posted on May 3, 2024 by Sheila Roberts

What the World Needs Now…

Besides love?

More book clubs! When I first came up with my idea for THE BEST LIFE BOOK CLUB, I thought I was being so original, so clever. A book about a book club – yes! And then, after I’d surfaced from my writing cave back into the sunlight, I blinked and saw… all kinds of novels about book clubs. It appeared that several other writing pals had been equally inspired, two of whom write for my publisher! And yes, I highly recommend you check out Susan Mallery’s THE SUMMER BOOK CLUB, Sarah Morgan’s THE BOOK CLUB HOTEL, and Brenda Novak’s THE BANNED BOOKS CLUB, which is coming out later this year. So many books, so little time, right?

Or, maybe, for you it’s a case of so little money. I need my friends to all take a writing break or else I need a raise! Books, like everything else these days, are getting pricey.

Even so, I’m convinced that there is no better investment than a book. And meeting with other book lovers is a great investment of our time.  Are you in a book club? I am, and there are a couple of things I really appreciate about my book club. First, the people. One of the lovely things about book clubs is that they can often gather different ages together, fostering multi-generational friendships. I firmly believe that, young or old, we all can learn from each other and encourage each other.

That’s what happens in THE BEST LIFE BOOK CLUB. It starts with one woman, Karissa Newcomb, who is struggling to find herself after her husband cheated on her. With her best friend! (Could I have been any meaner to this poor character?!) But Karissa is moving into a new neighborhood and starting a new life. Her neighbors Alice (widowed and terrified to get behind the wheel of her car) and Margot (divorced and dumped by her company) are going to be her first book club members and soon become her best friends. Add in Alice’s grumpy sister, Josie, who has some issues of her own, and I have the perfect mix of personalities, experiences, and needs. These women are going to help each other, and they’re all going to find inspiration from the books they read. What’s in their future? True love, lasting friendship, and their best lives yet – yes!

The other wonderful thing about book clubs is, of course, the books we read. I’ve been with my book club for years and I’ve wound up reading books I never would have picked up. Remember THE BOYS IN THE BOAT? When our leader suggested that, I thought, I don’t want to read a book about rowing. Well, I was wrong. That turned out to be my favorite read of the year. Thank you, book club, for expanding my reading horizons. Of course, I still have my favorite genres – women’s fiction and romance top the list. And if there’s humor involved, I am really a happy camper. But I’m enjoying trying out new books and new authors. You never know when you’re going to meet a new author and fall in love.

Whether we’re in a book club, online or in person, or whether we’re enjoying picking and reading books on our own, we are all connected by the love of books. I hope whatever you’re reading is giving you a great escape, a good scare, or a good dose of encouragement. There are so many good books out there – old classics and new books that are destined to become classics – so many ways we can get a good laugh or a good scare, pass the time on that long flight, keep our minds sharp and our imaginations fueled, and … lose sleep because when we took that book to bed we wound up continuing to turn the page to see what happened next.

I think back on the many books over the years that delighted and inspired me, both fiction and non-fiction. THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS got me hooked as a child. The Nancy Drew novels made me want to become a sleuth. Sadly, I have no powers of observation, so I will not be solving any mysteries. (By the way, am I the only one who was shocked to learn that Carolyn Keene wasn’t a real woman, just a pseudonym which several writers wrote under?) Georgette Heyer, Victoria Holt, and Jane Austen, and then my pals Susan Wiggs and Debbie Macomber, made me believe in the power of love. Donald E. Westlake and his crazy caper novels showed me that I wanted to always try and include humor in my novels, and to try and see the humor in those awkward life situations. (Still trying to forget my recent Lucy Ricardo karaoke performance on the cruise we took in April! Oh, yes, and the time I walked into a pole while waving at someone. Then there was … never mind.) And all those wonderful historical writers like Philippa Gregory, Kate Breslin, Patti Callahan Henry, and Katherine Reay and even my husband, Gerhardt Roberts, to mention only a few, have expanded my knowledge of history. Now, we have Kristin Hannah, who has become a historical powerhouse, enlightening us all on so many forgotten heroines. Good grief, I could go on and on. When it comes to writers you’ve enjoyed and appreciated, I bet you could, too.

So, in short, THE BEST LIFE BOOK CLUB pays homage to books and the writers who labor to bring them to us. Books really do help us create our best life.

So, here’s to books!

Sheila Roberts

Sheila Roberts

Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. She's happily married and has three children. She's been writing since 1989, but she did lots of things before settling in to her writing career, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. Her band days are over, but she still enjoys writing songs. Sheila's books are best sellers and often appear as Reader's Digest Condensed Books. Her novel "Angel Lane" was named one of Amazon's top ten romances in 2009. Her novel "On Strike for Christmas" was a Lifetime Network movie and her novel "The Nine Lives of Christmas" is currently being made into a movie for Hallmark. When she's not speaking to women's groups or at conferences or hanging out with her girlfriends she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women's hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

Sheila Roberts Contest

Sheila Roberts is giving away a box of Aplets and Cotlets, a special Washington treat to enjoy while you're reading her new release, THE BEST LIFE BOOK CLUB.

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4 thoughts on “What the World Needs Now…”

  1. Sharlene Wegner says:

    Great post, Sheila! I will be reading my ARC of your book this weekend!

    1. Yay! I hope you’ll enjoy it.

  2. Penney Wilfort says:

    I’m looking forward to reading this, Thanks for the review

  3. Carol says:

    This was one of your best, yet! I so wish Muriel’s books were real and I am sad Vanessa is retiring! However, these new gals make me want to move into their neighborhood! Thank you for helping me forget my troubles for a bit when I sit with your books and a cup of coffee.

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