Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends & Fiction with Chris Bohjalian

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Fab Five welcome #1 New York Times bestselling author, Chris Bohjalian, author of 22 books, three of which have been made into movies, including his 2018 bestselling novel, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT, which was the basis for the recent smash hit HBO Max television series starring Kaley Cuoco which was just renewed for a second season. Chris joins us to talk about his brilliant new historical thriller coming May 4th, HOUR OF THE WITCH. Described as part Crucible, part Handmaid's Tale, it centers on a young Puritan woman in 1662 Boston who is trying to plot her escape from a violent marriage. The crew also discuss the Armenian genocide and, to lighten things up, a comical tale about a box of missing hotel-laundered underwear from book tour long, long ago. https://chrisbohjalian.com/ 

Welcome to Friends and Fiction, five best selling authors and the stories. Novelists mary Kay andrews, Christine Harmel, Christie Woodson harvey patty Callahan, Henry and mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends with more than 80 published books to their credit In 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews and fascinating insider, talk about publishing and writing and to highlight independent bookstores. These friends discuss the books, they've written the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Yeah, welcome. It's a friend for life and its Friends and fiction. Tonight we built them a very special guest. Chris, Bohjalian chris is the number one new york times best selling author of 22 books. And tonight we'll be discussing the soon to be released our of the witch historical thriller set against America's original Witch Hunt. And we're all very excited to talk to him soon. I'm mary Alice Munro and I'm mary Kay andrews. I'm Christine Harmel. I'm Christie Woodson, harvey. I'm patty Callahan, Henry. Yeah, we are starting the show with a huge, exciting bit of news. So exciting. Our own darling, beloved christmas, Arby's new book under the Southern Sky hit the new york times Today, I'm so excited. Thank you guys so much for all your help. Thank you everybody. Thank you. Okay here to all of you. We had to bring meg and Sean on uh, to celebrate with you because they are part, they are the team. We have our friends in fiction flutes. Yeah, Christine. We're so happy. This is a big news for all of us because you know this is her first time on the list and that was the first time. Thank you. Congratulations relations. Thank you. Congratulations my friend. Thank you. We've been celebrating friends and fiction birthday all month with gifts for you. And tonight we're offering our final birthday giveaway So far, we have given away a custom reading lamp from barn light, electric Caroline's kate coffee from charleston coffee roasters and a variety of cookies and our favorite cheese stars from mama, jeez and congrats to our three winners. And tonight, this week we have a three month subscription from our partner. Page one books and it's up for grabs plus one of our most coveted F and F. Two F and F. Friends and fiction jute bags. So who will be the lucky winner? Be sure to enter by this Sunday May two and the winner will be revealed on Monday May three. Alright now we appreciate all of our sponsors, including page one books where you can also use that same code. Fab five to get 10% off your new gift subscription. You know, that's what page one does. Books subscriptions, awesome. Handpicked personalized books subscriptions from an independent bookstore right sent right to you or to whoever you buy it for. If you like to read, this is a great way to be surprised by new gift wrap books mailed to your door each month and the and the packaging, I have to say it's just beautiful. It makes a great gift. We also want to thank our partner Mama Geraldine's if you saw me on tour or you're going to see mary Kay on tour the next couple of weeks. Um You might have just had some Mama Geraldine's although we hope that you've had them before but they are the most amazing cheese straws and cookies and we've heard from so many of you that you love them too. You can order it Mama Geraldine's dot com and you get a 20% discount with the code. Fab five. That sounded so new york times, best celery. I just can't even get over it. I agree. Before we get started for our regular show. We have something really special to show you tonight. We have enjoyed viewing the book trailers so far for patty Christie and mary. Kay and tonight we're excited to see the beautiful trailer for mary Alice's this summer of Lost and Found which will be out May 11th Sean. Can we take a look?...

I love it. It shows a little bit of everything that's in the book but this is what a good trailer should do. I'm so excited. Thank you. I have a special gift for all of you who preorder tonight. And you know how I am a big advocate of non plastic uh non plastic straws, just don't use them. So I have been looking everywhere for the perfect metal straw and I think I found it sean I think we have a picture of it up here. I wish I had done to show you telescopes and you have a look at that cute case. It has a friend fiction on it and a little straw to clean your metal straw. And I love this silicone tip because when you drink from a metal straw it doesn't make your mouth cold and it's socks that you can put it all in your little case and pop it in your purse. And anyone who orders or pre orders the summer of Lost and found from the Vermont Bookshop tonight. We'll get this as a thank you. I hope you all enjoy it. Well I cannot wait to get mine mary Alice. Each week one of us writes an essay for Parade magazine and this week mary Alice Munro write an essay called The Year of Lost and Found in the essay, mary Alice tells us how she is, researching how to hit the refresh button on her body, how to release the anxiety drop bad habits and get back into high gear. Sounds like something that we could all really use a little bit of. That makes me wonder what we're all doing to hit the refresh button after the past year of Lost and found. Um so you can drop it in the comments. If you want to tell us how you're refreshing, you can also get a parade dot com to read Mary Alice's and all of our essays on life's takeaways. And as you know, we have had a bounty of riches this ring with four of us total. Since from March until until mary Alice's book comes out all with new books out this year. And did you know that in the publishing world? The paperback of a hard gap cover comes out about a year afterwards, which means we also have the paperback news for you starting this week. The paperback of Mary Kay Andrews Pandemic hardcover summer is out in paperback. You paid all the cover. So good. Perfect. It was such a good book. Yeah, you're done yet. Yeah. I'm saying it was my favorite MK but now it's the newcomer for sure. I know, I know, but we still have a whole week until the newcomer comes out. So if that's right MK six in the meantime, I feel like that's right. If you want to see any more pictures of that beach cottage, you better be pre order in that book. Like what's your favorite thing in the world? I told my mom that today and she was like, that's the funniest thing I've ever heard. And it's bribery. It's working. It's bribery and I'm okay with it. I myself, a beach cottage before my book comes out. I know we'll figure it out anyway. The newcomer will be out next week and nobody gets to see any beach cottage pictures until, until I start seeing some preorders roll through. But hello, summer is, I think it's a good paper back to grab while you're waiting. It has all the florida beach fives and if it's in your beach bag and it's, you know, it has a lot of my DNA because it takes place in a small town, um, beach town newspaper. And I actually got my start in newspaper and at a very teeny newspapers back in the day. So I hope you'll go out and get it absolutely perfect to put the beach bag right along with sunglasses and my little straw. You're all set, we've got you covered, right. And I love the new cover and we also love the after show. Be sure to hang in there everybody because tonight we are talking about their bodies. A reunion beach was just an anthology of stories, essays and poems that celebrate the life of Dorothy of Ben frank and her abiding love of the low country patty and I each wrote a short story for this anthology and we'll talk about this later in the after show. But now we are here to celebrate the work of a remarkable author that all of us love and admire chris Bohjalian. The number one new york times best selling author of 22 novels. Each of them as unique and memorable as his newest our of the witch. This is a novel of historical suspense. Set in 1660 to Boston with a divorce trial that ends up in a witch...

...trial. His 2018 novel, the flight attendant debuted as a new york times usa Today bestseller, Wall Street Journal Publishers, Weekly National Indeed bound bestseller. I mean the list just goes on and on and the flight attendant is an eight hour HBO maX limited series starring kelly cocoa. His novels, secrets of Eden midwives and passed the bleachers were made into movies and his work has been translated into more than 35 languages. He's also a playwright. He is widely respected in his field and with his peers, he has one of the best reputations author to author and for his readers, he has a huge list of awards including the walter surf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the arts, the A. N. C. A Freedom Award, the A. N. C. A. Arts and Letters Award and the new England Society Book Award. His novel Midwives was a number one new york times bestseller. It was a selection of Oprah's Book Club and today it's considered a modern classic which is pretty amazing. Yeah, Chris, listen, Vermont with his wife a place or a person he calls a source of his inspiration. He's hard at work on his next novel, The Lions of Hollywood. Can't wait to hear about that. I know I already want to get it. You know, it's gonna be another best seller. We're excited to talk about Chris's new book to be released next week and no doubt this True will be a huge bestseller. Our of the Witch. Let's welcome Chris, Bohjalian. Thank you. Welcome. Welcome. Thank you. That introduction was just over the top, but I've got to raise my glass. Also christian new york under the southern sky, hardest list in the world. Congratulations, Christine. Thank you Chris. That's so kind of you. Thank you. This is why everyone loves him thing and everyone tonight is going to fall in love with Chris as well. So welcome. And we've been looking forward to having you on our program for ages and we're especially excited that you're coming right before the debut of your next novel. Just that's just the best. I have to ask you after 22 novels, Chris, do you still get excited? I do. The thrill never wears off. You can't. You know the first one or two books then your editor sends you and you look at it and you kind of hold it in your hands and you think yourself well, son of a gun. It's a how many sentences in here do I wish I could rewrite always. Always. Well, well us we love we all can say we loved it. And so I just want to ask you for those who might not have read the book yet because it's only out next week. Can you give us a quick summary chris at the story? sure um 1662 Boston satan is as real as your neighbor. It was inspired by the first divorce in north America for domestic violence. And yes, America's first witch hunt. I love it when I love it. When readers say things like it's the Crucible meets the Handmaid's Tale, it's the nexus of and witchcraft. No, I do see that too. I honestly thought when I looked at it, this is the title, It was all about the Salem witch trials, but it precedes it, which is really does perfectly and it's a perfectly natural place to go. I mean, okay, the first time I went to Salem the dose and tells the worst joke ever, he says, so how many witches did we burn and Salem answer zero, we hang them. Whenever we think of whenever we think of witchcraft in America, we go to Salem in 1692. With the reality is America's first real witch hunt was 30 years earlier. Hartford 1662 in 1656, the governor of Massachusetts had his own sister in law hanged as a witch, wow! I mean that's just unbelievable and heartless and you showed a lot of that in the story you really did. Oh it's got to be aware. I mean not that it's great to be a woman in 2020 1, 16...

...today 11 say you know, there's a moment in the novel when mary Deerfield, my heroine is standing before boston's all male court of assistance bleeding her case you know and one of the Magistrates you know does his best tucker Carlson and calls her a nasty woman. And I know that reference will not be lost non modern readers. Oh wow, that's what makes us such a great story. And this is a novel. I know we're all out, they're going to read and all of you out there can get a personalized signed copy of our of the witch for 10% off tonight at our highlighted independent bookstore which chris chose called the Vermont Bookshop with the code F F 10. And before we dive even deeper into this story, chris tell us why you chose this bookstore. I could have chosen a lot of bookstores. I love yeah I love the Vermont bookshop for three reasons one, everyone who works there Is a delight. They are so kind and so smart. Number two robert Frost used to sit in the leather chair in the front and take all of the books he'd chosen and browse. Remember three so cool. It's a 15 minute bike ride from my house. So six months a year despite there all the time and personalized books for readers across America. Oh that's amazing. It sounds like such a great place and and yeah bring your bikes everyone and it sounds like you're gonna be personalizing these books. Right? So if somebody orders from the Vermont bookshop tonight or this week they'll be able to get a book signs by you. Yes, absolutely. I would want to do right there in the next couple of days and write the books and inscribed them. Whoever would like them inscribed. Are you kidding? I'm not proud of it. Honestly, honestly chris personalized. I'm first in line to Vermont Bookshop. I already read it but I want your personalized copy. All right. Um and by the way you have me robert Frost. Okay, so let's dive into the discussion of this page turner historical novel. There's a lot to unpack and chris, what we do is we'll ask our questions and then we give the audience a chance. So remember out there all of you, if you want to ask chris question, please put it into the feed and we'll do our best to get them for you so patty, why don't you ask the first question? So chris, I'm always endlessly fascinated about the origin stories for novels. I think those are as interesting as the novels themselves. And so many times during the reading of this book, I wanted to ask you why this time And this story. I know I wrote to you the minute I finished it, it takes place like you said in 1662. And the opening line is one of the best opening lines I've ever read. It was always possible that the devil was present chills, right. And it hit me how very much that this idea was about the start of the Witch hunts, that the devil was always lurking around satan was luring went into his side and even something as innocent as a fork could have the town talking about you as evil. So, I want to know about the origin. How did you come upon this information and what drew you to write on this subject matter? Sure. First of all, Patty, I have to tell you I loved surviving savannah. I thought mrs Lewis, I thought Mrs Lewis was always going to be my favorite paddy Callaghan book. But surviving savannah is even better. It's just great. So thank you for that gift. Origins of our, of the witch. I have always been fascinated by puritan theology. Going all the way back to college. Imagine a world where satan is as real as your neighbor, a neighbor and not not church. Lady satan not well, isn't that special real satan. Imagine a world where you're constantly wondering, am I saved or damned? How do you make sense of the world? That is so...

...consistently and seemingly inexplicably horrible. Yeah. So, um, this particular book have been just stating on some level since college. I came across a couple years ago In 1672, Not 1662. and obscure three line reference in boston's Court of assistance, Elizabeth, nanny Naylor successfully sued her husband Edward for divorce on the grounds of cruelty. And I did a deep dive into puritan divorce. And I learned two things that surprised me. First of all, marriage was a civil ceremony for the puritans and 31 couples divorced between 1630 And 1692. And there are five reasons why a woman could divorce her husband desertion, uh polygamy, adultery. And you'll love this when you think of the puritans impotence and Cruelty. Of those 31 divorces. One was for impotence, which is a story in and of itself and and one and 1 was for cruelty and that Edward taylor, the man was divorced. He was a real piece of work. Another thing I learned was this the puritans didn't use forks. There it is three times. Forks three times looked too much like the devil's pitchfork devil's time. So the puritans had by any objective standard, atrocious table manners were using forks, they drink beer like it was spring break in Miami and which might explain a lot. Didn't use trenches mode, they didn't use plates. Most of the time they used trenches that two or three people would share. So you've got two or 3 people eating like pigs out of a trough without pork drunk on beer, love. You're gonna fly on the wall. Amazing. That's But no wonder it's such a great story. The details, the details. Yeah, Thanks chris I just the whole time I was reading and I was thinking what made him interested in this because sometimes the seed is planted by someone says something and sometimes it's been simmering and simmering and it sounds like this was simmering. I have such a long collection, such a big library, a puritan books of Headstones college. Here's the other thing worth noting. Mhm. Among the three poets I love Best is anne Bradstreet, 17th Century Puritan Poet. Her work is so beautiful. It reminds us that the puritans internal lives or as complex as ours. Her poems are these magnificent, lovely poems about the death of a grandchild a day. Her library burned to the ground, and her own doubts about her faith sounds like there were books in there chris uh well, and on that note, though, our of the which is set in the 16 hundreds, mary Deerfield story resonates today. You touch on the impact of religion, gender society, on our personal lives and conjuring up specters of me to recriminations and social media shaming Mary Deerfield, even in 1662, is a feminist. She's proud of her intelligence, and her husband dismissed her as white meat. But you reveal how frightening it was just to be born. And intelligent and intelligent woman. I can't talk y'all, I'm sorry, intelligent period, subjugation to husband church community was the rule. So, can you talk about how you set up this historical novel that explores such contemporary feminine issues? It's so relevant today. And were there any moral lessons that...

...you were trying to convey? Come a you're speaking just fine, but it doesn't matter if you're not because you're debuted on the new york Times bestseller list. Anyway, anyway, when you are, I wanted to walk a tightrope. I wanted the book to feel into being historically authentic Every way. I mean, the Dow nine Prison. My rhythmic test touchstones were and brad street in the king James bible, wow, that was the voice I was after, wow. But I also wanted the book to be weirdly importantly. Timely, I mean, one of the ironies to marry Deerfield's life. Are there any woman's life In the 17th century? If you have these men who are doctors who are burning toads and using straw to put the ashes up a patient's nose to cure him who are bleeding their patients. And then you have women and midwives who are using herbs and selves. Mm and are figuring out that herbal remedies are better then bleeding. Some guy who's ill. Yeah, there's no coincidence. But if you wanted to be hanged as a witch, here's what you needed to be smart, strong and opinionated. Yeah. Oh, your grout. I mean um, dismissed the puritans came to north America with visions of building a city on it. Help. Yeah. Instead they started the genocide of the indigenous people and they continued the ritual ized subjugation of women. Oh yeah, that's what's so powerful today and why it's so relevant to see because the kind of the silencing of women is happening. Yes, perfectly put the silencing of women. It's no surprise that among the first women, not hanged, but excommunicated in exile is Anne Hutchinson, free thinking, Antonino me and midwife who is sent into the wilds of Rhode island because the massachusetts Bay colony wants nothing to do with a smart, strong, opinionated woman. Well, I love the way you brought her in. Yeah, thank you. Um, you know, that kind of leads me right into the question that I had chris booklist wrote in its starred review of our of The Witch throughout medallions prolific career. He's rewarded readers with indelibly drawn female protagonists. I think we've all noticed that, you know, the same people say that mary Kaye about every book you've written. But you know, I don't write. Um, it's interesting because not a lot of contemporary authors who write commercial fiction, which is what we do. Um not a lot of those of male authors know how to write believable, strong um interesting, memorable female protagonists and you know how to do that. What draws you to write to such such strong and memorable female protagonist? Now I know that you've got a wife and daughter, I think you've said who are kind of an inspiration for you? Would you talk about that a little bit? Sure. Um okay, I have three readers who are so important to me. My lovely bride victoria Blue is red. Every single word I've written since we were 18 years old. Every world, she is a really great reader. I mean I remember she once said to me when apparently I...

...wasn't taking some criticism. Well she said wouldn't you rather hear it from me than the new york times? She's right. I depend on our daughter Grace experience who has now narrated all or parts five of my books. It's been reading my books Since she was in 8th grade and giving me advice. She's so astute. And I depend on my editor, jenny Jackson dependent random houses so much smarter than I am. You know everything I'll tell you is this I don't know, peddler told anyone. This is this secret here is leaning in. We're all leaning in. Yes. When my dad was dying. Yeah. The last year of his life, right? I was flying to Florida every three weeks for a year. I was probably their 15 or 16 times, right? And my aunt, his sister said to me on one of those visits, jesus christ, thank God here, the daughter, he never had. It was a compliment, compliment. The highest. The highest. Uh, yeah, that's amazing. So chris you're also known for just daunting amount of research you do, which fascinates me because I have that tendency I write historical fiction. I have that tendency to go down the research rabbit hole. Um, and it's sometimes hard when you go down that rabbit hole to kind of figure out what you're going to put into your novel and what's just going to be something that you hold in the back of your mind that helped shape those characters and helped shape that world. But if you balance that research with a powerful story, I think it's those details you uncover that, you know, that really make the story sing if you're doing it right and obviously you're doing it right, which is perhaps the understatement of the evening. So, I love to hear you talk. I mean, it was so interesting to hear that that this story and the idea for this story has been with you for so long. But can you talk a little bit about what you did to color in this world so vividly and also to make this story that was set in the past and set so strongly in the past. What you did to make it so um, so vibrant and accessible for us today. I mean, it was very much a story of the past, but very much a story with modern threads to it. Thank you. And yes, you know, as well as anyone, um, how a little research goes a long way. Yeah. One of the things you need to be careful about Is not showing off, it's not showing off, jumping. Look at how much I know about 1662 Boston. I mean, you Know, No one needs to know the details of chamber pots. You picking shoes. I got an email the other day that I think really nailed it. This reader wrote coat pegs. They didn't have hangers in closets did they? Yeah I never thought of that. They hung there capes and coats on pegs. And I just came across that in a book on the architecture Of a 17th century Boston home. And there are no closets. You know there are no hangers, their head eggs. And I just I just love that. I came across a book on the construction of the boston Townhouse or courthouse in the late 1650s and this was sort of like Building the Empire State Building in the 1930s. This was a big deal but it was so basic. One of the biggest deals. The quill room. The magistrate should go with their quills. A a room for the desk and quills is a big deal. A great details. Is that what surprised you the most or what surprised me the most? Mhm. Were the details of their eating I talked about. I'm surprised to, yeah. Yeah. Here's everything about what they ate. When we think of thanksgiving. We think of turkeys. Well the first thanksgiving head, three wild birds, hey we don't even know if they were turkeys In Boston in the 1630s. The Puritans Ate Lobster like Bologna. Like I mean the...

...lobsters were £2.5 with back pay and you just pull one out of the water and you know it was just crab food and it's what they lived on the amount of lobster they and they're not eating with forks. Oh it's oh my gosh, a lobster across your neighbor's head here have some I feel like you're describing Christy's life now that she's a new york times bestseller. Like just it's like lobster caviar. I mean it's just you know I've been a new york times bestseller for two hours now and it's just changed me completely. We can tell oh it's great. It's a great I mean it's a great validation. I will never forget the first time I was on the list. I turned to my wife and I said does this mean that my mom is finally going to stop sending me law school applications? What was that? What was your first new york times? It midwives. It was it was but it was it was pre Oprah. I mean the book became a bestseller in august you know, so I was like 13 or 14 lasted a week or two, you know and then fell off the list And then four months later Oprah picked id and it's back on the list And because it's Oprah thank you Oprah you know it isn't 13. It's one yeah. Talk about I mean and then um and then I'm in a movie. Yeah. With Sissy Spacek no less. So that and and Alison pill who would go on to, you know, just crush it in the newsroom into so many movies and on Broadway with three. Yes. Yes. Yes. Amazing. Yeah. That's incredible. Well, I am going to go now and a little different direction because um and a more serious tone now. But this past week, you know how President biden acknowledged the tragic genocide of Armenians 106 years ago. Finally, it was acknowledged. And I thought it was timely tonight to bring up a very important book of yours, Sandcastle Girls and for those of you who haven't read it, this is the really heartbreaking story of the relatively unknown Armenian genocide. And you've said that this was the best book you will ever, right, and the most important. And I'm writing it you said, and I'm quoting you. It has helped me to understand more about who I am, the geography of my soul, wow. Can you elaborate and why this book was so important to you and how you feel in this past week of this amazing announcement? Mhm. I'm going to answer the second question 1st. I'm thrilled. Yeah. The lack of recognition of the Armenian genocide is an open wound for Armenians. It's a trauma. I'm a grandson of two survivors. There were two million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. By the end of the genocide, 1.5 million or three out of every four would be dead. Oh! Numbers. And Until the last 15 years it was all but forgotten. Yeah. Which is why I wrote The Sandcastle Girls to try to do two things, educate my readers. To this President, To the holocaust Stephanie attic at the University of Jerusalem. Once said the holocaust might have happened without the Armenian genocide, but the Armenian genocide made it dramatically more likely because Germany was an ally of the Ottoman Empire. Wow! The Germans were there and the Germans were either saying this is horrible, it has to stop or they were there like Rudolf Hess, the commandant of Auschwitz who would say it was where I learned to kill. So the acknowledgement means so much. Yeah. And why did I write the book? Yes, I wrote it as an education and I wrote it for my grandparents who survived.

I've wrote it for all of the boj aliens and should indians who were killed. Um I have been back to her, I go back prior to the pandemic. I would go to Armenia almost every year. But but I've also been to Eastern Turkey, anatolia Silesia. The Armenian homeland six times. And that's where I really feel the geography of my soul. When I walk in a world of unmarked mass graves. Yeah. When I'm walking a world of the ruins of Armenian villages, Armenian churches, Armenian monasteries. When I meet the kurds who live there now, who invited me into their fields and homes. Mhm. We share tea and they will walk me deep past the goats and the cows. Yeah. And all of a sudden they will show me the bricks and the walls that remain of an Armenian church now ruins. Iced. Ound the church in Kayseri. Sure. Where my grandfather was baptized, wow. And my wife said to me as we're lighting a candle, okay, There are no Armenians left except in Istanbul. You know, they're immediately been ethnically cleansed. And as we're lighting a candle and my wife said, you realize, don't you? You're breathing the air your grandfather breathed here as an infant, wow. That is your soul. Absolutely. That's your D. N. A. Unbelievable. Yeah. That was um, thank you for sharing that. That was very personal and we appreciate it. That was beautiful. Um, I could talk about this for a long time. However, we have other questions I know chris that are coming. Um, this is an amazing community and everyone has questions for you Cathy or mary Kay, why don't you ask the first one? Yeah, Brenda Hoff Master Spaulding says other than your own. Is there a book that you wish you had written? There are so many books that I wish I could have written. Oh my God, I finished surviving savannah and thinking to myself, this is the kind of it when I'm writing because it gives you an inferiority complex. Yes. That's exactly right talent in action. If you look at the library behind me, I mean there are just so many books that I would love to have written. I would love to have written, you know, be it wins new book that committed. I would love to have written and lummox dusk night Don I would love to have written Toni Morrison's beloved. It's a long list. Yeah, that's a great question. Well, Susan L Carlson wants to know how you pick your writing projects and she says that your books are also different and diverse. The book has to pass. I think two kinds of litmus test. It's such a good question. The first one, I think you're artists. I go along. Yeah. Am I excited to get to my desk in the morning to write it? Mm If I'm not excited, my readers won't be Yeah. And I will stop writing the other litmus test. Is this when I first had the idea? Okay, did I think to myself, oh my gosh, I want to read that book. I want to hang out with that character or characters because I'm not something. My books begin with the premise. That's it. Yeah, alcoholic flight attendant wakes up next to a dead body for good. That was a good one. You like the premise? Yeah, I'm all in to begin it. It's awesome. Is there a time period of history that you would love to write about? But you haven't found the right story yet? Yes. Another great question. The 19 twenties. I love the fun time, fun time.

I want to read great books. You have so many Great books set in the 19 twenties including one of my favorite books of all times, The Great Gatsby. I knew you were going to bring that. I was thinking about Fitzgerald to Yeah, just so you know every time I think of you know marjorie kin and rawlings or understanding way or scott Fitzgerald, I just think to myself, yeah, yeah, yeah. One more yeah. You know um I think that we'll see if we have any new york times bestselling authors in the house who want to ask the next question any any recent new york times bestseller. Actually there is one that someone is really dying to ask so this is sort of switching gears because we have had such a you know deep and serious show here, but chris I met you in Southern Voices a few years ago and you told the most hilarious story about something that happened to you in an airport that is still stuck with me all these years later. Could you please share that story? Because I think that our viewers would really like that. I have no pride. So great. Well, I wasn't here. I heard this story, I was like he was there, she heard this story, I was there, I heard it. Most people presume that book tours are glamorous. You check around the country and you hang around with Jenna, Hager and Terry, gross and self pallets of books. But the reality is that by day 14 You have been on 17 regional jets and reduced during a strange man's underwear. There's all the time making that up and what happened to him the secrets of the hidden book Tour. See on a book tour, your publisher wants to get you to as many cities as possible as quickly as possible, you know, You know, monday's charleston Tuesday savannah, Wednesday Chicago, thursday's Denver Fridays are like one night. One thing yeah, but on the secrets of the book tour On day 14 I got to Minneapolis. I looked at my schedule and I saw I am not checking out until sunday. So the first thing I did was I sent out a mini cooper sized pile of laundry. My friday meant to event saturday, get back to my hotel room, saturday night and they're in the better. My shirts which have been dry cleaned and a box of my laundry. And I opened my suitcase on the floor and I open the box of laundry to pack. I need it. R 14 pairs of underwear, not mine. A man's a were very fatigued. I've done this long enough to know that Rule # one of a book towards you. You never give the hotel all of your underwear. Three pairs hilarious. We're not in crisis mode. So sunday morning I'm checking out And the Laundry's closed because it's Sunday. Hotel, forgive the bellman these 14 pairs of women's underwear and I said to him Monday when the laundry opens, if you find my underwear here is the hotel room going to be in Orlando florida on Tuesday, you get sent by Fedex. I'd be grateful. We both looked at each other like yeah, that's going to have a check out Madison, do my events in Madison on sunday, you know, and then monday and then Tuesday I fly on to Orlando and I get to my hotel when I'm checking in, the woman behind the counter says Mr Rogelio, we have a federal express package for you from a hotel in Minneapolis and I created it against my chest. Like it's my birthday and I go to my hotel room and I opened it up and sure enough And there are 14 pairs of underwear. Not mine. Oh. Oh my God. Oh my God. It's the last the secrets leading book tour in a strange man's underwear. So grateful that that is it. That's going to go down in the...

...annals of our history. Oh my God. All right, okay. I don't know how to go from A to B. But we're gonna try. We love our writers chips. So to go from underwear to writer steps only you could pull this off chris. Let's hear her. Could you please give a ridership? Yes. Number one. Yeah, disappear. That's it. Where someone else's underwear? That's a good one. This dictionary. Yes. Dictionary is one of those dictionaries that is so big. It sits on its own library pedestal in my library. Yeah. The first thing I do every day is I go to that better still And I pick out two or three words I've never used before. Certificate luminescent. I might not use them that day but I'm going to try because what all of us do is massage words and words are beautiful. First read the dictionary. How kid number two, we get a bunch movie trailers. Those impeccably produced two and 3 minute trailers for movies or TV series. They instantly catapult me into a different world. I remember when I was writing the guest room over and over watch the trailers for bird man cake and boyhood because each one put me in a place I needed to be too right. Bad book. Mm That's those are true that I've never heard people. Me neither. I really love Oh my gosh, let's go. I have a trailer for the plate attendant. I'm really thrilled that you said that on the night my trailer came out. So if you want, that's really great. I know we have a lot to unpack even yet. Um Chris you did mention your two books that you wanted to, I'm just going to mention them again because we're kind of running low on time. We have a few things to get through, but you wanted to highlight and maybe we could show the cover sean for dusk, night and dawn by the one and only and the match. And you also mentioned a couple of times, a phenomenal book that committed, which is really wonderful. And we all have books. We want to recommend that. I think I just want to throw a highlight out to a woman who is Sy Montgomery who is a remarkable author. Oh, thank you. Isn't she the best? She's she's one of she there's only one side and she's going to be on our show on the 16th. And her book, the hummingbirds Gift, which I'll write about for the page later is remarkable. And if you love hummingbirds like I do, you love this one? Um we have a few more questions. We're going one more big question to ask you. But if you don't mind, we're going to do a little bit of housekeeping first. So patty, why don't you begin? Uh we want to remind you all all about our podcast. So if you don't know yet or you came tonight because of chris and you don't know, we don't just have the show, The show becomes a podcast and then we have extra podcast. We have themed podcast. We interview other authors. Next week. You will hear mary Kay and I interviewed Gen Heart, who is the founder of the Blockbuster Book Club Book Club Girl mary Alice and mary Kay talked with the one and only ZB Owens and that one just came out and you can find us wherever you find podcasts. We are also thrilled with everything that lisa Harrison and forensic Gardner are doing with the Friends and fiction official book club and there is a lot coming up because the two of them are so amazing. Uh so this wouldn't be reading. They're amazing and I know Christie, they just came and saw you live on your tour, which all right, I knew lisa was going to be there, but I did not know Brenda was coming and I was like talking and it was not pretty, it was not pretty when she walked. I was like that's Brenda. I mean uh it was amazing seeing those pictures made me so happy. But they've just been such a, such a wonderful force for us and I know there are Christie's under the southern sky, her new york times bestseller uh, this month it's so Christie will be joining them in mid May to discuss her beautiful, beautiful book. So if you have questions for Christie about it just in case we...

...hadn't mentioned it. Also this friday the day after tomorrow mary Kay will be there for a special book club. Happy hour and 7 30 Eastern with our dear friend luck exactly with our dear friend Ron block to talk about the newcomer which of course comes out next week. And mary Alice, Yeah, mary Alice will be joining the club the following friday at seven for a happy hour luau to celebrate the summer of Lost and found. So all three of them will be taking your questions and it's just a great time to join the book club if you haven't already and show up for all three of those events. It's gonna be awesome. I have a really big announcement tonight. So for the first time ever, Friends and Fiction is going to be live. We're going to be in my town of Beaufort north Carolina on june 23rd for a new luncheon and at seven p.m. We'll be streaming our show with a live audience for the first time ever. So do we get our pants? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Have to be pants. Like it could be like a very loose dress. Like something that feels a little more comfortable but something something preferably underwear. You yeah. Of your hair and your mask. Mask. Yeah. You don't have to put on makeup. You don't have to put on makeup except from like here up. Yeah, I'm really excited. Yes, we are very excited. Very excited. Tickets are available from the boat for historic site. Actually did an announcement about that. I mean, I did a post about it yesterday, but I will pin it in announcements. You can find the information. And again, we thank our partners, um, Mama Geraldine's and page one book subscriptions. We adore them both and use the code Fab five for a discount on both websites. And next week, May 5th. I'm excited because it's a big launch party for my new summer novel, the newcomer. I hope you guys will be here at seven p.m. Eastern. You know, our launch events are big deals around here and uh, just we don't even, I have no idea what you guys are cooking up. So I think it's probably gonna involve some accessories. Ation must be maybe. I don't know. I don't know. We really couldn't say. We really couldn't say, well, it's always always fun and you definitely don't want to miss it next week. So because I mean really this is the launch of the newcomer so much news and now patty. Could you please ask chris our final question? Yeah. Well, first chris, thank you for being so kind about thank you. Yeah, you made me blush and that's really hard to do. But one of the favorite questions that we love to ask authors and I can't wait to hear your answer because of your background. But what were the values around reading and writing, growing up in your family? Do you think they helped turn you into a writer at all? What were the values of your parents and your home around reading and writing? Okay, first of all books working, my father, ironically was a television producer, but well he read and my mom was a voracious reader. Okay, I'll tell you two things. First of all, my mother never cared when I drew the Starship Enterprise on the first edition cover of her edition of The Old Man and the Sea or colored in all of the leaves is that there were a keytar next poster of her first edition of To Kill a mockingbird. That Is a good mother. Because I'm telling you, I would have been a little grumpy about that one after my father died when I was cleaning out his home, I came across the sweater box and in the we're all of the short stories my parents had saved that I wrote in the 3rd grade I've and that's amazing that my mother had saved them and my father had saved them. And it's also really interesting. This is the oldest short story I ever wrote still in existence and it speaks volumes about what I would write. But the very last sentence of this short story is the dripping stopped and the vultures had their meal. Okay. Not said right there, that you have the talent all over the place right away, wow! Stop!...

Well, thank here. Oh my gosh! That is, that is amazing. So you all out there, if you have fallen in love with chris as we all have in the last hour, I mean, we all knew he was an incredible writer, but I just, I I'm so taken with him as a person to and this is just such, thank you. So, so if if you all feel that way too. And I know you do, don't forget you can pick up a personalized and signed copy of his hour of the Witch this week from the Vermont bookshop, you can also order copies of all of our new and upcoming books, some of them new york times best. Just say 10% off with the code F. F 10. Remember if you order mary Alice is upcoming the summer of Lost and found from the Vermont bookshop tonight, he will also receive the handy reusable straw in case as a gift. But as always it's just wonderful to support um a great independent bookstore that's doing a great job, great job in their community. Yeah, well so often happens the hours, a little over, a little over over and we still have so many questions but chris this has been a joy. Thank you. You you're just your props alone. I mean you brought the Fork, which was great when you all read the book, you're going to understand the power of that fork. That's pretty impressive. Thank you so much chris for coming and we're so excited for the launch of the hour of the hour of the rich next week. All of you are amazing and thank you for what you do to celebrate what words and reading in books can be into the soul. Thank you. And you're a good sport tonight. So thank you. Yes, that's it for this week everybody and please hang in for the after show where we're going to be talking about beach reunion. The anthology that celebrates the life of Dorothy abandon. Thank you all happy reading. Thanks. Hi, thank you chris and chris. Hope to see you soon. Mhm wow, what a night! What a night! We have so much to celebrate. First of all, christmas wonderful. But we have so many things. We have um Christy making the new york times are end of our birthday month, the month is over. We hope we have a winner. We have paddy, we have mary Kay's it's really so it's just we have so much to talk about tonight. Um But I have one more thing and that is where I want to talk about this wonderful anthology that's coming. That's just debut ng reunion beach. It's the anthology that celebrates Dorothy them right patty and I have a story in it but there's also poems and essays and lots of other information. Memories that are included in this really beautiful tribute. So um you know it's it's an amazing book and it was it was very hard patty don't you think too um to write the story under the circumstances? Um you know so Reunion Beach for those of you who don't know was the brainchild of Dorothy Ben franks. Daddy's editor named Carrie Farren. And when we were all trying to talk about, we were sitting at her funeral actually at her memorial service at her house in Sullivan's island. And talking about what could we do to honor her? And Pat Conroy had passed just the year before. And a book had been written where people wrote essays about him and she, Carrie wanted to do something different than that. And she was talking about how daddy already knew what her next book was going to be about when she passed. And it was going to be called reunion beach. And so the idea was to gather her writer pals and ask the only um stand the only hold we had on it was that it had to be a reunion and it had to be on the beach. So you know, we each got to it's Adriana Trigiani, Elin Hilderbrand, Marjory Wentworth wrote a poem, cassandra, King Pat Conroy's widow, Jarvis Haggerty, who has a debut coming out this year. And I know I'm probably getting well, mostly the family, right? That I mean for me, Peter, her husband and daughter victoria, who is so vibrant and of course we'll their memories were well, victoria, she wrote the afterward, right? And all the introduction. And I believe Peter wrote the afterward. It was so powerful and personal. Yeah, It'll be a pimp pimp out. So, y'all run...

...out and get it. It came out yesterday. So exciting. Yeah, Patty, your short story is called The Bridesmaids. Tell us about that. I'm gonna make this quick. Um, when, when one of the things Kerry told me was that Daddy in this book was going to be using birds of south Carolina, Birds of prey, shorebirds, all the birds of south Carolina. And she actually sent me something she had found in daddy's office about birds. So my story is about a woman who was divorced, who was trying to decide whether to get married again to a man she loves, but marriage didn't go so well for her. So she gathers the bridesmaids and best friends from college to go to the beach with her to decide whether to get married. And the woman that isn't that fun? And the woman is a whole novel patty. Well, it needs to be right. And the woman who gathers her bridesmaids to decide whether to get married again. Um, that each of course have their own thing going on. But the main woman, um, Beatrice is, her name is a painter of birds and so she signs, she assigns each one of her friends to be. I like that part a lot. Yeah, I like that a lot. Oh Ron I know Mary Alice years was smothered and child mother and child reunion. And this was, you know, this was my very first short story and I think I prepped as hard for this is or harder than a novel because it was for me, a new medium. And I have a cousin who had just met her mother 40 years old and she was released for adoption And she had just met her birth mother. And I was so impressed by the emotions and the story of this mother child reunion again at 40 years of age. And so I thought, you know, this is a really beautiful story to tell set on a beach and I told it from the two points of view of the mother and anticipation. It's all building up to the moment because I thought to myself, I would be so nervous about meeting a mother who had never known for the first time, you know, I didn't want afterwards. They get together, they talk, they fight whatever it's before. So from the mother's point of view, building up to it and then the daughters point of view. And what was really interesting based on a true story is there's a mental illness called Munchhausen by proxy and that's where the mother tries to make her child sick so she can take care of her. It's really weird stuff and this had happened to my cousin. So I put this all in the story of how she overcame that. So here's mother on the isle of palms and daughter coming from Atlanta to that last moment. And it was, it was I really, I think it's one of the best things I've ever written, which is amazing because it was my first short story. But he was so full of emotion because of my cousin and also because of daddy, you know, Hello, goodbye. Hello, goodbye. So I'd like to raise a toast all of it. Here's a toast to Dorothy abetting frank for her memory. May always live on in her stories, cheers, cheers, cheers. So mary Kay andrews, how are you feeling with six days till pub? Can you talk to us about it? Made any target run slightly because I am ready. I like cannot wait. But I'm already like plotting videos that I'm gonna be doing things. I'm going to say on the show next week. Just you, Henry Higgins, a good book. Just you wait until you'll be sorry then your terrors will be too late. Too late, you'll be broken all that money. Something, something funny. Just you wait, wait, just you wait, you know mary Alice and patty And I went to see my fair Lady Patty's favorite broadway show. We saw the movie at a movie theater in um Black Diplomat and Bluffton one night and that was so much fun. I'd forgotten so much about that movie. So yeah, I'm uh the main thing I'm trying to do is find clothes that I can get into. Uh you and me both. A...

...pandemic like stretchy pants are just so don't even talk to me, Don't even talk to me. I mean, I know I put on real pants tonight, but in fairness I bought them yesterday. Yeah, creepy academic yesterday in downtown boston. You can ask will he was with me. Yeah. So I got to find some. I got to find some tour close. Um you know, I'm gonna do some in person events Christie kind of paved the way for once, so to tiptoe out and do a mixture of in person and virtual and um I've already messed up, you know, usually you're publishing house plans your itinerary in your tour and this year publishing houses, publishing houses said Ixnay on the Orte. So meg, meg is my publishing house this year, so she, I try to do it and I messed it all up and so we, I think we'll be traveling around florida in a go kart, I don't know whatever you do. You are you are you going to meet up with us christian? Okay, great. Yeah, yeah, you're so happy to her, you're getting close and my own underwear. I I I thought that was hilarious, I thought that his writing tip was always going to be saved back some underwear and your carry on his prepares. You gotta back up, you know one time I was coming I was going, I don't know, maybe I was in boston or someplace I picked up someone else's bag at the carousel. Really? I did. I mean like mine, I got to the, I got to my hotel and zipped and wet, fortunately whoever's bag I picked up it was that was their home. So they weren't, they weren't out on business. So I called the airline, the airline called the other person. I said please apologize to them for me. And um they, my bag was still at at baggage claim and their bag was in my hotel. That that's the meet cute. Oh, that's a great way giving away anything. It's not giving away anything. I think it would have been a, that was awesome Girls. I have to cut out only because we have a major, I'm in Mexico and we have to go carry on Christie. I'm so excited for you. I love you all. Thank you. Number eight. Number eight. Safe travels mary. Thank you. Feel a stateside. I love you. Bye bye. So what did your mom say? Christie? But she's so excited. So excited. Yeah, so excited. I mean, you guys know this is not like, I mean I, I really work. I mean like this is not like, oh my God, I hit the list. I mean like it is, you're really hard work and um, you know, and I don't even make it look easy so you do it. I'm so thrilled. I'm so grateful to you guys because he really likes stepped up to the plate and have just been so supportive of me. You helped me so much. I'm so grateful for everything that you all did because it was huge and big and you just, you took this book like it was your own and you really just did so much for it. And so now we're gonna do the same for the newcomer because even though RM to is always a massive new york times bestseller, we're going to get her way up there at the tippy top of the plan right now is everyone has to go right this minute and preorder the newcomer because it's coming out on Tuesday. It's, it's my favorite YMCA and I say that like every year, but it's so good. I was like just flipping pages, flipping pages flipping and it's like a big book when it came in the mail. I was like, you seem like you, it's a brick and I read it and like, I mean, I was getting ready to leave on tour. I had no time and I read it in a day and a half, so like that you just like you just like the dedication because it's dedicated to all of you. Yeah, I mean, that's why it's your favorite book, Let's be real. You know, I'll tell you why it's my favorite book because it's coming out on my birthday because my birthday's Tuesday and you're ruining you're ruining this barricade because what I'm assuming in my head when I conjured in my head is that obviously you wrote this book for me because it's coming out on my birthday and it includes Pop Patrol, which is obviously...

...a part of my life. Um and it's set in florida, which is a part of my life. So clearly it's My book. And so all of you out there have to buy like 10 copies because then maybe you'll write another book for me, which I'm so excited how you're going to write for me next year. Way. I love it when you went to my favorite because I had to drag mary Kay andrews across the finish line. She did. So I'm happy to see this book in the world. I am sure because she's so sick of hearing about it and I am not going to give any spoilers. But I will always remember two things. One that like text chain when going on about paul patrol and when it would be on what network. And then also when we were all a tie v and we were trying to figure out um the stuffed animal situation. That's all. Yes. Oh, this really dying to say what that means. But no, we're not going to say because it's a little bit of a spoiler copies for yourself and all your friends. Another's day. Don't forget Mother's Day. It's perfect for your mom. Yeah, I mean your friends, it's a great mother's Day story and it's great for, But yes, you know what? You guys are a Mother's Day gift. I feel all of our books surviving. So, um, and then newcomer and under the southern sky. I mean, I just am somewhere close to managing stores. I think just the oxide exchange the whole, the whole box just for your mom. Yeah. And you know, we, um, we're doing in person events. So, uh, since we're just blowing it out here and doing blatant self promotion for brazen late to self promotion for brazen huskies. I'm gonna, I'm gonna be in Savannah. Um, next monday night. That'll be my first big in person with Miss Patty Callahan, uh, in the, in the scene of the crime in savannah Downtown savannah shavers, we're going to be at the Desoto at the desoto. Come on down. I might be sad. I miss you. You can stay at a time. We've got them tied for the whole week a little far, but okay. Well, well, well can drive you. I mean that week he took off of work. You can take another week off to drive me on your tour. Right? What? His patient's teeth care you guys, I've got to get off because I've had no food and I've drunk by myself half a bottle. I think this is, is this this champagne you sent me kristen? It might be, it might be a good morning campaign. Well, I just like, I like the solidarity Christie Christie I sent use campaign to and I think it didn't get there because I think I sent it when like when you were out and they tried Anyways I, oh you have champagne for me and it's not their little will drank it. It's okay tomorrow. Exactly. This is the bus. That does not quit. My darling. Okay. You go celebrate with your family. Okay? We're gearing up for your release. Thank you. Let's go. We are right. I love you all clear. Right. You're, my family learns to everyone. Thank you for tuning in, Join us every week on Facebook or YouTube where our live show airs every Wednesday night at seven p.m. eastern time and please subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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