I love reading groups, so the thought that my books are being read and discussed in this context is particularly thrilling. There is something very special about sharing a book with friends: it brings our ideas and views and feelings about a book out into the light and expands our understanding and appreciation of what we’ve read.
If you are not too far from Concord, New Hampshire or if you are further afield and would be happy to use Skype, I’d be delighted to make a guest appearance when your group meets. You can contact me here.
I know how easy it is to get off topic in those lovely book club meetings where you’re snuggled into someone’s sofa chatting about life, kids, the universe, so it sometimes helps to have a few questions to guide the discussion. Here are some I devised for Before I Was Yours. Whether you’re in a reading group or not, I’d love to have your thoughts on them, so do email me, tweet, post on Instagram or Facebook.
- Before I Was Yours is written from multiple points of view: that of Jonah, Rosie, Sam and Trudi. What do you think this technique contributes to the novel and which was your favourite point of view?
- When I was researching the novel, I had mixed feelings about the notion of an adoption fair. Having read the chapter in which Jonah first encounters Rosie and Sam Keep, how do you feel about prospective adopters meeting children in this way?
- I use water and the sea as a symbol throughout the novel. How did this deepen your understands of Jonah?
- The character and motivations of Mister Sir are ambiguous. How did you respond to his character and his actions?
- Jonah and Rosie’s relationship is a difficult one, certainly at first. Who did you feel for most in these opening chapters?
- One of the relationships I most enjoyed writing was the one between Jonah and Alice. What do you think their growing friendship contributes to the novel?
- How do you respond to the character of the social worker, Trudi, and how she does her work?
- This is the first time I’ve taken my characters to a whole different country in a novel. What do the chapters set in Kenya contribute to the story?
- The scene I found hardest to write was the encounter between Jonah’s mother and Rosie. How did you react to their meeting?
- There are many secondary characters (including a loveable, three-legged cat) who add colour to the novel. Which of these characters did you enjoy reading most?
- Have your views on adoption changed through reading this novel?
- Did you find the ending of Before I Was Yours satisfying?