Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends and Fiction with Elizabeth Berg

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Elizabeth Berg joins the Friends & Fiction authors to discuss her novels, including the beloved Authur Truluv series, and her latest memoir, I'll Be Seeing You. http://www.elizabeth-berg.net

Welcome to Friends and fiction. Five best selling authors Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast with five bestselling novelist whose common love of reading, writing an independent bookstores found them together with jets, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing. Thes friends discuss the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, Christie Woodson, Harvey Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends with more than 80 published books. To their credit at the Start of the Pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, their favorite bookstores writing, reading and publishing in this new, uncharted territory. They're still talking, and they've added fascinating discussions with other bestselling novelists, so join them live on their friends and fiction. Facebook Group page every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, or listen and view later at your leisure. Hello and welcome Lover. I'm Mary Alice Munro and my latest book. He was on Ocean Boulevard. I'm Mary Kay Andrews and my latest is Hello, Summer Caramel. My latest is the book of last names I'm Christi Woodson Harvey and my latest book, It's Feels Like Falling. And last but Not least, I Am Paddy Callaghan, Henry and my latest is becoming Mrs Lewis, and this is friends and fiction. So tonight I'm especially thrilled to welcome to our program and author. I've never missed a book for I've loved her for years, and like many of you, I found her voice, her unique wit and wisdom. Unlike any others, Elizabeth is a prolific writer. This is Elizabeth Berg, by the way, and she's a prolific writer. She is the New York Times bestselling author off many novels, including Durable Goods. Which one? The American Library Association Book of the Year award. The Dream Lover, which was named one of the 10 Best books of the year by U. S. A. Today An Open House, was an Oprah Book Club pick, which is pretty big. I loved her recent Mason Missouri trilogy. We were just talking about that in the Green Room. It's the story of Arthur True Love, Night of Miracles and the Confession Club, and we all found that the message there are. There are good people out there is so relevant today, her most recent work. I'll be seeing you. I think it's there. It is right up there. I'll be Seeing You is a deeply personal memoir charting the emotional waters of a daughter's efforts to guide her parents move from our own. They really love to a care facility as they struggle with Alzheimer's disease. We are so fortunate to have Elizabeth tonight because the book is released October 27th. So we are all getting an early peek at, Well, what will be her next best seller, Elizabeth Berg's books haven't published in 30 countries, and three of her books have been adapted into movies for television, and the Pull of the Moon was adapted into a play in 2018. She received the Illinois Literary Heritage Award from the Illinois Center for the book, and although Berg's plots vary, there are certain constants to be found that appeal toe. All readers love, loss, hope, compassion and humor are in all her narratives. So despite reading her books for decades, I only just recently met Elizabeth some five years ago in Savannah, at a book Festival and I was with Patty and Mary Kay and we all fell in love with her. And there's where we are. That was our very first dinner together, that Marine Benedict was with us that night to that zone. You have to get on the show. We love her, too. That was fun night and we all fell in love with her. So tonight, everybody, let's all welcome Elizabeth Berg. Thank you thinking I've got to read this author A But that's the point. Anyone out there who has not read this author, Elizabeth Bird, you will by the end of tonight. Who's who hasn't. That's what I say. Who hasn't? Yeah, so all right, we always like to begin with the warm up questions, So fall is the time that I am. Most people love to cuddle up and...

...read a book. So Elizabeth, you I have a quote from you that you said, I try not to read like a writer, and I find that my editorial self is intruding more often than I would like it, too. But I want to read like a reader. I want to get lost in a book. So here's my question, and that's for all of us. First of all, Elizabeth, how is that going for you? I'm able to read like a reader, Or are you still reading like a writer? You know, I'm sorry to say that it's both, but if a book is really fine and I can get lost in it, then it's less likely that I'm that I'm reading like a writer just pops up up every now and then. Maybe this is true for all writers that that I'm reading along and thinking her editor made her do that. Yeah, I do that, too. That's funny. Eso It happens. It happens. The better the book is, the less it happens. E think that's true. Who else wants to answer? I think I feel that saying, How about anybody else? Well, when I was trying to get I'm sorry, Fatty, it's like that's the way you go ahead, you know, I think when I was trying to get published, I did that MAWR because I would be like E that was good is that trying to get published? But now I think I'm more able to kind of every now and then I'll think something like, I can't believe her editor didn't make her do that. Our our editor did make her do that or whatever it may be. But for the most part, I think I'm sort of ableto like Just relax and get lost in the book, which is absolutely wonderful. I don't ever I don't think I really read like an editor because I'm not a really good editor. But you don't feel like some that one thing that's happened through the years is I give I'll stop. I won't make myself finish a book if it's not grabbing me where I used almost feel guilty, I have. If I started it, I have to finish it on. I don't I don't do that anymore. And even when I'm reading for a blurb, I think all y'all will agree. Even then, I'm not. I don't really read it like an editor, but, um, but I have put down books. Elizabeth, just like you said and said, Oh, they went back and made her at that or boy the editor. But she must have been late because I've been reading a lot of early copies for blurbs lately, so it's copies that aren't all the way through copy editing yet, I think Andi, I have found I tend to be hyper attuned to the things I do wrong. So word repetitions jump out at me because that's something I always do in, like sex 3rd and 4th drafts and that, and I'm mortified when I realized they've slipped through. So I think that's something I tend to notice about other people, books. But that that says more about me than the books. I think, yeah, I think what I have found over the course of my career is an author. Is that sometimes authors that I loved earlier in my career? Now just there's maybe one or two When I read them now, I think to myself they you know, they took the easy way out or, you know, they pulled. They used. They used that. They've used that trick before. And I would I didn't notice it. True e true. Yeah, but T shirt e When an author pulls off a great story, then I'm completely, um, Gaga E. And I try to make myself stop and send them like a fangirl email saying that was terrific, that z e. I think you know, You know yourself. It means a lot when you hear from an author. You know that someone like your book. Uh, there was a book I loved last year. Heavy Drake starts over E Love that book so much and I stopped after I was done. I sent her. I sent her fangirl note on said, You know, thanks. That was such a wonderful, you know, great. It hit every note I wanted it to hit. So sometimes I'm tougher on on authors who I think I don't ever think an author's phoning it in because we all know how hard we work. No author is literally phoning it in make. Sometimes the book doesn't Sometimes a book doesn't succeed in what we'd hoped it would do. But I really, truly don't believe any offers literally phone it in. Yeah, I agree. Well, I think about to write a letter to at least one other author this week. Great idea. Everybody on this. I love your books. It's nice...

...to get a word. Er, you know that's not It is look in your mailbox. It's a solicitation for pork chops. It's nice. It's the nicest thing. And it amazes me how many people still like Take the time to write a letter like that. Z When a fan writes an email or puts it on your own or something that's really moving thio way do read them, you know? Well, all right, let's Since we're talking about books we love, let's do book recommendations now, Elizabeth, I think you had a couple of books you wanted to recommend that you loved you very plainly told me to book. So I have on, uh and I have two novels. But this is essays. And look at the jacket. I mean, isn't it so great? It's called Act Like You're Having a Good Time. Thes are essays. She's so smart and she's so funny and she's so wise and sometimes she's so angry. And she's very honest in these essays, and you can read one a night like, you know, like a chocolate on. There are the two novels, um, our donkey vain. I'm getting all mixed up here, left and right, left, right up, down vein. Douglas Stewart. So I read a review of this novel. It's a nice fat 12 I read a review of it and I thought, Boy, that sounds like my kind of book. And it sure, waas I mean, from page one to the very end, it is astonishingly good, and I don't say that very often. So I had him Come on, my little writer author, Siri's. And it's a good thing I did it early because he's now shortlisted for the Booker and for the national wow in the universe. And honestly, he deserves to win every single one of them. A story that takes place in, um, Scotland. And the dialogue is so is the kind of again you want to read it again? Finally, you guys are not gonna have any time. Uh oh. McCorkell It is amazing is what a feat. What a feet. It's like sliding. You just have, I think, sometimes as writers, we all look and say, How did she do that? You don't? Yes, this it's magic. It's so affecting. So s so utterly believable and transporting as it says on the cover Spectacular. What? You sold me e want to revote e love getting done with something and thinking. God, I wish I had written that. Yes, yes. Absolutely. Yeah. Makes you want to be a better writer. Yeah, E you have a book to? Yeah, you know, we always love to talk about debuts on our show. Um, and this one, which comes out about a month. December 8. The Mermaid from Jeju It'll be out December 8th is just beautiful. It's a debut novel from a Korean American writer named Sumi Han. She now splits time between Korea and New Zealand. The book is set in post World War two Korea, and it follows the story of a deep sea diver whose family is torn apart after a tragedy. So it's part magic, kind of like a fairy tale fable sort of thing, part Korean history. And it's incredible. Eso added to your list now, and I will add it to the Facebook page, the friends and Fiction page. Well, thank you, and we will everybody put these recommendations up on our friends and fiction Facebook page. So if you missed them, don't worry. We'll put them all up. And speaking of books, As you all know, we are passionate supporters of independent booksellers, and tonight Elizabeth chose her local indie, the book table in Oak Park, Illinois, and I met Jason years ago. When I came out to speak and Elizabeth you came to that crowded room was standing for Holy. It was in the library, and this is in Oak Park, and everyone loves to come toe apart to see the Frank Lloyd Wright's. It's an absolutely wonderful city, but it is the only independent bookstore there, and Jason said they'll do everything they can that's legal to make your book experience memorable on. They're offering you the 10% discount with the code friends and thick F I C and that link and everything you need to know be on our Facebook page. But here's the extra bonus. Elizabeth said she'd walk on over to the book table and signed copies of I'll Be Seeing You, her new book and any of her books that are ordered through the book table. So...

...you get it autographed book 10% off and you're supporting a local independent bookseller. So without further ado, Elizabeth now we'd love to hear you talk about give us a glimpse off your memoir. I'll be seeing you. Yeah, well, this is a very different book for me, as you as you might all No, I usually write fiction, But when my dad began getting Alzheimer's disease and soon it became clear that my parents would have to leave the home that they lived in for 45 years, it was a journey of such confusion, frustration, anguish, full of missteps, full of things that I did that I wish I hadn't done. I felt a little lost at sea as to how best to help. Um, and what helped me most was hearing stories from other people about what they had gone through. So this book is a very personal, incredibly honest and frank diary of the decline of my parents. Sounds like a fun romp, huh? But I think I think why it z good to read something like this is is we are all If our parents live long enough going to be faced with something like this, we ourselves if we live long enough, maybe foisting things on to our Children. And the best news about this book is that although it does outline all the all the sad and angry and confusing things that happened, it also talks about the humor and the grace, and that, indeed is how It ends with a great deal of hope and grace. It is at the heart. Ah, love story. My dad was besotted with my mom. All all my life. I saw the evidence and that they kissed in the morning. They kissed at night. He adored her. And so when he began, as he said, losing it and she got angry about that, he didn't know why. He didn't know. What was he doing? That this woman that he loved so much was treating in this way. So, um uh, I think if you're interested, do the old flip test. No, you could read the prologue. Um, online. You could If you go to a bookstore, it comes out the 27th. You can flip through it. That's what I do when I want to read a book. It has to pass the flip test. It has thio everywhere I flip to. It has to be something that I find engaging. So that's it? That's what it's about. Well, I have to say, as someone, I took care of my mother before she passed and she lived with us, and I remember needing to find a book toe. Help me just to read. Not I didn't need a doctor therapy. I needed a book, and I found one really did help. And my father in law had Alzheimer's two and watching some of the things that your books have such detail. And I remember the scene where he would watch her wherever she was in the room and he would follow her like a puppy, almost. And that really rang true for me because this dependence, that person with Alzheimer has so strong and it's hard to watch and again in your father's case, because of the love. So you're you're telling this beautiful and very personal story, and I really got into it, and I found it very comforting. Actually, it helped me remember what happened in my own life. So the question I have, though, is writing fiction as you have written so many novels is one thing. But a memoir is completely different, and I've never ridden one, So I imagine it took some courage to start. But how do you approach writing a memoir? And how different is it to prepare for writing a memoir than writing a fictional novel? You know, from the time I was nine years old. I've written by the seat of my pants, and I don't really prepare for anything. When I write a novel, I don't use a plot. I just start with some sort of feeling or a vision of some character. Let's say Arthur, True love. For example, with that book, I saw a kind of vision of an older man in a cemetery. I saw his little stick out ears. I saw the hat he was wearing. I saw how he was sitting beside a grave, and I wanted to know what he was doing. So I started writing about him. So for me, writing is a novel. Is the novel revealing itself, telling the story it wants to tell with a memoir where you're telling the truth. I didn't set...

...out to publish this. I wrote about it because I had to write about it, because when I come to understand things, that's how I process things on. And after, Uh, the thing was all over. I thought I this could really help people on. And so I sent the manuscript to my sister, who is the one who lived in Minnesota, where my parents did and did most of the heavy lifting. And of course, she's in this book all over the place. And I reveal Ah lot in this book about about not only my missteps but my mother's missteps. And I mean, one day when Bill and I went to visit them, my dad and Bill were sitting in the kitchen having lunch and pleasant conversation, and my sister, my mother and I were screaming at each other in the back room, and this went on for about 40 minutes. Luckily, my dad doesn't hear well, when it was all over, my bill said, I gotta go to the bathroom. But anyway, um, I sent it to my sister with all this stuff, you know? And I said, What do you think? If there's anything you object you if there's any reason not only because of things I said about you or about Mom or about Dad, But if there's any anything that bothers you, tell me what will publish it. So she read it and she sent me an email, all in caps. Two words published This, uh, saying that so I really do believe that that but it can help people um, it z important to me when I read a memoir that it really be honest that it really be honest and part of the part of a good part about writing when you are not intending for anyone else to read it is that kind of honest and be honest on. And then when it was gonna be published, I thought, Well, okay, but you know, I have to say the to me reading it. The most courageous part was the mother, because she your mother had a hard time, and you spared her. You didn't. You did not spare her. You were completely honest about what she went through and how she reacted to it. And your your reaction as the daughter, That mother daughter, I thought that was really strong. Yeah. And And I have to tell you that one of the reasons I put there's so many parts of the book and that makes me out Not not to be great, you know, is that we do make missteps in this journey. And we do things that we regret on. We do things that we wish we've done differently. I believe that my mother and I came to a wonderful accommodation after my father died. And certainly at the end of her life, Um, but I don't know, off a prescribed right way to do this kind of thing. I think you fumble your way through it. I do believe that is difficult as it is. And you'll know this from having read the book. That honesty comes with a price, but it also helps. And that sometimes, you know, I mean, anyone in a relationship knows that sometimes you have these horrible fights, and if you don't, then I don't want to know you right on. And and it clears the error sometimes that's that's what happened here. Um, well, that was Thank you. That was Thank you for that. That was hearing you talk about was beautiful. Alright, I know we have other questions. Christie, I think you have s o. I said this to you backstage. Elizabeth and Mary Kay is going to ask you a little bit more about it. But I absolutely loved the story of Arthur True love. I sat down on Sunday and I did not get up until I finish the whole book, which I was not anticipating. doing, but it just absolutely captured me. And it was so heartwarming. It was so wonderful on This is not what my question is about. And I'm going to kind of, um, paraphrase a little bit. But I just saw this when I was going through my book and I highlighted it. And I have to read it because it's so perfect for our show. So if you haven't read this, you guys, this just struck me. So everybody wants to be a writer, Arthur says. But what we need our readers. Where would writers be without readers? See, that's what I dio. I am the audience. I am the witness. I am the great appreciator. That's what I dio. And that's all I want to dio e. I thought it was so...

...appropriate for our friends and fiction group because, um, they were the most amazing readers, and we love them so much, and we're all readers, too, so we're all appreciating in some ways, but I think my favorite part of the story is that you create this really non traditional sort of family in these pages. But it is, ah, family all the same. So I wanted to ask you a little bit about your family. And we always ask this question. We have guests on our show, but what were the values around reading and writing in your home when you were growing up? And how did that influence you later on in your life to become a writer or if it did it all? Uh, no, actually, my mother wanted to be a writer, and it didn't happen for her. My father said to me at one point you got her job and, um, I think I got my own job, but okay, She was an avid reader. She modeled the value of reading like nobody's business. I was raised an army brat, so we moved every 10 minutes, and the first thing my mom did wherever we landed was even before the boxes were impact was to go into her library card on Do you take me along with her? From the time I was really little. And I remember wanting to be a library in so that I would have like, command Post and also that excellent. Stamper, That was part work. I wanted to do that too. Yeah, And you could wear red lipstick and high heels. Maybe I was mixing up dominatrix and lighter, but she modeled it. She always had a big stack of books by her bedside that she'd gotten from the library she read every night. She read everything she read mystery crime thrillers, romance, how liver fiction. She read everything and she appreciated everything. So that was That was a really good way for me to understand how important books and reading were, and I was. I was kind of heartbroken and very happy to give her my own books because I knew that's what she would have wanted to do. But she was very gracious about it. And when she moved, you know, in the in the I'll be seeing you she moves into a It's an independent living facility and she she you know, people talk about their Children, she said. My daughter's um and author and the woman kind of looked down her nose at her and asked about me, and she said, Yeah, she's a New York Times was selling, and the woman didn't believe her how she went down in the library of the facility and there it waas how proud she must have been of you. How proud. I mean, that's a cool a child to feel that you made your parents proud. Yeah, it was. Well, this is Dr, you know, all my dirty laundry. This is documented in the book to, but my dad and I was scared of my dad my whole life. He was terrifying figure, and we had really big fine. Not when he was compromised in this way, but years before, um, something happened that facilitated an argument between my father and me that blew up all out of proportion. And I told him I have been afraid of you all my life. You have never told me you loved me. You have never told me you're proud of me. And I went on with this litany of things and see it went on to heal us. It really did. You know, he didn't know that I was afraid of him. Mm. And he said, I'm so proud of you. I missed. All right. Um, I'm that's that. That's the value. I guess sometimes and just putting it all on the long people be honesty. Yeah. I'm gonna start a fight with somebody. Oh, Who's ready. I'm writing a letter to an author that you love, and then go start a fight with me. Oh, you list now. Way. You have a question, please? Oh, Elizabeth, I've been just sitting here listening to you like online e. Just ask you something. I'm like leaving e have loved listening to you for so long, and I have loved reading you for so long. Um, I know I told you this story. I told it to you the day I costed you at the Savannah Book Festival, and I told it on my social media this week, but I'll tell it really quickly. But when I first started writing, um, I was...

...keeping it a secret. I was writing in secret, and I told Mary Kay Andrews because I knew her outside the writing world. But nobody really knew what I was doing. And I read your writing book. I have a very battered copy of it marked up line. I'm not at home right now or I show it to you because it's beautifully marked up. Her, um your it's called escaping into the open. And you were coming to speak at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta when I lived in Atlanta and I went to hear you and I went alone because I didn't tell anybody what I was doing. And I sat in the back row and I asked a question. I was so nervous, and I don't remember what the question was, and I don't remember what the answer was, but I do know that you looked right at me and you saw right through me and you said, Are you a writer? And I said, I'm really trying and you said, If you're writing your writer on and I held on to that for so long and I loved that writing book and you have so many lines in there that make me say yes out loud. But when you talk about answering an insistent call to transfer what's inside outside, I love that because we talk all the time on here about answering that call. So I want to know why you wanted to write that book about writing, because it's probably your only other nonfiction book besides the memoir, right? Um, no. The first book I ever did was a nonfiction book that someone asked me to write and I thought, Well, I'll never do a book I might as well do. This is called traditions, and it's the only book of mind this out of print. And it has my first paper, how to make a hard boiled egg just saying so you know, I wanted to know why you write it, wrote it and it came out in 1999. Would you change or add anything now? Escaping into the open note I wrote escaping into the open because people on, Do you all know there's people tend to ask the same questions over and over about writing. And I thought, Okay, I'm gonna put everything I know and believe about writing in one place. And then if anyone wants that question answered, there will be not only that, I'm going to put exercises in their prompts and suggestions for things to write. And and then as long as I was throwing things in, I put in recipes put in recipes, run on. Yeah, so But that's why I did this because people were asking, um, a lot of the same questions. So here with all is and you wouldn't change anything about it now, no when I objected to the cover. And so they re issued it with another cover years later. And I added Mawr exercises because I don't know a letter from a guy saying, You know, you had this one prompt in there. You said used these three words in a story Snowman Pink and something else and he wrote it and it got published. And he was thrilled. Well, then I was thrilled. Honestly, I really waas eso. He wrote me that letter and I thought, Well, I can do those all day long e all you out there That book again is called Escaping Into the Open, and it's It's a book on writing, So I know we have a lot of people in the audience who are interested in improving your writing stairs of becoming a writer. E. I was just gonna say it's encouraging that you were in person when I asked you about it. It's the same tone you have in the book. It's if you're called to write, and you and I were both nurses, so it's a second career for both of us. But if you're called to write, then answer the call. What's the big deal. Yeah, I know. It's It's so frustrating sometimes because someone could be such a beautiful writer. And they're so shy. I bet you were this way, Patty, while I know you were this way, because you're writing is beautiful, but but they're scared and they keep it inside and they're waiting for the Pulitzer Committee to come and knock at their door. We're here for your manuscript. Will just wait while you finish it. You know, you have to If you want to be published, if you want to write, you can write. And, you know, just do that like Paul Simon cysts up, find a quiet place and a humble pin. Um, but if you want to be published, you have to take a room, and you have also and I think this is in the book to and you have also to understand that if you are rejected, it may not have anything to...

...do with the quality of your writing. Maybe this editor just bought a book that's similar to yours or an article or whatever it ISS. The person you have most to please is you that's important to remind people that it's not just maybe, a book was rejected for reasons other than he wrote a beautiful book it has and the publishing world budgets. They just bought a book like yours. There's a lot of things that people don't realize is it's out of their ability to change. So it's that extended out again. But and maybe you'll agree with me about this to you. You are highly successful writers, and it's wonderful to be in New York Times bestseller. It's wonderful when you give accolades or going over or whatever that is. But the biggest joy for me is the feeling that, yes, I did it. It is from here where nothing matches that you've not been published. All you're just saying that or I don't know about that. I'm gonna feel pretty happy if I get published and you and you will. But the greatest joy for me is in the act of writing, and I think a lot of us get really handsy. But we're not writing because it's it's the drug of Yeah, it's not like a choice. It's so true. You yelling at me. If I was just finishing a book and she's the mom e think it's this deadline thing is your drug of choice. I agree with her e built on her side. I e way can't go through that again. I've had e published 28 or 29 I think, um, I'm is excited about finishing a book now as I was when I finished that first manuscript that never got published, the fact that never got published. It got nice rejection letters, but the fact that I finished it there, I still remember the thrill typing the end and yeah, and I had to read along the way. I talk to other writers and people said to me, It's it's you know, it's a journey, and writing it in and of itself is a huge accomplishment. Anything else that happens after that, that's gravy. But the fact that you set out to write a book and you wrote a book and you wrote the end that's age totally right? Well said they were gonna be fighting over that first manuscript. I think it's under a I mean, I don't know where it is. It's my juvenilia e to bring it out. We want to see it way. Okay, well, you're already talking. Mary Kay. It's your turn for a question, please. Yeah, well, you know, I had this question I had thought about myself. But so many people were asking on the friends and Fiction page about Arthur. And it's fresh for me, too. As Christie, you know, I told you earlier I was watching Arthur. I was reading Arthur Sunday night, watching the Braves lose the world Siris on dso. I couldn't tell if I was crying about Arthur or crying about the Braves blowing it. E was wondering, um, when you when you wrote Arthur, did you foresee a trilogy at that time or what? You know, what was the motivation? Um, to to write three books and turn it into a trilogy? No, I had no intention of doing that at all. When I wrote the story of Arthur True Loeb it was back in the old days when the only agonies were were the kind of fractiousness and political parties we did. We were not dealing with Oh, let's say a pandemic. Just that And, um and I was very tired of the arguments I was hearing and the instability with which people treated each other and on. I wanted to go somewhere where people were kind to one another. So I made up this town where I didn't shy away from the fact that there are troubles in the world. But I wanted to write about kind people. And boy Arthur is is it when? When it comes to kindness. So after I finished that book, I it was still ugly in the world. Eso I wrote another mason on when I finished that one, it had gotten worse on I'm fiddling around with e also. Wait, wait, you are doing 1/4. I'm thinking about it. Yeah, I'm tweeting your first i e. I've done a draft, and...

...usually when I write, I don't I don't added a whole lot, but this one, I probably will need to do some more work on Sometimes it's hard to work these days. E had another idea of doing another sort of memoir. Eso We'll see. You know you have Thio, as they say, Answer. Whatever the the order Elizabeth, would you remind viewers what the order is in the Siri's? Sure, it's the story of Arthur True Love and then Night of Miracles. And then the confession club. Right? E. Just want to tell you it's kind of interesting, at least to me. Um, I got the idea for the confession club by going to see a play about Emily Dickinson. Uh, she was making black cake on stage. Told me that, uh oh, I think I can use this. Okay, great. Okay, So my question was a two parter. Even though I'm not supposed to ask a two parter, there's nobody here to stop. May right s The other part of the question is your books have, um I don't know. What would you call it? Midwestern Nice. Your character is. As you said, Arthur is a deeply kind person. Your books have heart and warmth and humor, but they're not saccharine. How do you How do you balance that from not making them? Um, Kool Aid? Sweet. You know, I was interviewed by Publishers Weekly for my second novel, Talk before sleep. And I said in that I love that book. To my lasting regret, I said, I am a rank sentimentalist, and I make no apology for it. And then I learned how bad it is to be a rank sentimentalist. So? So I I admit that I am a sentimental person. I am someone who cries at McDonald's commercials and who cries it, you know? I mean, I can see a little kid do something. I cry. Um, so it leans that way sometimes. But I hope it doesn't fall into the as you describe the Kool Aid sweetness. And And I guess, um you know, writing for me is not intentional. So I'm kind of not watching out for anything when I do, and I just do it. I wish I could watch out a little bit better, but I guess I try toe to draw from that reservoir within that holds so many moments and so many emotions and so many feelings that I might not have dealt with at another time. But suddenly here's an opportunity. Like Matt, for instance, Mattie Mattie is a wounded kind of feral child, and I love when she tries to get Arthur to say the F word. Hey, e o s so mad. You know, I think Maddie is kind of the the leavening character. Um, anyway, that Okay, I'm done. That was my e. And I know you have a question. Yeah. Elizabeth for people who aren't familiar with you. And again, as we said earlier, I can't imagine who isn't right. You've done so much. But well, one of the things we wanted to share with people is what you're doing on your Facebook page. You just have this beautiful, accessible style of writing, and it feels like a gift to stumble across one of your posts. Eso personally, As a writer myself, I have trouble doing that, connecting that way with readers through Facebook. I worry about editing. I worry that no one will care what I have to say. I worry that I won't say it right, but you put it all out there fearlessly a gift to your fans, and hundreds of them respond every single time. It's amazing. So So what does it mean to you to be able to interact so directly and instantly with your readers that way? And when you sit down to write one of these beautiful, introspective posts, how long does it take you? What's going through your head? Are you editing? Are you going through drafts of it or you just pouring it onto the page? Can you talk us through that whole process. Well, first of all, thank you, Andi, I I was a writer who was pulled kicking and screaming onto Facebook. My publisher wanted, even though Facebook I wanted nothing to do with it. But I've come to really love it because I think what happens is that you form communities of like minded individuals who come to...

...yourself because they feel the way you do about things. They like the recipes they like when I have conversations with my dogs, they Interestingly, the the biggest response has come from sort of thinking out loud about really important issues. And I This is a meat singly for a commercial opportunity for me. Oh, you're going a lot of people on Facebook said, You need to make a book out of these. And after the first person said that, I said, I'm not doing that. And then and then someone else has. And then someone else has. And then I thought, Well, maybe I should be. Someone said, I'm getting tired of printing these out. I wanna A So I I asked my editor. Would you Would you like to publish a collection of my Facebook post? She said No I got him playing conveniently located right here, and my best friend designed the cover. This is make someone happy. That was the first one. And there are two more still happy and happy to be here. And the the reason they're the so called Happy Books is that they really do seem to lighten the load and to make people happy. Some people keep it at their bedside. Some people keep their bathroom. It's a snippet that you can read and be reminded of the worth of nature and Children on, um, all kinds of disparate things. And there are recipes in their way. Need that today? I mean, you know, you could turn off the news and read Happy Happy book will all be much happier for it. Everyone who's listening we're going to have on our Facebook page. Friends and fiction. We will put an email if you want to reach um to get a copy, you can find that on our we'll talk. You don't have to worry about it now. It will all be on our Facebook page later, but I I loved the post and and I love you. It's it's really beautiful. All right. We've had a chance to ask our questions. So on my foot more fully. Answer your question, though, because that was a very thoughtful question. And you ask Thio about editing and drafting and so on. When I dio page post, I tried to get rid of the misspellings and, you know, the the grammatical errors and so on. But I don't really e don't really edit it. I really trust the people in my Facebook group. There's such a loving community, and if someone's having trouble with something, the others will chime in. It says that, you know, take care of each other. I want to say one thing I have noticed in the last few days that some guys air showing up random guys. I think there's two or three of them and they go under the reply thing and they say to that woman, How are you? I don't know what I'm looking for a date or what they're doing, but I in a fury I'm going dilly dilly dilly e. What if they want to hear from these guys and somebody's gonna start a relationship? But anyway, I'm tryingto have my publisher look into that because it seems very funny to me. Um, and I'm very protective of my people on Facebook. So if you two have noticed that I'm I'm trying to fix it. That's fascinating. No, but I think today we all have to be a little more careful. Yeah, um, e uh, That took me back to think that that happened. All right, The five of us had a chance to ask. And now what we do is we love to pull questions from both our Facebook page and from readers live. So I believe. Let me just read one thing first. Let's see, we have a comment which I thought you'd like to hear from Carol Snyder. And she wrote, I'm so happy to have Elizabeth Berg with the friends. Isn't that cute with the friends of friends? I like that she was the author that pulled me out of my inability to read after the death of my husband. Wow. I e a high price and Patty. You have a question? Yeah. When I boasted my story about you on my facebook, a woman named Sylvia Bridge Siegel posted a question underneath it, and I love it. She asked who Did you receive encouragement from when you began to written? No, that is a good question. E here, Somebody's dog I love when they e love it his first indoors and someone, but anyway, um eso the...

...people who encouraged you were teachers and friends. I had a teacher. I remember distinctly. I was I was in, I guess I was a junior in high school and, um, I found the catcher in the rye, and I didn't know that you could write like that, that you could just have this sort of almost like a stream of conscious. It was very exciting for me to read that book, and I wrote a response to it. I wrote back to Holden Caulfield and I should my English teacher. But you're a really good writer, and I just sort of tuck that away. I really, really loved that. He said that I will tell you that I started out not. I guess it wasn't a dream of mine to be a writer. I'm not sure I really knew what that meant. A liar. But I loved to write and and I sent my first admission, and some of you know this when I was nine. It was, Ah, horrible poem, even for a nine year old e. I thought I was going to win the prize. The prize would be about $1 million. Yeah, I was gonna buy him a Cadillac. Oh, that did, like, right away. I went up on my bed and wept, and I didn't submit for 25 years, so Wow. Well, they're Ugo five. Kristen, you have a question? Yeah. Our friend Christie Barrett, who runs a novel, Be, which is another great site for readers. They're celebrating their birthday this week. Um, she wants to know if you could be one of your characters for a day. Which one would you be and why? Oh, good question. That's a great question. And I'm just gonna answer by saying the first character who popped in Wait a minute. I got to get a simple martini. Uh, guys, there's water in case it's, you know, illegal. Oh, never. Never know a martini. Right? First character popped into my mind when you ask that question was Lucille who e on and baking all the time and yeah, around is fabulous. And I want I would like to be stronger like Lucille is. I would like Thio care a little bit less about what people say about me or think about me. She does not care, you know, and make. He was modeled by the way my best friend, who's incredibly out spoken an honest, which is why I like her to read my book because I know I'm or my work, because I know she will never say what You will not have any problem anyway. I told her that after I wrote true love, I said, You know, kind of modeled the character of Lucille after you, and she said, I thought so. That's nice. E lovely feel all right, Let's get some live questions. Christie, can you pull up a couple of questions and then yes, absolutely. Eso Sheila Benue so says when you get a bunch of ideas floating around, do you put them all down and then pick one to develop or does an idea pop up and that's it? You start writing. The answer is both. Mostly I If if an idea really takes hold, I start writing and I and I try to be monogamous, you know, eh? So I stay with it, but sometimes not very often. Sometimes another idea will come along and then I'll just write it down or jot some notes or something. And put it aside, I don't work on two things at the same time. Unless one is a novel and one is, let's say, an essay, right? Sure. And Mary Kay? Yeah. Lynn Nicholas, who is also an author, um says that in so many of Elizabeth's books, her characters shared childhood memories in minute detail, and she wants to know where these descriptions all pure fiction, or are some of them from your own childhood. And she's thinking about We're all welcome here, among others. And she says, As one who can't recall much from early childhood, this in depth understanding or memory of those pre grade school years amazes may. Well, two things. It's both were All welcome Here, was was really made up, except that that idea I'm characteristically for me was because a reader suggested...

...it to me and I don't like to take ideas from anyone because I have the need to please disease, and I don't want to disappoint them. So I I just like to play in my own corner of the sandbox. But she, uh this reader had a mother who was a nurse, and she got polio when she was nine months pregnant with the woman who wrote me. They got put in and she got put in an iron lung. The mother, the baby was delivered there. Her mother emerged from the iron lung, unable to move anything from the neck down. Oh, my God. Husband wanted to leave her. And, uh, well, her husband wanted to adopt out the Children. There were three Children, and she said no. And her husband left her and she raised those Children on s o. I was inspired by the story, but mostly by the photograph she sent to her mother, who was in a wheelchair. Um, and despite her circumstances, had the most magnificent, beautiful, strong smile. So I wrote that book on Lee. I gave her only one child on eso. Her childhood was was just I just made stuff up that said, oftentimes I do remember things from my own childhood and I have a pretty good memory for the past. Don't ask me where my brushes, but I e asked on whenever I hear people say, You know, I don't know how you remember that stuff. I would invite you to listen to a song from 19 whatever it ISS that will evoke strong memories. You remember more than you think you dio remembering you remember more and more also, if you need help. If you want Thio get details, as they say Right when you're thinking about a certain year, go to the library and look at the magazines from that time and you'll have a rash of things. Come, come back. Well, I have to say the next segment of our show. Elizabeth is usually when we asked for writing tip. But I already feel like you know what? You have written this wonderful book escaping into the open, and so it's especially eager. We're all eager to hear what you have to say for a writing tips. So do you mind sharing some? I'm wisdom to us. I don't mind it all. No. And I think to be succinct on do say, what's most important to me. Um, in terms of offering someone else. Advice is, First of all, don't listen too much to other people's advice on Secondly, when you write. Don't try to sound like anybody else. Your own voice is so unique and so important and so needed. I think that any reader can get this rush of excitement when you're reading an authentic voice. You know, we all recognize that we all respond to it. We're all sort of jazzed up by something we've not seen before. On the other hand, when we see someone trying to sound like someone else, and oftentimes you really can see that for people trying to write Thio a formula of some kind for me that that becomes tiresome in a big hurry. So I think it's important that you take risks. Nobody has to see anything until you're ready for them to see it. So take all the risks you want to when you're writing. You can always take things out, but you can't always put things in and also tell the truth. Even when you're running fiction, if you know what I mean on by that, I do. I mean that you you tell any emotional truth that you tried and tried to do that and also don't forget to have fun, because writing can really be so much fun. Thank you for that last bit. That's we have to all remember that. That is very beautiful. Um, speaking. And speaking of books again, we are. We know everyone out there is just dying to order all Elizabeth books, especially. I'll be seeing you. So, Mary Kay, can you tell everyone about our bookstore it again, waiting for It's the book table. It's the book table in Oak Park, Illinois, and, um, they're gonna They're so generously offering a 10% off on any of our books. And, of course, Elizabeth book especially. I'll be seeing you, which comes out, um, next week. And so that code is friends and fictions. So you can go and you'll see the link to the store right on front our our...

Facebook page. And, uh, you know, it's so important right now for us to support in booksellers. Um, you know, that other place cells, toilet paper and spark plugs and all kinds of stuff s so it won't hurt them, and it will incredibly help. I mean, they're building a they're colonizing space. What do they care where you buy your book? It what matters? But you buy a book from a, uh, in in the communities where we live and work and they they employ our neighbors. And selfishly, I think all of us would agree they have. They've been wonderful to all of us and to our career. So, uh, we're a community readers and writers, and we want to support a community of indie booksellers. And remember that you will get a 10% discount and an autograph book from book table. And we are so falling in love with all the fabulous run that are coming up. It's gonna be an incredible season. So, Christie, can you talk of your the house next week? Can you tell us? Yes. Coming. I'm so excited that we have a just US episode next week. We have a little surprise. Are we telling you our surprise guest is Yeah, we know it's Cassandra. We dio e couldn't remember. She's on that new, but Okay, So, Cassandra King Conroy is going to be popping in for sort of a special surprise. So you guys, we're not gonna want to miss it. Make sure that you're there. And then on Sunday, one of my good friends and favorite authors, Wade Rouse who writes his viola shipment is going to be here, and Wade is just too funny for words. So you're not gonna want to miss that. It z always a good time with, um What is that, Christine? Let's don't forget to tell us. What time is it? Yeah. No. What is viola shipment gonna be with us on Sunday? Um, five o'clock on Sunday. It's like a week from Sunday, Not just a week from Sunday. Not this Sunday. This coming week is is Wednesday because we have a bonus on Sunday. E a page. I think this is like a pop quiz. And it wasn't I got nervous. I was like, Oh, my God. What? Honey e a going to get another demerit this week. A gem. We love you and e want to tell you one thing as a person, just as a person, I am so renewed by nature, I always kind of find what I'm looking for in nature and in walks and also as a writer is very helpful. So before I came on your show of as kind of nervous So I took a walk and when I took a walk and people have their Halloween decorations out. And I saw a circle of ghosts and, um, they appeared to me to be girl goes or women ghost. They had the long skirt and the belted thing. And I thought, you know, that's what you guys do is your this circle of support And I think we're all willing like the ghosts, I think all feeling kind of pale and insubstantial. What we hold hands and we do this circle and we support each other with love and community and friendship and love of books. So thank you to you all for doing this every you do so much and it's It's It's so welcome And it's so appreciate it. I hope you know how much it even knows why we love God. Yeah, you're amazing. E thing was like, I feel like we just sat around in a room and just had a girl talk. This was It was so fun. E No, thank you so much. And I guess with that lovely closing, that's our show for tonight. Thank you so much for joining us. Elizabeth. Everybody table personally autographed. Copy of I'll be seeing you and all of Elizabeth titles as well as our recent books and to all our viewers. Thank you so much for joining us. We're celebrating. We reached 21,000 members. And if you're not a member of friends and fiction, please join our Facebook page. And if you can't make the program, you're out doing something else. I don't know what you want to do other than watch is but you. We do have the friends and Fiction podcast and on our website. All our past episodes air there at www dot friends and fiction dot com. All are recommended books and everything. Where to get happy books will be on our Facebook page and that's a wrap. Good night, everybody. E O bill for us? Yes,...

...she became ill. He had to leave because she is doing and that she has a dinner tonight. She's doing an event. She's telling everyone she wasn't abandoning us. Oh, my God. I know you guys know I was telling everybody else. I just wanted to keep talking e fantastic. She really wasn't a good person. That voice of hers, the way she talks and makes you smile and just feel good is in her writing that ISS absolutely is e feel good after this hour. Oh, Debbie. And that's how you feel after reading her books. And Joel loved Arthur true love to I just thought that was that. Now I gotta go read the next to I'm getting so e Oh, my gosh. I know I'm not like every day like more books coming to mail, and it's like something to blur of something for friends and patient something, and it makes me so excited. But then also, I'm like, Oh, my gosh, e books, but it's e no, you will love it, really. But you know, it is true to that about the writing reading as a writer is that for a while there it took away the pleasure of reading. It was almost work, you know, And I do. You kind of think, Well, this is really great, But there have been a couple of books from our guests this year that I just let go e I really great books, you know, after Charlene Harris was on last week, I read, um, the first in her new trilogy, Um, the Gunny Rose zero. And then I, um for some reason, I went and read the the Prelude or the prologue to the second book and then Siri's and I was so mad at myself. One. Now, I got to read that Fuck he suck you in so quickly that you have to know. And I think, you know, I was thinking about this. We should dio maybe it just a segment or we talk about reading across genres. Yeah, I'm guilty of not doing that very often. And what I have discovered from this is, um, how what an eye opener is and how good and enjoyable stuff is when you read outside of genre stuff reading and And what what we're missing If we think that we're just one kind of right, if you say Oh, yeah, I just read historical fiction. I don't read X y and Z like, Think of everything you're missing out there Absolutely that would have a good book club because you do have to choose a book and you have to read through. And that's what we're doing on Trans and fiction. Yeah, yeah, lots of online book clubs. They're doing cross reading genre challenges, you know? And I told myself that at the beginning of last year. I said, Okay, you are going to read, you know, you're gonna do some other reading across genres. And then I sort of forgot about it, and then the they, you know, Cove it hit. And I was so panicked I really couldn't read or concentrate. You know, the first couple months, I just sort of walked around in circles myself. Yeah, e no roads. A phone call me. Okay? Exactly. Know exactly. Oh, go back. Have you gone back and look early video E o out of the camera. E was a floating Had we've we've We've evolved instead, right? It's like going back and reading your old bugs and being like, Oh, I can't believe I Geo. Alright, guys, I've got to get going. I've got a four year old thio e o. And I'm like, Why has he not showered yet? What were we going to scrape up some dinner on tidy where they roll up this time of year? They roll up the streets pretty early. E love the turtleneck. I'm kinda thank you. I took myself into Relax, E girls, Let's see you tomorrow. Goodnight. Good job. So you've been listening to the friends and Fiction podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the friends and fiction podcast wherever you listen, and if you're enjoying it, leave a review. You can find the friends and fiction authors at w w, w dot friends and fiction dot com A swell As on the Facebook group page, friends and fiction come back soon. Okay? There are...

...still lots of books writing tips, interviews, publishing news and bookstores to chat about goodbye.

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