Monday, August 11, 2014

Book club Questions for Just One Thing, by Holly Jacobs

Book club questions for 
Just One Thing
by Holly Jacobs:

I’ll confess, I’ve never developed bookclub questions before, but since a couple people have already asked, I thought I’d give it a shot.  One friend pointed out that as the author I had a unique take on what I hoped readers took away from the book. 

I hated to disappoint her, but I don’t have any particular point I want anyone to take away from the story.  When I write the story, I create and control it.  It’s my universe and I’m the only one playing in it. 

But when I send the book to a publisher, I lose some control…my editor joins in my vision and helps me refine it.  Then when a book is published, I lose all control.  As a reader, you bring your unique vision…your worldview to the story.  That view colors the book for you.  And as the author, I am totally okay with that. 

I used to argue with my English teacher (who spent a great deal of time talking about what any particular author was trying to say in their book), that sometimes a story is just a story.  That sometimes a writer was just telling that story with no particular ‘message’ in mind. 

As a writer, I would add that even if a writer does have a message in mind, what the reader takes from the book is up to them.  It’s unique.  And if a reader picks up Just One Thing a decade from now, what they take away might bear no resemblance to what they take away the first time round.
So as the author, I hope you enjoyed Lexie and Sam’s journey in Just One Thing.  And if you found some meaning in it, well, that’s good, too!

I'm parking these questions here because it will be easy to reference.  And if you are reading Just One Thing with your book club…thank you!! 

Book club Questions:   

1.     What did you think when you first saw the title, Just One Thing?  Did your thoughts about the title change after you’d finished the book?

2.      One could argue that Lexie and Sam’s friendship begins, gradually, in an unlikely place: a casual tavern. What relationship have you had that started out in an “unlikely place”? What and where was that place?

3.      For Lexie, The Corner Bar becomes a kind of home, a surprising second home. In your life, what places have, perhaps to your surprise, become a second home?

4.      At what moment/event/catalyst in the book do you think Sam truly transitioned from being Lexie’s “Monday-night friend” to more than a friend?

5.      Lexie talks about the potent smell of Gracie’s room. In your life, what smells do you associate with a particular person or life event or time period?

6.      In Sam’s life, it’s his friend Grid who reminds him how tough Sam is and urges Sam to do the work it takes to walk again. For you, what person has really urged you to pick up the pieces in a particular situation? As Lexie so beautifully put it, who has made you feel brave?

7.      In Just One Thing, there are so many threads of how we become estranged from one another and how we reconnect. What family or friends have you reconnected with? In your life, what’s your favorite feel-good reconnection story?

8.      What is the significance of Lexie’s tapestry to her?  What did it mean to you, the reader?

9.      What is your take-away from Just One Thing?

(Hopefully) Fun FAQs For Bookclubs and other readers:

~A lot of movies have ‘Easter Eggs’ in them…small inside jokes.  Well, so do most of my books.  Just little tidbits friends and family might recognize.  The fact the book was primarily set on Mondays was something I did for my Facebook/Twitter/Google+ friends.  You see, I like Mondays.  (I work out of the house and after a chaotic weekend Monday morning comes round and the family goes to school or work and the house is mine.)  On Mondays I tend to post something about my Monday Glee.  So the fact the story took place mainly on Mondays was my shout-out to my online friends! 

~The setting for Just One Thing is a fictional town in Western PA.  They say writers write what they know. Well, we have an eighteen acre camp outside Erie.  It’s wooded and has a spring and creek.  It’s surrounded by a thriving Amish community.  And yes, I could walk to a small town that has a church, post office and bar…and not much else.

~I have four kids and garage roofs were a particular fascination for them…and after all those years of yelling at them to get down off the roof before they broke something, I suppose I should thank them for the inspiration!

~The town Lapp Mill is mentioned in the first book in my new series, Christmas in Cupid Falls (out in October).  Both Lapp Mill and Cupid Falls are fictional and in my head they’re both somewhere between Waterford and Union City, PA.  If you’re from the area, yes, it’s a tight squeeze.

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