By Laura Anne Bird | Photography by Hillary Schave | Shot on location at the Wisconsin Historical Society Library Reading Room
When asked what it was like to launch her debut novel, “The Second Home,” in 2020 and “Shoulder Season” in 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging, Christina Clancy quips, “It was great.” And then she laughs.
“Honestly, it was hard to see so many events and book festivals cancel, one by one. Aside from a few that went on as planned, book clubs — many of them outdoors or on Zoom — were my only opportunity to meet with actual readers,” she says.
Clancy estimates that she visited at least 50 or 60 book groups during that tumultuous time, which was far more than she ever expected. “I’ve been very fortunate to have hooked into the book club community. So much of it is word-of-mouth.”
After traveling and Zooming across the country, Clancy says that she especially loves chatting with book groups right here in Madison, which is fitting because both of her novels contain numerous references to Wisconsin. “I can say with confidence that this town is filled with smart, passionate and engaged readers. It’s inspiring to write when you know there are receptive people out there who are excited about books.”
Actor Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, also known as Jaime Lannister from “Game of Thrones,” is perhaps the most receptive non-Madisonian who has fallen in love with Clancy’s books. During the pandemic, Coster-Waldau read and adored “The Second Home,” which has been optioned for a limited television series. He will star as Anthony Shaw.