Asking the right questions

This is all new to me, you understand. OK, so I’ve aspired to be a writer since I was a teenager. I’ve been a ‘writer’ for the last decade, writing school assemblies, blogs and catalogue copy. I’ve tried my hand at a few short story competitions. But this is the first novel I have ever written. This is my debut novel. Completely unknown territory.

Several people who have read the book have asked for book group questions, which is a great idea. I would love to be a fly on the wall in book groups all over the country as they unpick the themes of my novel. This novel was written intentionally with many questions left unanswered. Many issues are raised with no black and white answers. Much is left to the reader’s own imagination and interpretation. Perfect for a book group discussion then.

So I have just tried my hand at writing a set of book group questions. Not as easy as it might seem. This is not intended to be a comprehension exercise, after all, nor is it intended to pry into the secret lives of the readers. I hope I have come up with some questions that provoke stimulating and fascinating discussion. We will see.

In fact, on Sunday evening, we will see. Some of the local readers have been invited to a book group style discussion around my kitchen table. There will be cheese, wine and lots of chat, I hope. I suppose it is a bit weird to have the author in the room at such an event, but I am excited to see individual interpretations of the novel and promise not to impose a sense that there is a right answer to every question. There genuinely is not.

And then starting next week, I will introduce a new question every couple of days on the Facebook page for any of you to contribute your opinion to. We will see which questions generate the most discussion and which are the most difficult to answer. This will be a collaborative process. So please collaborate! Please join in. Please do not be afraid. The more diverse the range of opinions, the better.

I’ll let you know on Monday how the first ever ’Secrets Such As These’ book group goes. I am so excited!

PS: Feel free to come if you live nearby – see you here at 7:30 on Sunday night!

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