How did you respond to the book’s mixed genre? It’s been reviewed as mystery, women’s fiction, paranormal, coming of age, and literary fiction. Did you want it to fit a genre more neatly?
Mystery can mean an enigma, a puzzle, a secret, or something impossible to explain, as well as a novel about solving a crime. Without a crime to solve, what were the mysteries?
Were there any characters you had especially strong feelings about? What was it about them that affected you?
Is there a villain in The Calling? If you think there is, who is it and why do you see this person in that role? If you think there isn’t, explain why not.
Themes in the story include power, professional ethics, personal fulfillment, and privacy. The questions that follow explore those themes.
- If you had the gift of the Sight, with the same limits and abilities that Mae has, how would you use it? Would you be tempted to use it in ways that might cause you some ethical misgivings?
- The nature of Mae’s gift provokes concern about privacy in the course of the plot. Are there ever considerations that take priority over privacy?
- How does each of these characters—Charlie, Randi, Malba, Deborah, and Mae—approach his or her professional ethics?
- How does the issue of power play out in the story, in both personal and professional relationships?
- The story takes place before the #MeToo movement. What might be different if it was set in 2018?
- Mae’s desire for personal fulfillment is a driving force in the storyline. How does her goal evolve? Did you identify with any of the obstacles and conflicts she faces?
- Religion and spirituality—Christianity, Buddhism, indigenous shamanic religions, New Age beliefs, and more—are important to many of the characters and to the development of the plot. Where did you see religion misused and where did you see it supporting a character spiritually?
If you have suggestions for additional discussion questions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org .