Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends and Fiction with Etaf Rum

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Etaf Rum joins the Friends & Fiction authors to discuss her wildly successful debut novel A Woman is No Man which was a New York Times bestseller and a Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick. https://etafrum.com/

Welcome to friends and fiction. Five best selling authors, Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast with five bestselling novelist whose common love of reading, writing an independent bookstores found them together with jets, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing. Thes friends discuss the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, Christie Woodson, Harvey Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends with more than 80 published books. To their credit at the Start of the Pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, their favorite bookstores writing, reading and publishing in this new, uncharted territory. They're still talking, and they've added fascinating discussions with other bestselling novelists, so join them live on their friends and fiction Facebook Group page every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, or listen and view later at your leisure. Welcome, everyone, This is friends and fiction. Five best selling authors Endless stories were five writers and friends whose common love of reading, writing an independent bookstores finds us together. I'm Christi Woodson, Harvey. I'll be your host tonight and my latest novel, It's Feels like Falling. I am Patty Callahan Henry and my latest novel is becoming Mrs Lewis. Mary Alice Munro is on her way here. Platforms. Tonight we've got a little walking hitting that button that I'm Erica Andrews. My latest book is Slow Summer. I'm Christine Harmel in my latest book is the Book of Last Name. And as you can see, we have an incredible guests tonight. We are so thrilled to welcome New York Times bestselling author Rita from to talk about her debut novel, Hurt massively successful debut novel, I Might Add, A Woman is No Man, which, as you probably remember, was a read with Jenna. Pick, a really simple Marie Claire Pop Sugar and book Browse Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, which is a huge deal if you don't know. Among many other accolades. The daughter of Palestinian immigrant Setoff was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York She has a master's of arts and American and British literature as well. It's undergraduate degrees in philosophy and English composition and teaches undergraduate courses in North Carolina, where she lives with her two Children. She also runs the Instagram account books and Beans and is a book of the month club ambassador, showcasing her favorite selections each month. Ah, Woman is No Man is her first novel, Theo. Other authors and I have plenty of questions for Utah, but if you have a question for her posted during the chat on Our Friends and Facebook page, and you know we'll be pulling a few live questions shortly before we get started, I wanted to remind everyone of the reason that we got started on this endeavor. Which is, of course, our love for independent bookstores. And so tonight E. Toff chose to support one of all of our favorite bookstores, Quail Ridge Books. They're offering a discount on all of our new releases, and a woman is no man. The link to the bookstore is posted on the Friends and Fiction Facebook page, so check it out So it top welcome. We're so excited to have you. Thank you. I'm so excited to be here. This is very exciting for me in the middle of Kobe to be, um, talking with people about books s I'm so happy. Thank you for calling me. Well, thank you. And, um, speaking of, you know, this crazy time, what has this been like for you? How has your schedule changed? And what does it look like? I have two kids. So now they're out of school. They've been out of schools and smart. So I think that's been the core of my schedule. Just being with them homeschooling them. Um, I'm in the middle of writing a second book, which is not going as smoothly as i e wanted it. Thio. It's stressful. It's challenging. But, um, we just have to show up every day and just do our best, I guess. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, that's so true. I mean, we I think we're all in a different, you know, and it just turned into a different world and especially with the kids. And yes, the writing has been has been difficult for all of us. I think it's been hard to focus with so many other things going on. Um e don't know about all of y'all, but I am such a summer girl. And if you subscribe to our newsletter, you might have read today. I wrote about how the transition...

...to fall for me is usually tempered because I love football season and tar heel football. So much. Obviously, things were gonna be a little bit different this year. So, um, ladies, what are you most looking forward to about fall? Because I need to be reminded. So we talk to you, Have a favorite thing about falls? Yes. Believes the weather just the cool breeze in North Carolina especially, were so lucky. We have the best falls. We are pumpkin, Spice law days and on all on the right thing. I do my best writing in the fall because it's like, not too cold, and it's not too hot. I just have a sweater and a cup of coffee, and I'm good. Hey, see, now I'm feeling so much better about the whole thing. So Patty and Mary Kay, since you since you guys are in the mountains or the leaves changing there yet, you know, if you e keep I went to the farmers market today and I thought about your question. What are we looking? Gorgeous woman Paul. And every day that I've gone this week, there has been nothing but people. And today they have pumpkin and e put some pictures. As I said, it's a Harbin Harbinger E Whiteside Mountain today with my dog and I could see it, I could feel it. It's coming. And it actually was a huge relief when I love something E But it feels like a huge relief. That way should explain we have a I mean, I had to move in together. E Well, we've been doing your writer's retreat up in pastures. Um, and so we just decided we would, um, for sharing a house will share a screen. Okay, I'm looking forward to we just look for patio in our backyard Furniture just arrived. And I'm looking forward to being cool enough out there with a fire in our new fireplace. And I'm also looking forward toa typing the, uh, program. Those were beautiful words to type Christian. What about you? What's going on in Florida? Well, it's funny. You were saying that you were looking forward to Tar Heel football. I'm looking forward to Gator football, which is obviously starting a little bit late. But you know that Z I'm a big college football fan, and that's such an important part of fall for me. Um, and on top, in addition to that, I think it's like you said, I'm in Florida and it's approximately the temperature it is on this done right now like it's so hot and so fall isn't cool. I'm so jealous setoff when you're talking, talking about bundled up in this butter and drinking coffee. It's not like that you're in the fall. It's just less miserable. So okay, you talk. Let's not looking at you and eso in both For today. It's been feeling like folly the past couple weeks. You could just feel it coming. And you, it's so beautiful today it is the core of the earth. I mean, e. I think it's the hottest day of the entire year here today. Is it hot there? Is it nice? It's nice today. I mean, it's not too hot, but I'm always dressed in sweaters like I pretended to fall in the summertime e o like I always have on the sweater when I'm writing and it's getting crazy. E never early for the fall boots. I think that's E thank you Mary. Okay. Okay. Well, you're right on time. Mary. Alice, What are you most looking forward to? About fall? Oh, no deadline. That's the number one thing. I finished my work, and I'm goingto sit outside a lot and look at the ball foliage. That's what I'm looking forward to. I love it. Well, you talk, we each have a question for you, but before we dive in, would you mind telling us just a little bit about a woman is no man, It was, Yeah, a woman is no man. It's set in Brooklyn, New York, where I was born and raised a daughter of Palestinian immigrants. My parents got married in Palestine and they Brooklyn, and they had me and my, uh, nine brothers and sisters. So ah, lot of the setting of a woman is no man is really based on that upbringing off being American, but telling a story that's not like the American stories that you're used to reading in literature. It's about, um it's about Palestinian immigrants and their struggle with identity, gender roles and finding their voice as women and a culture that doesn't give them the recognition or the voice or the equality that they deserve people. Well, it was amazing. I told you, you know, off screen earlier that a woman is no man absolutely captivated me as I know it has countless other readers, but I kept having to look at the chapter headings and be like, this is happening in the late nineties. This is happening in 2000 and eight. You know, these things that seemed like they had to have been...

...in a completely different time in place, but they were happening right here in the United States, you know, basically, in the present day. So then when I read interviews, you know, with you and realized this book with semi autobiographical I just could not believe it. But I marked I have Mark so many pages of this book with absolutely beautiful, incredible things that I just wanted to remember forever. But this was one of the most illuminating to me. You said where I come from, we've learned to silence ourselves. We've been taught that silence will save us where I come from, we keep these stories to ourselves. To tell them to The outside world is unheard of dangerous, the ultimate shame. So if you don't mind. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how it relates to this story and maybe most of all, you know, knowing what you were up against, how did you find the courage to tell this story? E think a lot of women and marginalized communities not just Arab communities, but they. These women really struggle with the concept of shame and believing their own stories speaking up for themselves. And this is a universal concept. Um, but I wanted to talk about it specifically from the Arab concept, the Arab American concept. Um, in my upbringing, there are a lot of women in my community who, um, either weren't educated enough to either speak their truth or support themselves. We're in very abusive situations where they felt like they had no choice. Um, or knew that there was something wrong but didn't have the courage to speak up. And I really wanted to talk about, like, such a universal theme for women in in the in terms of shame and in terms off telling your own truth, but also specifically as American as an Arab American. Um, well, it was incredibly well done. Christian, I think you had a question for you. Yeah, he tough. I'm so interested in this. So I think for many of us, writing takes some courage were kind of pouring our souls onto the page. But for most of us ends, there may be Our lives are changed a bit by finding an audience, but not necessary early by the deep digging itself. At least not to a tremendous degree. But with you, I think you poured your soul onto page, and then it sounds like the page changed your life. So I've read that after after you wrote your book, you found the courage to pursue a divorce and that you face some backlash for tackling the things you did, which I, I assume, probably helped you grow into the Spawn woman you are today. Um, did that feel like that was going to be the end result when you sat down to write this novel? Um, it like, did you see that transformation of yourself coming? And do you think that your next book will change you in unexpected ways to, um, you know, that's actually a really good question. Glenn Doyle, Um, actually said something like, uh, just to call her very briefly that she doesn't write books unless she's a new woman. And I think that when I started writing a woman is no man. I didn't anticipate that my life would change. I didn't think that it was gonna allow me to see the world in a different way. I just was writing it because at the time I was teaching English at National Community College in North Carolina, I was teaching literature, and I realized that all the stories that I was teaching or white, white white men or very rarely white women's stories and I wanted to tell stories from a different perspective. I wanted to see minority voices Air American voices being represented in literature in a way that I wasn't seeing them being represented. So that was the reason why I started writing. I never actually thought I was writing about myself, and I never thought that I would change as a result of what I was writing. But as I started to explore these deeper cultural themes and I started reflecting back on my own life, I realized that in a way that I was, um, being a hypocrite. I was writing about things that I myself was either carrying on in my own family or teaching my daughter things that I was too afraid to actually look honestly and reflect on. And I think by the time I finished the woman is no man. Um, I wouldn't say that it It's the reason that I got a divorce. But I think it's the reason that I changed my perspective on my life, and I think that ultimately unraveled the rest of it. And hopefully, by the time I write my second novel, I hope I would have grown into another type of woman with even bigger perspective. As I hope for everyone that's writing. That's a great answer. I'm curious you have you mentioned about how it as the author and you're writing the words that changed your life? Have you received letters or feedback to indicate that it's also changed the perspective in the lives of your readers? Yes, I have. I get at least 10 emails a day from women, Onda also, I get...

...messages on Instagram and Facebook, but I get these long emails that air so heartfelt and emotional from women that have never identified with a minority story that just so, so nicely fit with their own as like Arab women, Persian women, Turkish women, Indian women, um, Mexican women, Brazilian women, so many different types of women that are not represented in literature as much as they should be reading their stories and identifying with them, finding courage in the words or even empathizing with their mothers and the grandmothers. It's just something so beautiful. I think one of the things that I'm most proud about a woman is no man is that it's so rooted in the lives of women. And even if you can't identify with it yourself, you see someone you know in the story so deeply on, it changes your perspective of what you thought was the way it is. And now you're thinking of all these different cultures and three generations and how things are just passed out and you don't and you don't really think about it unless you feel it. First. Thing is, is that the power of a good novel really well, and it's so well said, because I think that, you know, even as ah woman who's never been through anything like that we still can all see ourselves in these women and see ourselves in these stories. Um and I think it definitely you know, it gave me just an incredibly new understanding, you know, certainly of a culture, but also of how brave women like you are. Thio break out of that. It may. I think it made me understand why women don't break out of it. You know, I think it's easy for us to say, Well, why don't they do this or why don't they do that? But they don't. They're The options are so limited that it's something that we, you know, really have a hard time even conceiving of So anyway, it was It's just incredible, obviously. Now you have to. It just makes me think, Patty, what was the quote that you always say from Joy? David Manne about being brave? What is it they imagine if we should ever grow brave, what on earth would become of us? It doesn't. It e get reinforces incredible need for multicultural voices in literature because until we've opened that page and walked into that life will never we'll never understand it. We just judge what we see from the outside. You know, I remember years ago reading Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club. Yeah, I had no. And I, my college roommate, with me and her parents, forbade her to date any man who was in Chinese, and we used to joke about it, but I had no understood standing. No deep understanding of how important that Waas to her parents, she and all of her siblings, or what she used to refer to a CBC, China born Chinese. And but it wasn't. It wasn't until I read Joy The Joy Luck Club, you know, which is a great story multigenerational story about that culture. So that now I think to myself Oh, my gosh, all these stories we have to hear from all these cultures e not be so isolated. No. Um, Patty, do you wanna ask the question? E tell if we have this question that we try to ask all of our guests and I am so curious to hear yours because I know that this is partly autobiographical and you've talked about your history. But what was the reading and writing the values around reading and writing in your family when you were growing up. I mean, we understand the values about an arranged marriage. But what about reading and writing? What were the values around those when you were growing up? There weren't any specific values around reading and writing. I mean, growing up, my parents never forbade us from or forbid me. I was an avid reader growing up, and I don't ever remember anything specific about, you know, being encouraged, treat or being not encouraged to read specifically. Um, but I do think that the the highlighting and importance of other values reflects in what was important for women. So most of the values that I was taught was like aspiring for marriage, you know, learning how toe cook and cleaning and, you know, listening to your parents and being obedient and not talking back. And, you know, so the values for women are always, you know, no dating. So no talking to boys, you know, being modest. And I think what is stressed for women,...

...even if it's never explicitly said reading or education is not important. Just by placing the highlight on other things, it's automatically being told to like young girls and, well, reading isn't really that important writing isn't really that important. What is important is X, Y and Z. What is important is finding husband. So, um, I was lucky enough that I was a Navid reader, and I use reading to transport me two different worlds, especially because I grew up very sheltered. Um, and I think that reading is what allowed me to gain knowledge and empathize with people from different backgrounds, even though I hadn't met them or socialized with them myself, growing up the way you feel like it made you Graber, so that when it was time to be braver, the reading and the empathizing and the stories you read when you were young, being an avid reader kind of filled you with that a little bit of that courage and that bravery knowing that those stories were in you. Yeah, I think it just made me more aware and more defiant. E. That's what it did. I think that I just wasn't satisfied with the status quo because I knew from a young age that there was more out there and it made me want to explore those stories. I think that's really what today and luckily my parents never denied me reading or any of that. Unfortunately, though, for a lot of women in our communities, they don't need to be denied to read. They just need to be encouraged to do other things, like or pressure to do other things and not really like for my kids. I make sure that I'm stressing to them every day. The importance of reading the importance of diversifying, you know their worldview and not letting them think that marriage is the answer or motherhood is the answer. And that's it. I think that is what changes the game for for our young kids. Was there a particular fictional character that you really e don't know identified with as a child or emboldened you to think you could do something else like the youngest youngest was probably Matilda. Uh, E oh yeah, Ronald Dahl's Matilda. Like as the youngest, I could probably remember being, you know, feeling like I wanted to be like her. I wanted to live in E. She is that is a girl who is not satisfied with the status quo. Is you just that amazing? That's so well put. I want to have that tattooed on my arm like, not e or just Matilda e Love her. I'm reading her, right e a Mary Kay. Do you have another question? I dio that have so many questions. I wanna ask e top in your beautiful knowledge, it novel your Besides that, you're known for your coffee and your bookshop in Rocky Mount and your incredible instagram account that and cracked that companies it books and beans. First of all, can you tell us a little bit about your impetus for starting the shop and the and the instagram And then second of all can could you just let me have, like, a couple? Yeah, of your instagram? Uh, it's, um I will I will shout you guys out, Hope followers, But, um, I started the a cow years ago. Now when I was teaching, maybe in 2015 or 2016 when I was teaching literature, I would my students would always ask me What are you reading? What are you reading? And I used to always bring coffee to class like during literature class, because our class was always after lunch, where everyone would come in so tired, bring coffee and I'd always have books you know that we were either reading or discussing or recommending after class. And so I started Nick naming our our little get togethers, books and beans because we were. It was a literature class when you were drinking coffee and it just stuck. So when I created an instagram page, I just called it books and Beans. And I would just post all of the books that I was reading and tell my students to go check out my Instagram page for my recommendations, and it slowly just grew into more people from the book of community. I think Book of the Month reached out to me in the first year that I made the page and e think collaborating with them really also help gather more followers and stuff. And once I started...

...writing, the Instagram page found its way into the novel to, and so I thought, Hey, I might as well just make this a real place. E opened the shop, and it's been very rewarding, even if this time Covic, How are you surviving? E mean? Of course it's not. It's not an ideal time to have open a business, a small business where I had to shut down for a few months because to the public and that put up now put a lot of stress on my employees and myself. But as with any community, I think if you have resilience, members and a lot of love there and a lot of understanding for each other that you'll bounce back. So I feel like we'll make it through all that. What's your favorite way? Use Counter Culture Coffee, which is located in Durham, North Carolina, as well as all over America. But the main warehouses in Durham and my favorite route or my favorite blend is fast forward. It's very light and nutty. It's delicious. I'm writing it down a fast forward, right? Oh, Mary Alice. Uh oh, my goodness, I can't imagine with all that's going on with what? We just talked about your new business, trying to keep it going and all that. But you still a writer and you mentioned earlier that you have another book in your heart and I know the one you know. The one you have is somewhat autobiographical. I'm curious how you go from that to the other. Now, you know. What are you thinking? do you feel comfortable telling us about it? This'll, um to be honest, this novel has completely ripped my soul and shredded it. It's been a novel because I think I wrote a woman is no man in a daze So, you know, I told myself I was going to write it, and in less than a year I had it written. And of course, you know, with the help of my agent and my editor and multiple drafts of the process, it got better and better and better. But the story in its entirety was there very quickly. I think I was just waiting for someone or for for the opportunity, and it just all came out. But with this one, it's just been really tough, kind of figuring out well, what what do I want to say now? Now that everyone's listening? I think I'm a little scared e saying this Facebook live but ways that. But it's different When I wrote a woman is no me and I was I just wanted to be authentic and I wanted to tell the stories of women that I knew for years and years and years and women that I saw every day, and I think that that kind of blinded me throughout the process. Like that rage that I had for them. Like I just wanted their stories out there I didn't care about, like, who read it or what they thought I'm or cared about expressing these these injustices that I thought, Um, but oh, you need to have that much. So I think the lack of anger is slowing me down. I'm trying to think of something e something you could be angry about, E e You know, there's so much expectations after you've had such a brilliant because you have e think until someone explains to you there's a thing called the sophomore slump. Then all of a sudden you get very self conscious with your writing and then you start questioning every entrance, every paragraph, Yeah, yeah, way We're all feeling it with you way e done, Irving to have your first book So sick. Yeah, to it is Yeah, e. It's funny because I'll be sitting at the coffee shop, um, writing when it's slower and ah, customer walk in and say, What are you doing? And I'll say I'm writing this your second novel? Yes. How are you writing? A. I can novel. Like What if it sucks way you could be writing your 20th novel and you worry if its way. I...

...think it means like, aren't you afraid they'll say Like, aren't you afraid it's not gonna live up or like, How do you sit there and which is true? Like, how do you sit there and right knowing that it might not live? Bob, I say I have no idea. I'm just I'm just finishing this cup of coffee from getting through this page. First of all, tell that to go away. You don't need to live PTO. But second of all and know that truly you you are not alone. This is something that happens with each and every book, no matter how many books you've written. And that's what makes us writers. Because we are trying to figure out what we want to say. And I have No, I have no doubt in my mind the tough that is going to be what you want to say, your voice and you'll find it. Thank you. Thank you. That means a lot to me hearing all of you having the same struggles really helps me feel less alone. And this fraud and impostor since that I feel it makes me, um, understand that it's not something that is on Lee happening to me. So thank you for being honest. Definitely not. Definitely not just you. Well, I think this would be a great time to remind people about our bookstore of the week. Mary Kay, Can you give us a little on? I'm so pleased that it's Quail Ridge Bookshop in Raleigh. There are Bookstore of the Week. That's an amazing woman owned, um, indie bookstore. And it's been around for 38 years. I think a good Sean put up the their logo there. An amazing store. And they're offering a discount. Not only our new releases, but of course. Ah, woman is no man etops book. So please check them out via the link on our friends and fiction Facebook page. And of course, if you get to come to Raleigh anytime, make sure you go visit the amazing booksellers at Quail Ridge. They're wonderful. They make they make careers. Yep. Yeah, absolutely. They sure dio Well, we have Really? I think I speak for everyone when I say that we're being pretty selfless right now because I think we all just want to keep asking you questions all night. We don't want anyone else ask any questions because we just have so much to say. Way should just take over s well on that note. Mary. Alice, this isn't actually this is a great question that I want to know the answer to. So this is great. Mary. Alice, can you ask our first reader question, please? Oh, all right. So, Julie, now she I would love to know how she found out. She was picked as a read with Jenna selection. Did it changed her life. And what's next? I was one of the today show's Panelists that was on the show representing their readers. And what an amazing experience. What a kind author and I think we all are experiencing What a kind author. So, what was it like to be picked? No, I just wanted to Well, thank you. I just wanted to say thank you for being a Panelist and still tuning in live and asking questions. That's so sweet. Um, I when I first was picked and I got the call It was maybe a day before it was supposed to go live. So it wasn't like I had a lot of heads up. I was in front of, um, my restaurant, and I was screaming at the top of my e. Can't believe it. People are looking at me like, Are you okay? I'll look, I'll find a I was so, so excited. Jenna, um, it's such a down Earth, um, and strong and kind woman, And she truly changed my life. I don't think that a woman is no man would have gotten in the hands of the readers that it's reached if it wasn't for her. And I love her so much, and I owe her the success of this novel, and I I'm just so happy, Like, to me, that was one of the biggest gift of the universe was that the book somehow named it in Jenna's hands, and I can't be more happy about that. That that was probably one of the happiest moment of my life. I e. He topper Your Children impress. Yes, they are. They nice, sweet. They they are. They're so sweet. It's hard to impress your Children, so that's a pretty big to be a Christian. Do you wanna ask a question for us from a reader? Sure. We have one from Sue Johnson. Bishop. Who says Welcome. E tov. Congratulations on your debut novel. How long have you been writing? And what is your writing process? No, thank you. Thank you, Sue. Um, my writing process. I'm or morning writer. So I like thio. I've been writing since I started writing. A woman is no man, so I started writing it in 2016 and that's when I started writing. Um and...

I'm still writing. Now. I wake up in the mornings and after I take my kids to school, when they have school now they're still there with e can't. Right. But when I used to take them to school, I would go to a coffee shop and just plugging some classical music and just sit down for five hours, eight hours to hours, A such as I could every day and just right. So that was my process. Just every single day, Like, no matter if I felt like it or not like, I just e That's amazing. E love it. Okay, Patty, could you pull a couple of live questions for us, Please. I can I have to tell you that 90% of the questions aren't questions. So just comments about how this book has impacted people's lives. You're going, I'm like, Okay, questions, But they're just like, Oh, yes. But I have to say that a number of people have asked on here about who picks the bookstore. So I want to tell our watchers that we always we usually ask our author to pick the bookstore and eat top. You picked Quail Ridge. So Thio answer that. Yeah. So I have a question from a woman named Ricky Brooke. She said, How did your parents accept your divorce? Mhm. That's what That is. Not a good question. Oh, what e I'm getting all of the same things. What did your family think of your book? How did they react to your book? How did they react? Toe moment? Um, I don't know how my family reacted to the book. My parents I don't know what they thought of it, but my parents didn't like that. I got a divorce. Divorce is very divorces very frowned upon in Arab communities. It's very frowned upon, I think. And a lot of very conservative communities. Catholic communities. Yeah, So I mean, my parents, um I haven't really spoken to my family since the divorce because they weren't they weren't really happy about it. But, you know, just to be fair, I didn't just get a divorce. I also started dating an American, which is also completely frowned upon. So it's like I get it, I get it. E. You wrote the book on it literally. So E. I think that was back to what we were talking about earlier. Which is this courage that you have not only in your life, but then writing about it. And so because we readers know what semiautobiographical they they care and want to know how it has felt for you and what it feels like for you now because when you read it, you have so much empathy and you're so concerned and worried about women making these bold and powerful choices that we want all women to make. So, on a completely different note, we're a couple of people have asked about a woman named Susan has asked, what were your very favorite books besides Matilda when you were growing up. Ooh, when I was growing up, I Okay, So when I was young, when I was young, young I liked all Ronald Dahl. I loved Carl Stein on Ben. I started. I loved, you know, um, Jane Eyre? Um, no. Yeah. Lord of the flies. All the cloud. My goodness, I live e it made me it made me think, Wow, like, this is so deep, You know, like you get a piece of literature and it makes you think like this plot is not just a plot. It's the themes are reflective of society as a whole. And I think that was the first time to be reading Lord of the Flies where I thought, Oh, my God. Like you could take a simple story and make it so complex. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Did you have a favorite? Can I just put a question in? Yeah, sure. Like yourself out. Not even have a favorite knowledge that you teach in your literature and in your literature classes. Yeah, I taught I taught mostly women's fiction, even though it was an American literature class. But like e taught a lot of the yellow wallpaper. Yes. Um jury of repair. Yes, I just tried to focus on...

...women's fiction. Um Juba Lahiri Um Amy Tan. Just very diverse and voices from marginalized communities. Like Right now, My Book of the Month pick is The last story of Mina Lee by Nancy Joon Kim, and it tells the story of a Korean immigrant and her daughter, and it's sort of like it reminded me of a woman. There's no man when I was reading it. It's a very beautiful, page turning novel. So for anyone out there that's looking for a good book, The Last Story of Meena Lee by Nancy June Kitten, I think it's also Reece's book club pick, too, If I'm not mistaken, Yeah, yeah, and all the comments swirling in are so happy you're sharing. And they one woman who said, um, that Utah exudes niceness. That's the only thing. Describe it. Yeah, e agree with that. I agree. And you never You never know about people You never know what I think is always so great. When someone comes on Like the minute you came on, I was like, Oh, she's going so great. So great. So great. Okay, well, this is one of our very favorite parts of the show. Um, Mutawe, I hope that this is okay with you, but we love when our guests give us a writing tips. And so we started this to inspire us to inspire aspiring and new writers. But I think we could all agree that we learn something new every single week. And, you know, as we continue to write, you know, we're always trying to grow. So do you have a tip that you would be willing to share with our audience tonight? A writing tip? Uh huh. Mm. Okay. Uh huh. I would say right every single day. Um, no matter how you're feeling and number one and number two, if you're stuck on writing, I would say Close your eyes and take, like, attend, like, second, like clear your brain and then just free right your emotions or like what you're feeling in your body. Um, you know exactly physically what you're feeling, because I feel like a lot of times we get stuck in plot or story that we forget about the physical senses and those air. What really drive the characters like way I, like, spend a lot of time internally like, Oh, the characters thinking this. But a lot of times, like, if we just slow down and notice how our body is feeling and try to write those down using descriptions, it's a very quick way for me to be creative again. So but that zone way too. I love that. Yeah. Okay, so we apologize every week for everyone's ever growing TVR piles, but we can't keep a good book of secret. Um, you talk. I know you've already recommended one, Do you? If you have another one, we're happy to take the recommendation. But if not we I feel like we've already gotten a great one from you. And we will post it in our group later on. Yeah. The last story of minutely and transcended Kingdom via, uh, Jassi is my neck. My next street now. So that's what I read the last story of mentally and I loved it. And now I'm reading Transcendent Kingdom. So definitely a book that I think everyone should have on their TVR list. Often it will drop both of those in the Facebook group because I know people ask. I'm Christian. I think you had a book you might want to mention. Yeah, and you know I don't have it to pull up because I read it in a narc form on E book. But it's called a Richie Boy, and it's by Linda Cast, the owner of one of my favorite independent bookstores, Gramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio, on Do you know how much We Love Supporting India's Here? So it's her second novel, and it's very personal. It's inspired in part by her father, who was born in Austria and who served in the American Army providing intelligence during World War Two. Because you could speak fluent German. So it's a really interesting story. It's a side of World War two I never knew about. So if you're interested in that era and in supporting an independent, independent bookstore owner, um, it's worth a read, and I will post that also on the Facebook page. Awesome, right? Mary Alice, What about you? I dio I'm going to recommend an author that we actually are fortunate enough to have visit visiting us on friends and fiction, and I believe it's February so far winter schedule. And it's this tender land by William Kent Krueger and, yes, e think one of the...

...best of the year. I mean, it caught me by surprise for all of you who have said on the page that you loved Delia Owens is where the crowd dad saying You're going to love this because the nature is so beautiful. It's Huckleberry Finn meets John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. That's what it is. And the book. I mean, here's the truth. I think a lot of you know, I'm always talking about how much I've been listening to audio books. Um, it's I found it very soothing during this whole covert early stages, and now I've continued as I walk or just doing dishes. I love audio books, and the the audio book for This was so good. I listened to it first, and then I bought the book. So, you know, you've really loved it when you buy the hard cover. So he will be here in February, and it's this tender land by William Kent Krueger. And it is, you know, so beautifully written. It's a masterpiece, so I highly recommend it. Amazing. Well, thank you. We have some really exciting things happening and friends and fiction that we want to tell you all about before we sign off tonight. Make sure you stay till the end to hear about the rest of our fall schedule. Um, Mary Alice, can you tell us about our newsletter really quickly? Well, a newsletter we're very excited about we have for the many of you have already signed up. It's one more way that we can involve you with what's going on, whether authors lives our lives and any information like what? What's coming up in our zoom schedule So you don't want to miss it. If you haven't signed up, go to our website and up in the right corner is the contact. You hover over that, and the word newsletter will pop up. Click it and that's where you can sign up. You don't wanna miss it. We go out frequently and you'll be ready for our next newsletter. So sign up. It's It's really great. And you get to read, Really, you know, moving pieces about my love of tar heel football camp experiences and e have a little contribution as well as the U S. So you you have Ah, it's a good read and incredible behind the scenes interviews like you talked in one this week from us for us. Um, Mary Kay, you are hosting next week. Ray, can you tell us about our fabulous guests next week? Yes. Our next guest next week is New York Times bestselling author and dynamo Emily Giffin. She's gonna be here telling us about her latest book. And also, I'm just gonna put it out here. We're gonna I'm gonna reveal the cover for my next summer's book. So it wasn't a e didn't tell you that? Yeah. Like going on last week next week. She's terrific. I know. Tons and tons of people are gonna be looking forward to that. So come come back to us next Wednesday for Emily Giffin. All right? And last but not least, Patty, can you tell us a little about our fall schedule? I can. So starting next week, we have Emily given on Sept nine. On September 16th, I'll be hosting our dear friend Signee Pike for the second book in her lost Queen Siri's. I am so excited to talk about this book September 23rd. It's the five of us and will be talking about I'm sure something scintillating relating 27th is Christina Lauren. September 30th is Kathy writes October 7th is Lian Dolan, and she was the author of The Sweeney Sisters, which is a book we all just adored. October 14th is Charlene Harris. October 21st is Our Beloved, Elizabeth Berg, October 28th. Once again, it's the five of us. November 1st is Viola Shipman. November 4th. We're thrilled to have Brit Bennett's November 11th is Caroline Leavitt. November 18th is J. T. Ellison and Hank Phillippi Ryan, and that is about it until we start our winter schedule. So we're really excited in it off. You kicked off our fall calendar e you're gonna be a hard act to follow E. Well, I know I speak for all of us. And for all of the listeners, we're so grateful that you were here tonight. I was so excited that you said yes and that you would come on. And now I cannot wait Toe come right up down the road and see you way need to take a road trip A road trip to books and veins. Yeah, please do. That would be so amazing. I would have so much fun. I feel like we would never stop talking about books and writing. It would just be so e, you know,...

...honestly stuff. It really was hard to stop talking Thio. So I would love to continuous conversation e was such an honor to be here. Thank you so much for extending the invitation. And you guys seem like you have so many amazing new authors. I can't wait toe tune in tow, watch Bennett to watch so many other authors talk about their books. And I'm just so honored that you considered me to be one of them. Thank you so much for having a You were wonderful. Thank you. Well, reader friends, thank you, as always for being here with us. We're here because of you. And we love each and every one of you. Don't forget to support this week's independent bookstore, Quail Ridge Books. Who's offering a discount on all our new releases? And of course, a woman is no man, which, if you have not read this book, you guys do do it tonight. I mean, g o break into your library. No, I didn't just say that. Do not be Oh, from Quail Ridge tonight. Um, it's so great you. It's It's a must read. It's one of those books that you know people are going to be reading and their literature classes 30 years from now. And you're gonna have once said that you read it right when it came out. So maybe you'll be leading your own book. Yeah, s so weird thing. That's such a good ploy for bug sales, though, like, oh, number one on the syllabus is a woman has been there. All right, But until next time, don't forget to join us all week long right here in our friends and fiction Facebook group and sign up for our newsletter with X exclusive content. Goodnight, everybody. Thanks. Everyone thought by you by. Oh, my God, She was so amazing. E want to go talk to her? I think we should all go. That conversation was just scraping the beginning. I e I feel smarter having talking e I actually I hope it actually translates into, like like raise for May, right? Well, e I mean this very sincerely, but I think you know, during all of this, especially when you know, we all have those days were like, this is so terrible and everything's falling apart. And then you read a book like this and you're like, No, come on like, yeah, well, it's It's fine. I mean it, really. It just changes your perspective about everything. You know, Christie, the question that I wanted to ask, but I didn't because I didn't think we didn't have the time, was she was writing about an ethnic experience and I that whole question of diversity and who writes Who dares to write that other? The other voice. That's a conversation that is a tough one. I know we've all been talking about it, but I'd love to hear what she had to say about that. Yeah, that would be really interesting to hear. Like from her point of view, you know who who can take on that story? She could, obviously, because it was her story to tell. So, um yeah, but she was a great I'm just astounded. I keep saying it. I'm astounded at her courage. We all grew up with no differing expectations in our lives. And I mean, we feel brave because we break out it just like these little expectations that people have the courage and the deep seated, Um Bryant be able to completely break free is an annihilation. It's astounding, and it just it makes you want to sit down with her and ask her, Tell me how like, what was it inside of you that was able to do that? You know some of it. But what I find so fascinating about that, though, is it's almost that she didn't realize that she had the capacity to do it until she wrote it on the page. I mean, I think that's fascinating. She she dug deep and she got those words out of her. And then those words changed her. That z it's It's extraordinary. I mean, the power of the power of books not just to reach readers, but Thio impact the writer's life do. It's amazing, but it does make me curious what her next book is, because from the from that response to that one question about her family, she's obviously still having to be brave, right? Yeah, yeah, we talked about the outpouring of letters from from readers who are facing a similar um situation and and probably facing what she did, which was becoming a...

...pariah to her family to her culture. Uh, and you know, she's in Rocky Mount a long way from Brooklyn, where her family waas. I wonder what that was like going from Brooklyn as a 19 year old to a rural, conservative Christian place. Um, like Rocky Mountain, North Carolina. So pretty undescribable where you talk to her about E. Resisted the urge to do this while she was on the screen. But I have to read this to you guys because it's so amazing. And I think that all of our viewers need to hear it and especially are aspiring writers, because it just it was one of those things that I was like circling, circling, circling, she said. Too often, being happy means being passive or playing it safe. There's no skill required and happiness, no strength of character, nothing extraordinary. It's discontent that drives creation the most passion, desire, defiance. Revolutions don't come from a place of happiness. If anything, I think it's sad. This or discontent, at least that's the root of everything. Beautiful. Wow, E that thought that Zwah Doug, that's amazing. E. I want her autograph for the book. So I brought up the idea that we really should have book plates. Eso Doesn't everyone want the autographs of our authors? Way great about the future. Yeah, I've got autograph on that book. We'll put it on the list. I think it was great. You a wonderful job. Thank you. Thanks. Well, thank you all. Thank you, everybody. It was so fun to get to have her. I'm so glad that she came on. It was wonderful to see you next Sunday night. Yeah, See you next. I'm sure we won't talk between now and then. E o e. I'll see you all at 6:45 a.m. E. You've been listening to the friends and Fiction podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the friends and fiction podcast wherever you listen. And if you're enjoying it, leave a review. You can find the friends and fiction authors at w w w dot friends and fiction dot com A swell. As on the Facebook group page. Friends and fiction come back soon. Okay. There are still lots of books, writing tips, interviews, publishing views and bookstores to chat about Goodbye.

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