Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends & Fiction with Pam Jenoff

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

he Fab Five sit down with New York Times bestselling historical fiction author Pam Jenoff. They talk about her new book, the instant NYT bestseller THE WOMAN WITH THE BLUE STAR, her research process, how the pandemic impacted her ability to research her latest book, and her past career as a diplomat and current career as a law professor and how those things inform her writing. https://pamjenoff.com/ 

Welcome to Friends and Fiction. Five best selling authors and the stories. Novelists, 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. These friends discuss the books, they've written the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Yeah. Hi everyone it is Wednesday night And at seven p.m. eastern time and that means it's time for friends and fiction. Welcome to our show tonight, so much to look forward to and so much to talk about. I am patty Callahan, I'm mary Alice Munro, America Andrews, I'm Kristin marvel and I'm Kristie what's in Harvey and this is Friends and fiction. Five new york times bestselling authors, endless stories to support independent bookstores tonight. We are thrilled to welcome new york times bestseller pam Jenoff. Her new book, The Woman with the Blue Star was an instant new york times bestseller last week and hit the list this week. Tonight we will be hearing about her new book, her research and her inspiration. We'll talk about how she moved from lawyer to author and of course we will not let her get away without a writing before we get started. We have such incredibly happy news. Both mary Alice and mary Kay have hit the new york time for a newcomer. This this is really exciting. That is one heck of a list. So here here's to my first hit and Mcafee mary Kay second week and I want to say thank you to all of you for last week y'all came through. I mean what a party we had if y'all didn't miss last week, go watch it because my daughters were there and it was fun. But I want to thank everyone of you here tonight for your support and all of you out there. Thank you. It means the world. Yeah. And thank you to everybody who bought the book. Dammit, that hashtag works. So I can say you drink a lot of champagne tonight. Thanks to you. My friends and fiction does. Oh, Oh yeah. And minus minus at home. I'm on tiny. So I think uh drinking champagne and that's what matters. What is your strong christian Harmel informed us that when she had a party for um what's the title? It was such a great title. Um The one with the straw, the champagne that came with a strong oh sorry, sorry, I'm forgetting what I've talked about, piper Heidsieck. It was little bottles of sadistic that came with their own straw. It was awesome. It was you just drag it right out of the little bottle, which mary mary Kay could do to just drink right out of the bottle. Okay, so my friends and I checked out and bought this champagne but how funny is it that the company? Well you know, they basically, I think deliberately made it look like it looks like. Yeah, yeah, totally like video close. Shea made it. Okay. Okay, back on the track. You guys know how...

...mass Express tonight? We haven't yet. Speaking of gratitude, we want to thank mama G. Kathy has been on the road for two weeks and I think mama G got her through except for the time she found in the trunk of the car scarfing it all down. I know that I never had to be a phrase, I love that, I love that. And then we'll also be telling you about our featured independent bookseller of the Week in quickbooks in New Jersey and now we have something to show you. Are you ready? As you know, mary Kay Christie and I all have winter books out in september and october. We saw my cover for once upon a wardrobe. We saw mary Kay cover for the santa suit and tonight, All right, take it away. I'm ready. Well you guys, I'm so excited about this cover. Um, you know, I probably should have just done the cover. It was like kind of tiny. But anyway, um, it is super, super, super cute, but it's called, it's christmas and Pete Street blocks, the fourth novel in my Pete ST Bluff series. I'm so excited for it to come out. If you have not read the Pizzeria Bluff series yet, it's about three grand sisters and their mother and a secret from their past that has the potential to reshape what it means for them to be a family. So in this story, um, all of the women are back in Peachtree Bluff for thanksgiving and um, There's a big hurricane coming late in the season hurricane and they all evacuate and plan to evacuate except Vivi, who is Caroline's 15 year old daughter inadvertently gets herself, Jack and Ansley stuck on peace Tree blocked during the storm of the century. So, um, that's sort of how the story begins and I'm so excited to share it with you. Um, also I just wanted to let you know that if you purchase, if you pre ordered the book tonight from in quickbooks, which is our bookseller of the week. This is really silly. But I had some personalized friends and fiction head scratchers made like these things because my sister in law had these um gave these to everybody for christmas last year and we like fight over them, we love them so much and I thought what would be more relaxing over the christmas holiday season and to read your book and have your head scratchers. So If you order tonight, you not only get 10% off of all of our books, but if you order Christmas and Pine Street block, you get the head scratchers. Very exciting. Love that. I'm actually full of good news tonight. I have another announcement. Is it another book that you managed to write another like in the time since we last spoke yesterday isn't an event perhaps no, it's what we've all been waiting for. Its merge shirts, wine cities travel tumblers, they are here and they're all available for purchase for you are your friends at Oxford exchange. And we will drop the links under the announcements on our facebook page. But if you go to Oxford exchange and type in Friends and fiction, you'll find all of our merch there. So yeah, I'm so excited and Oxford Oxford Exchange has just been such a great partner for us and finally emerged. I know you guys have all been asking for such a long time for our parade essay this week. Patty wrote the fence and fiction essay, the secrets that history hides. And it's so a proposed for our guest today as she to find the hidden stories that changed everything. You know, and you know, all of us do research for our novels, whether it's interviewing somebody or getting through books or boxes or files and when I was writing becoming mrs Lewis I found out about a cachet of hidden poetry that had been locked in a box in a closet in England. And I'm not making that up. That is real. So, I want to hear lightning round about one thing or one piece of information you guys might have found that shifted the...

...perspective completely for your books. All right, Well, I think a lot of you heard me last week, it was my daughter Greta when she said mom, you have got to change the book, this is not working, you are. These young kids would think differently. And it just clicked and I listened to her and I changed the way I wrote the younger generation. Yeah. You know, I was writing The high Tide club when my kick ass agent Stewart Chesky pointed out an obvious legal technicality early in the plot that I hadn't considered the plot of that book considers uh it has an an elderly lady, she knows she has a terminal illness and she calls my character my protagonist, who is a lawyer and says, I need you to come over and make a new will for me. And she has her secret reason for doing that. But Stewart pointed out something that I hadn't even considered, and it changed the entire tenor of the book and even altered the Daniel Mall, isn't it? How it is? It really is. You know, I was midway through outlining the sweetness of forgetting, which was my 2012 novel, My First World War Two novel when I learned the story about the Muslims of the Grand Mosque of paris, helping save more than 1000 jews during the war, which blew my mind and felt so relevant for today. And it completely reshaped the plot of the book. Yeah, well, for me and under the Southern Sky, I read an article about hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos that had been abandoned. And it totally reframed the story. I mean it is just amazing. You you think you know what you're doing and then you find this one piece of information and everything. Yes, I cannot wait to hear what pam has to say about it. So now let's talk about our incredible guests pam Jenoff and out there, just remember if you have questions we will be pulling live questions from the facebook page. So just type them in and we will get to them many of them as we can. So pam gentle is a busy woman, a law professor, a mother of three young Children, a former diplomat and a lawyer and a holocaust expert. She also happens to be a prolific and highly regarded novelist. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D. C. And Cambridge University in England, a champagne bubble slacker. Upon receiving her master's in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as special assistant to the secretary of the army. She then worked at the pentagon and was eventually assigned to the U. S. Consulate in Krakow Poland. It was during this period that pam developed her expertise in polish jewish relations and in the holocaust, which is something she's really become known for writing about. So working on matters such as the preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of jewish property in Poland, pam developed close relations with the surviving jewish community there And if that wasn't enough right there, Pam left the foreign service in 1998 to attend law school and graduated from the University of pennsylvania's. Such a slacker, I really feel bad about sure. I had a better guess. You worked for several years as a labor and employment attorney at a firm and in house in philadelphia and now teaches law school at Rutgers pam pam. Lives outside philadelphia with her husband. Three Children, dog, cat, lizard and bird. That kind of girl. Yeah. That is a lot of school. My friends so welcome pam join us please. Oh you ma'am, we're so thrilled you're here. Thank you. Congratulations on your second week on the new york times. They are married gay and mary allen these are stressful,...

...right? These Wednesdays are like the stress over it. Like we do all this resilience messaging. Just you know, you know what's going to happen? Villians messaging? I have to say this is a moment for Friends and fiction at this moment. There are three new york times authors on the show which is critical on this week. Yeah, this week. Yeah. But for this week on the list, Yeah. You know it company. It's awesome. And it's been so funny kind of going going through it as a friends and fiction group were also invested in each other that instead of just going through it and worrying about ourselves like deeply invested together, checking, checking rankings every two seconds and I'll tell you it's a heck of the list. So to make it, it is just great. But y'all on your second week. Yeah, that's amazing to you will follow mary Kay, anywhere. Including so pam speaking of your instant new york times bestseller, The Woman with the Blue Star, can you give us the elevator pitch before we dive into our more in depth questions for you? Sure. So when I don't know about you all, but when I go looking for a story, I'm looking for that gasp, I'm looking for my ah ha moment and especially the war if I get an aha after 25 years of working on World War Two, I'm hopeful that readers will feel the same way. So for this book, the ah ha was discovering that there were jewish people who spent World War Two in a sewer. And I don't mean like they just passed through the sewer on their way out. I mean that they lived in that sewer for more than a year and hearing this, I was just so struck, I thought you know, how did they live and who helped them? And I was particularly taken by the story of a young girl in the sewer and one day she looked up through the grate and she saw a girl her own age buying flowers and she was struck by this disparity between their lives. Her mother said to her someday there will be flowers for you. It was a kind of ledge. And so taking that story, I imagined what would have happened if the girl in the sewer and the girl on the street had had the chance to become friends and what that would mean for both of their lives, wow, stunning moment. So that's incredible. And I'm always fascinated with the origin story, which sounds like that was for you, which was hearing about that ah ha moment. And I once read that you said The Woman With the Blue Star is a novel that comes from so many deep places. For me. The story originates at so many books do from my love and reference for the people who lived through the holocaust. Born out of the years I spent in eastern europe working on holocaust issues. and I love that and along I love that it comes from such a deep place in you and you have a master's degree in history from Cambridge. So do you consider yourself a historian or a novelist or is it hard to step away from the scholarly research and dive into the imagination? How do you balance that as a historian? Well you know, and I'm going to answer that but before I do patty I love your book so much, especially around C. S. Lewis and around Oxford and Cambridge. You know because that's sort of my that you know a big chunk of my heart is still over there. Um So I did my Masters at Cambridge and it was a research degree which is super interesting over there because I didn't have any classes. I just basically was in the archives researching for two years. And so what that gave me, you know, was the confidence because I wrote this big thesis to say, okay, if I can do this, you know, I can write a book, I can finish a book and I love to get into dusty archives. I like that. You know, there was there was not an online card catalog. It was like, you know, dusty shelves and all of that. So that's what I get from the history degree that I bring to my writing. I don't consider myself a historian in my...

...writing. Um I worry as an author of historical fiction. I think sometimes authors have gotten in trouble by claiming too much of their novels as real fact in real history. I always, whenever anyone says based on a true fact or based on a true story, like cross that out and I say inspired, but I don't want to speak too large of a claim around what's real. That's excellent. Yeah. And and I think there's always this balance of trying to put in all this interesting stuff we found and wanting to put it in without making it sound like a history book and a big dump of information that stops the worst. Right. That is absolutely nothing kills a novel faster than the dump. All right, mary, may you have a question? I do you know the ending of this book was such a surprise. But looking back, I can see that you've done this and you've done this in earlier books and I'm thinking specifically of the orphans tail, which, you know, pam you and I have talked about it. I just love that book. That book. To me. Was it literally was a book of daring, physically and um literary literarily, is that a word? Can I make that a word like if you drink champagne, if you drink champagne, it is a word literarily show. Right. Right. But you know, so what I'm wondering is what I'm wondering is when you started The Woman with the Blue Star, did you know how you wanted this book to end? In other words? I guess this is the eternal question. We are always asking each other in our in our in our friends and other novelists. Are you a panther or a plotter even with even with historical fiction? Could you talk a little about that process? So I'm glad you set up the term. So I don't have to. But I'm I'm team pants, sir. What will be a caveat the second I'm going to talk with that? I am I go for months in random order, terrible. But so I don't know when we say at the beginning and did you know the end? There's almost no beginning, no end, like it's all kind of finished at the same time, but I start with an idea image and then I have some idea where I'm going to wind up and along the way there's these high moment scenes that I think of as light houses, that kind of will guide the path. So I without giving away anything I sort of knew, but I was surprised on this one, so I said I'm a chancer and I feel obliged to elaborate before the next question. When I turned in this book, I turned in a really horrendous book. Um I turned in a book that after 11 books, my editor who I love was like now, so I rewrote 95% of the smoking five months, wow. You know, So the reason I say that is because I am now somewhat of a plotter in that I do a chapter outline at the beginning just to make sure I'm not going in the wrong direction, but most characters will lead you astray, won't they? Do they do, yeah, okay, so one more question, I'm going to sneak in here, I don't think I'm supposed to, but I'm gonna do it anyway, I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but how much fun did you have writing the character of the Evil stepmother, Legal Stepmother, right, You know, it's interesting. Um I think I had fun, I think it was fun. I don't always like my evil characters, right? I like what I do look my less likable characters, like you give me someone who's kind of prickly and thorny like that, that bobcat in the sewer, that grandmother, right? That's really fun for me to write the difficult people. Um The stepmother is sort of a character born out of necessity. So when I tell you I had to rewrite this book, the first draft was only written from one point of view, it was Sadie in the Stewart,...

...you like, we have to know Ella and what makes her divorce. And once you know, l is the girl on the street and once you know her family situation where she's been left with a terrible stepmother who's consorting with the nazis, you start to see a fuller picture of her that you can start it with the nazis, you're immediately a bad person you are. Although I try and give them a full treatment, like bad character. Bad character. Yes, exactly. Step up. Good. It's me, it's you mary Kay, I know I even have my script in front of me but I'm just I feel like I'm talking too much and I don't want to step on but that was such a good guy developed in it. I I just want to hear so much more from him. Okay every week we support an indie bookstore this week. You've chosen in Quickbooks. I know a little bit about what can you tell us why you chose them? Sure. So I live in southern New Jersey. Um so you know a mile from despite the fact that I've lived all over the world, I'm a mile from where I grew up. My mom is in the same town house down the road that I grew up and so yeah I'm very much many years we did not have an independent bookstore in our area. I was at one hour from any book America. You and I have met at main point Books and that the closest indie. So when inc would opened in Haddonfield which is just about three miles away it was such a revelation for us you know locally and to have an independent bookstore. And are you the owner of inquiry julie Bedingfield is a wonder during the pandemic when everyone was shut. She moved she was scheduled to move to a bigger store and she took that leap and she moved community that you love. Her sister owns the ink would I think it's in Tampa. Yeah that that one unfortunately her sister closed a couple years. Yeah. Stephanie but I didn't. Yeah but then the last sightings there. Yeah. Yeah. But anyway, yeah those sisters are great. I love their spirit and their heart. Yeah. It's an amazing storms. And what I do is if people want books for you know when I go there I go, it used to be before the pandemic, I'd be on the way back from Wegmans. Right, So I have a car full of groceries and she'd say we have books for you to sign. So not sign the book. So, that's a nice relationship. There is a wonderful So to all of you out there, the link for in quickbooks and hadn't Field is on our facebook page and remember you get 10% off with the code friends thick. So, okay, I'm I am dying to hear about the research. You must have had to do for this story. So I thought it was tough writing a novel set deep in a polish forest, which is my upcoming one. But the idea of setting part of the novel in an underground sewer system that blew me away. Can you tell us how in the world you did that research? Sure. So I will tell you the good parts and bad parts. So okay. Is you know as when you write historical fiction that sometimes you look out and there's a really good source or text. And there was a wonderful nonfiction book called in the sewers of Levin by robert Marshall that detailed the physical setting very well. But the pipes and how they got water and the various perils that they faced was all in this book, which was great. Wonderful. I moved my story from LVIV Poland to Krakow Poland and I had to first of all make sure the sewer was still plausible. And then I said I'm going to crack out. And I lived in Krakow out but I had not been back there in 17 years. So I booked myself this glorious trip to crack out and I was scheduled to leave on March 11th. Oh oh no it's a pandemic. Was like bubbling up. Everyone was going I don't know if you should go and...

I said I'm going I'm going I'm going to wear the mask and I'm going and my flight got cancelled thank goodness because the next day I had an emergency appendectomy and so you know Poland. Um so I never got to go and walk around. But the wonderful part the last good news part is that all of the lovely friends who I still have in the U. S. Consulate Krakow I've been helping me plan this trip. They pivoted and helped me get in touch remotely with my sewer expert, my city expert, my language expert and they did this for me as their own city was shutting down for Covid. Oh. Oh wow! Well I mean the research just comes across so beautifully on the page. And, you know, like mary Alice was saying sometimes, you know, there's always that risk of putting too much in, but you struck that balance so perfectly and just brought that world alive. You you're just you're so good at that. And it's it's hard to imagine you weren't physically there because I know I'm going I owe myself a trip. Unfortunately. I'll probably have to take everyone with me because we're getting to that age. I'm going, I'm going back. And before you came on tonight, we were talking about Patty's essay for Parade this week, which was about finding one fact or a small piece of research that shifts the story completely. Was there anything you discovered in your research for this book that changed the story in some way or that kind of stopped you in your tracks and and made you tell a part of it differently. Well, there's several pieces of this story because you know, it was not just one family, there were all of these different people and why while I'm not writing any one person's life, I write composite characters, there are these pieces that are just so so moving that you have to include them. Whether it's the girl who looked through the great or the fact that someone gave, someone gave birth in the sewer, that was a real thing. And I was very taken by the sewer worker who helped them. So imagine there's a sewer worker, he used to be a thief. I mean his sewer worker was like his step to success and and to a respectable life, he helped the jewish people in the sewer. At first he brought them food for money and then when they ran out of money, he kept bringing them food and he brought them prayer books and reading materials and he would have to go all over the city to get enough food without attracting attention and he had a wife and young daughter. And so, um I'm always very moved by unlikely heroes like that, me too. That's incredible. It really is. There's so many things that are incredible about this book pam and The Woman with The Blue Star is on many levels, a story about surviving isolation and really importantly, are dry for human connection. And one of the two girls that we follow in this story lives, as you described literally in isolation down in the sewers below the street. I mean, that's a horrible existence. It's almost too much to comprehend. My question is, you were working on this novel during the pandemic, and I know I wrote my novel during the pandemic, and it impacted my story, especially because so many of us realized now that one of the issues during the pandemic, and we were sheltering in place was our drive for human connection. How important that was. So how did writing this book during the pandemic influence this story? And did sheltering in place, being isolated yourself make it easier or harder to write this novel about isolation and connection. And did your isolation sneak into Sadie's character? Well, you know, the funny thing about my isolation is it was perhaps even felt more abrupt, right? Everyone's isolation was abrupt, but I do that. I went in for this emergency appendectomy, right? That was the night the world shut down. And so I came home the next day from the hospital, my kid's school...

...closed. I never saw them get off the bus the last day of school, like it was just done and everything was shut and we didn't leave the house for six months. So it was this very like hard landing into covid in addition to the isolation which I absolutely felt. And I felt it when I was writing and our connections um like Sadie and Ella's connection because L. A. Even though she's on the street, she's very isolated to she's isolated from her family and she's alone. So I definitely felt isolation and all my characters. I also felt that way that life changes in an instant, right length means for Sadie and her family first when they went to the ghetto, but then when they dropped through that hole in the floor, the toilet hole into the life was gone. Well, what about us last year? Nothing that we did anything close to the war of the holocaust. But I was asking myself questions I never imagined about we educate our Children and kind of get me in toilet paper and so what we did not suffer the deprivation of a war in any sense, it was also that abrupt shift into isolation and survival. That really struck me as I was writing and that led to like work and had to leak into your understanding of what they were going through. I'm kind of curious did that energize your writing or was it was it a problem? But when you were home with the kids trying to write, feeling all these extra pressures. So in a sense I've always written in the pressure cooker because when I became a writer I was a big attorney, a new attorney at a big firm and so I always had to do like that 5 to 7 run to work. I've always written in the pressure cooker. So I don't allow myself writer's block, right? Because I always think, well if I was an attorney and I said I'm not motivated to write a brief, I would be fired. Like you just do the right. So not that it wasn't that the pandemic stopped me. The lifestyle certainly stopped me for months and months. Everybody's home. The kids are great. I'll tell you what stopped me was the puppy we got uh backyard going. I will never write again. Like how do people do this? And I've discovered most people, authors including myself have discovered Doggie Daycare and that's how you do it. But um, I didn't work for, I didn't work probably from March to august and it felt horrible like I just felt like uh and then time it was rough because I write every day. And so in september kids go online for school, dog, goes to daycare. And I sat down to write again. It was the best thing in the world, physically mentally everything. And it taught me we shouldn't apologize for our work, which we do so often as women. That's true. What about this? True. Thank you for being honest about that. Well, in speaking of, you know, moving from being an attorney to a novelist and I think we've all transitioned from one job to another one at some point in our lives. So can you tell us about this epiphany that you had when you decided to switch from being a lawyer to being a novelist? Sure. And it wasn't, I don't know that I ever switched, but it was the epiphany that made me get to be a novelist. So I was a little kid who always wanted to be a writer, never short story, he's never poems, novels. And my fifth grade yearbook said the next judy blume I showed to judy when I finally got the chance. But you know, I always wanted to be a writer but many years I was abroad, I was in school, I had all the time in the world to write and I never got off the ground. You know what I mean with the project you never quite going. So the turning point for me was 9 11. I graduated from penn law and I started working at a big city law firm um on september 4th 2000 and it was wow. A week later I'm sitting at this firm in philadelphia while everything's happening. And I had this...

...life epiphany which I call, dear God, I don't want to die at the law firm and I need to think that because if you saw my facebook, the law firm sent me the most beautiful work is today. I love them. I trained baby lawyers like happily like I teach law school, I love them. But for me there was this other dream of being a novelist and if I was had been a 9 11 victim it never would have happened. So that was like my mortality moment. And then I took a course at Temple Night School and it was called write your novel. This year I started working on my first book. Of course you all know it's not that easy. It's like five years and 39 rejections until you can walk into a store. But that was the moment when I got serious about the right eye. We don't have a lot of ah ha moments in our life and when they happen like that, like a thought flashes through your mind. I don't want to die in the law firm. We either attention or I'm here. You Know it's so true and I mean gosh coming up with the 20th anniversary which is really believable. So yeah and I think that I really do think that this whole experience that all of us went through the pandemic is going to be one of those moments where where were you in the pandemic? How did you get through? Did you learn, how did you change your life? Did you change your life? Exactly. Yeah. Well pam I think I think you just kind of summed it all up hashtag mortality moment, oh yeah, that's our mary Kay Andrews who loves nothing better than a good alliteration. Uh mortality yeah, mortality moment. We should just ask everybody what there's was but oh gosh, you know what? That is a great yeah really great question. Has anybody had a hashtag morality more deeply? Thank you for sharing your because morality your Moment. You know what I love so much about that though is with all the loss that came with something like 9-11, something like you pam that's something good that came out of it like that. That is something um that I don't know that when the world gets dark there are opportunities for light and that's great that you found that opportunity for light. Thank you. And we'll all find them this year. Right? Well a fiction path. That's how we started this powerful. Thank you for all your doing my goodness. Speaking of our amazing friends and fiction community, they have loads of things they want to talk to you about mary Alice taken away I will. And I have a question that Anissa Joy Armstrong who always writes such good questions. She didn't fail us this time because this book had intrigued me right from the beginning. The relationship between L. A. And Sadie was very interesting. And so which one of these girls was the hardest, right? And why? Well it has to be L. A. Because I started with Sadie but you know as authors that when that other character kind of steps on stage and it's like it's my turn. You know that's like a great moment. It's really hard because it's not just started with but you get to know them. So certainly Ella. Um So she first so I relate to the dishevelled character because I'm not put together in real life. Like if there's a schlep e character I'm all over that right? And L. Is not sloppy, so very different from me. Like she's affluent, she's put together, you know, and she's sort of the non jewish character which I write all the time, but she just had a different spin on the war. But I like to show the facets of war. So when I wrote my first book, I had this pause because I had a scene where people were at either the opera or the Symphony, And I thought, how can I write that scene when we are, you know, 16 km from Auschwitz? Like how...

Dare I. And the answer was because people really were at the opera or the symphony. And so um I feel like that in this book, it's hard to write Ella's life as a person who's not being persecuted, but it's incredibly important to show that. Absolutely, yes, that's real dynamic of balance. It was so great. Um Lois Simon paul's wants to know and I think we we might have touched on this a little bit, but let's talk about it some more pam. What inspired your interest in the holocaust? And what might you say about why you have chosen to stay with it throughout your writing career? Uh and she wants to and she wants to add thanks for doing that. Oh, well, you know, I've written a few books that were not holocaust. I had two that were modern one, that was post World War 11 that's been on the home front. But my heart is really still with the war. And it does come from those years. I lived in Poland and became close to the survivors and I regard my books as love songs to the people who lived through that most difficult era. I will say that one thing I really want to do with my books is I want to show the gray areas, right? I want to show the gray areas. Well, I want to share the individual responses to war and catastrophe. I don't love using they in this context. When you say they did this, I want to know who they are, right. So I want to show individual response because if we can do that and ask our readers, you know, what would I have done? It's a super important question. The last piece and I know I go on forever. But the last pieces of this in the war, people from different backgrounds were brought together in these circumstances where they never would have met one another. And I love for the reader to meet a character that's not like her or himself. And if you can empathize across that divide, I think it takes away some of the otherness that we're experiencing in our current society. So I love it for years. But I also love it for what it gives us a good answer. That's incredible. So this is a really interesting question from Andrea RB she wants to ask pam but she also wants to ask patty and Kristen. So when you're writing about a real person or event, how tied to the facts are you? When does it stop being history and become your story? Which I love. So competitive, Kristen answer that because I actually over I intentionally do not write real people. I can't do it. It's like a divide for me. No, I'm just saying so maybe this is really a question for patty. Like I I have real characters who play like walk on roles, you know what I mean? Like just to kind of, you know like the wind pure and champagne that was a real person. But but the main characters are all fictional for me. Yeah. So in surviving savannah um the they were they were about real people and uh say about real people and while one of course lives about Florence nightingale and once upon a work trip is about C. S. Lewis. So yes I've written about real people and the How tired I am to the facts is very when it comes to the bone structure. So if you're thinking about the book as a person, the bone structure is 100% factual. So I never sway from their birthday when they met each other, the things they did, but when it becomes to the emotional life, that's when I give myself a little bit more freedom based on the fact. Yeah, that's great. It's a good answer. I have a much longer one but it's not my show. No, it gives me anxiety to think about writing real people because I always, you know, worry I'm gonna get a little little detail wrong and do injustice to them. But yeah, it's a hard enough time. Let me say about the...

...fashion stuff, right? You know, about getting the history right around those people. So, would thanks guys, y'all are really helping my nightmares about what kind of people I know they're coming out in 2022. But but but but pam do you sometimes get those emails where people say like, oh, well, she wouldn't have done this? You're like, yes, she would have made her up. Like, she would do it because I know about their motivation or about the history kristen, like, just like, just people, sort of presuming to know the character and you're like, she's in my head a opposite problem. People say to me, ask me a question about what happened off the page, You know, like a I don't have that, my outline notes. Exactly. So, pam Susan schwarz Seligman wants to know what books and authors inspired you growing up. So I want to say hi to Sue, who is so kind to be at so many events and and just a really wonderful supporter of authors, it's great to see you again. Um so I read everything, I was like, the voracious reader, you know, I did have a big thing with judy blume when I was little. Um and then, you know, and all the Children's authors, your you know, your maud hart Lovelace and you know, your Beverly Cleary and all of the authors, and as we got into historical fiction, um you know, a lot of the authors were mailed back then and not that there's anything wrong with that, but I think of like the historical fiction I read growing up and it was leon Uris and James Michener and Herman Wouk and like john jakes and like those big books, Thanks jake. Um but I read everything um and you know, so I'm happy to say I have readers on my three Children, although one is different. I'm going on a tangent here. One of my girls keep stealing all the galleys now they come in so he's not left and she's the gallons and I have to make sure they're like appropriate and okay. But she's still a galley this week of Jenna blooms and a galley this week of Kristen Higgins before I even got my hands on that. Oh my God, I have to watch out for the risky ones. You know what I'm going to tell you. And I think these ladies will like nod their heads in agreement to this. There are so many authors that have been on the show that said the thing that they think made them a great writer was that when it came to reading as a child like nothing was off like that. So that's a good point. Kristie. Yeah. Get horrified when they when they pick up a book and then I say wait a minute. You know my kids are in 5th and 6th grade I'm like sixth grade I was reading V. C. Andrews and go ask Alice like it was my God. Yeah. So I think you're absolutely right. I just I. V. C. Andrews Who? That was crazy. Yeah. Yeah we all did. Exactly. I know you know those things in the new york times when the new york times they they say that they ask people what they're reading and they're always like well I'm reading War and peace and I know you like reading V. C. Andrews. I never believe half I like they did a google and then put in the book. So I every week one of our very favorite parts of the show besides laughing with you being a writing tip from our guests and we can't wait to hear what yours is. My writing tip is quite simply to be very disciplined and protective of your time right? Because even after all these years no one not my beloved husband or my sainted mom or my dear Children say oh honey why don't you go take some writing time right That uh you still have to be very disciplined. Like I really try not put the doctor's appointment you can get all that time eating away at and frittered away, find your best time and protect it. But you have to be flexible to like, you can't be like, I must only right on the full moon on the Tuesday. No, I'm sort of, you know, you have to have some flexibility because it's certainly changed and evolved for me over the years and that's been such a tough balance to strike, especially...

...this last year. I feel like, you know, because it's like, you know, I have a five year old and you feel like you have it down and you feel like you have the balance and then covid gotten away right now our lives right? Yeah. And adolescents forget it because I'm an early morning writer and they all want to share a 10 at night. You know, I'm fascinated, brace yourself Christina, so pam I know you're such an avid reader and you're so supportive of other authors. You've been so generous with a blurb for me, you're so generous to a lot of others. Can you tell us if you have some books that you recommend right now that you're reading? Yeah. So there are two great books out this week that I want to give a huge shout to. One is Local Woman Missing by mary Kubica and the other is the last summer at the Golden Hotel by Alyssa Friedland. And they just came out this week and they're both fabulous A lot about that. Just month is chock full of I never may again. This is way scary. It's like, I don't want to think that the three of you have all hit and stayed on the list. It's amazing. So I would love to mention another one that's new this week. It's from our friend wade rouse you guys. We all we all, we all love him. He writes as Viola Shipman. Um, he has a new book out this week called The Clover Girls. And all of you out there. Might remember wade from Christie's Lodge episode where he played the dreamy parties. Did like I said, he's a friend to us all. And this is a book that's right up the Friends in Fiction Alley. About four best friends who met at summer camp in the eighties who reunite for one last summer when one of them receives devastating news. So it's wonderful and heartwarming and like I said, brand new this week. Yeah, I wrote a blur for that. You both did. Yes. Yes, that's a good book. Yeah. Well, I want to recommend The Invisible Husband of Frick Island. Speaking of A friend of all of ours, I'm absolutely will be on the show to tell us all about it. So I'm not going to talk too much about it, but we love her. We're so excited for this book and um, it came in the mail with Jacuzzi and my husband's been having his beer in it. So I'm like thinking about this, realize that I just started it and it's like impossible to put down already. So I'm very excited about and the best cup and one of the best covers of this season. It's a great cover and I believe, I believe mary. Kay, it matched some of your, some of your pillows. Yeah, it really is what all books should aspire to do to match the american cottage. I'm thinking, I'm thinking of taking a book in every room of cocaine, a cottage and matching book covers to the room. That's what I try to never choose outfits when you're doing a live match recover. Yes, I'm just going with red, red. I want that for color. Okay, I'm stick around because we have one more thing to talk to you about, but first we want to remind all of you out there of a couple of things. One is to check out our podcasts, it is a lot of fun and it's, we've added things that aren't just the show. So if you like hanging out with us here, you will love hanging out with us there to last week, Kathy and I interviewed gen heart of the phenomenal book club girl podcast and this week Kristin interviewed to writing pairs, heather web and hazel gainer and also Christina Lauren. It will come out on friday and they have a new book out this week to Christina Lauren has the soul mate equations again like, wait, I'm sorry, so I gotta get faster. The art piles are getting bigger and bigger and we also have a really exciting announcement on next week on our show...

...with nancy fair, it's a secret and we can't tell you yet, but it's gonna be great and you aren't gonna want to miss it. And don't forget that our merch is now available from our expert exchange tee shirts, wine sippy, these tumblers, all the good stuff, so don't miss amazing. And they have such a great website. It's so easy to order, they're actually placed three orders today. So I can personally also don't forget to join the Friends and Fiction official Book Club hosted by our friends lisa Harrison and Brenda Gartner. So on june 21st, the Book Club will welcome mary kate Andrews, our very own to discuss the newcomer, which they just started reading this week. And mary Alice will be there the following month to chat about the summer of Lost and Found. So this is your chance to ask the authors all your questions and really dig into the storylines while hanging out with a group of friends and fiction friends, christian. I didn't have a chance to tell anybody, but Brenda, who is the goddess of the Book Club. She came again to my event last night and she was so great and she videoed my presentation. So it's up there on the facebook page. She's so supportive, so lisa, wait, oh my gosh, we lucked out so much with the two of them, Brenda and lisa and we have over 6000 members. That's amazing. And can I just talk about what a book club is without snacks? It really cannot have Book club without snacks. So of course, you will want to bring along mama G's ma material means why you talk about the newcomer, We actually gave away bags of Mama uh, Mama G's in the swag bags at my launch party. So it's always, yeah, and it's always, you can get 20% off orders on their website. Mama Geraldine's dot com with the code fat five and do not forget hashtag snack on y'all you bet snack on y'all. We also can have fun next week. I am so delighted to host a friend of all of ours right here at seven p.m. Nancy bear with her brand new book. The beach reunion. Oh, yes, Gonna make sure reunion Beach. This is Beach Union and it's a wonderful book. She takes You to Nantucket. And the following week, Eloisa James and Sonali Dev are joining us. So we've got some good weeks coming up. And if you are ever wondering about our schedule, it's always on the Friends and fiction website as well as on the sidebar of events. So look on our facebook page events and you'll find it there, you know, pam it's so interesting not only to know about your books and your educational background, but also about you. I think honestly, I think we met at a do we meet at a library event at a gala event? You are good. That is our origin story. Uh many times since. But that was Yes. Yeah, I think, I think, you know, I think we just clicked and lisa wingate was also I think on that Panel with us it was really such a fun one. But one of the things we always like to ask our guest authors is what shaped you into the writer you are today. What were the values around reading and writing in your childhood? Well, you know, I came from a pretty pretty simple background. Like I said my mom lives in a town house a mile away. You know my brother and I are the first ones to finish college. But there were always a ton of books and there was a bookstore called Encore Books. I still remember I think it was like an early pre border sort of thing. And it was also also a paperback exchange. You know really we had free rein with books and I'm a crazy library person like five libraries a week...

...before Covid, you know five different systems. And so just that constant exposure to books and having free reign to have those books certainly shaped shaped me and you know, I think just you know with my kids I just pulled him onto my lap. You know when they were little, I I can still tell you is your mama llama by heart. So I think those are the kinds of values that really do it. Yeah. I'd love hearing almost every time. Yeah there's the word library and every time I think we should get a belt. I I okay my curbside pickup. You are okay to all of you out there. We encourage you to grab hands. The woman with the blue star, preferably from our bookseller of the week in quickbooks and thank you pam so much for being with us. We have spent so honored to hear your stories and talk to you. You're amazing. Thank you for having me way express. Yeah, we will see you in a minute at the after show and don't forget to come back next week. Same time. Same place as we welcome nancy fair final by all. Okay. She was super fun guys. She's so interesting. She's amazing. I mean yeah I did not know if this was my first visit with two. What? Oh Cathy. She's like okay. I was like maybe it's me. I think there was a tiny bit patty. Oh I wouldn't have to figure out where I met her in real life and I wanted to ask her but I think it was at Ciba one year and I can remember like where we were sitting like on these bar stools. I mean we knew each other online but it was the first time we like you know, plan to meet up. I can't remember what city we were in. That crazy how they all started to like Rambler. They learn exactly so accessible for all her obvious intelligence and degrees. She's so warm hearted. Which I don't you love that when you meet someone like that who is so genuine and she still generous of heart. She said yeah she read becoming mrs lewis and we've never met didn't show me anything. She's generous apart to think about people. I think it's about generosity. Yeah. I think she's also one of those people who realizes like when you get to a certain level you send the elevator back down, you know what I mean? And that's a certain kind of good, it's a certain kind of person and it's a good person and I feel like yeah I heard that expression, it's kind of a good way to put it right. Like I remember reaching out to her before really before my books have become particularly successful. Like I had some overseas success. You know my books were kind of chugging along here but I'd never hit the new york times list, I hadn't hit the USa today list yet and I didn't really know pam and I reached out to her and said, you know, I've seen this enormous blossoming of your career, you and I have been doing this for about the same amount of time. Do you have any tips? And she said, let's get on the phone and talk. And I thought that was the most christian. That's beautiful. It was it was beautiful. She didn't know me and it was it was a very kind thing to do and I'll never forget it because it was just a gesture of kindness, generous of spirit. Yeah. It's no wonder her books reveal that. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Okay, so how are you going to celebrate tonight? Yeah, my shirt. I'm yeah, my shirt exactly. Yeah, I...

...just want to really, I don't know what to do, I'm just gonna, I'm just like, I'm spinning. I really am because this was I'm just so grateful. I think that's the only word. I'm just really grateful and happy. You never were so happy for you. I'll send you both a head scratcher, I want it. You can skip your champagne words for like how amazing this is. Like, I cannot even down, you know, I would just like to point out though that you're doing that and your hair still looks beautiful, I would do it and it would come off like I look like Einstein after it. My hair is so thick and wild. I don't even want to think, I don't even know if it would go through my hair. My hair is extremely thick and wild. Like the poor woman who does my hair, I mean it's hours and hours and hours, it's so thick. So I have to ask Kathy, you're cooking, are you a cocaina tonight or you're entitled? Right, how is it going in that beautiful place? I've been following your pictures and loving every minute of your opening the night at Cocina. We've been here. Tom was here has been here a week and I got down, I got home from tour, saturday night with med God love her meg and I flew in saturday night to Atlanta. She went on to New Jersey so she could see her son, Jack go on and win the state championship Soccer. And then I, and then I drove down to tidy the next morning at nine o'clock the next morning. So it's coming along. I mean now we're at the point we're just like, oh, we have to bolt a bench to the wall so the guests don't fall over and sue us. And I'm doing a test run of cocaina. Well, it's like that. Yeah, Yeah. It's like a, it's like a soft opening kind of a thing. So you know, you can shower. I'm confused as to why we were not invited for this. I know I was gonna say it's kind of awkward Kathy and I don't think, I mean, but not really, I don't think you really want to be here because there's a lot of, that's what she says. Yeah. There's a lot of domestic discussions. You a discussion. We could use the word tension. Can we use that word? Yeah, There's a lot of that. There's, there's a lot of going to, you know, every day I get in the car and I drive to target every day. I get in the car and I drive to home depot and the hardware store and then maybe I go to home goods and then I go pick up whatever I ordered from amazon the day before. Is it not be honest? Is the target stop really? Just to look at your beautiful face on the screen above the books like that again, I'll have you, I'll have you know that I did not even wander into the book section in the Savanna Target today. They don't have the jumbotron also. So there's nothing there. Yeah. That's hilarious. Less fun without me there in the cart. No, I chris Christie. My favorite thing is people were like, how did she get up in that car? And I said, well she weighs about the same amount as a six pack of coke. So her husband picked her up and put her in there. We believe you set a six pack of white claw and would you like to know how? I know I did not see that comment. But my Son, 3rd grade teacher along to me. That is hysterical. That's uh that's on her for knowing what white clubs like school with all the teachers and administrators present. So that was he goes to catholic school also. You...

...know my grandkids were catholic school too. Oh excellent. I'm not good to you guys. I have some news. I I have to share this with you. You all know my eye cavaliers. Yes. And my cute little guy, Cosmo, He was trying to be a champ. So he was, what's the word? Bread? Sweet little girl Mated. We just found out the little girl, her first litter Chloe, seven puppies. You know, I have to find that are chomping at the bit for the promised your mama and now I've got one to spare. Oh my gosh, these are going to be the most beautiful puppies. But they're born, they're doing my birthday May 20 during the book tour. You know when you have that many, you have to have the puppies delivered by c. section. And I have this you have to know what to do when you're in there that you have to be skilled. So not just anybody can help. So they give you the sack and we break it and rub those puppies and that 1st 24 hours you don't want to lose one of those precious pumps. So we do they're gonna be little. So I have to do sub Q. And you know garage feeding and that takes a lot of work. And I'm thinking how am I gonna do this during book tour? Oh my goodness. I've got, I don't know. But I'll take care of your mama's puppy Christie babies. Wait for Number one. That's right. They don't, wait, wait, don't have to chip in and come take care of puppy everybody I can think of beautiful And I know puppies, way puppies. Happy early birthday mary Alice. Your birthday is just two days after my way. I'm getting seven puppies. That's great. Yeah, it's often today. The southern side of paradise comes out in mass market. Yeah, it's also the day of the Book of Last Names comes out in trade paperback. I forgot ways like a big day For something big to do that day. Way Mary Kay, let's find something to something big on the 25th Open birthing puppies patty. Did you not wear all coming down to earth? I don't know nothing about birth and no waiting for that. Hey guys, what a night! Congratulations y'all. Okay bye. Hi Greater. Nice. Mm Thank you for tuning in, join us every week on facebook or Youtube, where our live show airs every Wednesday night at seven p.m. Eastern time. And please subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here. Mm wow.

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