Interview with Tracy Fenton, the founder of THE Book Club.

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You might be asking ‘who is Tracy Fenton?’ Well she is founder of THE Book Club on Facebook. This is a secret group that can’t be found via searching. The only way you can gain access is to be invited by an existing member. Tracy set the group up after becoming tired of the spamming and bad atmosphere of other groups that were too big to be moderated properly. After almost two years the group has become influential for authors and publishers – who often offer exclusive ARC copies of books to club members! The group is made up of a combination of authors and readers and has a really positive, supportive atmosphere.

So, I have asked Tracy (with no ‘e’ –  it’s important to remember that if you’re invited to join the group!) some questions so we can find out more about her, her reading preferences and how she reacts to meeting her favourite authors. Here’s what she said:

Tracy book What was the first book you read that made an impact on you?
Too many books to mention – however Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes was probably the first psychological thriller I had read and experienced some intense emotions including fear, dread and terror that it changed my entire reading tastes as prior to that book I was more of a chick-lit/rom-com type of girl. The Wronged Sons by John Marrs also had a profound effect on me. It was the first time I had ever been compelled to contact an author and tell him how much I loved his book. I messaged him via Goodreads and didn’t actually expect a reply and when he replied almost instantly telling me how important it was to hear from readers, my entire attitude to reading changed and I realised that authors were “human” too and needed love and support and encouragement.

Since setting up TBC, what has been your proudest ‘book’ achievement?
Again too many to mention. My first acknowledgement in a book, being a named character in a book, raising £10k for Cancer Research through our Charity Book Auction. Being contacted by authors asking for “my” opinion… really? Why me? Being contacted by members who tell me how much TBC has changed their reading habits and sometimes their lives.

Tracy with Peter James In a previous interview with #CrimeBookJunkie Noelle Holten, you say that you were a very shy child. Which author have you been the most shy or nervous about meeting?
I would have to say either Peter James (pictured with Tracy, right) or Lee Childs. I am a huge fan of both authors and meeting them at Harrogate last year was almost like an “out of body experience”. However, both Peter and Lee were absolutely wonderful and it was a pleasure and an honour to be able to meet them, have a chat and take some photos.

Do you have a favourite genre? If so, what is it?
I like to consider myself a bit of a book “tart”…if it’s well written I will read anything – contemporary, crime, mystery and suspense. However my default setting would have to be psychological thrillers.

Is there a genre you don’t like/avoid reading, or will you give anything a try?
I haven’t yet read any paranormal romance or dystopian… but that doesn’t mean I won’t give it a try in the future.

Tracy with Jem Lester, author of Shtum.Has a book you’ve read or an author you’ve met ever changed how you think about anything?
Yes, The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman made me think twice about diets and worrying about weight loss, Shtum by Jeremy Lester (pictured with Tracy, left) made me realise that every child is a gift; The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman reminded me that I need to tell my family how much I love them more often and 50 Shades of Grey made me realise I need to experiment more the bedroom!!

Now I know you don’t appreciate shameless author promos in the group, but if you had to come up with a slogan or catchphrase to promo TBC, what would it be?
THE Book Club – An international community of bookworms who read, recommend and review books plus a bunch of weirdos with a sense of humour.

What are your top 3 books of 2016 so far?
Can I cheat and put 3 books published in 2016 and 3 books I read in 2016; actually as it’s my interview I will anyway:

Published 2016 –

  1. Between You and Me – Lisa Hall

  2. In Her Wake – Amanda Jennings

  3. Little Boy Blue – M.J. Alridge

Read in 2016 –

  1. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes Anna McPartlin

  2. Letters to My Daughter’s Killer – Cath Staincliffe

  3. The Letter – Kathryn Hughes

Thank you for taking part today Tracy. I’m sure people will agree that you have achieved a lot with THE Book Club. Thanks also go to some TBC members who offered ideas for this post. Thanks to Lynda Deutrom, Claire Knight, Simon Page, Loo Elton and Gail Shaw for their entertaining suggestions for titles and content.

As always, thank you for reading.

All the best,

Mark.

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