Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode 12 · 1 year ago

Friends and Fiction with Elin Hilderbrand

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Elin Hilderbrand joins the Friends & Fiction authors to discuss her writing schedule, her enviable workout routine and (gasp!) her retirement plans! https://www.elinhilderbrand.ne

Welcome to friends and fiction. Five best selling authors, endless stories. Friends and fiction is a podcast with five best selling novelists whose common love of reading, writing and independent bookstores bound them together. With chats, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing, these friends discussed the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Best Selling Novelists Mary K Andrews, Christen Harmel, Christie Woodson Harvey, Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Monroe are five longtime friends with more than eighty published books to their credit. At the start of the pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, your favorite bookstores, writing, reading and publishing in this new, unchartered territory. They're still talking and they've added fascinating discussions with other best selling novelists. So joined them live on their friends and fiction facebook group page every Wednesday at seven P M Eastern, or listen in view later at your leisure. Hi, everybody, welcome to friends and fiction. Five best selling novelists. Endless story. He's we are five riders and friends WHO's common love of Reading, writing and independent book stores finds us together. I'm Christy woods and Harvey, I'll be your host tonight, and my latest novel is feels like falling. I'm Pattie Callahan Henry and my latest novel is becoming Mrs Lewis. I'm Mary Alice Monroe and my latest novel is on Ocean Boulevard. I'm Mary Kay Andrews and my latest hello summer. I'm Christin Harmel and my latest is the book of lost names. And, as you can see, we have an incredible guest tonight. We are so thrilled to welcome Number One New York Times Best Selling Author Ellen Hildebrand to talk about her fabulous new book, Twenty Eight Summers. If you haven't read it, you were missing out. Let me tell you. Welcome, welcome, and we're so excited to have you ellen. I have to tell this story, which I hope Ellen doesn't remember, and I don't know why I'm dredging back up, but Ellen was one of my first like rock star idol authors that I ever met after becoming an author for the very first time myself. I was at my first Book Expo in New York and Jennifer Weiner had a party and I felt like I was going to get there and they were going to say you're not on the guest list. What are you talking about? Are you kidding? And I walked in and the first person that I saw was ellen and she was so nice and I introduced myself as I'm a big Fan and I'm a writer, and she was like, Oh, I'm going to read your book, and I literally said, and I quote, Oh no, no, Ellen Hilda brand, you cannot read my little book. And I called you, Ellen Hilda brand, to and you had on this cute little pink petty ground. But she was so nice and very graciously blurbed my second novel, lives and other acts of love, and I have been an even bigger fan ever since. And I sent her a picnic basket to tell her thank you because she had written an article about picnics. I love it. I was like, I remember sending it and thinking she's then think this is really weird or she's gonna like it. Ellen is an author that really needs no introduction, but if by some chance you're new to her, she spent her first summer on Nantucket island in one thousand nine hundred and ninety three and has lived there year round for twenty six years. She's a mother of three and enthusiastic at him cook, an amazing athlete, as we were just talking about, and a six year breast cancer survivor.

Twenty eight summers is her twenty five novel. The other authors and I have tons of questions for Ellen, but if you have a question for her, post it during the chat on our friends and fiction facebook page. We will be pulling a few live questions shortly, so get them going. Before we get started, I just wanted to remind you about the reason that we all started here to begin with, which is our love of independent bookstores. As you all know, all of us at friends and fiction are passionate supporters of independent booksellers. Each week we highlight one indy, and Tonight Ellen chose to support the brewster book shop, who is offering a discount on all our new releases, and they are such rock stars that they have placed helpful links on their site to all of our backlist titles and Ellen's backlist as well, and are offering a discount on those too. So if you were going to buy any of our books. Tonight is the night. The link of the bookstore is posted on the friends and fiction page facebook page and we'll post it again after this. So, Ellen, welcome. How have you been doing during this crazy time? So this might be an unpopular opinion, but I have really enjoyed quarantining. Back March I left. So I spend five weeks normally in the Caribbean on a sort of a self fashioned writer's retreat, and I do this every year. I have a series that set in Saint John and I rent a villain St John and I normally go down and I write. So I get down there on the eleventh of March and and everything starts to happen very quickly, as you remember. Yeah, and I ended up staying in. I ended up staying in extra two weeks. But the thing was is that there was no longer because a lot of times in St John, you know, I go out and there's a lot of from punch and my time is not probably maximum productivity, but it was this past year because, you know, nothing was open at some point during my stay. It was the week before Easter. They closed the beaches and they closed the hype trains and so I was very fortunate and how to pool at my villa. So I just hung at the villa. I did nothing but right I was extremely productive. And then when I got home to Nantucket, I mean the summer here, and I'm sure you guys have this as well, and you're sort of summer homes. It's busy and in a regular year it's cocktail parties and and benefits and the summer people are here and their friends you only see once a year and you have to Wat to dinner and it gets very, very busy for me and it's hard to balance, you know, a social life and try and write my novel, which is due on November one. So and this year it's been quieter and that has been really good for me as well. So I have to say that as from a productivity standpoint, the pandemic has been excellent for my work. Well, that's bad to tell you too, that I live in Bay for North Carolina. So we similar. You know, you have the summer people that come in and you're and I felt like in Twenty eight summers, when you're talking about sort of morning the end of summer, like I do that I just mourn the end of summer, like every year, like I met the point right now. Our school starting in two weeks and I'm just Oh, I just want to like hold on to it and bring it back in. So that just that really really resonated with me some. But friends and fiction, ladies and if everybody, if you were here last week or if you subscribe to our snazzy new friends and fiction news letter, you might know that I was, I can't last week for family camp. We sailed and fished and boded and ZIP blind and say camp songs and all these fun things. It was a little strange because everyone was wearing masks and social distance and but it was sort of a little spot of normalcy and that was just absolute heaven for me. So I wanted to know what are your spots of normalcy, like, what are the things in your day that you're like, okay, this was something that I did pre covid Patty, but I had an I feel like we all work by...

...ourselves, right. So, like the work from home, like where's that's very unusual. I think for many people they're working from home, they're on having any direct interaction with their coworkers. That is my normal. So one that I haven't been doing is I have not been going to the beach. So, and that's really more function of the fact that my oldest son totaled my beach sheep and so I don't really I only have I'm not taking to the beach, but also there are a lot more people at the beach. I did fill the pool out my backyard. So I when I get home from my exercising, I take my notebook and and a novel, because I always read as part of my work day, and I go out to my pool and I sit by AE and for me it is just somebody asked me about my perfect day and I'm like, I live my perfect day every day in the summer because I have my routine and it cannot be improved upon. It is. It is just perfect. I am by Myselful, but that is that is how it has to be. That's the staycation. That is a cason. Absolutely. Yeah, Mary Alice, what about you? Anything any normalcy? Well, it's you know, last week I ducked out a little early and the only normal se and it wasn't normal at all. But you know, we had I saw my daughter and it wasn't a wedding. She just signed her papers and it took a couple pictures. But for a moment if I forgot about covid and there are so few of us, we did not have to wear a mask because we are in our own pod and it was just so joyful to sort of not think about having to wear masks and to worry about everything because we were family and we were celebrating and it was it was so wonderful. And you know it, I realized how many people had to cancel weddings this year. So many, and even signing the papers is a big deal. You know, it's like, okay, we can celebrate that union. It was great and I'm sorry I ducked out on Y'all last week, but I had that champagne to drink. It was just sitting, but that was a good reason to duck out, and there's pretty much the best reason in the world. Yes, so Christian, what about you normal? See what it what is that? Even it's funny. We've established new routines, I would say the biggest carry over from the old days, because we still play paw patrol every day, which is no yeah, that I've just don't even going to go down the path of what it feels like to play Po patrol every day. But but you know, we've established new routines. So now Noah and I go for a walk every morning. My son Noah and I go for a walk. I pull him twice around the block in the wagon and then he gets an apple and I get my iced coffee and we walk once more around the block. So that's it was not a normal from our old days, but it has become a new normal and I think it's a normal that there to stay because it's kind of a nice little routine that he and I have so cute. I love that very okay, what about you? You know, the thing that we have not let up on his Sunday dinner with the family. My grandparents did that when I was a little kid and our daughter and son in law and two grandkids live around the corner here. We live in a small town. If my son's around, he's here and we cook dinner and my grandkids set the table. We always do. We don't do the fine China and all that, but we always do, you know, cloth Napkins and maybe pick some flowers out of the garden and it's a special dinner and lots of times on mega dessert. So and that, I think, helps us remember this. You know this. What's important. The thing that we can cling to in these times is family, and I feel really fortunate to have them close by and when my son is in town and his girlfriend and her kids, that is that brings me happiness and normalcy and seeing their faces around the table and,...

...you know, lighting candles and that to me. So this, this part of life, we can hold on too. For now. I Love Patti. What about you? You know the we were talking about this a little bit before we came on, but one of the most heartbreaking things about this time is, you know, of course, you know the elderly, not being able to see or being sick alone, but one of the biggest heartbreaks has been not being able to see the people you love in your family because they're too far away and you can't fly or travel. So for almost eight months I didn't see my daughter and granddaughter and I have spent the past almost month now, two and a half weeks with them in the Pacific northwest, and then I made them come home with me. So they have been with me for the past ten days and although that means I haven't slept much. It has brought back this kind of sense of all those things aren't going to be this same. They're never going to be the same they are. Well, we are going to find new ways and it kind of grounded be back to I felt panicky when I couldn't see them. It's really bizarre when you can't to do yeah, it feels weird when you can't get to your your daughter, your grand daughters. So that was my little sense of normalcy the past couple weeks. That kind of grounded me. And of course the work and this show and and aren't doing your sprints? Those and and you're right, Christen, sometimes we just make new routines and those ground is back into like a new normal. Well, our sprints is a new routine. Yeah, new normal. Yeah. So before we dive into our questions for Ellen, Kristen has a special other guests to announce tonight. Yeah, so we think, we hope that we're also streaming live on books and on Facebook, which is a large facebook group. The folks at facebook have been so nice and so supportive of what we're doing here, and we said this last week too, but we wouldn't have this platform without facebook. So we're excited about that and if you're here tonight watching on books on facebook or watching later in the week, we do hope you'll consider joining. Friends and fiction is just a great community for readers. We do this every week and there's lots of interaction that goes on in the page. So welcome. If you're joining us through books on Facebook, welcome, welcome. Yeah. So, Ellen, before we dive into our questions, can you please tell us a little bit about Your Beautiful New Book, Twenty Eight Summers, number one? Yeah, well that. Yeah, Twenty eight summers is basically a reimagining of everybody's favorites old time, I would say old time. It was made in one thousand nine hundred and seventy eight, the classic movie, same time next year. Yeah, and I watched the couple of years ago and I can I remember watching it as a kid and really and really loving it. And then I watched it a couple of years ago and I thought this is really bare bones because it was written as a play. So if you watch the movie, they never say like where they live or really they don't go into detail about their lives outside of that hotel room and I thought, you know, this is really rich material for a novel. So I decided, okay, I'm going to bring same time next year to nantucket. I'm going to have this couple meet in the summer of one thousand nine hundred and ninety three, and then they're going to continue to meet every Labor Day, weekend, no matter what, for Twenty eight summers. And as you know, in the first chapter you've learned that our our protagonist, Malory, is dying. She has melanoma that's metastitized to her brain and she has a sun named link who goes to the University of South Carolina and you know, he has to deal with the fact that his beloved mother's dying and he finds an envelope in her drawer that has this phone number in it and she asked him to call a phone...

...number and it turns out it's somebody. It's it's Jake McLeod, whose wife is running for president, and he can't really figure out why he's calling this person, but Jake says I will, I'll be there. If she's dying, I'm coming. And then we go back to the beginning and learn I'll Jakie mellery met and they're big, enormous lot. You know, it goes into their lives and they're they're bitness lives and there it's a whole big, enormous sort of world that I created around the premise of some time next year, and I said this earlier just to you, but you can see I'm right here. So, like, I almost done and I knew I was going to finish last night because I was like, oh, she got about it eleven and then I was like I'm not going to I'm going to finish the book. Like, let's just be honest with yourself. You're finishing the book. And I got about too. I'm on page three hundred and ninety and I literally went like this and I was like I'm not emotionally ready for what's coming and I'm just going to shave it for a time when I feel a little more prepared to handle all of the things that I'm going to make up to room and so, but it is, oh, it's so good, Ellen. I think it's my favorite book of Yours, which is I just I absolutely love it. All right, Patty, do you have a question for Ellen? So we ask all of our guests this one question and I love this question and in some of the other zooms I've been doing where I'm moderating, I've even been asking other authors this because I think it's so fasting to understand how we became writers and how we got to where we are. So how was reading and writing valued in your home growing up? Do you think it had anything to do with you being a writer at all now? Oh, absolutely and absolutely. The story I'd town is that when I was in the second grade, at the end of the year my teacher gave everybody in my class and award, and my award was the top offer award. and My mother was a teacher. Yeah, my mother was a teacher in the district and for many, many years, and so she has and then she became the language arts coordinator and she then became Assistant Superintendent of my district. She stayed in touch with all of my elementary school teachers and I tell you, every single one of my teachers has come to at least one of my events and some have come with every way in Pencil in two thousand and nineteen, when the summer of sixty nine came out, I was at an event at for the town Book Center in College Bell which is the town I grew up in, and my second grade teacher who gave me that award was in the front row only and I got up in front of the microphone and I said maybe you saw like talent and a seven year old, or maybe because you called me an author, I became an author. Yeah, and the power of teachers. There were always booked at my house. My father died when I was in high school, but the summer before he died he was an attorney in downtown Philadelphia and I went and I worked in his office and I remember he was taking me out for lunch. We were in the elevator and someone else and his firm said, Oh, is she going to be a lawyer when she grows up? And he's like, oh no, she's way too talented to be a lawyer. She's going to be a novelist, she's going to be a writer, and that's amazing great. Yeah, see, I just feel like it shows so much. So I grew up in Philadelphia too, and my report cards said books are very important. Daddy. That's kindergarten. Books are just like been carrying them around like a he bears. I still do that sometimes. Mary Ty. Do you have a question for Allen? I do. Ellen. You know your summer books are usually set on the antucket and Ilan where everybody thinks they know everything,...

...and where you actually live. And you know I live in a very small town where everybody thinks they know everything. Never feel self conscious about setting a book so close to home. Oh God, no, no, I love it. I love it. And the thing is is, I think maybe when I started, so this is my twenty five book, and so there was debt and it's been twenty years. So there's definitely been an evolution and I remember, like when the Beach Club came out, to my first novel. I mean we're really dishing here, but my first novel, the Beach Club, was based at the Cliffside Beach Club, which was where my husband at that time worked and he'd worked there for ten or eleven years by the time I wrote the book and I was really immersed in the world of the Beach Club. And so when I wrote the book, I think the owners were very concerned and what I told everybody is, you know, I this is fiction and if I wrote what really happened at the Beach Club, we would all be extremely scandalized, but I didn't like I made it a novel that had a narrative arc and, as you know, like you really write the truth, because it doesn't make narrative sense. But I think I thought, Oh, it's about the beach club. And then a couple books later I wrote the Blue Beastrow, which was based at the restaurant that's right next to the beach club, the Galley, and I think everybody thought, Oh, this is going to be the real story of the Galley and it's just not. And then, as I got more and more popular, people are like, can I be in your book? Can I be in your book? Can you please put me in your book? And so, you know, I have to pick and choose because honestly, like I want them to read, you know, like seamless, natural narratives. I don't want any clunky pieces because I had to put like a real person in there. So I feel zero. You're not worry about it at all and no one has ever come up to me and said, you put me in my book and I was, you know, the bad character. They don't recognize themselves, they never see no way. That's good. That's today one of my friends that I remember right about I'm being like this is like a little bit too close to, you know, somebody that we know, and she was like, I don't know, the bad characters never recognize themselves. They think it's them. All know that. Of course not. I can never maything. I have people in my little town think that I wrote about them and I finally said, you know, you're not really that interesting. So true, right, Mary Alice, do you have a question? Friend, Allen, I sometimes put chapter headings and their informative, but what you did in Twenty eight summers was I pay attention to chapter headings and you did a great job. You had you first of all, it rooted us in the chapter so beautifully, but it was the pop culture you had, the music, the food, the news headlines. Even the beginning you talked about what was going on at this minute. I thought it was fabulous and very, very well done. So Kudos to you. But the question I have is, did you know when you constructed the novel that you were going to do the chapter headings? To do that? was that designed, or while you were writing it, did you have that Aha Moment, Oh this is what the book needs. Well, in the movie what they do is they have a video montage. So but between the years that switch, they'll do like they had like a video montage with Kennedy, and you know what I mean, and people getting off, don't you getting off? And that's how they deleted, neated the year, so that you knew what error we were going into for movie. And I thought to myself, I can do that on the page right and I knew I was starting in two thousand and twenty and I knew I wanted to make it. When I wrote the very first, first one, I thought the only thing we were going to be talking about this year was the election. It did not occur to me that we would have anything...

...and I actually thought to myself, I hope nothing else happens in two thousand and twenty that I have to pot it in here, because it's looks the original, the original only men in the election. And then things started to happen and it was do the final final copy at us. We're doing at the end of March and I called my copy editor and I said, listen, I have to put covid and and Kobe Bryant and other things that and like social distancing and to talk and like things that are soap. I'm like, I have to yea. She went back in and then, in fact, in do like early June, she added George Floyd in the electronic version. Oh my God, she had a blow because in the electronic version she can do it immediately, and so she added all of this, all of the book, black lives matter stuff. That happened in June before the book came out. So people who electronically had that added. But as I was I thought it was so it started I was just like a I don't know, like a funny idea, and then it became very important with each year to be like, okay, I want the you're to remember what one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight look like night and what to find, like you know what, of course, for two thousand and one looked like. And so I had those you know, and I went back and I added and I took things out and I'm like what was impl what was my favorite show? And and it went that way. Then was fun to do too. Was So fun. It was my actual writing fired. It was. It was fun to do that. I thought that was so interesting and it was kind of embarrassing because I realized, like there were a couple of years that I was like, I don't remember any of that, and I realized I was in college and we always used to be like we're in the bubble, we're in the bubble, and I was like God, we really were in the bubble, because I like remember the pop culture stuff, but like the other stuff, but in like, you know, Ninety five, I remember that perfectly. It is very weird, but I loved that. It was like a little walk gun memory lane. All right, Christen, you have a great question you want to ask. Thanks. Yeah, Ellen, I think a lot of your fans know that in two thousand and fourteen you were diagnosed with breast cancer and it almost immediately, decided to fight that battle very publicly and become an advocate for cancer research. I also know that you've inspired countless readers because of your openness and in fact, one of our members named Michelle Zax Miller, posted earlier this week on our friends and fiction page about the impact you had on her best friend, Jane, who was fighting breast cancer and who you agreed to meet when she was visiting Nantucket in September of two thousand and eighteen. So Jane died less than a year later, and Michelle says she'll always be grateful to you for helping her create such a special moment for her dearest friend, which I thought was so touching and so in native what you mean to your readers and the impact you've been able to have. So my question for you is actually twofold one. What made you decide to take your battle public and to now that you're several down, several years down the road from it, how do you think that whole experience has shaped you and changed you as a writer and as a person? Wow, quig question. The reason why I decided to take a public was primarily timing and context. So I had a book coming out in JE on June tenth of two thousand and fourteen, called the match maker, and I had done in the matchmaker, and this is a big spoiler, my main character gets cancer and dies at the end, and I but to write this. I had done enormous amount of cancer research, like more than normal, like I've met with oncologists and I'd started getting involved with the American cancers and I was going to I was growing my hair, I was going to donate my hair and I was like really, really like putting myself in the position of this character, my character dad me from the match maker. And then, long story, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It got very serious very quickly.

I thought I just had one mom turns out I had five and I needed a double mis teck to me immediately and the double mis tack to me. So I said, can I have it in August because I have a book coming out in June, and she's like you'd like basically like you need to have it next week. So the book came out on June tenth. I had the double Mis Tuck to me on June thirteen. I had to cancel every book event, well for two weeks. I for the two weeks after my surgery. I canceled every book event and and then two weeks after my my surgery I went to Chicago and I did back to back events in Chicago, which was again something that I look back on now and I'm like that was so reckless, but I really promised myself that I would go out and do events two weeks later because I was not going to be too sick to go. I just said to myself, I'm going to go and because it was happening while I was sort of in the midst of launching this book, I felt like I had to tell people what was happening. Otherwise I felt like you would seemed very strange booksellers to the reader and it just felt like the right decision. So the night before my surgery I flew to New York and I went on Seeb us this gale kaying and basically like told everyone that I have breast cancer. The thing is, and it would be true of all of us, our demographic reader is the demographic of breast cancer. It just is. And so there was an enormous overlap and I found so much support from the readers, just an amazing amount of people who've been through it and who wrote and who sent letters and who's knitted scarves and who said Christmas ornaments and who sent pocket curtains and who sent books, and the amount of stuff that I received was just mind blowing and just notes and and love. And when I was in Chicago two weeks after my surgery, I had the drains, and this is just like too awful even talk about, and I was on drugs and I got up and I had like a lunch at the Cook County Library in front of a hundred people with Brown bag lunches, and there were two women sitting in the front and one had no hair and one had like very, very short hair, like just throwing in, and when they came through the line to get their book signs, they said, we've both had doubleness decomies. We've been through collectively thirty six rounds of Chemo and sixty four rounds of radiation. When we came to your books on to tell you that you're going to be fine. That is powerful and weave, and they did that. I thought to myself, okay, this is what we do. Then, once we may get through, we go and we held ever everybody else. HMM, yeah, well, that compatible. Do you think it changed too much as it as a writer? Did it affect you as a writer going forward? But I think it's changed me as a person. So I presume it changed me also as a writer, but it changed me as a person. Is Now, like I mentioned a little while ago, like my son told my jeep, nothing really bothers me like I feel like you know what I mean. I'm always like everything is triazed. It's like is it like for death, like our is your being being threatened or and I'm very, very calm about the stuff. That used to completely freak me out and now I'm just like, okay, no big deal. And I also like game perspective. Yep, I mean that's really saying. I think there might be like a little bit more depth to the writing, but that also comes with age, so it who's to say? That's amazing. I think that you has to. I mean every event changes you somehow. Something so profound would have to to, like you said, add depth. Yeah, completely. Wow, that's an amazing, amazing story. Thank you for sharing with us. So I am absolutely wild by your schedule in general,...

...but you're writing schedule. You know, most of US care write a book a year, which sometimes can feel like a lot, and you're writing to so can you tell us a little bit about just kind of like the brass tax of your day, like what is your day look like and how do you stay inspired to produce this fresh, amazing content year after year? So I you know, I start every day with my exercising, which is annoying to everyone who has to live with me. So I do my jogging first and then I get on my palletone bike and then I go to my bar class and I was doing virtual bar classes until just recently. So it's it's about three hours of exercising and it's let me say what it is. First of all. It's a mind it's a mind thing, but it's and it's a bad habit, but it's also a discipline so that I know that it's so difficult to get up an exercise for three hours, but it's not as difficult as writing. So it is a discipline that sets up my day and I do it regardless, and that is how I feel about my writing. I do my writing regardless. So then, in a perfect world, around eleven I'll head out to my pool in the summer or I sit in my bed in the winter and I write longhand in notebooks and write the novel and then I type it into the computer and I print out printed pages and then I edit at at the printed pages and then I put those changes in the computer and I do this like fifty million times until the book is done. BOOKS START I start may first and I turn them in November one and then I take six weeks in Boston in an apartment that I rent and be in beacon hell by myself. It is like a little tiny Garretts, like Emily Dickinson's studio, that I light by candles and I do my revisions. Revisions take six weeks Christmas and then on January for first I start with the winter book. In the winter, in March and April, go to the Caribbean for five weeks by myself and I have like a five week like power writing session, and that book gets turned in at the end of April and then may first I start the summer book. Oh Wow, and you sustain that? do you anticipate sustaining that or do you anticipate slowing down? No, dream was to retire with the book, My Summer Book in Twenty One and I I really please don't told my agent. I'm like, I'm not, please, not signing any more contracts. But I what I did, what I am doing, is I'm going back to just summer books. Okay. So I signed the three books for the clear with little round and I and then they promised me that in two thousand and twenty four they will help me roll out my retirement. They'll put an inn of times well and I can go so that gives the public, for those of you who are watching home, that gives us five, five books left from Eh and then, and then I am going to retire. Very cool that, you know you do that. I mean like, well, do you think you can do that? We do even just turn it off. Yes, it's hard. You guys know so hard. No, it's totally hard, but I also can't imagine. I feel like sometimes you're in like the depths of like I can't work this out or whatever, and then you have this other idea like I don't know, I just yeah, but I also have only written seven books. So when I've written twenty five and might feel very differently. So, Allen, can we take bets? Yeah, and I'M gonna I'm going to retire in two thousand and twenty four and I just you know, there are so many things I can't do and I can't any of them right now, but I just don't have time. Okay, I had. I went to lunch today at the Galley, which is this restaurant, and it and I was calling my sister to complain. I'm like, I have to go to lunch at the Galley. You guys, the Galley is the most beautiful...

...beach front, that most glamorous and I was so angry that I had to go because I need to work and I wanted, I want to be able to go to the Galley and not worried that I'm missing and have that feeling freaking out and yeah, yeah, only like, Oh my God, I can't really relax, I can't, I can never relax. I'm just, I mean, I am I'm a cought in a constant state of anxiety and I'm constantly thinking about the characters and constantly like typing things in my phone that I want to put the books, and it's it's you know, writing fiction is so difficult consuming. Ok, yeah, very happy to retire and just think about read. I'd love to become a book influencer. I would love to do what you guys are doing. You know, I love Riese wetherspoon and and whatever, but they're not writers and the book influencers should be writers. That is my opinion. Oh, you know, that's cool that, because you could write idea opening a window to something completely different. It's you're not leaving, you're just doing something different. Allen's book club, although I can see it now, you're going to be like working nine hours a day on Ellen's book club, because that's my personality. Oh my gosh, I love it. Okay, well, just a reminder to everyone that the brewster bookshop is our bookstore of the week. They're offering a discount on on only all our new releases, but also our backlist, so check them out via the link on our friends and fiction facebook page. So the five of US had a chance to ask Ellen some questions and now we'd love to let you do the same. So we've chosen a couple from the questions that were already on our facebook page. And while we're talking, if you have something that you'd like to ask, just post it below the video and we'll try to get to it and choose a few more. So, Mary Kay, do you want to start with our first reader question? Yes, Cindy kabbage has a very provocative question ellen. She wants to know if you would be happy in the same time next year relationship. Great Question. I loved that question. I was like that's got to be answered. That's like Gail can ask me that one. I want on the news, and I'm real I'm on the National News A. I'm filming it from this very seat in my home and I was like something like that. Okay, so what I learned during the writing of this book, and I am really I I'm not kidding, you can't actually conduct this kind of affair. It's logistically for a busy person with children, it's impossible. So when you readak like all of these pitfalls come up and it's just logistically impossible to do something the same weekend twenty eight years in a row, you guys would be like no, it's not, but it kind of is today. Never Yeah, no way. Yeah, and I don't know, like I'm divorced. I have a boyfriend and he lives for long distance. Some of you've met him and I'll back almost all of you, except for your Chris and I think almost all of your Bene. So we're long distance anyway. So that means I do not require a same time next year. That's the I didn't know you were long distance. Yeah, it's in Pennsylvania and you may test see him. Wow, yeah, we can tend to yeah, okay, so you're having your sort of thing anyway. I mean we've been doing it for a while, seven years, and it's it feels really fresh. It's your stame time next week. Relationship. That's great, right. Mary Alice, can you Askara to cry? Do I have one from Sue Johnson by shop and she says welcome. Allen, I just bought twenty eight summers and can't wait to read it. I love the movie. Same time next year, so I know I'll love...

...it. I saw an interview where you mentioned going to Boston and working by candle light, which you just mentioned, and I didn't understand if you do that with all the books you write or you were just talking about one book you wrote and edited. Their thank you. So I do it every year and I don't have them with me, but I have very special camel sticks by artist named ten kneeling that I like and these are like my heirloom camp and yes, and book. They burn. I have nine and I like them and it's you know, it's Boston in the fall, so it gets dark at to thirty in the afternoon. So and like a lot of times, it's like raining or Chili. So you know, my apartment, my teen, ten year little studio apartment, is very romantic and I like the camels and this is like and I have my classical music and there is nobody. Like I speak to no one all day long except from the like. I talked to my kids and my boyfriend on the fount but it's very mantech. And this goes on for six weeks and it's a very productive time. But like the esthetics of it are important to me, so I do. I always like the camp that's cool. Those candles are be special for life, for your time to write. Cool. I love that. Right, patty, do you been pulling a couple of live questions for us? Here we go. I love this one because I was wondering this myself when you were holding up your notebooks. A woman named Shelley Marsh asked, I want to know how many yellow legal pads ellen fills when she's writing a book. I love that. They twenty, between fifteen and twenty. Okay, wow, they're fifty pages each. Is that only twelve to twelve? Do you figure the books are four hundred pages? Right, the only means six twelve, but it's a bunch. And people ask do I keep that? And the answers no, I do. You don't keep what do you do with them? It's just too much. It's too much clutter that I archived, maybe class book. Maybe I will keep. I'll keep it and I'll auction it off for a good do you have special ones? Do you have special requirements? Like my composition books, I have to have the ones with the hard cardboard backing, which are hard to find and are hard to find. No, I use I use like these universal. Yeah, I sometimes get young, but I've switched to white and I never I'm gonna like literally Jinx Myself. I have never lost one. Knocking on some wood here, I never a one. So do you do you type in when you're done, or do you type in after every notebook you fill or after every chapter you right? When do you actually mape? You know, normal actually type in the more in the early morning. So I get up at five dred and thirty and between thirty and seven I have my tea and I type. I also occasionally type at night, if I'm not busy, I'll have my dinner and I'll type. And, like if it's bad weather, like if we had a rainy day like, I might might spend a typing. But normally, like like in St John, every pages, like I'll stop composing and all type. Okay, and does it through? Are you, does the story start to shift? Is Your typing like? Does it? I do? You write it, you pour it out and then it shifts while you're typing. Sometimes edit when I when I put it. Yeah, yeah, it's my question. Okay, okay, Linda's Ze Zarah. It said is it more difficult to create an original story or taking a story and making it...

...original? I'm really sure. I know, I know what she means. So like, I've a few books now that have been based on movies. So the I want to sort of based on the parent tracks and this book was sort of based on the same time next year. And the answer is it's it's the same because even though this book is based on the same time next year, its own you know, that's where I borrowed last sole the premise, but it's its own thing and you can't stick too closely to the premise of the movie or your book will be ruined. That is true. I mean, you know what I mean. So like is kind of based on the parent trap. It's the same idea where one kid goes with the father and one goes with the mother, but it's it has its own you know right. So I would say it's the same. It's because I also write series. So I do. I did the Christmas series four books and I did a I'm doing a three book Caribbean series. Those are much easier to write. That's why they only take four months. The first one is is the hardest because you got to get everybody set up, and then the second and third or easiest for seconds, really easy because it doesn't end you right in the middle, and then the third book, you know you want to wrap it all up, but much easier to write a series, easy being a very relative term, because you know you're still writing a book. Know the characters yet no serious. So Lan, you might have sort of already done this and if you have, we can sort of skip a little bit. But one of one of my favorite parts, they would have all of our favorite parts of the show, is asking our guests for a writing tip. So we started it to inspire as aspiring and new writers, but I think that we have all sort of agreed that we tend to learn something new every week when we get a writing tip. So do you have a tip that you would like to share with our audience tonight? Look tips. The first tip I mean is very pragmat which is you must stay off your phone, and this is not something we all when I started writing in your two thousand, right, I didn't even have a phone until my daughter was born two thousand and five. You must is everyone looking at me? You must stay off your phone. A lot of times, and and all of you agree with you have to look something up, and looking something up is different than it was in two thousand as well. Go on to the Internet. Go onto the Internet to look up something. I think today I can't remember what I had to look up from the devil and reading, but I had to look up something, and then you get sucked into God only knows what and then you're gone for half an how and time you're never getting yeah, no, my number one is to stay off your phone. The second one there's something in every book that I called the nebulous middle. So I'm not a plotter, by which I mean I built out, and so everybody started strong, right. You know, you've got your characters, you're defining them like by their assassiness or whatever, and then you get to chapter two and things start happening, and then you get to the middle and you're like, oh my goodness, I know where I want to end. I know where I'm coming from, but like what happens in the middle of that, and I would be shocked if you all did not agree with me, is where it gets unsettling. You like what is next, and so I always go back to the beginning of the novel and read and hope that it carries me like a wave. But my number one tip is to dramatize, and this was what I learned when I was at the University of Iowa. You do a scene that is set with dialog, something's happening. The more drama the better, but you have to dramatize and Nice. A lot of new writers feel like they want to explain and they want to give backstory, and they but you have to have scenes present time, scenes happening right now,...

...so that the reader can be engaged and move on. That's so you're not just talking about dialog, you're talking about action right action scenes, things were, something happens. Ramize. I'm reading a book right now and I won't say because I'm not loving it, but it's a lot of expository sort of remembering backstory and I am struggling to get through it because I like something where there is narrative drive, some things at stake. There are scenes where you're watching the characters interact with other characters or do things and and you're moving along and and that is very, very important when you're writing good to the great. I think that was a tip like meant for me, because I have like written to hear and in a written the end and I've got like this part and I'm like, Hmm, what is missing right here? Something, something is so I thank you. That was very good. I'm going to use that as morning Christy. That's for me. It's I thank you. So I apologize to everyone in advance for your ever growing TV our piles, but we can't keep a good book a secret. Does anyone have a book that they want to recommend that has stolen their heart lately? I won't put you on the spot, but if you have one, anybody? So Ellen? Good? Yes, so a book that came up on Tuesday is called Luster and I have recommended it now like four or five times on my instagram. The authors name is Raven, late Lonnie. It's Ellila and I I need to say this bookause a lot of sex in it. The premise is a young black urban woman in her twenties starts an online for sexual relationship with an older dude who lives in the suburbs, who's in an open marriage. Okay, and as student as I read that, I'm like, I must read this book, this book. It starts there, it becomes so unbelievably fabulous. I don't want to say anything else because I don't want to ruin it for you, but it starts there, but it becomes like it I called it like the capture in the Rye, if the capture in the Rye was written by a young black woman. It is mind blowingly good, moosely written, deep and like profound and and, but immediate and it's the kind of thing where you're turning the pages and she gets involved with his family. I don't want to say anything else. It is so unbelievably great. She's young, she is going to be a superstar and I'm going to take complete responsibility for telling you all about her for the first time. By right. She is out. It was out Tuesday. It's amazing, luster amazing. No, it's great. My Coin, you've sold me. Yeah, anybody else on one? They would recommend. You know, I'll just take a second to remind everyone Fiona Davis, who we had on last week. Her lions a fifth avenue came out this week and it wounds up Good Morning America's Book Club Pick. So, I mean you guys probably already heard that. We've been celebrating it on our page. Maybe love Yoana to say that we had anything to do with it. I mean, clearly they take their keyes from us, but we're really I mean it was a book I think all of us who read it really, really, really enjoyed, and I'm just happy that Good Morning America is celebrating her to weeping that we had a we had a big group group celebration about that. Yeah, she's really good, people really exciting. I mean just a moment where remind your twenty eight summers are really I've been like to everyone, I everyone I've seen, because it's only taken me, like, I mean that, three days. I've been reading it like all night and out. So everyone I've seen in the past, every event I've Anam but you have to read it. Have you read it? It's so good. It's so good. I'm sure everyone's already read...

...it, but just in case you haven't, I've been a little slow on a reading the summer. All right, so we have some really exciting things happening at friends and fiction that we want to tell you about before we sign off, and so stay tuned till the ends you can hear more about our false schedule. But, Kristin, did you want to tell us something? Yes, one of us has some very exciting news. So next week, right here, we will be revealing Patti's new cover for her March two thousand and twenty one novel, Surviving Savannah. Patty, do you want to tell us the scoop and how we can see your cover? How we can be the first to see your cover? Absolutely, I'm so excited and make you all know. Ellen, you know, you write the book and it's very private for a very long time, and the first time it's public isn't when you talk about the title or you release it. The first time it feels real is when you get the cover and then then you get another cover and then you wiggle it around and then you talk about it and then you get the cover and then you can't wait to show everyone. So next week we're going to reveal it here. But if you want to be part of this still very super secret cover reveal next week. You can sign up if you want our friends and facebook page or even any of my social media, on my instagram or facebook. You can be the first to see the cover image and find out. They'll give you a bunch of behind the scenes info and a Qa and then you have to promise to post it on Wednesday the third, on Wednesday the twelve next week, and so you can go sign up and then be one of the first to see it and then post it with us on the twelve. So just you can go to friends and fiction facebook page or any of my social media and we'll get that role in and if you sign up to be a part of it, you will be entered to in one of the very first advanced copies. Right, YEP, that we're giving you my five advanced reader copy. So if you sign up to be part of the reveal, you can get an advanced reader copy. Are Our friends and fiction authors eligible, because I'm just saying I would really like. I'm signing up to my publisher. I'll see maybe I can special or something. I'm so excited for this. But Kite Mary Kay, do you have something you want to share with us? Yes, keep your eye out for our new newsletter. Of the first one rolled out today. If you signed up for our mailing list, you got the newsletter and you found some fun, original content from Ellen and we want to we wanted to have new ways to keep in touch with you and send you some bonus content that you're not getting Wednesday nights with us. So hang on and sign up and you'll get it. You'll find out what we're all doing, what we're thinking. You find out about Christie's camp week citing you guys. I mean you can see a picture of me doing the ZIP line. So that's so I'm going to say it's worth to sign up. Right there, for sure, and I think the link to sign up is still under announcements right on the friends and fiction page, okay, or or you can go on our website. Yeah, I think we should all sign up because I know some day Mark Andrews is going to give us a recipe from her Chris. I'm waiting. So Mary Alice is going to share with us a little about our schedule, but I think Allen has to run. I think she's got something else that she's Worly, I would be going up to bed, but it's summer, her it's August. I'm dinner party. I cannot even believe I'm saying those words, but I've dinner pretty good starts to eight, so well, have to f coming you. Thank you, thank you, Ellen. Thank you for thank you. Loved having you sing here and I am so, so grateful to be a part of it. You guys are amazing. Thank you so a you're amazing. Thank you. Thank you so much, talent. Have a good night. All. Right now, Mary Alice, would you if you like to tell us? It feels weird to like kick her off and then like not, I know, and then continue. We still have a couple more announcements to make, so I just want to keep work. How do we do? Tell us as wonderful as Allen, as is a guest...

...was tonight, we have an exciting false usual. So let me tell you who's coming. Next week. August five, I'm so fortunate I get to host Karen Slaughter, so that's going to be a big night. Thenn August nineteen, we're all excited to welcome a special dear friend, the inimitable Christina Nick Morris, who was originally going to be one of the Fam yes oh, it's about time we got here to join. It would have been the spectacular six. I was gonna say that this sexty six. No, no, Oh, yeah, better go. But we're looking forward to having Christine and there's a just US program which we always enjoy doing on August twenty one because we get to catch up. And now we go into September. For the first two weeks, we kicked it off with Etough Room on September two and then Patty and I have a very close friend, Sidney Pike, and Patty's hosting her on the ninth. So we will put the schedule up on our facebook group page as well as our website, wwwa and fictioncom. Well, this has been such an incredible show tonight. I loved having Allen. I thought she was just an incredible guest. If she were still here, I'd say thank you Ellen for joining us, but we are thank you Ellen for joining us. If you watch this back later, we were so happy to have you. I feel like we could have talked to her all night. Yeah, but read her friends. Thank you as all ECE we're being here with us. We are here because of you. We love you all and don't forget to support this week's independant book store, the ster bookshop, who's offering a discount on all of our books, new release and backlist. So we'll see you next week when the incredible Karen Fodder joins us. Thank you to night everybody. Well, that was great. This was fun. It was a fun night, it was a great show and she's a really dynamic woman. I think we all really had a good time. I'm exhaust listening to our exercise program yeah, I feel I feel bad about my body. We can't beat the sexy six. I take that, but I said I'm not one who did not contribute my exercise routine, which is basically sitting up. That is my thank you for saying that. TIMEST of all time. Hitting ult I sit up. I laid back down. So I think that bundled. Need your core to do that. crunches. Right, you're doing crunches. I know he's recorded, Dude Cooke Hans, because I don't. Best thing ever said on our text chain was I'm taking a break to forage for carves. I was like, yes, me too. Yeah, they don't. Maybe some. I'm somebody threatened to publish our that would patty. Let me see she said posthumous like that. Worry. Oh my God, Y, okay, it was just this you. It was this for our listeners. We have a you know, friends of pictures. The five of US have a string of text and happy, sometimes right stuff, and I'm like, I'm just going to take excerpts of our strings and and publish them. That happy said, I can't do it till posthumously. You know what? I think we just need to put her one liners on tshirts and sell them or something. Now they would be are rated. You would have to wear them, an r rated and admire, but just for carps when you wouldn't have to. We can use that. Honestly, I think we should just have a collection of all your facebook pals, your guys any more than me, I know I got two new ones this morning, and there there is one. He has to be a catalog model, I bet you. I've had thirty foe instagram bows use that guy's photo as their instagram profile,...

...and today this very innovative creeper used every picture he could ever find of this guy. So sometimes the guy is dressed in vertical scrubs and he's like, I don't know, ship's captain. This guy used he's self. Where people find the time? I don't anything. That's thing, and I don't know if this has been happening to y'all, but my is moved from just like creepy like instagram followers and friend requests into people dming me to tell me that they would like to offer me six hundred a well, yes, to be there, that they're going to be my sugar Daddy, which I'm like, it's so good that you're spending your covid money so well, you know, oh my goodness, gratishs realist is for real. Yes, I get a dollars. Will Not keep you in, Bob. I'm just saying it's good for a day, not even her a day. Use Me like that's not gonna work. By Good Luck. I have a price, but it's not six hundred. There's not about awesome you guys. Every everything I think, oh, it's almost Wednesday, and then I get kind of geared up now, when it's Unda always like this, just it sets me off for the rest of the week in such a good way. You know, I have to say that every single author who's come on has inspired me in one way or another, and the I have to say, for tonight it was Allen's incredible discipline. Their schedule. It's like nothing I've ever heard. No, no, but she's just discipline to the moment and to go away for fews to just write like that. I know I'm going to tell my husband I'm going to St John's for five weeks this winter. Yeah, maybe we should all go. Yeah, we would do is drink wine and that we would be brainstorming. It would be, you know, the real work would we get? We might not write a word, but we come out home with like twenty ideas of peace. That it's girls we have. We have talked about doing the retreat and I think of one week and I think once we can get past this covid yeah, we should do out of want. We really said it. Yes, we really do. Well, good night. Everybody's nice guys, funny guys. I see you order till seven. Yes, man, I'm going to start working on the SAGGY middle tomorrow. Okay, elastic ending right now. It's good night. 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 www and fictioncom, as well 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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