Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 10 months ago

Friends & Fiction with Emily Henry

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Meet #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry. We talk to her about her inspirations and her writing process, her successes, goals, and conquering writer's block, and, of course, about her blockbuster bestseller PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION and last year's phenomenon BEACH READ. https://www.emilyhenrybooks.com

Welcome to Friends and fiction. Five best selling authors and the stories. Novelists mary Kay andrews, Christine Harmel, Christie Woodson harvey patty Callahan, Henry and mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends with more than 80 published books to their credit In 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews and fascinating insider. Talk about publishing and writing and to highlight independent bookstores. These friends discuss the books, they've written the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Hello everyone, it's Wednesday night and that means it's time for the happiest hour on the internet. Friends and fiction. Welcome to our show, we have so much to look forward to tonight. I'm Christie Woodson harvey, I'm mary Kay andrews, I'm Christine Harmel, I'm patty Callahan Henry and this is friends eviction new york times, bestselling authors, endless stories to support independent bookstores tonight. You will meet Emily Henry and we'll talk about her new book people we meet on vacation which was released in May and find out about what inspires Emily how she conquers writer's block and much more. But before we get going we have something really big to celebrate our facebook group. Okay, so I should say what it is. So are you kidding our facebook group, y'all you beautiful, wonderful community. Oh I love it so much. I don't have a hat nearby, I do have the santa hat but it's not time yet. Okay, y'all out there. This beautiful, amazing facebook group community that was only started last april has just hit 50 1000 members strong. 50,000, wow! Thousands. We could never have imagined a milestone so huge when we started this group and we are doing nothing but growing and we are so grateful to each and every one of you for being part of this meaningful, positive part of our lives. Oh, it means so much. 50,000. I mean, can you imagine if someone had told us last april, this is where we'd be standing in a year and a half are sitting as usual. But I thought we're always sitting there. You are show standing up really shut like now. What exactly? All right, so we have updated our friends in fiction bookshop dot org shop with tonight's guest Emily Henry's books. So you can get this summer's blockbuster best seller, that's a tongue twister. People we need on vacation. And last year's smash hit beach read in our shop for less than $15 each and remember every purchase you make from the friends and fiction bookshop dot org store helps us to keep friends and fiction going right, we want to hit 100,000 don't we wait. And a portion of proceeds goes directly into the pockets of independent booksellers nationwide, which of course goes to the very heart of our mission Since its inception, bookshop.org has raised $16 million 16 million. Now that is a number. We can get to find all our guests new books and those by the fab five in our specially curated shop on bookshop dot org. So support indie stores a nationwide with bookshop dot org from the comfort of your own home sitting or standing and tell them, tell them good friends and fiction. Well it's a big night around here because guess what? We have another trailer reveal for you. Our own mary. Kay is amazing. The santa suit releases in less than two weeks. Are you panicking yet? Leave that does this mean I'm supposed to be decorating or doing christmas cards or any of that? Your nose cards? I'm behind. I ordered my wreaths yesterday but we want to do Yeah, so we want to share her trailer tonight. So sean can you do the honors? Oh my gosh, I'm so excited for this. I'm reading it right now. It is so good...

...so far. You know what? I love that the trailer said christmas comes early because if there's ever a year where we needed that. Right, So very pay. Can you tell us a little bit about the santa suit? Yeah. You know, last year, last fall for the, because of pandemic, there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. I finished the newcomers, my book that was out in May. I finished it early for the first time in my long career and um we had actually been on a retreat together right? Our friends and fiction retreat. We kind of, we kind of knocked around the idea of doing a christmas book or christmas anthology and I was like, no, I am not doing not doing a christmas book, no. And then driving home, I was like, I don't know if it was from there, I called, I know I called Patty and I said, I have an idea and we actually, we went away together. Where do we go? We go to Bluffton Patty, No, we went to the mountains, we went to the mountains, that's right, went to cashiers. And so the idea the story is about a young woman, her name is ivy Perkins, she's just out of a bad divorce and she decides she's going to completely change her life. She is um, she's gonna moved to a new house in a new town and start all over and she decides that she wants to buy an old white farmhouse in the mountains. And so she buys one sight unseen that she finds online and she and her dog, um, she and her dog pumpkin load up and moved to the mountains of north Carolina the week before christmas and in this old house she finds a santa suit on the closet and the suit um, has some magical powers and the magic is really just that I? Ve kind of looks within herself and finds the spirit of christmas again. So it's a sweet, I hope funny christmas book and I hope I just wanted to bring some light into the darkness this year and I hope that's what I've done. It's um, if y'all have never been around mary cantor's when she's what you haven't, when she's thinking of a new story, it's quite something to watch what she calls her chaos brain because she gets an idea and it's like, you know how you go, it rains and you go to bed and you come out in the morning and there's mushrooms that appeared overnight. That's Kathy, she got like a story just popped up on the lawn of her mind. It's kind of, are you saying the stories come out of doo doo doo, green, green grass and rain okay. And you know, I don't know where that came from. You know that I was thinking like how is really great. Yeah, like off the cuff is good in oncology. Yeah. I was just thinking about how she's driving home and she's like, yeah, this and the next thing, you know, there's this whole story. I think my favorite part is it came from, no, I'm not going to write a christmas story. She was like, yeah, now we know how to get her to do, you're welcome, You're welcome, You're welcome. So every week we partner with Parade magazine online and we stream from their facebook page and we have an original essay in their online magazine and this week, Christie reflected on why everything she ever needed to know almost everything she learned on a tennis court. You can find it on our facebook page under announcements and also on our instagram bio. But Christie tell us a little bit about that essay. So awesome. Well it's kind of funny because little Will and I were reading Pat Conroy's, my losing season and for some reason I started watching friday night lights, you know, 10 years later I realized I just was like, I was like, oh my gosh, I was thinking about all these sports things. And as you read in the article semi recently, um there was an article in my local newspaper about my long dead high school tennis career. That was pretty interesting and just made me start thinking about um so many things in our lives and just how sometimes are Our failures and the things that we think are like the worst mistakes that we've ever made and the worst things that can happen to us, which I mean how bad can it be if you lose it in this match. But you know when you're 18 and 17 it feels like a big deal but how so often this can be new beginnings and um there are these great silver linings in, in these situations that we really didn't expect. And so I wanted to ask each of you tonight what life lessons you have learned in unexpected places. Starting with mary Kay the mushroom queen, I was thinking about this and I sort of thought reading obituaries. You know, I'm a great obituary reader and I'm always interested in the things that that people say about the departed. And it and it's not the things you expect is that she volunteered for cub scout.

She was the, you know, she was the room mother or she was the cub scout leader or she mentors um, so many people in her law firm. And it reminds me that um, the things that matter when you're gone are are not the awards and not all those kinds of kudos that you've gotten. It's not a plaque on a wall. It's the good, it's a good deed you've done while you're on earth. And I think that kind of always reminds me, I hope people will say, well, you know, she wrote some books, but she was a terrible person. We will say that we're going, we won't let them in the book hits me. That's not even possible for them to say. I think for me it's definitely not a sports metaphor. So we're just gonna just give that we're just going to have to skip that with bookworm patty. You've got a really good metaphor tonight. So like you're all okay. And my hook for okay. Yeah. Bookworm Patty wasn't playing any sports. You've given us mushroom K. Andrew. So I think for me, uh it's not that it's, you learn unexpected lessons by being a mom, but I really like it is consistent learning the same lesson over and over about how exactly what we expect to happen doesn't happen and about what we don't think will happen. Like there's this we, we go into things with a certain mindset and the, the only thing that's certain is that it won't do what we're expecting it to do. So that's true. Yeah, that's such a good point. Um, you know, I was thinking about this as you, as you guys were talking and you know, I think one of the most powerful lessons I've learned in a place I didn't expect was right here on friends and fiction with, with all of you who I'm sharing the screen with, but also with the group as a whole. I think if you had asked me a year and a half ago, well maybe not if you had asked me, but if I were being honest with myself, I think I would have thought I'm not enough. You know what I mean? Like I'm just, I'm, you know, like, yeah, I write books and yeah, I don't know. I think I never felt like enough, you know? But, but until, until this last year and a half and I think between the three of you and then this community that's embraced all of us, I think I've been reminded that there's a place for all of us and sometimes the best thing you can be is just yourself. Like just be the best version of yourself rather than always thinking of the things that you're not, you know what I mean? And, and so thank you to all of you, to you three and to all of you out there for reminding me of that lesson that I think I've learned too late in my life. That is amazing. Oh my God, Mascara. No, you know, I mean, I really did think today and I said this on facebook, but I do feel like in some ways like doing this with all of you kind of reminded me what it was like to be a part of a team. I'm like every day there's something new thrown at you and every day there's something that you don't expect and you know, but it doesn't matter if you're together and like you can, you can disagree on something or you can have a, you can be in a bad mood that day. Like it doesn't matter because you're getting out on the court and you are going to be be the jackets from Lexington. Yeah, I mean, but whatever it is, I mean it's not like team by were like, you just, you're kind of like your real self at some point, which I think a lot of times we don't really see that in each other, okay, outside of this. Okay, so let's talk about our incredible guest Emily Henry and I did want to just remind everybody, we will hopefully be taking live questions to make sure to drop your questions for Emily um, into the chat, whether wherever you're watching on facebook or Youtube because hopefully we'll get to some of them. But she as you know, is the number one new york times best selling author of several novels, including people we need on vacation and beat read her books have been featured. I'm going to give you a list, but I'm also going to say everywhere everywhere. Been featured in Oprah Entertainment weekly, The skim bustle everywhere. Yeah, Emily studied creative writing at Hope College and the new york Center for Art and Media Studies these days. Days days, she spends most of her time in Cincinnati and the part of Kentucky just underneath it Kentucky that makes me want to go there for the bourbon trail again anyhow. Her new book people we meet on vacation was released in May and follows two best friends, Poppy and Alex on their annual summer vacations after an incident causes them to lose touch For two years. The pair decides to reunite for one final trip, which may very well be their last chance to save their relationship.

Awesome. Oh my God, thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I have to say I was just like alternating between laughing hysterically and like tearing up, I think I know what makes the mass care. I well we're so glad you're here. We're huge fans and I actually saved people we meet on vacation to help me get out of my end of summer slump and it's totally delivered, but I always have to have something that I'm like looking forward to reading at the end of summer so that I don't feel so depressed about summer being over. Oh my gosh, wow, I am. I think the exact opposite where like, I am so ready for full reads and watching that trailer for mary Kay's christmas book ready? Yes, I'm ready. I'm ready. Just like injected into my veins. I totally get that I'm ready. It's starting to cool off a little and I'm getting there now, I'm getting dark earlier. I noticed when we were getting ready to it's happening, it's happening. But can you tell us about your wonderful new novel please? Sure. Okay, so I will mostly, I guess be recapping, but people who meet on vacation follows Alex and Poppy, um who are just two oddballs in their own distinct ways and when they meet, they don't really hit it off, they kind of just despise each other instantly, like on principle. Um they're really, really different. Um but in that difference, it weirdly creates this really fertile ground for a great friendship because there's just no, kind of like bending yourself to, you know, meet someone's expectations. They're just so different, they both think that there's no hope for their friendship and that is actually what creates such a special bond between the two of them. Um and like you were saying they take a yearly trip even after they both graduate from college and moved to different cities. Um Poppy is working as a travel journalist in new york, and Alex is back in their hometown in Ohio, working as a teacher. Um and I don't know, it was just a lot of fun to write, it was, you know, it was, I did not write it during a pandemic, but I edited it during the pandemic and so it really was like, oh thank God, I can just like disappear into this and pretend to be traveling. Um and yeah, I just kind of like stuffed it with everything I like and it's sort of an ode to uh when Harry Met Sally at its core. So that was the best movie fast. Yeah, Okay, well, so um a review of people we need on vacation on Shondaland no less says Henry has made a name for herself and taking typical romance novel tropes and adding modern twists and if you are indeed a fan of romance novel tropes, which I am and obviously lots of people are then you come to the right place and in her new novel, people we meet on vacation, we've got friends to lovers, we've got opposites attract. We've got slow burns, Oh my God, I love a slow Burns and almost moments and this novel has got it all, it is all the better for it, what, you know, a lot of people have discarded the idea of rom com, they're coming back into vogue thankfully. But tell me what inspired you to write in this genre, did you know, you were writing in it? I did what I actually wasn't sure if anyone else would think that I was, what happened was um you know, I had been publishing y a novels, I had like a very midlist career meaning there, I had some readers, but actually, you know, hardly anyone had heard of me, my bookstore events as we were talking before we started this were largely empty. Um and I had been doing that for a few years and I loved it, but I also was very burnt out, I was like writing these coming of age stories, and I felt like I kind of said everything I had to say about that like time and life and then 2016 rolled around, and the world felt very chaotic and unpredictable and scary, and I was just not in a great place mentally and emotionally, and so I had kind of, some downtime between projects, and I thought I'm going to just write like, my version of a romcom, and I didn't have any plans to sell it, I really just thought like, I need to do something. Yeah, it's so rare, once you start publishing because you kind of get onto that train and you're like, I have to do a book every year and like whatever, just all of the kind of like structure of it, but it just worked out where I was like, I have this time I'm gonna do this um I'm not gonna worry about if anyone wants to read it if anyone likes it. Um and it was so fun, it was so fun to write a book that like I really didn't think anyone wanted um and certainly nobody specifically like expected for me and I did just set it...

...aside when I was done and I think like two years went by and then I kind of noticed that Rome comes in in fiction, we're starting to have like this big boom with jasmine Guillory and Helen wang and sally thorne, just kind of seeing like oh you know like kind of like cuts illustrated cover rendition of romance novels where they're sort of like let's get new readers in. Um and I was watching this sort of blow up and so I emailed my agent was like I think I wrote one of these a couple of years ago and I'm not positive, that's what I wrote, but I think that's what I wrote and so I sent it to her and she was really excited about it um but also didn't like totally know how to sell into that, she was mostly a y a agent and she, you know, she she recommended some books for me to read, so I started reading really widely in the genre and like, I was like, yes, I love this, this is this feels good, this is just nice. Um And then when she actually retired from agenting, I went to my current agent who was like specifically just like cornering the romance market. Um and yeah, I don't know, it's like that kind of cliche advice that like every writer gives to every other writer, which is like right, what you want to read. Uh and on the one hand I want to say, and it is true, but the fact is like, I was writing what I wanted to read before that and it wasn't selling and that happens to, but I think the point is, your greatest joy is always going to come from that feeling of making what you actually want to make. And so if you're trying to just like crack the market and come up with like this is what we want, you don't believe in it, it's not gonna, it's not gonna be something you end up being really proud of and um you're not going to have a really blissful couple of months working on a book, which is like kind of feeling I'm always chasing, I don't know about all of us like that feeling I have a bone to pick with you though. I'm reading, I'm reading beach, read and she talks about when she first goes away to the Lake House and she tells her agent I can write a book in three months, I can write a book in half that time. And I'm like, all right, who is this person? This is fiction. Right. Well that was in 2016. Okay. Just generally does not does not okay, just checking on that. I don't know. It's like, it's funny because you know, I think the other thing is like obviously like the dream for so many of us is like to get to the point where writing can be like the day job. But it also is really funny how like once you leave your other day job, you're like, why am I not getting any more done? Yes, Yes. It's like when you send the kids to school and you're like, oh my gosh, I have these. Yeah, I accidentally blinked and like now I've seen three seasons of Felicity but I'm picking them up. I'm going to get them so funny Emily I'm asking this because I have such a hard time balancing it. You are super open about your life on social media and you're not only a huge advocate for other authors, which I love, I love watching when you're posting you. Yeah, but it's also you take the time to let your readers and followers do that. Ask you anything. So how do you, here's what I know all of us talk about all the time. How do you balance being a person who everyone wants to know and maybe it feels like they do know while also being able to turn into your work and produce these gorgeous stories. How do you balance that? That is so hard? And I like selfishly would rather just have all of you answer it and actually what I really want is like we're in a room on the bourbon trail and that's good for hours to talk about this. Yeah, we're in alright, we're doing it heavily. I honestly signed me up. Yes. Um yeah, it's so hard and I don't know, I'm like very, I'm present on instagram, but that's the only social media I'm on. Um which helps, like I think when you're, when I was trying to do multiple things, I realized something was always falling to the wayside, but it is so hard and strange because on the one hand you're like, wow, what a gift to be able to interact directly with readers. Um but on the other hand, you're like, I don't know, I don't know, it is so hard to turn your focus away from that and to go into writer mode instead of like personality. Like I'm a I'm an instagram personality or whatever. Um and I think like the big thing for me was I did have a lot of struggles initially trying to figure out like how am I going to use instagram because it's like obviously the thing that I think we're all craving is like authentic human connection, but it's so hard to be authentic when you're seeing yourself and you're typing it out and it's just really, really hard. Um And I realized like, oh, the only thing that like doesn't really give me any stress when it comes to instagram is talking about other people's books that I love. Like that only feels good and feels...

...easy and it doesn't feel like it costs me very much. It's like I have to take a pretty picture and like then write a caption, but it's like that's an easy enough way to engage that. I feel like actually has value. Um And then the ask me Anythings that I was doing and will continue to do like, that honestly came out of um watching some, you know, this is like my second time debuting because I had a y a career before this, but I'm watching kind of some of the debut authors um of 2020 when I debuted with the trade and like seeing their struggles and how much they didn't know like what what they were going through was normal and before all of this, you know, we were all talking about like our our worst bookstore events and like the awkwardness of the humiliation when you're there with another author. It's like when you invite the whole class to your birthday party and it's like worse than one kid shows up. It's like, well now my mom has to take me to like the Mcdonald's play place with this one kid, I barely know um actually didn't happen to me. It sounds like I like him pulling from like, but it happened to a friend but we're in my head maybe it didn't, I just blocked it out, but like maybe it was a mushroom, it was a mushroom. Um Well yeah, so I like they have totally lost the like rope descending the anchor at this point. Um so social media talking about oh the A. M. A. The EMAS I was doing. So I was watching debut authors kind of struggle and and knowing like realizing, oh they don't know that what's happening to them is normal. Like I was watching them kind of share in different forums what was going on and like having kind of the heartbreak that a lot of people don't realize kind of goes with publishing because you have this personal experience and this thing that's kind of like this little baby to you and then you share with the world and even when it's well received, there's like a weird grief and pain that goes with it. Um So it kind of started from that just realizing like we're not really set up as authors, Publishers do a great job with a lot of things, but the kind of emotional end of it is not their job and that's fair, but like we just don't get prepared for a lot of things. So I kind of just dove into that and and was really surprised how like hungry for it people were and so it really just kind of feels like the thing that I can do um as far as balance, I like when I'm writing, when I'm actively drafting, I really ease off of social media. Um and it's more like when I'm editing, I feel like I use social media to like not the editing too much up under that. Yeah, it's like a little click here. Like they're like here, you know, I'm on deadline if I'm like very active on instagram, right? For sure. Yeah, so or you get like a dead end or Yeah, I know, just for fun. What's one of the weirdest things you've ever been asked on your Ask Me Anythings or on your instagram? At Okay. Yeah, I'm trying to think. I know there have been some really weirdly specific ones on the, the EMAS, um sometimes I think sometimes they're two that come to mind that aren't that weird. They're not that weird. So if you've sent these in, if somebody who's watching sent these in, don't feel bad, they're not that weird, but it just surprised me the first is I get a lot of pitches for what should happen in Sequels to my books like that. Yeah, I am like daunted by it too. I like try not to read them because I'm also like a very paranoid person and like what if someday I wake up and I have the urge to write a sequel and it happens to be the same thing that someone pitched me and I like go down the, like the plot by jean, like what happened? Uh yeah, just like don't tell me anything you guys and they're always like volunteering it. Like you can have this, please write this. Um but that and then I also, lately I think because I have like a surprising number of Like younger readers, like not from my Y eight days, from my romance days. I get a lot of messages that are like, hey, it's my friend or my girlfriend's birthday, can you send a happy birthday video? And I haven't done it because one I get a lot of them and I'm just like, I can't sign up for this. Like if I do it once, maybe doing one. Yeah. Yeah. And then to, I am so paranoid that I'm like, what if this is like some kind of phishing scam and they get my voice and then they get like, I don't know, I don't know anything works. You don't either. Why don't we talk about something and then there's an add on our phone. I don't yeah, it happens not be amount of time. Exactly. Why do we think about something and it's on our, it's too much. I know, I know exactly. So Emily you wrote in a really fascinating piece for Zoila about what happened after you were finished with your y a novel, a million june's you...

...said, and I love this, I love this because I could identify with it so much. It used me up that book and when I was done with it, I had no idea where to go next. My writer's block was short lived but intense, a complete, kind of mental emptiness I'd never experienced before, in which I found surprisingly painful. I had only just discovered why I needed writing so much and then it felt like writing had abandoned me, I had no ideas, I was a dried out sponge. Um Oh my gosh, I love that, like, seriously, like, we've all been there, but it's like even there are even bits and pieces of every single book process where I find myself at that moment where you Yeah, uh you know, so I guess I'm wondering, what do you do to conquer writer's block? What do you have, What advice do you have for writers out there who are experiencing it? Like, perhaps some little ones best here right now, The Birth Pool Room has ever experienced writer's block. It's okay, it's so tricky because I do feel like any writing advice comes with the caveat that like, if it doesn't work for you abandon it, like, that's how I operate, totally feel. Um But for me, I have realized a lot of my writer's block really, I mean with with a million june's, it was specifically like I really had emptied myself out. I had no ideas left, I needed to go live my life. Um and that can be really hard when you feel like you're on a roll or have momentum or have a schedule to keep to where you're just like I'm not allowed to not have any ideas. I don't, I can't live my life, I can go see friends whatever. But I have really found that the bulk of my writer's block is actually just a fear of failure and it's that feeling when you have an idea for a book, but you don't feel like you can get it into the shape that it has in your head yet. Or even like sometimes it really is like no ideas for a scene. But the thing is like I could just start writing and open this um floodgate at least trickle in myself, but there's the fear holding back of like what if I try and the words don't come um or what if I try and they're so bad and they're unusable. And I've really gotten to the point since I had that realization where now I write, even if I have nothing to say, which again is not necessarily advice for everyone. Um that could just be tortured for most people. But as someone who tends to draft fairly quickly, I try to honor like a daily word count and if I don't know what comes next, I will literally have my characters go to the grocery store or just like do mundane things because eventually if I, if I put my phone away and I'm not like on social media and not on the internet and I really commit to it. If I just have my characters wander eventually, I'll figure out something interesting to happen and so a lot gets cut in my leader drafts and so that's not like, you know, reasonable approach for a lot of people, but for me it's so freeing to get past that blank. Yeah, that blank page. That's so intimidating. Well it's such a good point because I feel like so much of what you're doing during that time is talking to your characters right and giving them the opportunity to talk back to you or sometimes it's just the thing that has to happen. I also think it's really interesting, Emily that you really had your huge breakout success um, at a time when you did take your foot off the gas a little bit right. Like you just gave yourself permission to write the book that like you're inside was saying I need to write and I think that's um that's a really good lesson. I think that's a, that's a good lesson because I think it can be really tempting to just go along that same um, that same path with that, that forward momentum and just have to keep going? I have to keep going. So along those lines, I'm wondering what for you? Would you consider the most fulfilling part of being a writer? I can I request that everybody give me their answers after this. Sure. Most excruciating conversation because I have all these interesting people here charge here. I'm going to demand answers. So I think for me it really is when drafting is going well, nothing feels better than when I like, forget I'm writing. That is just the best feeling when you look up and it's kind of gotten dark but you didn't get up to turn on the lamp. Like, that feeling, I think is what I'm just constantly chasing and it's the same feeling is reading something you really love. We forget your reading and you can't do anything else. Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah. That idea of getting lost in your own story, right? Like that's the way you can get lost in other books. Yeah, that is a feeling worth chasing. I agree. That's my favorite part too. I mean definitely for sure. And I mean, I know I didn't say this, I'm sure I got it from somewhere, but I think it's like, it's like falling in love because it's all you want to just when you have those moments really, you just want to...

...get back to me and the script and that's all you can think about and like every conversation you're having in real life, you're really thinking about what's going on over here and it's like the greatest feeling in the world. It's like, I think the thing that keeps us going when I'm like, yes, I hate these stupid line at it and what questions and why are they asking? I'm like, I just, it's okay. I'm going to have another, I'll have another mean going to fall in love again. Exactly. I think my answer is like it toggles between two the most fulfilling part of being a writer because when I imagined having a published book, you know, 20 years ago, I imagine that the most fulfilling part would be seeing my name on a book in the store, which is amazing and hitting the list and the good news. Like, but honestly it's I toggle between what you just said Emily this like falling down and there they are. You've been looking for them, those people to do this thing for months and all of a sudden it just But then on the toggle side, on the other side, it's the writing community and the region. Yes. Like who knew that was waiting. They're the best people in the world. Yeah. How about you mary Kay, I think, I think, yeah, I think it's chasing that rush of, you know the day that you wrote a paragraph maybe more than a paragraph where you went uh huh that, you know, And so that's what you're chasing because you, you tell yourself I'll never write that paragraph again. But maybe if I keep writing over and over and over and over again, I'll, you know, I'll write something as good as that. Um Well maybe who knows something even better. And so I think that's sort of what keeps me going is, you know, can I maybe I could get better at this because I never feel like any good at it. You know, I'm riddled with. So I'm so riddled with self doubt and self loathing and I I was telling them I had 100,000 words today on my book that's due in two weeks and I'm like, I don't know, I just don't know, I don't know if it's going to happen. But you know when you write a good, I wrote a good paragraph, I wrote a good scene yesterday and so when I went to bed last night I thought to myself, okay, you did that, you could, you could do that again, we do that again. So that's that's for me. And sometimes you don't know you wrote that great thing you're talking about Emily and mary Kay until you re read it. And you're like, oh yeah, it feels like garbage. I mean even hearing that Zoila essay, that's what we were talking earlier too about the stress of all the essays that you have heard for release. I remember I was on vacation when I was supposed to be writing that. And I like it was the end of the night and I was just like I cannot write a single word. I'm like what is happening to me. I feel sick to my stomach and so I asked for an extension and it was like I had to write 1000 words or something and it was like you would think that I had been asked to translate the bible from. It's like just like this is so much work and yeah, the original Aramaic not even agree. You know, we're going all the way back. I think it's just sometimes you can handle one more thing. It's like I just can't do what my yes 100%. You don't really, I'm sure what about yeah. You know, I think I always forget at the beginning of writing a book how, how much I can fall into the joy of that journey of writing it because I feel so intimidated by that mount that you have to do or by the fact that you don't really know those characters yet. Um, so I would say one of the things is just getting into the flow of the book and realizing like a complete revelation out of nowhere like, oh my gosh, I can do this. Like these characters are speaking. I do worry but you just have that paralyzing fear until you get there right. And then the other part that's so fulfilling which I think I had forgotten about, not forgotten about but I had I had pushed to the back before getting out physically on the road for a week this year before the delta variant hit and suddenly, you know, we're worrying again. But um the number of people who come up and tell you in person that like your book spoke to them this way or that way or you know, even just receiving those emails from people um that's it, like that reminder of like okay, that's that's why we do this because like this book that I wrote in my little home office could mean something to somebody somewhere and like how amazing is that? How lucky are we? How lucky we all we're the luckiest thing to get to do right. It's so great, it really is. And I got one of those this morning from a lady and I emailed her back and I was like, literally this was the best start to my day that you could possibly imagine. She was like, oh my God, I can't believe your email me back, I can't believe you answered, I gotta answer. You saw something really nice now on the other way and then I'll answer, I just won't hit send because of alleged way. I'll send my...

...answer to patty and I I should send it and she says no, I love that, but it's true. I don't know, I don't know if readers really know like the full extent of what kind of an honor that feels like to be like, oh I'm like in your life I'm like in your house somebody made that left me and just floated down the river made its way to you and it's such a weird, strange honor and I think I don't think that they really can, if they haven't, you know, made something like that and shared it then I don't I don't think they know like how valuable that is, what what an honor it feels like. But on the flip side until I became an author, I would never have sent an author. So me neither how much I love there, but because I would have been like they don't want to hear from me, They must now I do. Yeah, I love to fan girl, I love to fangirl and send people fangirl notes and say you know I love this scene in your book and you touch something and yeah, yeah, I know it means a lot to me when I get a note like that. So I try to do it. So speaking of weird strange honors. You have accomplished so much for being a nominee for jimmy Fallon's book club to hitting number one on the new york times bestseller list and about a million things in between. You have achieved so much in your time is an author. Is there something that means the most to you are like a standout moment where you were like, I wow, like that thing happened. Well okay, so I definitely will say the there there have been a few, the number one on the new york times list. Like obviously every author kind of dreams about hitting the list period and be treated was the first time I did and that was mind blowing and with people leaving on vacation um I don't know, it's like you kind of expect things to feel really surreal and then a lot of times they just don't, I was telling you earlier like I I almost wonder if I detached myself from it to be like this isn't really happening. Like don't don't feel a lot, it's a lot. It is. But when my editor called me to tell me that people uh debuted at number one, that was like one of the only times that I really had sort of like my whole body went hot, I started playing and I just like kind of love. But like my reaction, my instant reaction was I screamed at her multiple times. No, no, no. It really was like showing up at my door like to tell me something horrible had happened. It was so overwhelming and the jimmy Fallon thing was really surreal to to just watch that and just like hear him say my name was really weird because I think it was weird in a good way where you realise that everybody is just people just everybody just people which is not grammatically correct, but it is what I want to say, We get it, you get it. Um And that's really helpful because I think when you're striving and working so hard, you just kind of think everybody else is like so like mary Kay being like, oh I doubt everything. I write all that. Like you it's just everybody feels that way. Everybody feels that way no matter how accomplished and shiny they look from the outside. Um So to kind of feel like you know the constant low grade imposter syndrome and then to have jimmy Fallon just like saying my name. Like he has heard of me was like, hello? Yeah, like we're all just people and we're all doing you know the things that we care about and getting better at them. Um Yeah. Yeah. And that was I mean that was really cool but I think like this is such a long answer, I'm sorry. No. Right, so great. There's so there's kind of a flip side to that which like my my last y a novel. It tanked it tanked in every respect of the word, but I had this weird like surreal kind of experience where it tanked and then be treated sold and kind of right away. I knew things were kind of clicking in a way that they never had before and I was watching things gear up pre pub and just getting really great press and feeling so much excitement and support from my publishing team and being like, okay, this is like how it feels when the machine is well oiled and everything's working. Um and around the same time, like a few other weird, like weird to me, they're not weird to anyone else, but weird little things happened including a show that I really loved got cancelled which was the Oa on netflix um and it got canceled and there was this huge movement of people who are trying desperately to save it and like doing all these weird things to just try and convert this thing that had meant so much to them. And I really felt changed by that because I realized you can make something really special and really unique and it doesn't matter...

...what anyone else says about it, it doesn't matter if someone says that there's no value to that, there's no money to be made, there is no way to like to modify this, it's not good, it's too weird, it's too strange, whatever. And I say this now like you know, publishing romcom novels which are like fairly accessible, but it really was life changing to me to have this book that I really loved and believed in tank in multiple and multiple profound ways and to realize at the same time I was watching something that I thought was so special and new not you know, get to continue on and to realize like, oh it's really great when you can get commercial success and critical claim and all of that. But at the end of the day, I really believe that it matters that you make the thing that you believe in in like kind of a way. But like yeah, even if 10 people out there actually like needed that and everyone else is like, this is weird and I hate it If those 10 people are worth it and the thing that you need to take needs to be made and I think that has been like one of the best lesson. So now it's like amazing because I can look back on this book that just failed and feel like so much love and affection and pride for it. Even like no one really likes it. Like it's just like I believe that it needed to be made and I don't know why, but I believe that that's awesome. I will not answer. I will say my least popular book is my favourite one. So like what does that say about me? I'm not really sure you made something that was so niche that was so like this is for this. Like I don't know, maybe if I had published it now, like I don't know, maybe help them happens. It does. I think it's common. Uh okay, so we have got so many great questions from our audience from our audience coming in so patty, can you ask a question from our audience. Absolutely, we do have a lot. So sorry to yell out there on facebook, we can't see the names right now. So this is from facebook, how does your family life play into your characters? You know, I'm like, which member of my family is watching this? Uh It doesn't, it doesn't, I think, I think that from my books you can tell probably that I come from a family with a lot of love in it and that's like very um I feel very, very blessed by that. Um but I don't write my family into my books in that way. Um I haven't written my husband into any books. I don't know if I could like, I love the idea of writing a couple who is us, but I just feel like I know him too well, but I couldn't just kill him into like a character like that to a multitude there. Um but I do think, I think everything about us kind of makes our way into our books. Like, you know, family passion, like faith politics, like all of that. Like, I think it all make it because it's like you're doing even when you're not, you're not telling your story if you're writing fiction, but all these little details, I don't know, there's still just like a worldview behind every book, I think and I think that's really fun. Like a world behind it. Well, it's like, you can, you know, with all of y'all, it's like, you can tell with your books like that you are, you know, bighearted, generous people who are like deep thinkers who like to have fun. And that's like, I don't know, it's like, that's I think one of the great things about falling in love with that really does sound like us. Me, deep thinking thing does not change. Some of you are mushrooms and we're getting more. So if you are deep thinkers, we're going to make that are new. Some of us are about as deep as a puddle, but it's a lie. It's a puddle. You guys liked mushroom in the stories are, you're like the deep end of the day. It's like really great point. And I had to like hilarious. So, and it's very true if you went there in the next question, I think we're moving on to the writing tip. So I do have to say the way you just answered that question jokingly sometimes say all we have is our own compost pile to write from. Right? So there's no right. It's this the books, you know, without us, but they're from us. What goes in compost piles, just saying yes mushrooms. Any waiting it out. I am so moving past this every week, one of our favorite parts of the show is a writing tip. And I feel like this has been in many ways. One long, glorious writing tip. But do you have a writing tip that you like to tell other writers when...

...they come to you for advice? I mean honestly it's so basic, but I do generally just tell people to keep going because I think that that fear, like I mean watching this, if you're watching this, you realize how, how everyone on your screen right now just kind of pushes through a fair amount of terror and like we've made that pretty clear. So I think I think that a lot of times that fear of like I'm not doing this right or what if I never have another magical paragraph for all of that just can slow you down. And so I am for me again, a big believer in just writing, whether it's good or not just writing until you find something that makes sense. Um and I really believe in finishing first drafts if you can because I think a lot of times you just, you give up on something too soon because of that fear in that block and you kind of lose your momentum. I always lose my momentum. 20,000 words like the book peter sell for a little bit. Yeah, the soggy middle. Yeah, it's so hard at the beginning, you're like, I'm so excited I'm writing a book and then the end, it kind of comes together again and I think a lot of people just kind of who want to be writing, we want to be publishing kind of give up during that sagging middle. So I really, I really believe in finishing it, even if you think it's horrible because it's honestly probably not as bad as you think it is. It's such a good point. Emily, can you just come back every week? You're like, like Sunshine join, be like, like just join in and yeah, a little side commentary. Yes, but the requirement is that we are on the trail. Yes, I am so sign. My God Friends, fiction. Live from Lexington or live from Louisville. Yeah, absolutely. I know we don't say it because we will do it like it was serious too. I've been three times. I will yes, I I'm ready to leave right now. I've been going, it was great. Oh my gosh! Alright, so Emily, that was such a great writing tip. Do you have a book you'd like to recommend tonight? Something you've read recently that you want our viewers know about? Yeah, it's not out for a couple weeks I don't think, but if you're ready to move into the false spirit, you could read this like the day before you read the santa suit, so you can kind of hit the Halloween by before christmas. Um but Lana harper's payback's a which is a really fun, a lot of it. It's genius and I think the sequel, I uh the Sequels something about like, so like it's a play on words were cursed instead of instead of worse, like for better or cursed or something like that I don't remember. Um but it's kind of I think she pitched it has like um practical magic meets john tucker must I sort of like I know it sounds amazing. These three witches, you've been burned by the same man. Like kind of set out to like the same warlock set out to like teach him a lesson and it's really magical and fun and it's great. It's great. Yeah. That's awesome. All right. Well so now we want to talk about your favorite bookstore and we talked about it a little ahead ahead of time because I think I have all of us been to your favorite bookstore. I haven't well you must more than the bourbon trail so this can all kind of get, this can all be full circle it all happening. Yeah, but then we can go see Ron in Cleveland. Yes, there you go. This is a book coming together right past the soggy middle. Exactly. Exactly. Emily Tell us about your favorite story. So my favorite bookstore is joseph Beth which there is one in Lexington as well, but there's one in Cincinnati which is my home store. Um And it's just amazing. Like it has the feeling of like I just feel like you know you think about the bookstores from your childhood and how magical it felt to go into that. I mean like the air had this certain feeling and smell and as an adult it's like harder to capture that feeling and it's like joseph best for whatever reason, still has that like little Colonel of magic. Yeah, they're great. They do great events and um all the books that are really nice. You great about if you live in the city and compact, there you go. But it is a great story. They have a huge, huge variety and I love them. They have great sidelines too. I remember, I don't know what that means. Sideline means all the little gift e things. Yeah, they do. Yeah, it is sort of like a cracker barrel had. Yes, yes. Yeah, there was one in charlotte. There might still be one in charlotte, but remember they closed in charlotte. I remember going to open for about a day. Okay. I remember buying sidelining stuff in there along with books. You know, they did great sidelines. Well, you don't know about? Obviously not. I...

...know I should have bought more. You could have kept the charlotte store. Yeah, okay, my husband, he would say, oh, okay, enough, enough of this hilarity Emily. And everybody else stick around because we have one more thing we want to talk about. But first we want to remind all of you out there to check out our friends and fiction writer's block podcast. We will always post links under the announcements each time a new one goes out. It's a lot of fun. It's totally different from this show. So if you like hanging out with us here we know you'll like you'll love being with us there every friday. This past week Ron Christie and Patti talked to Christy barrett and Andrea cats about facebook reading groups. Then this week Ron and Patty talked to nat Philbrick about history and if you do and we hope you will um listen to the podcast like and subscribe and comment right, is that all things you want to tell them all those things, do their things and okay you guys book club, if you're not hanging out with us yet. And the Friends and fiction official book club, obviously you're missing out and you know, we would hate for you to miss out. So you'll have to join the group which is separate from us and is run by our friends lisa Harrison and Brenda Gartner is now 9000 strong. How amazing is that? So on september 20th, which is this coming monday, Patty will be joining to discuss her novel the bookshop Atwater's end, so be there or be square and they have some cool things coming up this fall. And next week right here at seven p.m. I host all of us host the new york times bestselling novelist widely cash. He'll be live at an indie bookstore in charlotte north Carolina park road books and then in two weeks join us as we welcome Debbie Macomber and celebrate the launch of mary Kay andrews the santa suit and if you're on my instagram, you saw me put on the hat that we will be wearing and you know, if I'm going to wear that hat, it's a great book and I love her. So it is, it is that time. It is santa suit time. Alright Also don't forget that you can catch up on all of our past episodes and even watch us live each week on youtube. Just type friends and fiction in the search bar to find our channel. Right. So Emily, I know we talked a lot about your history and how much your face, how much full of life and fun your family is, but a question that gives our listeners and us so much insight into your writing life is when you were growing up, What were the values around reading and writing in your childhood? Oh my gosh, they were actually enormous. I mean my, so yeah, this one of my happiest memories probably is my parents, I have two brothers and we had rooms at the end of the hall and that night my parents would kind of like bring out some pillows and they would sit at the intersection between our rooms and they would read to us and my dad would do all the voices. They read all the Lord of the Rings novels to us, all the chronicles of Narnia novels. Um, I know like my mom and I read all of like the black stallion books together and like it was just, I would just sometimes still. I think my dad will read aloud to my mom and she'll just like go to sleep and like he'll still be and so they were, they were huge readers and, and I don't think, I don't know, I guess I guess I got it from them, but at the same time I was like kind of a late bloomer with reading and so I think there was also an element of like being a youngest child and not being able to do something and then once it clicked, I was just so excited I could do it. Um, and so yeah, I was, I was definitely a huge reader from the time that I could read and even before I love hearing those stories. I always love those stories. Yeah, thank you for being here with us tonight and to all of you out there, we encourage you to grab Emily's new novel. People we meet on vacation. I mean if there's anyone out there who hasn't read it because I can't imagine there could be that many people, but if you don't pick it up at your local independent bookstore on our bookshop dot org page and everywhere books are sold so Emily thank you. Thank you. Thank you for joining us tonight for being when you're sharing your time with us. It was such a treat and um, we'll see you on the bourbon trail. Yes, so much, I can't wait. Thank you all doing it. Good night. Thank you. All right guys. Um That was so fun. We'll see you in a minute after show where we'll announce our merge star of the week, but come back same time, same place next week as we welcome Wiley Cash. Mhm. She was so great that she was I had to run out of everybody because she had a dinner to go to, but she's with us in spirit and God, she...

...was such a great guest. I okay, we've talked about this before, but I was like nervous to meet her because I'm like such a big fan and I like follow her on instagram and I was like, oh my God, like I'm gonna and I was kind of nervous to me or she's so great. She was so great. I think you can tell, I don't know if you guys feel this way, but you know like when we're in the like the fake green room before the show, you can just tell like all this is gonna be a really fun show. You have the same thought. Yeah, yeah, good folks. You know, because you know before the show, I feel like we just it's gonna be a lot when you're a guest and you come in because we're all just talking and like, you know, Yeah, and she just fell right into our rhythm today. I think that's what it is, when someone comes in and they fall right into it without missing a beat, you're like, okay, this is awesome, this is really great. Um okay, well before we kind of dive deeper into that, we do need to announce our merch star of the week. Um so the winner of Patty Callahan's not yet released. Once you find a wardrobe is drum roll, please. Barbara, Bank of It Green. So Barbara, thank you so much for sharing your merch. And if you don't have any friends in fiction, merch, you can get, oh, she's got, there's her layout. She got all kinds of good stuff going on. We have T shirts and wine cities that I'm holding mine up right now that you can't see. But um and I think we're out of coffee templars right now actually, so we're kind of, we're rolling out some new products soon, but but we are so grateful to all of you out there who buy our merge. So thank you for supporting friends in fiction and um it's great stuff. I like carry my cups around all the time. So good there. Yeah, so when are we going on the bourbon trail? Yeah, I was, I'm so serious about that. Like you were joking about it, but it is, it's just a, it's beautiful there, but be like, even even if you're not a huge bourbon drinker, which I know we all drink bourbon, but even if it's not necessarily the thing you reach for, there's something about the history and the culture behind it that make you fall in love with it in a different way. Like there's just like I said, I've done it three times and, and I feel like I could do it 50 more and learn that doesn't make me an alcoholic just makes me maybe it does, but, but no, it's just, I learned something new every time and kind of fall in love with bourbon country again and again and again. So, um, yeah, we have to do it. I'm serious. I mean we're doing so many great events together. Um, you know, and I, why would we not add that in? I think that's like such a great idea. Okay, so I want to know what, yeah, the bourbon trail. Um, why don't you explain it? Kristie Kristin since you've been so many times since I'm the alcoholic years. Yeah. Um, so the bourbon trail is a collection of distilleries throughout, throughout Kentucky, um, uh, primarily based around Louisville, Lexington and oh my God, Bardstown. This the other is the other town. So like most of them are kind of in that region and it's a walking trail in Louisville and the driving trail around the state. And so you go from distillery distillery, um, they used to have incentives for going to, all of them, like you could get a t shirt or whatever, but it's just really cool. It's like a way to go see different distilleries that are part of the tour and it's, it's places like Maker's Mark jim beam for roses. Um uh Buffalo Trace 17 92. Like a lot of um Gosh, my favorite um why am I forgetting the name of it? Town branch? So I don't know that one. Oh it's so good. It's made by the same people who make Kentucky bourbon barrel ale. Um Yeah, basil Hayden, it's just, it's basically one of Will's favorites. Tom loves basil Hayden to you. Like you learn about it. Um It's just amazing. It's just, it's a cool vibe and there's like a lot of farm to table restaurants there too because it's a very um agricultural area and there are a lot of horses as well. So it's really cool. It's just a beautiful part of the country. I did a really good event there. I'm sorry You go mary. Kay. No, no, I was going to say tom and I had years and years and years ago did a tour of Jack Daniels and the most tragic thing at the time about jack Daniels is you're walking your up and down, you're smelling and the town was dry so you did not get to taste or by now they, I think they've changed the law since then, but that county was dry. So you could buy like Jack Daniels chocolates and you know, all kinds of stuff, but you could not taste at the time. It was tragic. That's bizarre. Well I was going to say that a really fun event in Louisville with the, with their junior early and I can totally see this like this would be really fun event and we should bring all of our husbands because I feel like they should have like sort of a support group at this point. You know, since this has become like at least half of...

...our life, fiction husband's support group with bourbon. I think it would, I think it's a good, but actually this works really well. Our listeners and viewers should actually bring their husbands to because they probably have to deal with us every Wednesday night. So they should get some bourbon out of it. We could call them the F and F fellas. I like it. You're so clever. It's funny you said that Christie about this, the support group and this taking up such a big part of our lives. I had, I have lunch with another Orlando based author yesterday named James Ponti. He's a new york times bestselling middle grade author. He's great. You know, I came home and I said to Jason last night, um oh my gosh, it was just so nice to have a conversation with another author and like just to, you know, to talk about like all the things that were going through and you know, it was just, it was so nice. Like I just forget how nice that is. He's like, you do that 20 times a day with other women. Like when I was like, oh yeah, I guess I do. I mean, I guess I meant in person and it was like, I just based on well and also the text, the text chains were on usually have not that much to do with writing, but with other stupid stuff like me waking up what I had like this morning and assuming that I had a brain tumor and you know, with, with my publisher, published my book with as many words as I had well. And then like, and who's going to finish the book? I think of that sometimes are like, oh my gosh, I have to finish like I know that this book is not fully fact checked and what if they public if I die, they publish it like this. Like do you do this? Do you do you like put your laptop in your car when you're going somewhere and I like position it in the passenger seat on the floor because I think if I get rear ended, the laptop is toast so it will survive. I like strap it into the seat belt so that it will survive if everything else burns up. How sick is that? We'll ask you about another writer last night. And he said it was like, I can't remember what he said, but it was a very specific question and I was like, I don't know, we're all a little bit crazy and I think that's yeah, pretty much crazier than others. It was not one of y'all ps it was not one of y'all Okay, sure. Oh well that was so fun. You guys, I'm starving. I'm sure y'all are too. So I know I haven't had any wine. Okay. I did a whole show without a drop of wine and I gotta tell you lady, you're on your a game. Yeah, you really? Yeah, I mean, I don't know if it was the wine or just your a game, but I don't know, ladies, ladies, those mushrooms, they were just mushrooms sprouting out of, you know, I began, I'll never done mushrooms, john wine, but I have not done mushrooms. Goodnight, Great job hosting, Christie. Oh yes, Christine, thanks Emily, wherever you are, you are the best. Okay, alright, night later. Goodnight. Thanks sean. Yeah, thank you for tuning in, join us every week on facebook or Youtube where our live show airs every Wednesday night at seven p.m. Eastern time and please subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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