Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Grace-filled Tuesdays (Book Club "Meeting" #1)

Well, several months ago I said that there was going to be a book club here at String of Pearls and that it was going to start in early 2015.  So...I think it's about time I got going on that.

Since my first novel is titled Finding Grace, I thought I'd use "Tuesday's child is full of grace" (a line from an old nursery rhyme that begins "Monday's child is fair of face") as inspiration for the name of the club, as well as the day of the week on which it will be held. (BTW--thanks to those who voted when I asked what your favorite names for the club would be.)  I will use this book club to discuss Erin's Ring as well, which has no character named Grace in it, but is also--I hope--full of grace for the reader.

Okay, where to start?  Well, I'm just spit-balling here...but I though I'd point out some things that both of my novels, Finding Grace and Erin's Ring, contain (and I don't think I've included any true spoilers here, but it might be better to join the club after you've read the books).

1. A family with lots of boys in it (five Kelly brothers in FG, four McCormick brothers in ER--and who knows, maybe that baby Ellie McCormick is carrying is another son?).  Hmm...wonder why?
2. A minor character named Harding, which happens to be my maiden name (the kindly pharmacist in FG, the kindly English landlord in ER).

3. Lots and lots o' Irish characters!  Folks with names like Kelly, Foley, McCormick, O'Brien, Finnegan, Kennedy, McQuinn...if you're a sucker for an Irishman, you just might like my books.  (My mom's maiden name is Kelly; and my husband is just about 100% Irish, on both sides--I never thought the last name Pearl sounded all that Irish, but turns out it is.)

4. Men who are carpenters (Abe Perlmann in FG, Tommy McQuinn and Dan McCormick in ER), with comparisons to St. Joseph the carpenter.  My husband, you might be shocked--shocked!--to know, is also a skilled furniture-maker and woodworker.
5. Pearls (Peggy Kelly's trademark necklace in FG, the strand that holds Mrs. Driscoll's eyeglasses in ER).  Pearls are my favorite jewels, as you might have guessed.

6. Reminders of Mary's role as a Mediatrix, along with characters who pray the Rosary.
The daily Rosary has been a part of our life for many years, and we are devoted to Mary, our Mother.

7. An important male character with many of my husband's attributes--physical and otherwise (Tom Buckley, the handsome, gap-toothed love interest in FG, and Dan McCormick, the airline pilot/devoted husband and father in ER--and when I wrote about Seamus Finnegan in ER, it was my husband's face I pictured).  I read an interview once where an author admitted that even after many years as a writer, her husband still got a little jealous of her male characters.  I could never create a love interest for my female characters who didn't have at least a passing resemblance to my guy, so I don't think that's going to happen in our house!
8. Allusions to St. Joseph (see #3), the patron saint of families (and to whom we Pearls pray, with utmost confidence, for special intentions regarding our various family members--especially the powerful prayer called "The Unfailing Petition to St. Joseph," which was included in ER).
9. Information about our dear friends in Heaven, the saints (there is a lot more of this in FG than in ER; but even in the much shorter ER, the reader learns for whom Saint Aloysius is the patron).
10. A climactic scene involving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I can rarely receive the graces of this sacrament without tears, always humbled by God's endless capacity for mercy and love.  It has the awesome power to heal and console, so I think it is fitting that when my characters have major struggles in their lives, they wind up in the confessional unloading their burdens before God, aided by a holy and compassionate priest.

During some recent airline travels, I started reading a work of fiction wherein the main character is a young woman who pretty much lives to read--she's a quiet type who works in a bookstore and always has a novel going.  I find this sort of character in a lot of the novels I read.  And it hit me that many people who write novels create characters who are avid readers (and often writers) like themselves.  My sweet bookworm Grace fits this bill, always alluding to Mr. Darcy and other favorite characters from her favorite books--and hey, it just so happens that all of her favorite works of literature are mine, too!  Who would have guessed?  But with Erin's Ring I actually managed to create two young female characters who aren't obsessed with reading, like I am.  However, Molly McCormick loves learning about  history and combing her grandmother's attic for treasures from times gone by...and boy oh boy, does that ever sound like a girl I know very well.  (Can writers ever really separate themselves entirely from the characters they bring to life?)

Okay then, that's a good start--don't you think?

If you're reading this, and you've read both of my novels, can you think of any other similarities between the two?  Or do you just have a question you'd like to ask me?  Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you!  And I will respond--that's a promise.


  1. I still need to read Erin's Ring. It is on my 2015 list of books to read. :)

  2. I still haven't read Erin's Ring .... i am an awful sister. I haven't taken the time to sit down and read it! I didn't want to just read it without having the time it takes to really READ it, so it is waiting for the right time. But I love all of the similarities ... and you didn't spoil it for me, you made me want to read it all the more!!

    1. You're such a speed-reader, when you do start it you'll probably be able to finish it in one or two sittings! :)

    2. And you are a fabulous sister!!!

  3. That is the other thing ... I don't want to start because I don't want it to be done!! LOL I love you!

    1. I've always liked books that take a while to read, too. When I finished writing Finding Grace, I thought it wasn't long enough!! And reviewers often comment on how long it is.