One member must submit a request on behalf of your book club. When selected, the phone is scheduled based on the availability of the author and of your book club. Your group will have enough time to read the author's book before the discussion is held. You will meet at a place of your choosing, and use a telephone with speaker function.
A phone chat can range from thirty minutes to one hour, depending on the author's availability. We encourage you to prepare questions in advance so you can make the most of your time.
New authors are added to this program every month. To select an author, visit our website at: www.authorphonechats.com
Mary Beth H., Syracuse, NY
Talking to Jon Clinch was the highlight of six years of meetings with my book group. We all absolutely loved Finn, and everybody had a lot of questions. Jon gave us so much valuable information about the story itself, how the characters were developed, and his unique writing process . . . all of which was fascinating. Jon was down-to-earth, extremely engaging, and seemed just as happy to meet with us as we did with him. It was a wonderful experience, and I would highly recommend it to other book groups.
Shoshanna K., Jamaica Plain, MA
Our telephonic book group with Jon Clinch was a great hit! Although our group of moms tends to choose women's fiction, this book had surprisingly wide appeal for us. It was a juicy combination of family relationships, classic American literature, history and thriller. It sparked a lot of conversation, both during the phone call and after. I think a few people were nervous initially at the prospect of talking to the AUTHOR, and having an audience to our conversation; but no worries, Jon was very accessible and fun! This was an opportunity to hear him talk about his choices for the book and his thoughts about the characters without having to get to an author's reading, (hard enough to get a babysitter for the book group meetings!). And this was so much more intimate!
Cynthia Glazier, Jacksonville, FL
Our book club was lucky enough to participate in an author phone chat with Lorna Landvik. What a delight! She was incredibly gracious, taking her time to answer all our questions. This definitely was the highlight of our book club meeting last year. It also gave us the opportunity to discover the works of a talented and insightful writer. The process could not have been easier and I would highly recommend it to all book clubs as a way to go beyond talking about the surface of a book and instead get a unique perspective - that of the creator of the story.
Nancy Birkett, Flower Mound, TX
I won a phone chat last fall with Adriana Trigiani. We discussed her books, her ideas, what she enjoys reading, the things that draw us to her characters, backgrounds and families. It was an enchanting experience; she's a wonderful person and so easy to get to know. I can't wait to hear more from her and hope to meet her face-to-face someday...and I'm really looking forward to the movie of BIG STONE GAP! Thank for giving me the opportunity to win this wonderful experience!
Candice Michalik, Lynchburg Public Library, Lynchburg, VA
My library book discussion group spoke by phone to Donna Woolfolk Cross about her novel, POPE JOAN. Donna is a joy to chat with. She is knowledgeable also has a wonderful sense of humor. We learned so much about the process of writing and about the world in the time of Pope Joan's reign. To prepare for the discussion, we read the book and studied the discussion questions. To anyone contemplating a phone chat, I say: "Go for it!"
Courtney Havenwood, Fairfax (Virginia) Book Group
My book group discussed THE PURSUIT OF ALICE THRIFT with Elinor Lipman -- and we loved it. To prepare, we (of course!) read the book. Several of us had read other books by Ms. Lipman as well. In addition, we did some Internet research about Ms. Lipman and her other works. We would all highly recommend Author Phone Chats to other book groups. The experience gave us a greater appreciation for what went into writing the book we read AND a greater appreciation into the author's insights.
Sandra Buto, Beartown Book Club
Our book club - Beartown Book Club - spoke with Sarah Bird, author of THE
YOKOTA OFFICERS CLUB. It was definitely the highlight of our history as a book club! Sarah was so personable and put us at ease immediately. We had prepared questions in advance - mostly about her reasons for leading the story and characters in the directions that she did. Sarah allowed us to ask the inevitable questions about which parts were biographical and lead us to see the characters in more multi-dimensional ways. Sarah let us talk ourselves out and we never felt hurried or under any obligation to keep the conversation going. I am sure we spoke with Ms. Bird for more than an hour and have heard from her by email a number of times since. It was an incredible experience and quite frankly, we have not spoken with another author since, so sure we are that it cannot compare to our "chat" with Sarah.
Jon Clinch, author of Finn
I never get over being honored (and a little bit shocked) that people want to talk with me about Finn. That moment of connection is huge for me—especially when readers begin speaking of Finn and Mary and the Judge as if they're real live human beings with emotions and difficulties and histories all their own. I think it affects me so profoundly because that same idea—the unshakable notion that Huck was real and his father before him was real, too—was at the heart of my need to write Finn in the first place. So how cool is that?
"I have a ball chatting with book clubs from all over the country- we share laughs and stories and most importantly, books. I've found over the past few years that the clubs have gotten very focused and disciplined, at the ready with questions for discussion. Don't get me wrong, the wine flows freely, but so do the ideas and shared experiences of reading. It's a great way to spend an evening. I treasure my clubs."
Laura Pedersen, author of Heart's Desire
"I enjoy phone chats because most book group members are lifelong readers and have a genuine love of stories. The participants make wonderful comparisons to other novels and characters they've enjoyed over the years and it soon feels as if we're holding an old fashioned literary salon. In addition to being well read, the members are usually very smart and incredibly funny and so we laugh A LOT throughout the course of the discussion."
"Thanks to all the book clubs with whom I've spoken over the telephone. Not only do I hang up feeling I've talked with friends, I feel I've talked with smart friends. It's always fun and enlightening (I've learned a lot about my books through you!)now if only we could figure out a way to share a glass of wine over the telephone..."
"I love this century, or at least the speaker phone part of it. It's just
amazing to me that I can sit on my couch in Kansas and chat with readers in
New York, or California, or Canada. It's such a joy to talk to a roomful of
people who have read my novel and are eager to talk about it. When we're
finished chatting, I hang up feeling grateful and happy. There's just one
problem, as I've told some of them. . .I can't be there for dessert, and
everybody knows that book clubs have the best desserts!"
Why do I have to complete this form?
These questions tell us more about your book group and give us a better sense of our audience. They also provide us with the necessary information to schedule a phone chat for you.
Can I submit requests for more than one author?
Yes, you can submit a request for more than one author. However, we recommend that you provide your book group with enough time to prepare for each discussion.
If my group is selected for a phone chat, will we receive free books?
No, your book club members must purchase the book at your own expense and read it in preparation for the phone chat. Some bookstores offer special discounts to book clubs that are registered with them. Ask your local retailer for more information.
I would like to participate but I'm not in a book club.
The phone chat program is designed for book clubs only. See below for our helpful hints on how to start a book club.
I have a question that is not addressed here.
If you have a question that we have not answered, please submit your question to us via email at RC@randomhouse.com.
How to find members
- Start by asking friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. Put up flyers at work, the library, your church or synagogue, coffee shops, or your college alumni club. Also, be sure to look online where other book lovers are just a click away.
How to pick a book
- Pick a format: many groups prefer paperbacks since they're not as pricey as hardcovers. Our Reader's Circle paperbacks have discussion guides bound inside. Just browse the 325+ titles featured in this catalog.
- Choose a theme or genre that interests you and look for new releases by reading the book reviews in newspapers and magazines.
- Ask a retailer: your local bookseller will be pleased to offer reading suggestions. Plus, some stores offer group discounts to book clubs.
How to lead your group's discussion
- If you designate a moderator to direct the flow of conversations, be sure to rotate so everyone shares the responsibility.
- Come prepared with questions, select passages to read out loud, draw comparisons to other books, and find out more about the author or time period.
- Ask each person to give a brief overview of what they like or dislike about the book. It's a good way to break the ice.