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. Five best selling authors and the stories novelist Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, Christie Woodson, Harvey, Patty Callahan Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends with more than 80 published books to their credit. In 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing and to highlight independent bookstores. Thes friends discuss the books they've written, books they're reading now and the Art of Storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Hello, everybody, and welcome to Friends and Fix in our weekly Facebook live show featuring author chats in support of independent bookstores. We're so glad you're here, and we're so glad we're here. We're honored to be among all of you. It's such a great community. More than 28,000 members strong now, and it means so much to all of us to be a part of it. So let's get started. I'm Christi Woodson Harvey. I'm going to be your host tonight and we're going to be talking about are debut novels. My debut is Gear Carolina. I'm Paddy Callaghan, Henry and my debut novel, Waas. His losing uh, I'm Mary Alice Munro and my debut novel a long time ago was The Long Road Home, also known by my Children as the long road to publication I'm Mary Kay Andrews, and my debut novel is every Crooked Nanny. I'm Christine Harmel, and my debut novel is How to Sleep with a movie star, which I swear is not a really healthy E alone. That note This is friends and welcome Our show Tonight is brought to you by Mama Geraldine's America's best selling cheese straw. Mary Kay. I saw a picture on your instagram recently of you enjoying some of your favorite flavors. Can you tell us a little bit about Mama Geraldine's? Yeah, Mama Geraldine's were my go to snack while I was on deadline last week on. And don't forget, you can save 20% on your Mama Geraldine's order with the code Fab five Snack on Y'all on. As you all know, independent bookstores are a part of the reason we're here each week and this week are featured. Store is Gramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio. Gramercy is known for its amazing author events and for connecting readers who books they love. Their motto is, Come here If you're seeking will help you find it makes me want to go. The link is on our Facebook page, and all of our books are already marked a 10% off, no coupon code required. And I wanted to remind all of you to drop your 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 that moment That sort of changed all of our lives. So I wanted to ask each of you what that moment was like when you found out that you were going to be a published 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 writers group with a lot of very famous, well known authors, and I knew my time was coming. 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 look forward. Two years ago, I was a university teacher and I went back to apply. 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 my book was out there and it was just within days in which one dio please give me a sign. Three days and I am not kidding. Before my contract was due to be signed, my book sold my first book in the Long road home. And to be totally honest with you, I would have paid them the amount of money they gave me with the first book. It was so little. But I was green lit in my turned on the contract, and the rest is history. But it was a bumpy start, but I never looked back. It was that moment. I was, ah, photographed. My husband took 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 my face and sunglasses because I was out working in the garden thing There's no moment like it thing. How do you? What about you? So it was The year was, I think, 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 carpool line. I was picking up my kids from preschool. E was in carpool line, and it's, you know, one of those foot bones. You know, E. I saw my agents number and I thought this was gonna be another discussion about why someone wasn't willing to take a bet on a debut. And it was from Penguin Random House. There used to be a line called New American Library and it was an offer and same is very 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's this feeling of being swamped with disbelief while at the same time finally, 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 my agent was playing the worst joke on me. Uh, that's truly because not only was it like Oh, my gosh, you have a book offer, But it was from the Dream Editor and you all know I've told you this before, but my first editor was Amy Einhorn, who is a legend now. But 17 years ago, when I got my first book offer, she was a legend Then, too. So I got this call saying, Amy Einhorn at Warner Books. The time is launching a new imprint and she wants to buy your book. 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 advance that I would have easily written them Thio. But I have to tell you, one of the first calls I made was to my friend Amy Tangerine, who is now a very famous scrapbook designer but at the time was designing T shirts, these designer T shirts and I dug around in my closet till I found it. She made these T shirts for my first book. It says I sleep scars, E guys e her bathroom tonight. No eso. It's, uh this is my Amy Tangerine shirt. And she we did shirts together for the first three books, so yeah, that's part of my That's so great. That's a great story. E u Well, I was at work in the features department at The Atlanta Journal Constitution and a dear friend and my my writing fairy godmother, Celestine Sibley, who was a long time columnist of the paper, had sent my manuscript to her editor at HarperCollins and she came out and she said, and he'd already turned down my first book and she came out and said, Kathy, call Larry. He wants to buy your book. And so I was like, Yeah, well, you don't really wanna buy it But I did call him. I didn't I really didn't have an agent at that time. And he's and I called him and he said, Um, why don't you come up and talk to me because I think we wanna I think we wanna buy that. We want to offer you a contract. And so my first thought was, Yeah, and then my second thought was, How am I gonna get off work? to go to New York, so I scammed, um, assignment for the E picked the story about how they put together the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. So this was this was in October. So the paper paid for me to go to New York, and they put me up at a luxurious hotel, um, which was in a dangerous part of Manhattan. Oh, my God. They used to have the commercials for this hotel on late night TV. I can't think of the name of it. But anyway, I did all the reporting 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 know the address by heart, and they said we he told me I wanna We wanna give you a two book contract. Hardball. Ah, hard soft contract for two books. And I was out of my mind with happiness. And it just happened that I had I had another newspaper friend who I then was working for. Um I think he was working for ABC in 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 my friend and he took me to the monkey bar, which was a very a monkey bar. Yeah, it was 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 your hands. And so we toasted my first book...

...contract. You know, I didn't know your first book was with Harper. That's who bought my first book. Yeah, for 17 books. Wow. Well, I waas had just strolled Little will home from preschool. His like, little two year old, like, two day a week preschool class. And I had one this writing contest a few months earlier, and one of 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, when my agent called me, I was like just pacing around the house because I knew like today was gonna be the day and sort of like Patty Also, I thought this was 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 was like, placing around the house and he said, You got it. They are offering you a contract that would about your book. And I was freaking out, and I remember my agent saying, You're not making any sense. So I don't you like, on down and then call me back, E how like when you're laying in bed at night and you're imagining what this moment is going to be like. And I remember thinking like, I'll jump in the car and I'll running my husband's office and I'll call my parents and e. Actually, I write about this today, so if you're a member of our newsletter, you've already read about this. But if you're not, you should join E. I walk downstairs and I got a bottle of champagne and a champagne flute and I walked up and I said at my desk and I drank a glass of champagne. Like all by myself and I just had to have this moment of, like, this is happening. Like this thing that was never going to happen has happened. And it was just magical and truly At that point, I thought, check off the bucket list. I'm going to have written a book like I never could have imagined, like having Number Seven actually come out. So it was just a dream come true as I know it was for everybody. And it does. It totally changed my whole life because I know it did for all of you. And so obviously we all know firsthand the magic of that first book being the world. And so we wanted to take a moment tonight to highlight a few of the 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 love Thio. So Sarah Penner graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in finance, and she's the debut author of The Lost Apothecary, which is coming in March 2021 from Park Row Books HarperCollins. It has actually been translated into more than 15 languages, which is incredible for a day. Yes, right. Eso Sarah and her husband live in ST Petersburg, Florida, which is where Mary Kay and I both grew up also. So there must be something in the water there. 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'm so excited to be here. Yes, we're so bad. Hey, marry Ken. Could you tell us a little bit about our next guest, please? Yes. Um, Nancy Johnson is a native of Chicago, South Side where my father grew up. She worked for more than a decade. I know. There's an Emmy nominated award winning television journalist at CBS and ABC affiliates and Nate in markets nationwide. Obviously, she could not hold a job. We'll talk about that. Graduate at Northwestern University and the University of North Carolina. Chapel Hill. Christie. Go heels, heels, go heels. Um, she lives in downtown Chicago 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 in common, but we both have Northwestern University in Common way. Are so many connections that way e has to be set. Um, but we thought it would be really fun to bring Nancy and Sarah in together because they just so happen to not 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 were wondering, and we know our viewers are, too. How did you to become friends? And how do you think it affected your journey through what we know can sometimes 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 on our 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 both part of the 2020 debut group that let...

...us in because we're debuting in early 2021. And they were also part of the 2021 debut group. And so that's how we connected. 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 had so much in common and we became an accountability trio something. All that books coming out January, February, March. And you know, we're getting support 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 really That's lovely. Yeah, I'll jump in and say kind of How it happened was there was a very large revision I was embarking on in the fall just a few months ago, and I went to this 2021 debut Facebook group that Nancy just meant Bend and I just put out a feeler and I said, Does anybody want to start an accountability group? Because I have a very large revision ahead of me and I would like some people to keep me accountable, and both Nancy and Julie jumped in and we all kind of as Nancy just said, have deal dates kind of following in the January February march on DSO. We started the Sunday calls and we 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 blunt and honest about what we're going through and just exactly like friends would 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 out what list she's long because I email her the You're on that list. Uh, in addition to our weekly chat, CIT's like a constant email and text string of just so it's been very, very fun. Well, I hope your successes, too, because you both have books that are being touted all over the place. So congrats. I hope you're raising champagne a little bit. Another E. Yeah. Patty, I think you had a question for the ladies. Oh, she just froze. Oh, you are being very glitchy tonight. Yeah, eso when we bring you on here just to talk about making friends Although we all know the sweetness of what that means. And we definitely 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 a little bit about the kind of sly? And the cover is fabulous sentence in the future. Both of these beautiful furs are Yeah, really beautiful. Yes, of course. Yeah. So the kind of sly is about family love, the pursuit of the American dream and all of it at the start of the Obama era. And so the story 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 is good, but she's been harboring this big secret. She gave birth to her baby when she was just 17 years old, and she left her baby behind in the dying Indiana factory 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 beating heart of that town has now been closed on. Her grandmother and her brother are keeping some big secrets from her, and when she gets back there, she meets and forms an unlikely connection with ah, young white boy nicknamed Midnight. And he's mired in the very poverty that she managed to escape. And when the two of them come together there on this collision course of race and class, and it ends up upending and changing both of their lives forever. So you will have 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 even before you were talking about it or we read about it, our mutual friend Ron Block was like you had you had. You had analogy I out there in the world that we loved dearly, too, and that's a big part of the literary community that I wanted to make that point to, uh, Caroline Leavitt is my literary fairy godmother, which we were talking about literary, very awesome backstage. And she messaged Ron Block and said, and I...

...didn't know Ron. Ron is library in Cuyahoga 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 uncle to my book. E imagine that he's a fiction Thio e So And I'm always saying this that we're all in this boat together, right? So if we if we keep lifting 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 and be for that book. Flowers The its stunning Yeah, the art team. Just It blew my mind when they sent the cover concept over. So the lost apothecary comes out march 2nd, and it begins with an apothecary in 18th century London who sells well disguised poisons, tow women seeking vengeance on the men who have wronged them. And 200 years later, in present day London A woman is mud larking on the River Thames, and she finds a tiny blue vial, and she soon suspects that she has found the culprit in the never solved apothecary murders that haunted London two centuries prior. So my story is dual timeline, and we see both of these narratives kind of move forward together, and my present day character is really uncovering this web of mystery and solving these these apothecary apothecary murders. Eso It's perfect for readers who love witchy, witchy vibe, apothecary, herbalist vibe, definitely people who like old documents, old maps. There are several scenes that take place in the British Library on Bears. Also a lot of themes of friendship amongst women in the story. 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 and legacies of the women that were friends with and banded together with and three apothecary. You know, she runs a very secret stop, and he's surreptitiously um, selling these poisons to these women who are then going to slip them into food and wine that they give to their husbands and their brothers and the people who have done them wrong. So there's this element of trust and loyalty. And like I said, just the friendship of these women. And that's one of the reasons I was so excited to come on this show tonight is because we're all about friendship and kind of getting together. So it z such a fun story 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 I wrote. 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 up with you. Yes. Kristen, would you like to ask the ladies a question from our Facebook group? Yeah, we have a great one from Barbara Pliskova. Whoa! Check And Barbara, I'm I see your name all the time and I know I'm probably always butchering the last name. I apologize. But ladies, was there an author who gave your book a referral like the friends and fiction authors often do for debut writers? Yes, for me. I guess that would be like a blurb. Yeah, for me. I talked earlier about Caroline Leavitt being a literary fairy godmother to me. And so when she found out I had the book deal and all that she reached out not only to run block, but she said, I know somebody else who's gonna love the book. And she tweeted Jodi Picoult New York best like Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, Yeah. Saturday afternoon, I didn't know she was gonna do it. She tweeted her at her, and with them about five minutes, Jodi messaged me and said, I just preorder your book and eso Then I was like, Oh, my gosh, I would love for her to read an early advanced copy of it, you know, because it's so hard to get that, you know, recommendation and that endorsement from 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 she endorsed it. She blurbed it and her blurb eyes on the final cover of the kind of lie that's a pretty big Yeah, a...

...another March 22nd now, because of her book, Small Great Things. Both of us have dealt with race. And so we are doing an event with Ron Block at Kaya Republic. Very. It's called Fiction and race in America, so definitely join us for that. Yeah, Yeah. One of the more memorable blurbs for the lost apothecary. More memorable for me personally, it was from Fiona Davis. So she, uh, yes, a friend. Yes, she is phenomenal. And we share an agent. And I wondered at the beginning if the reason 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 phone and 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 really great experience because I read the Dollhouse, which I believe was her debut many years ago. And I remember at the time, thinking, How do you even get to where she is? Andi, how do you become, You know, so successful. And if I had only known that a few years down the road, she and I would be toasting a glass of wine and and sharing stories about our books and our agent I would have just shook my head in disbelief. So she was my very first blurb. And I think it's a neat story about just keeping your dreams. Um, you know, just ahead of you. And and nothing is out of the realm of possibility and you never know who you look up to someday that is gonna feel like appear in a supporter of you. Hey, men. Right here. Right here. Yes, ladies, Thank you so much for joining us tonight. We're so excited about your debuts and for all of you watching, we will have more information about both Nancy and Sarah's debuts in our Facebook group. And, of course, we'll be able to purchase it at a discount at Gramercy Books are Bookstore of the Week. So best of luck. And thank you for having a thank you. Thank you. A quick commercial break to remind you that our friends at Mama Geraldine's air offering 20% off all of their delectable goodies with the code Fab Five. Okay, now we've been talking about other debuts, so we're going to have to go around the circle and give a super short elevator pitch for our debuts. And then we're going to take a couple of quick live questions from our feet. So, Mary Kay, do you want to start? Gosh, you know, tired when he came 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 business with her mom, Edna Mae, named after my grandmother, Edna Mae, and on her on one 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. You love it. All right. Kristen Europe. Next. Tell us how we can sleep with the movie star. Help you guys. My first. We are where she wear the shirt that advertises your availability. No. So how to sleep with the movie star, Not a real How to Guide is about a It's about a magazine writer who gets involved in a situation where the whole world thinks she's having an affair with a movie star with kind of Hollywood's hottest movie star. But in reality, her love life is a complete disaster. She has this jerk of a cheating boyfriends and all of these things. But this one misconception completely spins out of control, and the rest of the book is sort of the zaniness that ensues as a result. So the book came out in 2006. I sold it in 2004, and it was very much at the height of the chick lit, um, sort of the chick lit movement, you know, like Bridget Jones's Diary, The Devil Wears Prada and all those kind of books. So it is very much that kind of feel love. It sounds amazing, a little different 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 really interesting for people who are trying to write or wondering if they're ever gonna have their debut is it actually...

...isn't the first book I wrote. The first book 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. And it is about to ex lovers who haven't seen each other in years. And they run into each other at a college football game, tailgating because her son is dating 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 emails that say, Can we find out what happened to Nick and Amy, where Nick and Amy now and I'm like, you know, there's another 15 books you could leave? E. I don't know if you remember this, we were like walking up from the beach and I was like, 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 at least tell me what they like? Secret intel? All right. Mary. Alice, what about you? Alright. This book came out in 1995 so that was quite a long time ago. And I have to say, for those I love to follow an author when she's had a long career, as I have had, and you look back and you go with the very first book and you see where the seeds of who she is as an honor today, I think 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 place in Vermont, where my husband's family has had a family farm for years and it was a sheep farm. So they always say, Write about what you know. And I used to take my Children up there every summer. They grew up there, and every spring summer there would be the lambing. So that's that's where I set the book, okay? And it is our farm, and in fact, the old house, the big old house 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 were a lot of bank scandals back then, If you remember the crashing, so this is the story. It opens up with a widow off of a dishonest banker who went bankrupt and all the only property she has left. Alice Shits Creek. It is this farm in Vermont, and she goes up there and she tries to make a new life for herself there. And it's about finding home again. What what makes her live? And she'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 to salvage the farm. It's a really beautiful story, and I think I have grown as a writer since I like to think I have, but you'll see my words. You really see the you know who you were when you started out. What you really loved Go. It goes way back. Like listening to Kathy America. Talking about her first book is the mystery that core, you know, it was at her heart. And so this is a sheep farm. So I hope you enjoy it. Takes place in Vermont. Love it. Well, my debut is called Dear Carolina, and one of my favorite parts of the book is a little tagline on the back. And it says one beautiful baby girl, too strong Southern women and the most difficult decision they'll ever make. And I kind of feel like that sums it up. But it is a story written from a birth mother and an adoptive mother to their daughter about the ways that their lives changed in the year after her birth. So, um, my first story I love it. And it actually, you know how sometimes things sort of come to you out of a little sprig of something. And I remember my husband and I were just sort of debating something that we were making a decision about. And I said, Well, you can never have too many people who love you And that was where the idea for this story came from. And I actually still get emails from people that are like, I love that I love you can never have too many people who love you. It's such a simple, simple, plain thing to say, but it really is true. I think it is true. You can embroider that on a pillow 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'll definitely try. I've got to find it. Maybe this. Hold on. I'm looking for one. Here's one. Do you think your second book was easier to write? And if so, 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 from the Long Road home and my publisher You...

...know what this happens in the publishing world where sometimes they fold up, the editors get fired and everything's it happens. And so the book was in a drawer, and it's still in the drawer, so maybe I'll put it out. I have a book in the drawer. So the second book was a disaster for me, and I got sick afterwards. So I was out of the picture for about two years, and when I got healthy was, like, starting all over again. And that was the book club that came out. So it was Yeah. It was definitely a tough journey for me. They're Christian. What about you? My second book was my hardest. Um, and I think it was my least good. Um, it, uh yeah, 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? E going to run out and buy it because I wanted to say I'm just testing this reverse psychology. No. E think it's very challenging to write your second novel? Um e whether whether your first one has been a tremendous success, in which case I think you are paralyzed with fear that you're not gonna live up to it. That was not my experience. But you know are, on the other hand, you know your first novel lives in your head for years before you finally put pen to paper and managed to get it done. And then suddenly you have to write a second one. And it's like, How do you start from scratch again? Um, my second one was where I found my footing as a writer. But I found it clumsily as I went. 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 To Live and Die in Dixie, and it was inspired by a very, uh, notorious Siris of 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 Little Success. Just a little success. Midnight born of good and evil. My book came 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 the three 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, and they were teaching me how to write a book. They don't. That doesn't happen anymore. These days you know how to write a book and they buy it or you get left on the side of the road. I was incredibly fortunate. Toe have wonderful editors who, um yeah, taught me along the way and listen to me and we would have this push and pull. So, um, I really had a pretty good experience with my second novel, which was to live and die in Dixie. And it's still in prep. Yes. How do you What about your second? My second novel was called Where The River Runs and Love That Title. I and I loved that book. I still loved that book. I Maybe because my first novel didn't sell until later writing my second, I felt like maybe I was I was figuring it out a tiny bit. I mean, I wasn't That was a false feeling because because we never haven't figured out. I mean, the one thing you need to know about writing is that there's a secret. And the secret is there's no secret. So, you know, But But I loved writing that book, and I, um I wouldn't change much about it. I really It was a short book. It was a small book, but for me it was. It was powerful 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 of Love. And I would have to say it might have been a little bit different because 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 a literary agent for. But Dear Carolina was actually my fourth manuscript. So by the time I was, it lives another acts of love. That was a story that I really, really wanted to write, and it actually started out as two different stories, and I'm usually sort of working on a few things that I'm trying to figure out, like where the lightning strike is on. Neither one of them were just really hitting for me, and I literally woke up in the middle of the night 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 the story wrote itself. And there's some parts of that book that air based on my grand 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 always be really special to me and, you know,...

...it should have. Should have sold more copies 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 you please tell us about our last surprise guest this evening? Yes. So Pamela Terry 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, Pamela has been the author of the internationally popular Blawg called From the House of Edward, which was named one of the top 10 home Blog's of the year by London's The Telegraph. I want to be named the top ton Anything by London E. No. Right. She's obsessed with Scotland, knitting, writing and obviously from this novel she is obsessed with beautiful prose. She lives in Smyrna, Georgia, with her songwriter husband, Pat Terry and their three dogs. Her debut novel, The Sweet Taste of Muscadine Vines, comes out on March 16th. Welcome, Pamela Way are one. This is a treat. Yeah, We're so glad to have you. Thank you for joining us tonight. We're also excited about this book, Of course. So can you tell us a little bit about it? Sure. Well, the scaffolding of the story, um is that Lila Bruce Breedlove, who lives off an island on an island off the coast of Maine. It's a phone call from her sister that her mother has died. Their mother has died in sort of unusual circumstances in an unusual place. And she and her brother Henry, travel back home to their southern town, um, to what they think will be a a funeral for their mother. And instead they're met with a lot of things they didn't expect in a lot of secrets unearthed, and they eventually end up traveling from the south to the out of Hebert ease in Scotland where they find out some things that change the course of their lives. So that's amazing. Well, I have to tell you that another friend of the group we're talking about friends of the group tonight. But Christie Barrett from a novel be loved this book so much she 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 I cannot 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 going to be published authors crossing the line S O. You've had an award winning block, and Patty told us about your gorgeous book of essays s Oh, this is really your first foray into writing Although your debut novels So how did you get started? And what was that moment like for you when you discovered this novel was going to be published? Well, I have written for years and years, 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. I had wonderful clients. I had some success. It was really fun until it wasn't on, and I kind of got tired of doing that. But I had written all my life and I started. I thought, Well, I don't do a blogged about design, and it took me about two days to realize I didn't want to write about design. So I started writing about everything, and that's when the blonde got really popular. And, um, I did do a book, the best ice for the bloc leaders. But then I decided I wanted to try to write a novel. Um, and just to see if I could do it to see if I could come up with something I was proud of. And I went to a writers workshop Very informal writers workshop with the wonderful Terry K. Oh, yeah, who sadly, we lost last month, Um, way the two of us hit it off, which, you know, has nothing to do with me because Terry hit it off with everybody. He did. But hey told me hey asked me to give him to send him my first 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, on with 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 next morning, 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 started treating the novel like job that it iss And I was about seven chapters him when I contacted Patty again with, you know, some trepidation and said, Should I continue This is this publishable? And she called me back. I still remember I was in the library parking lot where I used to write a lot. She called me back and she said, This is definitely publishable. Keep going on. And I do remember where I waas I was able to get my dream agent. Um and fortunately, the day that she sent the book out was the same day I was traveling to the Shetland Isles. Remember knitting and hawking Thio. Gosh, that's so bad. 14 hours off the coast of Scotland, right in the middle of nowhere. So if I was lucky, if I had y five for, you know, 10 minutes a day eso I didn't worry about it. I didn't think about it because I was just too far away to do that on. Guy got home two weeks later, and two days later I got a call from my agent that Random House loved it. And then about two days after that, they made an offer. And I remember I was sitting on my screen porch in my pajama zoo and I just was. My husband was second pictures off. Don't take pictures, but yeah, it was very exciting. And she said they made an offer. She said, Stick by the phone. This is the first offer. So she kept calling me all day and and it was just It was great. So I've been very fortunate. They've been so wonderful and I had a wonderful editor and I've got my wonderful agent. I'm just grateful Thio. You know, you're talking about friends helping friends. And I think about the generosity that Terry K showed me and that Patty showed me. And you know what does red company? So I'm tickled. Yeah. Hey, was an amazingly generous man. Who was We've talked about, uh, writing mentors. And gosh, I don't even know the list of people that Terry encouraged. And mentor has to be as long as your arm. I was so fortunate 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's happy for me. Yeah, for sure. Well, our viewers here now that we love to share writing tip every week, and I think the five of us benefit from it as much as anyone. 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 their tips on. I always held closely Flannery O'Connor's um you know, I write to find out what? I know what I believe you. Andi. I was We were talking earlier I was 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, and sometimes we'll be writing and think, Oh, what what? What is it? I'm trying to say? And he said that in editing uh, in the editing process, when you go back, which is not a sentence, is not working, it's not flowing correctly. It doesn'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 think sometimes it's in the doing that we found out what it is that we want to say. You sit around and think about it for a long time, but it's in the actual writing 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 excited about the sweet taste of Muscat eyes, and we will have all the information about where to buy your beautiful debut and we'll be cheering for you. Thank you. A get together with girlfriends. E right. That's the bonus. Thank you so much. Have a great night, e. All right. Um, okay, ladies. Mary Kay. I think you had. And we have a lot of books tonight, but really briefly. Do you have one more that you want to share with? Yes. And I was listening to an NPR interview with Amanda s. Gorman who happened to read the inaugural poem today, and I think a 22 years old. What an amazing...

...talent. Yeah. So Amanda Gorman has a Children'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 months until that book comes out. Um, we hope you will. I think everybody will want to read Amanda Gorman's beautiful words, especially a Children's book, but also preorder the books of our debut authors tonight because their their career is on 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 can listen? Yes, I will do that as soon as I find where I wrote that way. Hope you listen to all of the weekly friends and fiction shows on our podcast. We're also now producing special content. Exclusive to the podcast. One episode is live So far, one more was recorded this week. Another well recorded Mary Alice and I were gonna record another one next week. We've got some fun Guests and topics plan for February and March. So stay tuned to our social media for news as these podcast episodes released on you can subscribe to the friends and fiction podcast on Apple, Google stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts. So you never miss a show. Awesome. Kristen, we have a great bonus episode coming up on Sunday. Can you tell us about that? You know, I'm so excited we're going to be continuing our debut week. So this Sunday at five Eastern, we will be welcoming to Mawr. Incredible debut authors to our friends and fiction stage. Our friends Susan Surrender and Alison Hammer will be here to inspire us with their tails of writing as a second act. So if you have a long buried or really fresh dream of becoming a writer, you won't want to miss this one. And even if you don't dream of being a writer, even if you're just an avid reader who kind of wants to hear the stories behind the stories, you get to hear about two really great books 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 the absolutely 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 the beloved book, and Love walked in and her newest book is called I'd Give Anything and I'm in the middle of reading it and her prose, and the way that she has you swept into the story is incredible. And so I can't wait for you all to meet her and hear from her next week. Well, ladies, I think we're sort of getting low on time tonight, so thank you all for being here and friends 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 to follow along Now we're so grateful for your love and support and we keep getting published because you keep reading. So the fact that you think when you could choose our books means the world to us. So thanks for tuning in every week and we'll see you on Sunday. That's around everybody. Thank you for tuning in. Join us every week on Facebook or YouTube, where our live show airs every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Eastern time. And please subscribe to our podcast and follow us on Instagram We're so glad you're here. Good night.

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