Hello everyone and welcome to another Saturday Spotlight– where every month I feature an author and their recently released work. For the month of May I am thrilled to spotlight Tif Marcelo and her new release In A Book Club Far Away.
About the BookIn a Book Club Far Away by Tif Marcelo
Published by Gallery Books on April 6, 2021
From the author of Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever After comes a heartwarming and moving novel following three Army wives—estranged friends—who must overcome their differences when one of them is desperate for help.
Regina Castro, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, and Sophie Walden used to be best friends. As Army wives at Fort East, they bonded during their book club and soon became inseparable. But when an unimaginable betrayal happened amongst the group, the friendship abruptly ended, and they haven’t spoken since.
That’s why, eight years later, Regina and Sophie are shocked when they get a call for help from Adelaide. Adelaide’s husband is stationed abroad, and without any friends or family near her new home of Alexandria, Virginia, she has no one to help take care of her young daughter when she has to undergo emergency surgery. For the sake of an innocent child, Regina and Sophie reluctantly put their differences aside to help an old friend.
As the three women reunite, they must overcome past hurts and see if there’s any future for their friendship. Featuring Tif Marcelo’s signature “enchanting prose” (Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake) and the books that brought them together in the first place, In a Book Club Far Away honors the immense power of female friendship and how love can defy time, distance, and all old wounds.
About the Author
Tif Marcelo is a veteran army nurse and holds a BS in nursing and a Master’s in public administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She is also the author of Once Upon a Sunset, The Key to Happily Ever After, and the Journey to the Heart series.
Thank you so much for having me! I’m so thrilled to be here!
1- For readers who haven’t read In A Book Club Far Away can share what the book is about and the inspiration behind it?
IABCFA is about 3 Army wives who met at a book club a decade ago, in which something happened to break them apart, and their story today as they navigate their way back to friendship. It’s told in two timelines so we can see their past and their present stories unfold.
2- The story is told from three very distinct POVs. Did you always intend for the story to be told this way? How did it grow and change through the drafting process?
Yes! I did want three of their points of view on the page, but it took me a bit to figure out that it should be told in two timelines. So, in the beginning, I wrote the present timeline (the current story) and got majorly stuck! I realized that there was the past to untangle.
3- Sophie, Adelaide, and Regina are all so different. Was one character harder to write than the others? Do you identify more with one over the others?
I thought they were all hard to write! I was keen to make sure that none of these women resembled any of my dearest friends, or me, for that matter. I wanted them to stand on their own. I identify with all three in a small way. With Regina, because I was a soldier, too. With Adelaide, because I had to come into my own despite having supported my spouse through is career. With Sophie because of her fortitude to be independent.
4- As a veteran, what was it like incorporating some of your own experience into the novel?
I tried to remember the nuance of being both being a spouse and a soldier! It’s a middle ground that I myself had to navigate.
5- I absolutely adored the book club aspect of the novel, from the monthly selections to the themed activities. Did you base the book club on your own experiences or an idealized book club that you wish existed?
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words! Oh my gosh, I’ve been part of quite a few book clubs and each one had its own personality. From being serious, to an environment where we hardly talked about the book! The Millersville Book Club us definitely its own personality too! However, what is true is that I met my dearest friends from book clubs (both civilian and military-affiliated).
6- At it’s core, In A Book Club Far Away is about relationships, especially female friendships. Were the friendships in the book based on your own experience?
No, but the strength of friendship over time (despite distance) is absolutely true. And the quick nature of which these friendships root is absolutely true for me too. I would drop anything for my dearest military spouse friends. If they call, I will be there.
7- What surprised you most in your drafting of In A Book Club Far Away?
Drafting this book was fast, about six weeks! It kind of poured out of me! (Now the editing…that was another story!)
8- In A Book Club Far Away was a Book of the Month pick. Congratulations! Was it a surprise? Can you speak at all to the process of it being chosen?
It was an absolute surprise and an honor! I was notified by my publisher and I screamed excitedly on my side of the screen.
9- Do you have any reading or writing quirks?
Writing: I write/edit in 30 minutes sprints. Then I have to get up!
Reading: I read every day almost without fail! At least 30 minutes.
10- What are some books that shaped your love of reading? What books made you want to become a writer?
S.E. Hinton, through her book, The Outsiders, inspired me to want to write! I was about 10/11 yrs. old when I read the book.
Other childhood favorites that shaped my love of reading: Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Judy Blume’s Just as Long as We’re Together.
11- As an author, what would you like readers to know about author life, writing books, etc…?
That a writer is someone who writes, full stop! To be a writer is to practice it. And no one can decide or stop someone from being a writer except oneself.
Rapid Fire Questions
- Favorite place to read?
On my living room couch, all spread out!
- What is your go to snack?
- What was the last book you read?
Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin . It’s so good!
- What are your reading essentials?– outside of a good book of course!
Coffee, and a light fleece blanket.
- What are some 2021 releases you are excited about?
There are so many books coming out this year that I’m excited for. It’s tough to pick, but if I did three, it would be:
Erin Entrada Kelly’s Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey
Emily Henry’s People We Meet On Vacation
Jeanette Escudero’s The Apology Project
- What do you hope readers will take away from In A Book Club Far Away?
That friendships can last a season or a lifetime but they all matter and are valuable.
- Lastly, where can readers learn more about you and your books?
On my website! TifMarcelo.com
What About You?
Do you have any questions for Tif? Have you read any of her novels? Let me know in the comments!