AAAA Family Forum / By Wendy Knowlton and Amy Horner: Bubbly, buddies, and books … a trio of trouble or a triple treat? We like to think it’s a little bit of both and a whole lot of fun.
Wendy Knowlton (left) and Amy Horner recording in their home studio./ PHOTO BY AMY HORNER
Book clubs have long been a way for military spouses to connect, but what happens when, inevitably, your family must move? We met when our husbands were stationed together at Fort Campbell, Ky, at the most traditional of military spouse meeting places, a dirty taco restaurant serving toxic level margaritas. As two English majors and teachers, we bonded over our shared love of literature and good book clubs. We tossed around this idea of a book club podcast as a place for military spouses and book club members to come back to even after moving on to a new duty station and decided if we were ever stationed together again, we would do it.
Eight years later, over a reunion dinner, Prosecco N Prose was born. We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into and every step was a learning curve, but armed with bubbly and our love of literature, we got down to work. It was important to set ourselves apart from other bookish podcasts, so we listened — to A LOT of other podcasts to help us narrow in on what we wanted to accomplish for our podcast. We wanted to create a space to discuss literature, not a book review, and the teacher in each of us also wanted to put a little learning spin on it. Our goal was, and is, to nurture a love of literature, and hopefully spark discussions that boost readers’ enjoyment.
Starting a podcast, we learned, takes a bit more than getting in front of the microphone and talking. As teachers, we are completely comfortable in front of the classroom, but our first attempt at recording was a different story. We sat down in our makeshift studio, our beat laboratory, and completely froze. Five hours and three recordings later, we hoped we had something we could eventually publish. We did and seeing it pop up on Apple Podcasts was quite a moment. We laugh now because recording day has become one of our favorite days in the process. And why not? It’s the day we pop the bubbly and talk about books!
A lot happens before recording day. We choose our prose, which is a mix of short stories and novels. We are always looking for recommendations and our second season features many of those recommendations; some of them have even come from authors themselves. It’s always fun when a recommended book expands your reading horizon. Pairing our prosecco is quite superficial: does the label complement our book in any way? We brainstorm discussion topics, reach out to authors, research our prosecco and other topics covered, and then it’s script writing time.
After recording day, there’s editing, publishing, and promoting. All of which we do ourselves. From start to finish, it takes us about two weeks to publish an episode. We have discussed all kinds of literature, from a pandemic themed short story to best sellers like The Dutch House and Where the Crawdads Sing to a military short story from Mark Twain and a West Point novel Beyond the Point to a holiday children’s classic The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Book clubs will continue to be a big part of the military spouse community and we have literally made our book club virtual. You can find us on all podcast platforms, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and our website, prosecconprose.com. And that word perlage? That’s just the bubbles in your glass! Check us out, look for our tile as pictured above, and as we always say, pop a cork and read!
Wendy Knowlton is the spouse of CW5 Rick Knowlton, Senior Warrant Officer Advisor for the Army Talent Management Task Force; Amy Horner is the spouse of CW5 (R) Terry Horner, currently working for Bell Textron Inc. since retirement from DAMO-AV at the Pentagon.