Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends and Fiction with Caroline Leavitt

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Meet Caroline Leavitt, bestselling author of a dozen novels, writing teacher, and co-founder of the Facebook grpup A Mighty Blaze. Caroline joins the Fab Five to discuss her latest book WITH OR WITHOUT YOU and how her real-life experience with being in a medically induced coma informed the plot. She also shares some great wiriting tips and some advice about the pitfalls of writing about your own real-life loved ones. https://www.carolineleavitt.com/

Welcome to friends and fiction. Five best selling authors Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast with five bestselling novelist whose common love of reading, writing an independent bookstores found them together with jets, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing. Thes 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. Bestselling novelist 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. Yeah, at the Start of the Pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, their favorite bookstores writing, reading and publishing in this new, uncharted territory. They're still talking, and they've added fascinating discussions with other bestselling novelists, so join them live on their friends and fiction Facebook Group page every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, or listen and view later at your leisure. Hi, everybody. It's wonderful Wednesday night, and that means it's time for friends and fiction. Five Bestselling novelists, endless stories. I'm Mary Kay Andrews, and I'm posting our guest, Caroline Leavitt Tonight and my forthcoming novel, The Newcomer will be out from ST Martin's Press on May 4th. Hi, I'm Kristen Harmel In my next novel, The Forest of Vanishing Stars will be out from gallery books on July 6th. I'm Christi Woodson Harvey and my next book, Under the Southern Sky, releases from gallery books on April 20th. I am Patty Callen and Henry and my next novel is surviving Savannah and it comes out on March 9th. You're muted. Mary, Alice, Mary, Alice, you're muted Z Wait, Can you I mean it. No. Oh, there you go. The O on the summer of lost and found is coming up from Gallery May 11. Thank you for your patients. Thanks, everybody for coming and hanging out with us on Wednesday nights is always You know, before we get busy discussing our guests tonight, we're gonna depart from our usual business because we all want to toast some fabulous new just received our own Christian Hormel's novel The Book of Lost name has been voted a semifinalist. Uh, congratulations in the 2020 good reads book Best book The year Historic fiction category, uh, offering a virtual toast. Our girl Christian way. Christian, can I ask you a question? For those of us who might not know this now, we all voted for you in the first round. I don't know about everyone else, but I got a snazzy email from good this morning. I was so excited saying that my person that I had voted for made it to the next round. So now we go and vote again, right? Just because we voted, we still have We still get to vote again? Yes. If you wouldn't mind if you could vote again by November 15th. That'll hopefully fingers crossed. Helped me get through to the final round next week. But I just so appreciate it. Thank you. Thank everybody who voted. Thank you for you. To you guys to thank you. Well, put a reminder of an announcement with a link to good reads. Of course, we're thrilled for all the other semifinalists and all the voting categories, but mostly for Christian questions. On more importantly, we love...

...her book. Thank you. That's a great great you onto tonight's guest, Caroline Leavitt, whose latest novel is With or Without you, uh, way. Caroline is one of the founders of the Facebook Group, A Mighty Blaze and the award winning author of 12 novels, including Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow? Among other titles, With or Without You was a Good Morning America book pick and landed on best seller lists all over the place. Her essays and stories have been featured in New York Magazine Psychology Today, Red Book and Salon. In addition to book criticism for People, The Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle, Caroline teaches on right online writing classes through Stanford and U. C. L. A s writing whiners program, as well as offering one on one writing Consulting. You just know we want to hear her writing tip tonight saying she lives in Hoboken with her husband, Jeff Toe Marken. I hope I got that right. Ah, journalist who's specializing and writing about pop, jazz and rock music. Nice. And since we are talking about books, um, Caroline Tonight has chosen, um, the indie bookstore. The week is Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn. And as you know, when we started friends and fiction back in April, part of our mission was to support indie bookstores like this week's Bookstore Community Books in Brooklyn, which sounds like the most delightful bookstore possible in existence for four decades with a bookstore cat a lot. Yeah, across right upon with turtles and what's described as an unreasonably large selection of books like This'll Week. They are offering a 10% discount on books by Caroline, as well as the five F and F authors with the code Friends Fiction 10. And you will find a link to the store on the website and on our Facebook page. Now, Sean, will you bring in Caroline so we can quiz her? Thank you so much for having me. And I want to tell all of you, please, like, um, go to the Mighty Blaze website and get your, you know, fill out the form because we'll promote all your books. E o remember, e o Amazing. Yeah, it feels like falling. My last book came out right. We'll all of ours did. Right, Theo Trigon. Great. Thank you. It is so good to finally meet you after admiring your you and your work on and with a mighty blaze. So how's it then? During the pandemic, we chatted a little bit before we came on tonight, right? Right. It's actually been, you know, really, really. The mighty place really sort of saved me because it started when when the pandemic started and all of us were working 20 hours a day to get thing up and running, so I didn't really have much time. Thio worry and freak out. There was a pandemic outside because I was trying to promote writers on We now have. It's We now have a staff of 20 unpaid, passionate volunteers and it's just been it's been great. The rest of the stuff has been surreal. It's very strange not to be able to go to the movies. Not today. Able to go to Broadway. Not today, my friends, except on Zoom. But I'm becoming an expert zero So that Z and how about your writing? Are you being able to get much of that done? I know your movie because e sorry I interrupted you. You're writing your face. You're doing Mighty...

Blaze and your newsletter and maybe more teaching. I don't know how you find enough hours in the day I'm obsessed. I'll really obsessive about this stuff and also I have Thio, I I before, with or without you came out. I figured that I needed to sell another book so I wouldn't be obsessed about whatever happened with without you. So I wrote up a first chapter in an outline and I sold it. And now I have to write it just a big surprise it's to It's to next on October. So I have to I have to work on it every day, and I keep thinking, Why did I do that? Why don't I just write the book first? But that's keeping me busy, So I I dio I have, like, very I have a really strong work ethics. I'm really able to get everything done so far. So that's great. Eso we're gonna We've all got questions that were dying to ask you. I am interested in all the autobiographical elements in your books. I know that your latest novel, With or Without You, is about a woman who emerges from a months long coma and discovers, among other sterling changes, that she has suddenly acquired a new artistic talent fading portrait. Now I know that this situation was loosely inspired by your own experience thin 20 years ago after you came out of a month long medically induced coma. And you know, I'm interested in how you the care, the protagonist in this book, how you gave her, um, something that you didn't have talked with about that when you emerged from your coma and e You know, when I emerged from my coma, part of the problem was they gave me meds that would block my memory. And I didn't never realized it was such a thing on day. I did it because I guess I was in a lot of pain or it just made me easier for them to deal with. Um, but so I didn't remember being in the comet at all, and I wasn't changed. Afterwards, I was just sort of on morphine and hallucinating, but my body remembered even when I was better, like, six months out of the hospital, if I smelled a certain kind of lotion going to panic, attack and start to sweat. And that was really because that was the lotion the nurses used. Or, you know, God help me if I saw a stripes of any kind because that's the stripe of the curtain. So I was having so much trouble that I thought, Oh, maybe I have PTSD So I went to a therapist and the therapist told me, Well, you were right. I wanted to write about it. So I actually wrote another coma novel first, which was called Coming Back to May, which was exactly my story. You know, Woman has baby, it goes into a coma and the book did well, but my body did not do well. I still had all these problems. So five years ago, my husband had to go on a to be a journalist in Norway, and he was gone for ah week, and during that week I could not sleep. I was terrified to go to sleep because I kept saying, It's too much like coma. I stayed up every single night watching every bad movie there is to watch Andi. I wouldn't sleep until the six in the morning, so I thought I have I have to do something about this, eh? So I went to a different therapist and this therapist said, Well, I have the answer for you because I think you wrote the wrong kind of coma book instead of writing about somebody who's like you. Why don't you write about somebody who's different? And I thought, Oh, that that sounds a lot better. So I knew I had to research and I have this friend named Joseph Clark corks at the University of Cincinnati and he was researching comas. And we had these long conversations where I would ask him, Well, what can happen in a coma? And he said, Well, you know, we don't any Absolutely anything can happen...

...because we don't really know what happens when people are in coma. It's the brain is like firing and rewiring all over the place and maybe a cellular memory. But he said, all kinds of amazing things can happen. And I said, Well, like what? And he said, Well, people can emerge became fluent Mandarin a soon as he said that I thought, Wow, that's really interesting looking Thio to me. Yeah, I know. That's what I said. Why didn't happen to me? Or he said, You know, there was one case of some woman who woke up and she kept saying, Oh, I need a violent I need a value in and they said, Why you don't play any instrument. You can't even carry a tune. And they brought her this violin and she could play like a virtual something. She's stages. So as soon as I saw, like, Oh, this is gonna be so much lighter a book for me to ride, and it's gonna be really fun for me to write. So I decided that, you know, just then and there. Okay, I'm gonna make Stellin my protagonist. She's gonna come out of this coma with a talent, and that's gonna be, like, really, really, really fun to do. And it waas it. Waas. And once I had that, then I knew she was different than I am. And then I could sort of get into her head and and, uh, it sort of became It sounds so funny to say this, but it became the coma I wish I had had and sort of when I had it was very healing. It was very good. I still don't like yeah, sometimes, sometimes writing we don't even we're not even conscious of it. Sometimes writing is so cathartic for us, right? It was very cathartic. I still don't love going to sleep, but I can now. But you know the Lord the smell of lotions doesn't bother me anymore. Stripes don't bother me anymore. The worth of stuff. Sort of left. It's just the sleep stuff. And I feel, well, that'll that'll pass, I hope, you know, online. That's what brought an authenticity to it. To the voice. You know, you were in a coma, and it was It was beautifully done. It really was. I didn't know until after when I read the article that it was so different than your own, because I thought, Yeah, it was totally different. I just sort of I guess it was a part of me where I just didn't want to go back to that place. I wanted to create a different place. And it was just thrilling Thio here that, you know, coming out of coma could be a very different experience than what I had. Okay, this is okay, girls, I'm sorry, but I have to ask this crazy question. If you could have come out with one talent e wish I could sing e have this odd voice. I cannot carry a tune. I just I'm a terrible singer. But the thought of like being able to sing really beautifully to me. Seems like it would be a miracle. I would love that. That's great. E What? What an incredible story, though, that you could write about something so profound me? How many people can say they were in a coma and came out? You could write a book about it to share that. Yeah, it's weird. It was a strange experience, Christian. You've got a question, right? Yeah. So, Caroline, switching tracks a little bit. You've been so candid about describing your own rags to riches to rags again. Publishing journey, right? Like so just you know, for those who don't know, I think you had a huge first novel and then subsequently had a publisher go out of business. And then another publisher go out of business, right? E you had? I'm sorry. I know. I was just gonna say Yeah, I'm the poster child for any writer out there who thinks I'm never gonna make it. Listen to my story, because you will. I indeed I did. I published my first book in my twenties. I want a young writers contest, and I was like, the flavor of...

...the month and I thought things is really cool. I like this. I hope this happens all the time. Eso my second novel did not do as well, you know, and then my publisher out of business. So I got to another publisher and I went out of business, and it got to the point when when my agent kept saying, you know, Publisher, start starting to talk about you. I finally went out and I got a big A re book deal from a major publisher. And as as all of you know, if the publishers not behind you, if they don't really promote the book chest, it doesn't matter whether it's good or not. A good look. The butcher skies And that's what happened. Three books just sort of like nothing happened with them, and the same thing happened with my next three books. Nothing happened and be, well, all my friends who were writers were getting prizes, and they were no. And I would say, idiot at the party where people would say, Well, what do you do for a living? I would say, uh, I'm a writer, And then, you know, they never knew. I waas so there I was writing my ninth book, which was pictures of you on contract, and I thought it was, you know, okay. And my agent really liked it. And I got a call from my editor at this big publishing house. Who said, Caroline, we're really sorry, but we can't publish this. I I said, Yeah, I said, Why not? And she said, Well, none of us really think it's special. So of course, at that point, I started to cry and I said, Well, I can make it special. Just tell me what you dio I can rewrite. I don't care how I might I can make this footwork And it was that science again And she said, You know, no. Do you really think that you can buy a block? You know, best of luck and love. So I hung up the phone. I thought this was my ninth novel. Now, if you have nine novels out there and none of them except your first, which was a million years ago, did anything it's not like publishers were gonna be breaking down the door, saying, Oh, we'd love to publish your next novel. That's not going to do anything. Eso agent said, Don't worry, don't worry. And of course, I called on my writer friends hysterical, saying, That's it, you know, like my career is over. What am I going to Dio? And one of my friends said, Look, I have this editor at Algonquin and I think she would like your work And I said, Well, even if she likes it and she's not gonna take it because I'm not selling And my friend said, Let me just let me just finish this So she went and she took my management and she gave it to this person at Algonquin. This woman named Andre Miller and Andrew called me up about two weeks later and I thought, Oh, she's, you know, just being nice and she's gonna tell me No. And it took me about 10 minutes to realize she was pitching me Algonquin and I finally stopped her because of my honest person. I said, Look, I have to tell you because I don't want any surprises. I don't sell books, I said, like my sales figures were terrible. Nobody knows who I am, And she started to laugh and she said, Oh, honey, you will now a a about that book. They got it in six printing six months before it came out. They just built up the buzz. It became a New York Times bestseller its first week out. My phone did not stop ringing. It was so strange. And, you know, the most gratifying thing of all was like three months after it was out. The editor who told me the book was not special, called my agent to ask if I wanted to go back. Thio said, No, eso itt's actually like, you know, I have a really good friend of mine about you know what success is and what it means now. Because I've seen both ends and I feel like you know what? Just keep your head down. Do you work? You know, be...

...kind everybody. A lot of it is luck. Some of it isn't luck. A lot of it is like having the right publisher for you and having people behind you. But I tell writers all the time Don't be discouraged. Don't be discouraged. It took me nine. A lot of the oh, do you think that made you a better writer than you would have been if it had just all been smooth and beautiful, sailing from the beginning with, like, accolades, you know, everywhere with, you know, everything being thrown it too. Yeah, that's a great question. And I think you're right. I think it definitely made me a better writer because I kept sitting down thinking I couldn't figure out why the other books hadn't sold. And I kept looking at them saying, Is it the plot? Is it this is it this other thing? And I started to study story structure and other books, and I worked really, really hard. I mean, I killed myself over pictures of you and I do for every book because, you know, you never know. So I feel like, Well, I might as well please myself first and just write the best book that I possibly can. And hopefully how the people will will like it is well, but definitely Is it such great advice, really inspiring? Wow, it's like that dark night of the soul in a book, right? It was terrible. It was just We've all been there, and you just think it's never think it's like, Oh my gosh, what do I grew and comes up Yeah, And then it turned around and it could happen for every single writer out there. So, you know, don't if it happened to me, it can happen to you. You can't take it for granted. You know, Look, it has to be your best. Every book has to be your best, and the way and I feel like the way it becomes your best is if you If I would say, if you go down and find your deepest self and put it on the page without fear or worry, and readers will be able to define their deepest self because and that's what makes a good president for me, that was Write that down. That's E A. Forget the writing tip. We just kind of like a dozen right? A Human tips to e. E was, well, fab. Well, yeah, I'm sure what it was. Question eso in with or without you. The protagonist lover is an aging rocker who's finally on the verge of fame when his life is upended by his girlfriend's medical emergency. As we've mentioned, she goes into a coma after taking one of his recreational pills. So this book talks so well about the pursuit of fame and its effect on the famous, adjacent and professional jealousy. Was that an aspect that you had planned on exploring in the novel? Or was that just something that happened? That's an interesting question. It was sort of something that happened because I didn't know much about the rock and roll life other than you know, that I like rock and roll. My husband knows all these famous, famous, famous people, and I started having conversations with them and he introduced me to a few of them. And I started to notice that there were two different kinds of famous people. There were the people like I met a lot of people from the band Jefferson Airplane, and some of them were. It was ridiculous because some of them were in their late sixties and they were wearing tight little pants. And, you know, old Lee and all the girls. And I thought, Oh, this is like somebody who just hasn't grown up. This is pathetic. And then there were the people who were in their fifties and sixties, some of their seventies, who were who had once been very famous, and now they were. They weren't maybe like 10 people would know who they were, but they were still able to play their music and they were happy on. I thought, Wow, this is really interesting. This...

...is really interesting to me because and I can use that on I started, like talking Thio. I talked to some musicians asking, Well, what does fame mean to you and the idiots? You know, the idiots who are all into fame and still looking 20 when they're in their sixties would say, Well famous, A million people who are cheering for you, who love what you dio and the ones who are just, you know, making a nice living data musician said, Well, you know, I don't think about fame. I just think about the work, you know, much like writers. I just think about the work and the joy of playing music, and people show up. It's great. And if they don't well, maybe they will the next day. And I love that. And the more I thought about that, the more I wanted to get it in the book. Love that, e Love that Which brings me to my question, which is that you have written very honestly and extensively about your own family. Oh, yeah, Your mom and your sister. Yeah. Which I'm gonna tell you a secret. Terrified me, e It is terrifying. It is terrifying because you could be sued. I have had I actually had a lawsuit for my first book, because this fact, it was ridiculous. It was ridiculous. It was his family. Ben B and Rosie. I've had what? Their real name, Wasit was. Something like Neiman on my characters were Ben being Rosie Nelson. So it was sort of like a non issue. Um, most of the writing I've done about my mom has been like since she got dementia, because my mother was very adamant about she did not want to be written about, You know, she would call me up with yellow. He said, I don't wanna be written about Don't you dare. But then when she had dementia, she didn't know so and I felt compelled to do it. My sister is a whole different story. I've been running about my sister for a really long time. Um, my first novel was actually about her, and she never knew it was about her. And I finally said, Just book is about you and she said, No, it isn't, um My sister has a lot of problems and she has threatened to sue. But the deal is, um, lucky for me. My first husband was a lawyer and he told me that in order to successfully shoe you have to show damages. I mean, my sister does not. She has not held down a job for a million years. She doesn't really have friends. And I was very careful to try to present the truth in a loving way. Um, and I had to make a choice. If I wrote about my sister, would I be hurting her, or would I be helping myself feel better and understanding about her helping others and I decided that I needed to help others. I will tell you, like another lawsuit that I had was actually I I wrote about an ex boyfriend who I was in this terrible relationship a long, long time ago with this guy who wouldn't let me eat. Hey, literally would follow me around a category apart. Hey, would follow me around the animals right here. Follow me around to make sure I wasn't eating stuff, and dinner was always like a big potato and broccoli. And, Lord, help me if I put butter on the potato so you might ask, why would I stay in a relationship like this? And the reason was because before I met him, I have been involved with this great great guy who had died and I had been just grieving, grieving, grieving, and I got to the point after about five months where I said, I can't do this anymore And I thought, Well, if I get in a...

...relationship, I won't have to grieve. And so I met this guy and we very quickly started to live together, and I wasn't grieving. So every time he would do something horrible, I would. My first inclination was, Well, screw you. I'm leaving. And I thought, Well, if I leave, I'm gonna have to grieve. Andi, I finally left him when I went to sit down to write, and I found that he had gone in my computer and rewritten the whole chapter. Hey, said to make it funnier. So s O. E. It was ridiculous that it was your writing that was the so I left that that was it. You can't cross selling. So I left and I went back to Green and I had agreed for, like, another six months. And then I decided to write about it, and I wrote this article called The Grief Diet. Um, just about high because I went down Thio. I went down to £25. 0, and I did not mention his name. I did not mention his profession. I did not mention what he looked like. Um, the only true thing that I mentioned was that we both lived on the Upper West Side and the essay was published. And then all of a sudden I get a call from Random House lawyer and they said, Oh, we got this call and I said, Oh, let me guess Was it from blah, blah, blah? And they say Yes. And he wants to suppress the book and sue you because she wrote about him and I said, Well, I didn't use his name and I didn't describe him and, you know, it's been like it was by that time it had been like 15 years, and I said, We don't have any of the same friends anymore. on. She said, Okay, I will tell him and tell him to go away. So they got him to go away. So I always tell people, you know, you have to be sort of You have to be sort of careful. And you have to think the whole thing about family suing you was that, um they have to prove that you've really damaged, um, which I didn't really want to dio. I mean, like, my sister had been a dentist. I wouldn't have written about how she had ruined people's teeth, because that's so that is suitable. But if you write about Well, my sister did such and such a thing, and it may be if you put it back on you, it made me feel this way. And I had act this way because I felt so terrible. And I felt that she waas blah, blah, blah, blah that you're safe. You just can't make blanket statements that somebody is a drunk or a drug addict. Wow. This is a great writing tip. Yeah. Okay. All right. What do you tell your writing students when they want to tell right about their families? What do you question a lot like. Can I tell the truth about my family? You can, But you wanna be careful. It's sort of like I mean and LeMond says your stories and your stories, your life is your life. People didn't want you to write about them. They should have behaved better. But my feeling is head. I mean, I don't really feel that way because sometimes people can't help themselves how they behave. Yeah, I just feel like I had You have to think, really, with great certainty why you're writing this. And for me, it was I needed to understand why the sister I love so deeply hated me now, and I was very careful. And you want to be really careful, the things that could be actionable or they could really destroy somebody I left out. Like if you're writing about. You know, if you're writing about your brother and he's married and he's having an affair, you might need to do you need to write about the affair. Maybe you can get at your point another way. You know, you have to figure out what what would be your point about writing that it might be? Well, he's having this passionate affair, and he's very loving. Why can't he be loving towards me on, I would say to the students, Well, maybe you can find a different example of that,...

...because if you start your talking about his affair is going deeply hurt his partner, and you know it's gonna be a big, huge mess. So I always say, Like, try to think about the stuff that concern you personally. Um, don't demonize. Try to understand about you know, your family member and, you know, be prepared, you know, be prepared for anger or a rage. But my situation with my sister was also she already hated me. So I felt that on one level, I felt that well, maybe if I wrote this, we could get in conversation and that, you know, that didn't happen. That didn't happen. But, um, you know, you're walking a tight rope, you really walking a tight rope, and you just try to be as honest as you can without, you know, just ragging on somebody. You're trying to understand why they are the way they are on. Then it becomes the truth, and then it can help other people. And then that's why you could do it. Yeah, that's a great story. Which leads to my question, actually, because first of all, thank you you brought us. Ah, lot. Already tonight. I'm so glad it I mean the legality Is there something that we always have to struggle with? And it's so thank you. But I'm really impressed. I think we were talking earlier. All of us are that you teach advanced and beginning writing classes at both U. C. L. A. And Stanford University who offer a one on one consulting services, which I'm amazed. But here's in my mind. This is a huge commitment, both of your personal self. But your time and all of us are busy. I mean, you, as we said, you do a mighty blaze and all the essays and other things. How do you balance this with such a busy writing career? On also one other thing? I'm a former teacher. What drives you to teach? Okay, I'm going to take that question about driving me to teach. I learned so much from my students. I really dio I mean, I make them critique each other because I really feel if you could look at somebody's work and figure out. Oh, this doesn't work. And how can I make it work? It helps me in my own writing. Also, I I really love my students. It's just really interesting to see I make them get really personal, maybe get really personal in their writing, and you get to know each other on a really deep basis, and it Zafon un and also I have enough in terms of classes. I can't pick and choose who is in the class. But when I do personal stuff, I get to choose the people I wanna work with, so that makes it much more enjoyable in terms of time. I just I've been lucky because I'm very fast. I'm ridiculously fast, and I just managed to get things done. And I'm happiest when I'm doing a lot of different things. So it works out or so well, it's It's pretty amazing that you could do all that. It really is. My hat's off Thio. You know, Caroline, we have a lot in common with our online. Um, Facebook shows you are a founding member of a mighty blaze along with Jenna Blam. Actually, I think we have a viewer question that has to do with that. So let's let's see if that view is around. Hi, friends and fiction readers. Hi, Caroline Boo. I wish I could have popped in in person tonight to surprise you, but I am doing an event with Elizabeth Berg for underserved Children and trying to get them some books to read. So, unfortunately, I have to say hi to everybody via video. But I feel like this is a little appropriate, given the fact that Caroline and I have co founded a company called a Mighty Blaze that helps link writers and their...

...new books and readers virtually so. Caroline. Question for you that I would have asked you had have been able to pop on. What do you think? After our nine months of having the blaze up and running? What do you think the Blaze offers its viewers and it's readers. And what is the vision that you have going forward for it? Post pandemic enquiring minds want to know including mine. So I hope you are all having a wonderful time tonight. And thank you so much for watching and happy reading. Y'all stay safe by That was a wonderful surprise. So wonderful. Shana Bluhm is She's really the heart of the mighty Blaze. She's she's a genius. She does most of the stuff. We are going forward. I'm actually doing much less in the blaze now than Jenna is because I have to write my book. And also because Jen is like the Oprah of the mighty Place. This world, the mighty place offers people community. It really does. We get. We get thes extraordinary writers to come and be interviewed. We promote new authors. We interviewed debut authors. Jenna has started running virtual book festivals virtually, and she she doesn't in Tierra and Heels. Uh, Jenna is going to be starting a Siris of classes for people can take through the blaze. We have merchandise. We've gone political this year. Um, I really have to credit Jenna Blonde because she is. She is amazing. I I would not be surprised if she has a TV show next, but it's a wonderful community, so you should come over everybody's welcome and it's very much fun. Well, we're so happy that you could tell us about that. Now we're gonna talk a little bit about the bookstore of the week. Which is the community look for in Brooklyn? Yep. There they are. And they are offering, Ah, 10% discount. Um, you just use the code friends fiction ton. Uh, and now we're gonna see what the viewers want to know from Caroline. So we've chosen some questions that were posted on the Facebook page earlier, and we'll ask them now. But while we're talking, if you have something you'd like to ask posted and if we can, we'll try to get to it. Mary. Alice, you've got the first question I dio Morgan cast. She says the question for Caroline and all you ladies is have a short bookshelf. What? Three books are on it. I'm really curious. If if and what other genres pop up with women fiction authors Three. You'll have to name um John Irving. The world according to Garp. Um hey, role if ICS Jill McCorkell and all of your books. Oh, you broke the rules and went over, but we're e did it for a good reason. E o Do you have an answer to that? Can you think of three books on your bookshelf? Me? Yeah. Oh, my gosh, i e I was thinking. I didn't think we were gonna have to answer this, but I was thinking there's no way that I could pick three books, right? So, um, it zone. You did a great job because I find that an impossible task. Ah, lot of times. And I know all the other ladies do you? Sometimes you do, ah, book signing income for Q and a time. And they say What some of your favorite books and your mind goes right? Well, I have to say it's not what I would pick for three books that would be like my I'm just so happy to share with you the three books that I'm reading on this program. We have such wonderful authors that were constantly reading your books. So the three books I'm reading really currently are. And I finished whether without you, by airline level Fannie...

Flagg's wonderboy at the whistle stuff and coming up Sue Monk Kidd, Book of Longing Way s So what we're gonna say then ditto. You've got a question, right? I dio so, um Erica Shepherd Robak, who we all know and love love Erica. So for those of you don't know she Erica is not only a great friends and fiction member, but she's also an incredible author. And Thio She actually has a book coming out in February called The Invisible Woman. Based on a true World War two spy Gonna be incredible. But she said, I love Caroline and my question is for such a prolific writer, What is your writing routine? Oh, okay. Well, um went out well, I usually first thing when I get up at breakfast. Then I sit down in my desk and I don't get up for three or four hours. I can't do more than four hours, and then I do everything else when I'm doing the novel, The first thing is outlining mapping, character walls, all this other stuff. And then I start the writing and ah, large part of my writing routine is actually panic. Because I know I have a deadline. And so I have Thio, you know, make this good and get it in. And I always give myself tight deadlines so that I can make them and that's my routine. Wow, Dio do you do by words or time? Time never bywords everybody words because I can I could spend three hours on one paragraph. And, you know, if that's done by words, then I'd really be disappointed in myself. Hey, Kristie, do you wanna ask one of the ah live questions that our viewers posted? Yes. So I first wanted to say that so many people are praising your tenacity and are just so happy that you kept writing, and I think we can all echo that for sure. And Joyce, Meryl wants to know. It's just kind of in everybody. Question. Does anybody write by hand? And you I d Oh, yeah, For some things. I mean, I have have with my notebook e mean, I ripped out the pages. I do when I'm figuring stuff that I will write by hand. But when I'm doing the writing, writing is gonna be on the computer. Yeah, I can't even read my handwriting at this point. So e Oh, my brains too fast. I e sketches, but I just can't keep up by hand. You have a question that you you wanna pull off one of the ah, live question. Yeah. Bruce Gilbert is wondering Caroline whether you could give us an idea of what you're writing next. Oh, You know what? I wish I could, but I don't know. I mean, I have I sold it on this premise in this first chapter, and I'm still sort of feeling my way, so I would be too embarrassed to say something that wasn't right. So I can't e crack. Give us a hint. The setting. I can't. I just can't. I'm sorry. I have to be really secretive because I don't have a handle on it yet. And I don't I don't know what to say about it, because I don't know what to say about If I tell you what it's about. I'm afraid I look at your faces and it'll be expressions like really eso I don't wanna I don't want to. We're paragraphs. Paragraphs will be in...

...chapters. Like a question. Caroline. People were confirmed about what put you into the medically induced coma 27 years ago. Oh, it was actually what was after I delivered my stun and after delivery. Your immune system gets a little glitchy and what happened is my body started producing this protein. It turned out it was just a protein. And what this protein did is it stopped all of my blood from clotting. Um, and it's a really rare disorder. It's called a postpartum factor. Eight inhibitor, because it inhibits your factor eight, which is what keeps your blood clot. And so I was just bleeding, bleeding, bleeding, bleeding. And they kept doing operation after operation just to get the blood out. They glued my vein shot. I had all these transfusions. And finally there was this little him Atala Gist, who was just about to retire. And she had seen this once before in Germany. And because the treatment was so toxic and poisonous, she wanted them the hospital to do this special test to see if this protein came up. And they did. And it did. And, you know, that was that was actually she was who saved me. She was You were glad she did. Hey, Caroline, can you? Everyone is wanting your writing tip. So will you share? I mean, the woman gets paid to do this, but she's gonna she's gonna give it out to us. But I'm gonna give it out thistles. My, I have this Bible for a plot comes out of character, and I have this Bible that I call the once in these Bible and I will compress it for you, which is you have to start with the character who desperately want something with great steaks, and they want it because they have some sort of, ah moral blind spot spot or a misconception about it. Whatever they want, they can't get. But you can give them after a lot of struggle what they need instead. So it's like I call it the Rolling Stone method. It's like you can't get what you want, But if you try and that means really strong what you need and you know what it works every time it works every time. That's a good one, because it's easy to remember. Just think about Mick Jagger E when I finished my next outline. Okay, we've got some announcements tonight. We've got so much to tell you guys about tonight, so we're just gonna get right to it. Patty has ah book recommendation for us tonight. I generally try to talk everything about a debut and talk about novelists who have debut novels. And tonight I wanted to tell you about include the Thani's novel Duty and Desire, which is the first in the whole Siri's about. It's about family and expectations and arranged marriages. It's a, you know, hashtag own voices, and it's just been optioned for a movie and her debut novel and she from Atlanta. And I'm really proud of her. And I wanted to let you all know about that book. Zack and Mary Ellis. You are going to tell us a little bit about upcoming. Yes, right, Right. Well, next. Well, next week Patties hosting Frank, Hank, Phillippi Ryan and J. T. Ellison so works. I know you know them. E. Then we close the month of November with still my kid who were very excited about you. So she's wonderful. Yeah, and Patty has something else she wants to tell us about. Yes, so we have a every once in a while we have in addition, and we have a really exciting...

...addition to our December 9th Show. So a screenwriter and a producer named Todd Comber, Nikki is, is the producer for the Christmas blockbuster elf Oh, and E eyes going to join us with our guest, Andie MacDowell, and we're going to talk about the oh and book to movie addict E O. But I just want to let you all know we had added him for the schedule. And we're really excited to talk about all of that. Yeah, and Christie, um well, I am so excited because next Monday at seven, I am the guest on our official friends and fiction book club page, So I'll be live on the Friends and Fiction Book Club page. It's seven talking about my book. I just I I wasn't thinking I was doing this, So I'm glad I have this year feels like falling, which is my latest release that came out in April on DSo join us. It's gonna be really, really fun. And they've been having great discussions in the group for the past couple of weeks about feels like falling. And I'm just so excited to be there and tell everybody about it, right? And so, you know, we're gonna bring up the graphics so you can see about Caroline's book. Um uh, A with without you. And we're so grateful that Caroline is here with us tonight and a writer's boot camp e Just get over the story about the boyfriend that wouldn't let you eat like that. No, e mean honestly, with or without you, I'm gonna pull up the covers where everyone sees it. You know, such a beautiful writing. You know, the first thing you had me at the first line, E you know, just wow. So you think And so just I want you all to remember that our Bookstore of the week is the community bookstore in, um, Park Slope, Brooklyn. And I hope, you know, part of our mission is here on friends and fiction is to connect reader with writers and also with indie bookstores, um, who are community owned and operated. And that's really, um, important part of our Mr. So I hope you guys, we'll support the community bookstore and all of our indie bookstores. And you know what? That's our show tonight. Thank you so much. Thank you. Oh, yeah, E. I had the best time I had the bank s Oh, so much. I just I'm just absolutely thrilled Way. Thank you, Caroline. So way want to remind everybody that tomorrow night the F and F gang we'll be interviewing Fannie Flagg and you could hit. That's right. Any flag, you could get a link to the zoom with purchase of a book from Page and Palate Bookstore in Fair Hope, Alabama And won't You won't find us here tonight. Tomorrow night on friends and fiction. You're gonna have to go to Page and Palate And it is a book with purchase situation and all the Deeks will be on the friends and Fiction website. Good night, everybody. Thank e. Thank you. It was awesome. Wow. E had a story, e. I just have to set a stage for you guys...

...right now, like I'm not going to show you, But so I'm in my dining room and our living rooms over here, and our kitchen is behind me. And, you know, it's like a lot of space. So my son is standing in one. My husband is standing in the other, like, right here, and they have been doing something with fishing line and fishing rods the entire time that I've been on here, e kill y'all are you doing? I know what you're doing, Christie, because my husband and son do it. They are really They're really doing their fishing online. And I think they were think they were outside, and then it started raining. So now here we are old fishing line is no good. Let's see if to take it all and you have thio fly fishing. Otherwise they'd be right way. Have some people on our comments asking about our friends and fiction merch. Since we've talked about it on the website on on the Facebook page, we will be getting I just wanted to say we'll be We'll have news on that soon. I know a lot of people have asked A lot of people are e no. It seems like it should be easy just for everybody out there, but it's kind of complicated and they're like, Max stuff involved and setting up online. But they're like a lot of things that we had to kind of go through. So it seems like, Oh, hey, make some T shirts, send them out. But a way promised. And we are truly working on it as quickly as we can. So we eso rest assured there will be merch. It's just we have to figure out how way you guys responded to the poll that way. That was amazing. Yeah, it was really great. Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing it myself. Yeah, I want a coffee mug? Yeah, my own way. E t shirts saying, what everyday way? My sisters, I want one of those t shirt. She wants one too. And I could only find one of mine when I got home. So I think I left it here. Kristie, I will send to you. I'm putting a button for friends and fiction. Eminem's, that's what. Yes. Oh, my gosh. No one was so fascinated by those he's like, But how did they get the letters on the M and M e assumes that you did? Yes, E that you have a makeup. Something. Are we gonna have? Ah, sample. I would love samples of that. What's the makeup? What your your you had on your Facebook today? Me? No, thank you. I'm sorry, Patty. I didn't have any make up on my Facebook. No, you put something about Yeah, you did. I was at all instagram with some skin cosmetic. Oh, that was very a very my local in Mountain Brook, Alabama. There's this amazing store on beauty aesthetic, and they have beauty therapy. They carry all clean products on. And so Christie and I were always talking about, you know, using makeup and products without chemicals in them. And I talked about two of they did an instagram story about me. They put makeup on me. I don't look like myself. And I told a story about it. And one of them is alchemy, which is by a company named Moon and Rock, which is my daughter. Yeah. Product. I uses Augustus. What's the last name? Thank you. Thank you for asking because Yeah, they Christina? Yeah. I thought you looked radiant. E what you're using?...

Yeah, somebody else put my makeup on, but yeah, that was fun. And listen, I could talk to Caroline Leavitt for e was sitting here thinking, Like, should I send her my next manuscript? But it's your eight. Like surely you can get it together. Like you could do this. Christie, come on. How did you do this? I mean, even if she's fast to teach at these different locations to do one on one to do Mighty Blaze and write a novel. Yeah. The only thing I wanted to insert was, uh, from long experience. I wanted to say, um, editors rarely call you in person. No. To tell you how much your book sucks. I know we have a block. One editor called up. Um, that, you know, for most of us, that would have been a good sign. Although I still can't believe the old editor called and said we don't love you. You know that they usually distance himself from the bad news from the bad you get. If if an editor calls you, usually it's goodness e like leaving my e going. Could you guys feel it in your body? E couldn't imagine how I would feel if she said, Oh, we don't think you can fix it, E you're not special. Yeah, but her tenacity. My, I'm out of that. I mean, it's so hard. I mean, I feel like every little bump in the road. I have felt it's over. This is it. Like I'm never going to get enough, you know, And then to be able to really make it through that because you are so attached. It's so personal to you. I'm actually kind of writing about that right now. I'm just sort of funny, but not in writing, but in another career thing. So when my character is going through, So you all this really helps. Thank you. Know, it made me think, though I wonder if going through that made her that much more attuned to the plight of other writers on def. Maybe that's part of why her heart is so much in a mighty blaze right now. You know, like it Z because it zits tough. It's a really tough world out there for all of us who were doing this and pouring our hearts and souls into our writing. So, um, you know Good. Yeah. Good. Good for her for sticking with it, but then paying it forward to Yeah, it's incredible. It really is. Okay. I'm gonna tell you what my dog just did. She just ate my lipstick. Want to see her mouth? Oh, nothing explaining. Christie's got fishing line one. You can read Caroline's. By the way. You could read Caroline's s a psychology today. Essays. If you google them, you can google Caroline Leavitt. She hasn't posted on her website and they're really profound and thought provoking. So anybody who's interested in the art of the personal essay and laying bare all your family secrets, she does it terrifying. I had friends who were trying to write memoirs, and it's really hard. What? To dio? Yeah, I agree. Okay, everybody, I have to go eat some leftover because I've been living like a hobo. A more Eminem's and lobster tonight we're having lobster for I've actually already eaten. I'm like, I'm lever Special over here. You got hanging out with us when you have lobster, dio your lobster and just forget everyone. So then tomorrow night with sanity way are...

...like away. I was told we were only supposed to be able to sell 200 tickets, I think, and we're, like, way above that. So I don't know if you're here tomorrow. If you're here tonight, come see us tomorrow night because she's gonna be a great interview. Okay. Thanks, everyone. You've been listening to the friends and fiction podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the friends and fiction podcast wherever you listen. And if you're enjoying it, leave a review. You can find the friends and fiction authors at w w w dot friends and fiction dot com A swell. As on the Facebook group page. Friends and fiction come back soon. Okay? There are still lots of books, writing tips, interviews, publishing news and bookstores to chat about goodbye.

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