Book Club hosts special meeting with author Elle Cosimano


Photo courtesy of MDPI

It’s official — Oakland University now has a Book Club. Started by student Ellie Ward, the club meets twice a month to talk about the book that they’ve read during the previous month.  

“I wanted to start a book club simply because I realized we didn’t have one! I got back into reading in January and wanted to find similar minded people to talk about books with. I am a remote student so I wanted to meet more people from Oakland and create a like-minded community,” Ward said. “We changed it to two meetings due to increased interest in the book club. I wanted to make sure that everyone who wanted to participate was able to.”

According to Ward, the club has reached a consensus that they generally love to read fiction books. 

“We will likely stick with [fiction] but branch out to mystery novels and possibly historical fiction. Next year we are going to read eight books, so I hope to have a mix of genres present,” Ward said. 

At the March 21 special meeting, author Elle Cosimano attended to talk with students. Cosimano wrote “Finlay Donovan is Killing It”— the first book the club read. 

“Finlay Donovan is Killing It” is a mystery novel about a struggling writer who is overheard describing the plot of her book and tasked with killing someone’s husband. 

“Writing mysteries is very fun,” Cosimano said. “There are so many opportunities to connect the fine details and plot the mystery — making it connect to the romantic arc, the character arc, the plot arc. The challenge of writing a mystery novel is the fun of it.” 

Students had the opportunity to ask Cosimano questions about the book and the writing process of authors in general as she discussed the difficult and exciting parts of working on this manuscript. 

“Finlay [is my favorite character] — of all the books I’ve written, her voice is probably the closest to my own,” Cosimano said. “I feel like that brings me back to myself. It was a passion project more than anything — a side project I was working on. I published my manuscript in 2014.”  

She continued to talk about the process of how this story came to be, highlighting her struggles with an unfulfilled career until she switched to becoming an author. 

One student asked about the drafting process and knowing when one’s story is complete.

“It’s not what it should be, or what it could be. The closest thing. If you’re revising and revising, your book is in probably much better shape then you’re giving it credit for. Every author goes through this. If you don’t want to burn it after your third draft, you’re doing it wrong,” Cosimano said.

Cosimano said she never reads her published novels. Once they’re off to print, she does not look at them again while at home because she will find things she wishes should could change.

“We’re far harder on ourselves as creative people than our readers,” Cosimano said. “It’s probably in really good shape. It takes other people reading it to take away some of that self doubt, you need to give yourself permission to push yourself forward and take the next step.”