MAROONED: The Book Club Reader’s Guide

SPOILER ALERT: Caution, if you want a true Monet Experience, avoid these questions until after you’ve read through the book several times.

Take 1-2 weeks, progress through as many story iterations as you can, while keeping the following questions in mind. Then, meet with your reader’s group and discuss:

1) In an interactive book, the main character is often a blank slate, requiring the supporting cast to take on a bigger role. Was this the case in MAROONED? What did you think of the other characters in the book? Was there a specific character whose story you found particularly compelling?

2) How did the book end for you the first time? Share your experiences with the group. What would you say was the “best ending” you found?

3) There are certain expected norms in historical/naval fiction. To what extent did MAROONED uphold these traditions? Has Schannep added anything new to the genre, or simply sailed upon well-established routes?

4) Many choices that might feel like the “right thing to do” lead to death. Did you feel like you were unfairly punished for altruistic choices? Or did it make the story seem more grounded in reality? Did you find the move away from larger-than-life swashbuckling cliché refreshing or frustrating?

5) There are several vignettes off the beaten path. What was your favorite “hidden gem”? Did you find any Easter Eggs or references to other CYP books?

6) The three unique storylines are identified through palm trees (deserted island survival), skull and crossbones (piracy), and the anchor (Royal Navy). Did this encourage further exploration of the story world? Did you enjoy any path more than the others? How did knowledge of one affect the experiencing of another?

7) How did you feel about being “in control” of the story? Did you feel more or less involved than you do with traditional books?

8) Compare and contrast being “Crimped” (sold into service to a merchant ship) vs “Pressed” (conscripted into the Royal Navy during wartime). Are these functionally the same practice? Is one more justified than the other? Why or why not? Compare with the military drafts of the last century.

9) Though it is possible to be stranded on a deserted island in the book, the reader can also find themselves “marooned” in many other situations. For example, the books open with the fish out of water experience at the Port of London. In what other ways did you feel stranded or at the mercy of the elements in the book?

10) The author uses several historically-inspired toasts and “sea-shanties” (sailor’s songs) throughout the course of the book, though these have been edited to fit the situations your character finds themselves in. Did any of these stick out to you? Did you perhaps have a favorite?

And, as a bonus, if there’s anything you’d like to ask the author, feel free to post it in the comment section below.

© James Schannep and jamesschannep.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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