Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The First Rule of Book Club...

by: Maegan Beaumont

Is you don't talk about Book Club.

Come on, you didn't really think I'd talk about my first Book Club experience without referencing what is arguably the best Brad Pitt movie of all time (12 Monkeys is a very close second...)


I'll be the first to admit that CARVED IN DARKNESS isn't exactly what I'd deems as "book club" material. I never imagined a group of readers gathering in someone's home or in a restaurant to talk about my book.
I just never thought of CARVED as that kind of book.
Apparently, I was wrong (it does happen from time to time...).

A few weeks ago, I met with a group of women who not only chose CARVED as their book club monthly read but were thrilled at the opportunity to discuss it with me. I can tell you, they weren't half as thrilled as I was! What an honor to be able to sit and talk about my writing with such a wonderful bunch who listened with genuine interest and asked some very thought-provoking questions. One woman in particular had some pretty hard-hitting questions that I'd like to share as I imagine she isn't the only one who's read CARVED that has wondered the same thing...

How do you reconcile the role of mother to young children with the graphic violence you write about? How are you able to transitions between such extreme roles so easily?

Much like my protagonist, Sabrina Vaughn, I'm able to compartmentalize quite well. It's probably a skill I acquired during my days working in mental health. No matter what is going on around you or inside you, there is a job to do in front of you and you do it. And while you're doing it, everything else gets put in the box. In action, this looks like me spending hours dreaming up gruesomely horrible murder scenes and then when the bell rings (I have to set an alarm or I'll forget to pick up my kids from school... don't judge me.) I close down my computer and become a mom again. That doesn't mean the other stuff isn't there... it just means I've put it away for later.

How do you feel about your contribution to the culture of violence against women in society?

I can honestly say that while CARVED is violent and yes, that violence is centered around women, I never thought that I was contributing to a "culture of violence against women".
And I still don't.
What I did was give this world something it can never have too much of--a strong female protagonist who not only survives what what done to her, she perseveres. She fights and she wins.

Of all the questions though, this was by far my favorite...

I've read other books  featuring what was billed as strong, female protagonists but it seems like every other page someone is calling  her "baby" or "sweetie"--and she lets them without even batting an eye.  I read CARVED very carefully and didn't find one such instance. Did you find yourself ferreting those exchanges out in the editing process to make Sabrina more equal to her male counterparts?

No. No, I never went through the book to weed out what I thought were instances that would make Sabrina appear less than equal to her male counterparts. I never did that because I never wrote them. It honestly never even occurred to me to write them because Sabrina is equal and all the men in her life know it. They also know that if they ever called her "baby" or "sweetie" she'd go ten kinds of Tyler Durden all over them.

Maegan Beaumont is the author of CARVED IN DARKNESS, the first book in the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series (Available through Midnight Ink, spring 2013). A native Phoenician, Maegan’s stories are meant to make you wonder what the guy standing in front of you in the Starbucks line has locked in his basement, and feel a strong desire to sleep with the light on. When she isn’t busy fulfilling her duties as Domestic Goddess for her high school sweetheart turned husband, Joe, and their four children, she is locked in her office with her computer, her coffee pot and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, and one true love, Jade.

  "Prepare to be overwhelmed by the the tension and moodiness that permeates this edgy thriller. Beaumont's ability to keep the twists coming, even when the answers seem obvious is quite potent." 
- Library Journal (starred review, Debut of the Month)


Shannon Baker said...

I've only done one book club and it was a lot of fun. Very astute readers asked me some great questions. Sounds like you had a great time.

Deborah Sharp said...

I remember my first book club. They dressed up in costume and served foods from the book. Fun! (Guess it would be scary if they dressed in theme from Carved in Darkness, no? Congrats on the killer Library Journal review.

Maegan Beaumont said...

It was a really great time, Shannon! I can't wait to do it again. :)

Maegan Beaumont said...

A CARVED themed book club... sweet tea and lemon pound cake comes to mind (it's in there!) as for dressing up like the characters... I see lots of cargo pants and guns. Not a cute look. ;)
and thanks, Deborah--I'm still a bit shocked over the LJ review myself!

Beth Groundwater said...

You got some tough questions from that book club, Maegan! I've done many book club visits over my career, some in-person and some remotely via speakerphone or Skype. I prefer the in-person visits (they usually give me wine & food!), but I've enjoyed them all. I also provide book club discussion questions for each of my books on my website and bring them with me for the book we're discussing, in case the group wants to use them.

Maegan Beaumont said...

Tell me about it, Beth! I was sweating bullets... We met face-to-face which I thought was nice for my first time. :)
I never expected CARVED to be chosen as a BC selection so preparing questions never occurred to me. Luckily for me,they came prepared O.o