Book Club Discussion: If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

If I Fall If I Die FL2W Book Club Banner

If I Fall If I Die FL2W Book Club Banner

It’s book club discussion time for our first pick of 2015: If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie (Hogarth). In the novel Will is a young boy who lives in two worlds: Outside and Inside. Due to his mother’s severe agoraphobia, he’s lived Inside for most of his life. So what happens when breaks the rules and goes outside?

Filled with many dichotomies, this novel inspired a wide range of responses from our book club members. Head over to their blogs to read our book club discussion for If I Fall, If I Die:

Have you experienced anxiety or fears like our book club members have? 

Visit Michael Christie at his websiteFacebook, and Twitter. Grab a copy of If I Fall, If I Dieand share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

January Book Club: If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

If I Fall If I Die FL2W Book Club Banner

If I Fall If I Die FL2W Book Club Banner

I love the smell of a fresh new book club selection! Our first book club pick of 2015 is  If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie (Hogarth). Our members are in the throes of reading it and it’s good. The novel is told from the point of view of a young boy, who has never been Outside:

Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and loving, full of art, experiments, and music—but confined to their small house.

But Will’s thirst for adventure can’t be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside.  With the help of an artistic loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedom of skateboarding, Will is pulled far from the confines of his closed-off world and thrust headfirst into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.

If I Fall If I Die by Michael Christie

Join us on January 22, when we discuss  If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie. The book releases on January 20th, so pre-order your copy now because this is an amazing read! Then come back and share your thoughts on the novel.

Want to learn more about our Canadian author? Visit Michael Christie at his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Our Favorite Book Club Books of 2014

Favorite book club books 2014


Favorite book club books 2014

This has been a busy year for our book club! We read 19 books together!

I love that From Left to  Write reads such diverse range of books. I polled our members to find out which of our 2014 was their most favorite. Not only were these great titles to read, our discussions for each of these were really insightful and fascinating. Here they are in the order that we read them.

Our Favorite Book Club Books of 2014

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement (February book club). Don’t let this slim novel fool you. Between those two covers is a powerful, life changing story about a young girl in rural Mexico who tries to avoid human traffickers and drug lords. Our book club discussion touched on topics about identity, growing up in Canada, and the beauty of young girls.

The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger was our March book club pick. The highly entertaining debut novel is written entirely in the form of letters and legal documents as it recounts an acrimonious divorce. With this book, we discussed everything from love letters to parenting to dream jobs.

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittmore (May book club) actually made it on the favorite and least favorite lists for our members. Any book that causes such strong feelings is definitely one you should read. Part coming-of-age and part mystery, this multilayered novel shows the affluent and influential families have deep secrets too. Our discussion included college life, summer experiences, and special needs siblings.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (July book club). We usually don’t read children’s books for our book club. Dahl’s book celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and we joined the festivities.  Rereading this classic in tandem with our kids (for those who have kids) brought back so many good memories! We even had some young readers join our discussion!

Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg (September book club). Nordberg investigative book was an eye-opener for many of us. Before this, none of us had heard of the secret Afghan practice of pacha posh, where young girls are dressed and raised as boys–something originally unfathomable in a culture where the two genders are segregated almost from birth. Our discussion of this book is not to be missed.

Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan (December book club) came at the right time for us. November and December are busy times for bloggers, and our book club members enjoyed escaping to the small town of Mill River. Since sibling rivalry was a big theme of this novel, our discussion touched not just our siblings but our children. Our members shared some tough moments in their lives too.

Whew! It was hard to narrow down our favorites. I think our favorites are the ones illicit a strong reaction from our book club members, whether they loved it or disliked it. That’s what you want from a book club pick right?

What was your favorite book club book of 2014?

Darcie Chan Shares Inspiration Behind Her Mill River Series

Darcie Chan Headshot
Darcie Chan Headshot

Darcie Chan  (Photo credit: Carrie Schechter)

We had so much fun discussing our December book club selection  The Mill River Redemptionthat we asked author Darcie Chan to come back for an interview! Our From Left to Write members had some great questions about the inspiration behind her novels and Darcie even shares her writing process with us.

From Left to Write: I fell in love with the residents of Mill River. I know many people imagine what it’s like to grow up in a small town where everyone knows everyone. How did you come up with Mill River? Was it inspired by a specific place?

Darcie Chan: I actually did grow up in small towns in several states. The smallest, Cheraw, Colorado, had only 160 children in the entire school system  – kindergarten through 12th grade — when I attended middle school there!

The village of Mill River is fictional, but aspects of it are common to all of the small towns in which I lived. It has a strong sense of community. It’s a cozy, comfortable place. The neighbors and townspeople know each other, or know of each other, at least.  Now that I live just outside of the biggest city in the country, I find myself missing these small-town characteristics. I wanted to create a setting for my books that would in some ways provide an escape from our crazy, Internet-obsessed, technology-driven world.

From Michelle at Honest & Truly!: I’d love to know about her sibling relationships – does she have any siblings? Are they close? Were they always close if so and if not, was there a cause to their rift?

Darcie: I do have two younger sisters, and the three of us have always been and still are very close. When I was considering story ideas for my second book, the idea of a test of a sisterly bond intrigued me. I began to wonder about the limits of such a bond — how far could it be stretched? Could it ever really be broken? Or, would something of the relationship survive even unimaginable tragedy?

Mill River Redemption Book Club FL2W

From Val at Children of the Old School: Can you share more about your inspiration behind Claudia’s character, especially for those of who have not yet read The Mill River Recluse?

Claudia isn’t based on any real-life person. I actually wanted her to be a character to whom many women could relate. Claudia struggles with her weight, with her self-esteem…she has remade herself, yes, but now, in her maturing relationship with Kyle and her relatively recent move to Mill River, she is also working to find herself.  I think what she is going through is something that many, many women in their early thirties experience.  

From  Jennifer at mamawolfe: I’m always curious in the pre-writing process. I’d love to know where your germ of an idea started, and how you began drafting. Please tell us more about your process.

Darcie: My idea for Redemption arose out of my thinking about my relationship with my own sisters. (See my answer to the earlier question about that.) But, I find that I can’t start writing until I have the basic story arc in my mind. I have to know how a story will begin, how it will end, and a few things that will happen in the middle. (I don’t have to know every detail…I think a lot of the fun in writing is having things happen in a story that you didn’t plan!) Once I had those basic ideas for Redemption, I typed out a chapter-by-chapter outline — nothing too detailed, just a basic roadmap for things that had to happen in each one. Then, I started writing…and I just worked straight through the outline for about six months until I’d completed a draft.


From Left to Write: What books are currently on your nightstand? (Our readers always love to know.)

Darcie: I’m embarrassed to have so many that I haven’t read yet! Here’s my ever-growing list:

From Left to Write: Can you share any hints about your next book?

Darcie: Hmmm. Well, book 3 (it doesn’t officially have a title yet, although I have one in mind) is pretty much Father O’Brien’s story, although familiar characters are also featured, and a few new ones are introduced. The narrative toggles back and forth between Father O’Brien’s youth during the Great Depression and present time.  Oh, and readers will learn the root cause of his “spoon problem.”  I don’t have a firm publication date yet, but I think it will be out in fall of 2015.

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Darcie! I’m excited to read the next book. Father O’Brien is such a calm, strong character. I can’t wait to learn more about his back story!

For updates on Mill River and its townspeople, visit Darcie at her website. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

What book on Darcie’s nightstand do you think she should read first?

Book Club Discussion: The Mill River Redemption

Mill River Redemption Book Club FL2W

Those of us who have brothers or sisters have experienced the joys of sibling rivalry, but the sisters in our December book club selection  The Mill River Redemption haven’t spoken to each other in years. Today From Left to Write members are discussing Darcie Chan’s novel set in charming Mill River:

Did you read The Mill River RedemptionShare your thoughts in the comments below. We’re hosting a Q&A with Darcie Chan next week. Submit your question and it must just end up in our Q&A!

Make sure you enter to win a copy of The Mill River Redemption. Giveaway ends tomorrow! The novel and its The New York Times bestseller companion The Mill River Recluse make a terrific holiday gift!

Learn more about Darcie at her website. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

December Book Club: The Mill River Redemption + Giveaway

Mill River Redemption Book Club FL2W

Mill River Redemption Book Club FL2W

Since we coming upon a 4-day weekend for our Thanksgiving holiday, why not get a jumpstart on December? Our December book club selection is the perfect for curling up on the couch with a hot cup of chocolate or tea. From Left to Write book club members are reading The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan.

I think you’ll be charmed by the residents at Mill River, just like I was. Meet Josie and her daughters:

Josie DiSanti is starting over. Recently widowed, she has fled her New York City home with her two young daughters—spirited Rose and shy Emily—in tow. She takes refuge in Mill River, Vermont, to live with her only remaining relative, Ivy Collard, the local bookstore owner and a woman Josie barely knows. There, the young mother and her girls build a new life for themselves—until a shocking tragedy tears the sisters apart.

Years later, Josie’s still-estranged daughters return to the quiet town for the reading of their mother’s will, which stipulates that they must work together to locate a hidden key to a safe-deposit box containing their inheritance. Even from the great beyond, it seems Josie will do anything to bring about her daughters’ reconciliation. Having no choice but to go along with their mother’s final wishes, Rose and Emily move back to Mill River for the summer to begin the search—discovering that, in the close-knit community known for magic and miracles, an even greater treasure awaits them.

After you read The Mill River Redemption, make sure you read more about how Mill River began in The New York Times bestseller The Mill River RecluseWe’ll be back in a few weeks with a Q&A with Darcie. In the meantime, pick up your copy of The Mill River Redemption and join From Left to Write members on December 2 to discuss the novel.

The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan

More about the author: Darcie Chan is the author of The Mill River Recluse, a debut novel that became a word-of-mouth e-book sensation. With nearly 700,000 copies sold, The Mill River Recluse appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists for 30 weeks and became a heartwarming favorite of readers across the country.

Darcie was born in Wisconsin and grew up in the small towns of Brandon, Wisconsin, La Junta and Cheraw, Colorado, and Paoli, Indiana. Thanks to loving and supportive parents who are both educators, she learned to read and write at an early age. She has two younger sisters, with whom she is very close. 
Currently, Darcie lives just north of New York City with her husband and son. 

Learn more about Darcie at her website. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Giveaway: One lucky reader will win a copy of The Mill River RedemptionEnter using the Rafflecopter form below (U.S. addresses only). If you’re reading this in your email, click through to enter the giveaway!

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