Members of Colleyville Book Club welcomed me for a lively discussion about my latest novel, Seven Wings to Glory. We talked about the characters and how they each dealt with issues of war, racism, and family secrets in the town of Portion, Texas, a fictional suburb located near Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
After I read a brief excerpt from chapter two (the inciting incident), we each opened up and shared our own experiences dealing with discrimination and intolerance. A big thanks to hostesses Tari Sanchez Bauer and her daughter, Mandie Bauer, for selecting my novel for their October pick. The club will donate their copies to the library as a “book club kit.”
Thanks to all of you who’ve read my books and offered your support. Thanks to Camel Press for believing in my work.
Last September I was invited to Senior Circle Book Club in Granbury, TX to discuss my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately. When I mentioned that my third novel was releasing a few months later, they invited me to come back with the new book.
Today I had the pleasure of speaking to this warm and attentive audience. After I read a few passages from the opening pages of Seven Wings to Glory, several members asked questions about my writing process and how long it took me to write my third novel. One lady was curious about the title. I got a kick sharing how the title came to me in a dream.
We also talked about two of my favorite subjects: dogs and the military. A few of the women in the group came up to me later to tell me about their loved ones who’ve served in the Armed Forces. One lady who’s not pictured in the photo remembers her early childhood when her family lived on land which is now part of Fort Hood, the massive Army post located in central TX.
After my talk, I signed books and we enjoyed some delicious refreshments. Many thanks to Cory Johnson, Director of Senior Circle, for making the arrangements to have me back for the second visit.
Members of the “Second Thursday Book Club” at the Mary Lou Reddick Library in Lake Worth, Texas, rolled out the red carpet and welcomed me for a lively discussion about my third novel, Seven Wings to Glory. We also talked about its predecessor, Johnnie Come Lately. After I read a couple of brief passages from both novels, I took questions from the members. As an author, it’s thrilling to be in the company of a group of readers and listen to them discuss your characters as if they are real people.
Two of the members, Dolly and Emma, both have close ties to the Grapevine, TX area where I set my fictional town of Portion. Emma grew up on a farm which is now buried under Lake Grapevine (Portion Lake in the story). Dolly remembers attending barbecues as a child on land now under water. Several members of the book club went back and read my first novel, The Final Salute, after reading the other books.
As a native New Mexican now living in Texas, I was thrilled to learn that one of the members (Barbara) is from Roswell, NM. I was presented with a bouquet of flowers after the discussion.
A huge thanks to Lara Strother, Director of the Mary Lou Reddick Public Library, for the invitation. I appreciate my dear friend, Drema Hall Berkheimer, author of Running on Red Dog Road, for recommending me.
A book club founded ten years ago in North Texas (and still going strong) invited me to their January meeting to discuss both of my novels. Many thanks to Elizabeth Tessler for selecting Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute for a two book discussion in the warm surroundings of La Madeleine in Arlington, TX. The group was genuinely interested in my writing process, and they seemed pleased that I’m working on a third novel. When I told them I have a tight deadline, they cheered me on with words of encouragement and asked lots of good questions that will help me as I complete Seven Wings to Glory.
Our cashier’s face lit up when she discovered I’m an author. Turns out she’s an aspiring writer with dreams to publish one day. I gave her my card and invited her to contact me. We writers need all the encouragement we can get. Thanks again to “Book Club” for investing your time and emotion in my stories.
Many thanks to members of the Colleyville Book Club for their warm welcome and lively discussion about my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately. As an author, it’s so gratifying to be invited to a serious book club where the members show up having read your book, some with notes in hand, and are eager to meet you and discuss a story that took six years to bring to life.
A big round of applause to hostess Tari Sanchez Bauer for selecting my novel for the December book club pick and a special thanks to her daughter and cohost, Mandie Bauer, for taking the photos. Deep into the discussion, Tari brought an element of magic to the evening when she shared a powerful and personal story about why cardinals are so meaningful in her life. The framed cardinal and centerpiece on her table is a gift from her daughter, Mandie.
Not only were the members eager to discuss my novel, they also wanted to learn more about how the city of Grapevine, TX influenced the setting for my fictional Portion, hometown to protagonist Johnnie Kitchen and her family.
Everyone is excited that I’m working on the sequel to Johnnie, titled Seven Wings to Glory. Thanks to this great group of readers, I came away from the evening with a renewed sense of faith in my work and a whole new set of friends.
Dr. Cindy Ryan, a minister at First United Methodist Church of Grapevine, TX, read about Johnnie Come Lately in the book section of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and ordered the novel. She was intrigued by the book’s description: “Johnnie Come Lately is set in historic Portion, a Metroplex suburb that is loosely based on Grapevine, and follows Johnnie Kitchen, a 43-year-old housewife with a secret.”
After Cindy read the novel, she contacted me through my website and told me she’d picked Johnnie for her book club’s March selection. She invited me to attend the “No Stress Book Club” which started in 2006. They’d never had an author visit before.
Last night, this warm and fun-loving group welcomed me with open arms.
“A beautifully crafted story about family secrets and second chances, Johnnie Come Latley is a guaranteed book club favorite.” Barbara Claypole White, award-winning author of The Unfinished Garden and The In-Between Hour
To learn more about Johnnie Come Lately, please visit my website.
Claudia’s Book Talk, an online book club, selects Johnnie Come Latelyfor discussion on Monday, March 2, 2015 @ 8:30 pm EST (7:30 pm CST, 6:30 pm MST, 5:30 pm PST). Anyone can join in on the discussion. All you need to do is ask to join the group. No hurt feelings if you “unjoin” following tonight’s event. Hope to see you there. All you have to do is click on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Claudiasbooktalk/
“Every once in a while I come across a book that moves me deeply at the core of my very being. Johnnie Come Lately falls into that category with ease. This beautiful character study of the Kitchen family in Portion, Texas touches on so many issues we all can relate to at some level.” Claudia Stephan, creator of Claudia’s Book Talk
The book is available in paperback and e-book atAmazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and many other online booksellers. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, please visit the Southlake B & N to pick up your copy.