I have had great pleasure recently in visiting some readers’ groups and talking about Maker of Footprints. Drawing on the comments from so many thoughtful readers, here are some questions that might be good discussion starters for your groups.
- Do you think Paul Shepherd deserved forgiveness for his actions? If so, who had more to forgive, Dianne or Jenna?
- Some readers have said that Maker of Footprints evokes a strong sense of place. Do you agree and if so, which location of the several in the novel seemed most real for you?
- Have you any sympathy for Dianne? Why or why not? Does your view of her change over the course of the novel?
- Paul came home from England for a very particular reason. If he had stayed in England and pursued a successful career, do you think he and Dianne would have had a happy marriage?
- If you had to choose between Dianne and Arabella, which one would you prefer to have as a friend?
- Speaking to Adam, Jenna says “There’s a part of us that can’t speak until something speaks to it. Wakes it up and speaks its language.” What do you think Jenna meant by this?
- Do you sympathise with the conflicting demands that Jenna’s father Donald faced during the crisis with Luke?
- Paul and Jenna have very different personalities. Had circumstances been different, could they have been happy in the long term?
- Jenna had to think deeply about boundaries in her own personal behaviour. Was she right in eventually crossing her own?
- There are many interlinked relationships in this novel. Did Max have any influence on the course of events?
- Which character in the novel do you identify with most?
- One reviewer saw Paul as a tragic character. Do you agree with that description?
It’s important for me to listen to readers and hear the things – themes, character studies and motivations – that readers have taken away from the book. These discussions have definitely made me think more deeply about my writing and have been a great encouragement to carry on when sometimes the big nasty doubt-monster takes a few bites out of me!
I’d love to hear about your Reading Group! Tell me a bit about yourselves and what you have been reading. A photograph would be good too and – if you say it’s OK – I might even do a short feature post on you!