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Henna House, Historic Customs, and 100 Happy Book Clubs

February 27, 2015
Author, Nomi Eve (courtesy of Patrick Snook) and Her Beautiful Book, Henna House

Author, Nomi Eve (courtesy of Patrick Snook) and Her Beautiful Book, Henna House

 

I’m so happy to host author Nomi Eve today on the Book Club Cheerleader blog! Not only was her book one of my top favorites last year (and a definite favorite for my book clubs this year) but she is doing something rather fabulous with book clubs that you need to know about…

I feel so lucky that my novel, Henna House, landed on The Book Club Cheerleader’s Top Ten list for the year. And now I get to write a guest post on her blog. I am so happy to be here!

For the past four months I’ve been on a whirlwind journey. It’s nice to slow down and think about where I’ve been and what it all means. When Henna House came out in August, I challenged myself to meet with 100 Book Clubs, either in person, or via Skype to chat about the book. I knew I’d be busy, but I am tickled pink with how it’s all turning out. I just met with my 48th club last night by Skype. #47 actually traveled to me from New Jersey. Now those girls were intrepid and fabulous! Along the way I flew to a library book club in Boise, I’ve Skyped with clubs in different parts of the country, and I’ve personally visited many in the greater Philadelphia area. Oh, and there was also an on-line club that discussed my book at the same time I was having a Skype visit with a club in Chicago. Talk about being in two places at once! That group, the Outlander Book Club, discussed my book in their forum, and then submitted questions to me, which I answered.

Happy Book Clubs Celebrating Henna House

Happy Book Clubs Celebrating Henna House

I’m having a wonderful time meeting readers and answering questions. What I’ve found is that all groups ask me a combination of questions I haven’t heard before and questions I hear over and over. I’ve gotten pretty good at answering the latter. For example, everyone asks me about my research. Considering the fact that I’ve never been to Yemen but I set myself the task of imagining Yemen in the early part of the 20th century, readers are curious to know my process of gathering information and crafting a convincing world. Readers also ask me how long it took me to write the book (2-3 years, but around 6 years just to think of the idea), and why my main character’s mother is so incredibly mean (invite me to a book club and I’ll tell you the answer to that one.)

Nomi's Real Family and Family of Characters (Which one is which, I wonder?)

Nomi’s Real Family and Her Family of Characters (Which one is which, I wonder?)

Also, people are curious about my writing process. They want to know where and how I write. I explain how after my first book, The Family Orchard, was published I had three babies in four years and didn’t write for a long time. When I got itchy to start again, I made myself an office all the way up on our third floor. I was so excited about my “room of my own.” I had all my books nicely arranged on huge book classes. All my papers, my research files at my fingertips. But guess what happened? With three small children, I never made it up to that room on the third floor. So I took my computer and plopped it in the middle of our kitchen. That was six years ago and I’ve been writing smack in the middle of our family ever since. My kids are all rather huge now. Two of them are taller than I am already. I write while they are at school, but also when they are home. My kids could be standing on top of me, and I can still write. That room of my own wasn’t what I needed. I needed to be accessible to my family and to my characters at the same time. Now they are all on top of me – kids and characters, and that’s the way I like it.

Lovely Henna Hands...

Lovely Henna Hands…

Here are some photos. Henna House tells the story of Yemenite Jews, and their precious henna life-cycle rituals. I’m including a henna photo, and an image of a Yemenite Jewish woman in a traditional bridal crown. My characters wear bridal crowns like this for their weddings. There is also a photo of my kids, and I’m including a whole bunch of book club photos. I take a photograph at each visit and post them on my FaceBook Author Page and on my blog. I love these photos. They are creating a visual trail of this special time. I am so grateful to the book clubs for inviting me into the warm circle of their close relationships. Many of the book clubs I’ve met with have been getting together for decades. After each visit I take notes. One day I’ll write a book called The Hundred Book Club Journey about the experiences I have had and the things I learned along the way.

Yemenite Jewish Women Wearing Traditional Bridal Crowns

Yemenite Jewish Women Wearing Traditional Bridal Crowns

Thanks, again, Nomi, for sharing some of the inside scoop on your research and writing process, the historical facts behind your fiction and the fun challenge you’ve set for yourself visiting book clubs. Remember, readers, if you’d like Nomi to visit (phone, Skype, stalk, etc.) your book club, please contact her on her blog. Who knows, your book club could be the magic number 100! I don’t know that there’s any kind of prize for that (other than being able to spend an evening with Nomi) but we are holding a drawing for a copy of Henna House—thanks to Nomi’s generosity—on Book Club Cheerleader, and all you have to do is comment below. Good Luck—and Rah, Rah, Reading!

Cheers!
BCC

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Kay Huck permalink
    February 27, 2015 7:57 am

    This sounds fascinating Marsha…I always enjoy your blog Kay

  2. TERESA BLAKE permalink
    February 27, 2015 8:06 am

    Thanks Marsha for the great article. I look forward to reading Henna House, especially now that I know the Author a bit!

    Thanks again, Scarlett

    • February 27, 2015 8:08 am

      Terry: I hope you love the book as much as I did! It’s always fun to read a little background about the author, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by. Cheers! BCC

  3. Mary permalink
    February 27, 2015 9:05 am

    Marsha,

    You’ve done it again!

    This was a very interesting article, about a very interesting lady, and her dedication to write a very awesome book in spite of her very busy life! I really enjoyed reading Henna House…and have told everyone I know or run into that love books as much as we do….to run not walk to get a copy! I just cannot say enough about it and the whole story line!

    In the article it says that we could be one of the lucky 100 that Nomi might visit, so I say let’s “phone, Skype, stalk, etc” or do whatever is necessary to be one of the top 100!

    Cheers to the best “Book Club Cheerleader” ever! And to Nomi Eve for a great story of about love, tragedy & family ties!

    Mary

    • February 27, 2015 9:34 am

      So, Mary, if you win a copy–you can GIVE it to one of your friends! Glad you liked the book–and it’s fun to pull back the curtain and get a glimpse of the author, isn’t it? Thanks for your very kind comments!

  4. February 27, 2015 11:15 am

    Hi Marsha, Theresa, and Kay, thanks for your enthusiastic response to the post. Doesn’t Marsha do such a gorgeous job with her blog!? I hope you enjoy my book, and would love to Skype with your group. All the very best, Nomi Eve

  5. Betty W permalink
    February 27, 2015 12:19 pm

    This was such an interesting article and I really enjoyed the pictures, as well. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • February 27, 2015 3:52 pm

      Thanks, Betty. You think Nomi did a good job with the guest post–wait until you read her book!:-) Cheers! BCC

    • March 5, 2015 4:02 pm

      Yay! Congratulations to Teresa Blake for winning today’s random drawing of a copy of Henna House, Nomi will be in touch to send the book to you! Whoot!

      • Mary permalink
        March 5, 2015 8:08 pm

        Congratulations Terry! 😃

  6. February 28, 2015 3:55 pm

    Lovely article! For anyone who’s interested, the historical photos (and some of the henna) are from my work on Jewish henna, which I have been researching for the past seven years. You can see more on my website: http://www.hennabysienna.com

    • March 2, 2015 6:38 pm

      Noam: Thanks for sharing you website–and sorry for not attributing the photos. I will check out your website and try to match-up the photos. Cheers! BCC

  7. Laurie Hildebrandt permalink
    March 2, 2015 2:30 pm

    This is a fascinating story and chock full of historical detail. I loved the view of women in this extended family within a culture where males dominate – all the rituals involved with henna applications for milestones of life bring the women together for nights of laughter, food, love and support for one another. I learned so much from this novel but the “lessons’ are subtle as this great, intriguing story unfolds. Since I read the book, I find myself thinking about it as time goes by.
    It is fun to see the photos on your blog, Marsha! Thanks for sharing the conversation. Laurie

  8. Dan Norton permalink
    March 3, 2015 12:22 pm

    You are amazing Marsha…

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