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'Before You Know Kindness'

Novelist Chris Bohjalian has written nine novels, including "Midwives," which was an Oprah Book Club selection.

His latest is "Before You Know Kindness." It is a family saga that pivots around an accidental shooting at a New England summer home.

"Something tragic happens on Page One," Bohjalian tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm.

A bullet from a hunting rifle hits one character and subsequently changes the lives of everyone around him.

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"'Before You Know Kindness' is about three generations of women and the dysfunctional men in their lives. We always want to be the Huxtables or the Cleavers, but the reality is, when you look behind those manor front doors of colonial and Georgian houses, houses are never like that," Bohjalian says.

"This is about two families," he explains. "One family lives in northern New England, the Seton family, and they are deer hunters, and the other family lives in Manhattan on the upper West Side and dad is an animal rights activist for a fictional version of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), and that sets the conflict in motion."

Bohjalian adds, "I'm a vegetarian, so this is close to my heart, but I hope the book isn't about animal rights or hunting so much as it's about family. You know, ordinary people, in extraordinary circumstances, and how your life can just change in a heartbeat.

"I want people to approach this book as a big sprawling family saga and a book about fathers and daughters and the Godzilla-sized mistakes that we as parents can make often in the name of love," Bohjalian says.

Bohjalian lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.

Bohjalian participates in online discussions about his books, and encourages people to form reading groups, volunteering to speak with them by speakerphone or giving advice on how to form them.

Click here to read an excerpt from his new novel.

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