Guest Post: Prepping Book Questions

by Meryl Evans | Category: Books, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 5 comments

Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Kathy Handley‘s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. We’re hosting a giveaway of her book Birds of Paradise [affiliate]. Read on to see how you can win.

Kathy HandleyAbout the author: Her grandfather entertained his family with stories and dancing, her father quoted Shakespeare and her mother was known as “Mary the Poet” so naturally Kathryn would become a writer … eventually!

Now a published novelist at age 71, Kathy‚Äôs short fiction has appeared in many literary magazines. She recently won Word Hustler’s Page-to-Screen Contest (2011) and currently serves as Prose Poetry Judge for the National League of American Pen Women Soul-Making Contest. A collection of her work will soon be released under the title A World of Love and Envy (short fiction, flash-fiction, and poetry).

Prepping Book Questions by Kathy Handley

You, the author had many questions and problems to solve as you progressed through your long story, the novel. At certain stages, you went back in the story to look for consistency in character development, time line, plot, clues as to what would happen next.

And so, for your astute readers, they will be considering the same aspects — perhaps consciously if they are writers and reading to learn more from the great guy and gal authors. Remember questions your writing group, agent, editor, trusted readers and you had about the early drafts of the books and the outcome of the final draft.

With my first novel, Birds of Paradise, I’ve been asked many questions during readings and discussions, as well as in interviews. Along with answering these questions in person, I prepared a “book club” list for my readers. The questions usually bounce around between general and specific. Listed are examples of author and reader questions.

  • Why did the author choose the choice of title? What does it mean in terms of the storyline? What would you have named the book?
  • Who was your favorite character? Why?
  • What did you find predictable about the plot? How would you have changed it?
  • What specific details, as in quirky attributes and “things they carried” did you like about the characters?
  • Who was your favorite? Why? Would you like to read another book following the same or many of the same characters in a sequel?
  • What was the most memorable incident in the book?
  • What did you learn about the areas where the story took place? Did the author place you there in a natural way or was it obvious she was trying to use the setting for character reveal or something else?

Personal questions about you, the author

  • How long did it take you to write the book?
  • What motivated you to choose this setting and characters?
  • What projects are next for you?
  • How did you research details for this book?

Birds of Paradise bookHave fun preparing book questions.

Birds of Paradise tells the story of a lonely, long-haul trucker, Joe-Mack, who picks up a runaway, Freddie, in Las Vegas and drops him in Hollywood, offering to help him if needed. When the call comes, he reaches out to the boy and becomes embroiled in the lives of homeless kids.

Comment and win: For a chance to win a copy of Birds of Paradise [affiliate], please leave a comment. You could share a memorable book club discussion that resulted from the questions posed, questions you’d ask your favorite author (let us know your favorite author) or questions you’d ask about a book you’ve read. You have until 11:59pm on October 11, 2011 to qualify for the drawing. The unbiased and robotic has the honor of picking the winner.

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  • Posted by Pj Schott on October 5th, 2011, 9:51 AM

    Great questions, all.

  • Posted by Andrea on October 5th, 2011, 12:04 PM

    I am always fascinated as to why people write and the will power it takes to complete one. I have a desire to write but have no idea of where to start.

  • Posted by Jade on October 7th, 2011, 2:28 AM

    Lovely post, I look forward to reading more.

  • Posted by Jane on October 10th, 2011, 1:38 PM

    Inspiring to me at age 58.

    Looking forward to reading Birds of Paradise.


  • Posted by Lee Herman on October 11th, 2011, 5:56 PM

    The question I have for any author is what inspired/triggered/impelled them to write the particular book about a particular topic or idea. Not that the work doesn’t or shouldn’t stand on its own but the back story is always interesting.

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