December Discussion - Thank you for all things

Thank you Linda for hosting book group, your house is decorated so nicely for the holidays. I am still in the process of putting up decorations this year… I’m not sure how that happened. We are awaiting news of Jill’s third child, due any minute! I wish you a quick, pain free delivery. As we learned last night, we hope the baby can stay with you until newborn fog sets in. I can’t wait to hear your labor story and meet the little guy.

This month we read Thank you for all Things, written by Sandra Kring. I enjoyed reading this novel, the characters develop nicely throughout the story and you feel like you are listening to a friend share their family history. I encourage everyone to read the questions after reading (even if you are not reading this for book club), reading the questions bring the book together and give it purpose.

Sandra was our first live phone discussion and we were so pleased that she took time to meet with us. I can’t wait to read her next novel, the storyline is intriguing. Book clubs wishing to have an author chat can request one through the contact link on Sandra's website.

Linda started the night burning sage to cleanse the room, channeling her inner Oma. Sandra has written three books and is currently working on her fourth, due out in 2009. Her writing does not reflect on her family history but you can find little bits of her in every novel. This story is written from Lucy’s perspective. We discussed how differently the story would have been if it was told from Milo’s eyes, Lucy’s twin brother. Milo and Lucy are so different yet you feel a strong bond between them. When asked if she knew from the very beginning what the secret was going to be, Sandra said she had no idea. She had to wait to see how the story would evolve and mentioned she only knows a character as much as the narrator knows them. The story is Lucy’s. Tess, Lucy’s Mother, is uptight and we are waiting for her to loosen up through the story. Sandra explained that some readers have had a negative reaction to Tess and that Oma balances Tess’s personality. Sandra shared that she has two friends in her book club to which she drew upon for Oma’s new age lifestyle and Tess’s being an atheist. She said, “I didn’t have to do a lot of research and it was so much fun putting bits and pieces of them into this book”. We felt sorry to Tess and were surprised to hear of an unlikeable reaction towards her. Sandra explained that some people thought she was a bad mother. In some ways we are all a little bit like Tess, cautious, a little bit afraid of living.

Sandra’s biography mentions that she runs workshops for people suffering trauma, she was quick to say she no longer facilitates workshops and trauma groups, which she did for 7 years and mentioned that we usually do not begin to deal with childhood trauma until our late 30’s/early 40’s.

She doesn’t believe you learn to cope, she feels you can move on and be strong. Mind, body and spirit – you can get your life back.

She likes to write from the subconscious – and likes to answer a question.

When asked “what was the question you were trying to answer in Thank you for all Things”, Sandra mentioned forgiveness, family secrets and what happens to families when there are secrets. Sandra wanted to show that life is a contradiction - a good example of this is a parent can be much different with their grandchildren. She wanted to explore this.

With 'Thank you for all things', writing Tess’s journals took a few days. She had to step out of Lucy’s voice yet Tess is told from Lucy’s mouth.

When she isn’t writing and on a break, she likes to get out, be around people. When she is writing, she writes everyday, all day.

Tips for Aspiring writers: Sandra was quick to tell us to first learn everything you can by reading as many novels as you can. This allows you to see what works and what doesn’t work. Read good books, read bad books. Once you are ready to go (with the idea or determination to start)… forget everything. A lot of writers try too hard to emulate their favorite author or favorite book, rather than telling the story in their natural writer's voice.