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Mary's Blog:
How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book

Mary interviewed on NPR Mary talks with Faith Middleton on WNPR (90.5 FM) about writing and her novel Qualities of Light

Mary featured in the The New York Times
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The author successfully layers Molly Fisher's many struggles---guilt surrounding her brother's accident, frustration that she and her father don't understand each other, and confusion over where she fits in a group of lake friends.
Shining through these layers are Molly's vivid voice and her deepening love for a young woman named Zoe. I found this to be a skillfully crafted novel that both moved and entertained me as I followed Molly's summer journey.
—Catherine Friend, author of Hit By a Farm

Qualities of Light isn't just a beautifully nuanced contemporary lesbian romance, but a sensitive exploration of the cruelty and kindness—the intricate balancing act—that is family love. I couldn't recommend it more highly.
—Ellen Hart, author of the Jane Lawless mysteries



Qualities of Light

Questions for Reading Groups

  1. What were your first impressions of Molly? Of Zoe? How did they change by the end of the book?
  2. What makes Zoe and Molly kindred spirits? What common ground do they share? Who has been a similar advocate in your life?
  3. How would you have handled Molly's romantic entanglement?
  4. What were your first impressions of Molly's father? Do you see anything redeemable in his character? His changes are subtle but how was he different by the end of the book?
  5. In what way was Molly responsible for Sammy's accident and in what way was she innocent of blame? Do you think she paid for her mistake? How?
  6. What's your impression of Molly's mother? Why do you think she loves Molly's father and why did she decide not to leave?
  7. How does the setting of the story influence the characters' decisions? In what ways are the mountains and wilderness part of Molly and her family?
  8. What was the effect of reading a variety of responses to a shared tragedy? How did each character handle the accident and its aftermath in a unique way?
  9. Chad and Molly are alike in many ways. What did they need from each other? What qualities make Molly not fall in love with Chad?
  10. How does Sarah help or hinder Molly's path in the story? Why do you think she's in the book?
  11. Anna is many readers' favorite character. What role does she play in Molly's life?
  12. What do you imagine the effect of Sammy's accident and recovery will be on the family in the future?
  13. Author Mary Carroll Moore is writing a sequel to Qualities of Light, which takes place five years later. Do you think Zoe and Molly will get back together? What other changes might have happened in the family?
  14. Which of the characters is your favorite? Whose decisions and personality are most like your own?
  15. Zoe's mother abandoned the family when Zoe was very young. Do you agree with Zoe's decision to be with her mom at the end of the story?