Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 3 weeks ago

Friends & Fiction with Armando Lucas Correa and Katherine Reay

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this episode we welcome two author guests. First we talk to Cuban-American author Armando Lucas Correa, a journalist who has worked at People en Español for 24 years, the past 14 as editorial director. He joins us to discuss his new memoir, IN SEARCH OF EMMA: How We Created Our Family, the moving story of his lifelong dream of becoming a father and the long emotional road to making that dream come true. Then we sit down with Katherine Reay, the national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels and one work of non-fiction book, Awful Beautiful Life, co-authored with Rebecca Powell. Katherine joins us to discuss her forthcoming historical novel, THE LONDON HOUSE, in which an uncovered family secret sets one woman on the journey of a lifetime through the history of Britain’s WWII spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris.

Welcome to Friends and fiction for newyork times, bestselling authors, endless stories, novelists, mary Kayandrews, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson harvey and Patti Callahan Henry, R fourlong time Friends with more than 70 published books between them together,they host friends and fiction with author interviews and fascinatinginsider talk about publishing and writing to highlight and supportindependent bookstores. They discussed the books, they've written the booksthey're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books andyou're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Hello, hello,it's Wednesday night and that means it's time for Friends and fiction.Tonight we have a very special show for you because we have not one but twofeatured guests were so excited to introduce you to both Armando LucasCorrea and Catherine Ray, both of whom have written books that are perfect tocurl up with this month as the weather turns cooler. So let's get started. I'mKristin Harmel, I'm Patti Callahan, Henry, I'm mary Kay andrews and tonightwe're missing Kristy Woodson harvey but she'll be back next week and this asyou know is Friends and fiction for new york times. Bestselling authors,endless stories to support independent bookstores And we have such a fun andexciting partner this month and next month also perfect timing butterballTurkey because we're going to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the famedTurkey talk line all month long so you won't make Turkey talk line. You wantto make sure to join us on our talking turkey with butter ball after showtonight we're going to be chatting about the history of the turkey talkline and mentioning some of our favorite turkey recipes and we will besharing those with you this month and december. And as you probably alreadyknow, the part of our original mission was to encourage you to supportindependent booksellers when and where you can. And one way to do that is tovisit our very own friends and fiction bookshop dot org page where you'll findArmando's book and Kathryn's book and books by the four of us and our pastguests, all at a discount of course at bookshop dot org. A portion of eachsale goes to the friends and fiction shop to support Indies and this show.So if you enjoy watching this is a great way to support all of our guestsbecause anyone we have ever had on the show is in our bookshop dot orgbookstore. It's actually kind of cool when you check it out. Right? Like Italked to all those people about all those books like how lucky are we?Right, so both are the books we're talking about tonight are about family,in the case of Armando's In search of Emma, we're talking about building afamily and in Kathryn's the London house, we're talking about digging intofamily secrets as we approach the holidays. Ladies, I would love to hearabout a time when something related to your own family changed something aboutlife for you. How about you mary. Kay you know you asked me this earlier inthe week and I really had to think about it and I think I have to say youknow my both my parents and my older sister passed away very unexpectedly umwithin about three years of each other and one morning I woke up my oldersister was 20 months older than me and one morning I woke up and I thought ohmy God all of a sudden I'm the matriarch. Oh my God wow chills. Yeah Imean my older sister was large and in charge of everything and we all justdid what she said the same thing with my mom and so um and I guess now I'mlarge and in charge to wow that's why you all around and we'll let you know,I don't know why you don't, it's how we all finished our books last yearbecause you just get to work. Ladies you're a ben efficient made pre are youBeneficent. Beneficent? Is that the one you are? It's benevolent. Benevolent,Benevolent. It's the opposite of malevolent malevolent. That. Benevolent.All right. I think that I mean there have been so many instances where ourfamilies shift you find something out you um You know somebody gets married,you get a new son in law but I think one of the biggest times that ourfamily transitioned about the ideas of what family is is when my sister whohad placed her child for adoption 20...

...years before found us and you know nowthe families are all family and everybody is closed and it is one ofthe most joyous days I've written about it, but it redefined what family is toall of us, that's incredible. You know, I was thinking about this question tooand one of the things I was thinking about was losing, losing my grandmother,she had dementia and so we lost her very slowly um with her memories kindof slipping away day to day and um that was something that really changed ourfamily because I think at least for me, I realized too late how many storiesshe was taking with her that I didn't know and you know, there were flashes,there were there were pieces of her late in that, in that, in that wholecycle right? Like where she was gone for the most part, but then she'd comeback for a little while almost and you could ask those questions or she'd tellthe story from 30 years ago, but there were these little snippets and itwasn't enough. So I think it made me realize how important it is um to talkwhile we still can, you know, to share those family stories and those familymemories. But anyhow we have such a great show for you tonight and I wantto introduce you to our first guest Armando Lucas Correa, a bestsellingwriter, journalist and editor who has a lot to say about family. Armandoentered the world of print journalism in 1988 when he was appointed theeditor of tablets. I'm sure I'm mispronouncing that a national theaterand dance magazine in Havana cuba. His career as an american journalist wouldbe Gin three years later at El nuevo herald, which is the Miami herald'sspanish edition newspaper where Kristin's sister in law got herjournalism start to were always tied together everything's tied together.Our Armando later began working as a senior writer at a senior writer, wowat people. Um you guys have got to learn not to give me the pronunciationproblems, um writer at people and espanol magazine and has worked at themagazine as the magazine's editor in chief Since 2000 and seven, Armando'sfirst novel, The German Girl is an international best seller and has beentranslated to 14 languages and published in more than 20 countries. Hefollowed that up with another novel, the Daughters Tale in 2019. He receivedoutstanding achievement awards from the Society of Professional Journalists,Journalism and the National Association of Hispanic Publications. He was alsorecognized as the journalist of the year by the Hispanic Public RelationsAssociation of new york and he received the humanity of Connection award from AT and T. How cool is that? What's so cool. Yeah, very cool. Now. Armando isa graduate of the University of Arts in cuba and has a pomegranate degree injournalism from the University of Havana. He currently resides off I win,he resides in Manhattan with his partner and their three Children. Thefirst ever English translation of his first book in search of Emma. Twofathers, one daughter and the dream of a family was released on October 12with a new introduction by Armando. Wonderful! I cannot wait to talk to himabout it sean can you bring Armando on please? I Armando. Well, we're seeing you know,all of you that you pronounce at all the names in spanish perfectly over.I'm so happy to present my book in special fema here today with you, thankyou. We're so happy to have you, Armando. Can you begin today by tellingus about In search of Emma? Oh my God, In Search of Emma is my, my mostpersonal book. And when I never thought I right, I remember that an editor atharpercollins came to my office at people in espanol and I thought he wasinterested in publishing a book about legendary hispanic celebrities. Theyactually wanted to talk me into writing a book about how I had my daughter be asurrogacy. I was shocked and I I usually don't speak or write about mypersonal life. It took me took him like why to convince me, but I agreed to doit. You know why? Because when I went over notes. Had been keeping throughhow the process. I discovered I had extensive record of conversation I hadWith my family over the years. It took me to think, think about it. I startedthe process in 1998, and I had my...

...daughter in 2005. Oh my goodness, wow,that's such a long road. Oh my goodness! Now How old are so Emma is 16 now, isthat right? She's gonna be 16 this Sunday by the way. Oh my God, uh and then you have two youngerChildren also, right? Yeah. You know when Emma was like a 2.5 years old, wewere living in Miami during those years and I remember her saying, oh my God, Ithat I want to have a brother and a sister, and then I talked to my partner,Gonzales said because you know the process, it was, you know, veryexpensive and we said we'll never go back there. But when, you know, twoyears later, when Emma mentioned that, I said, Gonzalo, we have a couple ofembryos frozen, let's try. No, no, I can't do that again. You know it wasn't.I'm er and I said okay, let's talk to the surrogate mother, you know mary andshe's available, let's do it. If not we're gonna explain Emma later. Andthen we talked to mary after having Emma, you know by the law in Californiato become a surrogate mother, you have to be a mother, you have to have achild and then Emma and after Em and she has another girl and she said, okaygive me a couple of months and I think I'm gonna be ready and let me talk tomy husband first. But you know for you guys are gonna do whatever you want.And then the next day we received the call and it's a Gonzalo, let's do it.And with the twin, he was like an easy process. We did the first for and wehave no one, we have two a boy and a girl. Oh my goodness. Oh beautiful. Nowyou've just talked to us about the joyous ness, about how you, how you gotyour Children. But would you talk about the challenges you faced on the road tohaving Emma? And I know that when you began this journey, there wereroadblocks right away at the time at the time, same sex couples couldn'tadopt Children in florida where you were living. So if you would tell us alittle bit about that when you know, Gonzalo and I, we met after coalitioncuba. We came together to the States and when I started working full time atthe head all, we bought two years later we bought our first house with a bigbackyard in florida. You know, and I said Gonzalo, I think we're ready tohave to create a family and then he said you are crazy when I do that,that's impossible. We came to this country a couple of years ago, You knowwe're learning the language now and and then I started doing my research and Iremember sending letters to china emails to train to Guatemala in latinAmerica and then I realized that it was illegal to adopt for us in florida. Butyou know it is a good news now, same sex couple cannot adopt Children. Theold fizzy state fostering Children however, is still complicated for 10seconds. But at the beginning was it was impossible to us. I remember havinga meeting with one of the agency's okay. You can say you're going to have yourshy by yourself. Don't mention Gonzalo, but you know I can I can lie for me itwas impossible to do that. We moved to new york and I remember working at atpeople in espanol is a senior writer. I have access to the five people and theyprepare a story that we're editing a story that is going to be published twoweeks later about a gay guy who has a daughter via surrogacy with an eggdonor. And I read the article, I called the agency immediately. They said whatdo you know that? Because the articles would have been to explain to them thatI was working the same company. Uh I remember he mentioned that he spentlike a $75,000 when I spent Gonzalez. Now that's impossible. We don't havethat money. We just bought our first apartment in New York. We sold thehouse in Miami, what do you think you're going to get the money? And Isaid don't worry we're going to find the money if we have to sell theapartment, we sell the apartment And we saw the apartment uh to make him I am acost over $125,000 accidents with all the lawyers and changing the egg donor,all that. But you know uh and and this is something that some may be easy foryou. But the biggest accomplishment more than anything that I have to everdone in my work life including writing and publishing my books is having myChildren. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Mhm. Now that you talked about you after youhad Emma you had two more anna and...

Lucas and you write very honestly inthe book about the challenges you all face sometimes from people who justrefused to accept you as a family. And I know that you said in theintroduction that there were those who said I am on and Lucas weren't yourChildren. Um they refused to baptize your Children. And even those who said,I mean this is just horrible to me that they would rather die than have, it'spainful. I think it's painful to read and it must have been difficult for youto write about and for your kids to face that could you talk about that andhow you overcome those challenges you know uh with all my Children this is anopen book you know they know how they were made, they know the story beforehaving you know writing in search of Emma I create like a small book picturefor her when she was like two years old and it's called In search of Famouswithout the picture of the family the surrogate mother, the egg donor. Andthey know the process and I remember when she started kindergarten and afterschool she had piano classes and one boy she saw you know he saw that it wastoo dad right and I am I am papa and Gonzales papi and then he said to heruh if you have to that you have to be adopted and she said no no I am notadopted yes you are adopted and then she came home and she she explained tous that it was that simple you know Emma you know you are not adopted it'sfine to be adopted but you are not adapted you have to that. And then thenext day when we went to school to pick her up the teacher said pale said oh myGod Emma is very shy, she never talking classroom but at the end of the classshe said she wants to explain how she was made and she said okay papa youknow me donate a warm the doctor put her in the plane and you know thedonald, she said the name, I can mention the name publicly put an eggand with a spoon they removed a play and create an embryo and they put theembryo, two embryos inside mary and one of the embryo is me. They always havethat kind of reaction. I remember, you know, it was before the, before thepandemic in our house upstate. We have a couple of friends visiting, some ofthem, they have a boy the same in savannah And right now it's gonna be 12in December and I think they were like nine or 10 and after dinner when theyleft, they saw the boy said that he preferred to be dead. Mm he said havingto that and you know myself, hookers, this, this problem, you know, the boysis saying and uh, you know, I don't, this is the problem is they want to bethat this is a problem. It's not mine. You know, they are very open and theyunderstand that they're going to have that kind of confrontation. And Iremember when, you know, because we're catholic maybe we have no religious butmy family, they are catholic for both sides. And when we want to baptize them,the priest said in Miami by the way that he can put both names on the, youknow, on the program for the, you know the only one that, so no, we're notgonna do that when we have the queen's we were in Pasadena California andacross the treaty was a church, I think it was a methodist church and we wentto praise on sunday, you know, we have the kids, they were premature and thenwe talked to the you know, the priest came to us and we talked to him and youwant to privatize them Oh yes. And then you know, they were like a couple ofdays old and with them and we baptize the three of them and then oh I like toseem to find some people closed door, others opened the door. Yes, that'ssuch a good point. Oh wow! Alright Armando, Even though In Search of Emmais a new release, it's actually only knew in translation am I right? Yeah,when I explain that, because you know, I wrote in spanish and after uh manyyears was able to get in translating english, thanks to the success of theGerman girl and the daughter cell, I always said that the German Girls existthanks to Emma because it was johanna Castillo, my first editor and now sheis my literary agent, read Emma in spanish and told me I should write anovel and I told her at every writers or those who want to be right or half anovel already written, I didn't speak to her about the not that novel I hadbut of a few chapters that I had written about the ST louis. And a fewdays later I was signing a contract...

...with Simon and Schuster to publish thenovel I had yet to write. I remember I presented only a couple of pages 10pages I think with a storyline and all my research. You know, because you knowChristine all of you know that when you are doing historical novel, you getobsessed with facts and pictures and you go to my apartment. Now I have likea small museum about the ST louis have played Auriana Minions, a postcard, alot of pictures, document books and language that I don't read. But Ialways said that thanks Emma, I am a fighter now because of that is amazing.And for those of you who don't know his two historical fiction novels are thegerman girl and the daughters tail. But you are also the longtime editor inchief for people in espanol and you have a long journalism background. Iwant to talk about the through line from this book to your novels that cameafterward. I want to know how you knew that this was something you could do. Iknow that your editor said your story writer. But what did you do inside ofyou that said, okay, I'm going to go for this. Yeah, I think the first timethat I heard about the son louis you know this ocean liner with over 900jewish refugees living Hamburg Nazi Germany in 1939 all of them withgovernment of disembarking cuba. I'm Cuban. And when they arrived they denythe entrance. You know the government, the president at that moment requestedAnother $500 per passenger. That that was a fortune at that moment. And thenthe weeks later they trying to go to the United States and Roosevelt deniedthe entrance to the Mackenzie from Canada. All of them returned todifferent countries in Europe Belgium France and Great Britain. And and theonly, the only one who survived the worry was the one in Great Britain andaround 200 because the rest of them, you know the world started in Septemberand they ended in Auschwitz and there is a couple of survivors, you know theChildren. And I remember I I think I heard this story for the first timewhen I was like a 10 years old. I remember my grandmother, my grandmotheris the daughter of a Spanish immigrant Who arrived in Cuba at the beginning ofthe 20th century and she said all the time Cuba around me Cuba is gonna payvery dearly because what they did to the Jewish refugees and when I went to college, I'm tryingI have access to the national archive that in CUBA is really hard to getthere. And I asked about the ST louis if they have some materials ofinformation and in whispering, you know, the librarian said to me or Mando, weused to have like a couple of boxes labeled with the ST louis and all ofthem disappear in the 19 seventies. When I arrived in the United States Iworking at the herald, I started you know reading and buying materials And Ihave some chapters of the book from 1997, And at the beginning I wasthinking to create like a nonfiction book because I am a journalist. I saidokay I'm gonna interview with historian. Like gonna talk to the survivors. Ifound one in Miami one in new york. And when I have Emma in 2005 everythingchanged. You know I realized that I need to tell this story from the pointof view of a father. That was my idea at the beginning when I talk to johannaI think Emma is going to give voice to the book. And then I remember the firstline more or less is I'm gonna be 12 years old And I decided to kill myparents. But at the beginning it was nine years old because Emma was ninethen 10, 11. Uh Emma was 12 years old. And I always said that you know EmmaEmma and became becoming a father changed my my my life completely. Youknow and then the book had this emotional connection with Children'sand the father and you know I'd love how she not only inspired you to becomea storyteller but then inspired you to tell it from that point, a view that'sa mini Yeah, it's interesting you say that because, you know, I thinksomething that the german girl and the daughters tail both have in common isthis idea of people being Children being separated from their parents,Children, you know, and the pain of...

...that separation. So, you mentioned Emmabeing a little bit of an inspiration for that, do you think that you tappedinto that idea of being separated from Emma for a long time before you had her?I mean, you were separated from almost this this right to have a child, Youwanted a child so much and you knew she was out there, you knew you would loveher. Um you know, and then finally you were together, was that part of whatwent into this novel, do you think? I think right now when you mentioned, andI'm thinking about it, but I remember when uh mary mary said I'm pregnant andyou know, and she's based in san Diego California and we are in new york, youknow, six hour by playing the beast. And I remember, you know, I was talkingto my daughter from the distance, you know, think about it, think about itbecause you are working and if you are having a child and you're surely notwith you is like being in a long, you know, the sense of time and distancechanged completely for you and then you have to communicate with her because Iknow the if your heart you have everything around you is completelydifferent and for me was I was getting anxious all the time with the twin wasdifferent but I didn't remember with Emma I went to all the doctorappointment you know I I took the early flight in the morning and coming backin the red eye every week, sometimes twice a week because I have to work youknow I was saving my vacation for one am I gonna born and then I rememberthat was flying all the time, back and forth, back and forth going to all thisappointment and therefore the biggest appointment I have the whole family youknow where a Cuban family and I remember the first ultrasound to knowif there's gonna be a boy or a girl. We were 16 people in the small room test aI remember the doctor said she's she's a girl, how it's gonna be the name isSugar Emma, okay I think she's Emma, she's still an Emma. I said well maybeit's going to change because you know it's depending depending where they'removing around the big, there was barely she's still Emma and I think she'sgonna be an Emma. Oh beautiful that is so Armando I have one more follow upquestion about that but I just wanted to say to anybody out there if you havea question for Armando I think we're going to have a couple of extra minutesto take a few of them. So do you plug your question and if you have one butArmando I was also thinking both of your historical novels are about jewsfleeing the Germans during World war two becoming immigrants and thenseeking to settle elsewhere. And you mentioned that you yourself are animmigrant from CUba which of course is such a part of an important part ofyour own story in your own identity. So even though you were writing fiction,do you think that there was a piece of your own life that you were writing inthose two books in terms of summoning the courage to start over againsomeplace new and unfamiliar. Yeah, I think the I remember when I waspromoting the book in Australia because the german girl the first country thatbecame a bestseller was Australia, the second one, it was Canada and then theUnited States and doing the tour for 15 days in Australia. Everybody said thatI wrote the book because it was in the I remember it was in the middle of theSyrian crisis. You remember all the Syrian group would be running aroundeurope trying to find a country and I said okay you have to understand whenthe book is published, you finished in mind there is in spanish you have tosend it to London to translation. It's like you know I finished the book threeyears ago, I never talked about the Syrian crisis but at the end all thesehistorians are connected. I am a frequently attend to and and andeverybody said I mentioned I realized that all my books and even when I waspromoting the Duracell and the one that I finished now the night traveler isabout the fear that we have for the other one. You know the people who hasa different skin color or the people who believe in different gods or have adifferent sexual orientation. We always afraid or the other one and all mybooks and all everything that I write Has to be. I am including me, you knowwe always think with one our Children to marry people like us, you know wealways afraid of, I living in a co op in New York and you know go up in NewYork is like a nightmare to get in my building from 1905 is one of the oldestcoop in, in the west side in Manhattan. And I remember when we apply, they saidthat we were the first Hispanic family...

...applying in the coop. Even the you knowthe superintendent is irish and when we applied were was the same couple ofcourse and my partner became a member of the board and I remember that westarted receiving emails a couple of weeks later uh and saying about anotherapplication and they explained the woman is a nice woman, the woman is ais a is a doctor and you know, the family is going to pay for theapartment or whatever and and the husband is very nice, they always saythe husband is very nice. And then we realized that the guy was black becausethe first black, you know, and they didn't know how to explain that to therest of us in the game, but we always afraid Of the other one. People wholook different, we need to, you know, willing to fight with all thisprejudice that we have, all of us have. It, I'm not excluding me, wow. And Ithink all the books, everything that I write, it has to be related. There issomething there always and it's always about family and family separationabsolute them. And you know, I I grew up around a strong woman, mygrandmother, my mother, my sister, my aunt, My mother divorced my father whenI was 2.5 years old. It was during the 60s, Beginning of the 70s, my motherwants to go to college and my father thought that he has to stay taking careof the Children and then she became an engineering, a very successful one.She's living in Miami is still working and and I always have done, you know,great admiration about a strong woman and that's the reason may be I want tobegin a father because I grew up with the absence of one but at the same timeall the character is about this strong woman I think Yeah wow that's true. Andwhen you started writing personally you have been you had spent so long. I meanif you're writing for people in espanol you are writing about other people andtheir lives and their stories and these nuggets of stories. I want to hear alittle bit about how you went from because mary Kay did the same thing andyou're writing about other, she would write about a trial or something thathappened and then you had to completely turn that lens inward to who you areand how you felt was that I want to hear about that transition and I don'tknow mary Kay but in my case I live a very hectic life. You know I am verybusy here, closing that magazine working the website. I have threeChildren. But for me writing is like my my zen zone, you know, it's my you know,I I don't do yoga. I don't, I walk a lot. I love working for miles every dayin the city of say and then when I'm writing is my therapy is my you knowit's the moment that I can be creative be myself and be in my world and I Ialways said that I am a reader who writes you know I was a child wasreading all the time and and then even when I start writing every day I haveto read at least you know, 30 40 minutes, I when I I read my, my brainwake up all the time. I don't need something for outside to come to meexpiration or something like that. I have to read when I read then you canstart working hard and it's you know, writing is working, you have to playthis soon and you have to write every day and you know, you guys, especiallyif you're writing, you have to write every day, you have a deadline and youif you sell the book, you know right now, I I saw 2, 2 more books and it wasonly one sentence in one of them. The other one, it was a pantagraph, wow,had to have a deadline. You know, I have to finish something that I havebeen writing for a couple of years, that is discipline. Yeah. Well speakingof that, Bruce Gilbert has a question for you. He wants to know when yournext novel will be out and if you'll tell us what the title is. Yeah, mynext novel is going to uh The Night Traveler. Uh oh, that's a great title,isn't it? Yeah, that's great. I love the title is a quote from, from a veryfamous poet. Rumi poet is night travelers are full of light And Idecided to play the title from there and it's going to be published uhOctober 18, 2022 I finished before the...

...pandemic wow. And then you know thepublishing house decided until we are back to normal had a book outside anduh we finished the english you know I I write in spanish but I worked reallyclose with my translator and with the editor in english and then I have to goback to the spanish and and this is a book like I really like because Istarted writing before the german girl Oh wow. You know I put it on the sideand I explained to johanna Castillo at that moment my editor that I need to domore research and because you know I have to finish the german girl becauseit was in my mind for many years and but it was the first idea that I haveto to my my my list is published now. Then I traveled before the daughtersaid no the doors have to be now. Okay every book had you know there are timesI think uh sometimes we don't know what that time is. That's true. Exactly.Sometimes somebody else has to tell us that sometimes stories bubble in theback of our minds for a little bit until they're ready. Written. Yeah theyhave to percolate a little. Yeah, absolutely. So Armando one of ourfavorite parts of the show is the segment where we get to ask our guestfor a writing tip. Do you perhaps have a writing tip you could share with ustoday. Okay. You know every writer is different. I am the one because I am Iam not a full time writer, I need to write at least 500 words per day thatbut that's part of my, my goal when I end in a better zone, I tried to writeover 1000 but it's too much for me, you know, but 500 is fine. Another thingthat I'm doing recently during the pandemic and the communication and Ididn't want to keep it forever is I have a fellow fellow writer that wecommunicate, we are soon and every day during long shower we connected and wedecide to talk for only five minutes like whatever we want to talk and thenwe put a mute and grieve right for one hour, one hour and a half for the timethat we have monty described it and then, and then you know the next day wecan talk about what we wrote but uh that's discipline and for me the mostimportant you want to be a writer. The only thing that you need to do is write.You know, some some of us were more lucky that we can present an idea andthey buy the idea but ideally is to have a book. I I'm trying to write morethan I'm going to be published because if I have, I don't know, I rememberthat the German girl the first draft, it was around 200,000 war. Oh mygoodness wow. You know I am the first editor of what my books after my motherread it And I cut it to 175 and then uh before going to my editor I got another20,000 wars. I remember when we went to johanna was 1 35 and before going tothe translator, we ended in 1 25,000 but I prefer to have more than and thenyou know, you keep it maybe for the other book because you know, sometimeswe dedicate a lot of time in a sentence. You want the sentence and the potentialto be perfect and sometimes it's perfect but it's not perfect for thebook and then save it, Just save it. It's never Yeah, cut up my tv. I thinkyou want to be a writer, deeper severance, you know, you have to havediscipline and the most important thing is read. If you read, it's better thangoing to college, it's better not to a book club or whatever if you read,you're gonna learn how to write I think so that was great. Yeah, that was likea few pieces of writing advice all rolled into that. We love that one last.I love it. All right Armando before we let you go, do you by any chance have abook that you've read recently that you could recommend to us, um somethingthat you'd like to be on our radar. You know, I I mentioned in the for thenewsletter newsletter that I think it was meg that you asked me about. Andthe one that is still in my mind is Hamnett. I love the man, I am a fan ofher. You know, I read all his books.

The you know, the personal one of heris beautiful. But Hamnett is a Master Bruce, I think is the kind of book thatyou start reading a historical fiction uh with a simple idea, you create aworld. It's very simple. And then of the book, I'm not gonna spoil anythingis memorable. You know, the uh she, you know, she found all this this worldthat she creates is about the stage and the emotion and the last, I love thatbook. I love that. What a great recommendation and patty. I think youhad a book you wanted to mention tonight too. I do. I want to telleveryone, first of all, I love ham net. And without reading it, I was textingpeople to say who read it because I have to talk about it. It was such a,the word I kept using was immersive. That was a truly immersive book. But Iwant to tell everyone out there about a book that came out yesterday by ourfriend kim Marie martin called Doctors and Friends kim Marie is an E. R. Docand this latest book focuses on a group of doctors during a pandemic And getthis, y'all She wrote it before Covid. She had no idea he was finished withthis book before Covid. So talk about christian. Yeah, it's crazy. The PWstarred review says that it conveys the deeply personal as well as the biggerpicture and I know I just want everyone to know about it. It came out yesterday.Oh great. It sounds good. I'll add that to the list. That's nice. Yeah,beautiful. I love exactly Alright, Armando we have been so happy to haveyou as a guest. So thank you so much for spending this time with us and allof you out there. Yeah, make sure to stick around out there because we havea double header tonight. Catherine Ray, the author of the London House iscoming. But for now Armando we will let you go. We are so excited about yournext book. Thank you so much. What I've been here with the Night Traveler. Yes,absolutely. We can't wait to talk about it with you. All right, Armando have agreat night Armando now everyone wow, he's that story manso much to unpack there. But as we mentioned we have a real treat for you.A doubleheader tonight novelist. Catherine Ray is also joining ustonight and we cannot wait for you to meet her Catherine Ray is the nationalBestselling and award winning author of several novels and one nonfiction book.She holds a B. A. And an M. S. From Northwestern University, graduating phibeta kappa. She then worked in marketing and development beforereturning to graduate school for masters of Theological studies. Sofascinating. After living in texas England Ireland and Washington, wow,she must have gotten lost on the way your final and stories are so goodfinding settled down to write and she settled down that she lives in Chicagowith her husband and three dogs. Her kids are grown and she writes novelsthat she calls love letters to books when not writing, Catherine can befound walking the neighborhood, hanging out with her kids and friends or evenoccasionally fly fishing in Montana. How cool! Her new novel, the LondonHouse, which I had the privilege of blur bing just came out last week sean, can you please bring Catherine onfor everyone to meet? Hi Catherine. Hello. I don't know wereyou fine, thanks. How are you? All were so happy to have you here. So theLondon House came out 10 days ago, 10 days ago. 10, 9 days ago. Yeah, Tuesday.Oh it's so exciting. I've been waiting and waiting for this book and I won'tmake you tell everyone today. But um Kathryn's irish stories are we need awhole episode of just your iron stories. You have your first child there. Right?No, my third, which is partly why that was just so terrifying because thatthird kid comes a lot faster than the first. Oh my gosh, I but we're not hereto talk about Ireland or your child. I want she would not appreciate that. Thethird. Just not, I know that, I know that. So tell us about the London House.Oh the London house with this great pomegranate skirt. Uh it is uh it's myfirst dip into historical fiction. It is a split time novel and in the pastit has the sort of the glamour of the...

...inter war years and really the safetyof those years. But then the tenor changes as the world approaches. WorldWar Two and two sisters who are very close um split apart and secrets growbetween them. They fall in love. You know, all the drama of the young theyoung twenties, But the secret does sort of occur within the family and thepresent day. Um the granddaughter of one of the sisters is trying to findout what that is and how that has shadowed her family for 80 years. Soit's a little bit of suspense, a little bit of mystery, A little bit of dramaand some really good 1930s, fashion. It was fun. It was a lot of fun. I lovedthis book. I got an early read of it and I just hard to imagine it's yourfirst step into historical fiction because it was just so expertly woventogether and so well done. Um you know, here on friends and fiction, we alwaysare so interested in knowing where the idea of the book came from. So what wasthe spark for this book, Catherine? And you know, what made you say, I see astory here. Um you know, it the spark was a misperception misunderstandingand how that can grow and um what that might look like over 80 years, overthree generations. It actually came the idea came from the book that camebefore it of literature and Lats, which is a contemporary story, but it's amother and daughter story and each see their relationship so differently. Sothen I decided, let's explore that further. Let's take a misperception ormisunderstanding and blow it bigger. But let's not just have backstory,Let's bring that moment onto the stage. And so that's where I came up with theidea of having this split time where you see in real time what's going on,and then you see how it arcs over the 80 years. That's what I love it. Sofascinating where ideas come from. And I was thinking, we were going to say, Isaw this house in London, I want to talk about research because it is myfavorite as, you know, research in England. I mean, sometimes we justright about England, so that we have to you have to do their own researchchurch in England. Right? So, I know you went to London for research foreveryone out there. Katherine's instagram is beautiful. She posts loadsof pictures of her trip there. Um, I want you to tell me about the research.Was there a house that actually you saw that looks like it or tell me what kindof research you did over there? Well, it was it was it was amazing. First ofall, I did live there in the early 2000. So I knew how I wanted the story tofeel and where I wanted the characters to move. However, um, I didn't know Ineeded to see some S. O. E documents. I needed to get into the NationalArchives. So I wanted to go in april of 2020 and my husband said no, no, no, wehave a we have a five day weekend coming up with our child who is stillat home at the time, let's take her and go at the end of february. So I rushedeverything together. I got my reading passes and we went over for four daysand it really was like Carolyn's contemporary journey. It was a race tolearn all I could. Um two days in the National Archives a day at the britishLibrary, Imperial War Museum, Churchill's war rooms. And it was justnonstop. Very frenetic and fantastic. And if I'd waited two more weeks, Iwould never get in there. You know, So it really was amazing. Um and that iswhat really brought the book to life. Um I had no idea that I could touchthose documents like I had in my hand. The original memo that WinstonChurchill signed in pencil to start the S. O. E. Uh at the beginning of the warit was incredible. It was everyone what an sso is okay the so is the specialoperations of Death Executive. And that was Britain's first foray into the spyworld. They had intelligence gathering and reconnaissance with you know theearly days of M. I. Five and my six. But this was true sabotage spy blowthings up. Um That kind of stuff. And that was the S. O. E. It was consideredvery ungentlemanly warfare bit. Is there anything you discovered in yourresearch at all? Then flipped the story you thought you were telling? Yes um flips the story. Well let's seeI think the S. O. D. S. O. E. Documents really brought it to life and they madethings more urgent and more on the...

...ground and more tactical that kind offeel. But one thing that really didn't flip it but enhanced it was researchingElsa Schiaparelli and the fashions of the 19 thirties. Because I had neverlinked fashion with politics. Fashion as an expression of your worldviewfashion as more than what you wore. But how you felt about yourself your imageto the world, the world around you? I mean It was incredible. And researchingthe way she approached fashion and researching her her differentcollections in the 1930s, that was a whole new level of, I mean, I justthought a sweater and the sweater sweater is not sweater. Yeah, so it wasamazing. That was and she's a designer behind and I have a oh my goodness, Ihave no idea where it is, I have a picture and everybody go look it up.But she was the designer behind the duchess of Windsor's Lobster dress, thecapstone of her church, you know, with Salvador Dali designed the lobster. ButElsa schiaparelli was the dresses designer and there's so much greathistory with the Duchess of Windsor and the abdication of King Edward theeighth and you know, it's all tied together and it's amazing. Yeah. Youknow, Catherine, I always think it's so interesting to know about the firstdraft of a book versus the last draft. And, you know, we just heard fromArmando about, you know, Finishing a 200,000 word book would make me feelsuper glad about what you feel better. I know it made me feel way better. Butuh, would you talk about that? And and you know, how the first draft and howdifferent or how maybe nothing changed in your final draft, You know, a lotchanged. So interesting. The letters had the letters at first were much moreexposition and pros, et cetera. And then I realized that I needed to dip inand out of history with the letters and really get people on the ground, so Ihad to tighten them up. Um and so that was very different and the the pastcharacters really became almost the leading ladies through that process,which shifted the whole narrative also. Um I think what also really changedfrom draft to draft was making sure that the links between the past and thecontemporary storyline were really tight by putting the past in lettersand diary entries, they were able to sort of in real time talk to each otherand I had to make sure that that communication was two way. Um and youknow, they weren't running parallel and so I think that's when I went over itagain and again, that's what I was trying to hone those connections, umjust to make them really tight, otherwise I kind of felt they might befloating a little bit. It makes sense. I think it's always interesting for ourreaders to realize that you know, they're not reading first or second.Right? Exactly. And sometimes, I mean, even apoint of view changes from the first draft last, but we have somethingreally exciting Sean has found the lobster dress photo Okay, there it is.So I'm gonna tell you real quick about it like this, this is amazing. So thelobster dolly wanted the lobster to snap up at the duchess's private parts,uh paparelli said she absolutely not, and so she got the more, it's a littleless aggressive, the fan is that it was her down, but it's still veryprovocative dress. Now, remember this is 1938 the panel that you see asorange, that is actually transparent for 30 1938. Right? The entire dressweighed less than £1 wow, So thin. So, I mean, almost the whole thing wasalmost transparent. It was amazing. But now here's a really great picture. Agreat image. Dolly wanted to slather the entire dress in Manet's, he came tothe studio, came to stab Perelli Salon with a massive jar and he threatened todrench the whole thing in Manet's. And there are two reasons we know he didn'tdo it. Number one step. Really swore she'd never work with him again if youdid. And the next year they came out with and this is this is when you readsomething and you don't hear something the tears dress. So I thought thisdress is going to be lighter than this one. It was going to be blue and greenand like tears sort of like make a...

...sweater there. But it's not, it's theterrors dress and you can look that one up as well. It is a white silk gownwith tears taken out of it with brown and hot pink and red underneath. Likeyou were tearing through the dress into the woman inside. Oh my God, I justfascinating dresses fascinating time. Anyway there's the lobster dry. I meanthat lobster dress and I've heard them Turn before, but I thought, I alwaysthought it meant that it was like the colour, which I think it was more likea pomegranate color than a laptop. It's fascinating. I mean, but that was thething. And right in 1938, think about 1938, Hitler has already annexedAustria. He, by the end, he's been given the Munich agreement in September30, which gave him part of Czechoslovakia, the student land. Sohe's on the move and schiaparelli puts on the biggest party ever for hercircus collection. I'm talking whimsy extravagance, acrobats tumbling throughher salon windows. I mean, it's just amazing sort of time and the fashionsof the time. But what was going on at the time was right about, you know, andsometimes when we're writing historical fiction, we don't, we find out that onelittle thing. And yeah, the whole thing changes. You know what? My brother isgetting married this weekend. So I'm just going to show up with a big jar ofmayonnaise for the in case the bride would like to, youknow, any last minute touch ups like me don't even recommend. Exactly. SoCatherine, thank you so much for joining us tonight if you would notmind sticking around for a few more minutes patty has one additionalquestion for you. Um and I think that our viewers out there might befascinated to learn something big you and patty heaven commons it's going tobe there. But first we want to remind all of you out there to check out ourfriends and fiction writer's Block podcasts. We always talk about them.You'll have to go check them out. They are just getting better and better andthere is so much fun and if you like hanging out with us here you will lovebeing there. A new episode launches every single friday and this past weekare Ron block for the Writer's block podcast and kristen talked to JamesHunty and Sarah Malinowski about middle grade series authors but this fridaymary Kay talks to her agent Stewart Kosowski and I hope I said that rightand powerhouse editor pam Doorman of hits like Secret life of bees. Theyalso happen to be married to each other pam and start not mary Kay and storyand for any for any of our writers out there this is an absolute must listen,I got an early listen and it is like a master class in what agents and editorslook for in their stories. It's a fascinating interview. Thanks. And ifyou're not hanging out with this yet in the friends, official friends andfiction official book club yet you are missing out the group which is separatefrom us and is run by our friends lisa Harrison and Brenda Gardner is nownearly 10,000 strong. Yeah, This month. The reading once upon a wardrobe bypatty and they'll they'll be discussing that with patty just a few days fromnow. This Monday the 15th and you've heard about our amazing readingjournals right? I mean you have heard about these things. I believe these. Ohso flash flash. I think we have a purpose holding them up to. I am soobsessed with this reading journal. It is there we go. Oh my gosh, I love it.Um it was so gorgeous. It has this blue linen cover and pages to review allyour books and I know what I am giving people for christmas. So watch out allof my friends. It pairs perfectly with the book. The inside pages have allthese different play. It's not just blanket. Has these amazing places towrite, what you're eating, what you think of the book. Yeah, I thinkChristie designed it along with the folks at Oxford exchange. So yeah, theydid such a great job. Okay, so make sure to join us for our next episode ofFriends and fiction. Next Wednesday the 17th, right here at seven p.m. Easternas we celebrate thanksgiving a week early and welcome chef, restaurantowner and author Vivian Howard. Then in two weeks which is thanksgiving week,join us as we welcome Elin Hilderbrand...

And celebrate our 100th episode. Evenknow how that's possible. We've done 100 episodes. All right. And if you'reever wondering about our schedule, it is always on the fence and fictionwebsite and the fall schedule is on our Facebook banner. And I believe we'll beposting a couple more authors tomorrow on that banner. So you want to be rightthere on your face. Yeah. Alright, Katherine. We have talked with youbefore on our podcast about what inspires some of your other books whichyou say are love letters to books. And I know that both of us have taken adeep dive into C. S. Lewis that have resonated it. So I think that sometimesas writer's there's one theme we return to again and again in our work. And doyou see that in your work? I definitely do. Um As you say theme.Yes but also writer um I will tell you that as Armando said earlier that hegets his ideas from reading. You can get them from anywhere in the world, hegets his from meeting so do I. And mostly they come from C. S. Lewis.There's just something the way that he writes his online with how I think. UmAnd so I mean I mean I can just rattle off if you've ever read of course I amnot prepared with like my book. So here, hang on. So lizzie and jane for me thisis an actual and exploration of C. S. Lewis's the four loves. But in fictionwhat would compel someone to put those four loves back in her life. Um And thebronte plot is the great divorce but on this side of heaven everybody's alive.So his themes of uh you know you're in there so logical. There's a wonderfullogic to him that resonates with me. And so yes, I've always got hope andredemption and things like that. But I also have that very pragmatic side ofme which Lewis speaks to. Oh yeah that's when we first went met whenCatherine and I first met we were like okay we're talking about and that'sthat's a Lewis quote as well. When you look at someone else and you say youtwo, that's when a friendship begins. Exactly. Alright, Katherine, thank youso much for visiting. Absolutely. Thank you for talking to you and good luckwith the London house. Everybody needs to grab this book. It's amazing. Thankyou so much. Thank you So bye bye. All right so all of you out there, makesure to stay for our talking Turkey with butter ball after show which Ilove. I love that. Talking Turkey with butter ball And don't forget that as weapproach our 1/100 episode in just two weeks. You can find all of our backepisodes on youtube. We are live there every week as well as being live onfacebook and if you subscribe on youtube you will not miss a thing. Plusyou'll have access to some special short clips. So be sure to come backnext week. Same time. Same place as we welcome Vivian Howard, we'll see you ina minute to talk turkey in the after show. Yeah. Mm hmm. I have a videoplayer just thinking since the after show, it's gonna be a price for thefirst one of us goes up like this, you know, like, like some pomegranatestarted around it for decoration, you know, quite a little very thanksgivingone. So yeah, I'm giving out a prize for the first time. I think it's gonnachristian your sound is um, garble. Oh, is that better back? It was probablyjust leaning back too much. I'm sorry, I'm so exhausted. I'm just trying toget over the butter ball fantastically. Alright, so I'm mary k where's theturkey hat with pomegranates? I, I yeah, I suspect she'll be the first, I don'tknow. Don't count me out though. All right, so mary Kay told you earlier inthe show tonight that we've partnered with butter ball for the next twomonths to talk turkey, so to speak. So this year, butter ball is celebratingthe 40th anniversary of its Turkey talk line. The turkey talk line which, youknow, we probably all remember kind of comes up every thanksgiving, right? Itstarted as just a phone line, but now they have a website and a facebook pageand you guys, they're on instagram and Tiktok, right? Like it's not animportant talk line is I know butter ball is way cooler than I am alright,of course we all know we can call in with last minute questions onthanksgiving day but what I didn't know is they're actually open from thebeginning of november through the end of december. So if you have any turkeyquestions at all about, you know, can you defrost a chicken or a chicken todefrost a turkey, you know for for a...

...year, can you do this? Can you do that?Like how to defrost? If you have questions you can find it on theirwebsite now or you can call into the talk line and you know the time forTurkey remains after thanksgiving all december and you know we're gonna betalking lots about other things you can do with Turkey to in november december.But anyhow if you have turkey questions, give them a call, check out theirwebsite and you know it's listed right there, but if you forget to write itdown, you can just google it or you can go to butter ball dot com and there's alittle link right in the top, pretty easy to be so cool, I cannot believethat we're two weeks from thanksgiving. I mean it was just March and we weretalking about having savannah were like talking about Turkey and I mean youguys know I am not the chef or the cook of this, happy for some of us offriends and fiction but my mother in law is a gourmet chef. A literalgourmet chef got the gourmet chef um piece of paper that says that you are.And when we first got married I thought I'm going to try really hard to be areally good cook. And then I realized that I was never going to be a gourmetcook. So I just thought now I'm a passable cook. Sometimes you just don'tdon't write cook. You are a very good cook. I'm raising your meals, yourscrambled eggs and those gluten free biscuit. I'm good at. It's oh mygoodness, this taco bowls, you made us basketball. That's true. But I have noidea about the turkey talk line, literally no idea. And I bet I'm incharge of thanksgiving this year and I got a call it. So yeah, I like it. How about Kathy, what are you doing forthanksgiving? I'm cooking a turkey. Okay, now here do you do it every year?Uh Yeah, yeah. Now Tom is usually the in charge of the turkey. Tom turkey.Get that tom turkey. Uh So he is usually in charge of that and I amusually in charge of the sides and the deserts and um so we usually haveextended family come. Our nephews and their wives and families come and um mydaughter Katie and son in law, Mark and the kids and I hope my son Andy and hisgang will be here this year. We will, we will see. But yeah and uh tom everyyear he tries something different like he's been, he's been brining for thelast few years, you know the whole Martha Stewart thing where yeah and youput it in ice and do all this stuff. Um but I actually, I bought a, I bought abutterball turkey breast this week because I thought you know, I'm gonna,I'm gonna cook one of those ahead of time. Oh that's so smart. You know what?I'm totally stealing that idea. I'm told it because I'm panicked that theone I ordered isn't big enough for for all of us getting together and maybe Ishould have genius. You're a genius. Yeah. And youknow what I like to do um One of my friend's mother's movie taught me to dothe oven roasting bag. Yes, simple. It's a turkey breast is genius every time. Well I don't do y'allenrich my life, Make me right at seven a.m. And do my pages Now. You're savingmy thanksgiving kristen how was California? It was so good. It was sucha whirlwind. It was just, it was four days. I feel like it was like meeting,meeting, meeting, meeting, meeting speaking engagements. Speakingengagement meeting, meeting meeting like that's how it went, but it was allgood. I got to see some old friends and you know I had to really great speakingengagements with um both of them were with Martha hall kelly and alka joshiwho is fantastic and then Susan Meissner moderated one of them too soit was just really good to see them and um it was fun Kathy mary Kay, did shedo panels with someone else? I cheated on you guys? Sorry, sounds like whatyou're saying. I'm just saying for another word. She paneled with someoneelse. So the serial panel er gosh she's a charter and a panel er did my motherteach me no manners charting and all over the place you were in Tybee, howis that? Um it was so cold and rainy, you know um I had a signing at myfriend Susan shop at seaside Sisters...

...and um we knew that they were going tobe king tides uh this past weekend so uh friday um they put out an alert, theweather service put out an alert that the tides would be so high they wouldcover highway 80. There's only one road on and off Tybee island and that's us80 and so we were, you know, kind of freaking out but It was cold, it wasrainy, it was windy but um the tie did not cover us 80 on Saturday. It did,however, on Sunday so I and I was going to meet you at palmetto bluff. So I hadto wait um no, it was monday, no sunday I had to wait until after one sundaybecause the road was covered and closed. I mean it was such a crazy rain MaryKay and I were both down there rain. I'm not kidding you. I think it rainedfor 29 straight hours. Oh wow Pat and I kept looking at each other about everyhour we'd go it's still raining. Oh my goodness still raining. Yeah. Are thatit was raining so hard that night I had Halloween candy for dinner. I'm justgonna go get that as one does. I said oh I could goout and get take out or I could just you know eat some Halloween candy thatworks. That works too. I don't need a rainstorm to eat Halloween can.Speaking of weird weather when I was in L. A. It was really foggy and I wasstaying on the 18th floor of a hotel and I woke up in the morning and likeeagerly you know tore the curtain back to see my sweeping view of L. A. And Iliterally couldn't see anything. Like it was like the fog was that dense. Itwas so weird. It was like uh it was like being inside of like a big whiteblanket but like it felt very claustrophobic. I've never reallyexperienced it like that before. Kristin texted me a picture out herwindow. I said you're no pardon? It was like look you're right it was weird. Iforgot I showed you that you're in a milk carton. Oh we're fine playing offhaving adventures out in the world. Crazy. Oh, it felt weird. It felt itwas my first time on a plane in almost two years, but but once I got there itfelt it felt pretty normal. And this week you are headed off to yourbrother's wedding. Yeah, he's getting married in Hawaii, which will be myfirst time there. That's going to be really exciting. Well, we're gonna missyou. I'm sorry, I'm gonna miss the show next week. It's going to be so strangenot to be with you ladies, but well guess what? Everyone, we have asurprise guest host next week because Kristen's not there. I'm going up tosee who our surprise guest host is. You'll be right. Yeah, and Patty, youhave something going on this weekend, You have something going on, right? Iknow, I just get to go, I'm going to Auburn to see my son. Okay, this iskind of uh because this is my, you know, we're all we've been talking a lotabout last lately because meg, you know, is going through some last with her son,graduating from high school. This is my last home game with my son in collegeat Auburn University. So we're going down to watch Auburn beat MississippiState and um spend time with my senior college son. It's the last home game.Oh that's that's awesome. That's bittersweet, but that's awesome. Yeah.Alright, y'all this was a great. I love doubleheaders. Yeah, it was great. Yeah,we're talking about Turkey. I'm hungry. I know. I'm just tired. You know, I wasgoing to tell you have had like the travel, wow, we've got to leave soearly for the airport tomorrow. I think my head's already spinning. And youknow, like when you have a flight in the morning, sometimes you just don'tsleep that well. You know, like if you're worrying about it, I just knowthat's going to be tonight for me, but I'm always afraid like the battery onmy phone is gonna do the alarm isn't gonna go off totally. So I wake up andI check like two a.m. And then my husband, he insists we however, whattime you think you should get to the airport? Tom always think we have toget there another hour earlier. Yeah, that's how I am. I'm the tom in ourrelationship. You know, sleep at the airport. Let's say let's go and let'sjust stay in the airport. We're gonna we're gonna call you tom the turkeyfrom now on. All right. Speaking of I gotta go get some supper. All right.All right. All right tonight, everybody. Thank you for tuning in. You can joinus every week on Facebook or YouTube...

...where our live show airs on Wednesdaynights at seven p.m. eastern time. Also subscribe to our podcast and follow uson instagram, we're so glad you're here.

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