This reading group guide for Lust includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Victoria Christopher Murray. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.Introduction
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In the final week of her engagement to her beloved fiancé Damon King, Tiffanie finds herself bowled over by lust for her man’s best friend, Trey. Can Tiffanie resist these feelings that seem to have come straight from the devil, or will she resist and reach for the perfect future she could have with Damon?Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. What are the various ways that lust drives a wedge between people in Lust
? Do you think it’s the most dangerous of the Seven Deadly Sins?
2. Respect is very important to Damon. Why do you think that is? Do you agree that Trey should show him and Tiffanie more respect when they’re first reunited? What does Damon’s emphasis on respect tell you about his character?
3. History and loyalty are also very important to Damon. Why do you think that is? Do you agree with him that you should always try to help those you’ve known for a long time?
4. Trey’s intent to use Tiffanie as a pawn makes him seem like the actual devil. Do you agree with that characterization? Why do you think Trey seduces Tiffanie? Is this temptation really from Satan?
5. What does Tiffanie’s orgasm represent to her? Why does she risk so much for “that feeling”? Do you think she eventually finds sexual satisfaction with Damon? Are there connections in life more important than the sexual?
6. How does Sonia’s marriage align with what Tiffanie wants for herself? These two women have been through so much together. Why do you think Tiffanie doesn’t always listen to Sonia’s wisdom, though it’s offered with love?
7. There are three people in the older generation that are important in the book: the Reverend, Tiffanie’s grandmother, and Ms. Irene. How do they guide Tiffanie, Damon, and Trey and influence the younger generation in their decision making?
8. Trey ends his toast, “I wish you two all the happiness that you deserve.” Why is this wish a double-edged sword? Have you ever said to someone a statement that seemed kind but implied your true feelings?
9. Tiffanie prays for the strength to resist the devil. Has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve called on God to help you resist temptation, whether in the form of lustful thoughts or other Seven Deadly Sins?
10. The shifting urban landscape of Washington DC plays a major part in Damon’s business and in Lust.
No matter what city or town you’re in, how have you seen it change over time as new developments come in and old businesses leave?
11. How did you react to Damon’s attempt to get the truth? Would you have done the same or confronted Tiffanie directly? Do you think what he did was right?Enhance Your Book Club
1. Play the songs from Tiffanie and Damon’s wedding, “You’re the Reason God Made a Girl” and “Adore.” Why do you think Murray chose these songs for this couple?
2. Read another Victoria Christopher Murray book and compare it to Lust
. Her most recent titles include Stand Your Ground
and Forever an Ex
. Or, create a joint book club with young people who have read one of Victoria Christopher Murray’s YA books.
3. Schedule a book club for the same weekend as you are going to attend church and/or a club, two of the major locations in Lust
. Discuss the different aspects of each experience and how they relate to the book.A Conversation with Victoria Christopher MurrayYou’ve written over twenty books. Do you learn new things every time you write a new book? How is each book a distinct experience for you?
This is a really good question because I do learn something every single time I write. You would think that with all of these books if I don't know everything, I know a lot. But each time, my agent, Liza Dawson and my editor, Lauren Spiegel challenge me with questions I never thought about. I continuously learn to layer my story, to have multiple issues going on with the characters at the same time. The learning process is what I love best about writing.What made the DC area the perfect place to set Lust? Why did you choose Dubai for Tiffanie and Damon’s honeymoon? Have you been to Dubai?
I chose DC because I'm living there now and this is only my second book to take place there. So, I knew that I could "flavor" the book with the music of the District of Columbia. I enjoyed that part. As far as choosing Dubai, I had to find a place where someone like Damon would have taken Tiffanie on their honeymoon. He was a rich young man, so he wouldn't have taken a domestic trip, and there's no place more exotic than Dubai. I did think about Hawaii, but with Dubai, I felt that I could take the readers on a trip to someplace they'd never been. I haven't been to Dubai, but I'm planning a trip in the next two years.Where did the idea for Lust come from originally? What draw you to the challenges of fidelity as a theme for the characters?
Actually, the idea for this series came from another author, Vickie Stringer who told me that I needed to write the seven deadly sins. She told me thought this was really a topic that I could grapple with and turn into an interesting story. That was back in 2011 and though I did try to write it, the book never moved from being half-finished. Then, this year, my agent said this was the time. And I'm glad she pushed me.You write in both Damon’s and Tiffanie’s voices. Which was the harder one to get right? What were the rewards of switching between the POVs of your two main characters? The challenges?
It was definitely more difficult to write in Damon's voice. Not because it was a male voice, I've written in male voices before. The challenge was Damon's character. He was from the streets and I can't even lie -- the only thing I've ever done is cross a street. So, I had to find a way to find his voice. ReShonda Tate Billingsley suggested that I watch a couple of TV shows. That helped a bit. And then speaking with male friends helped as well.The book ends very happily and several years after the conclusion of the action. Why did you choose to end the book on such a happy note after having put Tiffanie and Damon through such struggles to get to the ending?
Well, that's interesting. I'm not sure that the book ends all that happily, especially since I'm not known for happy endings. And, I'm not sure how much time has passed in the epilogue, but if I had to guess, it's only about a year and a half or two. But, I ended the book the way I did to wrap up the story. I'm hoping that there are no holes for readers so that I won't hear screams for a sequel....What are some ladies that serve the purpose in your life that Ms. Irene and Gram do in the book? Do you have older women in your life that have guided you?
Well....at my age, I'm the older woman. LOL. But of course, I have my mom and my mother-in-law is amazing, too. My pastor, Beverly "BAM" Crawford has been a wonderful example for me as well.What’s your favorite passage from the bible? What was the most influential to you for writing this book, if they’re not the same passage?
My favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 and interestingly enough, I don't think I used it in this story, though I've used it often before. As far as scriptures for this book, I can't say that there was one that influenced me because though people believe this -- the seven deadly sins are not in the Bible. I think many will be surprised to hear that. So, there wasn't a scripture as much as there was some of the tenets of the Christian faith for me. Like, how when God really brings a couple together, nothing can tear them apart. Those two people are the ones who decide to break apart. Also, how God does give us a way to escape temptation. It's difficult, but we can do it. So I relied more on what I know as a Christian rather than specific scriptures in this book.Do you identify more closely with Tiffanie or her best friend Sonia?
Hmmm...probably her best friend, Sonia. For many of my friends, I serve as the one who gives advice. And I have my friend's backs -- don't come for them...I'll always protect them if I can.Who do you cast as your dream-cast for the book? Alternatively, who did you have in mind as inspiration for Damon and Trey?
This is always such a difficult question because I use pictures of every day people from magazines when I'm writing. So, I have no idea who would be good for these roles.You’re a prolific author across both adult and YA genres. What are you working on next?
I'm working on three things right now -- another YA book; I haven't written one in a while, but it will be based on my second novel Joy. Then, I'm working on the Second Deadly Sin -- Envy which will feature Sonia and her husband, Allen. And finally, I'm working on a book with ReShonda Tate Billingsley -- If Only For One Night. So, I'm spending a lot of time writing right now. And that always makes me happy!