Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends & Fiction with Ann Napolitano

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Bestselling novelist Ann Napolitano joins the Fab Five to discuss her phenomenal instant New York Times bestseller DEAR EDWARD, just released in paperback this week. They discuss Ann's extensive research process, how writing has been a real escape during the pandemic, her experince teaching fiction writing, and her love of independent bookstores—particularly the one she chose as our featured bookseller of the week, Books Are Magic in Brooklyn. https://annnapolitano.com/

Welcome to Friends and fiction. Five best selling authors and the stories Novelists Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, Christie Woodson, Harvey, Patty Callahan Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends with more than 80 published books to their credit. In 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing and to highlight independent bookstores. These friends discuss 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. Well, welcome to friends and fiction. It's Wednesday night. It's 11 o'clock, and we're so glad you're here every week. We are so tickled to see where you're coming from all over the country. So I like it when you all say where you're from. It's fun. So thank you for joining us. And tonight we have a wonderful guest and Napolitano, and she's here to discuss her new novel. Well, it's actually coming out in paperback. Dear Edward. I'm Mary Alice Munro. I'm Mary Kay Andrews. I'm Christine Harmel. I'm Christi Woodson Harvey and Patty Callahan. Henry, the novel Dear Edward was one of the most insightful and moving books I've read in 2020 maybe ever. So here's the story. Imagine you're on a plane with your family and that plane crashes, killing 191 passengers, including your family. Now imagine you are the Onley survivor, and that's what happened to the protagonist, 12 year old Eddie Adler. And so you will be sitting on the edge of your seat reading it before we begin our discussion tonight. We want to thank our new sponsor, Page One books. Page one offers a subscription package, which is basically a personalized service that hand select books for you based on your preferences in their knowledge, like we say all the time here on friends and fiction. Nothing replaces the personal touch of a riel, live independent bookseller, and this is no exception. Your books are not chosen by an algorithm, their chosen by a riel live person. And here's how it works. You choose a 36 or 12 month subscription, so you fill out a short questionnaire about your likes and dislikes, your desires, your hopes and your dreams. And then Page one does their literary magical matchmaking. And so you receive a book, hand chosen for You and beautifully wrapped with a special literary treat. Enclosed and first time subscribers get 10% off with the code. Guess. Fab five Way have Mawr information on our Friends and Fiction Facebook page and then, you know, while you are reading and choosing all the things that you want to read. Next, do not forget our friends at Mama Geraldine's. And don't forget to keep on snacking ways. Third novel. Dear Edward hit the literary world with a storm of accolades. It debuted at number two Ladies number two on The New York Times. In its review, The New York Times called Dear Edward quote a suspenseful page turner. And it is. I couldn't put it down, so this book burst onto the scene. It was a read with Jenna book club pick who called it Quote a dazzling novel and it will break your heart and put it back together again. It's a very uplifting book. Dear Edward was also chosen. This one of the best novels of 2020 by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe,...

Amazon riel, simple Fast company Parade, women's World and more It was also a Book of the month club picks. So if you haven't read it yet Good news, Dear Edward was just released in paperback yesterday. So without further ado, let's welcome an Yeah, Thanks for coming. It's our treat. We're really delighted to have you and my goodness, you had such an exciting year. So the book comes out in January 2020 and that was just before our country was really hit by the pandemic. Right? And, you know, by March the five of us began talking to each other, as most of our audience already knows. And we were on Zoom and we had canceled book tours and we were talking about that how hard hit the bookstores were by the shutdowns. And that's basically how friends and fiction started. So we're all writers, of course. But we're also mothers and grandmothers. So here we are, a year later, and the pandemic is spiking again and the snow is closed. A lot of schools again. And you have two boys, right? Yeah, there are 11 and third. Cool. All right, So how you're dealing with the pandemic? Not just as a writer and a mother, but making it work, How you make it with all these day and how are they staying at home? Tell us a little bit about it? Well, it's been a very strange year. Um, for all of us and having dear Edward come out in the beginning of it, just, I think, Well, I feel so fortunate that it came out two months before the world shut down. So I was ableto go to bookstores and go on tour and, like, properly launch it. I feel incredibly grateful and lucky for that. Um and then I don't know. It's a kind of streamline life. I mean it. It's done a lot of interesting things. I think I've written more in the last 10 months, and I've ever written before. In my life, like in a concentrated period was like having alternate fictional universe. To go into that I can control is like really satisfying something inside of me that feels so out of control with everything else. You guys way had a very similar kind of experience. All five of us were, you know, we were so anxious. We started doing 7 a.m. zooms and writing sprint starting at seven am. And don't you all think I don't know about you other ladies? But this This had been the most productive year of my life. 100%. Yeah, I've almost written the draft of a novel. It took me eight years to write your Edward E. Part of that was because I had two little Children and I couldn't really afford childcare, you know? So, like, I was very stretched in various ways, so that was certainly part of it. But I've never It blows my mind how much I've written and the amount of hours that I've written for in the past year. But I'm just so grateful for it. It's like you, really? You really figure out what nourishes you in that kind of experience, you know? And you know, of course, hopefully that's your Children and your family and I really, like, have deeply enjoyed my Children. And we watched a movie together every night. You know, like we started being sort of like new traditions. Like while we eat dinner. We have, like, alternating documentary and whatever, but get narrows your life that you go deeper. Um, yeah, and in all the ways that er that it's unsettling. The I think the writing has has, like, offered this sort of styles and reprieve in this way that I feel so lucky for, and it's so interesting to to, like, have this opportunity to go so deep. Normally our lives are so much more, you know, scattered that we couldn't even possibly do it. Eso right, that's so true. I mean, it really is. I think...

...it's such a good way to my son is nine. And we were, you know, dinner last night chatting and he said Last summer was so fun. Do you think this summer is gonna be a fun enough all way to live at the beach? So we were able to be outside a lot, and it was sort of a different, but it was just very simple, like there was. There's not much to dio and, you know, it was just great. And I have two books coming out in 2021 because I write so much crazy. Yeah, eso and for us like like Mary, Kay said. It's been these morning writing sprints that we do together, and I think that's what's made us. Or at least during a portion of the year that made us also productive. When during the day are you finding time to fit writing, and especially with the kids at home? For me, it's more in the afternoon like I am busy. I'm sort of in charge of the morning with the boys, like getting them through the various things that they have to get to, and then they get lunch. And then my husband is more or less in charge of the whole afternoon. So it's like, That's how it's basically worked out. And then I write all day on the weekends. Like if they're on Saturday that allowed to play video games lot eso Saturdays is like a big writing day for me. Uh, you know, So it's it's really like it's It's where I turn thio every opportunity that I have. But I feel so like and I realized how deeply introverted I am because I really miss my friends and I do miss, like the human human connection with other unions. E feel like I've only suffered like 15% because I really am, like, happy and deepest like inside myself. So I feel terrible for like true extroverts because I think e think it's true. One of the things that we a lot of us realized in the beginning was our life really hasn't changed all that much. E eso your Children are home then from school there were actually homeschooling them way had actually we have decided, um, toe homeschool them for middle school, just middle school. Um, so my we now have an 8th and 1/6 grader. So they both went to elementary school in our neighborhood and then my older son We've been homeschooling. Now this is third year and he'll go to high school next year. And so this is the first year of homeschooling. My younger son and my husband does it. He's a teacher in a tutor, so, like he's he's really interested in it. We felt like middle schools like it's just a tricky period when you're growing exchange. It is so awkward and, um, that we could do, like, interesting educational things our own, and maybe hopefully pull them off the treadmill of like, middle school social issue. Um, so you know, it's like all the credit, but it's allowed us freedom this year. Where we're not really is we're not tied to remote schooling and things like that. What Perfect timing. Thats I mean, what a wonderful You wanna have them both in middle school. You know, it does sort of follow the story a little, you know, a K. Did the boys at home with home school? Yeah, well, I'm always interested when you talk about the novels all the times when someone pulls a dual timeline like you did. I think timelines are really interesting. It's a big decision in when you're a writer starting your novel. So in Dear Edward, you had the dual timeline and the first begins for those who haven't read the book, the first begins with Chapter one, when all the passengers board the plane and we know it's an ill fated plane and the second chapter chapter. The second part begins with Chapter two, and it's weeks later and Edwards already beginning his recovery, And you really definitely flip between the two timelines the past and the present, and you increase the pace of the time of the shifting timelines until you reach that inevitable crash. And it's very exciting you at the edge of your seat. But it's also a very poignant, uplifting conclusion in timeline, too.

So even though you know what's happening, it's its's beautifully done. So can I ask you how you decided on this timeline and how many did you have to change it as you worked with it? No. It was one of the few things that I knew when I started that I wanted to do. I wasn't really sure why, but I want. I knew I wanted them to sit side by side. And I think in some ways it was because I felt like if something that catastrophic happened to a person is what happens to Edward, that it's a weight that you have to carry for the rest of your life. And it's not something that you would set down. And the events of that day on the airplane will remain as like riel and true and a big part of who he is as his current life. So I wanted them to sit beside each other and both be in the present tense, and then also I felt like we have this way, of course, like a prioritizing the living where it's the living that air special and their lives are important. But I also wanted to show that everyone on that plane is just as like, riel and and important and substantial and wonderful as the people on the ground. So, like toe leave them up in the air for the course of the novel, um, side by side with the people who are still living. I didn't really think about how the fact that it would then, you know, allowed the end toe like have a sort of orchestra build. But that was very, you know, pleasant. Put Discovery on, then also because the people on the plane initially I think it's just a normal day. They're they're flying when Edward on the ground is devastated. And then by the end of the towards the end of the book, Edwards getting lighter because he's moving on, moving forward and the people on the plane or getting darker. So, like, I think it balances the book, uh, kind of way. But I did not intend either. That's so interesting. I now that you pointed out, I'm not in my head going. Oh, yes, she did that. You know that You're on the lighter. The character? Yeah, which is exactly what we needed, because at the end of the book, you want the reader to feel positive. Yeah, Yeah, that's good. I didn't know. I actually I didn't know how. I knew it was gonna obviously knew the plane was gonna crash, But I didn't know whether Edward could be okay. That was kind of what drove me into the book was it was a real plane crash in 2000 and 10. That sort of inspired the novel. There was a flight from South Africa bound for London, and it crashed in Libya and there was only one survivor and it was a nine year old Dutch boy and they found me about a half mile away from the rest of the wreckage. And he was still buckled into his airplane seat and he had a punctured lung and a broken leg, but he was otherwise completely fine. Everyone else in the flight, including his parents and his brother had died immediately. And it was huge news like 24 7, you know, a cover of every international newspaper. And I was, like, obsessed with that story from the second it happened on, and I would have this one photo that would accompany even if you Google this crash. Now there's one photo that accompanies all the coverage of this of this of the little boy in his hospital bed. Andi is nine. He's beautiful and fighting. And he has a bandage around his head in his eyes on. And I would look at this picture and just think like, How could this little boy be expected to get out of that hospital bed and walk out of that hospital without Mom and his dad, his brother? Like, How is that possible? Like, how could you go on and have a Wednesday or, like eat a peanut butter sandwich? Or E really didn't know what drove me into writing the book was that obsession and then needing to go into the story to try and like, take the steps with Edward to see if it was possible. Wow, do you think? And that the fact that now how how old were your boys when you started writing the book? Were you thinking a lot about Oh my God, What if this were my child? How would they deal with it? I think that was part of it. There were one and three. So they were Really I think that in some way it's...

...like it is like, if something horrible happened to them and I wasn't there like the world take care of them, you know, eyes there, enough kindness. So I did want to know that too clearly. Like if it if something horrible happens an outside of my control of God forbid that. What does that mean? S It was a little bit a little bit of transference, maybe. Yeah, and the two brothers in the book are not my sons, but they're they're the only like this of my boys were one and three. And you know, when babies or that age, like they're idiots, like they're like, it's like living with two drunk bear cubs. You know, wrestling around your house like one had a bucket on his head, like half the time. You don't know anything about your Children when they're that young, you can't be like, Oh, he has a real gift for math. Or this has a strong moral code or, you know, very like, you know, like nothing about them. The only things that I knew about my son's when I started writing the book was that they were deeply in love with each other on I can take no credit neither for my husband. You know, it's like one of those things were from when I brought my younger son there two years apart. When I brought my younger son home from the hospital, it was like I was reuniting them as opposed toe introducing them. And so that love e think I normally would have thought being a parent that, like the loss of the parents, is the worst thing. But watching my sons, I was like it just would be like a crime against nature to separate them like you're not their peers. They're not meant to lose each other S O that made its way into the book. You know, I felt like a passenger on that plane and, um s Oh, there were so many details and familiar experiences and a lot happened. How did you find out so much about the crash? About a plane crash and the passengers and but what's going on in the cockpit? Um, I think, uh, the research must have been really, um, daunting. Well, it was really interesting um, the first year of the project. The book that I wrote before this took me out seven years, and while I did it, I fought it the whole time. Like Flannery O'Connor showed up in that book, the writer and I was so mortified and horrified that she showed up in that book that I fought because I'm from New Jersey and you don't write about Southern literary icon. You're from north, like it's just it's bad and I didn't want to do it, but I like I wrestled with that book the whole time, and when I finished it, I got it to a place where I was proud of it and like it on my husband was like, This is a labor of love, Like I think you should do it differently next time. Like this was not a pleasant experience for you. And so he he suggested that after the first year of whatever the next project Waas that I don't let myself right. What I call pretty sentences e like nothing better than toe like go into a scene and have a character say something I didn't expect and, you know, like have it unfurl and get into the rhythm of the language and everything. But I can't think like analytically at all when I'm in that space. So he said I should. His challenge was that I would take a year where I could Onley think, take notes and do research, which was very painful for me, and I was really alright again, but you also. But I I suspected that it was right and he was. He was very smart. It was very helpful for me. So that first year I figured out who I wanted to be on the plane. I did a lot of reading like each of those characters, like Crispin Cox, the octogenarian billionaire on the flight. Like I read Jack Welch's autobiography of the Guy Who Ran GE for Like, 40 years. It's called Jack Straight from the Gut. It's very funny. It's not supposed to be funny, but it's very funny. E read about war soldiers I read about pure math like like and like...

Florida was inspired by reading meal game in that year, Um, so and then I also during that year, obviously I spoke Teoh, a career pilot extensively. I read all the national Transportation Safety Board hearings for crashes over the last, like, 15 years. Yeah, I had to figure out, like why my plane would crash and I wanted it to feel really and true because I didn't wanna like wing it. There's nothing I don't know anything about aerodynamics or aeronautics. So I it was really important to me that it feels riel. Eso actually face the reason for the crash on another crash that had happened in 2000 and nine. Um, and Air France crash from Rio de Janeiro to Paris that crashed into the ocean. Um, yeah, they found the black box three years later. So, yes, I did a lot of research, but it was like a way for me to fill that year and get to the place where I got to write the pretty sentences. And also because it was about something that I really had no expertise or knowledge, and it was required. Wow, that's incredible. So and you know, one of the things one of the issues I have with writing about tragedy is that I never looked at the thing. I've written about the same way again after I've written about it. So, for example, I've written a few times about the horrors of World War Two in Paris. And that has completely changed the way that I experienced Paris. Now, um, you know, I think sort of once you open that door and learned something, you kind of can't unlearn it. Has this changed the way you experienced air travel and did It is a different now that the book is out of you than it was when you were deep in the research and having to fly places. That's a good point. Um, well, I was always a nervous flyer. I just know a lot more now. And when I interviewed like the pilots, pilots, like, say, casually say things like, Oh, pilots don't like to fly Airbuses because when something goes wrong, the tail cracks off their like e. I know. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It's in my I'm gonna need extensive therapy after e o you do You take on knowledge that you know. But I think at the same time, I always thought the Flying Waas amazing and I like I think it's awesome. Like in the true sense of the word awesome. Like I can never sleep on airplanes, in part because I feel like I might be called upon to fly the plane and they need to be alert. E can't. That bus is already really can't sleep on any public transportation, but also because I'm like, we're up in the sky like this is e like I can't sleep through this. So it really reinforced that to where I'm just like s 01 of the things that humans have done that is truly impressive. And there's like, seemingly so few of those at the moment that it's like zoo hold onto, like, moments of human ingenuity wherever you see them. Oh, that's a nice prayed to put it. That's really beautiful. That was a pretty sentencing. Yeah, we're impressed. Uh um, And in part one of the book, Edward is coming out of trauma, much like I am going to be after 30. I'm talking about the plane back. I'm sitting here thinking I used to be so terrified of planes and then having to fly so much on book tour like, day after day after day after day. I just got over it like I just had to. There was no and Now I'm like, I haven't been on an airplane year and I'm gonna be, like, starting all over in this. Yeah, this hasn't helped a cheese and she's doing a bicycle booth back on track, Really? But a New York...

Times wrote that it's a haunting novel that's a masterful study and suspense, grief and survival, which is so perfectly said, your attention to the smallest detail and Edwards thoughts and how he learns and reconnect with his body were brilliant. We were in his head. So how did you learn such telling details about trauma and recovery? Well, I did reading also about, uh, sole survivors who survived crashes and events like that and how they feel afterwards. I read about human about like child development, because obviously he's 12 in the book starts, so he actually goes through adolescence. Aziz, well, Azaz through what he's going through. Um, and then a lot of it was like it was feel. It was like, I feel like I had to go through his chapters, like in him and taking each step with him and trying to feel which was true and which, like, like, you have like a tuning fork or whatever. Like I had put up a tune pork with, like, every moment with him, and I could just tell if it rang. True or not, I couldn't tell whether it was good, but like I could tell if it was true and it was his story. The plane was so to speak, easy to write because it had a beginning, a middle and an end. I knew who the people were. Only so many things can happen on an airplane. Um, someone has to have sex in the bathroom. And then, you know, what else are you gonna get? E have to not be a germophobe, so it can only be like a certain person on E like Edward. I really didn't know what was. I didn't know how e didn't know what was gonna happen with him, and I didn't know how far I was going Time and I didn't know a lot. All I knew I really was that he was going to go home with that uncle and that there was gonna be a girl who lived next door and that he was gonna end up sleeping on her floor. And I didn't even know how that was gonna happen that seem weird. Uh, other than that, I really had to do it all like I feel e love them. I love the idea of that. The tuning fork I'm I'm like, I wanna like, write that down and take notes because that's such a good way to put it like when my character feel this, Do this. Say this. It's just it's and it is kind of a gut feeling, I think, more than anything, Yeah, it's like an emotion emotional response as a reader, but it's also an emotional response. As the writer, if you're inhabiting the person fully, you can just feel if it's a true note or false note e, I feel like we can tell and we can tell if we're forcing it. Yeah, sometimes forcing them into being what they're not, because we want it for our outline. Yeah, if we're paying attention, we can feel it in our guts. So when I read the book for me, you hit notes so true that I found myself nodding and I hadn't felt that sort of opening up of my way of looking at a situation since I read the curious incident of the dog at midnight when you're yeah, when you're in the head of the kid with Asperger's and you put us into the head in a very original fresh and telling way of someone who'd gone through drama just in the way he connected with his brain and he connected with his body. It was really beautifully done. Yeah, and because it was beautifully done in the midst of tragedy. That's the interesting part, right? So there's always thes glimmers of hope and connection, even in tragedy. We've seen it in the pandemic. We see it in your novel. There are there's all this tragedy and loss. And yet there's thes kindnesses extended these kind of small outreaches of kindness, these letters that were written and in some of the last words people said on the plane. It makes us wonder what it makes me wonder.

What would what would my last words have been? What I've extended those kind of kindness is, and so it makes me wonder. Did those grow organically for you? Or were those kind of a conversation between you and the characters in the book or were those were those intentional is you set out? Or did they grow out of this conversation between you and the characters in the book? Ah, conversation, I guess, would be the right way to put it, I think. Okay. You mean at the end? Or you know, all these glimmers of hope. The kindnesses extended the hope that's offered the beauty of the friendship with the little girl. All of these kindnesses, they seem to have grown organically. Yeah, I wonder what your guys experiences of writing when you write tragedy or you write something that's incredibly sad because this writing this book was the most joyful writing experience of my life, and I think that, ah, lot of it initially, it's still counterintuitive. But initially I was like, I can't even begin to understand why that would be. But now I think it's because I was in Edward and all the people around him were stepping forward with, like with kindness with human flawed kindness. And so I felt that pressing at me the whole time, and it was very nourishing, and it was like it was the world that I want to live in in real life, and I was living in it every day. When I was writing to the extent where I didn't want to stop, I wrote this book for a year longer than I should have. I ended up e didn't want to stop. Like I didn't want to leave the world. It was very hard for me to leave it. Um, yeah, that's what This this conversation. And I feel like the book is having that same conversation with us. A Such an important time here. This book came out January 2020. And look what happened in this last year. Yeah, I think we need this book. Well, I can't say that, but sure, you're because you walk away feeling better about people and the connections we have a Z we do in friends and fiction, I think. Yeah. Yes, yes, we'll What you guys did is this is stepping forward to try and connect and to share something that you love with each other and then with other people, it's I mean, I do think I mean, I was living in New York City on 9 11, and the thing that I think of that makes me think of this is the people lining the size of the highway to clap for the emergency workers and how emergency workers were getting into their cars and trucks in Colorado and Arizona and California and driving across the country just because they wanted to help. And then all these New Yorkers were standing there applauding them as they drive in. And the hundreds and hundreds of people that showed up to donate blood that morning thinking and hoping that they were going to be able to help. Because when something terrible happens that is like the most beautiful part of who we are as humans, we step forward and say, How can I help? And that is what this book is. And so I got toe live like in those moments all the time, and it was a really, like, beautiful and like, n joyful place for me to reside. Do you think you could have written this book? And if you hadn't been in New York in the aftermath of 9 11? Knowing seeing that response on DFI feeling that response, did you kind of I wonder if you could have like I wasn't there? I read about it, you know, long distance in Atlanta, Georgia and I don't know that I could have written it from that point of view that you have. Yes. I don't know. I don't know the answer to that. I mean, it certainly struck me very deeply. Um, all of it, though. So, um and it's so composite, you know, like, what? I've written it. If my Children, if I didn't have two boys...

...that were one and three, I don't know. I mean, I had no fire interest in plane crashes or, you know, like obsessed with that crash was an anomaly. But I love that, like I loved as writers that if you pay attention to the things that obsess you, it just pulls you deeper into your work. And that's, like, really exciting to me to be like, like, shirt in the middle of this book. I became obsessed with the history of basketball. Why, I don't know. There's a book there somewhere. You're going to figure it out in the book. I'm ready now. It, like, comes into play, but I don't know interesting, and I can't understand it like intellectually, but I know that it ties into like what I'm writing towards and what I care about what I think, and that's so fascinating for me to hear what other people are obsessed with. You know, etcetera Well, this is always that one of the things that we do all the time and one of the reasons we started friends and fiction is to support independent booksellers, and so were mentioning about the support that we want to give one another. And right now the pandemic is continuing in the strain, and independent bookstores is still continuing. And again, these book stores are the bedrock of our communities and where we go to get advice on the next book. And it's not just a, uh, online, you pick something, they guide you, and maybe you could get a cup of coffee or join other readers. And we want these great bookstores around when we authors get back on the road because everyone out there, it's the independent bookstores who bring us to you in your community. And so and I'm Here's why did you choose tonight's independent bookstore? Books are magic. E was like, Oh, no, what's going on? And can you Are you Are you unfrozen or you like Elsa frozen? She might people Oh, she might be frozen. So until she gets unfrozen, I will tell you a little bit about books Are Magic, which is in Brooklyn, and it's owned by a best selling author. Uh, I missed Rob so it's books or magic, and all of our viewers could get 10% off on Ann's book. Dear Edward, as well as the upcoming books of The Five of Us, which are the newcomers this summer of Lost and Found Surviving Savannah under the southern sky in the Forest of Vanishing Stars and the links to books are magic can be found on our Facebook page. And as Mary Alice said, they need our support now maybe. And are you on frozen now? An hands back? Oh, she just froze again. E. I am so sympathetic We're losing for all the time. E high e Sympathize completely. E. Did you choose? Books are magic. That's your local bookstore for you. Yes, it's e feel like it's a national like nationally known bookstores. Well, because it's so fabulous. Have you guys been there? It's one of the one of the co owners is a writer, Emma Straw, and she used to work at book Court, which was a famous bookstore in Brooklyn. And so she started books or magic when book Court closed. And Emma is made of like glitter and gumdrops and like she's amazing, like she radiates like actual like Glitter. So her stores like an emanation of her. It has, like beautiful shuttered windows and, like a Children's section that has like a little circle that kids considered in and couches. And they have amazing events there because, like this, the spirit of it. I mean, I love all independent bookstores because they're all so different. But books are magic, and it has, like, a wall outside that ever be Take instagram pictures of because this is magic and so people pose there. Um, it's just a wonderful, wonderful bookstore. Well, Emma, we all now want to come to your store, so be...

...prepared. Here we come on also really good news for all of you out there who would like to support books, are magic and has agreed to send. She lives nearby, and she'll send autographed book plates and work it out with the bookstore to get your book signed. So big bonus. You could get a signed copy of the book. So we've had our chance to ask questions. And now it's the friends and fiction members. Time for all of you watching. You can post a question and we'll try and grab a couple later on. So the first one is from a woman named FD Barton s Cohen. And she says, I loved the character. That was the principal. Did you know an educator that was like that? Well, I froze for a second. When you're reading that, I'm so sorry. Could you say it again? Do you want? Yeah, sure. I love the character. That was the principal did an did, you know, an educator that was like that. I love him, too. And I didn't know that he was going to be in the book. He when he tapped Edward on the shoulder when he and his first name E. I thought like, Oh, it's the principle. Like the principal would show up toe, you know, meet this child and make sure he was OK in the situation that he's in. And then they walked to his office and he opened the door and it was full of plants. I was like, Who is this man, I You follow your characters like that. Its's. It's so inspiring to know that you don't put it. Put them in these little pockets and make sure that they do what they do and you follow them into their office and see their plants. You know, just like being a reader, though, it's like an act of discovery. But that's a ridiculous amount of time to write my books because I'm following people around and then I have to like, corral it into being a cohesive novel. It's awesome. Well, we also have a question from Christine Current. She said What inspired the letters as a way of families to communicate with Edward. Oh, that showed up in a fairly early draft. Like he found a duffel bag full of letters from the families of other people who have been lost in the crash. So I don't know. He stumbled across this duffel bag and I was like, Oh, I wonder what is the duffel bag? And there were letters to him, and I was always looking for ways to connect what was happening on the ground of what was happening in the sky. And so those letters ended up being this wonderful way for me to sort of Thio tie the two together and toe Let Edward let Edwards see that he was not alone, that there were other people who were suffering from the same experience that he had. And it also gave him an opportunity to be proactive and to reach out and connect in ways that he hadn't had. Everyone had been reaching out to him. And now he was able to reach out in his own way, which allowed him sort of really to engage with life. It's beautiful. Eso we have a few questions from live viewers. Also, Laura Rossi and Diane Nardone are both asking What are you currently reading? Oh, I'm reading a transcendent came e Mm. Okay. Transcendent kingdom. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I heard somebody. I think I broke up. Yeah, she wrote home going, which came out a few years ago, which was spectacular. I'm enjoying transcendent kingdom. Yeah, I've heard such amazing things about that one. And I've got a question for you to um Well, Cindy Brown wants to know all about your backlist, and she's already read Dear Edward. Oh, that's nice. Uh, my backlist so Ah, good hard book came out in 2011 because I'm slow and it Zet in and...

...in Milledgeville, Georgia, which is sort of Flannery O'Connor lived, and it is a sort of ensemble drama that takes place in that town. Andi Flannery is one of the three main characters. Um, yes, e love that. I thought it was a great choice. Okay, Okay. She's way coming in and out, but we're way. She's literally frozen in New Jersey way. Have a few announcements. Let's start with our announcements. So give her a chance to come on back. Um, Christie Christian, I think you have a You know, we have some exciting news tonight. We actually mentioned this. We kind of did a little surprise Live at about 6. 25 tonight and told you are exciting news. So next week we will be kicking off a partnership with Parade magazine and parade dot com. So we're gonna be writing a weekly column for parade dot com And that starts February 10th, with which, with a wonderful column from Mary Kay Andrews, we will post the link here on our friends and Fiction Facebook page and in our newsletter And we will also beginning next week, be streaming live on the parade magazine page too. So we're really excited about that. There's such great supporters of books, and we're just really excited to be working with them. Yeah, and we are so thrilled. We have topics we picked up. You're gonna be loved, what we're going to write about. So just stay tuned. And I sympathize so much with an because my, uh I froze and I wasn't able to participate in that. So the wild Internet tonight And Christie, um, the second original episode of the Friends of Fiction Podcast is now alive, and it is incredible are amazing. Patty and Christian discuss modern takes on literary classics with Michael Farris Smith. Um, they're talking about his new novel, Nick, about Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby and Rachel Hawkins about her novel, The Wife Upstairs, which is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre. So you can listen, download or subscribe. Wherever you get your podcasts, we hope you will on. But if you like what you hear, we hope that you'll leave us a review and share our show with your friends. Well, why don't we go right to the writing tips and tips since we have an back. And are you are you used to edit a literary magazine? And you also taught fiction writing at N Y U. So I know we're all eagerly awaiting your writing tip. Uh, well, my ready tip is more not craft. So much as like an answer to the despair that people find themselves in. Sometimes when they're writing, like things can happen at various points for different writers. I have a friend who every time she finishes like a first draft with that, she feels really excited about. And then she reads it through, and she just wants to throw herself out a window because it doesn't it all like a line what she had wanted to me. Oh, yeah, Every book. Yeah, you know, like there's a wall that you run into it some point where you're like, this is terrible. I'm terrible. Why? I'm not doing this on for dear Edward like it took so long that, like, four years in, it was like a hot mess. And it should have been a hot mess. But I and I couldn't see the end at all and So at that point, I think I stole this in part from an patch. It, um But I made a deal with myself, and this is what I do when I hit these moments is where my deal with myself is that I have to write for at least five minutes a day and what I've written for five minutes, I put an X on my calendar on my only job is to string together as many exes is possible in a row on a positive and obviously most of those days you would write for more than five minutes. But even if you just check in and rewrite like a sentence, you have,...

...like, plugged back into the book. And by the time I've strung together a bunch of exes and I've gotten the book to a place where I'm like, re excited about it again or I've written a scene that I loved or you know what I mean, it gets you through those moments of despair. Uh, thank you. I think in the middle of winter where we're all beginning new books, that's perfect timing. It really is for everyone. We've started. A few announcements were going to go back to a few more announcements. But stay tuned because we have a final question for an So Mary Kay. Yeah, I've got an announcement. I want to tell everybody that you're gonna definitely want to be with us next week For the Friends and Fiction Valentine's Day episode. We are gonna play literary Spin the bottle e haven't even told them what's gonna go on way. But our special guests will be best selling romance women's fiction author Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and you never know what's gonna come out of that woman smell. You show up next Wednesday night for Valentine's Day and during that show next week, while we trust Cathy with our literary spin the bottle, I will be showing the trailer for surviving Savannah and we'll be having a little give away. And we will be showing the trailer for the first time on the show. Yeah, how do you told everyone again when you're when surviving Savannah is actually being released, surviving Savannah, which is a tongue twister, but it comes out on March 9th and yeah, it comes out on March 9th and I'm really excited. They called it the Titanic of the South and like you. And it took me a lot longer than I thought it would to write it from concept to finish. Was was years in the making. And I'm really excited that those years in the making are a solid living book now. So, yeah, we're all excited about that. And now we have the final question. And this is a question that we like to ask most of our visiting guests. And what were the values around reading and writing in your home while you were growing up? And did that influence you becoming an author? Yes. That's a great question. Um, yes, my parents would drop me off in our town library every Saturday, and I developed a relationship with the librarians so that they trust they knew that there was, like, a limit. You know, you can only take out 12 books or whatever that would be, and they realized that I was very trustworthy. And so they waive that limit for me, e a e bring a duffel bags to the library and a duffel bag, and then I would take them home and I would read a duffel bags worth of books and then bring them back again. But the best thing about reading when you're a kid is that you have no idea of genre or high or low or you know so I read like I read a lot of Westerns. I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, and I didn't know the difference between, like y a and adult. So I just zigzags back and forth awesome, and you just completely immerse yourself in it. And also when we went out with my parents, the only place that Erin where they would buy us things, that if we got into a bookstore, it was like That was it was that was like a green light when there was a lot of red lights everywhere else. So I've read incessantly, but my brother and sister did not. So I don't know how much of an influence, you know, like whether you're open to this thing that you know, Candy just being held out. E wonder if that's where Eddie's, um,...

...duffel bag came from. Hey, stumbled on a duffel bag. Did that influence you being a writer? Yeah, we'll probably I mean, I did read incessantly, and then when I was in fourth grade. You know, they give you those vocabulary assignments where you have a list of vocab words, and then you have to make sentences out of them, which I've had, you know, from when I could write. But in fourth grade, for the first time, the teacher gave us a list of words and said, I want you to connect the senses so it makes like a little teen or a little paragraph. And so I went home and did it, and I thought it took me like, uh, like, five minutes and I looked up at the clock and it had taken 45 minutes. And that, like, blew my mind because it was the first time outside of playing that, like time had disappeared like that. And I just remember, just like looking at the clock and being like, This is magic, like, this is stuff, eh? So I started writing a novel the next day, e like 10 pages, and of course it was about like it was about a wartime orphan. And then I started another one about a wartime nurse because I apparently decided that I needed to be a serious novelist that I had to be about war even though I knew nothing about war. Um, you know, So that was really when I decided that I wanted to be a writer, and then it was terrific. Li Shai. So I didn't tell anyone. Um, for a long as possible. So it did influence. I love that well, and this has been a really treat. I mean, you're really throw. You went right through all those little frozen e absolutely scene. But it was a real treat to have you. And there's a several lines. I'm going to listen to the program again just so I could catch some of those beautiful lines on E. Thank you for writing. For you. For you, all of you out there listening. We hope you'll reach out to books are magic and get your 10% discount on. And Dear Edward, now out in paperback as well as our upcoming novels with the code Friends 10. And I just wanted to say thank you again to page one books for being our sponsor. Wanted to tell you all that buying and store manager and genius matchmaker at page one. Cheryl is her name her phone auto corrects the two TVR. So I don't know about you, but someone that I want choosing on Don't forget that you get 20% off on Mama. Mama, Uh, Mama Geraldine's traditional Southern snacks. Um, luckily, I'm the one who eats the gluten free because my sons have stolen all the other goodies anyway. So it's not just for us, ladies. They have eaten all the cookies and all the key lines and everything else. So don't forget, you get 20% off with Fab Five and your favorite ISS. When you when you're on the comments, we like to hear what your favorites are you a good time. So join us next Wednesday night, right here at 7 p.m. And if this is your first visit with us, we hope you become a member of friends in fiction and enjoy a wonderful community of readers. You can catch any episode of any episode you missed on our website at www dot friends and fiction dot com or on our YouTube channel. And thank you so much. And thank you all for joining us. Happy meeting. Thank you, Ann. Thank you so much. That was great. I loved our she when she talked about the tuning fork. I agree with University. That waas Mm hmm. She was incredible. She really waas I...

...love learning about that. And I just I cannot imagine I wanted to ask you all this when you're writing, can you Are there things that you can write about Sort of effortlessly And they barely fazed you that if you were reading about them, they just rip you apart. Yeah, Yeah. Oh, yeah. What is that? I sometimes feel if I'm not when there's important scenes. If I don't cry when I even writeth, um, then I haven't hit the note e I know for myself, I'll walk away from a I know I'm I'm building up to a scene, a big scene and I'll go out. I walk around or I'll avoid it, you know? And I'll tell myself, because I don't You know, I didn't haven't done the research or whatever, but in reality it's me avoiding, um, writing this, seeing that that has a lot of emotion of impact. We're fear. When I was writing the shipwreck scenes and they're floating on the sea for five days and five nights and E. And I'm reading the journal the true journal of the woman who survived. And I could feel panicky. And I'm having at night I was having dreams about water sleeping under my door and eso. But when I was doing the actual like you, Christie, when I was actually hand on keys writing the scene, I was okay. It was thinking about it, dreaming about it. We're reading about it in her journal that I felt panicky, but in the actual fingers on keys, I was actually all right. Isn't that strange? Same thing, you know, it's it's the same thing with me. I feel like I grieved them during the outline process when I realized e realized I'm gonna have to kill somebody off. But then I know, but I I know the entire time that that's coming. So, like the grief happens way before I get there and when I get grief, Yeah, but But then, by the time I get there, I think I'm just thinking about the mechanics of it. You know what I mean? Like, how is this person getting to that point and how as a writer, can I make this moment kind of sore, but but the the grief I feel has already been dealt with. If that makes, I always feel I always feel like I'm emotionally stunted because I feel like, um, you know, my books are mostly lighthearted and romcom e was really hard for me to find those words and, you know, go deep and and talk about those emotions I can remember I wrote a mystery. Syriza Callahan Garrity Mystery Siri's and one of the one of the books I wrote Heart Trouble. My protagonists. Mother Edna, who was based on basically, basically inspired by my own mom but named after my grandmother. My mother had just had a heart attack and drove herself to the hospital to the emergency room and presented herself and said, I'm having a heart attack. So you need Thio. Good Lord, you have to know my mom. But I wrote that scene like somebody else. I know. Yeah, I know. I would be such a baby. E wrote that scene and and the drugs herself to the emergency room. And when I wrote this scene with Callahan experiencing it and talking experiencing it, I can remember so vividly being curled up in a ball on the window seat of our How terrifying for Callahan. Because again, you know, it was transference. Um and I was I wasn't there when my mom, you know, I was living in Atlanta on she was down in ST Pete, but writing about it made it. It's terrifying and real to me. You're in...

...memory, you know, it's interesting. The only time that I actually really escape. Sometimes you write for escape to. And when my mama was passing, I wrote second start of the right, which is about Peter Pan, a woman who thinks she's Peter Pan's Wendy. And it was really me being able to take care of my mama and then go in the other room and go into another world. And so in that respect, it wasn't fearful or sad. It was just other worldly. And that that was I think when an was talking tonight about not wanting to give that up to be in a place, you really I hated to leave London and this old brownstone and Wendy and Peter Pan no less, you know, Does everybody get sad when they finish a book? Yeah, I'm so sick of it. No, uh, minds. Weird minds. Like a weird process because I am so ready to be finished with it by the time I turned it in. But then it's like after I turn it in. Then I started There's, like, this weird Let Oh, those were my friends. And I was with them so much, and I really miss them. I woke up every morning to think about what was gonna happen next with them. And now they're about someone else. Yeah, begin again. I I will say that there sometimes you create a world, ah, fictional world and looking back on it, you wish you could inhabit that world. You're not not right about it. Because when we're writing that world, we have a responsibility to tell our readers and bring the readers into that world. But words thinking about the world of the book that you I had a friend, that movie critic for the a. J. C. For the Atlanta Constitution for many years. So she interviewed every big star that came through Atlanta, and she would ask every every actress you know Woody Allen Catherine have for everyone. Um, if you could live in the world of of a movie. What movie would you live in? Oh, a be great to ask. Authors. What book? You know what? Let's dio e No, I like movies that have sort of a historic feel to it, so Okay, girls, do you have any idea what what movie you'd like to move into and live in? Yes. What was the one that Diane Keaton was? She had that gorgeous beach house. O e. I love that. She's laughing and crying. Yeah, right away. That Zorro. A huge Broadway e about you. How about you, Christian? What? Is there a movie you'd live in? E don't. Well, gosh, how could it be anything but Paris for me, right? It would have to be something that takes place in Paris. But you know what? The first one that came to mind was I think it was a 1980 movie. Early eighties called Somewhere in Time with Christian uh, Seymour. It's such a beautiful, just heart wrenching movie that takes place in two time periods in gosh, it's somewhere. I think it's not one of the Great Lakes. Maybe get a Yes. Yes, I think it is, But is this. Just a big, beautiful hotel. That's a real hotel. Like, I guess I e But the Grand Hotel? Yeah. Yeah, I think it is. Yeah. Somewhere. My parents somewhere for Panda. Yeah. Christopher Reeves was in it. Yeah, somewhere. Yeah, but that the music, the movie, I loved the movie. But visually, it was such a beautiful movie too. But how could I answer anything but Paris? I'm ashamed of myself. You could do what was looking at you, kid. What was the movie? Humphrey Bogart. Which one? Oh, Casablanca. Casablanca. Well, I'm interrupting you interrupting you because I'm so excited, Andrea Cats just sent me a text that under the...

Southern sky gotta start review in Publisher's Weekly. Theo. Very practice. The perfect way to end the night way. Christine, you had something else you needed to share with us tonight? Yes, a birthday. Okay. Happy birthday will be on. Congratulations, Kristie. That was like the best birthday present to your family. Oh, e Oh, that is a champagne. Christie. Yeah, he Oh, my God. That is such good news. Sorry, I'm totally interrupted. But it like a corner. My friend was perfect. Start not. Oh, my God. perfect. You go home to will And this is E O. What movie would you move into? E don't know about a movie. So I've always wanted to live in the Gilmore Girls. I mean, I just I love that town, That show And, um, there was a lot of like, but both for where I live Reminds me a lot of stars Hollow and just e Oh, my gosh, it's You would like it, I think I don't know. I mean, now it's e watched it when I was younger and, you know, my editor loved it. My editor and Harper loved it, and she was a huge Gilmore Girls fan. So Rory Gilmore was my exact same age. So, like going through all the stages of life like we were both journalism majors. Like I looked back and I was like, Wow, did I make life decisions because of the Gilmore Girls? Eso When they did the remake, I actually wrote a column about my predictions for the Gilmore Girls and how she had been off airs for so long that she was probably following me and how I assumed that in this new remake she was going to write a book, and she did she Really? Gosh. Okay. You too. Oh, gosh. Like 50 have flitted through my head. Well, we've been sitting here talking, but the first I'm just gonna say the first thing that popped in my head is, uh was, but I'm joking is Outlander. But then e But I don't really wanna live in the Scottish countryside and be freezing Get James. But yeah, I think that to me. But I am obsessed with this TV show. Siri's called Endeavor, and it takes takes place in Oxford. And so it starts in, like, 1951 Oxford. And now we're up to, like, 1977 you just he gets to live in Oxford. Now he's a detective, and I don't want his life, but the scenery and the countryside and, uh, houses and the people, so don't you don't let me be endeavor, but I wanna live in that world. Mary Sean, Wait. Sean. What's his name? Sean Evans. Okay. When you read Summer of Lost and Found, I've got the title. When you see Gordon, that is him. That Sean after Sean Evans? Uh, Mary Alice? Is there a book that our movie that you would move in? Well, I think, um, as good as it gets. I love that you said That is very cool. She's, um, love that movie. I love that. Love her house. Uh, yeah. Diane Keaton noise. Whereas the journalists like me. Yeah. Next tonight. So mine is both of them are Audrey Hepburn movies. Naturally, my first one is Sabrina forever. Oh, yeah. I just watched it. Yeah, that's a good one. With the Givenchy gowns. E want her waistline. I want her. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Even she dressed her. You know, they had costume designers for these movies that Hepburn was in, but...

Givenchy would say, you know, Givenchy dresses may so and then the other one I love is, um, Charade with Carrie E and Audrey Hepburn movie. I did not like, Yeah, two for the road was pretty cynical. I didn't love that one. I remember the scene where they fell back on the bed and they were all sunburned, and they said, We're gonna go for day. That's such a great scene. All right, well, I just think we have to let Christie give will, uh, for his birthday. So happy birthday. Will we have a birthday celebration? Like all day? I made him three sets of candles like it is not like birthdays, and I am obsessed with them. So I don't know how we found each other, but here way, way. Name all these movies in a list for us to watch, please. Yeah, way. Also see in the comments Mega saying a lot of people are asking about our friends and fiction T shirts in the video. So we promise we'll have news about way. Keep talking about what we should do is really ask our guest If they would take a snap of their net night stand. What's on their beds? What they're reading? Yeah. What? Shell fees. Let's take some shell fees. Yeah, All right, everybody, girl. Nice e Thank you for tuning in. Join us every week on Facebook or YouTube where our live show airs every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Eastern time. And please subscribe to our podcast and follow us on Instagram We're so glad you're here.

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