19 August 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels interviews Nora St.Laurent, TBCN ANNIVERSARY


Nora is a column writer for Book Club Corner in the Christian-Fiction On-Line Magazine, also Book Club Talk for Novel Rocket and is featured in the Christian Retailers Magazine in a column she writes with her husband Fred St.Laurent called Join the Club, which featured book pick favorites that have been voted on through TBCN community and the book won the vote for Fiction or Non-fiction.

I met Nora through some online groups, including ACFW as she was the book club assistant for 2 ½ years and then became the ACFW On-Line Book Club Coordinator for 2 ½ years. She recently resigned her position as the Coordinator in March of this year as The Book Club Network has exploded book club giveaways and has over 2, 200 members.

Nora, welcome.  Can you share a way God has worked in your life?
I know God has a plan for us. We are wonderfully made. No part of us is a mistake. In our weakness He is strong. He’s made us to fit in a place where we can make beautiful music and sing His praises. I have to remember that as I face my own challenges in doing what the Lord has called me to do. He’s called me to run book clubs. Not hard you say? True, a piece of cake if you’re a reader and aren’t dyslexic.

I remember the first time someone asked me to run a small book club at church. I couldn’t believe my ears. Did I give this person the impression that I read? This person said I needed to pray about the calling. She felt I was the one for the task.  I went to the Lord. I got the strangest peace about leading this small group. I did work at a book store. It seemed a natural challenge to take on.

It was natural until my boss sat me down one day and said the whole staff was talking about me and that they wanted me to run a book club at the Christian book store I work at. I was petrified. I was reminded of Moses. God had asked him to go to Pharaoh and talk to him about His people. Moses didn’t speak well. He was asking me to run a book club and I didn’t read.

I was reminded of how God asks us to come to Him as small children. I was reminded of Isaac and his joy of facing the challenges before him. He knew God was with him so he ran on full steam ahead at the challenges in life. I on the other hand I reminded God that I was dyslexic and didn’t have much need for reading in my life. I had spent most of my life avoiding it. I read what I had to, but for me watching movies was a lot more fun.

The Lord told me to Fear Not He would be with me. He asked me this, “Nora can you love the ladies I put in your life the way I have loved you?”

“Is that was this is about God? If that’s the case and it had nothing to do with what I’ve read or haven’t read then count me in.”

“Yes, that’s all I’m asking you to do. I’m asking you to show the love of Jesus to the people I bring in your life.”

I went to my boss and shared the message I felt God was telling me. My boss affirmed me. He said that he saw it as an outreach to the community and a way of giving back to the customers. It was then that a book club was born.

Currently I’m running two face-to-face book clubs one at the Christian store where I work and one at my church. My husband and I also started The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org on line, connecting authors with book clubs and leaders.

We want The Book Club Network to be the place to find Christian Book events, book signings and other book fun. I’d never thought in my wildest dreams I’d be mixed up in all this. But I can see that if we walk in what He’s called us to do. He does far more than we could imagine. I’m still dyslexic and still face challenges like my son. But God has restored the bad memories of my past and brought amazing fun to reading and writing. I’ve learned that in my weakness He is strong and gets all the Glory!

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
"He said to me, "'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'

"Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said to them, “…….do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Thank you Nora for agreeing to this interview and sharing your writing experience with us.  

It’s been a Pleasure being here Carrie!! Thanks for asking me to share. I’m excited about The Book Club Network’s second year Birthday party in August where we’ll be giving away 10 books a day. Thanks for letting your readers know about this!!


Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Netowork

Great giveaways all month long at TBCN! Leave a comment here, too, for a special OTT-WGH giveaway this week in honor of Nora and Fred!


  1. Welcome to OTT this week, Nora! What a pleasure it is to have you, and thank you for sharing your marvelous testimony with us. I'm so glad you trusted God and instead of looking at what you couldn't do, you trusted God to help you do it "in spite of." And in doing so you have blessed so many people! Thank you, on behalf of all of us book lovers everywhere.

  2. NORA, welcome and thanks for sharing your testimony with us! It's amazing how God works! Beautiful to read how you trusted God and to see what you are able to do now!

  3. A great story. Nice to see you here NORA. Blessings on your week with these uber fine ladies. Meanwhile I'll go back to TBCN & interact with some good folk there. Cheers.

  4. CARRIE AND NORA -- WHOO-HOO!!! Two of my FAVORITE PEOPLE together on one blog!!

    GREAT interview, guys, and may I just say that you two do more for Christian fiction than most people I know, and I am SO blessed to call you dear friends.


  5. MURRAY, thanks for stopping by! I'm sure you are going to miss us. ;)

  6. THANKS SO MUCH for having me here today!! The ISAAC I mentioned in this interview is my son Isaac you’ll hear about a little later. He’s my hero.

    Thanks MARIAN for your encouragement

    DIANA for having me here it’s kind of strange to be talking about myself when I’m all about telling readers about a new book I’ve just discovered that would work well for their book club to is just fun to read! Thanks for helping spread the word about our Birthday Party Month at The Book Club Network. Grin!

    JULIE Thanks for your encouragement and prayers my friend. I just finished your new book that will be out soon called A LOVE SURRENDERED. Your best work so far my friend. I really love how you talked about a Passion Most Pure. How to share that and save it for marriage and our Passion Most Pure for our Savior, Loved how you were honest, and open about the struggles single people have and also married couples. I salute you and THANK YOU for writing this series and this book. I pray it will give many the courage to save the precious gift we can only give once and for those married to keep things Pure. Also for every one of us to discover the Passion Most Pure the Father gives us to encourage and love one another. I might add that I saw the Book cover with the glob on it OHMYGOSH!! Hope to check that one out soon!Grun

    MURRAY – I appreciate you and your enthusiasm to share with readers and to be transparent. I haven’t read any of your books yet, but I have one by my night stand calling my name. We’ve had AMISH WEEK at The Book Club Network this week. You can still enter the Drawings we have posted every day this week at www.bookfun.org Click the Giveaway Link and answer the question that Murray and the other authors have come up with to give you a peek into their new book and create a dialogue and have fun in the discussion.

    We are very excited about celebrating our Second Birthday Party in a big way, thanks to Wynn Wynn Media, Bethany House Publishers, and Revell for making our birthday party possible!

    Everyone will have a chance to enter our contests everyday. FIRST you’ll have to join The Book Club Network – it’s free. Then you’ll answer one of the questions that the authors have come up with to be entered into the drawing. Winners will be picked once a week and announced once a week.

    We have so many great books being given away. You'll have a chance to enter drawings for different Christian Fiction books every day. The winners will be picked once a week and announced once a week.

    We are also THRILLED to announce that we'll be publishing our FIRST BOOK FUN MAGAZINE SEPT 1st. It's a digital Magazine about Book Clubs, Book Clubs, Events, Food, reviews and so so much more!!

    Our Birthday Bash is well under way and there is lots of reader and author interaction. We have new book giveaways every day. I’m Thrilled to say that many of the authors will be interacting with readers as much as their schedule allows!! What’s has been GREAT fun to read!! The beauty of that is the discussion will be discovered by book club leaders and readers long after this month is gone!!


    Nora St.Laurent
    The Book Club Network CEO

  7. JULIE, nice to see you girl! CARRIE is on vacation this week. I'm not sure if she will be able to visit with us at all. I hope she's having a great time!

  8. NORA, it's so wonderful having you with us this week on OTT-WGH! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. GOD is so amazing the way He does things, sometimes He moves us out of our comfort zone for our good. And in your case it was for our good also! Thank you for following His call on your life. Looking forward to the rest of the week. :)

  9. Wonderful to see Nora here and learn more about the start of TBCN and the vital ministry she and Fred have! I was thrilled when Revell and TBCN partnered for a giveaway for me this month. I was so touched by the response and all the comments. Prayers with you as you continue to touch readers lives with what you do. A burst of light in a dark world!

  10. I would really like to encourage everyone to join in on the celebration that NORA just mentioned! I won a great book over there that was on my wishlist!

    JULIE, I have A Love Surrendered on my Kindle and it is next! Mr. PURA kept us hopping so much over here this past week, I didn't even get to poke my nose in it once. ha ha That is one popular man! sheesh!

  11. I loved this interview Carrie and Nora. I've been weepy all day today and again when I read Nora's great testimony. I love how you put your faith in God and followed his leading. You obeyed his calling. At Church today we had an amazing service with our youth. Yes, I was weepy in church too! They are excited to see where God is going to take them next. I for one haven't been so obedient, stuck in my past. For that I had to ask forgiveness. I'm ready to press on! Thanks Nora for showing me what God has done in your life.


  12. What a fabulous interview with Nora. I've emailed with her a few times, and she's so friendly. Getting to know her so much more personally through your interview with her is a pleasure. What a lovely and Godly woman! Thanks for sharing her with us!

  13. NORA is all those things, NANCEE, and we've all been so blessed by her obedience to start The Book Club Network. Her love for people truly shines through!

  14. JUDY, the Lord is so mindful to show us our shortcomings in a non condemning way! Holding on to the past is like a calf tied to a post. He can only go so far and then the rope will pull him back again. I have been there and done that, too, JUDY, and when one suffers from a devastating past, it is a constant battle not to look back.

    JUDY, I feel like the Lord led me to give you this scripture and it's for the both of us. Isaiah 43:19--Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? Press on, gf, and lets go forward and see what new things the Lord has in store for us!

  15. I think I have two minutes left on the internet before I have to get off, lol! Thank you NORA for being our guest all week and sharing your journey!!!

    Thank you DIANA, TERESA, and MARIAN for being awesome blog contributors. And for your prayers! Ya'll are awesome prayer warriors as is NORA!!!

    25th anniversary on Mackinac Island should be great. We are going to Fort Michilimackinac today for research. Big hugs!!!

  16. Thank you Diana for your words of encouragement. I thank you for the scripture you posted! We as believers need each other to lift us up and yes even for accoutablility purposes. I know Satan wants to take me down. He is always reminding me of my short comings and failures of my past. He's there to remind me of all the horrible things that have been done to me in my past. He can't have me! I cry out to Jesus every day. Some days, ALL day long. I know he is there for me no matter what. This morning on my walk I saw the most beautiful sunrise and was trying to imagine what Heaven would be like. It will be even more beautiful than that sunrise. I thanked God for life and the beauty of His creation. I prayed for all my FB friends as well as family and church friends. I also prayed for a man who was not honest in his business dealings last week. God wants me to forgive him and pray for him. I did and I have.

    Blessings and have a wonderful Monday!

  17. CARRIE, have a blast, gf! We are missing you, but so glad you got a chance to go on vacay. Me and my lovely and illustrious cohorts will hold down the fort!

  18. Thank you, JUDY, for that lovely post. I am so glad you could feel and see His presence on your walk. satan is good at throwing up our past, b/c he doesn't want us moving forward. The next time he brings up our past, we can remind him of his future! One drop of that precious blood covered all of our sin, our past, our shame, and our guilt...it's gone never to be remembered anymore. Now that's some kind of mercy and grace, I'll tell ya!

  19. This is a very interesting interview. I will be visiting the blog
    Again. Thanks!

  20. Thank you DIANA, TERESA, and MARIAN for being awesome blog contributors. HAPPY 25th anniversary Carrie as you celebrate it on Mackinac Island should be great.

    Funny We are having a GIVEAWAY by Cara Putman the title is WEDDING TRANSPIRES ON MACKINAC!! Fun Cover and I bet you are going to have a BLAST CARRIE!! Praying you do anyway!!

    THANKS everyone for your prayers and support!!

    STOP BY TBCN and Enter more Giveaway opportunities. I just posted two more this morning. We are having such computer issues as Every program we have is doing an UPDATE!! YIKES!! But it's SUSPENSE, MYSTERY DAY @TBCN
    www.bookfun.org CHECK IT OUT!!

    I'm OFF TO WORK!! Check on you all tonight!!


    Nora St.Laurent
    The Book Club Network CEO

  21. I've been over there this morning, NORA! Great!...and something for everyone...not just one genre. I have A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac, and I need to get a chance to poke my nose in it, so I can let everyone know how it is!

  22. Yes, I'd like to know how that book is, DIANA! So get to reading it, girl! :)

  23. LOL! It's in my TBR stack, MARIAN. I'm sure you know nothing about those tumbling over book piles, do you? ;)

  24. Waving to our wonderful friend and author, LAURA, up there! Is the giveaway for LAURA FRANTZ'S new novel, Love's Reckoning still open at TBCN, NORA? There is also a giveaway of LAURA'S book on: http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/

  25. DIANA, I'm SHOCKED. Did you see that CARRIE said y'all!! Not so long ago you said she would never write that in a comment. Remember?
    Apparently vacation can do awesome things to a human being! lol

    I just ate two cupcakes in your honor; since you are only here virtually, I HAD to eat one for you too.

  27. Diana, I love it that you don't capitalize our enemy's name either!!! Kathleen

  28. Happy Birthday, Nora! I now can say I am member. I love it!

    Amy C
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  29. MARIAN, yay, we finally rubbed off on CARRIE! I didn't even notice "y'all" till you said something. :)

    AMY, it is great isn't it?

    KATHLEEN, he doesn't deserve one! And pass the cupcakes please. :-)

  30. Oh, my Nora!
    How amazing is our God? I really enjoyed hearing about your journey, many thanks for sharing!

    I'm part of the Book Club and I would really recommend it too. There's good stuff happening there everyone! =)

    Thank you for this post OTT-WGH.


  31. Happy Anniversary Carrie!

    Sending you blessings!

  32. GANISE THANKS for your prayers, support and encouragement. I’m Thrilled your part of TBCN. God does far more than we could Imagine or hope for.

    AMY C. WELCOME!! I’m thrilled you are part of TBCN too. We have the honor of giving away so many amazing books. I’m glad that you’ll be able to interact with the authors. Get to know their hearts and have fun!

    LANE HILL HOUSE – THANKS for the Cupcakes. I’m so glad you brought then and even more thrilled you ate them. Now I don’t have to feel guilty!! Grin! We can CELEBRATE TOGETHER and BOTH FEEL GOOD!! Grin! Thanks for putting the FUN in TBCN where BOOK FUN BEGINS!! I hope you have had a chance to interact with the authors and put your name in the hate for all the books we are giving away and will be still giving away in the next TWO WEEKS.

    LAURA FRANTZ'S new novel, Love's Reckoning was last week’s Giveaway. You can check out the discussion through. They had a BLAST!! Thanks for helping the readers have such a great time Laura!!

    TONIGHT FRED AND I ARE going to be on the RADIO at 10p.m. Central time 11p.m. EST I'm going to take a nap in a little while so I'll make sense or be a wake by then. GRIN!

    Lynette Sowell Posted this @The Book Club Network FB Page

    TONIGHT on The Flashlight Reader: I'm excited to have the chance to chat on the air with Nora and Fred St. Laurent with TBCN. Here's a link to the show which also has a call-in number if you'd like to ask a question http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-flashlight-reader/2012/08/21/the-bookclub-network-for-readers-and-writers


    Nora :o)

  33. I truly enjoyed reading this interview with Nora. Makes me appreciate what you do even more given the hurdles you have overcome. Keep up the good work!

  34. A wonderful interview, and Nora, thank you very much for your organization and the opportunities that you offer to us, the readers of such wonderful books. Happy Anniversary, and I hope that the future continues to be a success for you. With God's blessings I'm sure it will be.

  35. thanks for a wonderful interview, Nora! love your books! love The Book club Network too!

  36. RHONDA, thank you on behalf of Nora for coming by! I agree TBCN is great!

    NANCEE, we all appreciate NORA and FRED for all the work they have put in TBCN. And I know they appreciate wonderful reader friends like you, as do we! Thanks for stopping by!

    Darlene, these testimonies of overcoming are great, aren't they? Thank you!


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