Dear Sandra

Notes on the Writing Life

Bookclubs and student report back ...

Sandra meets with both bookclubs and classes, either in person, or -- more recently -- through Skype (which enables a visual meet, computer to computer), or telephone.

See below to read what bookclubs have reported back.

And click here to read what students have to say.


From ABC — the Algonquin Book Club (see their photo at right): All of us agreed that Mistress of the Sun was a spectacular book -- and it's unusual that we all agree. We followed the discussion guide that was available from your website, which was very helpful. We have also read the Josephine B. books, which I personally consider to be amongst the best stories I've ever read.Our Book Club is really enjoying this book [The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.] and several have already started on the second and third volume. It is well researched, documented and written, and one learns history in a most entertaining way. I would recommend this whole series. (I have read this three book series twice.)

The Wormies of Clearwater, Florida recommend:
"We loved this book because of its format - a diary written from a woman's point of view [Napoleon's wife]. We liked that it's historical fiction and a little bit slutty, too. It features a strong woman working in the shadows of a strong man, and really describes the times they were living in."
Paired with: French cheeses with crackers, French wine, croissant sandwiches, fresh fruit, and Napoleons.
[As quoted on The Bookclub Cookbook blog.]


Thanks again for all your input on Josephine. We had a great book club discussion, everyone was very enthusiastic about the book.

I'm a member of a book club in Toronto. We read The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B last year and most of us went on to read the other books. We loved them.

This month, my book club - we do not have a name - gave your book the highest rating ever! I was thrilled since I recommended buying the trilogy, and most will finish all of it, not just the first as required for the meeting. It is addictive they tell me. History comes alive and is not just facts but is about the people who lived during those times.


I have been elected by our book club to let you know that today was the first time in all the years we've been meeting that EVERYBODY liked the chosen book. The book was Josephine B. Many of us had read all three of your books.

I am one member of a book club of about 25 women. We read the first Josephine book and it was, without a doubt, the favorite title we've read since the club's inception. We have all since read the other two books and mourned the final page of the last book - knowing that our time with Josephine was over.


I chose your trilogy for my book club and the response was amazing. We all loved the book, the prose, the letters, the plot, the characters and the passion. Thank you.


Your trilogy was a "most favorite ever" among just about all of our members.

Students write ....

Sandra meets not only with bookclub, but with classes. Through Skype, she recently met with Forest Hills Central High French class. The letters she got back from the students show how effective this means of communication can be.

Here are some brief quotes from some of the responses she received:

" was a great opportunity to speak with you and have some of our questions answered!"

"It was really cool that we could actually talk to you about your book so we could get your, the writer's, perspective on everything."

"After talking to you, I am inspired to learn more and feel I have a new connection with the books. The hour was memorable..."

"I enjoyed hearing about all of the research and technique that went into writing these fabulous novels."

"It was so incredibly cool to talk to a real life author..."

"I found your input very intriguing and now am very fascinated by the genre of historical fiction."