Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends and Fiction with The Fab 5

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Friends & Fiction authors discuss their failures, how they've overcome them, and what inspires them to keep writing. www.friendsandfiction.com 

Welcome to friends and fiction. Fivebest selling authors, Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast withfive bestselling novelist whose common love of reading, writing an independentbookstores found them together with jets, author interviews and fascinatinginsider talk about publishing and writing. Thes friends discuss the booksthey'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 theright place. Bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, ChristieWoodson, Harvey Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtimefriends with more than 80 published books. To their credit at the Start of the Pandemic, they gottogether for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, their favoritebookstores writing, reading and publishing in this new, unchartedterritory. They're still talking, and they've added fascinating discussionswith other bestselling novelists, so join them live on their friends andfiction. Facebook Group page every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, or listenand view later at your leisure. Hello, everyone, and welcome to Friendsin Fiction, our weekly Facebook live show featuring author chats in supportof independent bookstores. Five best selling authors. Endless stories. Ourcommunity of readers here on friends and fiction has grown today to 17,000members. Way could not be happier to welcome you here tonight, so let's getstarted. We have so much to talk about tonight. I'm Patty Callahan, Henry andI'm your host tonight, and my latest book is becoming Mrs Lewis. Hi, I'mMary Alice Munro, and my latest novel is on Ocean Boulevard and I'm Mary Kay Andrews, and my latestnovel is Hello Summer. I'm Christine Harmel, and my latest novel is the bookof last names. I'm Christi Woodson Harvey and my latest focus feels likefalling. And this is friends and fiction, and we are so happy thatyou're here tonight. As you can see, it's just the five of us. And it's notjust because the five of us are the original posse who got together at thevery beginning of the pandemic to start this show, and we're here tonight totalk to each other and answer some of the fascinating questions you all sentin this week. And at the end of tonight's episode, Mary Alice will beannouncing our fall schedule and you all. You do not want to miss this. Wehad no idea what was going to become this show and wait till you hear aboutour guests. But before we get rolling, everyone, I want to remind you thatevery week we feature an independent bookseller, and this week we're workingwith one of my very favorites, Page and palate in Fair Hope, Alabama. Thisstore has actually showed up in one of my novels coming up for air, and Idisguised the town and the bookstore with a different name. But anyone whohas been a fair hope or anyone who has been to page palate will know thatthat's who it is. This store is an anchor in this beautiful waterfrontcity, and it is a bookstore that his family owned for generations as theirlogo states. There's a story here, and they don't just mean the books. Theybuilt a welcoming, wonderful environment for authors and readers,and some of my favorite events over the years have been a page and palate.Tonight they will be giving us a 10% discount on all of our releases and newreleases, and you can find them on the friends and fiction page underannouncements, and I'll repost it after we finished tonight. So here's myfavorite part. Ladies, we're gonna be...

...talking tonight, so I have some reallygreat questions for everyone. And as everyone knows, if you of us havebeen writing sprints together in the morning, and we've been kind of liftingeach other up during this really difficult time and encouraging eachother as we write our books and we come on this show and we talk so much aboutour triumphs because there is nothing better than celebrating after a longslog of writing and publishing horrors. But our listeners and you all out theredon't always see the downturns and the hard parts, and it's not because we'rehiding them, but because we celebrate the good stuff. So there is a fantasticessay by one of my favorite writers who is passed on Nora Ephron, and it's thisessay about failure, and even the title is hilarious because she's hilariousand it's called flops. I have a few. This is the woman who wrote Sleeplessin Seattle. When Harry she has huge hits, you wouldn't think she had flops,and there's a quote in that essay that says that that flop just sits there inthe history of your life, like a black hole with a wildly powerful magneticfields. And she's being sarcastic, invest, but true at worst, because wecan have 1000 wonderful things happen. But failure still sits there with amagnetic field, and there is no way to have a full literary career withoutfailure and rejection. So I want to talk to each of you about that. Isthere one moment of failure that almost derailed you from this writing career?Or one failure, insult or negative comment that could have done made youquit but and said, Did the opposite in spurred You onward? For me there weremany. But, for example, I was secretly writing about 20 years ago, and this isway before the Internet way. Before I knew that there were book clubs or bookgroups, I didn't know any writers, and I entered a contest for Writer's Digestand I got my square sheet back and it told me that my writing was dull,dreary, dark and depressing. I memorized it. I memorized it s o. Ifelt like there was an elevator in the middle of my gut that just limited. AndI did quit for a little bit until I didn't. So I want to hear about thosethings for you. Mary Kay. Well, you know, I was a journalismmajor in college and worked in newspapers, and I was a reporter forthe Atlanta Journal Constitution. And I had been, um, working in the featuresdepartment, But I wanted to go back to news. And so I went to the managingeditor of the paper at the time. And at first I had gone to my features editor.He said, No, no, you can't. You know you can't move. S O e said Okay, I'mgonna go to your boss. I went to his boss and he looked at me and he said,um, you don't understand. We need reallywriters in news who are not a riel writer. You have no discernable style.You need Thio. My God. Wow. Hey, said you need thio. Just understand that youare, um, as a reporter. Your your your mediocre and you'll never That would bea writer. And so, of course, um he had...

...he wanted to keep me in the departmentI was in, Uh, but I was devastated, Just devastated. I went. I went home intears. I cried every day for weeks, and I went to the man who had hired May and said, Um and this guy was He wassort of a mentor to me at the paper, and I told him what Eddie had said tome, and he said, That is not true. You're You're one of the best writersI've ever hired. You have a great career ahead of you and don't listen tohim. And so I decided I wrote myself a little mantra that I would recite everyday. They don't get to define me. They don't get Thio, put their foot on myneck. And I would you know, that was I would chant it when I drove home everyday. Cry every day. Oh, pager Jews, you know, But but the thing is that itspurred me. It made me understand that there was not going to be a place I wasnot gonna have the career I wanted in journalism. I've already startedthinking about trying to write fiction and that and that really kind ofhastened my decision that it was time to go, Um, that I was never going toget, you know, that that other people were going to keep me from from havingthe career I wanted. So I thought, OK, I'll reinvent myself. So that's what Idid e you're sending? I was gonna say I e hope you're sending Eddie every, uh,every New York Times bestseller, E. It was interesting people. It'sinteresting, Christian. People will tell me that whenever I tell that storyand I tell it a lot, um, he doesn't have to know because I know you'reabsolutely right. Your abs. And you know what? Maybe he was meant to bethere to put you on that. The path you're on, right? That's exactly right.Hey, did me a favor, but I feel like we should We should take that quote. Youdon't get to define me and makes them stickies out of it. And, like, whatmakes me it makes me think of that other quote. Don't let the turkeys getyou down, you know, because he's obviously a turkey. He was obviouslyprotecting his own turf. And he saw you. He probably saw your talent And justand also, you know, women have had a particularly hard time in journalism.Yeah, all right. Kristen are good story. Yeah, you know, mine is actually sortof similar. But it was It was during my novel writing career, so I started offwriting chick lit. Um, my first book came out in 2006. I had written it in 34004. It was very much the height of No. Bridget Jones's Diary in The DevilWears Prada and those types of books. It was that type of book. Um, and I hadfun writing those, but it wasn't e Don't think it was where I belonged. Idon't think it was everywhere I belonged. I think what I'm doing now iswhere I belong. And right around the time I turned 30 which was a littleover a decade ago, I think, you know, I had just grown up to the point where Iwas able to say, like, this is where I want to go When I had the courage tosay it. So I came up with the idea for the sweetness of forgetting, whichended up being my 2012 book, and I wrote a very full outline and put it,Pitched it to my literary agent at the time. And, um, she called and said, No,this is not a Christian Harmel book. And I said, Okay, okay. I understand.And you know, she said, it's not on brand. And I, you know, I have toreally explain, like I had no brand because did any of you know I waswriting chick lit? It was I was not. It was I was not some huge, bestselling,chick lit author, but still, I understood what she was saying. And Isaid, Okay, you know, I'm okay with doing a pseudonym. We can, you know,just start from scratch. We can, But this is what I want to be doing. Idon't see myself continuing to write...

...chick lit. I want to write historicalfiction. Um, and she said, quite frankly, I just don't think you can um,Bond. Um and she was a crispy. I wish. Everybody. I hope everybody is lookingat Christie's Space E. Yeah, it was. So she was I don't really have anynegative feelings for her because because I she was a great agent. Um,but kind of like the story you just told Mary Kay I needed that push. Ineeded that push, because if she had this said, Yeah, go ahead. Sure. We'llsee what we can come up with, and we'll try to sell it. Um, I don't think Iwould have been a motivated. Um, but as it waas, I had to make a decision. Do Ikeep doing what I'm doing? Or do I follow my heart? And I chose to followmy heart, and I left that agent, which was so unsettling. I mean, if you're inthis business and you don't and you're in the middle of your career and youdon't have an agent, that's not a great thing. Um, but, uh, but it worked out.Okay, that book before it came out, even had done better than all myprevious six books combined. So I guess it turns out I could do it. E mean, Ijust feel like there's always that one comment, like the dull, dreary, darkand depressing that makes you say, Am I going to believe it or, um, I going toprove them wrong? And Mary Kay, What you're not good enough or you can't doit. Um, we either believe it or we say, Okay, I'm going to do the double downand I'm gonna prove you're wrong. But it's one that's the biggest differencewhen it's someone who's in a position of authority over you or someone who'swho's taste and opinion you really respect. It's not just Joe Schmowriting an Amazon comment or something, you know what I mean? Like if someonewhose opinion you trust Yeah, unfortunately, this editor, I knew hedidn't know what he was talking about. You're right, because for me, it was ajudge for you. It was an agent for you. It was a boss, So Okay, ChristieWoodson, Harvey straight. Um, you know, I don't even know that I was gonna tellthe story now that you told jurors and it was so great. And it reminded me oflike you do remember those words I had signed with a literary agent who wasrepresenting me for a book that I read before Dear Carolina, which ended upbeing my debut novel. And they submitted Dear Carolina to to writingcontests because they both had final round judges that were editors that Iknew were people that I wanted to work with. But, you know, you had to be likeone of the top three or whatever for the editor to read your manuscript. Itwas kind of a long shot, but I thought, I'll just keep opening doors while myagents over here working and and so I get my scoresheet back. It's the firstfeedback I've ever gotten on Dear Carolina and one of the judges I hadwritten the book and second person, which is we all know, is like kind of ano no, but it just it worked for the story. So she wrote this long thing,telling me why I couldn't do it, and said that the story was uncomfortablyvoyeuristic. I'll never forget what, and I have to have to think about thatfor a minute, right? I guess, because you were like seeing into these twomothers telling the story to their child. I don't know, I don't know. ButI was crushed and I thought what, you took this risk and I shouldn't havedone this, and this was a terrible idea, and like I just wasted all this timewriting this book, and I thought it was so, you know, I thought it was gonna bethis really great. But about two weeks later, um, the Chiefs came back fromthe second contest that I had entered, and I had won the contest and the finalround. Judge was an editor at Penguin, and she bought the booth. That's thebest end. One person, uncomfortably voyeuristic, is another person's bookdeal. I'm sorry. That judge reminds me a little bit of a one star wonder onAmazon, right? No, but I mean, it was...

...just but But it is in that moment whenyou're so you just you don't know. And I was definitely coming from a place oflike, I went to journalism school, But I also did a lot of creative writing.And I remember, like, I would look around the classroom and we would bethat reading our stuff and it would be like, I'm just not like everybody else.Like I'm not writing, you know, they were all writing is, like, really dark,twisty stories. And I wasn't, you know, and I was and I remember I would alwaysthink like I can't be a writer because these people sound like real writersand I'm not like them. And it was just like one more. It was just one morething saying You're not a real writer and then I mean, it ended up okay, Butwe all have this knowledge. People just I don't know that some people reallydon't understand that a good critique doesn't mean find something To becritical about a good critique is to find something that is good, that youwant to be encouraging. They're just they just can be really nasty. And I Ithink some reviewers to out there just find a way of being particularly nasty.And it's like their calling card. And I just think, What a waste of air andspace. Well, we all look at the things we read through our own lens or mirror,and to be cruel with whether it's in a liberation with all the D words you canthink of, or calling something voyeuristic doesn't help anybody right?Taking somebody else down a couple of pegs doesn't help you or that person.And so Okay, Mary else I want to hear your story. What is like the one thingthat could have derailed you or the one insult that you took it the oppositeand ran with it. It's a little different than yours, because I really,you know, well, I've been listening to you. I can identify with each of yourstories. There's a similar one for me, but the one that really almost derailedme completely was nothing to do with anything. People said it was my ownhealth, you know, It was I was hemorrhaging, and I, before that I hadwas in a writer's group and with friends and people were gettingpublished ahead of me and I wasn't in a hurry. I mean, Iwanted to cross the line, but I was a young mother at the time, sort of likey'all down in the lower corners there, and I, you know, I had time. But I alsoknew was going to take time. So I find it, wrote a book called The Long RoadHome, which my family calls the Long Road to Publication. And it was finallypicked up and it was supposed to be ah, big launch hardcover from, and I won'tsay the publishers name from a major publisher, and this was 19 nineties. Soit would have been really early in my career really would have set me off formy first novel. And there was this huge upset, as sometimes happens, as all ofyou know, in publishing houses where my editor was fired, who was a big editorand big shakeup of the whole publishing house. I was not out, but I was on hold.Like I I was an orphan in the publishing house. So if that wasn't badenough, I started. And maybe it was emotional. I don't know. I started tohemorrhage and truly sick, life threatening, life threatening. So itwas. And my health has never been all that great. So this was one of thetimes that I got truly sick and I remember coming out of it after aboutsix months, thinking I waited so long to cross the line to publication, youknow, you just wanted across the line, and everyone would say to me thingsthat I say to people like, you know, you're still a writer, whether you'republished or not. And I knew that, but you want across well, you want to getpublished so This was my big deal, and suddenly it just I was on hold. So Iremember thinking maybe this wasn't...

...meant to be. Maybe I go back toteaching. I love teaching and I should just do it. And I started applying forteaching jobs, and it was literally I had. It was twoweeks before I had to sign a contract and I was just hemming and hawing andwaiting, and we heard that the book was coming out in from hardcover to massmarket horrible cover. But I was in the game. E was in the game, and so I it'ssold. It got published and, you know, the rest is history. But I rememberthinking at that time that there was something inside of me where I knewthis was it. Yeah, this was what I wanted to do with my calling, and I sawit. I mean, you all know you just saw I'm going to be a writer and it's justno matter how it happens or how long it takes, it's gonna happen. But I thinkyou get beaten down to a point or even health, where you sometimes thinkeither. How many rejections can I take or how much? How much? How many moreyears? Um, I going to put into this effort. But that line that I wanted tocross the line, you know you're right or whether you're published or not. Ithink I actually really understood it because I knew I was going to keepwriting. If that book didn't get published, I was gonna write anotherand another and another not just to get published, but because I couldn't stopbecause you were a writer because I was a writer. Yeah, which which is thatwhole being in the arena things? So there's this fantastic quote. We've allheard it burn a brown, have the book daring greatly. It's by Roosevelt andhe says who with the best snows in the end, the triumph of high achievementand who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails by daring greatly so thathis place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither novictory nor defeats. And so, ladies, we have been in the arena, man, we havedone it. So how do you do it? How do you stay inspired? How do you stay inthe arena. What keeps you creative? What keeps you going, Mary Kay, Tell us.You know, um, I think part of it is, um I write commercial fiction, and we allright, really right. Commercial fiction, I think, Um and so I write a book ayear, and this is my job. And I have to keep filling up the creative well andso reading good books, watching television, getting out in the world.And, um, you know, it's a matter of habit for me, so someone will saysomething, and I think I can use that in a book. I'll stealthat. I mean, we're terrible thieves. Riders are horrible. We're just selling.Uh, we're liars too, I always say, Like especially, I'm meeting new people. I'mlike, Look, if you don't want it in a book, do because because you get to thepoint where you can't remember. Like, did someone say that or is it just yourhat? Yeah. So I think I think for me, it's, um it's sort of ingrained now,ingrained part of my habit of being so you know, I'll be out and I'll seesomething. And, uh, and what happens usually is, I'll see something the wayit happened. And then I think, Well, what if it had happened this way? Youknow what? If you know what if she's...

...backing out of the parking lot atchurch and she rear ends the new minister, I don't know. Um, so and Ithink e o I you know that that's that's the only thing I know and and being outin the world and and I'll tell you Realistically, um, I'm ashamed to sayit. It turns out I'm competitive on and I can't stand the idea that I don'thave a book coming out and I want each book to be better. I want to get I wantmy writing to get better with every book. I've never I've never beensatisfied with the book after after it's come out, and so that's part of it,the the elusive idea that you know, if I keep going, maybe I'll get better.Maybe I'll be ableto pull it off. That's such a powerful statement,because I think it's it's very inspiring to that. I haven't written mybest book yet. It's still coming. That's so great. I love it, and I don'tthink we could keep doing what we are doing. If we didn't have a littlecompetitive edge because, yes, it's about creativity. But it's also aboutwriting better and then better and then stretching our limits and doing alittle bit more. And that's one. Okay, So, Christian Harmel, how do you do it?How do you stay in the arena? What keeps you going? When half the time weget knocked down and bloodied and have to stand back up. What keeps you going?Honestly, right now, the four of you. Seriously? I mean, this has been, um Iwould say that right around the time we were starting friends and fiction, itwas the the worst. My writing life been in a long time just because I, um youknow, I was really struggling. We were It was sort of the beginning of thispandemic. My everything had changed. You know, I went from having a 20 hourwork week to having a zero hour work because I have my my child home with me.Um and, uh, it was it was you guys. You, the four of you taught me there was away forward. Um you made me want to show up. You made me feel inspired. Andthen, um you know, this community that that were a part of this friends andfiction community knowing that all these readers were out there and theywere so kind and encouraging. I'm just, um, this book I'm working on now. And Ibet you that the four of you have the same the same opinion about it. Um, itfeels it feels different to me because I'm I'm interacting with readers in away that I haven't before. Um, and I feel supported by readers every singleday in a way that I haven't before and that making me feel inspired as awriter but also really inspired to deliver the absolute best book Aikendeliver because I want to I want to give, like, these people who areshowing up for me like I want to show up for them. Um, but but bottom linethat the four of you you've I mean thank you. You've changed my writinglife, and I, um I can't imagine it without, you know, O s. So now we needsome Kleenex. E Think all five of us would say the exact same thing for sure.I think that the the I said it in an instagram post when you know somebodyis going to ask, Did you do it today? You want to be able to tell the truth,right? So that's one way. So okay, Christie Woodson. Harvey, how do you doit? How do you e mean? And there is no way, I mean, truly I There's no waythat I would be in the position that I am right now having my 2022 book almostready for action if it weren't for you all. And there's no way and I do agree.I mean, I think Prince and fiction for sure, but just the reader community atlarge and like yesterday I announced it under the southern sky is coming outApril 20th 2021. And when you see those,...

...like when people come on and they'relike, I can't wait, I'm so excited it does. It drives you in a way that youcan experience on your own, because you do. Absolutely. You don't only want tobe better for yourself, but you want to be better for every person out therewho took $17 that they could have spent on something else and spend it on yourbook like it drives you in a way that you want to give them the bestexperience that you can. Um, and I think writer's air different than whatI thought like and I look at all of you and I think it's something that we havein common and we've sort of touched on it. But I do think that we all have. Idon't know if even a competitive streak is the right term, but we're all verydriven to succeed. So even if that competition is just with ourselves,we're all very driven toward that next thing. And I think I have picturedwriters is being like a lot on. I'm sure a lot of them are. But I don'tthink we're like that, you know, I think we're all like more words. Nextpage a cover, other people, more readers, you know, we're all just likewe're in it and I think it does drive you when you when when you know thatpeople enjoy what you do and makes you want to be better, and it makes youwant to keep doing it. And Christie, it's what we keep talkingabout. It's not just that it's that Andi Kathy Mary Kay Andrews says itbest. All float. All boats rise if we'redoing it together, right eye poking holes in the boat of some. So them areboat rises together when we're okay. Mary Alice Munro, How do you theproblem is coming last is I could just say yeah, what they said, Okay, nextquestion. Your e mean, honestly, it's all true. And I think I think what'sinteresting and that maybe the readers can are the viewers today can identifywith is that all of us have had to deal with Pandemic and being alone and being,you know, a wary of going out, not seeing each other in person, not seeingyou out there. And I I do feel that, um, inspiration has been easy to find insome ways, like we had a show in one of our earlier shows about how each one ofus are. Some of us are doing poetry in the morning, reading more books,different ways to individually and then, of course, our friends and fiction, andI just feel that it's really important to carry that on after pandemic, justto remember, to find ways to be inspired every day and to not slip intomaybe patterns that we were able to eliminate as our schedules changed thatwhat are the best new things we're doing, and can we sustain them? Soperhaps that's the inspiration for the future. And I think also, when we'retalking Thio, you know, whoever's listening out, there s so we're not tobe able to see you. Well, you see us t translate it. I think it's a little bitabout y'all finding the people who support you, right? Because that's oneof the ways that we stay inspired us by having people who support us andinstead of and meshing yourself with people who are trying to dragging youdown, Why don't you get tangled up with people who lift you up? I eat thesewomen. Okay, So another idea that seems so glamorous in theory is book tour,right? Every time an author is on TV, Did you all see the affair? Did you allwatch that show? Uh, a couple. Not the whole story. Good. Oh, my gosh. I'mobsessed with Ruth Wilson. But anyway, you know he's author and he has a bookcome out and he has an entourage who goes on book tour with him and allthese shows about authors. They have an entourage, and I know that at least theentourage was my Children. So yeah,...

...exactly. So what? I'll go for doubledare you because I'll go first. When I first had a book out, it's calledLosing the Moon is 2000 and four and I was asked to speak at a luncheon. Imean, this is a long time ago and I was in the ladies room and I was in thestall and her two women talking about me outside. Yes, so now I'm gonna do what they say.Oh, they were like she's I mean, this is a long time ago. She's too young.Who does she think she is? Why is she had our talk today? Why is shelecturing us? Who does she e was, But it's like something out of a sex in thecity. I love that you came out and wave because in the TV show they're alwayslike hiding in the stall And I'm like, Sure you I would be like Oh, Class Esmiled and I walked out. I didn't say work and like for about a month, I keptthinking of what I could have said in the It's the worst. It's the worst thatZ about writing books is We get Thio, think about it for a week and then havethe exact right come back. So I want to hear about some of your book tour, mostembarrassing book tour stories, and we're gonna go backwards. Mary Alice.Well, I had a hard time. There've been so many e o have to pick one and I'mgonna try and tell the story without, like getting myself soon because Iwon't name the author's name. But it was early on. It was when I know thisone, you do. So I can't say that everyone knows the author too. So I waswhen the beach house came out, and you have to understand that it was my firstNew York Times hit and I was driving from store to store with my entourage,my sister Ruth, see who was driving me for free from store to store to storeand I got to one. After I made the times of suddenly things opened up andthey put a dump, which is that rack of books in the front of the store. And,you know, the managers would actually show up and have flowers out for me. Soit was a big deal, So I waas in. I won't even say the name of the towncoastal town in Florida. And it was the hometown of, unbeknownst to me, of thisparticular author at a book coming out in the future of a similar title. Andit was the exact same title. It was the exact same. I remember because theywere sea turtles and I had I was supposed to speak. It wasn't just asigning. I was supposed to speak to the volunteers, and I invited my brother inlaw and his mother, who we called her my aunt. So I show up and you knowyou're in trouble when you get to the parking lot and it's dark. There are nocars anywhere, so you walk in and you get to the front window. It no signnothing and I walk in and maybe one or two people in the store and two otherpeople my aunt and my brother in law, who came to see the famous author and Icould see this in their eyes like Poor Mary. What a loser and I walk in on I'mtotally confused. This was my big deal that I was so excited about, and I theassistant manager I flagged. And I said, Hi, I'm Mary Alice Munro. And where mybooks I'm supposed to do a presentation tonight to a group of turtle volunteers.Oh, I don't know. We'll make this work and he pull the table out on me,grabbed a couple of dusty books of the...

...boxes and put him on, and I'm sittingthere and I'm good soldier and I'm signing the six books that he had, andI finally said After a while, you know my aunt. You know, I signed one for herand one for my brother in law, and I said to the assistant manager, I said,You know, I was supposed to speak tonight what happened, and he kind ofdid. Particular author came into the storeand had seen of the book, the dump and the signs for this presentation had ahissy fit and he said, You know, take it all down. This is my home store. Getrid of it. The manager did, which was, You know, Ican't think of many store managers I know today who would have done it. Soanyway, I signed the six and after, like, a half hour, I said, Well, Iguess I could go. So yeah, so Ruthie drove me to be, but he was a Marriottand I just got I went to the bar and they were closing down and I said, Ineed a drink on I had seen sex in the city, which was really popular. I wanta cosmopolitan on, he said. And I told him my story. He gave me, like, a 16hour a Styrofoam cup with a straw, and I went out. I'm drinking my my drink,and I went out to the pool and I got halfway across the pool and I startedgoing under. I knew I was that Cosmo started hitting because it was on aempty stomach. Eso I came back, it really pulled me in, and I think Iemptied the contents of my stomach For most of the night, I thought I wasgoing to die. And all I know is I never believed that was my big night. Myfirst big night. And it was just the most horrible that someone would dothat to anyone else that would just take their moment away. So I That's onefor the books. Yeah, Let's say his name. Him. How about you, Christie? Um, minussimilar. So when my first book had come out, you know, I was very careful. LikeI knew. Obviously, I've never run a bug. No, I've never heard of me. I mean, Iwasn't gonna have big events. So Onley booked events in places where I hadfriends that would, like rally their friends or family or people I couldstay with, because, I mean, I think I had, like, I mean, it was the tiniestbook tour budget ever and which I was thrilled to have any book tour budget.So I'm not complaining, but but I thought, you know, but a store about anhour from where I live asked me to do an event, and I was like, Sure,Absolutely. And it was a Barnes and Noble and, um, I picture and I havedone some other Barnes and Noble events, and they would sort of set a table upin the front of the store. And I would, you know, I would say hello to peoplewhen they walked in, and I'd usually sell a few books and signed some stock.And that was great. Like, it was a great day for me at that time. So I'mgoing to this town and I don't know anyone there, so I don't have anyone toinvite. I have no friends, but I'm just assuming I'm gonna go sit at the table.So I get to the store and I go up to the counter and I say, I'm Christi.What's in Harvey? I'm here for a book signing, and they're like, Oh, good,you're going to be speaking back here, and it s so it's one of exploring thenobles that has one of those huge event areas, and I go back there, there's onewoman sitting in a chair and they're like, 60 chairs set up, and I'm like,Oh, my God, I don't know anyone. No one's gonna sit and they start wheelingthese boxes of books out. Oh, my God. The worst thing that ever happened tome. But it was fine. I got through it. And, you know, we all have to do it.But there are moments of glory and there too. So they balance, right? Yeah,but there's all we all have. That story...

...when we went into one person and what Ialways do is go sit down and just skip Just talk to the person E people. Yeah,I would have done that knowing what I know now. But, you know, at the time, Ithink there ended up being like three people there. And if that happened tome today, I would just sit with those three people and we chit chat, and itwould be fine. But then I didn't know what to do. So I felt like I had tostand up there and, like, speak behind the rodeo E. It was bad. Okay,Christine Harmel, you haven't least one. I know you dio So for one of my earlybooks, um, back in the mid two thousands, um, I was all you know, likeI am now wheeling and dealing in China, you know, figure out how to do this.And And I had gotten a liquor sponsor for my book tour, meaning that theywould, you know, they were going to provide the liquor, and we're going todo, like, a special I drink. And, um, they came to me the liquor sponsor andsaid, You know what? We love this. We want to throw you a party at the WHotel in New York. I think it was the one in Union Square. I can't rememberanymore. Um, but so I was so excited. I brought this to my publisher. We hadthe whole thing. I flew up there with my friends and my sister and my aunt,like just a bunch of people. Um, you know, we're gonna have this big launchparty at the W. We were walking in, and I get a call on my cell phone. Um, andit's the liquor sponsor saying, unfortunately, they're withdrawingtheir support. Um, it was it was maybe an hour and a half before they were nolonger gonna pick up the bar bill. So they had already paid, like, whatever.Like room reservation feed, like, you know, book this event space of the W umbut so this was one of my early books. I did not My my early books. There's Imean, I could not have supported myself writing the book. My book contracts, myadvances were 15,000, like 15 15,000. And that, plus my magazine job likethat was I didn't have any money, you know what I mean? It wasn't like Icould just be like, Oh, yes, Well, the bar bill for everybody know. So aftersaying to the publisher like, Look, I'm having a party at the W. And they werelike, Yea, I have to go toe should be like, Would you mind picking up the bar?Bill E. You win? It was horrible. We only the only the only choice ofbeverage was the cheapest thing on their event that you wish was like somecheap white wine. You could have white wine or you could have water, and Ispent the entire party like just trying not to cry. Thio. Okay. Do you all outthere see what we go through like you win way? Really care if you right wayJust that one star review to put us back in our place. We're already havealready been put already here. Their place? Yeah. Way, way have beenhumiliated over and over again. I can't tell you how many times I sat in agroup like back in borders. When you have you talked in the food section andyou'll be up there with your mic and you'd be like, Hi, everybody Peoplelike like maybe you just want to start reading, Feeling nothing more thanfeeling okay. Mary Kay. Oh, God. So many an early book tour. Um, I wasdoing something with my son before I went on the road, and I got to think Iwas in Washington, D c. And I had pinkeye. Yeah, my I was, like, oozingand red and school. And I had to wear dark glasses. No one would get near me.Then there was a time I was at a Christmas festival in this little smalltown, and I was the luncheon speaker. And during lunch I started my stomachstarted rumbling and I started feeling really hot. I got a stomach bug. Thethank God. I don't know how I got...

...through it. I did, but the I had to sayto my they had somebody the festival organizers had had somebody, um, youknow, assigned to help me Thio, you know, get me back. And I just said wewere supposed to do have some others. I said, get me to my hotel. Yeah, gonnaend up going out and getting me medicine. Um, I did ah, signing at achain bookstore in a dead mall. Um, it was their last night. They wereopen. And I mean, the whole mall. Oh, you could imagine that was Oh, yeah,back when Walden Books was still around in the mall and they used to always putyour table right smack in the almost in the hallway. You young and might notremember this, but they clearly literally as I was leaving the store 30minutes after the start of the signing, they were literally turning out themarquee lights on. And then there was the signing at another chain store inSavannah. Mind you where I had set, you know, four books and I was at ah, chainand I got there and they said, Here's the community relations person. CRCasked for them, and they said, no, she's she laughed. She's gone. And sothe assistant manager said, Okay, well, you're back there at a table. No sign,nothing. But I had, you know, people in Savannah who are fans who came to thestore and I signed the books. But I literally I was, you know, doing it allmyself. There was no one helping me. And about 15 minutes before I was, thesigning was to be over. The assistant manager came back, and, uh, you know, Ihad my new hardback, but they also had my and they also had my my mass marketpaperback back my backlist. And while I was sitting there, she started rippingthe covers off for those of you mass market paper, mauler size paperbackbooks and so publishers. You having stores, send them back to them. Theyrip the covers off the books, going a dumpster, and the bookstore sends backthe covers to get a to get a credit for it. So she was basically ripping mybooks in front of me, saying We're not going to sell any of these. I don'tknow. She might win on that one. That's the bar bill. No, no, the bar bill isalready in New York. I'm not gonna be able to sleep tonight thinking aboutthat the bar bills for find it. Okay, we've gotta We've got it. Okay? We'vegot to cleanse the palate with some good things. So good. Kristen, will youremind us really quick at the bookstore of the week? Because sure, Yeah,absolutely. It's It's page and palate. Fair Hope, Alabama. It's a favorite ofreaders and authors alike. They're offering you 10% off our new releasesthrough the page link that Patty has posted on the friends and FictionFacebook group page under announcements so easy to go, they're easy to click.And we all have new releases that hopefully would interest you. So wehave been talking so much which you have afraid was going to happen. Sowe're going to do this quick lightning round. You all have sent in the mostmarvelous questions. Hundreds of them, actually. And we promise to try and getto some of them, but also will get them in other episodes. So each of us havechosen a question for the other. We didn't get to pick our own question wepicked, and we're gonna try and do this in a quick light around eso. Okay. MaryKay, your first asked. Christian Christian asked Kristen s. So this is aquestion for Christian. Um, Mary Ellen Hook Hawker Hartwick wants to know. Howdo you organize your story? Notes? She says I will wanna be author and havebeen struggling with organizing my...

...thoughts for chapters or for shortstories or novella. So, as a historic fiction author, I think this is a keyone for you, Chris. Question. Okay, so, great question. I would say there aretwo very short answers to that one. As far a story notes, it all goes into anoutline for me. So So if I have an idea, I know exactly where it's gonna belong.I plug it right into the outline and my outlines air not bulleted there inparagraph form. So if I want to remember something, I might put it inparentheses, or I might even put it in parentheses at the top of the chapterheading. But it all just goes right into that outline. If you're talkingabout how to organize research to keep track of all the research, um, I have aword document that I just instead of writing out like, whatever I found inthe research, I'll say, um, the Nah. Labaki Forest Book, Page 1 64. And thenI'll put a post it note in that book. So I'll say exactly what the notesabout where to find it and then the post it note. And then that way,instead of having secondhand or thirdhand information, I'm I'm eat asI'm writing, going back to the source, which I think is really helpful. Sogreat. Great question. I hope I answered it. Christine. I'm actuallyI'm actually going to steal that. Okay, Kristen, go ahead. Your next. Okay.I've got one from Cindy Kovac for Christie. And this is have any of youhad book ideas that you are Glad you didn't write If so, what was it and why?So that's for Christie. Um, this is a really good question. And when I firststarted writing, I had a writing professor a Chapel Hill that I reallylove to. Patty is good friends with to his name's Daniel Wallace. And his mostfamous book was Big Fish. They're probably a lot of y'all have read that,but He said to me, the worst thing that can happen to you as a writer is thatyou get published too soon. And I think that was such good advice because I hadseveral manuscript that I never sent out or, you know, really did anythingwith, um and I'm glad of that. You know, at the time you're so invested in thatmanuscript, you think it's gonna be the one. But I definitely have thatsyndrome of thinking. The next thing I'm working on so much better than theone before, and I think that was such a good piece of advice, and I'm reallyglad that's not exactly the question she asked. But there's nothing thatI've wanted to write that I haven't written necessarily. But I'm glad thatthe things I haven't put out didn't get put out. That's a good feeling, that'sall. OK, Christie Ugo Um, Okay, Patty. Linda Danko wants to know what's thelongest you have gone without an idea for a new book. And how did you breakwriter's block? How do you write writer's block? Um, so I've never beenwithout an idea. I think that what happens is I get stuck wondering if theidea is worth the next couple of years of my life. So it's not necessarily Idon't have an idea. Oh my God, it's does the idea I have. Is it worthy ofmy of the next? Especially with historical fiction? It's It's not justthe story idea. It's how long you know the research and the reading and thediving down. For years, this last book took me three years. It was so complex.So I think that it's more for me, um, not how long it takes for an idea, buthow long it takes me to decide what's next. Now I think the longest that'sbeen has been probably four or five months of starting something, puttingit away, starting something, putting it away. And as Faras writer's block, um,it's for me. It's not writer's block. It's not knowing where this story'sgoing next. That, for me, is a block, and usually when that happens, it meansyou have to go back a few steps. Yeah, so Okay, ready? Mary Alice, here's myquestion for you from Kate again. I'm pretty sure that's how you say it, shesays. I'm reading Mary Alice Monroe's This summer. Guests Karen and David areboarding up Primrose Cottage. Have any...

...of you ever had to stop in the middleof your writing and evacuate everywhere every year? Which brings me real quickto say, all of us, all five of us are really thinking about praying for allof you in the hurry. Half in Texas, Louisiana. We have been texting eachother and thinking about you, and I'm really worried about it. So Mary Alice,I know I know the answer to this, But tell everybody else. Have you had tostop in the middle of your writing and evacuate, really? Every year it's thefirst one was Floyd, but I didn't even own a house yet, and we had to. I wascaught in it, the largest evacuation in American history. I was on the road,and that's why I actually do have PTSD about it. I mean, it's truly the minute,like right now, just you, having talked about what's going on in the Gulf,makes my heart go pitter patter and it za lovely live on an island. But everyyear you're reminded the surprise to pay, and with climate change thesestorms are just getting increased intensity. So my house is 50% boardedup from the last one that didn't even hit us. But we have boarded up, so it'skind of dark in my office because the shutters are down. We're not going,we're done. And in the minute it gets even close. I board up the house, stopwhat I'm doing because my mind is already on freeze. That's the troublewith you. Just can't keep your eyes off the television with all the newsrepeating itself. So that's why I moved to a got a house in North Carolina because after after summer guests,that's a autobiographical story in that those that was me in the barn with allthose horses and I learned about the horses and then was inspired to writethat book. But the whole reality. I've written about hurricanes five times,but the whole reality of hurricanes coming this big monster is mythologicalin literary, in the literature. So for me to write about it is is not onlyautobiographical but a theme that I write about a lot. Andi I and againechoing whatever one says, Please pause to pray for the people in the Gulf.This is a big one, and I hope that we're able to help them. All right,Captain, your question for Kathy? Yes, she remain. Says and I love this. Doyou design or get involved with your book covers? And the reason I reallylike this question for you is I always think you have some of the mostbeautiful, identifiable covers. I always look for that cute littlesomething. You have Either the pelican or the Seagull or something really cute.And I know you, you are involved. So do you want to answer that? Um, you know,um, our theory. I write summer Beach books, and so we want a cover thatlooks inviting. We wanted to look like the candy that you'd grab it the checkout counter. So it needs to be It needs thio convey. My editor says it needs toconvey a sense of celebration, a sense that you want it, and you want to pickit up. So, um, next year we are revamping the look, and I'm reallyexcited about that. I think part of when you write commercial fiction isyou always You want your readers to be able to identify your book just byglancing at it. They don't even need to see what the title is. They need to sayI want to be in that world. So that's what we're doing. And look for a wholenew look for us next year. A big surprise. Yeah, I'm dying for yourcover reveal. Yeah, I was just gonna say that there's, um I was started. Wereveal my cover, and all of us are going to be revealing our covers here,so it's gonna be really exciting. Okay,...

I'm gonna talk really fast because wehave, like, formula. Every week we have a writing tip, and tonight it is fromChristine Harmel. Kristen, give us a writing tip. You know what I wasthinking with? With us almost running out of time, Here's what I'm gonna dioway. Had a great question from Lynn Carol Hughes, who asked what's youradvice on seeking an agent? I have a lot of advice to give, so I'm going towrite a post. I'm gonna put it on our Facebook page tomorrow morning. Okay.So look for it tomorrow morning. It will be up before 8 a.m. on. And I'llalso include the link to the bookseller. And there too. So you have two ways toget to the bookseller. Okay. So also, I wanted to remind you Sunday our guestfor our bonus episode that we're gonna be doing right. We've talked about this.Ready it? Um Author? Yeah. Oh, sorry. Go ahead. I was going to say Okay, good.Real quick. I know that we try to shout out about a debut or something. We'reloving Mary. Alice. Tell us real quick what you were thinking this week. Thisis just a really quick It's the for Gotten Kingdom by Signee Pike. And Ilove the book It Zits Century And this is the first one was The Lost Queen.This is the second one in the trilogy and you're gonna love it. She's ourguest September 16th, I believe. And Patty, you're the host. She's wonderful,She's scholarly. She's so much fun. But this book is serious matter. You will.What did they describe it? They say it Z Oh, Camelot meets Outlander. That'sit. It's and it's really great. And so beautifully done. So the for gottenkingdom by Signee Pike. But you, Christie, um, lined up this avenue byfan of Davis, which we have all loved so much, but we just wanted to give hera huge shout out because she has a New York Times list. So way celebrated, goby it and keep it on the list. Yep. Absolutely. Okay, now. So for somereally exciting announcements, I mean, just when you think friends and fictionyou can't get better. It does. And it is because you you out there watchingand listening and tuning in on our membership yesterday on our membershippage, we ask people, How did you hear about us? And yesterday I saw one of myfavorites. Is that from a stranger at a coffeehouse? Eso Can we just say welove you that you are out there talking about us? We're so excited to announceour fall schedule, Mary Alice. Just kinda after Mary, Alice has donerattling through it. Don't try and write it down. I'm going to post it onthe page as soon as the show is over. But, Mary Alice, tell us all about thefall schedule. All right? Give hold onto your head spokes. It's amazing. OnSeptember 2nd ETA from September 9th. Emily Giffin, September 16th SigneePike, September 23rd is just US. September 27th. Christina LaurenSeptember 30th. Kathy Reichs October 7th. Lian Dolan October 14. CharlaineHarris Just in Time for the Spooky Time of Year, October 21st Elizabeth Berg,October 28th Again Just US November 1st Violence Shipment. November 4th. BritBennett's November 11. Caroline Leavitt, November 18th. JT Ellison and HankPhillippi Ryan In November 25th, we're gonna end up with a Thanksgiving forsuch a great small with just us. I'm so excited. I mean all the booksthat those air associated with Okay, Mary Kay, I want you to tell everyoneabout our Sunday brand new bonus episodes called Behind the book. Youknow, we had so much stuff to talk about this Sunday. We're adding we'restarting our bonus episodes, and the inaugural one is with Rachel McMillan.She's a Canadian whose new book, London Restoration, is climbing the charts.She's not only a prolific writer and reader and social media guru, but she'salso a literary agent. For those of you who want to get published, you wanna besure and watch that this Sunday, and...

...we'll see your questions rolling in,and we'll be asking her some of them. This will be a fantastic episodes. Sotune in on Sunday at five. Sunday at five on Friends and Fiction, and we'llpost something on the page to remind you and Christie tell us about whoyou're hosting next week, and we'll say goodbye to everyone next week. I'm soexcited to be hosting a talk from She is amazing. Her novel is a woman is noman if you have not read it. Well, I just finished it. It is beautiful andhorrifying. And I kept looking at it and thinking, This is 2000 and eight.How could this happen in 2000 and eight? Um, And then I found out that the storya semi autobiographical. So if you have not read the story, read it before nextweek. I mean, it will absolutely blow your mind and order it from ourBookstore of the week page and pallets. Um, it was also offering a 10% discounton all of our new releases. Thanks, Christy. Okay. That was such a funnight. Ladies, we hours about this questions. Okay, everybody out there.Please join us under friends and fiction page to ask us your questionsand interact and join us next week when Christie Woodson Harvey will be hostinga top room. But before that, join us on Sunday, where we'll be talking withRachel McMillan. All right, everyone, thanks so much for being with us, Terry.And thanks for coming. And that's a wrap. Bye bye bye. Thanks, everyone. You've been listening to the friendsand Fiction podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the friends and fictionpodcast wherever you listen. And if you're enjoying it, leave a review. Youcan find the friends and fiction authors at w w w dot friends andfiction dot com a swell As on the Facebook group page. Friends andfiction come back soon. Okay? There are still lots of books writing tips,interviews, publishing news and bookstores to chat about goodbye.

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