Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 8 months ago

Friends & Ficiton with Erika Robuck & Lisa Barr, featuring Rachel McMillan on the after show

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this episode we get to chat with THREE authors! Meet Erika Robuck, the national bestselling author of seven novels includng HEMINGWAY'S GIRL and THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE. She joins us to discuss her latest WWII novel, SISTERS OF NIGHT AND FOG, which was named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Buzzfeed, Bookbub and BookTrib. We also welcome former journalist and award-winning author of historical fiction, Lisa Barr. She joins us to discuss her latest, WOMAN ON FIRE, a gripping tale of an international art scandal centered around a Nazi-looted masterpiece which Sharon Stone has just optioned for film adaptation. On the after show we are joined by Rachel McMillan, author of The Herringford and Watts mysteries, The Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries, and The Three Quarter Time series of contemporary Viennese romances. She joins us to discuss her latest historical novel, THE MOZART CODE.

Welcome to friends and fiction for New York Times best selling authors endless stories. Novelists Mary Kay Andrews, Christen Hermel, Christy Woodson Harvey and Patty Callaghan Henry are for longtime friends with more than seventy published books between them. Together they host friends and fiction with author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing to highlight and support independent book stores. They discussed the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Hi, everybody, it is Wednesday night and that means it's time for friends and fiction. It is the happiest night of the week and we are so happy to be here with you tonight. I'm Christin Harmel, I'm Christy Woodson Harvey, I'm Patty Callahan Henry and I'm Mary Kay Andrews, and this is friends and fiction for New York Times best selling authors endless stories, to support independent bookstores, authors and Librarians. Tonight we'll be talking with Lisa Bar and Eric Robot, Erica Roebuck, and then are our friends Rachael McMillan will join us in the aftershow. So let's settle in for a really fun hour. But first I think we should tell you we were all broadcasting from, because I think all of us have had in insane day and I think you're going to see it reflected in the in the broadcast tonight. Like I just got off the road after basically eight hundred and seven to eight hours of driving, so my words might not come out right, and I'm actually my parents house and Salisbury. I came home to see my grandparents, which is why there is still a row of my books behind me, because I'm at my parents house. I did not travel with forty seven copies of my own books. I'll but you should. I should be wash, shouldn't you? Yeah, yeah, Patty, where are you? I am in Newberg, Oregon, speaking at a college tomorrow, and so I am in that's what you can tell is an incredibly fancy hotel, not with an incredibly bad WIFI. So I'm going to be a bit glitchy, but I'm so happy to be here and cannot wait here from Erica and Lisa and Rachel and I'm at my friend best house in the mountains of North Carolina Doing Christmas tree research. That sounds amazing and which we'll just warn you all patties on the tiny bit of a delay. So if there's a pause, that is why that. She's here and that is good. So, Christie, sorry, take it away. So, as you know, we continue to incourage you to support independent booksellers when and where you can. I was at one of my favorites and sals really today, soft made book company one of the best, and one way to do that is to visit our own friends and fiction bookshop dot org page, where you can find Lisa, Erica and Rachel's books and books by the four of us and our past guests at a discount. We also want to remind you that both Christie and Mary K have brand new books coming out in the next couple of weeks. In fact, Christie, I think it's two weeks and six days until your book comes out, and Mary K will be made third and they're available where ever books are sold. But if you want a hand signed first edition of both books when they come out, plus a great little notepad with sticky notes, you can order the spring box from our friends at independent Bookstore Oxford Exchange. You'll receive this beautiful it's like getting a gift...

...in the mail, this beautiful delivery of both books and each of them signed as soon as they are released. I got my big stash yesterday. I can't wait to sign the ball for y'all. She's but mine won't be here for a while yet. So, friends, you know how we all say are a really good cup of really good book, Good Book. It's like you don't want it to own. Right, like a book, you don't want it to end. That's exactly how you'll feel about a cup of slow roasted coffee from Charleston Coffee Roasters, and that's why we are so excited to announce our next giveaway. As part of our coffee with friends promotion, three lucky friends and fiction members will each win their very own three month subscription from Charleston coffee roasters. Each winner of the month give away will receive two bags of smooth, slow roasted seasonal favorites from Charleston coffee roasters each month for three months. That's a prize worth ninety will choose three winners, one each and March. Paper and may enter. WANTS TO BE CHOSEN AT random and any of the three monthly draws and meg will share the antiform link on the facebook page. Meanwhile, don't wait. Shop now on the Carlston coffee roasters website and use the code coffee with friends, all lowercase one word, for twenty percent off all bag coffees. And while you're treating yourself, don't forget our other presenting sponsor, page one books, who also has a very nice discount for our viewers on their fund subscription service. You can use our code friends fifteen at their website, page one BOOKSCOM. That's the number one, to get fifteen percent off their three, six, four twelve month subscription plans. I know all of us gave these as gifts the last time that there are our sponsors. This is like the best gift ever. But basically, page one that the vote sellers of page one are literary matchmakers. You feel out of survey telling them about your book preferences and Poo Flak Magic, a book for you by a human being arrives at your door. So we hope that you'll give them a try using the code friends fifteen at checkout. Well, speaking of magical books, and is there anything better, ladies, I think not. I believe it is time to welcome our guests for the evening, Lisa Bar and Erica Roebuck. So let's learn a little bit about the two of them. Lisa Bar is the award winning author of woman on fire, the unbreakables and the historical thriller fugitive colors. She previously worked as an editor and reporter for the Jerusalem Post, the managing editor of today's Chicago Woman, the Managing Editor of Moment magazine and as an editor and reporter for the Chicago Sun Times. So wow, she has got quite the journalistic every are. Lisa also served as the editor and creator of the popular parenting blond girl willow warfare, a mom's guide to surviving the suburban jungle. Lisa has been featured on today Good Morning America, box and friends and Australia TV. She earned her master's degree from the Middle School of journalism at Northwestern University and she lives in the Chicago area with her husband and their three daughters. And you have to follow her own social media because she posts the greatest pictures of all of them all the time. It's great. Yes, they're all just as beautiful as Lisas and okay and least. Erica Roebuck is a national best selling author of books, including the invisible woman, Hemingway's girl and call me Zelda. She also served as a contributor to the Writers Digest Essay Collection Author and progress and the Anthology Grand Central Post War stories of love and reunion. She lives in Annapolis with her husband and family, which includes three sons and a miniature...

...schnauser. In two thousand and fourteen she was named Annapolis has author of the year. It's so cool. Orlando would never name me the author of anything. That's awesome. How my neighborhood, I'll have you know. I'm just gonna tell my son. I'm gonna be like, I'm author of the year in Beaufort. Look, I'm just gonna make it up. I just think I just made myself pullet lauriate of Abandela state. You could do it. I recommend big for all of us, just like we're going to give each other awards named after yeah, at all. It's all it's all coming together, ladies. Yeah. So, anyhow, both Lisa and Eric had brand new books come out just last week. So how lucky are we to be talking to them tonight? We're so excited. Son, can you bring Lisa and Erica on please? High Ladies, welcome, welcome, welcome to friends and fiction. We are so glad to have you here and big gratulations on your new books, both of which I had the chance to read early, both of which I absolutely loved, as you both know. So, Lisa, can you start us off by telling us about woman on fire? Yes, first of all, thank you so much for having me, and I love being with Erica. We're we're pub day sisters and we've been supporting each other all the way through, which has been amazing. So woman on fire is a gripping tale of a savvy young journalist. She's twenty four years old and she gets some broiled in a major international arts scandal centered around a Nazi luted painting. And I really loved writing this book because it has all the things I love to write and read, suspense, history and risky journalistic pursuits and strong, fiery women. That is awesome. And ever, I loved it so much, it was so good. I was reading it by the pool about, I guess, almost a year ago and just gasping aloud of my mother in law kept saying what's wrong? Look like he spoken amazing anyhow, Erica, can you tell us about sisters of night and Bob, which I'm also a big Fan of? Yes, and I also want to say hello again and thank you. Know All. I feel like I known all of your such a long time. So this is a thrill to be here and it's share pub day with Lisa. It's been great. Sisters of night and fog is the true story of too remarkable women in World War II. One of them is an American teacher who grew up in Florida married a Frenchman, and the other one is a Franco British, feisty widow and mother. Them in both of their deeds with the resistance do come to a staggering called when they come together and they're really tested their courage and strength. But that writing this book and finding these real women superheroes has been the joy of the last three years of my life. Sorry, he's saying such a great fact team. I love it. Okay, I get to ask the first question. I think, yeah, yeah, okay. So these are both searing novels that involved World War II, but they's so very different in their execution. I've loved that idea that you can both be circling around similar subject matter, including, you know, the age old fight of good versus evil, which we're staying playing out right now in real yeah, but the passion and interest you both bring to the table we result in just so wildly different stories. Could you tell us first of all, what was the seed of the idea for each of these books? Erica, you'd maybe you could start. Sure, you know, growing up in Annapolis it's very historic. I always feel like I'm back in time and so when I'm when I'm around, I love the past and it always felt sort of safe to me until I started researching World War II. But someone I'd been writing so many books about the wives of famous authors and I starting to write another wife of famous author Book and an editor told me, could you write about a woman who's just remarkable on our own, not someone who's remarkable for being in the shadows of a man, and I thought that was really interesting. If ice, it was...

...around that time that I read an article in since Sony about a woman from Baltimore, while right here where I grew up in Maryland, who had served the spy in World War II and who had liberated mountain villages and at want of posters and Nazis on her tail and she scaled the Pyrenees and all on a prosthetic leg called Cuthbert. And that was Virginia Hole. So you know, meanwhile, you know I went to target this morning. It was when I found her. I felt like, oh my gosh, this woman could start a whole new subgenre of husband of famous woman books. Yeah, and then when I when I was working with Virginia Hall in the Invisible Woman, I started finding all these women stories and I'm really focused on the American woman because that's what I am, and that's where I found Virginia Rouch, Dealbert Lake, and so it's just one led to another, and then I had these these these giants of the past. And Erica, I have to interject quickly and just say you and I had something in common. We had a Virginia, Dad Bear Lake Connection. Yes, so, Christian I and I had been looking reading and I'm a huge fan of Christen's and I saw that she read the diary in Memoir Virginia Dowbert. Like to inform the room on room, I can't pronounce it correctly. You say, know that there were the room, one round a leash who was reading. So I wasn't telling her story, but I mean but she was kind of a person who gave me, in my mind, the permission to write about this American woman in Paris during the war. And so it's been so interesting to talk to you about your book and then to see her story so much more fully fleshed out. And and then when we met last week and talked about it in person, we were right in the shadow of her old university here in in or went a Park Florida. And did I tell you, Christian, what happened on the way out of the book signing? Oh Oh, you did. Yes, thank you. One quick little mystical story. There's lots of them and writers, you probably have many of your own. But I didn't get to go to Rawlins college and visit, which is where Virginia had attended, and I was bummed because I didn't give myself the time to do it. And when I was leaving the signing it was dark and gps took me some crazy way. That was not the way I came in. I'm all the side streets turned here, turned there. Finally a light turned read so I slam my brakes on, there are no parts and I look to the right and there's Rawlins college and that's where Virginia win. So I felt like she was giving me you know, or it could have just like GPS wrong, but I like I like the first expedition said, one person's better. Wait. Yeah, Lisa, tell us about the seed in the idea that got you started for woman on fire. Okay, so for me it was too fold. I was writing this book during Covid and I really decided I wanted to write about a young journalist because this was the most, I would say, interesting time of my life. I was a reporter in the Middle East and I was young and before kids and I was sort of fearless and I would take on any story and it was kind of before I was older and jaded and season and I decided I wanted to go back there and during covid and so I was looking for my story and I know when I have my story I get this sort of visceral feeling through my body and I had read this article about the Munich Art Horde, which was kind of a it just blew up the art world and basically, there was discovered in Munich in a rundown apartment, one fifteen hundred major masterpieces, masterpieces including to Galand and money, and just one thousand five hundred, worth about one point five billion dollars. And it turns out that this was, yeah, this was the son of Hitler's art thief, hilly round the story. Yeah, and so I knew I had my story. And so when I began the book, no spoilers it. I knew I wanted to catapult off of this very real story...

...and you know, it's almost unbelievable. He had major works inside of his stove and his food cabinet and many of the works were stolen art and I knew I wanted to write about this and sort of wrap my characters all about around this treasure trove. And in the treasure trove woman on fire, which is the painting, may or may not have been in this treasure chose. And so that's where it kind of began. Young journalist and this wild story in the art world sort of rip from the headlines Right. Yes, absolutely awesome. I love the the idea of a piece of art finding its way back home. We talk about it a lot. I think it's really fascinating and Erica, that you're get to walk around in your own hometown and think about that pretty amazing. But I want to talk about how, as writers, sometimes we can wind up on the page even when we don't necessarily mean to or set out to do it, because we talked about it a lot here, but we only have our own compost pile to work with. So I want to know. I know that, Lisa, you helped to break up a sex trafficking ring when you were as high school by going to undercover, and it's also a storyline you gave your protagonist jewels in woman on fire. Can you tell us a little bit about that and writing that part of yourself into the book now? Absolutely so. Interestingly, jewels, even though she's twenty four years old, was is the character who is most like me. I put you know, I have of all my characters, this jewels roth is most like me. And when I was in high school, I was I had an internship for a state senator and I was approached by the police if I would be willing to go, and you know, they would protect me from behind the scenes as bait to break up a sex trafficking ring and I was you know, hell, yes, I am in and so I was utilized in that in that way, and we did break up a sex trafficking ring and people were arrested, and so that really gave me the journalistic buzz and I knew that I needed to go forward and seek out the truth and, you know, all all the those kinds of things that really impacted a seventeen year old. And so I wanted to give that story to jewels and it's embellished a little bit in the book, but it's really pretty identical to what happened to me, you know, in my younger days. God's incredible. How was thin fascinating to kind of look at, you know, can I pick something, especially if I know the author really well, can I pick out something even they don't see in the book right just like this little nugget of their life? So I think that's fascinating. And Erica, you write about women who are tremendously resilient, including, of course, Virginia and Violet, but also, of course, American born Virginia Hall, whom the Germans called the most dangerous of all allied spies. I have a feeling they never call me that, but she had lost her leg and a hunting accident and parachuted into France with a wooden leg. You mentioned this earlier called Cuthbert. Where did that come from? So can you talk about the piece of your own prest that taught you most about resilience, especially against physical challenges like the one Virginia faces in the invisible one? Yeah, absolutely,...

...and sometimes I don't even know where it comes from until I get to the end of the book and I say, okay, there's where that is. But yeah, Virginia haul. So my late mother, my mother died in two thousand and fifteen and she was so incredibly strong. She had a very debilitating from a scoliosis her whole life, and I'm not talking about a little curvature. She had a ninety degree as cur ribs used her whole life. She couldn't really breathe, and so I always saw her saying, Oh, well, we're going to go to this coral program so we need to park here and then I need to wait and then I'll walk this far and then I need to take a rest or. I want to go to this but I need to figure out what to where to hide something. I was watching her work her body and what it could do and couldn't do around planning light all the time. So my understanding of how Virginia haul had to do that with Cuthbert was I knew exactly what that was like. I mean watched it. Also, distubborn determination. You know my mom, when she was born, the doctor said she's not going to live to be ten years old. She did, and then the doctor said she would never have children and she had to. And then they sep won't live past fifty and she made it hundred and sixty two. So you know, it's like she was just always flying the odds. And Virginia Hall was the same. They said we're not taking women in Foreign Service. She said, all right, well, I'll go be secretary at this embassy for now, but just you wait. And then they said, oh now, you shot off your foot by accident. You have a prosthetic lay. We're not taking women in Foreign Service. And so the French said you want to drive an ambulance, go for it, and then the British said, do you want to spy for us? Okay, so I'm just watching that, not letting people say no. I always watched it, you know. I don't have that level of to have people in my life who do and I'm really dazzled by them, you know. So that's amazing. Wow, but that's amazing well, and also think it's really cool about both of these books as you both have these really interesting post publication stories related to your books that I wanted to touch on just really briefly. So, Erica, you know you have written about this American born World War Two spy and you became very involved in an effort to have Virginia awarded a posthumous medal of honor, which is so cool. So can you talk a bit about that effort and what it means to try to bring someone such an honor and real life after bringing her to life on a page? Yeah, I'd love to. I was. I got involved in the the women in intelligence community from these books. I've been doing different and I'm so honored and I've been doing lots of presentations to different, you know, the women women of Tampa Bay, greater defense, all different intelligence agencies. So I've been hooked up with a lot of really cool people and they are so taken with Virginia Hall and want her story to grow. And also of the women and Sisters of night and fog and honoring them and their memories. So particularly Virginia Hall is the only civilian woman to win the Distinguished Service Cross and they want to get that upgraded to a metal of honor. So I've been working with the amazing women of the intelligence community, which is a inter agency, bipartisan, Huge Organization of incredible people, also with another writer who wrote about Virginia Hall, Craik Rally, and Virginia Hall's family, who I'm in touch with because they live in Baltimore, so we could together letters. Were trying to document field experience. We need specific combat duty and that's that's all been this, this monumental effort, and we have to get support from Senators Warner and Rubio, which we have people in both both of the offices who are really working hard on this, and then it would go to the second great defense, so at Austin. Obviously all these people are very busy right now, but we're really we're really hoping and praying Virginia gets this honor. And Virginia was from she was she she was from that area. Right. Virginia halls from Baltimore. That's change, but in Florida. Yeah, it is funny. Sorry, I was just going to say it's funny that you wounds up writing about too. Virginia's back to back. To that ever confuse you in the writing or the recert it could not have been more different from each other. It was. There was no confusion. So yeah, that's very,...

...very cool. Okay, Lisa, your book has a really exciting news and that Sharon Starne is planning to both produce and star and a screen adaptation of woman on fire, which is so cool. So can you tell us a little bit about how that came about and where it stands? And I mean have you talked to Sharon? Were so excited, you know. So, first of all, yes, I've spoken to her quite frequently. She is full, she is lovely. I mean she is kind, she is generous, she is lovely. It's it's it just blows my mind every time I my husband will say something and I'm like, I'm sorry, I'm texting with Sharon. Dinner. Sharon and I are job. So yeah, so this you you'll appreciate the story. It's an out of the box story. So I had just read her her memoir, which is called is called the beauty of living twice and the paperback weirdly came out Erica on March first. Everything was marked first. So I had read this memoir and I was blown away. I mean you just the hole behind the scenes of Hollywood. She has been through so much thought, through so many things, the me to stuff, you know, all of it, and such an icon and just, you know, a survivor and I just really can acted to this book. At the same time, Kristen wrote a blurb for my book and literally I bought because I had a book lunch. Nerve is on the cookie. The last part of the blurb is she described woman on fire as woman in gold meat spot like meats basic instinct. So this was really at the exact same time and I said to myself, this is a sign. So I, if you can believe this, I sent my little arc I, you know, did my investigative journalistics, you know, move and I found where her business office was and I just sent it out with a note and that was it. And so my husband and I are watching that Flix and I get a text and the text was high at Sharon stone and she said I'm in acts and she said I'm reading your book I absolutely love it, as anyone optioned it, and I'm thinking option that. It's an arc, it's a nothing, it hasn't no, it's not even, you know, a book yet. And I was so excited, you know, maybe I got on my couch, maybe I did a tires and scripted. You know, I was. I was so excited. And so from there it all moved really quickly and we signed a contract together, you know, right before Christmas. So I was literally holding this snooze for the past two months and then we just during my book launch, the plane landed and my husband I were separated with the dog. Too much information, but we I I opened it up and I guess it was announced in deadline and all my writer friends, everyone just, you know, exploded and I was burst out crying. The whole plane was in on it and tears and the woman next to me, I'm like, Jessica, you don't understand, and Ara Messcara all over her, and so but so where it stands, it's all moving. And you know what I love, and just briefly, is that so many women in Hollywood are taking the reins. They're no longer just, you know, acting in movies. They want to produce, they want to direct, they want the production houses, and I love that. And so she's one of them...

...and she's, you know, going to make all of this happen, and I just, you know, it's a pinch me moment and I'm super excited, but you know, she is the original woman on fire. Yeah, yeah, that's the goal, and you totally, you totally went road doing it that way. By the way, how did the box and I'm a big believer and go out of the box, you know, you know, as you know, no matter who you're publishing house is or what pr you have behind you, you still gotta make it happen on your own and hustle. Yeah, my first book, I mean I never got made, but it got optioned because I did the same thing. Like there was somebody that I thought would be and I sent her the book and she optioned it before like the book could even come out. Exactly. Yeah, that is so cool. I can't believe, though, that you just mail into Sharon soon and then Sharon stone texted you like me. Yeah, the only celebrity. I just kind of felt it. I had this yeah, yeah, we're kinetic VIBE. This was the person and it just happens, and she's so perfect for it. But for the stories easier heard. Yes, yeah, thank yeah, it's just it's crazy. But and you know, I feel that way because I put it in the Blur, you know. You know, I think she's ving story. It's all right, that's amazing. So, ladies, one of the things that I think really appeals to people about historical fiction is that we often learn to move forward by looking back. So, Lisa, of course your novel is mostly set in the modern day, with some historical context, but the conflict at the heart of this story is firmly rooted in World War Two, as was your your first book, I think, fugitive colors, right, yes, yes, and Erica, you've written several books about World War Two and other moments in the early twenty century. So I love to talk to you both a bit about why writing about the past matters and, I other words, why does the past feel so relevant today and what can we learn from it? What do you think, Erica? Well, for and there's twofold I mean. First, there really is nothing new under the Sun. The cycle that humanity likes to run on seems to repeat itself. And you know, we just have constant, uptodate access to the news, but it's all been going on forever, exhaust so. But for me, you know, a couple weeks ago I was trying to struggle how to make why we need these stories of hope and dark times were relevant. And unfortunately I don't have to reach too far, but we do. We need to see people who are willing to risk absolutely everything in the name of good and to fight for good, sometimes costing the ultimate cost to do so. And not only does it inspire us to rise to the occasion, but also, if for me, it helped put my life in perspective. You know, again, I was writing this throughout covid and every time I'd be tempted to feel just a teeny bit sorry for myself because my pasta wasn't at the store or whatever, that I would really dig into the research and say, no, you've got it quite, quite good. Everything's going to be okay and it can get much worse. So yeah, yeah, that's such a good point. So, Lisa, what do you think? Certainly your novel shows in a Cliss a crystal clear way that the influence of the past continues to reverberate. I mean that's really it. That echoes throughout your entire novel. I think. What do you think that means in the context of the present? Well, you know, I'm coming from it. I'm a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, so I help that growing up and my grandmother was hands down my best friend and she, you know, you know, her whole family perished in the Holocaust and as fits and seeing her thing was her legacy, her family, the joy going forward. She really taught me about the fight and to stand up for you know, especially now there's so much ramp and Anti Semitism, and so it's really important to...

...stand up. But I you know, I got involved in my first book, as you mentioned, really researching stolen art. So I researched that book for four years before I would allow myself pen to paper. You know, with the Holocaust you have to get it right and being a journalist sometimes a blessing and a curse, there is no stone left unturned. So I you know, during covid the same I wanted to come back to a soul a story about stolen art, for from the perspective of one painting, but a painting representing the six hundred Fiftyzero works of art that were looted or confiscated or stolen, not just from Jewish collections but from museums and and schools and galleries and really the backstory of how artist, especially the Avant Garde, was persecuted and Nazi German me, and I don't know why I you know, I'm not an artist by middle daughter is actually, but I'm always gravitating to this, you know, the segment of, you know, World War Two, and you know, I keep following it, keep studying it and you know, once we get in on a book and we'll doing research, a kind of clause high expos so this, this part of history, reasonly still front page news. Is Seen The New York Times almost every week. And now that the Nazis when the survivors are pretty much dwindling. Yeah, this is what's left of Holocaust history, and so I'm just fascinated, I'm engrossed, I'm embedded myself. That absolutely makes sense. Well, God sideways so beautifully into my next question, which is, you know, you do both have these beautiful novels centered around this particular time period and I'm wondering it's kind of like when you just had a baby and you're like bringing out of the hospital and people are like what are you having your next baby? Yeah, you know. Do we have any thoughts? Is there anything you can tell us about next books and and do you think that you'll stay in this, you know, specific space, or or are you not sure yet? So big question there, Erica. Do you want to take that first? Yeah, I wanted to kind of move into a space it wasn't so emotional, emotionally devastating in some way, I'm because some of the research can be really eye opening in terrible ways, and what I've been drawn to. I was starting out researching this haunted apartment in London where Mama CAS had died and different people had died, and so I was studying the occult and drug use and that was what I was absorbed in and finally I realized it was this was during covid and I said, I can't spend all my time focusing on this stuff. So I put that aside and I started to look for things that were beautiful and true and interesting, and I became captivated by kind of a controversial artifact that I will not yet name, but also captain by fated, by the storytelling of like a multigenerational family saga. How you know what? You don't work out, what you don't act out. You work out your Rosamond pilture, the shell seekers, Winter Solstice, just watching family move over the years. And so what is grown from it is this multigeneral, generational family saga centered around really dazzling settings, artifacts, food, very sensory experience. So something I really want to immerse myself in and hopefully wed. Yeah, for sure at least. So what about you? Do you know? Yes, I do. So I had my big departure from world wars with the unbreakables, which is very sexy women's fiction, and I whip that one out in nine months. Very it just like amazing. Just who's very fun to I love putting the south of France and you know, I took my family there her research and it was it was wonderful. But every time I try...

...to walk away, and you know, World War Two pulls me back in. So yeah, this new book is about an actress. You know I love the arts, and she's an actress with a secret past that took place during the Warsaw ghetto uprising. That's what I'm working on and fascinated by that. You know that period of World War II and that particular period. So you know she was an assassin in her past and you know, and now she is a very famous actress, that no one would have any clue about her past because it's all been fabricated. And now she's at a point where she's going to reveal the story. So that's what Oh my gosh, they both sound so good and I have to say I know the thing that Eric is writing about. I'm just telling you, and it's going to be amazing. Really want no, because this is great. Yeah, it's really good. It's really good. And Lisa, that sounds amazing too. I'm so excited. WE'RE gonna get it out of her. Yeah, are no, think you guys get it out of I'm a vault's not coming out. We have to meet it with we did like a Pinky squear and everything there's she had a get involved. We might get it out of her, but yeah, it's that. She distinct possibility. Yeah, it distinct possiblity. But no, no lips are sealed, but somebody sins are America. Ladies, we love a writing tip on here. That's one of our favorite parts of the show. You know, I think a lot of our viewers are interested in it, but we always feel like we learned something every week too, because I think each of us does this completely differently, and we would love to hear what your piece of wisdom is for both aspiring writers and established career writers, because we're always taken mental notes to so Erica. Would you like to start off tonight by giving us a writing tip? Yeah, and I'm going to steal mine right from Ernest Hemingway, because meaning I know, and that is leave when the scene gets good. So when the action starts to ride open the door and they're staying there with a gun. Walk away. If you're done for the day, pick it right back up the next day, rather than writing to a chapter and and then sitting down and being like, oh my gosh, what happens next? So, okay, that's awesome. That's a great tip. And how about you, Lisa? I love that. Okay, so I've got to I would say my my secret weapon is my dogzy. So she what I do before I turn in the manuscript is I read the entire manuscript. Allowed to Iszy doesn't move and I think it's so important because the book is so different when you hear it aloud. Here we're words that you said twenty pages earlier. You know that was kind of a you know, a distinguished word that you might have said twenty years in twenty pages earlier. You can also hear description that goes on and on. You're like, Oh my God, I'm board with this. How could you know a reader enjoy it? So read the book allowed. I know it's a lot of work, but it really makes a difference. And the other tip I would say is, and this is definitely from my reporter training I had, if you're going to do interviews, I interviewed after the assassination of eats copper bean. I interviewed his widow, Laya Ra being right after the assassination for Vogue magazine. So what happened was I had my really amazing high tech, state of the art tape recorder and it picked up the air condition and then I so had my crappy little magnavox from high school reporterer and...

...that saved the day. So back up, the backup, to say, always back. Wow, that is great advice and, Lisa, I have to say that would have been good advice for me. I used to write for people magazine and years ago I interviewed John Corbett, who was aiden on sex in the city, and we had the greatest, just frankest interview. He was wearing like a big Mexican hat for some reason and he was just dishing on everything and I had taken some notes but I was just so enthralled because it was aiden, you know, that I got home and push play, eagerly waiting to hear the replay of the interview and it was completely blank. So and I have not taken enough notes to carry me through, and so I had to do one of the most humiliating things I've ever done, which was to call his publicity people and say I have a blank interview tape. I need to do it again, and they were like okay, and the second time he wasn't nearly as forthcoming. So less and learned, and I've always taken that was years ago. I've always taken really copious notes since then. But yes, I learned. Learned that less the same way we say exactly, yeah, Oh my goodness. Well, ladies, this is one of our favorite parts of the show to do. You have a book recommendation that you want to share with us this evening or, better yet, a book that we would be surprised to find on your shelves. We studden you want to take that one first. Okay, so you know I always whenever I'm asked for recommendation. I have so many wonderful friends in the industry. So I really kind of veered toward what has been on my nightstand pretty much forever. So I would say the book that hasn't moved off my nightstand is fear of flying by Erica Jong. It was the book I snuck off my parents shelf at, you know, ten years old, way, way too young for it, but it really really taught me a lot about writing as a woman, and you can go there. So Erica John's fear of flying, I'll say very what about you, Erica? Well, I just finished last week Christian hermels for Shi first of vanishing stars, and I did finish it on the airplane home, which was a little turbulent, and I didn't even care because I was coming messed with Yota. I absolutely loved it. So that that was that hit it out of the park. It's a good thing I met with her last week and paid her to say that. Right. She but like it was really age I know, say no, it was just amazing. I think people be surprised about is I mostly readhistorical and biography and work, but everyone so I like to mix it up and I've recently I read the hating game, which is like very the very sexy romantic comedy, and that book made me laugh out loud and ugly way, and so I haven't read anything like that for s since, but that was that was a really fun one. So it definitely takes you out of the present in different ways than historical fiction. That's great, absolutely all right. Well, Lisa and Erica, if you would not mind sticking around for a few more minutes, we have one additional question for you, but first a few reminders from US regular you muted, well, sewn muted me. Okay, now I can talk. You may not mute me. I will be here. Okay. We know a lot of you have been participating in our very first friends and fiction reading challenge. This month we're encouraging you to read a book about a female historical fixture figure, and actually Erica's new book would fit the bill perfectly. Yeah, and if you're looking for a new way to keep track of these books and your other reading, we would love to recommend this beautiful reading journal designed by US and conjunction with Oxford Exchange, one of our favorite independent book stores in Tampa. It has a gorgeous friends and...

...fiction blue linen cover and plenty of space to record your thoughts and what you're reading. Plus the pages aren't dated, so you can begin anytime and continue filling it for as long as you like, which I think is pretty cool. Yeah, so it is March madness, not just her auburn in bastable or not? Yes, for you guys actually, but it's march madness on our podcast and we are so excited about this month. There have been so many good things going on. Yeah, so on the last episode Ron and Christie Talk to Craig conniver about pillow talk. We're God, it was so good, so good. While key like really dishes in that episode. Okay, God knows I did. He does any any he it's on the like he doesn't realize it's going to be listened to by thousands of people. It's just like having this conversation out. Yeah, like he's just like patting with y'all like forgetting that he's going to be heard by thousand, so they don't forget to subscribe. And then this coming week Ron is talking to Brad, not sir, and we are so excited about this. His new one is called the lightning Rod and Mary Ka and Ron talked to Harlan coben. And that is the week after for our mad march madness. And then, last but definitely not least, in our wild march madness is our Christy Woodson Harvey with some very exclusive cut from the book and Super Secrets that you won't find anywhere else. So don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and remember, too, while you're at this, subscribe hitting stage of Your Day for our Youtube Channel and our newsletter and logo plus so that you can see all of our back streaming shows. Now at a hundred and thirteen of them. For something like that's crazy. Yeah, it's awesome. They just keep on hitting like and make sure that you join us and our friends and fiction official book club, which is run by our friends Lisa Harrison and Brenda Gardner. You can be there with Elevenzero of your closest friends and on March twenty one, they'll be discussing the Salle made equation by Christina Lauren, which I know a lot of you have already read and loved. So sign up there if you haven't already, and make sure to join us for our next episode of friends and fiction next Wednesday, right here at seven PM, where we will welcome John Starles and Jessica Strasser will join us for the actor show. Then on March twenty three will host PLICEA Scott, a lady. If you're ever wondering about our schedule, it's always on the friends and fiction website and on the header graphic on our facebook page. Now we send Erica one more time. You're up one question. We always love to ask what were the values around reading and writing when you were growing up? And Lisa, want't you take this first? Well, it's in my first grade essay that I said what they asked, what do you want to do when you grow up, and I said I want to write books. So I feel like I've been so blessed to have teachers that nurtured my love of writing and you know, I did a lot of poetry and they really encourage that. So that is been that is been my tunnel vision all the way through. I mean the diaries that you know, all the journals later on, and I feel like it's a huge part of my life, the writing, the reading and you know, it's breathing for me. So it's who I am. So those are my ways rays. Yes, I remember this plastic book fairs at School, My Fata digre's coming home with arms full of things, and my dad...

...had an air freight business and one day he brought me a book when I was about seven years old, with the cover ripped off, which now I sadly knowman it was being shipped back to the publisher and it was James and the giant peach by Roald Dahl, and that became the first book. I felt like it found me. I'm very key about that. And then and on we went and my grandmother, my Irish Grandma, used to give me the books that I was not supposed to be reading, like D see Andrews and Stephen King Eleven them in my little Catholic school class and get in trouble for him, and it's always been a whole thing. And then my dad used to tell me scary stories on the way to school and my brother, he's seven years younger than I am, do be too scared. So I started reading aloud to the cars. So my dad always says I was an audiobook narrator for that's awesome, on the way to school. So it's just always been reading, reading, writing, writing, all the time. That's awesome. That's awesome. It's always so interesting to hear the different influences that go into making writers what they are, and we are very happy, Lisa and Erica, that you were made into the writers you are, because we loved both of these books were so excited for people out there to read them at their woman on fire by Lisa Bar Sisters of night, and fog by Erica Roeback. Erica, Lisa, thank you so much for being with US tonight. We loved studying time on you. Don't awesome. He loved it. So good night, ladies, night to night. Ya. Now to all of you out there, make sure to stay for our after show with Rachel McMillan, and don't forget that you can find all of our back episodes on Youtube, which if you miss the beginning of tonight's episode, there was a little bit of a facebook glitch. We know a few you weren't able to get on. If you're watching now and you miss the beginning, you'll be able to watch it on youtube or you'll be able to watch it on facebook, so you can find it in either place. We are live on youtube every week, just like we are here on Facebook, and if you subscribe you won't miss a thing. Plush'll have access to special short clips. Be Sure to come back next week, same time, same place, as we welcome John Sirles and Jessica Strasser, and we will see you in just a minute on the after show with Rachel McMillan. Hi Everyone, welcome back to the after show. We didn't even give you time to go get another glass of wine because, as you are, not going to want to miss us. Fuck eating. It to Rachel, but first, God, they're so interesting, Lisa and Erica and and the rip from the headlines and the real women and bringing them to life. It's amazing. It is as is just mailing Sharon stone your book. I can't get over that. I'm like, you can do that. I need I'm meling Sharon Stone my book at I'm just kidding, you know, I was sitting there thinking, who am I going to mail it too? Oh Yeah, I'm gonna not even press. Good for her, though, for having the initiative to do that. That's awesome. Yeah, I'm interested in how many former journalists we have had on the show who became no, I was. It's some. As a washed up journalist myself, I'm that's something I'm always fascinated with. You are rather washed up. We talked about it. That's what we say a time at ever, get her career off the ground. I tell people I'm a recovering journalist. She ever said I wanted to do with their life time. Okay, we have really did bring on a third incredible author tonight, who also happens to be a good friend of ours, and I know we are all fans of her and her work and we've been waiting for this. And before we bring her on, I have to tell you this. I've known about this book for so long and I cannot tell you how excited I am that it is finally coming out. Well, Rachel McMillan is the author of the Harringford and Watt's mysteries, the van Buren and de Luca mysteries, the three quarter time series, the London restoration and the Mozart Code. She is...

...also the author of several non fiction works, including a very merry holiday movie guide. And, to be sure, she doesn't sleep right. It's a lot. Yeah, I know exactly. I know she can't say. I think she lives to watch her on social media. She doesn't candy, so I think they give her an extra hour because she was in Canada, where it's I don't know'. That's my theory. will ask her. Okay, when she's not reading or writing, Rachel works as a Literary Agency Agent for William K Jensen Literary Agency. She Loves Church, is working textual history and is a classic movie buff and an Avad Travel. We're going to ask her what her favorite classic movie is. Who? I love it. Okay, perfect. Rachel Hales from a small town in Ontario set on a lake and she now lives in Toronto. So shot, I'm going to ask you to bring Rachel on, but I also see Erica is still sitting backstage and I know she likes Rachel to so maybe bring them both on right. Erica can come back. Hi, Hia, but you also like to come back, pastic it's a good sleepover. My Rachel it is so great to see you, helthough, my friend. We are so excited about the Mozart cow code, which comes out next Tuesday, next, yeah, next, raight. Oh my gosh, like it didn't I didn't think it whatever. Yes, ever, that cover is mad, isn't it? And everybody's has to admire how Rachel says, Oh my Gosh, oh, you just start by anything you want me to say in my Canadian accent. Please oblige. It happens, all right. I want you to tell us a little bit about the book before we ask. Good, get into some rasation. Tell us it more. I love it. It is a treatise on chess and Mozart and it features two cities very dear to me, Vienna and Prague. My last pandemic trip actually was specifically to research this book and I hope that those cities become a Standin for a symphony to readers. It is set in the Culture Creek the Cold War. One of the two cities will fall behind the Iron Curtain, one will not. It's a marriage of convenience story between two people who were just at Bletchley parked during the war and could be the tipping point, along with Mozart and his death mask as to what will be the next step that will take. The Cold War too, it's, as we know, this espionage, intelligent pandemonium that happened. So it's music and love and all of the different ways that we have to learn how to live with ourselves, but all of the different ways also that we have to learn how to love one another. So it's a romance with an espionage flair and set into magnificent cities that I hope people love reading about. I want to know how you knew about the death mask. I've never heard of that and it's so fascinating. It's everybody about it. So a long time ago. I don't know about you guys, but as an author I have an ideas folder and I'm always adding to it, and so a long time ago I read, that I'm a classical music buff, that the death mask of Mozart supposedly turned up in a fanhouse or a pawn shop in Vienna in one thousand nine hundred...

...and forty seven, and so I filed that away like what the heck. The war, as we know from Lisa's book, as we know from Erica's amazing backdrop, was quite harrowing, but also exhumed these amazing artifacts and the restitution and reparation of artifacts to their original parties was quite amazing. And so the fact that the death mask, supposedly, I've talked to Vienn these historians that kind of dispute this. Some believe it is the real thing is, some do not. Fact that it turned up after the war was just amazing to me and I was waiting for a story. And so when I was writing the London restoration, which is set in postwar London and features all of the reconstruction of Christopher Wren's beautiful churches, I created an Mi six character for that book and he kind of spoke to me and said, Rachel, I need my own story. And so when I had his story, I thought what a wonderful time to really dig deep into this city that is an absolute passionate muse for me and luckily and fortunately, the death mask of Moats art informs some of that passion, because Vienna is a city that is alive with music. You can't turn a street corner without hearing Mozart and it's inherit in the architecture and it's inherent in Prague's architecture and I just loved it. So if you want to geek out with me about that, then have I got a book for you, sach a nerd, so awesome. Well, you obviously, it's like you knew what I was going to ask and you just segue right into it and happens. But you obviously, as you said, are very passionate about Vienna and you really love it. So can you tell us a little bit about like what draws you to Vienna? It is a book from I'm a Pastor's kid. I grew up in the church and we had a church library and there was a Christian fiction novel called Vienna prelude that is about a violinist who decides to, along with American journalist, smuggle passports for Jewish children out of Vienna before the Ashlas and the occupation. I read it when I was ten years old and it informed all of my great loves of my life. It made me passionate about history. It may be passionate about classical music and and while other children were fascinated with living in Narnia and AVONLEA and middle earth, all I ever wanted to do was go to Vienna. So now in adulthood, I've spent time there and it just shows the power of a story that perhaps isn't, quote unquote, great literature or a timeless classic to everyone. Who would you know? Wikipedia? What about ten greatest classics? Ever, it's not that book, but when you're a kid, anything that informs that passion is something that makes it a classic to so it informed everything that I love and I always loved Vienna. I'd love that. So it's a true love of my life. Is Amazing. Erica, did you have a question you wanted to ask Rachel? I did. Rachel is somebody who I again I feel like I know from seeing on twitter or different social media. But I want to ask you, as a writer, how do you balance it all, because you write, your cheerleader for other writers tremendous, and then you also have chats and if so many things. So how do you organize your day? How you do it? Is a lot of necessity. Erica. I am I used to be a little bit shy about talking about this, but now I've decided just to own it because I think it's really helpful for aspiring writers. I am a single woman, so m writing is if I want it to be my livelihood, I have to do a patchwork quilt of other things in order to assure that I am...

...secure enough, because we all know that writing can have one success one moment and then no successes the next moment. Where is my retirement fund if Anthony Bridgerton doesn't come from the regency period and propose to tea tomorrow? We're putting that out there. You're manfesting for San havings. I want to reass just the Bridgerton trailer. Today I've just been quite as research purposes as agent, but I think it's a lot about I work for the privilege of writing, and so when you are working towards something that is your passion, you make time for it. So I chunk out my days. I do have to say that if I'm not passionate about other people's books and not reading, I don't have the pattery power to write my own. I will also say that the pandemic just made this a big cool blur. So I'm talking about Usual Rachel, not pandemic lockdown Rachel. But somehow living in the world of story is how I'm able to craft my own, and so in the morning is when I do all in my agent emails and when I do all of my administrative stuff and any you know, course, I'm teaching or any thing I'm doing isn't editing job for freelance. And then I shift to my own stories and I've always told myself if I ever stopped loving other people's books, I'll stop writing my own, because I have to be a reader first and then a writer second. So yeah, but I'm not saying it's easy and I'm not saying it's for anyone but or everyone. But if you really love something as much as I love the world of words, that somehow you're willing to give up a lot to make it happen. Yeah, that's such a good please you've posted on twitter today. Yesual to, there is no way I saw you to do list on twitter when I was on the airplane and I had to close my computer and close my eyes like gonna write, and you broke her raciel. You didn't movie. Hey, guys, do list was like some people would do in a two weeks search this out. It crazy, but I really do feel that it's important, I'm sure we all do, because we're very active on social media, to let people know that if you want to be in this world, it is going to take some sacrifice. I know no writer who wakes up and is an overnight success. We see this in the careers of every writer WHO's here. If you want it, and I woulge think I said this on the last time I was on friends, almost two years ago, you have to really really love it and since you really really love it, everything you do just means that much more. That's so true. And you know, Rachel and Erica mentioned feeling like she knows you because she's you know, you're you're on social media a lot and you're very open about things and social media, and so before we go tonight, I wanted to ask you about that. So you of course live in Canada, where the lockdowns were much stricter. Yeah, and you've been really authentic and vulnerable online about being careful with your mental health and careful about what isolation and covid and being away from your loved ones has meant to you, even really open about that. Can you talk to us a little bit about that and how maybe that experience has enriched to writing at this novel? Yeah, it's funny because I you know I'm very open. The should shock no one that I've I'm a lifetime sufferer of panic and anxiety. I wrote...

...them into a character in my van Buren a de Luca series. Hamish has all of my symptoms, my tremor my stutter when I get very panicked. And so lockdown. Toronto was one of the most lockdown cities in the world over the past two years, often to the point where, as a single woman, I could not see another household. So I went a long time without even seeing my parents or my siblings, are my friends, and so that actually really influenced my approach. Yeah, there is of the Mozart Code, because I found that the story was getting very, very dark, and so it took extra edits. The release date was moved, which of course, I internalized, as you're terrible at this. But once I embraced the struggle, it allowed me to create a character who mirrors so much of my own insecurities. So we're looking at Simon Barrington, who is the illegitimate son of a very wealthy family. To anyone who meets him, he's pin stripes and spit, shawn shoes and Saville row. He's an amazing chess master, but all of his life is all about trying to reconcile. How can I believe in myself? Everyone sees one thing. How do I believe that I am worth something? And I think that my experience during the pandemic allowed me to get into the loud voices, because you're on your own, you can't go work at a coffee shop or see people. That Simon has all of the time. So if reader's come away with something that's not just a spy and love story, it's you're worth something inherently just because you're you, and no matter how loud that echo gets, you are valuable because you're you, and I think that everyone's worthy of love and the words that encapsulate that are what be came the Mozart Code and it's very final form. Well, I cannot think of a better note to end on tonight. That was absolutely beautiful. So well said, and I mean apologies to all of you out there, because we've given you clearly three books tonight. You're going to have to go out and lie. So apologies to all your rolls and rainy I think we've been given them something fun to do. Guys, you, everybody out there. You're going to rip through these books, all three of them, in a week. So you know, pick up all of them now. Pre Order Rachel's, which will be out right next is it? Next Tuesday? Next Tuesday? Yeah, next Tuesday, and Lisa's and Eric is just came out this past week. So great place. Rachel's on preorder so it arrives on Tuesday. By that point you will have flown through woman on fire and sisters of night and bog the ladies. We appreciate so much that you joined us tonight. We love all three of you. Were so happy that you're here. And Erica and Lisa, thank you so much for saying for the after show. Yay, no, I wished. Are All one room roof. It's amazing. All right, everyone, ladies, what a lovely night. We will let all of you out there go, but we will see you next week, same time, same place. Have a wonderful Wednesday night. Good night, everybody. Yeah, thank you for tuning in. You can join us every week on facebook or Youtube, where our live show airs on Wednesday nights at seven PM eastern time. Also, subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here,.

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