Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode 5 · 2 years 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. Five best selling authors endless stories. Friends and fiction is a podcast with five best selling 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, these friends discuss the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Best Selling Novelists Mary K Andrews, Christen Harmel, Christy Woodson Harvey, Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Monroe are five longtime friends with more than eighty published books to their credit. At the start of the pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their 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 best selling novelists. So joined them live on their friends and fiction facebook group page every Wednesday at seven P M Eastern, or listen in view later at your leisure. Hi Everybody, welcome to your friends and fiction. We are five writers 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 of you 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 my latest novel is feels like falling. I am Patty Callahan Henry and my latest novel is becoming Mrs Louis. I'm Mary Alice Monroe and my recent book is on Ocean Boulevard. Is it my turn? Yeah, I'm very K Andrews and I'm perpetually confused. We all are. Yeah, my latest novel is most summer. I'm Christen Hermel. My latest is the book of last names, and this is friends in fiction. As you all there, our main mission is to support independent book stores and tonight we are so thrilled to be partnering with one of our favorites, Anderson's book shop. So you can go on our facebook page and our website, www dot friends and fictioncom and you'll find a central link to Anderson's that has all of our new releases and one spot 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'll had the best time with Lisa that was so jealous the whole time and I think you'll talk about this a little bit last week, but I thought it would be fun, since I missed it, talk about it again. We have been getting together at an ungodly early hour of forty five am, but I know isn't really early, but in the summer it's a little early right to do writing sprints, and so I know everyone kind of gets the concept of that, that were all up early and we're writing sort of at the same time. But what I thought would be neat is I feel like we're all at a little bit of a different process at our books and what we're working on during those writing sprints. They thought it would be really cool to tell everyone sort of what we're working on. So, Paddy, do you want to start us off? So when we first started the sprints, I was working on finishing up a lot of the back end stuff for my novel that 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 all the 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 decided to do something I've never done before and it has been really fun. I decided, or I signed up or agreed, to write an audible original on Florence Nightingale. So cool, I know, and I had done a load of research 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 by her story. So that is what I've been sprinting with every morning that we've been writing. That's amazing, I'm very honest. What about you? It's been a journey unlike any other, because I usually when I prepare for a novel, I'm in the water with the animals and it just sort of his organic to that. So I am really intrigued by what's going on with our families right now as we go through this pandemic, and I think there's been a lot of interesting changes and there's been a discussion of do you want to read 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 big admit I was sort of dragging my left foot, as many people were going through April and what's going on with life in general. Think friends and fictions saved me. It really did, you know, having us all and getting this going, and I was really getting to the point a couple weeks just recently, where I thought, you know, maybe I should just dump this, listening to people say I threw it all away and I started a new book and I was thinking about it and then just this last week I had this breakthrough and I know what I want to work on. It's it is going to be a continuation of the Beach House series and probably the last one I'll write for a little while. But I you know, there's a really cool thing about crab bank, which is a very special spot outside Shim Week on the harbor of Charleston, and we've watched it just virtually disappear over and it was the one of the largest Pelican nesting sites in the United States and American oyster catchers and red nuts, and so the problem is that, between rising 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 and to Real, you know, get it construction? And I'm like yes, I found and I can bite my teeth into I know the parallels. So now 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 for two thou words tomorrow. Yeah, I'll tell you all this just in case y'all are, like they seem tired tonight. We actually just taped another episode of friends and fection before this just to have just okay, I mean you 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 of a novel and I try to write two thousand words today and I'm just like in it, I'm excited and it just like I'm going into they were laughing and I said, well, I can write two thousand words that fast because I can type really fast. Christen, what are you working on? Well, well, you've been writing your two thousand words a day. I've been like leafing through. I mean that like the facts I share with you guys every morning. You must be like wet Larry with you mark, it's so fast. So I'm writing another World War Two novel. My last few have been set in World War Two France, which I'm very comfortable with, but I 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 point now where my writing every day is slowed down a little bit by the need to, for example, research. How do you ice fish in the winter 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 how to Google that, because let me know. It'll help me. But I have all these like survival manuals and I have a huge guide to the actual forest where this takes place. So that has been helping me. But yes, every morning, while Christie blazes along with her two thousand words and then right, I'm done with my twomo. I'm like, I know how to ice 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 typing skills if we ever in our survive this. Could you right? I want to be with you, Christen. Oh my goodness, I'm Mary Kay. What about you? I think I'm in the same place as you, Chris Day. I just Friday set my editor and age at the first hundred pages of my novel for next summer. And Yeah, and so I'm physically in Atlanta. 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, which is in a mom and pop motel on the Florida Gulf coast and it's called the murmuring Surf I love it. Character is on the run from the law and so I'm trying to figure out, well, do you have to have a credit card to buy an iphone? Do you have how much information do you have to give them? So I I hope law enforcement does not come over here and say Google, search history, because it's it's pretty scary. I bet you would be in big trouble if they ever investigated what you've been researching. Yeah, Cathy, I was researching the other day how to kill a man with your bare hands, so they might call dare researching crab banked turtles. More, I'm okay. I'm researching how they proposed in seventeen, forty two or something. I want to...

...know. That very interesting. Allow tell you want to find out. Well, this is just a little reminder to everyone who's watching that Anderson's bookshop is our bookseller of the week and it also want to remind everyone that we are going to be answering your questions live in 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 thought would be kind of fun if we had an episode tonight, since it's just us, we don't have a special guest, if we answered questions are a little bit more personal than we normally do, a little less about writing, a little more about us. And so a ton of you guys submitted your questions into the facebook group this week. It was amazing to see all of your incredible questions. I wish we could have answered them all, but I picked 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 meetings and she wanted to know just a little bit more about us. She wasn't sure, like who's married, who has children? Do we have pets? And so I just thought, you know, when we started this we had a few hundred members and now our over nine thousand. So there might be some of us, some people out there who really don't know that much about us and it might be kind of fun to just give them a little bit of 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 have pets. I do not have any pets right now. I have a four year old a three old son, and that I shouldn't have balanced those the same things. Like Pup Lot, I feed him at the table rather than a get a bowl on the floor. It's all good. No, I s I have a four year old then and a husband named Jason and I live in Orlando, Florida, where apparently the coronavirus appears to be on the rise 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 school sweetheart 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 my practice husband. We have two grown kids and two grandchildren who live right around the corner, and three unruly English setters. Yeah, realice. What about you? I was married very young to I was a thunderbolt kind of a situation. What can you do? And we've been married forty, I won't say a lot. And my husband's a psychiatrist, of child psychiatrist, so he's actually very handy when I comes to creating my character sketches. If there's ever something I need to know about us, you know who has a personality to sort or something, he can help me out. I've s beautiful kids and two girls and a boy and they're all well. All supposed to be married. One wedding was canceled this summer, so we have our fingers crossed and that will happen soon. And I have, can you believe it's, six gorgeous grandchildren and, like Mary Kay, three dogs and Canaries, and I would have many more if my husband didn't threaten to leave me if I had any more. Martin is not going anywhere. No, I don't think so. With curdle and put it in the middle of the living room and GROB grumble. After he made you dinner, he'd grown, after he made me just 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 not why 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 son named Thomas and a twenty two year old son named Rusk, and I'm a grandmother. Megan is married to Evan and they have a little beautiful baby girl that I haven't seen in almost seven months because of covid mean I see her every day in the bone but I don't get to see I haven't seen them in person because right now they live in Hawaii. So, yeah, I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and that's who I am. And you have a Winnie. Oh, how could I forget Whinnie? You have a springer Spaniel named Winnie who's literally and everybody can argue about their cute dogs. Whatever. He is the best. Yeah, yours is the true keuts. So all, I am Christie and I am like Mary Alice. I was very young when I got married and I have been married for twelve years to my husband will. That right, almost thirteen.

Know, you you forget the number of well, yeah, thirteen, and we have a son, will, who's eight, and I named them the same thing because I was so tired of coming up with character names that I just now. But everyone gave me 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't call him will, and I was like, I've always wanted to grow up and have a little wool and will, and I'm sorry, if everyone is so offended, then my son and husband are going to have the same name. But here we are. I mean pat and Patty have made it work for all these years, but they'll will you say will one will too. I mean fortunately, have become big will, a little will, I guess I'm wanting. Everyone calls the big will and little will, and I think 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's still a little Raymond. So it just unfortunately, is what it is. But it's just one of my favorite names, so it's okay. I do not have any pets right now. I wish more than anything that we have gotten a puppy at the beginning of the whole quarantine situation, because I would have been like the best time to, you know, train it and all these things, but we didn't say but we probably a Christy. You lost your chance. I had some good letters. They're all winners. Next time. 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 or be your other person as mother's wives, homekeepers, etc. And give yourself self care, because you all look like you have your stuff together. She didn'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 have no idea how any of them. I don't do it very well. I tend to be lopsided. I'll be all writing and ignore family and house and all kinds of life, and then I rush to catch up and I don't write. Lately, you know, we've talked about we've been doing these writings prints in the morning and that's really been a lifesaver. But I've sort of go 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 sum up, which is oh, great master, which is what I he was. He reigned, every decision he made was what we did, because he was the breadwinner, but it's nice to see a reversal of roles now that he's retired and I'm not a breadwinner for him, but he's there to support me 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 the value of good makeup. You. We clean up and what like. Like Mary Kay I, when I'm on a writing mode, which I'm getting into now, 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 been the way when I have to write really hard, really fast, and you it's not good for your health, though. How we maintain this, I don't know, because I abuse this body with this career, I really do, and it's just very intense all night sometimes, and then I stopped and blown out, literally blown out. Well, and usually we're all traveling. I mean 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 about you, 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 far away and it's, you know, you can't be whatever, all the toll of the writing in the hours on my face. I think I'm a little bit different in that when I started writing Noll was just be I didn't get married two thousand and fourteen and I did and my son until two thousand and sixteen. So getting married in two thousand and fourteen change my writing life in that I had a supportive partner,...

...which, you know, I had kind of just gone it alone for a long time, like sitting in my own Pondo all by myself, you know, affecting with other writers, bouncing ideas off of friends. But there is really something to having a supportive partner that, as you all sounds like, learned before I did. So that's been wonderful. But I really did go through, I think, kind of an identity crisis after I have my son in two thousand and sixteen, because I 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 it was I had to be Christen first and foremost a mom, which is, you know, I think, the most important job, at least an my life. 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 still haven't totally figured it out, you know what, I think I'm a work in progress. I think we probably all are. I don't probably put enough of myself into any of the areas of my life. But truly, these writing 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 myself to that in the morning when that's just my writing time, and then the rest of the day I can be the me that everybody else needs me to be. So that's the best balance I found so far. MMM, how do you go, first of all, to answer how do we have our stuff together? We don't, and I think it. I think it's a disservice to women to pretend that we do. Yeah, we're brazzled and and we're doing the best we can and we're running to the camera at the last minute 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 the beginning and it's something I've realized that the balance has to come in an overall not 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 able to do that. I don't blow myself out that way. But there are days that you know the writing and the work. There are weeks when the writing in the work takes precedent, whether you're on book tour or late on deadline, and then there's a swap of time where you know the families together and things are together. But when I first started writing, in the very beginning, I wrote from thirty to thirty in the morning. For years. I had a one year old, a four year old and a six year old, and so that is how I got my writing done and that is where I learned to block off enough time that this one thing that means this much to me, I'm not going to give it up, but if I have to put it in a pocket I will now, of course, is the kids get older and they leave, you don't have to pocket it so much. But I think the balance and making it look like we have it together when we don't, is this service, because there is greas thing is real balance. It's you know, I agree. I agree wholeheartedly and I think 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's the young children at home phase where you've got to turn off the computer and you create that time. That is a blood or fire. If not go away, but then, and for years you do, but you can and you're constantly running. That's why young mothers tend to be so thin. They're constantly working. But it's nice. I'm at an age now where I don't have anybody to take care of, so you can be a bit self indulgent and it's just another phase. So bottom line is it, ever, is easy 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 hit on this. This is why we found each other. This is so strangeful. I have always said my life is a series of Benges, like I'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 four days because I haven't done in six months, or like I'm on tour for six weeks. 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 sometimes it's unusually summer for me is slower because will time and I try to like just be with him, but because, you know, they haven't been in school since, you know, March. I mean it's I think the summer's going 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 to like get my writing Downe. And get my next book. So everything has been 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 you know, being gone a lot and, you know, having this other part of 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. I don't think. And I have great parents to WHO I made my first book 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 the road for a month and big will met us on the weekend. It was crazy awesome. Okay, amazing parents,...

...but it's amazing. I don't know what 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 like a joint book tour and they could. I think we really should. I think I just schedule our books to come out like yeah, and then take it up up a van and I like it. Let's do it rap around a bus. Yeah, you know what, the day, big friends, I really want to do that. Now they're excited. Okay, so we have so many questions coming in from readers, but this is actually just so on the 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 how and where we met our spouses. WHO. Okay, Mary Alice, you want to take that one. Sorry, I just take a some of your wife. It's like, sorry, I'm gonna date myself. Was a fond due party. M Love Fond just even though it was only nineteen. I just broken up with someone. He was getting too serious and I didn't want to go to a party and my brother was visiting and he wanted to meet girls. I was working at the Cyclopedia PA CHATICA and somebody, you know, mutual friend. It was freezing cold February night in Chicago. There's a kind of go out sighing your nostril hares phrase, and we went to this bond party and I walked in and there's all these kind of suit types over there and I saw standing because the wall, this guy. You looked exactly like a young Johnny Depp, only his hair was about as long as your's, Christie, gorgeous black and and like a Maroon Velvety. You love it first sight and looked at him and I and we both looked at each other and it was truly, oh no, I'm not ready for this. It was 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 should say. Yeah, how do you guy? I met Pat in college, but we 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 Emery and I was working at Eggleston Children's hospital, which is emery's Children's hospital. So we were both in Atlanta and we both knew each other and had mutual friends. 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 three children and one grandchild ago, we're still and aw them. We gotta last laugh. Mary Kay, what about you? We were high school sweetheart, but we weren't. We were friends first and I remember we had the same typing class and I sat in front of him on typing class and I used to 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 do to him was take my toe and pull down his sock. Romantic. I remember that. Even just turned beet red and tell me to cut it out. 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 else was 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 in high school, and so we took my mom station wagon, we popped a bag of popcorn and I think we took a leader bottle of coke and my mom's car and I think I'd paid my own way and Um, we were seeing 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 is history. Wow, so I've known Jason for a long time. One of my first friends in Orlando was a girl...

...named Wendy and one of my good college friends was a guy named Chad, and they both worked with Jason and both of them, I think it was my two thousand and eight book, the Artifnch Kissing, not a not a real hate you guy, they both individually were coming to my book Release Party in Orlando and they both individually said to Jason, Oh, you should come to this book release Party and he was like, who is this person that everyone keeps mention today? So he came and we get along rate and I mean it was one of those there was definitely chemistry from the beginning, but I think he was just getting out of a long relationship or was in the midst of something complicated. I may or 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 I was always with somebody. We always were greatest friends. We get along. It was never really a thought, though. Mary Kay is just outraged by my answer. She's like, yeah, I'm leaving no Christ and I think you for you. I think you need to think a minute. The book you wrote was the art of French kissing. Might have been why he came 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 friends for years and then he was finally getting out of a really long term relationship and he said to chat and Wendy, what do you think about me asking Kristin out? And they both said not right away. She can't be your rebound. We feel like this could be it. And so I think they gave 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, he asked me. Yeah, so, Yep, we've been to I knew from the very first time, the very first time he reached for my hand under the table, I was like this is the guy. Is like gives me chills. My story is actually like weirdly similar to Marialis, except without the Johnny 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 not going out and it was one of my friends twenty one birthdays. It was a 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 was your 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 I like barely even got ready. I did not even look cute. And we were all at this restaurant and it was completely empty. We were like sitting around a big table and this group of guys came walking in and I looked at well and he looked at me and I was like and I turned around to my friends, were all the table and I was like, I'm going to marry him, no way. So father member. The moment, wow, it wasn't like it was. It was just very clear. But I always knew from the time I was like a tiny child. You know people would 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 marry and I would know it and it was like the weirdest thing because it happened and I was like, Oh, Mary is, like it was like very calm, 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, and they made so much fun of me and then, you know, here you are. 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 absolutely believe 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 a really short answer to this question. I'm Janis sister. Wants to know what musical talent we each have, and I had done so I them out. Next, none, not like being good music. That is my musical talent. Christen, I played the drums in high school, so I was a drummer. I'm not I'm not going to say I was talented, but chick are you? Well, I was either at our band ORC because I missed up the DUN player, Missica exactly. I did once play a big drum solo in my high school and the Miss Northeast High School pageant. So just so you know, I came in seconds. So clearly my drumming took me to the top. I always love music and when my family, my father wasn't really, and I'm not just saying a concert level pianist, really was. So I played the piano very well when I'm since I can remember I played the piano and in high school I played the French Horn in the orchestra and then afterwards when I was studying Japanese, there's that beautiful Ohkot which is that long Japanese six foot instrument on the floor. We have to sit with 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 were up in where was that new big canoe and all those people had those dulcimers and 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. So I love musical instruments. Awesome. But about you, marry Kay, I have 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 songs in general, and it will be things and I'm like, I remember that from, you know, one thousand nine hundred and ninety one. Every word and I'm like why? Why? But I can't remember, like my next door 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. So Shelley McDonald monny wants to know. Do your kids, are families, think you are famous or just women with normal jobs, even though y'all are best selling authors and we all regard you as our famous friends. Okay, my grandkids think I'm famous only because they take books to school for their teachers to kind of up to them. Yeah, so that's what my grandkids to them I'm semi famous because they can give books of blue teachers and they and they get brownie points. That's same here my kids, especially when they were in high school, they would always take my Spanish copies to their Spanish teacher to go off think it got them extra credit, and then take my books to their English teacher. But I don't think any of them have ever considered me any I mean they care more if their baseball pants were clean then if you know, I don't. I think the first time, especially Thomas, ever saw me give a speech, like a big talk, I think the it was. It was in Charleston. It was a couple of years ago. I think he had a little bit of a takeback moment like well, wait a minute, it's not just my mom and her yoga clothes of the plenty talent up overhead typing till the way out, like it's so now I don't think they accept like Mary Kate said, you know, we give their teachers books and try and get some extra credit. I remember with most of my kids to they didn't really care or get any indication that I had. They knew I was a writer and that's about it. But it wasn't until all these years later. They're all out of the house, but everyone flew into Viewford, South Carolina, when I was inducted into the hall of fame and they saw that and I saw them with tears in their eyes and as a mother at this point in my life, it really that was a moment. I mean it was the first time they actually thought, wow, maybe she is something more than just mom and it was. It was a moment and my 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 Bookstore and I think a light went off and he's thinking jk rowling and he's going, so Mombo, how rich are you? I just say, Oh, honey, I am JK Rowley. I'm so sorry, you just supported you, but he has what he thought authors are, and I think a lot of people think that too. Yeah, you know you must be rich because you're an author, but of course we know that's not true. I'm rich. I don't know what you're dumb setting. I was in target about a year ago maybe a year and a half ago when the room and Rumamilie was their book club pick of the month and my face is on. I was doing an interview on that big Spain in the back, which is just as you know, Mary Ky know you saw yours recently. It's just such a cool, thrilling thing and I was with my son Noah, and he looked 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 a paw 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 player and plays for the New York Rangers. He's my husband's cousin, and so if 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's no jersey that. There's Christen Harmel in the back. True, make you a jersey, I will take it, because I please have one. What number lunch? One, like number one, number one. Okay, as we discussed recently, my hip hop name is Christian twelve. So if you could just write well on the back. Yeah, so much smarter. I forgot about that. You're absolutely right.

I think my husband and my dad both have a very like overinflated sense of day of my fame, like Dear Carolina came out and there were like eleven copies in the world and they were like 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 were like, 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's probably no, is it? She's probably like for and I was in a magazine, not even remember what it was, but people would just come up to me and say, oh my gosh, I saw you, that was such a great an article or whatever, and are both magazine here where I live had just done a feature on little will and he was like the cover of the magazine and he was in a tree. And so every time someone come up to me and be like Oh, that was such a great article, he would be like, well, I was on the cover of a magazine's but it like comes and goes. Like he said, if he goes and here's me speak or something, I think he'll be like wow, like these people came to seeing you, you know. But it's so funny though. But yeah, I think famous is a big word. But but it is definitely like a different you know, it is different than when we were ourselves at home and not putting ourselves out in public, you know. To know, honestly, I don't think authors are famous like a TV star or a movie star. I mean, they don't see our face and for the most part, no, I don't feel famous. I just if I was a movie star, maybe, but not. Yeah, but it's like the perfect combination, I think, because you can go to these places and have people like say Nice things about you and your books are every now and then someone to like come up to you somewhere randomly, you know, but you're not like you can like leave your house. We know. I mean, unfortunately, when they see me and target they're kind of like that, because that'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 a kick a great question. Okay, so we always take time at the end of 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 driving force of any character driven novel is how you flesh out your characters and I have a couple really quick pointers that I think helped me, and one is you really got to know the back history. Just don't say I'm going to write the book and it I'll figure out who these people are. These are characters, are more than people who have a job to do. To carry out the novel, they have to be fully flashed out. So you need to know their backstory. Do they have a trauma? Where they what was their childhood like? Where did they go to school? Okay, know them. What is their psychology? Body movements. Every person you know has a way of 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 tick or someone who gets nervous scratches their head, something that is a defining movement about a person, or a nervous laugh. I love even the way they talk. If I didn't nervous time. If they do it consistently, that adds to the character. Also, you really gotta see them, and one trick 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. A KRA was Andy McDonald back when I wrote her, and I look at the movies because actors have distinct movements and so you can look at how they move to give you a fresh idea to that act your character, not like someone you've written at nauseum before. And the last thing is names. Names can add a lot. My name is indigomno Montoya. You get my father prepared to die. I mean, what a great name. So sometimes choosing the right name for a character, atticus, that name will go down always as the great father. And so those on little tips that I have to give you to make you realize, flesh out your characters, know who they are. No, if they go to Walmart, what are they going to put in the cart? That's wonderful. Thank you, Mary Alice and I we, as you know, we always like to give some recommendations of what we're reading and what we're loving lately, and Kristen, I think you had a couple 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 the spectrum. So after the end, this is actually the British version of it, after the end, by Claire Macintosh, and head over heels, I know my lights kind of shining on it, by Hannah or in Dain. I'll put these up on the friends and fiction page so you can see them better 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 place in 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's a middle grade book, which is for Grades Ages Eight to twelve, and I 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 the first 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 one is 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 the other one that I want to recommend is another middle grade book called the One and only Bob by Catherine appligate and, as she wrote the One and only Ivan, which I swear you need two choose when you read. It's the most brilliant middle grade book I have ever read. From the point of view of an gorilla in a show, a cheap show, and it's beautiful and Bob 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 because you know what your kids are reading and you get a sense you aft you can talk to them about it. Can I just add? I also wanted to mention that the book, the first Middle Grade Book that Mary Alice mentioned I'm so happy that she mentioned it because the writer is actually the owner of Liberty Bay books, which was the Bookstore Christen Hannah chose on June third when she was here with us. And so the author is not only an author of middle grade novels, but she also owns a bookstore and she didn't buy that book store until a month before the pandemic. So she's really kind of out there in the trenches, you know, fighting the good fight and supporting that book I think would be also supporting her book store. O Liberty Bay books. Sounds wonderful, it really does. Anybody else have when they're dying to share? I'm reading. I just finished Susan Elizabeth Phillips New Book called Dance Away with reading it too. It's so good. It's she writes the best six scenes. Didn't know. Yeah, and and of course I'm really excited because she's going to be with us with Jane and Prince On our surprise bonus episode this Sunday. We're so God you mentioned that, yes, so everyone 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 reading this 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 know I'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. You can publish it when I'm gone, but see, and that's all my deepest philosophies 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 to Susan and Jane. I love that we've decided to do some bonus episodes in that we have one on Sunday. So yes, and I think we'll be doing them here and they're just a surprises and it's just happened to me and enormous 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 at five o'clock eastern might be an easier time. Well, thank you, lady so much. I had so much fun tonight. This was so great and thank you to all of our readers for joining us tonight as always. You can find us all week long on our friends and fiction facebook page, which is facebookcom, backslash groups, backslash friends and fiction, and we'll do our best to answer your comments in questions. And then we're live here Wednesday nights at seven PM. Will have a special bonus episode Sunday at five, and you can find any of our old episodes at friends and fictioncom. One more reminder. Anderson's book shop is our featured Bookstore of the week and you can get all of our books and from one conveniently. That will be an all of 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 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 www and 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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