Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends & Fiction with Susan Wiggs

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

#1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels, Susan Wiggs, sits down with the Fab Five to discuss her latest novel, just released in paperback, The Lost and Found Book Shop. The crew discuss the influences on their writing career, how life experience, failures, and sense of place inform their writing, and the books that shaped them. https://www.susanwiggs.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 everybody, I'm mary Kay andrews, this is Friends and fiction, we are so happy that you are here. I'm Christine Harmel, I'm Christy Willson Harvey, I'm patty Callahan Henry and I'm mary Alice Munro and this is Friends and fiction, five new york times, bestselling authors, endless stories, all to remind you to shop local when you can and keep supporting independently owned bookstores. Now we're going to go off script for a little bit because you know we love to celebrate and so we've got something special to celebrate tonight. Miss june, otherwise known as Kristen her now charted on the new york times best seller list today, charged at C H A R T E D charted at number nine with the Book of Last names. And so we're gonna all raise a toast to Kristen again. Uh You haven't, if you have not got your copy of the paperback of the Book of Lost Names, what are you waiting for? Get it so that I can start again so you can keep charting your charting every week. Yes, thank you were the worst. Okay also some other good news. Oh my God our friend Alan get number one. I'm Ray Allen drills for her. Very excited. Well tonight we are also very excited because we get to have a very good friend of all of ours, best selling off author Susan Wiggs whose latest book, The Lost and Found Bookshop came out to rave reviews last summer and the paperback just released this week. There's nothing we love better than indie bookstores. So you know, we love this book set in a quaint san Francisco bookshop. One of the questions that were central to the novel was if you had to do it all over again, what would you do and who would you be? You can be sure we're going to ask Susan that very question. But first we want to thank our incredible partner Ma Material Dean's whose cheese stalls and cookies we all love with summertime here. It's so easy to pick up a package of Mama G's bodacious cheese straws or cookies including the gluten free ones to pop into your beach bag. Or if you're like me into your tennis bag so you can grab a snack between sets, remember as always you can get 20% off your order at Mama Geraldine's dot com with the code Fab five. And I think patty, you had a cool announcement to make. Uh so This community has been growing like wildfire and we have had the most amazing year. But this week, Y'all because of you out there, we have just passed the 40 1000 member mark and we want to celebrate with you because this has been the most incredible community and we feel like you're part, we're friends with you, your friends with us. And this is this is a community built out of a pandemic that turned into something much bigger and much better. So the best thing that happened to the, after the pandemic, how lucky are we were so grateful to all of you out there. You know what's great to toast good news with mine? Good line. That is a match made in heaven for book lovers. So last week we officially kicked off the summer of Story Point on Friends and fiction with a surprise drop in from our friends Elin Hilderbrand who was celebrating the publication of her new book, which is now a number one new york times bestseller. That certainly deserves a simple coincidence at all. I'm, you know, I'm not a point, I'm just saying, but each week the after show will be called sip and stay with story Point and will be sponsored by...

...story Point wines. You never know who will drop in. There might even be someone coming tonight. Make sure make sure you stick around for the fun and the six And in a bit we'll also be telling you about our featured bookseller of the week. Liberty Bay Books which is a special place to our guest Susan Wiggs, Liberty Bay Books located in the beautiful town of Poulsbo Washington started out as Shot Wells bookstore which sounds a little bit like charted Shot Wells bookstore in 1977 and was purchased by Suzanne Drop in 1996 And then in February 2020 local children's author Susan Self Force purchased the story continuing the line. Mm Um we cannot wait to tell you about another book that's coming to bookstores on July six and that is again our own Miss June otherwise known as Christine Harmel. She will have the forest of vanishing stars out and um we're gonna let her tell you all about it. I cannot believe thank you Cathy I cannot believe we are less than four weeks from the launch. So tonight tonight I am really excited to share the trailer with you Sean on it was absolutely beautiful. So much so set in the forest of Eastern I know they did such a good job. Right? All the credit goes to gallery books. That was amazing. So set in the forests of Eastern europe during World War two, The Forest Vanishing Stars is the story of a woman who was kidnapped from her german parents and raised alone deep in the woods with almost no human contact. But when her kidnapper dies in 1942 and her life collides with that of a family of fleeing jewish refugees. Everything changes. It's based on the real life stories of jewish refugees who fled into the forests and survived the war that way truly astonishing real life tales of survival. And tonight if you pre order it from Liberty Bay Books and not only will you have my deep and endless gratitude because every preorder really helps the books trajectory. But you will also have one of these wish bracelets. Sean. Do you have a picture of it? Um If not, I've got one right here. They yes you go. They are made especially for Friends in fiction. Um and they have the little Star for the Forest, Vanishing Stars and the Friends and Fiction blue string. I've got one on right now. Uh And yeah, thank you. It's it's one of those ones that like you know it's supposed to you wear it until it falls off and then you get a wish which I think is kind of nice. Um So yeah, this is it. And if you if you pre order the book by saturday from Liberty Bay, I will send it to you myself along with a signed book plate. So I hope you'll consider it. They love it. I love it. I love mine. Okay so now for our parade essay this week mary Kay right about a subject near and dear to all of our hearts and her heart beach books. Yeah. Well you know I thought the timing was pretty good and my books you know are sold and thought of as beach books and I'm proud of that. By the way I wanted to share my thoughts about what makes a B books and why I want to banish that phrase guilty pleasure when it comes to books. And I also want to give folks some suggestions about where and how to choose your summer reads. So ladies, what's your idea of a perfect beach book? You know, first of all I love the essay. I thought it was so great and you touched on so many really interesting points um I when I think it be treats I really think of something that just has a happy ending and I know that's kind of sometimes you don't know if it has a happy ending to the book is over, so that's kind of hard. But um I don't think I have a specific genre and actually this is kind of weird, but I like save up my thrillers all year long because I always read before I go to bed and I don't like to read thrillers before bed because I get like so keyed up and then I can't sleep. So I save them for the summer and I read them on the beach. I'm pretty bad. Yeah, I love that for me. It's anything anything that sweeps me away that I can't put down and that is a kind of a ping for sensory memory or reminder of the hours and days that slipped away when I was a child with a pile of sand covered library books that just feels like a summer read. No matter whether it's fiction, non fiction, thriller. That's it. Exactly. I couldn't agree with you more and mary. Kay I love what you said about about abolishing that phrase,...

...guilty pleasures. I mean who says that? We should never feel guilty about any reading. We do no matter what if it's around. Com or thriller or nonfiction or nature book magazines whatever read on the beach will read on the porch, on your rocking chair on your front porch or that little chair you put by the kiddie pool while you're watching the kids. Really really read because summer time is the time we have time off. Summertime is vacation time. So read wherever you want and that is not guilty, that's just pure pleasure. Yeah. You know, I usually like something a little light hearted in the summer for my beach reads, but summer is also the time I will binge read an author who is new to me like the summer I tore through every Eleanor lippman novel. I could find one after the other, like eating potato chips I read. Um my favorite of hers is The Family Man. It's so good, it's so funny, it's so dry and touching and sweet and really about forgiveness and redemption. So yeah, yeah. You know, for me, I think it's anything that keeps me absorbed in this story, but also lets me look up and take part in a conversation or take a dip in the water or whatever and then return to exactly where I left off without missing a beat. And it's also that book that you're thinking about when you're not reading it so you can engage in anything. But, but then you're excited to get back to it. Like, like an escape. Like, you know, a beautiful part of your vacation. So like last weekend we were visiting my in laws at the beach and I flew absolutely flew through lisa bars, upcoming novel Woman on Fire, which was just love her. Oh my God, she's so great. But it was action packed and fast moving and had these absorbing characters. It was just everything I wanted in that book that kept me riveted completely. Um, so you know, this is all fine and good. But I want to get to talk to our guests, Susan Wiggs, my copy of the Lost and Found bookshop. Here it is. It's brisket. I know I don't usually write in books, but I did this time. It's bristling with my post. It notes, a paragraphs and book mentions including a very special post it marking the Easter egg I found on page 185. And I know lots of you read it when it first came out in hardback last summer and we we just couldn't get Susan on back then. But so we're glad to have her on now that it's out in paperback. So if you have questions for her, leave them in the comments. I kind of have the feeling there's going to be a pop quiz or something. Looking at all those posted. I like nervous school flashbacks. I don't ever do that, but I did it with this book because it was about books, you know, I'm not touched me. Yeah, I'm so excited to talk to her about it. But let me tell you about Susan Wiggs. She's a number one new york times bestseller and the author of more than 50 novels, including the Lakeshore Chronicle series and the instant new york times bestsellers Family tree and the oyster ville sewing circle. Susan lives at the water's edge, which sounds like a book title. The that the water's edge the waters. And anyway, she lives at the Water's edge on an on an island in the puget sound. If you follow her on instagram, you can catch the breathtaking photos she takes of the sunset and the what look at that ali and in good weather, she commutes to her writers group in a 21 ft boat. She's also a grandmother to a precious little girl named Clara and my daughter and son in law moved to a little island on the puget sound two days ago. So when she gets here, maybe we'll set up a play date with Bridget and Clara and take them to a book shop. I love that. I'm a graduate of Harvard Susan Wiggs is a former teacher who describes herself as an avid hiker and amateur photographer, a good skier and a terrible golfer. I I am also a terrible golfer who says her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book. She's our lady. Yeah, she probably has a lot of agreement right now with that one. So let's bring Susan on hell no on you for having me. Got you on a busy girl. I love that your intro was so flattering. I was you made me sound way more important than I am. I doubt we're so glad to finally get you on and we would love for you to tell everybody about, I don't know the elevator pitch for the Lost and Found bookshop. It's a...

...book about books. It is that um like that alternate life that you live when you fantasize about, you know, what would my my life look like if I was, you know, if I were to actually go for something like that. And so I think everybody I know kind of dreams about being a bookseller and so I created this fantasy bookstore, but it's really grounded in um some things about my life. This is supposed to be elevator pitch and I'm like rambling on. Anyway, it's grounded with some real life challenges that I have in my life and and um in terms of caregiving of an elderly person and but it's also filled with everything that I love about books and writing in bookstores. And so I think you mentioned in the intro, there were some easter eggs all throughout that. Most of the books that I referenced um in the Lost and Found Bookshop. Our actual books that I've read in love, there are a couple of made up ones which you probably as fellow authors. You probably recognize those as well. But anyway, thank you so much for having me. I I love this setup. I love your group. I love all of your books. Uh and the first time I was thinking about the first time that I met mary Kay and we were on a panel or something and she was dressed so well. I mean she's just like her book cover. She was just like your book cover. I think it was the weekenders and every single color that was on the cover of the hardcover. Um you had on your outfit, your jewelry and your top and it was just so yummy and I thought God I want to be her. I'll think about a lot of thank you. Well, I'll tell you, we are looking for a asking lots of questions and we will. But to all of the viewers out there remember to put your questions for Susan in the comments and will be pulling a few to ask you later in the show. So of course, I've got to ask what prompted you to write a book about a bookstore. It was one of those moments um where I I knew some things about the story, but I didn't have quite the challenge that I wanted for the main character. And at the same time I was I was trying to I was trying to I love people who faced the middle of their life. Well, she's not the middle of her life, she's in her thirties who realized they're on the wrong path and they're like, oops, I gotta make a change here. And she doesn't realize that she's one of those clueless ones who needs, you know, kind of a kick in the pants in order to put her on a different path. And so in the beginning of the book, she's sort of this button down corporate person, very disciplined, very and she has a kind of free spirited mom who we learned early on in the book, you know, we don't get to really meet mom in person. But anyway, Natalie comes to realize that the thing that she wants to do is the thing that she's most afraid of, but she tackles it anyway, and that's becoming um the proprietress of an independent books shop in all san Francisco, in a historical building that has a whole history of itself, So that's amazing! So I have to tell you Susan that the ladies here have a nickname for me and it's peach because of PCH and you have a peach. So you have made me into a man and a handyman that a tool, a tool belt. I never, I love that. I hired hammer, I just loved it. I was like, oh wow, that's awesome. So when the book opens, your protagonist, Natalie harper is toiling away as you mentioned that she's doing corporate things. But I love that she's at a wine distributorship in Sonoma Valley and she's very good at of all things inventory control, which is a job she has come to hate, but she clings to it because I mean in victoria control literally sounds like a job I'd quit in an hour and so she claims to it because it offers the one thing she craves or think she crazed, which is predictability, security, and a good paycheck benefits. You know, the little challenges we have. I think so many people can relate to that. And I'm...

...really curious if you are ever in a situation like that. I never was because my in my former life I was a teacher and um actually teachers have stability and predictability. Um they don't have a salary, the most among the most underpaid people, you know, that I can think of it. So. Right. Right. Exactly. And so the only thing that's like even more populous than a teacher is probably an aspiring writer. So I was both of them. Yeah, I really, I wanted her in Arcangel, which is a made up town from another book. So that was kind of a little easter egg for for readers of the other books, but I wanted her to have um, you know, ties to California, but in the wrong role. And I was like, you, I was like, what's the most, you know, dreadful thing that I can think of it as inventory control, Right? So crushing. So how did you get the courage to take the leap from teacher to writer? Because even though it didn't have the salary, it had the security, I mean it did absolutely, and the health care and my daughter was little. Um, it was, I had a couple of books back in the, In the 90s that that kind of moved me into being just, you know, a hopeful writer to an actual earning writer with probably probably a future. You know, none of us ever have, you know, the ultimate stability of the whole corporate structure behind us. But you know, there were some signs, you know, um hired a really awesome literary agent. We're still together meg truly or anything wear agent sisters I think. Okay, well, doesn't she is like a mormon husband. You always, when you're with her, you think you're the only one. A great, that's a great, great, she doesn't tell you nothing. A you're gonna have to call up Megan say, wait, you have other clients. What exactly? Right now she's a political, She can't help, but she's also incredible. But we don't care. We don't care. Yeah, as you know in the publishing world, when you know that you have a team and you have the right associates around you who are going to help you accomplish your goals and your dreams, then it's still a leap of faith because you still live from book to book and contract a contract. But I felt like I was able to do that. So off I went. And so I I I published my first book in 1987. Oh my goodness, I know old. That's still, I mean, when you consider 50 books, my goodness, that's exactly what I was gonna say. It's still not that long to have written 50 books because I was published 85. Was it that No, no, you were published before me, but I'm a piker compared to you? I see, I see, Ron block is saying in the comments hashtag author wives, which I do I okay, I feel that title like going that title. So, Susan, Susan, you said in our friends and fiction newsletter this week that when you were a kid, you fell in love with Shakespeare and Company, the english language bookstore in paris because you and your family lived nearby. I had no idea that you used to like I also lived in paris in the seventh and I was on the same block as the american library in paris, which you might know. Uh and one of my good friends in paris when I was living there, worked at Cafe La Petite, which was on the same block as Shakespeare and company. So I was there all the time too. So for me living in paris though my time there was brief, it really shaped me as a writer. Um and I think it was partially because there is such a wonderful literary tradition in that city and the french culture just kind of inspires us to stop and smell the roses to slow down and appreciate the details. Do you think? Hey, as was the case with me, do you think that your time in paris, even though you were there when you were young, shaped you in some way into the way you write today or into the writer, you've become. 100% yeah, 100% that it's, you know, I always knew that I would write, I always add new from, you know, before I could even read before I could barely...

...talk, you know, scribble things and tell my mother write this down and I wouldn't battle out a story and you know, God love her, she was right down the story and so live and she saved them. So, I still have these little scribbles and stories that I told her when I was three years old, so I always knew and there was an upstairs room in Shakespeare and Company where I would take my, my my journal like teenage angsty journal and and I would just right away and I think that when you find a place that feels like that to you, um it helps you develop your voice and your voice is always changing as a writer. But there are some things that are just a through line, you know that you started writing when you were in seventh grade and you know you're still thinking about these things and I think there was there's a book that everybody should read readers and writers called on writing by Stephen. Oh my God. Yeah, there's a there's a page there. My favorite page in the book is where he talks about a writer always returns to the same like three or four themes again and again and again in ways throughout your storytelling life. And I remember just being such a dreamer and being in that book shop. So um yeah, it should be on everybody's bucket list, definitely every reader's bucket list. And every time I go to paris I go there the bins and certain things about it that never have changed. Waiting for you know I go through the bins and I keep looking and I just keep waiting one book. I just want to see one of my books waking a book. I want to go back to the last round bookshop. Can I just say? I really loved the cover, it's really beautiful. I always did the hard cover another. Just nail that cover. They they did yeah really great and I'm glad you kept it for the paperback. You know sometimes they change it. So anyway in this wonderful book um Natalie the heroine's her world just explodes when her mother and then her boyfriend are killed and this horrible plane crash and this is and Blythe is the owner of the lost and found bookstore which means now Natalie asked your ownership and this is a failing financially debt ridden business and then later her beloved grandfather dies. And so the phrase that we all know this is a a writing phrase called Kill your Darlings. And that's when we like to up the stakes. So I'm curious you killed a lot of darlings in this book. And so did you. Is this part of your plot? Or did you always know that Natalie needed an impetus to step out of her old life? And I think I know what you're going to say because you touched on it a little bit, but talk about killing your darlings and this book, I think that drama comes from people facing their worst fears and their worst situations that they can think of. And so um and I always had a really strong, powerful relationship with my mother and I have a strong relationship with my daughter. And so um those were our soft place to fall, but when that's taken away then what do you do? And so I I wanted that everything stripped away from Natalie right in the beginning so that she almost had no choice. And I set it up so that she couldn't. I mean her first thought was I got to dump this bookstore. You know, I've got my job and inventory control expert, you know, why would I ever you know, take the risk of being a bookseller. But the truth is and most booksellers that I talked to as I was writing the book said, um booksellers bookshops can be really vibrant and they can be profitable. They mostly always are if they're well run and if they don't have like a flaky owner and you know are poorly managed but a well managed independent bookstore makes it is a profit making business. It is. And so I wanted her to have to take, you know, I have to sort out in the aftermath of this, you know, horrible way that her mother leaves her. Um my her darling mother, she was a darling and sort of rebuild her life around around the bookstore and around her grandfather who's dealing with dementia and some other health issues that come clear later in the book. And so I felt like she was too insulated by supportive people. So I took her away. Yeah, yeah. And that's kind of what we do when we moved from being um you know, a teacher to a writer. I was always been a single income family. And so, um...

I never had a patron of the arts, I never had a you know, and so it raises the stakes I think. And it made a, you know, kind of amped up the drama in that book. And I just have to say it also an inspiration for people who are considering opening or keeping their independent bookstore alive in your community. You know, it works. I love everything. You just Exactly yeah. You know, speaking of life, you know, when you start the book, I think another Airhead mom irresponsible and then I think you do such a beautiful job of um unfolding her character. And you know, I started thinking why could I not have met blind harper? I would especially like to thumb through the books on her Words of Wonder shelf at the bookstore. Now when you read the book, you will see that um Blythe who uh Natalee's mom who owns a bookstore and has run it for many years, She has a shelf called Her Words of Wonder. And it has books that she returns to um for you know, deep thoughts. So I wondered if you would name some of those books on the Words of Wonder shelf and whether they were books that you have personally turned to over the years because it was kind of an eclectic mixture really. Mhm. Yeah it was it's a it's a shelf that I would definitely have if I had a bookstore because I'm a well I read a lot of e books now and and and so I can't do it but I'm such a mark II don't mark them up but I put tabs in my books and you know I want to remember things that I read and particularly meaningful passages and so yeah, you know we all have those books that are just kind of part of our blood and bone and so I fantasized about you know what what would be on the shelf. And for me it would be everything from the carrot seed, which is the first book that I ever read on my own by Ruth Krauss, I think I can a boy planning a carrot seed and everybody said it wouldn't come up anyway. Everything from that all the way to um God, I don't know totally books and everything. You had the Once and Future King, you had the Once and Future King. And I love that you can tell. I mean, I don't usually mark up books and the one thing Future King, he says the best thing for being sad, replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow is to learn something that is the only thing that never fails. I love that. That's great. Yeah. Um and there's a yeah, they have a, there's a motto in the book. You're never alone when you're reading a book and I always, you know, I turn to books when I'm sad and when I'm happy and when I'm lonely and they're always there for me. And when I was little I used to picture and I kind of shaded this in and the story I used to picture that the books were alive, even when they were like facing out on the shelf and the pages were closed with everything. I was sort of picture, what are they doing in there? And uh, great imagination. That's great. I love that. Well, um, let's talk a little bit about this central question in the Lost and Found bookshop, which is if you had to do it over again, what would you do? And who would you be? So can you tell us a little bit about what inspired that central question? And then also if you had to do it over again, what would you do and who would you be okay? Yeah. Yeah. I love I love the drama of somebody having, having the face um this this question in the middle of your life, and I can't specifically remember personally ever coming to that moment, like, oh my God, I'm on the wrong path, but um if you were given that, it's it's not really an opportunity, it's like an obligation for for Natalie, um but she does get to remake her life. And one of the things um it's funny that I started out talking about clothes and very, very case outfit, but I was very conscious, as I wrote Natalie's journey, who she...

...was in the beginning versus who she was in the end, because in the beginning she's very buttoned down, she's corporate, there's a very terrible wind mishap on her white silk blouse and her fellow co workers aren't very nice about it and and um she kind of evolved as her character evolves, so does her wardrobe. She finds herself trying on her mother's clothes because she's trying on new identities. And then in the end when she's really kind of found the essence of herself, the way that she feels in her body and feels in her clothes and everything, it was it was a real key. So I'm not sure readers all would clue in on that, but I was very conscious of it and I'm not sure why I'm not a huge close person, but I think that they do say something about the way you feel about yourself. I love your transformation. I love this scene where she's going to the gala at the museum and the bookstore, the bookstore clerks were great characters by the way, Cleo and what was the guy's name? Uh birdie, Birdie, birdie and clear. I know I do that to birdie and clear. Uh and Cleo you know makes her wear this gorgeous chinese um silk. I don't know the name of the dress but it's long and it has the embroidery and it's turquoise and it's flashy. All the things that Natalie isn't and I thought wow this is like a butterfly, you know coming out of the chrysalis to me okay but Susan you have to do it over again. Oh sorry. Yeah personally. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I probably would have divorced my first husband sooner sooner. But you know what being able to write as such a blessing. I can't imagine that I would do anything differently. I don't even I wouldn't switch genres. I wouldn't you know, I wouldn't even make the mistakes that I made because everything takes you to where you're going. You know, if I could get very philosophical yeah, no, everything really use it, you know, everything you encounter on your journey um is put there for you to work through and so you know what, I like a smoother path through my life when we all, but I don't know that I would reinvent um a lot of or make different choices I know and I wouldn't even be able to do that. I completely agree because I think it's a joy of reaching a certain age and both in your personal life, but also in your career when you can say um I see how all the decisions I made were a series of connecting the dots to bring me to where I am when you're in it and living it and you're young, you don't necessarily see it, but okay ladies, we can look back a little bit. All right ladies, you know, I'm going to break with the script again and ask you one sentence everybody what what if you I love that question that Susan asked if you had to do it over again, what would you do? And who would you be Christie? Mm um gosh helps turn with me. Um I don't know, I mean I actually was sitting here thinking that I think I'm really lucky because I sort of had one of those moments where someone in my life, I was working in a very different field and someone said to me, if you could do anything, what would you do? And I said I really want to write a book and um you know, I think I'm so invested in where I am now and I feel like it's really where I'm supposed to be and that doesn't mean that, you know, right here is going to be the exact thing that I'm doing for the rest of my life, but I really kind of feel like I'm at the right place in my life and um and I agree with mary Alice that you can look back and see all those little dots and there's some things that I can think about right now that felt like the world was ending and if they had not happened, my life would be vastly different and much, much worse. Yeah. Oh, I think I answered, I definitely would be a writer, but if I was not allowed, that was the rule, you can't be the same thing, I'd be an opera singer. Ooh, what? Okay, peach, So let me get out my tool belt, I would have been a handyman. I, you know, I was a lot of things before I was a writer. So...

I, I feel like uh like Christie, I had a moment where I asked my five year old daughter, what do you want to be when you grow up? And she said a writer of books and I said, no, that's what I want to be and like the character in the book, Susan, I was about to hit, I was approaching my thirties and I was like, what am I waiting for? And so I think I did ask that question and I did shift and um that doesn't mean like Christie said that other shifts won't happen. But yeah, I, I'm, I'm right where I want to be right now right here. Yeah, I mean we've talked about it many times on the show, so we know I'm writing a song with James Taylor, like that's coming for me. Shot me right? I mean, I don't imagine that taking that long, but okay, but here's the thing what if you can't come back as a writer, what would you do? Mm wow, you can't change the rules like that. No, no, no you can't get through. Maybe that's your, shall we talk about? What about you? You know what, I would be a person who worried less about the future and I think I'm 42 now and that is a lesson that I don't I don't think the entire gasoline but no, I I I don't think it's a lesson I fully learned yet. But I remember even just a decade ago, you know, I didn't get married till I was almost 35. I didn't have no until I was almost 37. Um and I spent a lot of those early years thinking that those things I wanted out of life, we're never going to happen for me. I worked a lot of years as a writer before. I really had, you know, much success at all and I think um I think as Mariella said, you can look back and kind of connect the dots now, but I wish I had worried less about it um in the past and that's a commitment I will make going forward to try to just trust the journey and trust that even if it doesn't turn out exactly right, you'll you'll get where you need to go and Yeah, yeah. You know, um I, you know, I thought I wanted to be a newspaper reporter and I was for a long time and the newspapers change and I felt like I had the rug pulled out from under me. And I think it's a gift. I mean it's a gift in in in Susan's book The Lost and found bookshop when um Natalie has everything stripped away from her. Yeah it's all a burning, literally a burning plane wreck and that only then does she um eventually discover that she is where she that the next places where she wants to be. She literally is shoved off a cliff and I think um I think for me metaphorically when newspapers changed and I hated it and and then I was like thank God I was left with no other choice. I knew I had to write and I and I so I had to tunnel out. But anyway, gosh you've got so many great questions, let's let's go right to that. Perfect. Okay wait let me can I ask one more really quick before we get to that? Just know I'm you know, but you Susan you thank a lot of the a lot of booksellers and your acknowledgements. Um Can you tell us a little bit about what Liberty Bay Books are bookstore tonight means to you? Mhm. Sorry about that. Can you ask that again? I just my internet just sort of yes I was just saying can you tell us why you chose Liberty Liberty Bay Books tonight and what that store means to you? Thank you for asking. I would love to tell you because I love the owner of Liberty Bay Books. Her name is Suzanne sell furs and she is a Children's author whom I've known as a writer for years many years. And she um took that she bought a bookstore in a little very adorable little seafaring town called Poulsbo Washington. Um And she opened she had her grand opening and wait for it february 2020. So not only did she have the challenge of founding her new enterprise, her new book shop, but she also got shut down probably about a month later. And so I know that first year was amazing um for Suzanne and her staff to kind of get through and so I have a lot of love for Suzanne and for her book shop she made it over. It's a charming place and with the nicest staff you could imagine. And so it was a no brainer for me to say oh that's...

...the one for friends and fiction. That's awesome, that's awesome. Now questions Yeah, we're going to pull some live questions who is pulling Christie, I am me, we have so many questions for you, Susan, it's absolutely unbelievable and I like this one a lot. So Alexis wants to know do you know the title of your book before you write it or do you wait until it's almost finished? That's a good question. Mhm. I know the title that I want the book to have good a very often yeah and publishers have a sneaky way of having meetings about your titles and oh we've already got a similar title or we don't like the sound of that or it's not going to lend itself to a good cover. And so I always have a title in mind, but well I almost always there was there's been a book or two where I couldn't come up with anything but with The Lost and Found Bookshop. Um it just felt like such a good fit um thematically with the book. So and luckily it was it appealed to my publisher as well. So that one I didn't know the Oyster feel sewing circle, I did no other ones. Um there's much discussion and um very often the title that I want never makes it into the book. Um in the Lost and found bookshop Natalie is reading a book that her mother had left on the bedside table. Booksellers get a lot of advance reading copies of books and um so that they can preview what's cut, what's coming. And she's reading a book called Acts of Light. And that was actually my title for a book that was published as Map of the heart. And so they recycle that cool title that I really liked. I did too. I thought it was a great title but it didn't it didn't resonate with people at my publisher. And so I had to change it to map of the heart which is okay. But I didn't love it like you know, I thought that was really Yeah. Yet another easter egg. Yeah. Ok. Yeah. Yeah. Well the other easter egg is the author signing with the lady named Quill ransom. She was a very you know um her books were beloved by readers and she has that disastrous book signing. Oh my God! Like every anxiety when I was reading that in real life, I visited them on did you have PTSD or something like nobody comes and you all dressed up and you thought you put the candy dish out and your sign up sheen and your hour ago and nobody comes because I tell booksellers I look so X people stay away in droves. Yeah. Oh you've got a question. You have that X factor. They kind of you know, they draw out readers to them like the pilgrims to lourdes. But I am not that writer. My readers are all home reading books and wondering. So like book signings can be very very humbling for all of us is and for all of us. So speaking of Map of the Heart, this is so synchronised. IQ one of the live questions we have is from a woman named Carrie Suderman and she said I love Map of the Heart. Did you did you enjoy writing historical fiction? And will you write another one? Oh, could you hear the question looking for carry? So Germans question Because no, no, I'm telling it. Yeah. So sorry, I didn't hear the question. I like it. And then I will um he said I loved Map of the Heart. Did you ever did you enjoy writing historical fiction? And will you write another one? Are you having trouble? Yes. Yes. And uh you know, I can hear it now. Yeah. So um math of the heart was probably the most enjoyable research and writing trip I ever made because we jerry and I had a rental car and we drove through France for like five weeks and it was amazing. And um, I loved every minute of it and I tried to pour all that into the book. So, yes, absolutely. I would love to do another one. And in fact, I'm kind of noodling with an idea where...

I, earlier in my career, I wrote a lot of historical romance novels. And so, uh, and I'm really listening to the audio books of those that were just re recorded in audio because I'm thinking of doing a contemporary, um, that is that connects to those historical romances. So what a great idea of that. But I do love Yeah, Well, we'll see all ideas are great till I start writing them down and then they suck, you know. Yes, but that's the journey. Well I'll tell you every week one of our very favorite parts of the show is to receiving a writing tip from our guests. So we would love to hear a writing tip from an author who is a three times winning rita award winning author who has written rahm calms romances, historical and contemporary fiction. So what writing tip to have to share with us? Um I think just if I have to narrow it down to one, it would be let your natural voice come through. And what I mean by that is don't try to write like you think you're supposed to sound on the page, don't try to write like you know, don't don't fuss about is it correct, is it grammatical or anything like that? Put your heart on paper, whatever that looks like and you know worry about the mechanics later. But I think people get so hamstrung and they get you know, almost like stage fright. I don't I can't write this, I don't have enough education or I don't know where I'm going or I don't know what, you know those kind of things. But if you let your natural voice come through and write about things that are, You know, come from deep inside you, that's where to start that. That could, you know, hopefully get you going for at least 17 pages and then you'll think, well what was I thinking? I'm good at being a financial plan, I should do inventory control. I was thinking about uh Yeah, exactly. No, no, I was thinking about the question because one of the one workshop that I've done a couple of different times is how do I love letter? And it's for anybody, not just it's not a writing workshop, it's yeah, it's one hour and everybody uh you know, anybody can come in and, and I was giving it um in Cannon beach Oregon, beautiful little town at this um um lovely seaside um conference room or something like that and anybody could come and it was free and um I kind of walked them through the steps and you know, ask the questions and things like that. And there was this giant like lumberjack looking guy way in the back of the room and he had his car hearts on and his plaid shirt and everything and he just broke down and started crying and he said this is so good. I didn't know I could write and I was like, oh my gosh! And it was because I kept telling them, don't worry about, you know how it, how it looks like it's supposed to sound just yeah. Put your heart on paper and steer. Oh, I wanted, I'd love to take that course. What a beautiful idea. How to write a love letter. That's a great title of a book. Okay. You know, we are running really close to time. So Susan one moment, stick around. We're going to ask one more question of you because it's one of our favorites. We're not going to kick you out just yet, but nobody wants to tell us about, needs to tell us about the podcast. Well, first we want to remind all of you out there to check out our podcasts will always post links under announcements. Each time a new one comes out, it is so much fun. Y'all were having so much fun with all these new interviews and not only do we post the audio of our live web shows like this one, but we have all this original debut content every friday morning. And as we told you last week, superstar librarian Ron blog, we all know and love is now that is now the captain of our podcast ship because forever and ever. We are going to talk about ship metaphors. His first podcast with us under the friends and fiction writers, Black banner debuts this week on june 11th with our Christie Woodson, harvey wade rouse and Alyssa friedland in case you're like a lot of us. So you're having a little trouble finding your puff. But I said it was so fun. It was so, it was so fun. I already listened to it. It was really, really good. Y'all can't, y'all are gonna want...

...to click on it right when it downloads on friday, but in case you're like a lot of us and you're unsure how to find the Friends and fiction podcast here is a short video made by our superstar managing director that she says cringe alert. But here we go on your iphone, tap the purple podcast icon, tap, search and enter Friends and fiction in the search bar. Mhm. Choose Friends and fiction, tap the purple subscribe button, Scroll through the available episodes and tap 1 to listen and joy welcome to. Yeah, that's our man. Yeah. Don't forget if you have not yet to join the Friends and Fiction official Book club hosted by our friends, lisa Harrison and Brenda Gartner. It is yet another way to stay connected to this great community right now. Our book club is reading mary kate's brand new bestseller, the newcomer, which they'll be discussing on june 21st with mary Kay. And next up is Mary Alice is the Summer of Lost and Found. So this is your chance to hang out with the authors and ask them all your questions while also, you know, getting to hang out more with your friends and fiction friends and really you guys what is a book club without snacks? I ask you it's the eternal question. So of course you will want to bring along Mama G's while you talk about the newcomer As always, you can get 20% off orders on their website Mama Geraldine's dot com with the Code Fab five. And speaking of snacks and the things that go with them, don't forget your story Point wine and our fun summer of story Point stick around after the credits roll for our sip and stay story point after show where we might Yeah, no, we definitely have apartment surprise for you. And next we join us right here at seven p.m. For a very special night as we launch mary Alice's first middle grade book written with Angela May. Mary Alice's special guest will be famed naturalist and award winning best selling author, Sy Montgomery, The author of the Soul of an octopus and the good good Pig. And if you're ever wondering about our schedule, it's always on the friends and fiction website as well as the sidebar of events on our friends and fiction facebook page. All right now, back to Susan for one last question which is one of our favorites Susan you talked a little bit about your experience with Shakespeare and company. But can you tell us a little bit about the values around reading and writing in your childhood and your childhood home and how they shaped you as the writer you grew into? Okay. I think she's having computer difficulty Susan. Yeah. Okay back, can you hear me? Okay? Uh if people will put their questions that they still have on your on your facebook page and I'll be happy to go and um answer them there. Thank you. Problem. You know I'm one of your 40,000 well fantastic season. Could you just tell us quickly what the influences around reading and writing in your childhood were aside from Shakespeare and company. Mhm. My mom and my dad both we were reading family. My mom actually had a book club before they were even book clubs. They didn't call book, you know back in the sixties and seventies they you know but they would they would all show up with books and swap books and we did live overseas we mentioned earlier and so she would get together with the other american lives and and swap english language books and everything. And we just always were a whole reading family. It was part of our culture I guess. And you know, it was always surprising to me that that other families didn't have that, you know, not all of the families, but and then I also had that teacher that I wish every kid would have in the third grade, I don't not do this, but it used to be in the third grade you would grab from from like manuscript printing to cursive writing. And that was like a big deal for me. And I had a third grade teacher named mrs Green, March Green and she had that perfect palmer method writing and I told, and I was always a precocious reader, probably. We all were, I was always reading ahead. And so she said and I told her I said, I'm going to be a book writer. And she said, well if you're going to be a book writer you should write a book. And she sat me down and she gave me all the tools and by God I wrote a book in her third class and I still have you have it. It's called a...

...book about some bad kids, wow illustrated, staple it together. Yeah, yeah, stapler with the Lions. Those were probably my earliest influences that I can think of. I love to have your I love that story. So everybody out there since we're talking about my mom shops and dury's, we want to encourage you to grab Susan's book The Lost and Found Bookshop which came out in paperback yesterday. There it is, don't forget to visit the Liberty Bay Bookshop page to order Susan's book and all the fab five books including preordering christians, upcoming The Forest of Vanishing Stars and Mary Alice is the Alice The Islander Susan, thank you so much for being with us today. Thank you. Thank you. You guys thank you. This was such a pleasure. I our this is my favorite. Our thank you. Thank you. I just subscribed on my phone. So your bag, we'll talk to you on the podcast. Y'all don't leave. Yeah, yeah, thank you again by you. Now find we say goodbye to Susan, but y'all don't leave yet. We've got lost a lot to say during our sit and stay with story point after show and come back next week. Same time. Same place because it's the launch of my middle grade novel, The Islanders and I've invited my Clock or Angela May and Sy Montgomery. But now for the get your wine ready story point line, Oh, hey everybody, thanks for hanging with a an important part of the after show. Where did she go with? Does with. There we go. There we are with everybody. Welcome to our stories. It's hard to say that many s is in a row is stay sit down today with story point after show and as we mentioned earlier, we're happy, happy, happy to be partnering with story point wines as the official sponsor of our after show. All summer long. It will be the summer of story point here on Friends and fiction. And I would also like to remind you is meg said you came up with the name mary. Kay, you know I love alliteration, I know it's my fault that sip you just say story point. I have to say that maybe no smiles. Exactly. So story point as you know, comes in three varietals, chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet. I like all three but what I really like is what they stand for. A love of stories in storytelling as they say, its story point many great stories and ideas unfold over a shared a bottle of wine. So who knows better than that than all of you and us here at Friends and fiction. So every Wednesday night throughout june july and august, we hope you'll stick around for the friends and fiction after show to sit and stay with story point since we're wait, no, no, not yet. Oh, okay. Let me kill you first way putting me in no surprise way. She did not want to be in charge of the sound effects. She did, she did say that. Okay, so because we're about to liberation here. We want to talk about sip and stay story point sir. Private. Okay now. Okay wait, okay ahead. Say, hey wait, how are you? This is fun. You needed to see you. But so Paula meet all the ladies I think you know everyone know mary Alice. Hi Paula, chris Houston, mary Alice. Remember dancing in a nightgown and crazy text. I had the best costume right that night and Christie was a princess. Yeah, she still is. Yeah. And have you ever, I've...

...never met mary. Kay, I'm absolutely pleasure. The pleasure is all mine. And so um, I hesitate to say that we could have a story point, surprise 15th day a lot of trouble. So lord, so before we move on I want to tell everyone out there that Paula is going to be with us on the show on well I 1714 mega correct. Get it straight, get it straight. I think it's july 14 july 14th I could be making that and we are going to be talking about her fabulous, amazing new york times bestseller when the stars go dark. Wait to ask her how she decided to write go totally, totally, yep. Um crossed over to the dark, that thing, that thing, nothing. And we are in California right now and um which is where the book takes place and where you did your research? Yeah, not far. And I'm a California native, so it's really great to be back vibing with all the good energy. We're here cooking and hiking and writing, writing and brainstorm and restoring. Yeah, there might be a there wasn't tonight I today I got I got a beach hair so that works right. You're always looks like you're ready for a magazine way. I just had an idea that you guys should do something called Ojai from Ojai, oh hi from Ohio okay From Ohio but I'm sorry this is this is like back to a minute ago. But you really have, I mean you've written a lot of genres because you started out in memoir, right? I started out actually in poetry and poetry. I didn't have a memoir about growing up in foster care. Um then I have a first novel which is contemporary and then that's when I had the idea for the paris, right? So then three historic ALs and then I blew the roof off thriller. I don't want to really start july from the feed show. So you think it's right, it's the first time I've gone. Maybe I do it Rome, maybe that's my theme, maybe that's your thing. Maybe I'm like Madonna and I just reinvent myself every decade. Like I just have to do that to, you know, you just go rogue. Yeah, well I think we do have to, we have to say yes to opportunities that invite us, you know, to change and to grow and when instruments incomes. That is terrifying. We still have to say yes because it's a threshold and if we have the grit and the courage to cross the threshold, then we'll be taken to a new place and creatively and women, we have to continue to grow or else what are we doing here? 100%. I, you know when I read your New York Times piece, um, Paula wrote an amazing essay. Was it modern love? It was modern love. Yeah. And uh, it was so brave and so uh uh, poignant and all the things. And then I can see how as a writer, I can kind of see how you were there and then you went, Yeah, Teresa and that piece, you know, I think one of the reasons why I wrote it is because I've needed for myself to connect the dots. I do think Joan Didion has a line. Something like it's good to stay on nodding terms with our former selves. I think that our former selves again, if we look back with open eyes and are willing to really look closely, I think we can learn a lot from the past and pull it forward. And so I want to go back through and see the ways my childhood trauma, um, was affecting my current everything. And really every relationship, every romantic relationship I've ever had. Um, and obviously it feeds into my work to the trauma and this book When the Stars go Dark is all about, you know, how trauma shapes us and then how we can...

...free ourselves from right the patterns of the past, the shackles of early experiences to um, to rescue ourselves right where you come in, how is it possible and how can we resolve the winds of the past? Yeah, I wish we had been able to get into that with Susan because she alluded to it a little bit when she was talking about was in wigs. I wish I had big, it was his grocery store. Somebody has to go and kombucha for my friends. I just think Susan really touched on that beautifully about how we can look back and you know how she had to make choices and she made different choices and how it all led to the author. She is today and God knows, she's written so many different books. She wrote um romance, she wrote historical romances and she wrote um women's fiction and God only knows that no one is going to hold her back, but it's again deciding to keep keep the flow going and writing. Which yeah I loved how she kind of okay mind her own experience and she didn't talk a lot about that but I love to have heard about it, talking about you know some kind of loss in her life and um I know her mom is still living, she talks about her mom and her social media. So um you know maybe we should lighten it up a little. What do you think? Yeah, celebrating that Kristen is number nine on the new york times. You're going to celebrate your story point ladies. Your point line for that. Okay so if you were going to ever own a bookstore, your own bookstore, what if you've ever fantasized about that? What would what would be, what would your bookstore be and what would what would it be called even do you know? Oh gosh. Christine. Christine, Christine. She knows what's your bookstore called? Christie. So my bookstore would actually be on a boat that stays docked all the time, which is kind of, you've run in my book feels like falling. You kind of get the idea of this um, anybody out there and it would be called sequel but it would be spelled like S C A U L Oh my God, genius. I know you're going to open the store you go to. I can talk will into letting me, he's like, because you don't have enough to do. That's a really good idea. Let's see if you can just work go completely crazy. Yeah. Okay. If only you didn't have to raise a child and write books. It should be a way to include airstream trailers in a book. Yeah, like that they were sort of butted and there would be like reading nooks and curved space is like a book, like a cool bookmobile. What with cocktails? Is that what you're saying? I love like you did the wine tastings in California, although maybe wine and a book, but it would be like, what's the place in florida? It's seaside that has all the airstreams. Oh, I don't know. Yeah. Oh two that they're like hotels or rooms for a hotel and they're in a circle around the pool, which is not a terrible idea because who doesn't like to read by the pool? Absolutely done by genre. Right. In the current fiction backlist like that. I just you and chris you're actually on a roll here. So what are we going to, what are you going to call it, Paula said, what are we going to call it? I think the name sequel. Yeah, I I'll do not understand. But do you mind on a sailboat and call it best sailor and you can call your equal? I yeah, there you go. Oh my gosh, This is so creative. We went to a bookstore today that is an outdoor entirely out entirely up books and it was I mean what if it rains? I just my mind and I said do you guys have awnings you put down or he said, no, we have like covers on most of the books and it doesn't rain sideways here. I was like okay, but very dry climate. It's very dry, kinda. So the used books are on the kind of outdoorsy part and the brand new books are a little bit more protected. They have like, help...

...come. Yeah, it was an album, I don't know. Beautiful. And then and then on the end caps it was all succulents. Yeah. Oh my God. Who is a video? So I'll post on my social media. You guys want to see him? Really? Thank you. Really? With best sailor getting fire can't hurt with their christian. If it should be a bookstore called sequel or a protein drink. E. Q. U. L. E. Millennia. Because millennials don't really they don't care. S. E. Q. U. L. I mean I someone told me recently that I am actually an elder millennial which was nice. Like it's nice to be called an elder. Anything you wanna talk that you're giving which is nice. So um but you know. Yeah I mean I like that. It can it can be both like I could sell the protein shakes. It could be a new kombucha. I'm also a big kombucha fan. So patty. If you have any suggestions I'm on it I don't think it'll probably preoccupy me for the rest of the night christian. What are you going to call your bookstore? I have absolutely no idea. I can't beat any of that. So just I'm out. Yeah. I admit to find I'm going to visit your bookstores girls. I'll come. It could be miss miss june books. Yeah, that is true. I could yeah, I I really haven't done enough with my status as a centerfold. So you're right, you haven't? So I was thinking the forest of book stars. It's probably not as good as sales. Sailor Sailor Sailor bestsellers. Great. I was going to call mine just beach books and it would only sell um, books that you would want to read at the beach and maybe yeah, maybe I'll just like, you know, since we're fantasizing, I'll just like move it from beach town. The beach town in the little uh, can start in the south. Yeah, I started in the deep south when summer comes. You know, basically in february florida, you know, florida ruling. Yeah. Yeah. But I like this sailor. I'm really pissed off Christie that you Mhm. Still that idea. There will be some opportunities to franchise if you would like, we can talk about this. This is why that's why you're our CFO you're always thinking I do like that when I run across somebody who's on the beach reading something that's not beachy. You know, like a big biography of Lincoln yeah. Average spirit and outliers in your beach. Yes, definitely mobile or whatever. Maybe you could have like a shelf of irreverent options. There you go. Oh I like that hive mind here. We've thought about the most perfect bookstores ever. Well, we have to just start opening them right now. We have spare time. We got to keep writing them. Okay I know. Our evening rods. Oh God no one please do not. Oh my God. Oh oh guys it's not happening Christie. Um do you want to talk about how we're trying to boost story point? Yes I do. So um we're really close to you guys to 1000 instagram followers for story point. Y'all go follow them on instagram here look um wow straight path is talking I'll pull it up. Okay so you know what would be fun if you could also snap some selfies with a glass or bottle of story points and then you can tag them and tag friends in fiction and we will put it in our stories. We will. So if you want to follow them there at Story point lines can you see it? Yeah. Lines on Instagram 955 followers really, really close. Yeah, that means a lot. You, you all know how grateful we are that you support us. So we're almost at 1000. We can do this. Yes. And so you know, that's it for us tonight. You guys see you next week. It's a big week for us because we're going to launch mary Alice's middle grade book the Islanders. Yeah, yeah. And how nice to see you my fries. Well,...

...thank you. That was a super fun little interlude. And what are you cooking? What are you cooking, kombucha for dinner, Do you friday? Amazing. Cook. Amazing. You first. I'm making, we're making street tacos tonight with mango and cilantro and pickled red onions and not uh, roasted peppers and chicken. Oh my gosh, what time we had a melted cheese feta cream and come and fill it up to because he's totally yeah, Everybody in real time, We're at 9 81 on story point. You guys can everybody 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. Yeah.

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