Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

The Fab Five on Debuts: How We Got Our Start

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Fab Five have an in-depth chat about debut novels, discussing their own debuts and how they got their start. They welcome three debut novelists tp join the fun, all with Winter 2021 debuts that are getting loads of nice buzz. Meet Nancy Johnson, author of THE KINDEST LIE (Feb 2, 2021); Sarah Penner, author of THE LOST APOTHECARY (March 2, 2021); and Pamela Terry, author of THE SWEET TASTE OF MUSCADINES (March 16, 2021). http://friendsandfiction.com/

Welcome to Friends and fiction. Fivebest selling authors and the stories novelist Mary Kay Andrews, ChristineHarmel, Christie Woodson, Harvey, Patty Callahan Henry and Mary Alice Munro arefive longtime friends with more than 80 published books to their credit. In2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews andfascinating insider talk about publishing and writing and to highlightindependent bookstores. Thes friends discuss the books they've written,books they're reading now and the Art of Storytelling. If you love books andyou're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Hello,everybody, and welcome to Friends and Fix in our weekly Facebook live showfeaturing author chats in support of independent bookstores. We're so gladyou're here, and we're so glad we're here. We're honored to be among all ofyou. It's such a great community. More than 28,000 members strong now, and itmeans so much to all of us to be a part of it. So let's get started. I'mChristi Woodson Harvey. I'm going to be your host tonight and we're going to betalking about are debut novels. My debut is Gear Carolina. I'm PaddyCallaghan, Henry and my debut novel, Waas. His losing uh, I'm Mary AliceMunro and my debut novel a long time ago was The Long Road Home, also knownby my Children as the long road to publication I'm Mary Kay Andrews, andmy debut novel is every Crooked Nanny. I'm Christine Harmel, and my debutnovel is How to Sleep with a movie star, which I swear is not a really healthy Ealone. That note This is friends and welcome Our show Tonight is brought toyou by Mama Geraldine's America's best selling cheese straw. Mary Kay. I saw apicture on your instagram recently of you enjoying some of your favoriteflavors. Can you tell us a little bit about Mama Geraldine's? Yeah, MamaGeraldine's were my go to snack while I was on deadline last week on. And don'tforget, you can save 20% on your Mama Geraldine's order with the code Fabfive Snack on Y'all on. As you all know, independent bookstores are a part ofthe reason we're here each week and this week are featured. Store isGramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio. Gramercy is known for its amazingauthor events and for connecting readers who books they love. Theirmotto is, Come here If you're seeking will help you find it makes me want togo. The link is on our Facebook page, and all of our books are already markeda 10% off, no coupon code required. And I wanted to remind all of you to dropyour life questions as we're chatting because we'll be answering them soon.So as I mentioned, we'll be talking about our debuts tonight and thatmoment That sort of changed all of our lives. So I wanted to ask each of youwhat that moment was like when you found out that you were going to be apublished author. Mary Alice, can you start us off? Okay, I definitely will.It was Gosh, it was a while ago, and I had been involved with the writersgroup with a lot of very famous, well known authors, and I knew my time wascoming. It wasn't like I wasn't that much of a hurry. I was raising babies.But when my baby went into first grade, my husband said, Mary, Alice, you know,maybe you should get a job now on. Hey was right. We had college to lookforward. Two years ago, I was a university teacher and I went back toapply. And I had an offer from the university and this was a Wisconsin.I'm sorry outside Chicago at the time, and I had this contract and I knew mybook was out there and it was just within days in which one dio pleasegive me a sign. Three days and I am not kidding. Before my contract was due tobe signed, my book sold my first book in the Long road home. And to betotally honest with you, I would have paid them the amount of money they gaveme with the first book. It was so little. But I was green lit in myturned on the contract, and the rest is history. But it was a bumpy start, butI never looked back. It was that moment. I was, ah, photographed. My husbandtook of me with what it called those cameras. The Polaroid. Remember those?I'm on the phone and I just have this enormous grin with mud streets on myface and sunglasses because I was out working in the garden thing There's nomoment like it thing. How do you? What about you? So it was The year was, Ithink, 2000 and two and I was unlike...

Mary Alice. I didn't know it was coming.I was hoping and hoping, and I knew the book was out there and I was in carpoolline. I was picking up my kids from preschool. E was in carpool line, andit's, you know, one of those foot bones. You know, E. I saw my agents number andI thought this was gonna be another discussion about why someone wasn'twilling to take a bet on a debut. And it was from Penguin Random House. Thereused to be a line called New American Library and it was an offer and same isvery else. I probably would have written them the same amount of money,but I hung up and just like I'm going to be published. And it'sthis feeling of being swamped with disbelief while at the same timefinally, like, finally and disbelief at the same time. Yeah, totally Christian.What about you? So my call came on April Fool's Day, and I thought myagent was playing the worst joke on me. Uh, that's truly because not only wasit like Oh, my gosh, you have a book offer, But it was from the Dream Editorand you all know I've told you this before, but my first editor was AmyEinhorn, who is a legend now. But 17 years ago, when I got my first bookoffer, she was a legend Then, too. So I got this call saying, Amy Einhorn atWarner Books. The time is launching a new imprint and she wants to buy yourbook. And I was like, Come on, that is so mean. Why would you say that to me?Like it was just such a joke. But now it was really also a very small advancethat I would have easily written them Thio. But I have to tell you, one ofthe first calls I made was to my friend Amy Tangerine, who is now a very famousscrapbook designer but at the time was designing T shirts, these designer Tshirts and I dug around in my closet till I found it. She made these Tshirts for my first book. It says I sleep scars, E guys e her bathroomtonight. No eso. It's, uh this is my Amy Tangerine shirt. And she we didshirts together for the first three books, so yeah, that's part of myThat's so great. That's a great story. E u Well, I was at work in the featuresdepartment at The Atlanta Journal Constitution and a dear friend and mymy writing fairy godmother, Celestine Sibley, who was a long time columnistof the paper, had sent my manuscript to her editor at HarperCollins and shecame out and she said, and he'd already turned down my first book and she cameout and said, Kathy, call Larry. He wants to buy your book. And so I waslike, Yeah, well, you don't really wanna buy it But I did call him. Ididn't I really didn't have an agent at that time. And he's and I called himand he said, Um, why don't you come up and talk to me because I think we wannaI think we wanna buy that. We want to offer you a contract. And so my firstthought was, Yeah, and then my second thought was, How am I gonna get offwork? to go to New York, so I scammed, um, assignment for the E picked thestory about how they put together the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. So thiswas this was in October. So the paper paid for me to go to New York, and theyput me up at a luxurious hotel, um, which was in a dangerous part ofManhattan. Oh, my God. They used to have the commercials for this hotel onlate night TV. I can't think of the name of it. But anyway, I did all thereporting for that story. And when the reporting was done, I rent I, you know,went over to HarperCollins office, which was that, um uh I used to knowthe address by heart, and they said we he told me I wanna We wanna give you atwo book contract. Hardball. Ah, hard soft contract for two books. And I wasout of my mind with happiness. And it just happened that I had I had anothernewspaper friend who I then was working for. Um I think he was working for ABCin New York, and he met me. I called my husband and screamed and hollered on.And then my I met went I capped over to ABC to their studios, and I met myfriend and he took me to the monkey bar, which was a very a monkey bar. Yeah, itwas a very I guess it's still there is a very iconic at the Ellie say yes,very iconic New York bar. And the bar stools looked like, uh, palms of yourhands. And so we toasted my first book...

...contract. You know, I didn't know yourfirst book was with Harper. That's who bought my first book. Yeah, for 17books. Wow. Well, I waas had just strolled Little will home frompreschool. His like, little two year old, like, two day a week preschoolclass. And I had one this writing contest a few months earlier, and oneof the editors that was one of the judges was, um, um, editor at Berkeley,which is a part of Penguin Random House like Patty. And for some reason, whenmy agent called me, I was like just pacing around the house because I knewlike today was gonna be the day and sort of like Patty Also, I thought thiswas gonna be another like either. They didn't get to your book today. Sorry.They're gonna try to get it on the list next week, which had already happened,like, two or three times for a You know, I'm so sorry. He called me and I waslike, placing around the house and he said, You got it. They are offering youa contract that would about your book. And I was freaking out, and I remembermy agent saying, You're not making any sense. So I don't you like, on down andthen call me back, E how like when you're laying in bed at night andyou're imagining what this moment is going to be like. And I rememberthinking like, I'll jump in the car and I'll running my husband's office andI'll call my parents and e. Actually, I write about this today, so if you're amember of our newsletter, you've already read about this. But if you'renot, you should join E. I walk downstairs and I got a bottle ofchampagne and a champagne flute and I walked up and I said at my desk and Idrank a glass of champagne. Like all by myself and I just had to have thismoment of, like, this is happening. Like this thing that was never going tohappen has happened. And it was just magical and truly At that point, Ithought, check off the bucket list. I'm going to have written a book like Inever could have imagined, like having Number Seven actually come out. So itwas just a dream come true as I know it was for everybody. And it does. Ittotally changed my whole life because I know it did for all of you. And soobviously we all know firsthand the magic of that first book being theworld. And so we wanted to take a moment tonight to highlight a few ofthe debut novels that we're most excited about this year. So, Kristen,could you please tell us a little bit about our first guest? I would loveThio. So Sarah Penner graduated from the University of Kansas with a degreein finance, and she's the debut author of The Lost Apothecary, which is comingin March 2021 from Park Row Books HarperCollins. It has actually beentranslated into more than 15 languages, which is incredible for a day. Yes,right. Eso Sarah and her husband live in ST Petersburg, Florida, which iswhere Mary Kay and I both grew up also. So there must be something in the waterthere. I'm starting on day. They live in ST Pete with their miniature docks.And Zoe, So please join us in welcoming Sarah. Hey, we're still having me. I'mso excited to be here. Yes, we're so bad. Hey, marry Ken. Could you tell usa little bit about our next guest, please? Yes. Um, Nancy Johnson is anative of Chicago, South Side where my father grew up. She worked for morethan a decade. I know. There's an Emmy nominated award winning televisionjournalist at CBS and ABC affiliates and Nate in markets nationwide.Obviously, she could not hold a job. We'll talk about that. Graduate atNorthwestern University and the University of North Carolina. ChapelHill. Christie. Go heels, heels, go heels. Um, she lives in downtownChicago and manages brand communications for a large nonprofit.The kind of slaw is her first novel. It has had so much buzz and February 2nd,So welcome. Nancy s. Hey, Nancy. I did I knew that we both had Chicago incommon, but we both have Northwestern University in Common way. Are so manyconnections that way e has to be set. Um, but we thought it would be reallyfun to bring Nancy and Sarah in together because they just so happen tonot only be debut authors, but also friends. And as the five of us, well,no friends make this business. Ah, whole lot sweeter. So, Mary Alice,could you please ask our first question? Absolutely. All right. We werewondering, and we know our viewers are, too. How did you to become friends? Andhow do you think it affected your journey through what we know cansometimes be a really long and hard and brutal process? Yeah, I always say that,you know, in this process, we spend so much time alone, you know, working onour books and then putting them into the world. And it's so solitary. And,you know, you don't have that connection. So Sarah and I are bothpart of the 2020 debut group that let...

...us in because we're debuting in early2021. And they were also part of the 2021 debut group. And so that's how weconnected. And we linked up with a dear friend of ours. Julie Carrick Dalton,who has a book waiting for the night. Uh, that just released this'll month.Ah, great book. You want to check that one out? And so we decided that we hadso much in common and we became an accountability trio something. All thatbooks coming out January, February, March. And you know, we're gettingsupport from our publishers, and it's just been nice. We talked every Sunday,we tell each other that way. Couldn't tell other people. Yeah, that is reallyThat's lovely. Yeah, I'll jump in and say kind of How it happened was therewas a very large revision I was embarking on in the fall just a fewmonths ago, and I went to this 2021 debut Facebook group that Nancy justmeant Bend and I just put out a feeler and I said, Does anybody want to startan accountability group? Because I have a very large revision ahead of me and Iwould like some people to keep me accountable, and both Nancy and Juliejumped in and we all kind of as Nancy just said, have deal dates kind offollowing in the January February march on DSO. We started the Sunday calls andwe talk every Sunday at an afternoon. And, like Nancy, Nancy just said,sometimes it's seeking advice, But a lot of times it's just being very bluntand honest about what we're going through and just exactly like friendswould do in conversation. It's so important to have that we talk about,like the good reads reviews that we're not supposed to read way have, you know,the most anticipated list we want to be on and sure, yeah, all those things,the good times and the bad times I know Sarah always says that she finds outwhat list she's long because I email her the You're on that list. Uh, inaddition to our weekly chat, CIT's like a constant email and text string ofjust so it's been very, very fun. Well, I hope your successes, too, because youboth have books that are being touted all over the place. So congrats. I hopeyou're raising champagne a little bit. Another E. Yeah. Patty, I think you hada question for the ladies. Oh, she just froze. Oh, you are beingvery glitchy tonight. Yeah, eso when we bring you on here just to talk aboutmaking friends Although we all know the sweetness of what that means. And wedefinitely know about the text strings way. Want to hear about your books,Nancy? Since yours releases so so soon, can you start by telling us just alittle bit about the kind of sly? And the cover is fabulous sentence in thefuture. Both of these beautiful furs are Yeah, really beautiful. Yes, ofcourse. Yeah. So the kind of sly is about family love, the pursuit of theAmerican dream and all of it at the start of the Obama era. And so thestory centers on Ruth Tuttle. She's ah, very successful black woman, uh,educated engineer, Ivy League educated, I should say, definitely on the come up.She's got a great husband. She just moved into her new home, So life isgood, but she's been harboring this big secret. She gave birth to her baby whenshe was just 17 years old, and she left her baby behind in the dying Indianafactory town where she grew up. So she's got to reconcile with her past.So she goes back to her hometown when she gets there. Of course, nothing is,you know, as she remembered the factory, the auto plant that was the beatingheart of that town has now been closed on. Her grandmother and her brother arekeeping some big secrets from her, and when she gets back there, she meets andforms an unlikely connection with ah, young white boy nicknamed Midnight. Andhe's mired in the very poverty that she managed to escape. And when the two ofthem come together there on this collision course of race and class, andit ends up upending and changing both of their lives forever. So you willhave to buy the book and pre order it now to find out what happens. Nancy,that sounds e got chill pumps, listening to talk about it. So evenbefore you were talking about it or we read about it, our mutual friend RonBlock was like you had you had. You had analogy I out there in the world thatwe loved dearly, too, and that's a big part of the literary community that Iwanted to make that point to, uh, Caroline Leavitt is my literary fairygodmother, which we were talking about literary, very awesome backstage. Andshe messaged Ron Block and said, and I...

...didn't know Ron. Ron is library inCuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio. She's like, you're gonna love this book.And lo and behold, he read it. He loved it. He has declared himself the uncleto my book. E imagine that he's a fiction Thio e So And I'm always sayingthis that we're all in this boat together, right? So if we if we keeplifting each other up the boat, all boats rise with the tide. But, Sarah,tell us about your S e. I have to say I am have so much covered cut cover andbe for that book. Flowers The its stunning Yeah, the art team. Just Itblew my mind when they sent the cover concept over. So the lost apothecarycomes out march 2nd, and it begins with an apothecary in 18th century Londonwho sells well disguised poisons, tow women seeking vengeance on the men whohave wronged them. And 200 years later, in present day London A woman is mudlarking on the River Thames, and she finds a tiny blue vial, and she soonsuspects that she has found the culprit in the never solved apothecary murdersthat haunted London two centuries prior. So my story is dual timeline, and wesee both of these narratives kind of move forward together, and my presentday character is really uncovering this web of mystery and solving these theseapothecary apothecary murders. Eso It's perfect for readers who love witchy,witchy vibe, apothecary, herbalist vibe, definitely people who like olddocuments, old maps. There are several scenes that take place in the BritishLibrary on Bears. Also a lot of themes of friendship amongst women in thestory. And I think that's one of the more powerful elements of the book is.There's this idea of really lifting one another up and preserving the names andlegacies of the women that were friends with and banded together with and threeapothecary. You know, she runs a very secret stop, and he's surreptitiouslyum, selling these poisons to these women who are then going to slip theminto food and wine that they give to their husbands and their brothers andthe people who have done them wrong. So there's this element of trust andloyalty. And like I said, just the friendship of these women. And that'sone of the reasons I was so excited to come on this show tonight is becausewe're all about friendship and kind of getting together. So it z such a funstory to write. And it's even more fun to share here tonight. That's amazing.E It sounds yummy. I can hardly wait. Mention London maps? A. No. Yeah,there's there's some recipes in the back of the book. There's a beauty.Come on. No non alcoholic and alcoholic cocktail recipes. There's a recipe Iwrote. Um, there's a beautiful map that the Harbor Collins team put together.I'm just so pleased with it. That's awesome. S so excited for you coming upwith you. Yes. Kristen, would you like to ask the ladies a question from ourFacebook group? Yeah, we have a great one from Barbara Pliskova. Whoa! CheckAnd Barbara, I'm I see your name all the time and I know I'm probably alwaysbutchering the last name. I apologize. But ladies, was there an author whogave your book a referral like the friends and fiction authors often dofor debut writers? Yes, for me. I guess that would be like a blurb. Yeah, forme. I talked earlier about Caroline Leavitt being a literary fairygodmother to me. And so when she found out I had the book deal and all thatshe reached out not only to run block, but she said, I know somebody elsewho's gonna love the book. And she tweeted Jodi Picoult New York best likeOh, yeah, yeah, yeah, Yeah. Saturday afternoon, I didn't know she was gonnado it. She tweeted her at her, and with them about five minutes, Jodi messagedme and said, I just preorder your book and eso Then I was like, Oh, my gosh, Iwould love for her to read an early advanced copy of it, you know, becauseit's so hard to get that, you know, recommendation and that endorsementfrom these big name authors. And so she gave me her personal email and she said,Sure, she'd love to read it. She read it. She loved the book. And so sheendorsed it. She blurbed it and her blurb eyes on the final cover of thekind of lie that's a pretty big Yeah, a...

...another March 22nd now, because of herbook, Small Great Things. Both of us have dealt with race. And so we aredoing an event with Ron Block at Kaya Republic. Very. It's called Fiction andrace in America, so definitely join us for that. Yeah, Yeah. One of the morememorable blurbs for the lost apothecary. More memorable for mepersonally, it was from Fiona Davis. So she, uh, yes, a friend. Yes, she isphenomenal. And we share an agent. And I wondered at the beginning if thereason she turned her blurb in so quickly was because we shared an agent.But in time, we have become very good friends, and we've chatted on the phoneand I actually spoke with her over the phone before I signed with my agent on.We had dinner in New York before lockdowns, and it's just been a reallygreat experience because I read the Dollhouse, which I believe was herdebut many years ago. And I remember at the time, thinking, How do you even getto where she is? Andi, how do you become, You know, so successful. And ifI had only known that a few years down the road, she and I would be toasting aglass of wine and and sharing stories about our books and our agent I wouldhave just shook my head in disbelief. So she was my very first blurb. And Ithink it's a neat story about just keeping your dreams. Um, you know, justahead of you. And and nothing is out of the realm of possibility and you neverknow who you look up to someday that is gonna feel like appear in a supporterof you. Hey, men. Right here. Right here. Yes, ladies, Thank you so muchfor joining us tonight. We're so excited about your debuts and for allof you watching, we will have more information about both Nancy andSarah's debuts in our Facebook group. And, of course, we'll be able topurchase it at a discount at Gramercy Books are Bookstore of the Week. Sobest of luck. And thank you for having a thank you. Thank you. A quickcommercial break to remind you that our friends at Mama Geraldine's airoffering 20% off all of their delectable goodies with the code FabFive. Okay, now we've been talking about other debuts, so we're going tohave to go around the circle and give a super short elevator pitch for ourdebuts. And then we're going to take a couple of quick live questions from ourfeet. So, Mary Kay, do you want to start? Gosh, you know, tired when hecame out in 1919, 92. So the elevator pitch is a former Atlanta cop. Buys, uh,gets a p I license. Can't make a living at that. She buys a cleaning businesswith her mom, Edna Mae, named after my grandmother, Edna Mae, and on her onone of her first jobs. Her client, um, has a Mormon nanny who turns up dead.And Callahan Garrity was my mystery sleuth. I did a Callahan Garrity novels,but in every crooked nanny she's gotta find out who killed the nanny. Mhm. Youlove it. All right. Kristen Europe. Next. Tell us how we can sleep with themovie star. Help you guys. My first. We are where she wear the shirt thatadvertises your availability. No. So how to sleep with the movie star, Not areal How to Guide is about a It's about a magazine writer who gets involved ina situation where the whole world thinks she's having an affair with amovie star with kind of Hollywood's hottest movie star. But in reality, herlove life is a complete disaster. She has this jerk of a cheating boyfriendsand all of these things. But this one misconception completely spins out ofcontrol, and the rest of the book is sort of the zaniness that ensues as aresult. So the book came out in 2006. I sold it in 2004, and it was very muchat the height of the chick lit, um, sort of the chick lit movement, youknow, like Bridget Jones's Diary, The Devil Wears Prada and all those kind ofbooks. So it is very much that kind of feel love. It sounds amazing, a littledifferent than what I'm doing now. I e. I mean, it's kind of cool that you have,like, really been that you can do both things. Everything that's amazing.That's the fun thing about being a writer. I'm kind of right of all Patty,What about you? So losing the moon came out in 2004. And I think what's reallyinteresting for people who are trying to write or wondering if they're evergonna have their debut is it actually...

...isn't the first book I wrote. The firstbook I wrote is called, um, Between the tides and it came out four books later.So the second book I wrote is called Losing the Moon, and it came out. Andit is about to ex lovers who haven't seen each other in years. And they runinto each other at a college football game, tailgating because her son isdating his daughter on the complications that ensue thereafter.That's still one of my favorite P C H e. Still, all these years later get emailsthat say, Can we find out what happened to Nick and Amy, where Nick and Amy nowand I'm like, you know, there's another 15 books you could leave? E. I don'tknow if you remember this, we were like walking up from the beach and I waslike, So how's that losing the moon coming? E what do you think she did?Yeah, I was like so can you? If you're not gonna write it, can you just atleast tell me what they like? Secret intel? All right. Mary. Alice, whatabout you? Alright. This book came out in 1995 so that was quite a long timeago. And I have to say, for those I love to follow an author when she's hada long career, as I have had, and you look back and you go with the veryfirst book and you see where the seeds of who she is as an honor today, Ithink it's interesting to trace. So of course, there are animals in this book.This time it's cheap, but it's called the Long Road home. And it takes placein Vermont, where my husband's family has had a family farm for years and itwas a sheep farm. So they always say, Write about what you know. And I usedto take my Children up there every summer. They grew up there, and everyspring summer there would be the lambing. So that's that's where I setthe book, okay? And it is our farm, and in fact, the old house, the big oldhouse with the kids, ride the bikes and it is our old house and it's a story.This was the eighties I was writing about the late eighties, and there werea lot of bank scandals back then, If you remember the crashing, so this isthe story. It opens up with a widow off of a dishonest banker who went bankruptand all the only property she has left. Alice Shits Creek. It is this farm inVermont, and she goes up there and she tries to make a new life for herselfthere. And it's about finding home again. What what makes her live? Andshe's grieving as old secrets about what her husband, Waas, come to light.And so she has to try to, um, salvage the reputation while she's trying tosalvage the farm. It's a really beautiful story, and I think I havegrown as a writer since I like to think I have, but you'll see my words. Youreally see the you know who you were when you started out. What you reallyloved Go. It goes way back. Like listening to Kathy America. Talkingabout her first book is the mystery that core, you know, it was at herheart. And so this is a sheep farm. So I hope you enjoy it. Takes place inVermont. Love it. Well, my debut is called Dear Carolina, and one of myfavorite parts of the book is a little tagline on the back. And it says onebeautiful baby girl, too strong Southern women and the most difficultdecision they'll ever make. And I kind of feel like that sums it up. But it isa story written from a birth mother and an adoptive mother to their daughterabout the ways that their lives changed in the year after her birth. So, um, myfirst story I love it. And it actually, you know how sometimes things sort ofcome to you out of a little sprig of something. And I remember my husbandand I were just sort of debating something that we were making adecision about. And I said, Well, you can never have too many people who loveyou And that was where the idea for this story came from. And I actuallystill get emails from people that are like, I love that I love you can neverhave too many people who love you. It's such a simple, simple, plain thing tosay, but it really is true. I think it is true. You can embroider that on apillow way. All love you to wear in a room full of women who love you.Alright. So, Mary Alice, could you ask a live reader question for us? Oh, I'lldefinitely try. I've got to find it. Maybe this. Hold on. I'm looking forone. Here's one. Do you think your second book was easier to write? And ifso, why? And this came from Irene. Justice. Hm? So that's for all of us,right? Yes. So do you wanna You wanna start us? Mary? Alice? Oh, gosh. Uh, no.My second book is still in the drawer. Actually, I wrote a second book fromthe Long Road home and my publisher You...

...know what this happens in thepublishing world where sometimes they fold up, the editors get fired andeverything's it happens. And so the book was in a drawer, and it's still inthe drawer, so maybe I'll put it out. I have a book in the drawer. So thesecond book was a disaster for me, and I got sick afterwards. So I was out ofthe picture for about two years, and when I got healthy was, like, startingall over again. And that was the book club that came out. So it was Yeah. Itwas definitely a tough journey for me. They're Christian. What about you? Mysecond book was my hardest. Um, and I think it was my least good. Um, it, uhyeah, it really was not. Don't buy my second book. It's not very good. No,I'm serious. I'm just a walking advertisement for myself, right? Egoing to run out and buy it because I wanted to say I'm just testing thisreverse psychology. No. E think it's very challenging to write your secondnovel? Um e whether whether your first one has been a tremendous success, inwhich case I think you are paralyzed with fear that you're not gonna live upto it. That was not my experience. But you know are, on the other hand, youknow your first novel lives in your head for years before you finally putpen to paper and managed to get it done. And then suddenly you have to write asecond one. And it's like, How do you start from scratch again? Um, my secondone was where I found my footing as a writer. But I found it clumsily as Iwent. And and I think it was not until my third book that I hit my stride.Very interesting. Mary Kay. What about you? Now? My second book was called ToLive and Die in Dixie, and it was inspired by a very, uh, notorious Sirisof murder trials in Savannah Was the Jim Williams murder trialing, Um and ah,guy named John Barrett wrote, uh, a true crime book called Just a LittleSuccess. Just a little success. Midnight born of good and evil. My bookcame out, my book came out. My book came out just a few months beforehand.And, of course, people saw the similarities. I covered two of thethree murder trials, and so people were accusing me of ripping off John Parent,but yeah, you know what? I'm proud of that second book I learned so much. Um,when I when I started, I was so fortunate to have great editors, andthey were teaching me how to write a book. They don't. That doesn't happenanymore. These days you know how to write a book and they buy it or you getleft on the side of the road. I was incredibly fortunate. Toe havewonderful editors who, um yeah, taught me along the way and listen to me andwe would have this push and pull. So, um, I really had a pretty goodexperience with my second novel, which was to live and die in Dixie. And it'sstill in prep. Yes. How do you What about your second? My second novel wascalled Where The River Runs and Love That Title. I and I loved that book. Istill loved that book. I Maybe because my first novel didn't sell until laterwriting my second, I felt like maybe I was I was figuring it out a tiny bit. Imean, I wasn't That was a false feeling because because we never haven'tfigured out. I mean, the one thing you need to know about writing is thatthere's a secret. And the secret is there's no secret. So, you know, ButBut I loved writing that book, and I, um I wouldn't change much about it. Ireally It was a short book. It was a small book, but for me it was. It waspowerful to be able to know there was going to be another book in the world.My I sort of felt like that to my second book was Lies and Other Acts ofLove. And I would have to say it might have been a little bit differentbecause I wrote to manuscript that I didn't do anything with before I read.No, Yeah, two. And then I wrote a third manuscript that I signed with aliterary agent for. But Dear Carolina was actually my fourth manuscript. Soby the time I was, it lives another acts of love. That was a story that Ireally, really wanted to write, and it actually started out as two differentstories, and I'm usually sort of working on a few things that I'm tryingto figure out, like where the lightning strike is on. Neither one of them werejust really hitting for me, and I literally woke up in the middle of thenight and sat up in bed and was like, it's not working because it's one story.It's not your stories on DSO. I put them together and it was just like thestory wrote itself. And there's some parts of that book that air based on mygrand parents and their real life love story, not the like secreting parts,but some of the like, really sweet and great parts, Um, so that people alwaysbe really special to me and, you know,...

...it should have. Should have sold morecopies than a, but it will always have a special place for me. So, um, ladies,I really want us to have some time with our third guest. So, Patty, could youplease tell us about our last surprise guest this evening? Yes. So PamelaTerry is about to join Earth, and I have known Pam Teri for almost 20 years.Now she and her husband, Pat Terry, are the best kind of storytellers,southerners and songwriters, poets and novelists. For the past decade, Pamelahas been the author of the internationally popular Blawg calledFrom the House of Edward, which was named one of the top 10 home Blog's ofthe year by London's The Telegraph. I want to be named the top ton Anythingby London E. No. Right. She's obsessed with Scotland, knitting, writing andobviously from this novel she is obsessed with beautiful prose. Shelives in Smyrna, Georgia, with her songwriter husband, Pat Terry and theirthree dogs. Her debut novel, The Sweet Taste of Muscadine Vines, comes out onMarch 16th. Welcome, Pamela Way are one. This is a treat. Yeah, We're so glad tohave you. Thank you for joining us tonight. We're also excited about thisbook, Of course. So can you tell us a little bit about it? Sure. Well, thescaffolding of the story, um is that Lila Bruce Breedlove, who lives off anisland on an island off the coast of Maine. It's a phone call from hersister that her mother has died. Their mother has died in sort of unusualcircumstances in an unusual place. And she and her brother Henry, travel backhome to their southern town, um, to what they think will be a a funeral fortheir mother. And instead they're met with a lot of things they didn't expectin a lot of secrets unearthed, and they eventually end up traveling from thesouth to the out of Hebert ease in Scotland where they find out somethings that change the course of their lives. So that's amazing. Well, I haveto tell you that another friend of the group we're talking about friends ofthe group tonight. But Christie Barrett from a novel be loved this book so muchshe called me on the phone and read me like the first few times it was like,Listen to how beautiful this book is, so I just got it in the mail and Icannot wait. Eso Mary, Alice, I think you have a question for paint eso.We've been talking tonight about the moment we found out when we were goingto be published authors crossing the line S O. You've had an award winningblock, and Patty told us about your gorgeous book of essays s Oh, this isreally your first foray into writing Although your debut novels So how didyou get started? And what was that moment like for you when you discoveredthis novel was going to be published? Well, I have written for years andyears, but I was a I was an interior designer for a long time. Yeah, Yeah,and I started made, huh? Amazing secrets. Come out, e. Follow her.Instagram. It's full of design that just melt your e really enjoyed that. Ihad wonderful clients. I had some success. It was really fun until itwasn't on, and I kind of got tired of doing that. But I had written all mylife and I started. I thought, Well, I don't do a blogged about design, and ittook me about two days to realize I didn't want to write about design. So Istarted writing about everything, and that's when the blonde got reallypopular. And, um, I did do a book, the best ice for the bloc leaders. But thenI decided I wanted to try to write a novel. Um, and just to see if I coulddo it to see if I could come up with something I was proud of. And I went toa writers workshop Very informal writers workshop with the wonderfulTerry K. Oh, yeah, who sadly, we lost last month, Um, way the two of us hitit off, which, you know, has nothing to do with me because Terry hit it offwith everybody. He did. But hey told me hey asked me to give him to send him myfirst chapter and Thio he gave me his home email address, which is very sweet.So that night I held my breath and I hit sin. Andi, send it to him. Um, onwith the letter that said I didn't...

...really care if I was published or not.I just wanted to know if I could write something I was proud of. And the nextmorning, he had written me a letter that said, No, you need to be published.I'm encouraging. It was very origin was very generous to me. Eso I just startedtreating the novel like job that it iss And I was about seven chapters him whenI contacted Patty again with, you know, some trepidation and said, Should Icontinue This is this publishable? And she called me back. I still remember Iwas in the library parking lot where I used to write a lot. She called me backand she said, This is definitely publishable. Keep going on. And I doremember where I waas I was able to get my dream agent. Um and fortunately, theday that she sent the book out was the same day I was traveling to theShetland Isles. Remember knitting and hawking Thio. Gosh, that's so bad. 14hours off the coast of Scotland, right in the middle of nowhere. So if I waslucky, if I had y five for, you know, 10 minutes a day eso I didn't worryabout it. I didn't think about it because I was just too far away to dothat on. Guy got home two weeks later, and two days later I got a call from myagent that Random House loved it. And then about two days after that, theymade an offer. And I remember I was sitting on my screen porch in my pajamazoo and I just was. My husband was second pictures off. Don't takepictures, but yeah, it was very exciting. And she said they made anoffer. She said, Stick by the phone. This is the first offer. So she keptcalling me all day and and it was just It was great. So I've been veryfortunate. They've been so wonderful and I had a wonderful editor and I'vegot my wonderful agent. I'm just grateful Thio. You know, you're talkingabout friends helping friends. And I think about the generosity that Terry Kshowed me and that Patty showed me. And you know what does red company? So I'mtickled. Yeah. Hey, was an amazingly generous man. Who was We've talkedabout, uh, writing mentors. And gosh, I don't even know the list of people thatTerry encouraged. And mentor has to be as long as your arm. I was sofortunate to that. We've got Thio have lunch together about a month. That s Oh,he was so thrilled. He was like a dad. He was eso losing, But I I I think he'shappy for me. Yeah, for sure. Well, our viewers here now that we love to sharewriting tip every week, and I think the five of us benefit from it as much asanyone. So would you mind sharing a writing tip the best tonight? Or, um,I'm always reading other writers, you know, thoughts on writing and theirtips on. I always held closely Flannery O'Connor's um you know, I write to findout what? I know what I believe you. Andi. I was We were talking earlier Iwas listening to George Saunders being interviewed last night by and patch it,and he said that he always wants to make sure he has something to say, andsometimes we'll be writing and think, Oh, what what? What is it? I'm tryingto say? And he said that in editing uh, in the editing process, when you goback, which is not a sentence, is not working, it's not flowing correctly. Itdoesn't feel right and you'll start to edit it and fix it. And in that process,all of a sudden it comes to you what you're trying to say s so I thinksometimes it's in the doing that we found out what it is that we want tosay. You sit around and think about it for a long time, but it's in the actualwriting and the doing and the editing. You figure out what I just want to say,and I know that was true for me with muscular guys. A good yeah, absolutely.Well, Pam, thank you so much for joining us tonight. We're so excitedabout the sweet taste of Muscat eyes, and we will have all the informationabout where to buy your beautiful debut and we'll be cheering for you. Thankyou. A get together with girlfriends. E right. That's the bonus. Thank you somuch. Have a great night, e. All right. Um, okay, ladies. Mary Kay. I think youhad. And we have a lot of books tonight, but really briefly. Do you have onemore that you want to share with? Yes. And I was listening to an NPR interviewwith Amanda s. Gorman who happened to read the inaugural poem today, and Ithink a 22 years old. What an amazing...

...talent. Yeah. So Amanda Gorman has aChildren's book called Change Sings, and it will be out in September 2021.And one thing we like toe remind everybody is that debut writers so, um,depend on the strength of preorders for bookstores. So, yes, it's many monthsuntil that book comes out. Um, we hope you will. I think everybody will wantto read Amanda Gorman's beautiful words, especially a Children's book, but alsopreorder the books of our debut authors tonight because their their career ison the line. So preorders really help everybody out. Well, while you're at it,can you remind us about our podcast and YouTube channel and how people canlisten? Yes, I will do that as soon as I find where I wrote that way. Hope youlisten to all of the weekly friends and fiction shows on our podcast. We'realso now producing special content. Exclusive to the podcast. One episodeis live So far, one more was recorded this week. Another well recorded MaryAlice and I were gonna record another one next week. We've got some funGuests and topics plan for February and March. So stay tuned to our socialmedia for news as these podcast episodes released on you can subscribeto the friends and fiction podcast on Apple, Google stitcher or wherever youlisten to your podcasts. So you never miss a show. Awesome. Kristen, we havea great bonus episode coming up on Sunday. Can you tell us about that? Youknow, I'm so excited we're going to be continuing our debut week. So thisSunday at five Eastern, we will be welcoming to Mawr. Incredible debutauthors to our friends and fiction stage. Our friends Susan Surrender andAlison Hammer will be here to inspire us with their tails of writing as asecond act. So if you have a long buried or really fresh dream ofbecoming a writer, you won't want to miss this one. And even if you don'tdream of being a writer, even if you're just an avid reader who kind of wantsto hear the stories behind the stories, you get to hear about two really greatbooks that came out in 2020 Awesome and Patti you are hosting next week for us.Can you tell us about our incredible guest? Yeah. So next week I'm hosting theabsolutely fabulous Marissa Dilla Santos. She is the poet and novelist.It's my kind of two favorite mash ups, but she is the poet and novelist of thebeloved book, and Love walked in and her newest book is called I'd GiveAnything and I'm in the middle of reading it and her prose, and the waythat she has you swept into the story is incredible. And so I can't wait foryou all to meet her and hear from her next week. Well, ladies, I think we'resort of getting low on time tonight, so thank you all for being here andfriends out there from all of us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.Whether you've been with us since our debuts or you're just beginning tofollow along Now we're so grateful for your love and support and we keepgetting published because you keep reading. So the fact that you thinkwhen you could choose our books means the world to us. So thanks for tuningin every week and we'll see you on Sunday. That's around everybody. Thankyou for tuning in. Join us every week on Facebook or YouTube, where our liveshow airs every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Eastern time. And please subscribeto our podcast and follow us on Instagram We're so glad you're here.Good night.

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