Zoom-Bombed at the Book Club
I have to admit that when the pandemic hit and everything went online I went into a massive sulk.
One of my favourite aspects of my writing career has been getting to meet other writers and readers, through my talks and workshops. The thought of trying to replicate that online via Zoom filled me with dread. I’m not exactly tech savvy and the thought of getting endlessly stuck in the ‘Joyce, I think you might be on mute’ loop made me want to weep.
But then in January, my novel, An American in Paris, came out and I received a couple of requests to give talks to book clubs who were featuring the book – via Zoom. It was time to put on my big girl pants!
The first Zoom event I did was hilarious. The organiser hadn’t password protected it and so we got Zoom-bombed by pranksters. I had to deliver the first 5 minutes of my talk watching their jokes scrolling by in the comments, while trying desperately to keep a straight face!
But interestingly, I got off that talk feeling weirdly energised. After months locked away on lockdown, it felt so good to be put on the spot like that, living on my wits as I delivered my talk, unsure what the pranksters might do or say next. And the feedback I got from the genuine attendees was extremely positive.
So I accepted the next Zoom book club invite with pleasure. And the next, and the next.
In the past month, I’ve talked to readers via Zoom as far afield as Florida, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina and Wisconsin, and here in the UK. We’ve laughed, chatted and formed connections just as rewarding as any I’ve made back in the ‘real world’ days.
And as a result I’ve learned something really useful and interesting… by sulking about the Zoom world I was being my own worst enemy, choosing to be a victim of my circumstances rather than see the opportunity.
And the opportunity Zoom provides for book clubs is huge, bringing readers and writers together from all over the globe.
So… if you have a book club – or just a group of friends you’d like to gather online for a bookish chat – and you’d like to feature An American in Paris, I’d love to help make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
Below, I’ve created some discussion prompts about the book for you to use, and I would love to join you via Zoom to chat about the book and answer your questions.
An American in Paris – Discussion Prompts
An American in Paris features a dual timeline. Are you a fan of this type of book or do you prefer a novel to stay within one time period?
Which of the timelines did you find most engaging?
Which of the characters did you like the best?
Which did you like the least?
Why do you think the author chose to make the character Sage a social media influencer in crisis?
Could you see any parallels between Sage and Florence’s stories?
The healing power of nature plays an important role in the novel. Did this theme resonate with you? Have there been times in your life when you’ve found nature healing?
Although Florence is a fictional character, she was inspired by real life accounts of women who fought for the resistance during the war. With that in mind, what effect did Florence and her actions have upon you?
Did any of the historical details in the novel come as a surprise? Which had the most powerful impact upon you and why?
What did you think of the relationship between Florence and Otto?
What was the overriding theme / message of the novel for you?
An American in Paris – Q&A
I also made this video of my answers to the most frequently asked questions I’ve been receiving about the novel. So, if you aren’t able to invite me to join you, this is the next best thing!
If you would like me to be a guest at your book club simply drop me a message via the Contact page on this site.
Here are what some reviewers are saying about the novel…
‘A dazzling and sweeping tale of love… Unforgettable.’ Bookish Jottings, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘It WILL be one of those novels that EVERYONE talks about for a long, long time.’ Bibliomiast, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘A gripping wartime drama that will have your heart in your mouth.’ French Village Diaries, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘I can honestly say it is divine and I simply adored it… The book is truly beautiful… It is a real gem of a book and a fantastic read that I encourage all those who love historical fiction to pick up.’ Whispering Stories Book Blog, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘An enthralling story that puts readers in the middle of the chaos surrounding World War Two… Grabs readers from the beginning and won’t let them go until they finish the last page… I loved absolutely everything about this novel and won’t hesitate to claim it as my favourite historical fiction read of 2020.’ Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘I loved every second of this book… Teaches us to be strong and that true love can give you a strength you never knew existed… I highly recommend curling up with this lovely story and reading it from cover to cover!’ Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘This book has it all… Action and intrigue, friendship and most importantly love… Great WWII novel about strong women and the roles they played during the war.’ Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘A great dual timeline historical fiction novel that kept me entertained throughout… This book has a little bit of everything… Intrigue, mystery, twists and turns, love, loss, romance, and sadness.’ Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Fantastic World War Two era read… You will love this book. I found both main characters to be believable and interesting. I was immediately swept up in their stories.’ Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐