very little push. Word of mouth is our best friend. Believe me, having a reader tell another reader that they stayed up past midnight or were late getting to work because they were so engrossed in a novel is the greatest recommendation an author can receive. Positive posts and blogs add to the momentum. This is why I say that we are forever joined in the book’s journey. There is no greater vehicle for a good novel than the praise of a happy book club.

So when I get a note of thanks from a book club, I am quick to say that it is we, the authors, who are thankful. Thank you for reading… thank you for sharing… thank you for being our advocates. And above all, thank you for sharing our journey.


Long intrigued by the transitional period just before the Civil War, Eileen Clymer Schwab found inspiration in the courage of those who fought for freedom, and in the spirit of joined purpose among those who provided aid during their journey. She resides with her family in northeastern Pennsylvania.

A huge thanks to Eileen for writing this wonderful guest post.

Giveaway  alert: Eileen has graciously offered to provide an autographed copy of SHADOW OF A QUARTER MOON for one lucky reader. To enter, just fill out the form below before Friday, August 4th at 11:59 p.m. ET. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. Contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!


bermudaonion said...

What a lovely guest post! As readers, we're grateful for wonderful authors!

Serena said...

What a great post. I really like her comments about the benefits of a book club, "reading tastes vary from member to member. This allows for a varied selection of books and often leads readers to discover authors in genres outside their norm" I wish I could find members that agree with that . . . maybe then my book clubs wouldn't fall apart. LOL

mamabunny13 said...

Very nice post! I'm looking forward to reading her new book.

Gwendolyn B. said...

Your appreciation of your readers is so very gracious! It's nice to know that an author appreciates that we might get in trouble with our bosses due to reading late into the night - or even missing our stop during our commutes! Thank you also for the chance to win a copy of your book. I'm looking forward to reading it.