I'm so pleased to welcome Ashley Ream to Book Club Girl on Air on Tuesday, April 10 at 8 pm ET to discuss her debut novel, Losing Clementine! Ashley was also kind enough to answer a few questions for us about book clubs, her favorite books, and her experience with Sisters in Crime. Read on for our Q&A and for more details about the show!
Q: What has been your experience with book clubs in your life thus far?
A: I belong to a book club. We meet once a month and rotate who chooses the book. Because we don't vote, the selections are very eclectic, as are the book club members. We have business women, a geneticist and even a television show director. And we've read everything from Victorian literature to werewolves. Whoever chooses the book is responsible for arranging the accompanying meal.
Q: Why do you think discussion is such an important part of the reading experience?
You're looking for the "I never thought of that!" moment. Because we're such a diverse group, we have very different perspectives. The geneticist and I are the dearest of friends, but I promise you her brain works much differently than mine.
Q:You spent many years working as a newspaper reporter. How did your taste in books and time for reading change after you decided to pursue writing fiction full-time?
I actually don't write fiction full-time. After leaving newspapers, where I did everything from reporter to copy editor to graphic artist, I eventually found myself in the nonprofit world, which I love. That's my full-time day job. I write books at night. It's an incredible amount of work but an incredible gift to make a difference in your community all day and then live out your novelist fantasy the rest of the time. It also feeds my creativity. I meet people from all cultures and classes with different perspectives and different struggles, which makes me a much better writer. Believe it or not, I still find time to read every day, but I'm much pickier now. I won't waste time on a book that's not for me -- unless it's for book club.
Q: How has your experience with Sisters in Crime changed your perspective as a reader?
I started out writing unpublished mysteries, which is how I got involved in Sisters in Crime. Although I eventually found my voice writing general fiction (or up-market fiction, as my agent calls it), I learned a lot about what keeps a plot moving from my mystery days. I'm told my books read very fast, which is due entirely to those lessons. I used to read a lot more mysteries than I do now. Now I read my friends' books and more general fiction and non-fiction. Right now I'm reading a book about the history of the universe. Maybe the geneticist is having an effect on me.
Q: What are your favorite books to read and discuss?
I like to discuss books where the characters are challenging and there's plenty of not-so-obvious metaphor to get our teeth into. Most recently, my book club read The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen. We had a very good time peeling back the layers of that one.
I have 10 copies of Losing Clementine to give to the first 10 people who comment below that they can participate in the show on Tuesday, April 10th at 8 pm ET! Set your reminder for the show, read the first chapter, and check out the reading group guide. More more with Ashley Ream, visit her website, become a fan on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.