Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode 5 · 1 year ago

The Fab Five Update

ABOUT THIS EPISODE The Friends & Fiction authors update each other and the audience about where they are in their writing processes and offer their favorite writing tips and latest reads.

Welcome to friends and fiction. Fivebest selling authors endless stories. Friends and fiction is a podcast with five bestselling novelists whose common love of reading writing in independent bookstores bound them together.With chats, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing, thesefriends discuss the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the artof storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world,you're in the right place. Best Selling Novelists Mary K Andrews, Christen Harmel, Christy Woodson Harvey, Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Monroe are fivelongtime friends with more than eighty published books to their credit. At the startof the pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk abouttheir books, your favorite bookstores, writing, reading and publishing in this new,unchartered territory. They're still talking and they've added fascinating discussions with other bestselling novelists. So joined them live on their friends and fiction facebook group pageevery Wednesday at seven P M Eastern, or listen in view later at yourleisure. Hi Everybody, welcome to your friends and fiction. We are fivewriters and friends whose common love of reading, writing and independent bookstores finds us together. Every week we come together to chat with each other and all ofyou and to support our independent book stores. We're so glad that you're here.I'm Christy Woodson Harvey. I'm going to be your host tonight and mylatest novel is feels like falling. I am Patty Callahan Henry and my latestnovel is becoming Mrs Louis. I'm Mary Alice Monroe and my recent book ison Ocean Boulevard. Is it my turn? Yeah, I'm very K Andrews andI'm perpetually confused. We all are. Yeah, my latest novel is mostsummer. I'm Christen Hermel. My latest is the book of last names, and this is friends in fiction. As you all there, our mainmission is to support independent book stores and tonight we are so thrilled to bepartnering with one of our favorites, Anderson's book shop. So you can goon our facebook page and our website, www dot friends and fictioncom and you'llfind a central link to Anderson's that has all of our new releases and onespot which is super, super so I missed everyone so much last week.I didn't get to meet her. It was so sad. I know you'llhad the best time with Lisa that was so jealous the whole time and Ithink you'll talk about this a little bit last week, but I thought itwould be fun, since I missed it, talk about it again. We havebeen getting together at an ungodly early hour of forty five am, butI know isn't really early, but in the summer it's a little early rightto do writing sprints, and so I know everyone kind of gets the conceptof that, that were all up early and we're writing sort of at thesame time. But what I thought would be neat is I feel like we'reall at a little bit of a different process at our books and what we'reworking on during those writing sprints. They thought it would be really cool totell everyone sort of what we're working on. So, Paddy, do you wantto start us off? So when we first started the sprints, Iwas working on finishing up a lot of the back end stuff for my novelthat comes out in March. It's called surviving savanna. It's another historical novel. It's based on the real true story of a shipwreck that happened with allthe elite of Savannah. We'll talk loads more about it in the coming months, but I was working a lot on the back end stuff for that.You know, the author note, the discussion questions. But then I decidedto do something I've never done before and it has been really fun. Idecided, or I signed up or agreed, to write an audible original on FlorenceNightingale. So cool, I know, and I had done a load ofresearch on her because I'm a nurse and when I was in London.When we ever going to be able to go to London again? Anybody?MMMA? Anyway, I went to her museum and just became really fascinated byher story. So that is what I've been sprinting with every morning that we'vebeen writing. That's amazing, I'm very honest. What about you? It'sbeen a journey unlike any other, because I usually when I prepare for anovel, I'm in the water with the animals and it just sort of hisorganic to that. So I am really intrigued by what's going on with ourfamilies right now as we go through this pandemic, and I think there's beena lot of interesting changes and there's been a discussion of do you want toread about it next year? So I don't want to write about covid ninety, but I do want to I'm fascinated with what's going on with families.So I am writing a story and I... know, I got to bigadmit I was sort of dragging my left foot, as many people were goingthrough April and what's going on with life in general. Think friends and fictionssaved me. It really did, you know, having us all and gettingthis going, and I was really getting to the point a couple weeks justrecently, where I thought, you know, maybe I should just dump this,listening to people say I threw it all away and I started a newbook and I was thinking about it and then just this last week I hadthis breakthrough and I know what I want to work on. It's it isgoing to be a continuation of the Beach House series and probably the last oneI'll write for a little while. But I you know, there's a reallycool thing about crab bank, which is a very special spot outside Shim Weekon the harbor of Charleston, and we've watched it just virtually disappear over andit was the one of the largest Pelican nesting sites in the United States andAmerican oyster catchers and red nuts, and so the problem is that, betweenrising water and wakes of the big cargo ships going through, it's disappearing.And how cool is it that there's been a huge effort to rebuild it andto Real, you know, get it construction? And I'm like yes,I found and I can bite my teeth into I know the parallels. Sonow I'm excited and I've finished my synopsis and reorganized it today sent it off. So girls, Buck your seat belts. I type fast to I'm going fortwo thou words tomorrow. Yeah, I'll tell you all this just incase y'all are, like they seem tired tonight. We actually just taped anotherepisode of friends and fection before this just to have just okay, I meanyou should have said that, but I did. So it's too our writings. Friends said, I've been in that like really beginning first hundred pages ofa novel and I try to write two thousand words today and I'm just likein it, I'm excited and it just like I'm going into they were laughingand I said, well, I can write two thousand words that fast becauseI can type really fast. Christen, what are you working on? Well, well, you've been writing your two thousand words a day. I've beenlike leafing through. I mean that like the facts I share with you guysevery morning. You must be like wet Larry with you mark, it's sofast. So I'm writing another World War Two novel. My last few havebeen set in World War Two France, which I'm very comfortable with, butI had this idea a few months ago for doing something set further east,in Poland, in the forests of Poland. And I'm sort of at this pointnow where my writing every day is slowed down a little bit by theneed to, for example, research. How do you ice fish in thewinter through a frozen pond when you don't have a fishing pole, so like, and you really can't just google that. I mean that's if anyone knows howto Google that, because let me know. It'll help me. ButI have all these like survival manuals and I have a huge guide to theactual forest where this takes place. So that has been helping me. Butyes, every morning, while Christie blazes along with her two thousand words andthen right, I'm done with my twomo. I'm like, I know how toice fish in the winter without a flushing pole. That's where I am. All right, that's going to come in a lot handier than my typingskills if we ever in our survive this. Could you right? I want tobe with you, Christen. Oh my goodness, I'm Mary Kay.What about you? I think I'm in the same place as you, ChrisDay. I just Friday set my editor and age at the first hundred pagesof my novel for next summer. And Yeah, and so I'm physically inAtlanta. Last week I was physically on tidy island. I'm physically in Atlanta, but my the my head is in the world of the book, whichis in a mom and pop motel on the Florida Gulf coast and it's calledthe murmuring Surf I love it. Character is on the run from the lawand so I'm trying to figure out, well, do you have to havea credit card to buy an iphone? Do you have how much information doyou have to give them? So I I hope law enforcement does not comeover here and say Google, search history, because it's it's pretty scary. Ibet you would be in big trouble if they ever investigated what you've beenresearching. Yeah, Cathy, I was researching the other day how to killa man with your bare hands, so they might call dare researching crab bankedturtles. More, I'm okay. I'm researching how they proposed in seventeen,forty two or something. I want to...

...know. That very interesting. Allowtell you want to find out. Well, this is just a little reminder toeveryone who's watching that Anderson's bookshop is our bookseller of the week and italso want to remind everyone that we are going to be answering your questions livein just a few minutes. So if you have a question for us,please get it in because we would love to answer it. And I thoughtwould be kind of fun if we had an episode tonight, since it's justus, we don't have a special guest, if we answered questions are a littlebit more personal than we normally do, a little less about writing, alittle more about us. And so a ton of you guys submitted yourquestions into the facebook group this week. It was amazing to see all ofyour incredible questions. I wish we could have answered them all, but Ipicked just a few and the first one is from the Bete Zay Jack.I'm sorry, I know I'm saying that wrong, Bebette, but I apologize. But she said that she missed the first three or four Wednesday night meetingsand she wanted to know just a little bit more about us. She wasn'tsure, like who's married, who has children? Do we have pets?And so I just thought, you know, when we started this we had afew hundred members and now our over nine thousand. So there might besome of us, some people out there who really don't know that much aboutus and it might be kind of fun to just give them a little bitof background. So, Christians, you want to start with that one.They're just a little bit about me, just like are you? Yeah,she just wanted to know who's married, who has children and if you havepets. I do not have any pets right now. I have a fouryear old a three old son, and that I shouldn't have balanced those thesame things. Like Pup Lot, I feed him at the table rather thana get a bowl on the floor. It's all good. No, Is I have a four year old then and a husband named Jason and Ilive in Orlando, Florida, where apparently the coronavirus appears to be on therise everywhere here, so that's not good. But yeah, that's me awesome.May Tell you what about you? I am married to my high schoolsweetheart forty three years. I sometimes refer to him as my starter husband.We've been changed that to finish husband after four years. Yeah, he's mypractice husband. We have two grown kids and two grandchildren who live right aroundthe corner, and three unruly English setters. Yeah, realice. What about you? I was married very young to I was a thunderbolt kind of asituation. What can you do? And we've been married forty, I won'tsay a lot. And my husband's a psychiatrist, of child psychiatrist, sohe's actually very handy when I comes to creating my character sketches. If there'sever something I need to know about us, you know who has a personality tosort or something, he can help me out. I've s beautiful kidsand two girls and a boy and they're all well. All supposed to bemarried. One wedding was canceled this summer, so we have our fingers crossed andthat will happen soon. And I have, can you believe it's,six gorgeous grandchildren and, like Mary Kay, three dogs and Canaries, and Iwould have many more if my husband didn't threaten to leave me if Ihad any more. Martin is not going anywhere. No, I don't thinkso. With curdle and put it in the middle of the living room andGROB grumble. After he made you dinner, he'd grown, after he made mejust he does. I think he's made dinner for almost everyone here.Y'All. Have Two comments. Under make his pizza for you, all right. I Mad I am Patty and my husband's name is pat and that's notwhy I married him that. We're PAT and Patty and we have three kids. Megan is twenty seven, and then have a twenty five year old sonnamed Thomas and a twenty two year old son named Rusk, and I'm agrandmother. Megan is married to Evan and they have a little beautiful baby girlthat I haven't seen in almost seven months because of covid mean I see herevery day in the bone but I don't get to see I haven't seen themin person because right now they live in Hawaii. So, yeah, Ilive in Birmingham, Alabama, and that's who I am. And you havea Winnie. Oh, how could I forget Whinnie? You have a springerSpaniel named Winnie who's literally and everybody can argue about their cute dogs. Whatever. He is the best. Yeah, yours is the true keuts. Soall, I am Christie and I am like Mary Alice. I was veryyoung when I got married and I have been married for twelve years to myhusband will. That right, almost thirteen.

Know, you you forget the numberof well, yeah, thirteen, and we have a son, will, who's eight, and I named them the same thing because I was sotired of coming up with character names that I just now. But everyone gaveme such a hard time. They were like, well, don't call it. I mean you can name Him William, but call it something else. Don'tcall him will, and I was like, I've always wanted to growup and have a little wool and will, and I'm sorry, if everyone isso offended, then my son and husband are going to have the samename. But here we are. I mean pat and Patty have made itwork for all these years, but they'll will you say will one will too. I mean fortunately, have become big will, a little will, Iguess I'm wanting. Everyone calls the big will and little will, and Ithink I mean my cousin. I have a cousin Raymond and Uncle Raymond,and my cousin Raymond is, you know, thirty seven and six three and he'sstill a little Raymond. So it just unfortunately, is what it is. But it's just one of my favorite names, so it's okay. Ido not have any pets right now. I wish more than anything that wehave gotten a puppy at the beginning of the whole quarantine situation, because Iwould have been like the best time to, you know, train it and allthese things, but we didn't say but we probably a Christy. Youlost your chance. I had some good letters. They're all winners. Nexttime. I'm done. I'm done reading. So my I retired, my bitch. That's what I'm waiting for Marcus to say. Hennessey wanted to know, as authors, how do you or did you find time to do orbe your other person as mother's wives, homekeepers, etc. And give yourselfself care, because you all look like you have your stuff together. Shedidn't say stuff, but I'm not going to say. What do you do? That's solid thing. I'm censoring because it all welcome. Hear me.I'm very hate you want to start us off with that one. I haveno idea how any of them. I don't do it very well. Itend to be lopsided. I'll be all writing and ignore family and house andall kinds of life, and then I rush to catch up and I don'twrite. Lately, you know, we've talked about we've been doing these writingsprints in the morning and that's really been a lifesaver. But I've sort ofgo from panic to calm, and I guess that's always how I've done it. And I will say my husband is great. He pitches in on everything. He always has, so I'm lucky in that regard. Yeah, yeah, awesome about you. Oh Gosh, I'm also really lucky in my husband, though, for the first several years, while his career was all encompassing,I pretty much with the Japanese. There's the word I've done that sumup, which is oh, great master, which is what I he was.He reigned, every decision he made was what we did, because hewas the breadwinner, but it's nice to see a reversal of roles now thathe's retired and I'm not a breadwinner for him, but he's there to supportme the way I did him all those years. So I work really hard. As far as how do I good jeans, what can I say?Good Jeans, thanks Mama, and and good makeup. They don't underestimate thevalue of good makeup. You. We clean up and what like. LikeMary Kay I, when I'm on a writing mode, which I'm getting intonow, I'll go for days without really attentive personal hygiene and without getting dressed. And he does all the cooking and shopping. And this is always beenthe way when I have to write really hard, really fast, and youit's not good for your health, though. How we maintain this, I don'tknow, because I abuse this body with this career, I really do, and it's just very intense all night sometimes, and then I stopped andblown out, literally blown out. Well, and usually we're all traveling. Imean we're not right now to or now, usually we're all you know, it's sort of having that part of our lives too. So what aboutyou, Christen? You have a youngest child so well. First of all, the banks had the wrinkles. So I don't really have it together.I'm just I just disguise everything. Well, lets do you notice I'm sitting faraway and it's, you know, you can't be whatever, all thetoll of the writing in the hours on my face. I think I'm alittle bit different in that when I started writing Noll was just be I didn'tget married two thousand and fourteen and I did and my son until two thousandand sixteen. So getting married in two thousand and fourteen change my writing lifein that I had a supportive partner,...

...which, you know, I hadkind of just gone it alone for a long time, like sitting in myown Pondo all by myself, you know, affecting with other writers, bouncing ideasoff of friends. But there is really something to having a supportive partnerthat, as you all sounds like, learned before I did. So that'sbeen wonderful. But I really did go through, I think, kind ofan identity crisis after I have my son in two thousand and sixteen, becauseI was used to being, you know, I'm kristen first and foremost a writer, like that's what I had been doing for years and then suddenly itwas I had to be Christen first and foremost a mom, which is,you know, I think, the most important job, at least an mylife. So that was kind of a recalibrating of figuring out who I am, who I want to be and how to balance my time. I stillhaven't totally figured it out, you know what, I think I'm a workin progress. I think we probably all are. I don't probably put enoughof myself into any of the areas of my life. But truly, thesewriting sprints we've been doing in the morning, I know we keep bringing that up. It's made a world of difference for me because I can dedicate myselfto that in the morning when that's just my writing time, and then therest of the day I can be the me that everybody else needs me tobe. So that's the best balance I found so far. MMM, howdo you go, first of all, to answer how do we have ourstuff together? We don't, and I think it. I think it's adisservice to women to pretend that we do. Yeah, we're brazzled and and we'redoing the best we can and we're running to the camera at the lastminute and all we're in yoga pants. Yeah, we're down the kids,yeah, and only the front of my hair is brush not the back.I think this, this balance question bring I struggled with a lot in thebeginning and it's something I've realized that the balance has to come in an overallnot in a day to day. We were days, like we talked about, where I don't, I can't write all night. I've never been ableto do that. I don't blow myself out that way. But there aredays that you know the writing and the work. There are weeks when thewriting in the work takes precedent, whether you're on book tour or late ondeadline, and then there's a swap of time where you know the families togetherand things are together. But when I first started writing, in the verybeginning, I wrote from thirty to thirty in the morning. For years.I had a one year old, a four year old and a six yearold, and so that is how I got my writing done and that iswhere I learned to block off enough time that this one thing that means thismuch to me, I'm not going to give it up, but if Ihave to put it in a pocket I will now, of course, isthe kids get older and they leave, you don't have to pocket it somuch. But I think the balance and making it look like we have ittogether when we don't, is this service, because there is greas thing is realbalance. It's you know, I agree. I agree wholeheartedly and Ithink what made when I was listening to it made me realize that in fact, there are two phases, two careers as well. You know, there'sthe young children at home phase where you've got to turn off the computer andyou create that time. That is a blood or fire. If not goaway, but then, and for years you do, but you can andyou're constantly running. That's why young mothers tend to be so thin. They'reconstantly working. But it's nice. I'm at an age now where I don'thave anybody to take care of, so you can be a bit self indulgentand it's just another phase. So bottom line is it, ever, iseasy and you just have to find a way to make it work for you. Yeah, and I think Mary Kay, I think everyone is sort of hiton this. This is why we found each other. This is sostrangeful. I have always said my life is a series of Benges, likeI'm writing or I'm editing, or then it's like, oh my gosh,I have to do every single client contract for design cheek and the next fourdays because I haven't done in six months, or like I'm on tour for sixweeks. I mean, we all I'm speaking for all of us,you know, and I do think it it's like that. It's like sometimesit's unusually summer for me is slower because will time and I try to likejust be with him, but because, you know, they haven't been inschool since, you know, March. I mean it's I think the summer'sgoing to look a little bit different because it's not like I'm like, okay, well, I've I've been full time Mama since March. I've got tolike get my writing Downe. And get my next book. So everything hasbeen a little bit different. But I also have an incredibly amazingly supportive husband, which I kind of think you have to have, especially on the youknow, being gone a lot and, you know, having this other partof your life where you know they have to take on a ton of responsibility, and I think that's really a gift, because not everyone has that. Idon't think. And I have great parents to WHO I made my firstbook to our like will was three and I didn't want to leave him.So they packed up and will and mom and dad and I went on theroad for a month and big will met us on the weekend. It wascrazy awesome. Okay, amazing parents,...

...but it's amazing. I don't knowwhat could say. I could say I do that for it's pretty amazing.It's pretty right with your parents mind coming on. My next book tour Wasake. That's a good deal. Little Boys, like they know they're like realis.Would just like slide right it. Or maybe we could go on likea joint book tour and they could. I think we really should. Ithink I just schedule our books to come out like yeah, and then takeit up up a van and I like it. Let's do it rap arounda bus. Yeah, you know what, the day, big friends, Ireally want to do that. Now they're excited. Okay, so wehave so many questions coming in from readers, but this is actually just so onthe heels of what we were just talking about and sort of guys,with our more personal question themes tonight. Sandy Meredith wants to know like howand where we met our spouses. WHO. Okay, Mary Alice, you wantto take that one. Sorry, I just take a some of yourwife. It's like, sorry, I'm gonna date myself. Was a fonddue party. M Love Fond just even though it was only nineteen. Ijust broken up with someone. He was getting too serious and I didn't wantto go to a party and my brother was visiting and he wanted to meetgirls. I was working at the Cyclopedia PA CHATICA and somebody, you know, mutual friend. It was freezing cold February night in Chicago. There's akind of go out sighing your nostril hares phrase, and we went to thisbond party and I walked in and there's all these kind of suit types overthere and I saw standing because the wall, this guy. You looked exactly likea young Johnny Depp, only his hair was about as long as your's, Christie, gorgeous black and and like a Maroon Velvety. You love itfirst sight and looked at him and I and we both looked at each otherand it was truly, oh no, I'm not ready for this. Itwas a true thunderbolt and we were married in six months. That's amazing.Wow. Yeah, yeah, he was meant to be, but you know, the hardest thing about getting older as he lost all that gorgeous hair.I'm sure we've lost some things too. No, nopeadis is what I shouldsay. Yeah, how do you guy? I met Pat in college, butwe didn't Dayton college. And what's weird, as I don't actually,and I don't think he does either, remembers like the moment we met.There was we just had mutual friends and would be at the same parties,in the same gap rings and knew each other, knew knew each other's names. And then we moved to Atlanta and he went to graduate school at Emeryand I was working at Eggleston Children's hospital, which is emery's Children's hospital. Sowe were both in Atlanta and we both knew each other and had mutualfriends. So we all started hanging out and I told him just face it, we're only going to be friends. So well, five years and threechildren and one grandchild ago, we're still and aw them. We gotta lastlaugh. Mary Kay, what about you? We were high school sweetheart, butwe weren't. We were friends first and I remember we had the sametyping class and I sat in front of him on typing class and I usedto floor with them just to embarrass him because he didn't date a lot.He was studios, he was a Jock, and so my favorite thing to doto him was take my toe and pull down his sock. Romantic.I remember that. Even just turned beet red and tell me to cut itout. You still't do that. have to do it tonight. Remembers.He's retired, he's not wearing socks, he's barely champ. You know,high school graduates. We were bet friends high school graduation weekend. Everybody elsewas doing something and he was over at my house and we said, well, let's go to the drive in movie because that was a big thing inhigh school, and so we took my mom station wagon, we popped abag of popcorn and I think we took a leader bottle of coke and mymom's car and I think I'd paid my own way and Um, we wereseeing we were watching John Wayne the cowboys. That's how long ago it was,and at some point he leaned over and kissed me and the rest ishistory. Wow, so I've known Jason for a long time. One ofmy first friends in Orlando was a girl...

...named Wendy and one of my goodcollege friends was a guy named Chad, and they both worked with Jason andboth of them, I think it was my two thousand and eight book,the Artifnch Kissing, not a not a real hate you guy, they bothindividually were coming to my book Release Party in Orlando and they both individually saidto Jason, Oh, you should come to this book release Party and hewas like, who is this person that everyone keeps mention today? So hecame and we get along rate and I mean it was one of those therewas definitely chemistry from the beginning, but I think he was just getting outof a long relationship or was in the midst of something complicated. I mayor may not have been dating someone. So we knew each other for years, but if the timing was always off, he was always with somebody or Iwas always with somebody. We always were greatest friends. We get along. It was never really a thought, though. Mary Kay is just outragedby my answer. She's like, yeah, I'm leaving no Christ and I thinkyou for you. I think you need to think a minute. Thebook you wrote was the art of French kissing. Might have been why hecame and he's still trying to figure out. When do I get to learn that? I don't know anyone. I should think so. We we're friendsfor years and then he was finally getting out of a really long term relationshipand he said to chat and Wendy, what do you think about me askingKristin out? And they both said not right away. She can't be yourrebound. We feel like this could be it. And so I think theygave him like a sixty day. I remember right. It was six.They told him sixty days and he said, okay, I'm going to respect that. Sixty days and I think it was like day fifty seven, heasked me. Yeah, so, Yep, we've been to I knew from thevery first time, the very first time he reached for my hand underthe table, I was like this is the guy. Is like gives mechills. My story is actually like weirdly similar to Marialis, except without theJohnny Depp Aar and the Vernaypin up. Marie answer was that it was different. I had a huge exam the next day and I was like absolutely notgoing out and it was one of my friends twenty one birthdays. It wasa Wednesday night, which in Chapel Hill there's no one out on Wednesday night, and my friends kept calling me and they were like what if it wasyour twenty one birthday, you would want everyone to come out for you,basically just guilting me into going out, and I was so irritated and Ilike barely even got ready. I did not even look cute. And wewere all at this restaurant and it was completely empty. We were like sittingaround a big table and this group of guys came walking in and I lookedat well and he looked at me and I was like and I turned aroundto my friends, were all the table and I was like, I'm goingto marry him, no way. So father member. The moment, wow, it wasn't like it was. It was just very clear. But Ialways knew from the time I was like a tiny child. You know peoplewould do. Well, how do you know when you fall in love,or how do you want is the right person? And I would always like, I always knew that I would see the person I was going to marryand I would know it and it was like the weirdest thing because it happenedand I was like, Oh, Mary is, like it was like verycalm, and when of my friends was like, well, who is he, and I was like, Oh, I don't know. You're like,well, I want to meet him if you're going to get married, andthey made so much fun of me and then, you know, here youare. That's amazing. It's you, and I believe in the thunderbolt.I think it doesn't happen all the time, but when it happens, I absolutelybelieve it. Yeah, or the thunder kiss from Mary K. Yeah, under then, nurse though. Cool you. That's so cute, though, because, like, you can just imagine like that boy being so embarrassed, like love the Januarine Kiss. Um. So, my I'm gonna have areally short answer to this question. I'm Janis sister. Wants to knowwhat musical talent we each have, and I had done so I them out. Next, none, not like being good music. That is my musicaltalent. Christen, I played the drums in high school, so I wasa drummer. I'm not I'm not going to say I was talented, butchick are you? Well, I was either at our band ORC because Imissed up the DUN player, Missica exactly. I did once play a big drumsolo in my high school and the Miss Northeast High School pageant. Sojust so you know, I came in seconds. So clearly my drumming tookme to the top. I always love music and when my family, myfather wasn't really, and I'm not just saying a concert level pianist, reallywas. So I played the piano very well when I'm since I can rememberI played the piano and in high school I played the French Horn in theorchestra and then afterwards when I was studying Japanese, there's that beautiful Ohkot whichis that long Japanese six foot instrument on the floor. We have to sitwith your lake your legs fall asleep while you're playing going and I played that. And now I'm sort of exciting because...

I don't have up here any instruments. So I bought the Dulcimer because when I was in Patty Henry we wereup in where was that new big canoe and all those people had those dulcimersand I played a couple and all these years I've been wanting to play it, so I bought one and I'm going to teach myself the Dulcimer. SoI love musical instruments. Awesome. But about you, marry Kay, Ihave zero musical talent, but if I do have a talent at all,it is remembering the words to a lot of Broadway show tune. Yeah,I do too. Broadway just me saw songs in general, like just songsin general, and it will be things and I'm like, I remember thatfrom, you know, one thousand nine hundred and ninety one. Every wordand I'm like why? Why? But I can't remember, like my nextdoor neighbors. Yes, yes, yes, everything else is going but the name, but the words of some weird okay, I'm getting us off schedule, but I have to ask this one more question and while answer really quickly, but I think it's so funny that we can't not answer it. SoShelley McDonald monny wants to know. Do your kids, are families, thinkyou are famous or just women with normal jobs, even though y'all are bestselling authors and we all regard you as our famous friends. Okay, mygrandkids think I'm famous only because they take books to school for their teachers tokind of up to them. Yeah, so that's what my grandkids to themI'm semi famous because they can give books of blue teachers and they and theyget brownie points. That's same here my kids, especially when they were inhigh school, they would always take my Spanish copies to their Spanish teacher togo off think it got them extra credit, and then take my books to theirEnglish teacher. But I don't think any of them have ever considered meany I mean they care more if their baseball pants were clean then if youknow, I don't. I think the first time, especially Thomas, eversaw me give a speech, like a big talk, I think the itwas. It was in Charleston. It was a couple of years ago.I think he had a little bit of a takeback moment like well, waita minute, it's not just my mom and her yoga clothes of the plentytalent up overhead typing till the way out, like it's so now I don't thinkthey accept like Mary Kate said, you know, we give their teachersbooks and try and get some extra credit. I remember with most of my kidsto they didn't really care or get any indication that I had. Theyknew I was a writer and that's about it. But it wasn't until allthese years later. They're all out of the house, but everyone flew intoViewford, South Carolina, when I was inducted into the hall of fame andthey saw that and I saw them with tears in their eyes and as amother at this point in my life, it really that was a moment.I mean it was the first time they actually thought, wow, maybe sheis something more than just mom and it was. It was a moment andmy I remember my grandson was in the bookstore. You took a picture,sure, because they sent it to me. He saw my book in a Bookstoreand I think a light went off and he's thinking jk rowling and he'sgoing, so Mombo, how rich are you? I just say, Oh, honey, I am JK Rowley. I'm so sorry, you just supportedyou, but he has what he thought authors are, and I think alot of people think that too. Yeah, you know you must be rich becauseyou're an author, but of course we know that's not true. I'mrich. I don't know what you're dumb setting. I was in target abouta year ago maybe a year and a half ago when the room and Rumamiliewas their book club pick of the month and my face is on. Iwas doing an interview on that big Spain in the back, which is justas you know, Mary Ky know you saw yours recently. It's just sucha cool, thrilling thing and I was with my son Noah, and helooked up at the screen and I was like no, look, it's mommy. I was so thrilled and he was like yeah, can I get apaw patrol toy? So it would like just cut me right down to size. And on my husband's side of a family we have an NHL hockey playerand plays for the New York Rangers. He's my husband's cousin, and soif there's ever any doubt as to like where I fall in the family,it's definitely like, let many levels beneath the NHL player, because there's there'sno jersey that. There's Christen Harmel in the back. True, make youa jersey, I will take it, because I please have one. Whatnumber lunch? One, like number one, number one. Okay, as wediscussed recently, my hip hop name is Christian twelve. So if youcould just write well on the back. Yeah, so much smarter. Iforgot about that. You're absolutely right.

I think my husband and my dadboth have a very like overinflated sense of day of my fame, like DearCarolina came out and there were like eleven copies in the world and they werelike telling everyone, and my son is like what I mean, she's okay, but yeah, when we take the books to school and his teachers werelike, can I get a copy of your mom's Tex book, like,I think keepink set's really cool, but I'll never forget him being like who'sprobably no, is it? She's probably like for and I was in amagazine, not even remember what it was, but people would just come up tome and say, oh my gosh, I saw you, that was sucha great an article or whatever, and are both magazine here where Ilive had just done a feature on little will and he was like the coverof the magazine and he was in a tree. And so every time someonecome up to me and be like Oh, that was such a great article,he would be like, well, I was on the cover of amagazine's but it like comes and goes. Like he said, if he goesand here's me speak or something, I think he'll be like wow, likethese people came to seeing you, you know. But it's so funny though. But yeah, I think famous is a big word. But but itis definitely like a different you know, it is different than when we wereourselves at home and not putting ourselves out in public, you know. Toknow, honestly, I don't think authors are famous like a TV star ora movie star. I mean, they don't see our face and for themost part, no, I don't feel famous. I just if I wasa movie star, maybe, but not. Yeah, but it's like the perfectcombination, I think, because you can go to these places and havepeople like say Nice things about you and your books are every now and thensomeone to like come up to you somewhere randomly, you know, but you'renot like you can like leave your house. We know. I mean, unfortunately, when they see me and target they're kind of like that, becausethat's face that we don't always put the makeup on when we go to target. But I love that question so much and I thought y'all would get akick a great question. Okay, so we always take time at the endof our episodes to get a writing tip, and so tonight, Mary Alice,is your turn. Could you please give us a quick writing tip?This is going to be really short. I think it's really important and drivingforce of any character driven novel is how you flesh out your characters and Ihave a couple really quick pointers that I think helped me, and one isyou really got to know the back history. Just don't say I'm going to writethe book and it I'll figure out who these people are. These arecharacters, are more than people who have a job to do. To carryout the novel, they have to be fully flashed out. So you needto know their backstory. Do they have a trauma? Where they what wastheir childhood like? Where did they go to school? Okay, know them. What is their psychology? Body movements. Every person you know has a wayof by the holding themselves or some people pitch their nose a lot,or sometimes a little tick can make a big difference. Sometimes a little tickor someone who gets nervous scratches their head, something that is a defining movement abouta person, or a nervous laugh. I love even the way they talk. If I didn't nervous time. If they do it consistently, thatadds to the character. Also, you really gotta see them, and onetrick that I have is I like to create a movie star or an actor, someone I can see that is an amalgam of what I'm like. AKRA was Andy McDonald back when I wrote her, and I look at themovies because actors have distinct movements and so you can look at how they moveto give you a fresh idea to that act your character, not like someoneyou've written at nauseum before. And the last thing is names. Names canadd a lot. My name is indigomno Montoya. You get my father preparedto die. I mean, what a great name. So sometimes choosing theright name for a character, atticus, that name will go down always asthe great father. And so those on little tips that I have to giveyou to make you realize, flesh out your characters, know who they are. No, if they go to Walmart, what are they going to put inthe cart? That's wonderful. Thank you, Mary Alice and I we, as you know, we always like to give some recommendations of what we'rereading and what we're loving lately, and Kristen, I think you had acouple things you want to tell us about that you've really enjoyed. You know. I wanted to mention too, because there are at different ends of thespectrum. So after the end, this is actually the British version of it, after the end, by Claire Macintosh, and head over heels, I knowmy lights kind of shining on it, by Hannah or in Dain. I'llput these up on the friends and fiction page so you can see thembetter than I'm showing them now. But one of them, after the end, is by a celebrated British crime writer, but it's actually an emotional family drama. The other, head over heels,... a romantic comedy that takes placein the world of gymnastics. So they're both uplifting ultimately in different ways. So if you need a good cry, I would read after the end,and if you need a good laugh I would read head over heels.And again I'll link to both on the facebook page. There we go.Somebody. I'll have one, Maria, I do. I do. It'sa middle grade book, which is for Grades Ages Eight to twelve, andI have I'm writing one or and so I particularly reading these a lot,but this is braver, a wombat's tale, and this by Suzanne Cell Force,who's a really well known middle grade author and she wrote it with thefirst time author Walker runs up Ronson. Hope I get the pronunciation right.She's an award winning author and has a lot of books, but this oneis a fantasy adventure, sort of like red wall, and it's really,really wonderful and I think for young kids they really love it. And theother one that I want to recommend is another middle grade book called the Oneand only Bob by Catherine appligate and, as she wrote the One and onlyIvan, which I swear you need two choose when you read. It's themost brilliant middle grade book I have ever read. From the point of viewof an gorilla in a show, a cheap show, and it's beautiful andBob is, it's a segue to that Bob as a character in that book. So middle grade books, I think of fabulous and parents read them becauseyou know what your kids are reading and you get a sense you aft youcan talk to them about it. Can I just add? I also wantedto mention that the book, the first Middle Grade Book that Mary Alice mentionedI'm so happy that she mentioned it because the writer is actually the owner ofLiberty Bay books, which was the Bookstore Christen Hannah chose on June third whenshe was here with us. And so the author is not only an authorof middle grade novels, but she also owns a bookstore and she didn't buythat book store until a month before the pandemic. So she's really kind ofout there in the trenches, you know, fighting the good fight and supporting thatbook I think would be also supporting her book store. O Liberty Baybooks. Sounds wonderful, it really does. Anybody else have when they're dying toshare? I'm reading. I just finished Susan Elizabeth Phillips New Book calledDance Away with reading it too. It's so good. It's she writes thebest six scenes. Didn't know. Yeah, and and of course I'm really excitedbecause she's going to be with us with Jane and Prince On our surprisebonus episode this Sunday. We're so God you mentioned that, yes, soeveryone makes sure to join us here on the friends and fiction page. Patti, anything you want to add before we sign off? And so I'm readingthis book a lot it's called Jam Berry Daughter on facetime. But yeah,and it's tatting huge biography about this big on Florence Nightingale. But I knowI'm re reading the biography of a Patty Henry. Oh about this thing.It is called my life. I wrote it when I was twelve. Youcan publish it when I'm gone, but see, and that's all my deepestphilosophies of life in it and how I feel about things worth underlining most stuff. Oh, yes, about Sunday, I I can't wait to talk toSusan and Jane. I love that we've decided to do some bonus episodes inthat we have one on Sunday. So yes, and I think we'll bedoing them here and they're just a surprises and it's just happened to me andenormous surprise because it's too huge authors who were fans of and you know,for those of you who have trouble making our Wednesday night, maybe Sunday atfive o'clock eastern might be an easier time. Well, thank you, lady somuch. I had so much fun tonight. This was so great andthank you to all of our readers for joining us tonight as always. Youcan find us all week long on our friends and fiction facebook page, whichis facebookcom, backslash groups, backslash friends and fiction, and we'll do ourbest to answer your comments in questions. And then we're live here Wednesday nightsat seven PM. Will have a special bonus episode Sunday at five, andyou can find any of our old episodes at friends and fictioncom. One morereminder. Anderson's book shop is our featured Bookstore of the week and you canget all of our books and from one conveniently. That will be an allof our places. So thank you so much everybody, and good night.Thanks you've been listening to the friends and fiction podcast. Be Sure to subscribeto 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 wwwand fictioncom, as well as on the facebook group page friends and fiction.Come back soon. Okay, there are still lots of books, writing tips, interviews, publishing news and bookstores to... about. Goodbye,.

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