Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 4 months ago

Friends & Fiction with Alka Joshi & Martha Hall Kelly + Nita Prose on the After Show

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Two rockstar authors of historical fiction join the show. Meet Alka Joshi author of the blockbuster bestseller THE HENNA ARTIST and Martha Hall Kelly, author of the 1.5-million copy bestseller LILAC GIRLS. As authors of historical fiction, of triliogies whose debuts exploded onto the literary scene, and as former advertising executives, Martha and Alka have so much in common. We talk to them all about their career shifts, their writing & research process, and the challenges of craftng their triliogies, particularly after each of their debuts were so successful. We hear all about Alka's latest, THE SECRET KEEPER OF JAIPUR, and Martha's latest, SUNFLOWER SISTERS, and even get a sneak pek at each of their forthcoming 2023 novels. Then on the after show we meet the charming and hilarious Canadian debut novelist Nita Prose whose #1 bestselling heartwarming whodunnit, THE MAID, has taken the world by storm.

Welcome to friends and fiction for New York Times bestselling authors endless stories. Novelists Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey and Patty Callahan Henry are four longtime friends with more than seventy published books between them. Together they host friends and fiction with author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing to highlight and support independent bookstores. They discussed the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Hello, hello, it is Wednesday night and here we are for another star studded episode of friends and fiction, with three best selling author guests on the way tonight. We have an amazing evening ahead of us, so let's get started. I'm Kristin Harmel, I'm Patty Callahan Henry and I'm Mary Kay Andrews, and this is friends and fiction for New York Times bestselling authors endless stories, to support independent bookstores, authors and Librarians. Kristy Woodson Harvey has the night off tonight, but she will be back in action next week and I know she is sorry to miss this episode because we have a great lineup coming up. In the next hour you will meet Alka Joshi and Martha Hall Kelly, and then Nita prose will be joining us for the after show. But first we are so excited to celebrate something pretty special. This week, friends and fiction group and some fiction group on facebook hit seventy five thousand seven numbers, wait, thousand members. We cannot tell you how much this needs to us. When we started friends and fiction in April of I know y'all remember what happened in April of but we had no idea that you would respond to it like you have. Just this week kristen found the first email that started it all from Mary Kay Andrews. And we've said this before, but we figured we would do the show for seven weeks and then, you know, for our lives, you know, but the show and the group have pretty much become our lives, or at least a big portion of our lives. Behind the scenes, the four of us, along with our managing director Meg, our podcast host Ron and our producer Sean, are putting in hours and hours of work every single week to make sure that facebook, our facebook page, is a safe warm place and that this show and our podcast are the best they can be episode after episode. We hope that you're as happy to be here as we are. Want you to know that we are tremendously grateful for all your support. Ladies, can we raise a little glass to that? So cheers. I know. Yeah, that's true. And here's a little tip. If you ever want your friends to respond to an email, put Um oh, hey, rose in the sub first. That started the whole thing and it was pretty easy, pretty easy around after. Okay, now flies are having fun. Sure, please to share that with the book loving friends, because we would love to get to a hundred thousand. And speaking of our book loving frenzy, want to remind you that over on our exclusive book book club on the Apple App, fable APP, fable l e APP, we're currently reading Ellen HILDERBRAND's the hotel Nantucket, what she told us about on the show last week and which just marked her third week at number one on the New York Times week number one. That's that's amazing. I don't want to spotters, but we kind of are. Okay. So, if you haven't joined us on the table yet, this is a great time to join in each month, one of the four of us hosts an interactive discussion about our chosen book. This month Christie is on there chatting with book club members, and you can read along in your own time and join the discussion at your whenever leisure. Yeah, no, I don't want that work. It's just five dollars a month to join our premium club, which is cheaper than one of those fancy cups of coffee from Star Beats. So visit fable dot CEO. backslash. Is that a backsplat? backsh friends and fiction all one word to sign up today. And have you heard that the four of us are on the road or even in the air together, since we all have to...

...fly to this next one. We have one pair of events left this season. We are really exciting things live next year, but for this season we only have one but one pair of events live. Your last chance to see us all together before the summer ends. UN July twenty, we will be at Bethany beach books in Bethany Beach Delaware, which is kind of like a Peter Piper picked. With Beth any beach books in Bethany Beach Delaware. On July one we're having a luncheon event in Rehobeth, Delaware, hosted by brows, about books. So back to back on and they one and we are so excited to see how many of you might be able to come out in person. And if you're planning to join us, make sure to get your tickets before both events sell out. You can find the link under pinned posts on our facebook page or on the Bethany beach books and I was about books websites. Yeah, I think we might have to let our our folks suggest what our next walkout music should be. that the comments, everybody. Yeah, you think each of our walkout song should be. What? Let's tell them what our last ones were. Yours. What was yours? May? Okay, you don't remember. Do you remember yours? Person Mine is the sex and the city theme song. Oh thing, mine was. So that's funny. What was yours? Sweet home, Alabama, sweet sweet, so says. Our should be the forest, vanishing stars, the musical. I concur. Okay, yeah, yeah, put on your thinking caps. Let us know what you think. Mean Time. Don't forget. We continue to encourage you to support Indie Book Stars when and where you can, and why. Way, easy, way to do that is to visit our friends and fiction bookshop dot org page, where you can find Alco's books, Martha's books and Nita's book and books by the four of us and our past guest at a discount. Also, each week we're going to be giving you a chance to ask US anything. If you have a question you would like the four of us to answer or a topic you'd like us to discuss, we're all ears. In fact, feel free to drop questions in the comments now for future weeks. We go through every week and, you know, read through which you've asked and pull something that kind of makes sense for that week's show. We really do want to hear from you. So we get so many good questions this week that I had a hard time choosing one, but this one kind of seemed fun. Jane Kessler Hickock would like to know which of our characters was the most difficult to write. How about you, Patty? I've been thinking about this and I have to say it, for me, the most difficult character to write is the one I'm getting to know. So if I'm just starting a book and I don't know them yet, I'm like, Oh my God, this character is so hard to write and then by the end of the book like that's my favorite character right. But I do have to say that, Um, the one that was the most terrifying to write was when I wrote becoming Mrs Lewis and had to write and have words come out of C S Lewis's now. Oh yeah, I was like yeah, maybe I shouldn't, but how do I write this whole book without it? So that was that was that was a little cracking. How about you? Okay, it's beautifully done. Patty, I think I was. You know, I was thinking about this. Um, maybe it's letty, who was a protagonist of last year's book, the newcomer. You know, letty's had a difficult past. Um, she has secrets. Um, she sort of reinvents herself on the fly and of course she's in the book. She's she's running in terror and she's got her her now decease sisters, four year old, and all of those were challenges to write. So I think you absolutely did absolutely very well, very well done. You know, for me it was probably a Nez who was one of the three main characters in my two thousand nineteen book, the winemaker's wife, and every book I write, I try to challenge myself to do something that doesn't come easily and doesn't come naturally, something like the forest, vanishing stars, I don't know, I know, I know, but I think it helps you grow right. And so in the winemaker's wife, and Nez is a really unsympathetic character at first, like there are reasons that she acts the way that she does, but but it takes a while to get to those reasons and it takes a while before she starts to grow and become better, and by the point that she does she's already done some things that are pretty bad. Um. And that...

...was a challenge for me because typically the number one comment I get on first draft from my editor is like, what is wrong with you? People are not perfect, like make your characters do bad things. So this was one that I went in the door saying, all right, my character is gonna do bad things like that. So it's a challenge, but hopefully it turned out okay. I think I think it too. All right. Well, that was cool. I'm glad we took that question all right. So, without further ado, let's welcome our guests for the evening, Alca Joshi and Martha Hall Kelly. Alca Joshi, is the best selling author of the Henna artist and the secret keeper of Poor Alca was born in India and her family immigrated to America in nineteen sixty seven. She earned a b a from Stanford University and an M F a from California College of Arts in San Francisco. Before writing her first novel. ALCA ran an advertising and Marketing Agency for thirty years. Her first novel, the Henna artist, was a reese's book club pick, as one is, and library journal called it an uplifting tale that highlights the power of family. ALCA has spent time in Italy and France and she currently lives on the Northern California coast with her husband. She is working on a third book to conclude the trilogy, and I'm so jealous of this and it's so exciting. A screen adaptation of the Hanna Artists Martha Heck Martha Hall Kelly is the best selling author of the Lilac girls, lost roses and sunflower sister. She worked as an advertising copywriter for many years before writing her first novel, Lilac Girls, which was a New York Times bestseller and when it was released in the novel is historical fiction, but is based on the true story of seventy two Polish women who were in prison and experimented on at Ravens Brook concentration camp. And I have to tell you, and I read that book, I still remember how it's destroyed me. Even when you said it, I got those chills like here. Okay, and and you know as importantly, she wrote about American philanthropist and actress Caroline Faraday and how she brought those ladies to the United States for rehabilitation and the trip of a lifetime. Publishers weekly called Lilac Girls, a page Turner and Library Journal said, it is extremely movable, moving and memorable, movable. Martha grew up in Massachusetts and now splits her time between Connecticut and New York City. You know, I had the pleasure of doing events with Martha and Alca last year with adventures by the book and the Corona Public Library in California, and I loved them both and loved just the chemistry between them too. There was they write such different things but there's so much overlap. So I'm excited for all of you to meet them out all of you out there to meet them today. So Sean, can you bring Alka and Martha on him? Lady, this is so fun. Congratulations. Thank you. We're pretty excited. Wonderful. Thank you so much. Thank you. Well, thank you so much for being here. Ladies, were so excited to talk to you tonight and I would love, Um if we could begin by having the two of you tell everyone out there about your latest books. Alcove, would you like to start by telling us about the secret keeper of Japer? Did I say? I tried everything, chatty, you did a good job. Thank you, Christmas friends. So the secret keeper of Jaffer takes us into nineteen sixty nine. Uh, and the Hannah artist had taken place in nineteen. So what happened is I had started a whole other book, but Molik, one of the characters from the Hannah artists, just would you know, was pestering me the whole time, saying you gotta write my book, you've got to write my story. So I started writing the secret keeper of Jappor. Now, in so doing I had to do all this research and try to figure out where is Lux me going to send a twenty year old Malik to get the kind of background and and career going that she wants him to have uh and so I thought, okay, well, she's going to send him back to the Maharani's who we met in the Hannah artist she's gonna have have him and sort of learn about construction and so on. And of course, you know, she wants to get him away from all of the illegal stuff that he does in his spare time to earn a little pocket money. And of course he and you know, unbeknownst to him, gets involved in nefarious activities anyway, and she has to come rescue him. So that is what the secret keeper of Jaipur is all about. That's awesome and we loved it. Um and, and it's and, as you mentioned, it is a follow up to your enormously popular the Hannah artists. So the characters we fell in love with...

...their um we see again, which is great. And Martha, how about you? Can you tell us about sunflower sisters? Absolutely well, once I am first of all, Mary Kay, I'm sorry, I destroyed you. I can't tell you how many people I have to, you know, apologize to. But get your job to make me care about yeah, so I guess I did my job, yes, but once I um, once it was clear that lilac girls was a hit, I guess you could say. Um, I went to I think I went I went to random high and my husband actually said, Um, now is your moment. You know you've got leverage, and so I thought I want to write more books. So, Um, I pitched them on two more books. One was less roses, which was caroline faradays from Lilac girls mother and that takes place a lot of it in Russia. And and the next book I said I want to write about Caroline Faraday's great grandmother, Jane Eliza, because that's where all of Caroline's kind of grit came from, and I knew that there were a thousand letters down in the basement of the Pelomy Faraday House and I'd have to read them all, which I did. But Um, yeah, that inspired some for our sisters and it's the same three person narrative and it's Georgiana who is Caroline's great aunt. She had eight of them, so it's hard to choose. They're also fabulous and a May who is a plantation mistress. She of all my characters. Ever even heard Oberhauser from LILAC GIRLS? People say that Anne May is just the worst in terms of you know, they hate her the most, but I actually tried to make her somewhat likable, but I don't know, I didn't really succeed. And then Um Gemma is enslaved on an May's plantation, which is called it's Denon solderly, which is a real place. It's tobacco plantation. So it's the story of Um how Georgiana, which is true. Um starts the first nursing school in the United States and becomes a nurse in a time when, you know, you couldn't. But I really tried to keep it um relevant to today and not like, you know, some of those books that talk about Clara Barton and things. But yeah, so it's how those three women make it through the civil war. I love that and it's so fascinating how you've been able to stick with the same family for all three books, but that they're can such completely separate distinct tales. Um. All right, so there's a question that we've been asking lately that comes to us through Kate Quinn, who I think is a friend to all of us. Um, ladies, you have told us what your books are about, but what are they really about Alca? Do you want to start us off? Sure? I think that the secret keeper of Jamper is about two different things. One is um the you know, when when we first meet Malik in the Hannah artist, he's an eight year old boy and he could go either way. He could go in a in a good direction, he could go in a mischievous direction, and so I wanted to explore in the Secret Keeper of Jab or did he grow up to be, uh, the guy that we thought he was going to be, or did he grow up to be a completely different kind of guy? So I think what I what I want to explore is our child like selves. Do we remain consistent with that or do outside circumstances change us in a very dramatic way? So that's one. The other thing that I'm exploring is the relationship between Lucni, who has been Molok's guardian all of these years. For about twelve, thirteen years she's been his guardian and she is his de facto parent and at this time in the secret keeper, Molik is now twenty years old. She has to at some point let go and I'm exploring how difficult it is for a parent and all of the UH sort of stages they go through to let go of an adult child, to say I have taught you as much as I can and it's your turn to make the decisions of your life that are going to determine the rest of your life. So I'm also exploring that Um as as a relationship pattern between parents and children. Oh, I love that. How about you, Martha? What is some flower sisters really about? Well, first of all, leave it to Kate Quinn to ask a question like that. She's just did you know she was an opera singer before. We tried to get her to sing, but she won't next time, but warm up. Next time. We'll get her warm up, you know. And in in in San Diego, Um, this was for what they called a Super Book Uh, and Kate Sang the UH pledge of allegiance and...

...it was lovely. I mean I was like, who is that person? And you don't have to be gay Quinn, who was at the podium singing it. She used to be amazing to have talent and to be able to write like she does. It's any yes, but anyway, Um, you know, lately that's such a great question, and lately I've been really thinking about that Um and I feel like this book is really about what all my other book, all my other my two other books, are about, and that is and I must be somehow playing out my own issue or something. I don't know if you guys do that. And you're right. It's always about mothers and daughters and sisters and the idea that you can make mistakes and no matter how bad it was, if you understand that and you change yourself and make up for it somehow, then you can redeem yourself. So I think that's that seems to be. You know, I always write about making amends. Yeah, so you both write books set in the past and I'd love to talk about and I do too, and Christen does too, and I'd love to talk about why it's so important to keep that history alive, and not just new textbooks, but in ways that connects with the reader's hearts. So, Martha, start us off. Why do you think it's so important that we re tell these stories? And why is it important that you read a thousand letters in somebody's basement? You know why that's still important? That's such a great question and I think that when you, when you provided in a novel, versus nonfiction. I think that people get so involved in that. I think in some of ower systems, for example, there was, um, the draft riots, which, uh, when I was writing that scene, Um, it actually happened. It three days the largest insurrection in our history. I just thought this is just like what we just went through, Um, with our own insurrection, and I think it's really important to bring that back to people. And so, I mean it's a Cliche, but if you don't understand history, you're really, you know, Um doomed to repeat it. So that's part of it, but I think it's also just it's just really important to go back into history and kind of time travel a little bit and remember what all that was all about and feel it in a visceral way instead of just, you know, having to memorize dates. Yes, yes, yeah, because in high school, I don't know about you guys, but I really I didn't love history. I felt like it was all about the men in the class. I went to Catholic school yet well, and the men in history right, but I felt like it was all about dates and claims and it wasn't until I had a female teacher in eleventh grade for history when I just and she talked about the people. So I think that what we all do. It's all about just the people. Yeah, you're so right. How about you, Alca, especially bringing back specifically the history and some of the details of India? Why is it important now? You know, for me it was really important, um, growing up as an immigrant in the United States, to really let people know what India is about. The only things that I oversaw in the history books when I was reading about India here in the United States as a kid, uh were, you know, that India was poor and it was underdeveloped and it was full of people who couldn't read or write or, you know, God knows what they were doing. and Uh so I just remember feeling as a kid here in the United States that, wait a second, that's not the India I came from. I don't know what you guys are talking about and as a kid you don't have the kind of language or the voice to be able to let people know, you know, the larger perception that they need to be aware of. And I think that writing about the history of India post independence and how India got to be, uh, considered a poor country and how it's people really grows up and we're very resilient throughout all of that post independence period when they have to pick themselves out by their bootstraps and after two hundred years of colonization by the other uh, and, you know, reinvent themselves. I think it's important for the world to know this and it doesn't get written about very often, and now that I'm older and I have the voice and I have the platform to be able to talk about that, it's very important for me to let people know how strong also the women were during this period. Um, and I think part of what we historical fiction authors are bringing to the table is the perspective of women throughout all of these stages of history. It's something that complete gets left out of history books.

You know, in history books eight percent of the the history makers are all men. Uh. It seems as if all of the major decisions in life are always being made by men, and so I think children reading those history books grow up thinking that it's men who make all the major decisions. So we should always be looking at man for leadership, and that is so not the case, as we are pointing out in our books. We are pointing out how important the women were to Um, you know, the various gains in history, the improvements, uh, the uplifting of people and the resilience of families. These things are so important to point out and I am just so delighted that historical fiction has become such a big deal, so many more of US women writing about the women in history. Yeah, Kerry Suderman just sent in a comment that drives home exactly what both of you are talking about. She said I think keeping the past a live enables us to find hope in the resilience of the people who made it through the hard times. And both of your books, you know, bring these women and show the perseverance, the resilience. So not only is it an amazing story, but it brings up the part that has kept been kept hidden. And both of you connect not just with hearts but also with their senses. Alca and the publisher's weekly review of the Hannah artists. The publication specifically mentions your evocative descriptions that capture India's sensory ambiance, including horse drawn Tonga's. I know I'm going to mispronounce that project, cooking fires and incense and colorful sories series. Sorry, which one is it? Sorry, sorry, I thought so. And Martha, publishers weekly called your most recent novel vivid and impeccably researched. I really want y'all to book talk to all of us a bit about where you find these sensory details that engage your senses and keep us so involved and immersed in these worlds alka. Well, you know, I noticed that Martha and I are both coming from the Um the background of advertising, copyrighting, and when you're a copywriter you often have to bring senses into play, especially when you're writing for print uh, and you know you want to be able to engage your viewer, your reader, you know, uh, your listener, if you're writing radio, television, print. Uh. You have to have to be able to engage them in all of their senses. Have to be able to get them uh to where you want them to be in to buy that product or service, whatever it is you're selling. So I think that we have a background in doing that very naturally and I think that it naturally comes through when we start writing our fiction. I don't know, Martha, if you agree, but I I feel tell us to relate. You know, I never really thought about it that way before. But that is a dent. I think advertising, being a copy writer helps you in a lot of ways. You also you don't just write for yourself. You realize that there's someone that you need to write for. Um. But anyway, in terms of senses, I feel like going to the place with life really helps. Going to with Lilac Girls, uh to, to go to Robbinsborg concentration camp, and actually I went there with my son to to just breathe that in is and then you give it back on the page. I went to Russia for lost roses. Russia, oh my God was it. But then you get excited yourself, like Alca does, bringing it Um, uh India to you. I feel like I'm bringing France to you. At least that's what I'm trying to do. and Um with with some of our sisters. I spent a lot of time at Gettysburg and down south and playing patitions, because I lived in Atlanta at the time when I wrote it, so I really every everywhere I went, I was always Um kind of picking up a little sensory details and um particularity, especially little things about what it was. What did I say? Did I say the wrong no, I was agreeing the particularly what's what sets you in the scene, like that's a little detail, and you do that so beautifully, Patty, and and that, I think, really makes it come alive, uh, for the for the reader. Um. But anyway, that's that's the way that I do it. Also with going back to original sources, Um, reading things that were written of the period. Um, I always find lots of little good tidbits of their two sensory wise and Um, Patty, I think another thing is that, when you know, all of us have been readers, right, I probably our whole lives. All of us have loved libraries and been readers, and I know that as a reader I want to be immersed in the background...

...of a story. I want to be there so much that I forget everything else around me. So I think that as writers, that's what we want to bring to our readers, because that was what was so enjoyable to us as readers. But we don't know how go ahead. I was wondering how did you go back to India when you were working on yeah, I was had a regular pilgrimage for you, did you? Had you gone back often during your growing up years, during my growing up years, I didn't go back for thirty years. I had not yeah, no, but then, Um, you know, my younger brother bought a condo there and so my mother and I started going because she needed a chaperone with her. She was at that age. And, uh so, as I was going back there with her, not only was I remembering things about growing up in India till the age of nine, but my mother was there to share all of her references with me and it was such a uh sort of, you know, full body that experience for me. Every time she and I would go back and I asked her lots of questions about her life. You know, mom, what's it like to be in an arranged marriage and to meet that guy for the first time on your wedding night? You know, stuff like that. So how are you? So Um, you know, those are the kinds of things that also I think we were at that age where I'm in my fifties, she's in her seventies and we're at that age where she can share a lot of that with me. She's feeling more comfortable about sharing the kind of things that I don't think she would have shared with me I had. I've been asking her at sixteen or seventeen. So yeah, I took a lot of trips. I talked to a lot of people who are still alive from the period of the fifties and the sixties. Uh, and then my new book coming out next March will be about the seventies. So, Um, the people are still alive during that period. I can talk to a lot of people from that period and, as Martha was saying, I read a lot of books that took place during that period, you know, novelists from India who were writing about their periods that they were living through. Uh, and I think that is all such a good flodder for whatever it is that we imagine and come up with with our characters. Yeah, Um, I'm so glad you told us that. Okay, Martha talked to us a little bit about how and why you discovered caroline, Caroline Faraday, in the first place, and I think it's really interesting because at the time you discovered her, you were not writing fiction. Isn't that right? Oh God, no, I never even thought about it. It's crazy when I think back on it now. Uh, I just love lilacs and I read a string Victorian magazine about Caroline's incredible lilacs and that was caroline faraday and it had a little picture of her. She was a beautiful Broadway actress. A little picture of the House and some lilacs and I love old houses, as you know. Mary Kay and I we shared that, I think. So, Um, I my husband said it was mother's Day and my mom had just passed away and Um, I was blue and he said I'll take care of the kids, you go up to the Bellamy Ferry House. He knew I wanted to go. And when I went up there was the only person in the tour that day and I found this story that I really feel was waiting for me. I know it sounds crazy now, we believe that really well, you guys, you understand. When I walked into that house, I just feel like she kind of said, okay, well, this one's as good as any to tell my story. Um, you know she doesn't have an advanced degree, but you know whatever. So Um. But even then I didn't I didn't think, oh I'm gonna write. I just went up there in her archives and started researching and I did that for five years and then I moved to Atlanta and I thought, well, I can't do that anymore. And then, Um, I went through a starbucks drive through and I took my son to school and by mistake, the Barista gave me a caffeinated, uh drink, and I don't drink caffeine because it makes me crazy. But Um, I went home and all the chapters just started pouring out. They weren't fabulous, you know, they were all just like narrative somewhere, but it all just like came out. So, yeah, that's how it happened. I hope now it was an accidental caffe nation resulting in a best selling novel. Yeah, and Ye, starbucks, I really should thank them. But but yeah, I only have green tea in the morning. That's all. I can take a diet coke. That's in the morning. Yeah, that's a southern thing. When I've worked at McCann on the coke account, we did that have a coke in the morning. That was so you know, she listened to her she worked. I worked at the Atlanta jural constitution every day in the back of the way. Yeah, and you...

...would go up to you had to to get to the newsroom. You'd have to come through the company cafeteria and my I had a very healthy breakfast regime, which was a diet coke in a Reese Cup. All right, well, enough about me, Um Martha. It can be so complicated to decide what to right next after such a successful freshman novel. Yes, instead of sticking to that same time period in World War Two, you stayed with the family, Caroline Faraday's family, and you did not once but twice more times, framing the sunflower sisters around the family. To talk about that decision. You know, it was completely, Um, just an emotional decision. Um, talk about a caffeinated decision. I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to write another book and Um, you know, lil girls had had been successful, but I didn't understand anything about the publishing world and I just thought, unless I have a contract for two more books, you know they could just, you know, set me off. So that's why I just thought, well, I've done all this research, I know the family and I really was interested in Russia and Caroline's Mother's whole thing and also in the Wilson Women, who are in some flower sisters. So I just thought, okay, well, this one won't take me ten years. It actually ended up taking me five, but you know, both of them were about five years and I thought it just seemed natural. Um. So, yeah, so that's that's what I did and I was so lucky because random house was I had the most amazing team and they were just like, if that's what you were to write about, that's that's fabulous, and they they love the idea. So that's how it happened and they told me somebody along the way said you have to start writing your next book. Once the first one is in the CAN, you should start writing your next book, and I'm glad I did because it really helped me through. As a movie, I didn't know what was going to happen and it really helped me just like stay focused instead of like waiting for the phone to ring or an email or something. I realized very quickly that, you know, there are long stretches when you just don't know what's going on sometimes, yeah, and then to focus on really helps absolutely. Okay. So, Alka, I'm so interested in this. I've read that you don't write full time, that you begin with the research and then you just kind of let your imagination go and you sit down to actually write only when the mood strikes. Yet you've also said that, after four decades of work experience, you're always able to meet your publisher's deadlines, which I think all of us are a little bit envious up. So can you talk a little bit about this, about your process, and also how you managed to stay on track without actually laying out a formal track? And I think that's it's just I'm just fascinated, so tell us all your secrets. I think that a lot of the organization happens in my head and I trust all of the different file folders in my head to keep everything in the right places. Um and style folders in head. I guess why my hair is bad. You have at trap in your head that you have so um. Well, I think what happens is that, Um, you know, when you have strong characters, and I think probably all of our books are successful because we have very strong characters. We have characters that feel real, we have characters that are imperfect, we have characters who do bad things and good things and ugly things and happy things and so Um, when you have characters like that, I think they speak to you and they start saying, well, you know, now you've got to write my story or there's war that you could be telling about us. Uh, and I think that that's probably you know, what happens with me. So as I'm walking, usually what I'm exercising. So as I'm walking or I'm swimming or I'm riding my bike. Uh, you know, characters will start talking to me. I know, I know, I'm not crazy, I know, I know this is not like, you know, I'm hearing voices. No, but you know, Um, you know, I have characters and they're starting to be in scenes and so I'm paying attention and as soon as I get home, or maybe even if I have my iphone, I've turned on the voice recorder and I just uh, speak in to it whatever scene is coming to my head and I start, you know, imagining, Um, and then by the time I get home, I might have a pretty good idea of how that scene is going to play out, or I may not, and I may, the next day keep playing with the scene in my head. It's not until I feel that the scene is quite done, Um, maybe baked, that I actually put it down on my laptop. So that's how...

I write. Uh, and the ideas just flow all the time. And once again, I have to give a lot of credit to my years in advertising. When you're in advertising, you know you have clients who say, okay, I need to see this concept in two weeks and in a month we are going to go into production and you know everything's got to be cast and produced and a lot of Lada da and so you you can't say hey, I'm sorry, I have no ideas. You cannot ever say that. So Um. So I think I've just trained my mind to constantly be generating ideas and that's what I've always done. One of the things I remember one of my bosses said is you throw away your first ninety nine crap ideas and then the hundred's idea is what you work on. And so in order to generate that many ideas, you've got to be coming up with a whole lot of ship all the time. Yes, I hear you say that. Why, that's life affirming for me. Yeah, I mean crazy. Yeah, I mean we I I bet that as you guys are peeling potatoes or you're giving bath or whatever, you know, yeah, worrying about your characters and we're constantly writing, whether it's on a piece of paper or, uh, you know, on a laptop I think we're constantly writing in our heads. I think it's going to keep us from dementia. I'm in. I'm in. Okay, quickly, Alca, talk to us about the Henna artist and the television project. Are you involved in that, or are you just like if you just handed it off? I handed it off. I learned that it's much easier if you just hand off everything to them and you take the big chunk of money that they're giving you and you and you just let them do what they want to do with it, because they actually pay you less money if you, as an author, want to be involved, because they don't trust you to put your hands off of the project, you know, to keep your hands off the project. So, yeah, they would like you to just go away, and that's what I did. Well, I don't I wish I had the up. Let's let's let's all hope we get the choice. I either want to stay or want to go. I don't know. All right, back to you, Martha. You've had this whole other life too, as an advertising copywriter. Um, and you know. How does all this stuff happen, Martha? How did you transition from copyrighting two fiction? I mean, you talked about. It was a long process and it can't only involve caffeine. Right. If it does, I need to start drinking more coffee. You guys drink a lot of coffee. I didn't get a lot of coffee. I mean, Y'all these ladies, when we have these seven a m text change the main thing is, I cannot, I can't function until you really yeahow, Oh, yeah, you don't want to know me. In the morning, before I've had my first cup, I'm like, I'll be right back, I'm making coffee. I'm with MEG on book tour, who you can't see. Meg Walker, are managing director. The main thing that has to happen, it must happen. It's cafeination. Yes, thank God, I don't feel that way. I didn't have to have any caffeination, so I feel kind of lucky. Um, but you were asking about the transition from copyright. Well, I I had retired. I had once my son, who's the third child, he um kicked the slats out of his crib and he walked out of his crib and I just turned to my husband and said, I think I've kept him in there too long. Um, he was said, I'm thinking it was, but I thought I have to stay home with these children because they were all very right and active, and so I was a stay at home mom and Um, you know, I felt something was missing, though, definitely uh. And so once I started writing, it just was like, oh my God, like, why didn't I do this before? That's crazy. So I just kind of, like I would, read how to write a novel book. I have thousands of well not thousands, hundreds, and I've how to write a novel book and every new one I just like I love them. So I guess I just kind of taught myself how to write. Um, I had a wonderful developmental editor early on, freelance editor named Betty's sergeant, and she was so encouraging and she just said, Um, when I showed her that first manuscript, you know, the caffeinated one, which is really kind of dreadful, it was always narrative summary. She said we'll add...

...dialogue and I said, well, I didn't know, Caroline, how do I know? And she said make it up, it's a novel. So I like Google was new at the time actually, and I started like googling how to write dialogue. But so I feel like I kind of figured out from that. But I also had to educate myself about World War Two and what happened to the rabbits and go to Ravens Brooks. So that was a big part of it. But I always felt like no one is going to read this. I mean I care about this, but no one else will. Um. And then it was such a shock to go into the UPS store once the book came out, and you know how quiet it is that first week after publication, and I was like, well, I guess, you know, this is it, and I went in and the UPS Guy Um took my book and my Amex and my phone started ringing and he was very much it. Rules are anted. He couldn't answer the phone in his ups stow, so I went outside into you know in Atlanta everything's kind of outside, it out, and I answered the phone and there were champagne corks popping and people screaming and it was my editor saying you made the New York Times list and I just thought what you what is happening? It's just crazy. And you know that sounds like it happened in a short period time, but you know there was a lot of work in there and you know, I went to one writer's conference in Las Vegas. That was bizarre. So, but you know, I just kind of figured I'm going to do this for me. And you know how they say dance like no one's watching. I really was writing like my mom was passed away. I thought no one's gonna read this, and then look what happened. It's amazing. I love that. Alright, ladies, usually we asked for a writing tip at the end of this segment, but what I love about both of you is that you both attempted something new at a time in life when a lot of us are you know, I think the older we get, the more we think, okay, well, my course is already charted, I already know where I'm going, everything's working out fine. Why jump off this cliff if I don't know where I'M gonna land? Right? But you both did that, even though success was not guaranteed, and it worked out amazingly for you. So, instead of a writing tip tonight from both of use, and you've already both talked a little bit about process, I would love to hear your life tip about what advice would you give to viewers out there considering their own second act or their own, UM, their own jumping off a cliff moment, even if it's not something to do with writing, because you both did it so bravely. How about you ALKA. Please be patient with yourself. You don't have to finish that book in two years, in five years, you know. Just give yourself the time that it takes to Um, you know, Bake that book. It is going to take time. You won't be able to do it immediately and uh, you know, my first book took ten years, but now all the subsequent books are only taking too because it's so much easier for me to learn those lessons from the first book. Um, so many people come up to me and and they say, you know, I've got a book and I've been working on I've done three drafts, and I'm like, Oh my God, you are so not done, because you know, I took me thirty drafts or right, that first book, and I love the drafts or right the second book. You are not done yet. You still need to go through and just be patient with yourself and go through and make those revisions, revision after revision after revision. You will get there. So true, so true. That's awesome. How about you I so agree with that. I do think as I get older. What what they don't tell you, is that women have to keep reinventing themselves. You have to just keep doing it over and over there I think as writers we all have to continue to do that too. And I talked to women sometimes, like out on a book tour and they'll say, Oh, I've always wanted to write a book, and I say you have, you have to just do it. I'm so sorry, I'm I thought I turned my notifications off. Um Uh, and they say, Oh, no, you know, I could do that, and I just it's just frustrating sometimes because I wanted to shake them and go yes, you, you definitely can and you need to, because if your fifties, say you've got a lot of time left and so don't just, you know, sit back and do what you've always wanted to do. So that would that would be my we had a guest recently we said we were talking about reinvention and she said I think we reinvent ourselves a new every no, it was my podcast I just did with Laura mccowen, and she said I think we reinvent ourselves every morning, a new so it's not just but that. I love that. That's so true. It's true. So it's like cell regeneration something like that. Yes, I love that. I love that science thing, actually just a science. My goodness. Well, ladies, we have a ton of live...

...questions and I think we've had such a great Um, a great discussion, that we're running out of time to get to them. But if you have a chance maybe to go to the page at some point in the next few days, there are a lot of people asking things of you and a lot of people paying you compliments, talking about how much they love your books, Alca specifically talking about how much they love your jewelry. So there's a there's a lot of love for you both over there. If you have a chance to Um to drop by UM quickly before we transition to our next segment here. Do you each have like a thirty second elevator pitch for your next book? I know you both have books coming out next year, early next year. Alca, do you want to tell us about your book coming out in March? Right? The perfumest of Paris comes out on March next year and I had so much fun researching that in Paris and Lisbon in New York and in Bras Um. So in it Raba, who is the thirteen year old girl in the Hannah Artists Um. She is the sister of leuctually. She is now thirty two years old. She lived in Paris with her Parisian husband and her two little girls, and she is working in the perfume industry. She has been tasked with the very first signature cent that she has ever had a chance to create, and she will have to go to India to source a lot of the natural ingredients, which is where raw materials for perfume generally come from, and in so doing she's going to uncounter the seventeen year old boy, the baby she gave up for adoption in the Hannah artist he is going to find her. He wants to know who his birth mother is and it will be the shock of her life. so that's what the perfume wait. All Right, Martha. How about you? You have a new book coming out next to you too. Yes, I just said a cover, and Oh my God, it's so it's so amazing and so kind of different from these other books. But it's called the golden goes and it comes out next spring and it's about two Badass women who are survivors of robinsbrook concentration camp. They became known as the golden doves when they worked in the French underground and they just, you know, tortured the Nazis and became famous. And, Um, it starts in the fifties, eight years after their released, and they're offered the chance. One gets to Um, maybe go back and find the child that she thought had died Robin's brook and the other gets to uh, find revenge for somebody that did something back to her mom at the camp. So she works for the US Army Intelligence and accepts this job to go find this bad doctor that did terrible things to them in Robin's Brook. So that's the golden us and it comes out. Yeah, it comes out in spring. I also have a short story called Naomi's gift with Um, a bunch of fabulous authors. Um, that is coming out this month. It's called them skifts. It's an anthology from Amazon. Yeah, we'll look for it. Yeah, exciting. Spotted that. I spotted that on Amazon today, so I know it'll be easy for people to find. I did. I did to see the other authors. They're pretty amazing. I am so excited for you and so excited to read it. That is awesome. Well, Alka and Martha, we could talk to you all night, but if you would not mind sticking around for a few more minutes, we have one more question for you before we let you go. But first a few reminders from us. Just always a reminder about our writer's block podcast. Will always post links under announcements each time a new one drops on our facebook page and a new episode launches every single Friday. Last week Ron talked to just send to Townsend about her astounding book mother country, and this week, in a few days, will release a new one. Ron and Christie talk with broke leave foster about her book on Gin Lane. You don't want to miss either one of those. Yeah, it does sound great and we know many of you have been have been participating in our very first friends and fiction reading challenge organized by our friend an Lissa Armstrong. This month for July, we were encouraging you to read a classic that you've always meant to read. And if you're looking for a way to keep track of those books and your other reading, we would love to recommend our beautiful reading journal at Fox, which is available through Oxford Exchange, and you know, it's just such a great thing, Um, to track what you've been reading and also to kind of broaden your reading horizons. Yeah, you're absolutely right. Well, speaking about speaking of broadening reading horizons, another place you can do that is the friends and fiction official Book Club, Um, which is such a fun group. I actually, just before we came on tonight, Um got to do a zoom with Lisa Harrison and Bren Gardner, the two lovely women who run that...

...group, along with Jodina, who has been extremely helpful with that group also. They're now more than twelve strong. Um. Brenda and Lisa, otherwise known as P D and J, choose a book to discuss every month and this month they're reading book lovers by Emily Henry Together. So they have happy hours with our writer's block podcast host round block keep everyone in a loop about suggested reads and upcoming releases, and up next they will be discussing book lovers with its author, the lovely Emily Henry, who's also been on our show on July eight. So make sure you join that group if you haven't already, Um, and it's just a lot of fun. And just one more reminder that we will be live and in person on the Delaware shore, all four of us, in just two weeks, if airplanes are flying, if, more almighty, it's ropped out there, and you can meet us at Bethany beach books at six o'clock in July and the luncheon at brows about books in Rhoba beach the next day on July. Alright, so, before we talk to Alca and Martha again, don't forget that we have the Awesome Nita Prose, author of the runaway bestseller than made on the afterwards show. So you will not want to miss that to make sure you stay on with us even after the closing right and all right, Martha and Alca. Europe next, one more time, one question that we always love to ask. What were the values around reading and writing when you were growing up? Alca? How about you go first the values around reading and writing? Um, I think that it was to learn as much about other countries and other people as possible. It's so important to be a citizen of the world and in so doing you have to read, uh, you know, literature from all over the world. So yeah, that was it for me. Was that part of do you think that was part of the immigrant experience for you, Alca. Partly it was the immigrant experience where, partly because I grew up with the professor father and uh, you know, and and a mother who was also very progressive, and so even in India we were always reading things that took place in other countries. Yeah, okay, Martha talked to us about it. My mother loved to read, but she grew up very poor and on Martha's Vineyard and the summer people would leave and they would leave all their belongings behind at the dump and especially their books. So she went to the dump and, uh, she found all of her books there, and they weren't always she was so widely read by the time she grew up. So I think she really, really valued, Um, having books in her life. And every Christmas my dad would go to the bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Martha's vineyard and come home in the snow with, you know, a huge pile of books for her and she puzzed through those. But you know, at the dinner table she read US Charlotte's well over and over again, the best book ever. But so I think that she um in taking us to library so much. It really uh instilled that in me and I'm so grateful that she did. Martha that. Yeah, me too. That might be the best answer to that question I've ever heard. You know, I've got to say before we let you, Ladies Go, Alca, Martha and I both had the pleasure of meeting your dad when we were in Um at the Corona Library together, and I know him. I know it wasn't he awesome, and you know he was such a great influence on your life, as I as I know your mom was too, and Martha, I was just thinking as you were talking. I was thinking this earlier too, when you talked about how part of the reason you went to the Caroline Faraday's house was because you were blue after losing your own mother. I just have to think that she, and then now hearing about how she fostered your love of reading in your childhood, I just have to think that she had a hand while she was fired and then after she wasn't, in making you who you are and making your career what it is to I just actually went. I went to a psychic in Atlanta and my mother came through and we talked about that and she said, yeah, and I think that's true. My next book is about Martha's Vineyard and her you know, her time frame during World War Two. So I feel I feel her presence even more right now. So, oh my gosh. Well, Martha and Alca, I wish we could stay and talk to you for another hour, but alas, our show is only an hour and we have to we have to have nita on now. We're so excited to talk to her too, so that's fun. Oh my gosh, I know. We're so excited. So, ladies, thank you, thank you. You guys are so much fun. You are so great to talk to you. I gotta say, what enriching stories tonight. I feel so filled up. That's amazing. Thank you, guys. Thank you, guys. Take care of y'all. All right. Now, to all...

...of you out there, don't go anywhere, because we have a great guest on the after show and our managing director, Meg Walker, will be joining us too. So you can find all of our back episodes on Youtube. We are live there every week, just like we are on facebook. Be Sure to come back next week, same time, same place, for another great show, as we welcome Katherine Center and Linda Holmes and Leslie Houghton will be joining us for the after show, and make sure you do not miss tonight's afterwards, after show with Nita prose. It's gonna be Great. See you there in thirty seconds. Goodnight. Uh, they were phenomenal. All right, I want to I want to chat about the show, but, Sean, first can you bring our managing director, a director, Meg Walker, on to join us? She's always working so hard behind the scenes. Um, and I think we're gonna start having her on the after show more often. Hey, MEG, and you're my name was Pat Burger. What is this managing exactly? She is always hurting us. Oh my goodness, was tonight's show so much fun? I mean, I just they're just both so interesting and inspiring. I'm kind of Hate Martha Hall, even though I love her, because who who says I didn't really mean to write in diwork times best sellary happened. But but coffee, but coffee, but I had a coffee, so much coffee. How many cups of coffee do you think it would I'm not talking about it, I think about it. Some things are very personal Christian I love. Gonna have to have a comic that they both they both write historical fiction and they both wrote is basically on the same timeline. They're both formers. I mean it's almost like we were doing pairing them up. It's like there was logic to our decision. I like accidental caffeination. Sometimes we have like accidental, accidental genius. I don't know, there was like some kind of great alchemy tonight. Yeah, I agree. Yeah, was that science again? Having Ki is basically a scientist. Now, why did she start mother day? What she starts doing? Alright, alright, so he knows. Make knows from experience. So that is never gonna have. Well, Mary Kay pulls out her beakers and the other thing, the other thing meg knows is she will never, ever, ever, let me book a book for again. Oh wait, I do have to say, Mary Kay, that you had lots of backers on in the comments tonight, lots of people chiming in and saying that they also drink coke or Pepsi or Mountain Dew. I talk to your first thing in the morning, often with sween cookies. Yeah, so evidently Martha's advertising campaign worked on all of us, for everybody. All right, but without further ado, I would love to bring on our friend Nita prose. We're all very excited to talk with her. I cannot wait to talk to nita because I was obsessed with this book. I couldn't not stop turning the pages. I listened to it on the audio but Nita is the Number One New York Times bestselling author of the runaway best seller and maid, author Stephen King. I'm so jealous of this, I know I feel like I can't even finish this part. Anyway, the author, Stephen King, said the maid featured quote the most interesting and endearing main character in a long time. A Library Journal called the novel an outstanding debut with a starred review. And Nita actually began her career in publishing as an intern and she's worked at several publishing houses through her career as an editor, working with many best selling authors. Currently is she is vice president and editorial director at Simon and Schuster and Canada, who shout out to Sades Canada. Boom, exactly. So she they published me and they're gonna be Publishing Patty now too. We Love Them. So Nita resides in Toronto, in which she describes, as quote, a House that is only moderately clean, which I would describe there, for as a house that must be cleaner than mine. So, Sean, you please bring Nita on. It's so nice to be here. You are making me laugh like nobody's business, so I really appreciate that. I'm so happy you're here. It's so great to see you and we're just so happy that the maid his head Um just the kind of success that it's had. It's been wonderful to watch this journey for you. Can you begin by telling us a little bit about what the maid is about? Sure. Well, the maid folly follows molly,...

...who is a socially Awkward Hotel roommate whose world gets, you know, turned upside down when she stumbles across a guest who is very, very dead in his hotel room bed, and you know, really dead. It's not a it's not a good scene, especially if you're made Um. And you know, for me this is a novel about what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different. You know, as a murder mystery, it's a little bit unusual because the mystery can actually only be solved through connection to the human heart. Ah, I love that. This is like chill bump night, chill, Bump Knight, Anita. But you've worked in publishing for a long time. Can you tell us a bit about your job as an editor and which authors you've worked with and how your journey lad you here to where you are now? Well, I've worked with so many incredible authors and I must say that, you know, I credit them with getting me here. I have learned so much through the graceful authors who have allowed me to enter their worlds and, Um, to help them with their journeys, and because of that I feel like, you know, I had, um, a kind of shortcut into this world because I understood narrative structure so well, because I had helped so many different authors with their stories and help them realize them on the page. So, Um, you know, I was able to write this book fairly quickly, and so I was joke about. Oh well, it only took me, you know, six months to write. No, it took me twenty years to learn the craft to be able to write my first novel. So, you know, that's a lesson in learning fast and slow at the same time, and I like that. I love well, did your authors and your your workers, did they know that you're writing this booker. Oh my goodness, UM, some of you may have, you know, experienced Um, oh, I don't know, Imposter Syndrome in your house. Does that sounds familiar to any ladies out there? Yes, yes, so for me that was like really tricky, like that was a psychological thing that I had to get over, because it was like well, who do you think you are? Your writers are writer and you're not the writer. Um. So when I decided, I really owed myself the chance to try on this idea that I had. I told no one, and when I mean I told no one, I mean I didn't tell my partner, I didn't tell my friends, I didn't tell my family, and the last people I would have told were my colleagues at work, because of course I was terrified, you know, what if I finished this and I put it out there in the world and of course, you know, all of my colleagues were like uh, and they were very polite but, you know, finally said it's not very good, and then I'd have to face the every day at work, you know, in perpetuity, and that's sort of you know, the only way I could get over that psychological barrier was to just tune it out and make the book only for Myself First, and that's how I got the first drop done in complete solitude. So I don't know how anything tell anyone. That's amazing. I actually have to share something here. Um, so you were ahould get this in such complete like you were so incognito about it that. So I've known you kind of peripherally for years because I've been you know, Simon and Schuster Canada has published me so well for the last decade and you are one of our favorite favorite authors. Like back at you, I'm so I love Simon and Schuster Canada. But it was not until you and I were emailing about another author a few months ago that you were like, by the way, do you know I'm being a prose and I was like what? So know, like you weren't need a prose for a long time and this book was a huge bestseller before I even had I think I texted the rest to you and was like, guys, I know neither you know. Wish I had that email printed up because it was like what your it's quite funny because your professional name is different, right. That's right. So my my real last name is Pronovo, which you know, I'm still learning to spell it. Uh. Now I know why your character is so funny and endearing. That's adorable. I'm really glad you changed it to people on here. Yeah, you know. Well, now that I know you change that you you know, you have a non to plan as I do. It's like, wow, you were dimmed right with the last name like pros, you know, and everyone asked me, well, why did you come up with that? And it's it's you know what I when I'm at work, that was my that was my nom de Plume. You know, when would come by and say, okay,...

...here's some jacket copy. Uh, pros, will you look at this? Look at this, pros, pros. Everybody started calling me pros at the office. So you know, when I signed up for twitter a bazillion years ago, Um, you know, my handle was me to pros, and then I thought, well, all right, I guess that's going to be my pen name. That I love that. I'm fascinated by the writing and secret thing because it's a big job that you have and I'm sure it takes lots of hours in your day. I mean I worked in house in a publishing house for many, many years you know. So, uh. And if, if you didn't tell anybody like when did, how were you able to steal away the time to write? Well, Meg, I am a masochist. So I wake up every day, and that's the true so, you know, you know. First of all, you know, meg, and many of you from your experiences in publishing, editors don't work to five. We work at all hours and we don't work forty hours a week. Far From It. Um, so I was used to that sort of pace already, but the only way that I could carve out a substantial amount of quiet time was to get up really, really early in the mornings, and which I still do. I write at five am. I love that time of the day. I absolutely love it, as long as I'm super caffeinated, a topic that I know you raised today. Um, you know, I I find that my my the worst parts of my brain are still asleep, the critical parts, the ones that's like, oh, that's a terrible idea, that, oh, don't, don't do that. All of that negativity is still sleeping and I feel like I can dance on the page at that hour, you know. And so that's what I do in the morning, you know, and then by nine o'clock, when my other day begins, I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted by that exertion. And then I get the fun part of working with my authors and helping them solve problems, and I it's amazing how there's a synchronicity that helping other people solve their problems actually then gives me the energy and the boost to creatively problem solve my own the next day when I come back to my own writing. Ye, suck all the energy out of your author's brain, fiddle it. I'm basically a vampire, Mary Kay. Yeah, this is why I can't come up with my next story idea. It's like, it's like like when you were not Nata was up at five o'clock sipening all the yes, I felt it. I felt it coming out of it. Sorry, you know, it's a competitive industry. You gotta know what you gotta do. Why this specific idea? where? I mean, do you have any idea where this story idea came from and how you went about crafting this character and this world? Yeah, that's an excellent question. So you know, I didn't. I didn't actually set out to write a debut novel, as I say I love my job, I love being an editor, I love my authors. However, Um, you know, I was at the London Book Fair in two thousand and nineteen, and you know, this is a place where editors and publishers gather and we talked about acquisitions, we talked about all of your great novels and we gossip and gossip and gossip about how one the wall you do. It's a lot of fun, Um, and anyhow, I was at a London Area Hotel and, Um, I went up for a meeting, I came back, opened my hotel room door and I completely startled the roommate who was cleaning it and you know, she jumped back into a shadowy corner. And the highly embarrassing part is that she had in her hands my track pants, which were sweaty and tangled because was gone for a rum that morning then realized I was late for Mam meeting. So I threw them on the bed and she was gonna make the bed and so she was holding my track pants in her hand and I startled her and we just looked at each other, didn't say anything, and I suddenly realized what an intimate and invisible job it is. To be a roommate. You know, she had been cleaning my room every single day. She knew everything about me, everything, and I knew nothing about her. And it was just one of those things that sort of sticks in your brain. You don't think about it much, but a few days later I was on my plane ride home and that is when it really hit me. I heard Molly's voice, the protagonist, from the maid, and it was clear, Chris, it was precise and polished to perfection. It wasn't like me at all, not at all. And when I heard that voice I knew I had something. I had the maid. I had the sense that she was, you know, a downtrodden worker in a hotel and and I wanted to know her story and invest in it and I knew...

...then that I that I was going to write this debut novel. Um, that's that's awesome. Well, Nata, I loved this book. I mentioned it before you came on air, so I hope you heard. It was such a page gener I listened to it on audio and of course I didn't make the connection between the epiderencies and and and native prose. And you've got, you got, so you got starred. Reviews. You've got Stephen King, which we're gonna have to talk about later because I just film. I don't know. I'll hope you love that. I want. I don't know him at all. I swear I didn't pay him. I was as shocked as anyone. It's just but he was right. What he said about it was right. So, as a long time publishing professional, you know that praise like that is rare and sought after, and your sales have been so amazing. So how does it feel being at the desk you're usually at and then to have your debut novel have this kind of success? Tell us how that feels like. was there this kind of native dissonance with the like? Is there still is? Um, you know, this jumping back and forth between roles. Even now I'm like, wait a second, why, why is everyone talking to me? I should be doing one of your jobs there and interviewing somebody else. It's it's very strange for me, Um, and I still wake up every morning sort of pinching myself. Um, there is a great luxury that you all know, that is telling stories. It is a great privilege and it's very, very difficult. Both things are simultaneously true, and so I feel so incredibly grateful, moreover, just to have readers, to have readers to complete my work, you know, because we put our work out there in the world, but it doesn't really emerge fully formed until it's read, until the reader completes the imagery by going on an imaginative journey with you through the process of reading and not to me, is more moving than anything else in the world. And, Um, I just I love every reader for that, mine and yours, all of them, all, all of them. One of my favorite quotes is by Madeline langle and she says that every book is a bridge between a reader and an author, like there's this bridge and we crossed back and forth and we crossed back and forth, and so that's that's exactly what you're saying. I love that. Well, Nita, you expressed a love for the readers, but I think I can speak for all of us on this screen and all of us out there, UH listening, to say we love you. I mean, this is just you are delightful, you are a joy. Um, this book is fantastic and it's so nice to see this kind of debut success. Happened to a good decent, kind person who's been working hard in this industry. We're we're just we're all rooting for you, Um, and we're just so happy for you. So that is so kind. Thank you so much, so thank you, and thank you. Yeah, thank you so much for joining us tonight, Um, and thank you for being part of our friends and fiction community. So, Um Nita, we can't to see what you do next. And to everyone out there, we can't wait to see you next week, same time, same place. Goodnight, everybody. Good night everyone. Thank you for tuning in. You can join us every week on facebook or Youtube, where our live show airs on Wednesday nights at seven PM eastern time. Also subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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