Review: The Wednesday Sisters (MMBC10)

Five women, one passion, and the unbreakable bond of friendship (source: author site)
A MMBC member suggested The Wednesday Sisters to me about a month ago and asked if we could possibly select this book to read for the MMBC. I’m so pleased to announce that not only will we be reading The Wednesday Sisters as a MMBC selection but we will be meeting with Meg Waite Clayton while in Napa later this year!

I will hold off with my detailed review for November when we discuss the book but I would like to share that I really enjoyed this book. It’s a story of five women who meet at the park and become a strong support system for each other as they learn to write, parent, discuss current events and survive life’s obstacles.

I loved the historical part of the novel, which takes place in the last sixty’s/early seventies. It’s interesting to read how women, wives and mothers may have responded to current events. I was too young to have lasting memories from the early 70’s, it was really enjoyable turning the pages and hearing how women lived life. They were daring women. I highly recommend this book!

As part of today's announcement, Meg Waite Clayton has offered two copies of this novel for a drawing. Please send me an email with ‘The Wednesday Sisters’ in the subject line, along with your mailing address by Monday, July 6th. I will pick two winners at random. DRAWING CLOSED
Below you will find a brief author Q&A along with a link to some video files.

Click here for Video clips and interviews from the authors website

A conversation with Meg Waite Clayton:Tell us a little about yourself: Why is this always such a daunting question? I’m a novelist, but I didn't start out being a novelist. I started out as someone who wanted to be a novelist but had no idea how one went about that - much less any faith in my own talent. I went off to the University of Michigan thinking I would become a doctor, and emerged after seven years as a corporate lawyer. It was another seven years before I worked up the nerve to give writing a serious try. I was thirty-two by then, and pregnant with my second son, who was eleven when my first novel was published.

Along the way, I wrote short stories and essays, the first of which was accepted just a few weeks after I wrote it, and published in Runner's World. That was definitely an exciting moment, seeing my little essay in airport newsstands all over the country.

I've also been raising children all the years I've been writing, as the Wednesday Sisters in my novel do. As a result, I can write anywhere, and anytime. Believe it or not, many pages of my first novel were written at Chuck e Cheese, loud as it is, while my then quite-young sons played in the climbing structure, which they would do for hours.

Do you write daily? Absolutely. What I lack in talent, I try really hard to make up with discipline. Since my sons have been in school fulltime, my rule for myself is 2,000 words or 2:00. When I’m writing first draft—the hardest part of writing for me—I sit down every morning when my youngest heads off for school (my oldest is now at University of Chicago), and I work until I have 2,000 words or my clock ticks over to 2:00. If I have 2,000 words by 9:30 in the morning, I can spend the rest of the day however I want (hiking, reading, eating chocolate—which, admittedly I do a lot of while I’m writing). But the truth is if I have 2,000 words by anytime before 2:00, I rarely get up even for lunch, as that is a great writing day. And once I have a first draft, I can revise forever. That’s the sweet spot of writing for me.

What was it like getting your first novel published? It was absolutely amazing, but also a little bittersweet. I worked with a writing group in Nashville for years. When we first started meeting, none of us had published anything but one little travel article. By the time I moved to California, we’d all published short things, but none of us had yet sold a book. At our last gathering, I gave the others bottles of champagne, so that when the first of us sold a book we could celebrate together in spirit, at least.

Literally days after we settled into our new house in California, I got a call that my first novel had sold. It was lovely, of course, kicking aside the packing boxes to celebrate with my family, but I did wish I could have celebrated in person with the friends that had carried me all that way, too.

I sent out new bottles, and when not quite a year later Brenda Rickman Vantrease sold her first novel, The Illuminator, we popped corks again. And it wasn’t our last champagne either: we now count seven books published or being written under contract among us. THAT is what friendship has done for me.

I’ll confess that I cried when I first saw my first novel in a bookstore, too. My husband saw it first, and called me. Someone bought a copy while we were standing there admiring it, and asked if I’d sign it for her—which of course I did!

What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? I have great affection for neighborhood book stores—I love to browse books—so I worry what electronic books will mean to the future of bricks and mortar stores. But I do already listen to a lot of audio books, and at almost every book club I’ve visited for The Wednesday Sisters, someone has read it on a Kindle. It may well turn out to be the itunes of the book world. And certainly what Google and libraries including the one at my alma mater, the University of Michigan, are doing in terms of providing access to out-of-copyright books is amazing. I was sent one of the first “espresso” books to come off of the University of Michigan espresso book printing machine, and it is a lovely thing.

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? “A writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.” -William Faulkner

It can be really hard to put your work out there and face the inevitable rejection, but every published author I know could wallpaper the old mansion in The Wednesday Sisters with rejection notes. The alternative title for The Wednesday Sisters was The Wednesday Sisters Writing Society, and my friend Brenda likes to say it’s “a how-to-get-published manual disguised as a wonderful novel.” I certainly mean it to inspire people to start writing, or to keep writing, whether they write for publication or for personal exploration—or to reach as hard as they can for whatever their own personal dream might be. I have a writers’ page on my website full of tips and exercises, and I host a blog called 1st Books on which authors write about how they got started, also meant to help writers keep the faith. It includes a post by Brenda titled “A 136-Rejection Overnight Success,” about her path to selling her first novel in a six-figure deal after being rejected by 136 agents.

What are you reading now? I’m rereading Michelle Richmond’s wonderful No One You Know, which is just out in paperback.

Lastly, share one or two of your all time favorite novels read, excluding classics: Charming Billy by Alice McDermott and A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (both of which I suppose are modern classics)
Just for fun:Favorite Season: Fall
Morning or night: Night
Favorite ice cream flavor: Chunky Monkey
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: Just one? So many places I want to go! Buenos Aires. Alaska. The South Island of New Zealand. The South Pole. But I guess if I only get to pick one, it would be Iguazu Falls, on the border between Brazil and Argentina.

Type: Fiction, pages, Trade paperback

SynopsisFive women, one passion, and the unbreakable bond of friendshipWhen five young mothers–Frankie, Linda, Kath, Ally, and Brett–first meet in a neighborhood park in the late 1960s, their conversations center on marriage, raising children, and a shared love of books. Then one evening, as they gather to watch the Miss America Pageant, Linda admits that she aspires to write a novel herself, and the Wednesday Sisters Writing Society is born. The five women slowly, and often reluctantly, start filling journals, sliding pages into typewriters, and sharing their work. In the process, they explore the changing world around them: the Vietnam War, the race to the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they believe about themselves. At the same time, the friends carry one another through more personal changes–ones brought about by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success. With one another’s support and encouragement, the Wednesday Sisters begin to embrace who they are and what they hope to become, welcoming readers to experience, along with them, the power of dreaming big.

"Meg Waite Clayton's The Wednesday Sisters is a heartwarming novel about the joys and complications of friendship, an inspiring story for anyone who has dared to dream big. Clayton's characters are the kind of women you can imagine joining on the park bench—for a good laugh, a good cry, or a spirited conversation about literature and life."— Michelle Richmond, author of The Year of Fog and No One You Know

"Readers will be swept up by this moving novel about female friendship and enthralled by the recounting of a pivotal year in American history as seen through these young women's eyes."— Booklist