When she saw one of my book reviews for a book written by one of the authors registered in NovelNetwork, Debbie Harpham contacted me by email to ask if I would tag NovelNetwork, https://novelnetwork.com/, when I posted any reviews by authors registered with the site. I was not familiar with NovelNetwork until that moment, but I certainly found a wealth of information and opportunities there. Since that fortunate email, I have signed my book club up with NovelNetwork and also enjoyed a number of exciting online programs sponsored by NovelNetwork and Adventures by the Book, https://adventuresbythebook.com/.
Since I discovered NovelNetwork, the Circle of Readers, my book club, has enjoyed several visits via Zoom with very special authors. Since January 2022, five authors from NovelNetwork have joined us for lively, personal discussions. The Circle of Readers meets in Broken Arrow, OK, a suburb of Tulsa, OK. Authors do make frequent visits to Tulsa bookstores and the library. Still, being able to invite an author via Zoom to meet with my book club is much more personal than a quick hello at a bookstore.
To be candid, readers do enjoy having books signed by authors in person. Generally, that means that one stands in line, has a moment to speak to the author, gets the book signed, and moves on so the next person can step forward. Authors who have joined us on Zoom have been generous with their time and answers to questions. It has been a real pleasure to feel that we received personal attention to the questions and comments we have.
We read The Rose Code in January, and Kate Quinn joined us for our discussion. Everyone enjoyed the book and learned even more about it because Quinn shared with us some of her research done before she wrote the book. Quinn generously joined again via Zoom for the Friends of the Tulsa City-County Libraries when The Rose Code was chosen for a book talk.
Our next author was Tracey Enerson Wood who wrote The War Nurse, a WWI historical novel. None of us in the group had been familiar with Julia Stimson before reading The War Nurse. Again, as Wood shared with us how she researched the story, we found an added depth to our understanding of the story and an appreciation for Stimson.
By the time our book club read The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner, I was thoroughly familiar with NovelNetwork and had begun making deliberate choices of books by authors registered with NovelNetwork. Susan Meissner not only charmed us in the book club with her kindness and warm, engaging manner, but she also kindly agreed to appear on Zoom for the Friends of the Tulsa City-County Libraries when the Friends held a book talk over The Nature of Fragile Things.
The Mayfair Bookshop by Eliza Knight was the next book I chose from NovelNetwork’s site. Again, we found Knight to be extremely gracious in answering our questions. We all enjoyed the extra bits she told us about her research into the Mitford sisters who are so central to the novel.
Heather Webb joined us when we read The Next Ship Home. We learned about her background as a teacher and the amount of research she had done prior to writing the story. The members of my book club were charmed by Webb’s engaging manner and were excited to learn about her upcoming book about Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner.
For each of these visits with such kind, talented authors, my book club has gained additional insights into the books we had read. In addition, we got a glimpse of what the authors were working on next. I know that authors receive many requests to talk with book clubs. I am grateful to each one of these authors mentioned. The benefit to authors is that we are reading their books—the hard work into which they have poured hours of research, writing, and editing. Also, a benefit for the authors is that the members of my book club are such avid readers that they don’t stop with one book by an author. Particularly if an author has met with us, we seek other books by the same author, those published before the book we read and those after.
For book club leaders everywhere, I highly recommend that you sign your book club up with NovelNetwork and invite authors to join your group via Zoom. Also, watch for exciting programs in person and online from both NovelNetwork and Adventures by the Book. The members of the Circle of Readers certainly look forward to more visits with NovelNetwork authors!