Q & A with Patricia Sands, Author of The Bridge Club
What’s your favorite chapter in The Bridge Club?
Wow, you’re putting me on the spot right off the bat! I’m partial to each chapter for different reasons but if I have to choose one, I’ll say the last chapter. My actual bridge club would go for a ski weekend each winter just as they do in the story so I could really picture where the characters were and what they were doing as the chapter unfolds. I believe that this chapter truly demonstrates the essence of the women’s friendship and the strength of the bond they shared. The crisis they face is controversial and also current. It’s an issue that many people don’t want to discuss but it touches many of us in different ways. People find it interesting to know that I chose to write the last chapter the way I did because I simply could not force myself to decide which character would be the one to have to face the dreadful diagnosis. In the end I realized that this made the story more interesting to the reader and offered a great point of discussion for book clubs in particular. Many readers write me and ask me to confirm their suspicions as to which character it is. If they are right, I’ll tell them. If not, I don’t. They seem to like that and get back to me again when they’ve taken another look at the story.
Were you concerned about the characters coming across correctly in your writing, ie. are some more likeable than others?
Of course the author hopes that each character comes to life in his or her own unique way. Ultimately the reader decides if this is so. Different readers have related to one or another of the characters in The Bridge Club for reasons of their own and definitely there are some stronger personalities in this group as there are in life.
Why are the women in this book drawn to the game of bridge?
These ladies partied hard together in their early twenties and if some of them got together when they were recovering from being “overserved”, they would get out the cards and play bridge. When they discovered there were eight out of their large group of friends who loved to play the game, they decided to get together once a month to do just that. As you see in the story, there were years when the cards didn’t come out too often! But then there were other times when a game of bridge was just the diversion they needed when a major crisis loomed.
Bridge really plays a minor role in this story but the reader does discover how it’s a game to be enjoyed throughout life. You never stop learning with bridge and even though these women were very different in many ways, the fun and challenge of bridge was a common denominator.
In your own bridge club, isn’t it true that all ten stayed connected for 40 years? How were you able to accomplish that?
In fact, it’s been more than forty-five years although we are all still in shock at being, ahem, the ages we are! We certainly don’t feel it! Six of us still live fairly near each other in the Toronto area and get together but all ten of us keep in touch. Last September we spent a week together on Vancouver Island, where two of the women live, and had an amazing time. We still do the group birthday every five years as they do in the book and last year was a biggie. Some of us have places in Florida (as retired Canadians like to do … ) and so visits are planned. As a matter of fact, I am there at the moment. There have been six of us down here over the past two weeks and we all had a bbq at my place last evening. If you truly want to maintain friendships it just takes a little planning and effort.
What do you think women gain from the friendship of other women?
Most women have an innate ability to be a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another with the special kind of talk that women do when they’re with each other. It can be a very healing experience. Women network very effectively and somehow are able to combine business and personal aspects of their life to a maximum effect. The book demonstrates how women empower each other through friendship. They can also party together in the best way! (There’s a good post on my blog about a study done at Stanford University about women’s friendship if anyone cares to read more information about it. www.patriciasands.wordpress.com)
Who’s your favorite character in the book?
Now that’s a question I most definitely cannot answer! Since the book is based on my real bridge club, the characters are all very real and quite true to life. I love all of these women equally and felt the same as I created the characters on the pages. However, I do enjoy having readers express to me who their favorite was and why.
After writing it, would you change anything now?
One thing I discovered through this experience of becoming a published author is that it is very, very difficult to say your story is finished or complete. It seems there is always something on which you want to do more work. As The Bridge Club is my first novel I am well aware there are aspects that could be improved upon. I have learned so much about the art of writing and I see improvements and greater awareness as I work on my second novel.
The Bridge Club is a 1000 GIRLFRIENDS’ BOOK OF CHOICE. We highly recommend this remarkable story of friendship. It’s the PERFECT book club choice. Click here to purchase the book. For our Canadian GIRLFRIENDS, Click Here for Amazon Canada.