Here’s my first go at questions for Kissing Shakespeare. I wrote these with book clubs in mind, since several groups who are reading KS gently prodded me! They’re meant for a casual, if thoughtful, discussion, for teens or adults, NOT for classroom use. Sometime soon, I’ll do a set for teachers. Obviously, the emphasis would center more on Shakespeare, especially The Taming of the Shrew; and the culture, religion, and politics of the Elizabethan period.
Here they are:
1. On the first page of the book, we get a sense of Miranda’s personality. How would you describe her at the beginning of the story? How would you describe her at the end?
2. By using time travel, the writer is attempting to connect modern readers, especially teens, to the time of Shakespeare. Did it work? Can you think of alternative approaches to telling the story?
3. How does the book work as a romance? Would you have preferred Shakespeare as the love interest rather than Stephen?
4. What other kinds of seduction, besides the obvious one, take place in the book?
5. Which character did you find it easiest to relate to? Why? Were there any characters that you failed to connect with?
6. When she is in the past, Miranda suffers a fair amount of culture shock due to the suppression of women in the Elizabethan era. In fact, she becomes annoyed with Stephen for going along with the views of the time. Discuss some of the differences in women’s roles then and now.
7. Talk about the way in which the time period was portrayed, through language, descriptions, actions, and events. Did the book give you a sense of what living in the Elizabethan era would have been like?
8. Did you learn anything new about Shakespeare’s time from reading Kissing Shakespeare? What surprised you? What were some things you already knew from TV, movies, and other books?
9. Very little—virtually nothing—is known about Shakespeare’s youth. Based on your knowledge of his work, was his portrayal in the book satisfying? If you had written Kissing Shakespeare, what other aspects of his character might you have explored? How would you have portrayed him differently?
10. What events of the story stand out to you as memorable?
11. Did the ending surprise you? Disappoint you? Can you think of alternative endings?
For other writers putting together their own questions, I found lots of help on the internet. Any suggestions for additional questions? Let me know!