Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 4 months ago

Friends & Fiction: Writing for Children with guests Sy Montgomery and Anglea May to celebrate Mary Alice Monroe's The Islanders

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

It's a special night as the Fab Five discuss the art of writing for children and celebrate the launch of Mary Alice Monroe’s new middle grade book THE ISLANDERS. They are joined by Mary Alice’s co-author, Angela May, and their special guest, famed naturalist and award-winning, bestselling author Sy Montgomery the author of THE HUMMINGBIRD’S GIFT, THE SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS and THE GOOD GOOD PIG. http://symontgomery.com/ 

Welcome to Friends and Fiction. Fivebest selling authors and the stories. Novelists, mary Kay andrews, ChristineHarmel, Christie Woodson harvey patty Callahan, Henry and mary Alice Munroare five longtime friends with more than 80 published books to their creditIn 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviewsand fascinating insider. Talk about publishing and writing and to highlightindependent bookstores. These friends discuss the books, they've written thebooks they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books andyou're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Helloeveryone. Welcome to friends and fiction. Time new york times,Bestselling authors, list stories. This is a very special night for us becausewe're thrilled to be celebrating the launch of mary Alice's first evermiddle grade book, The Islanders so special guest, her co co author Angelanay an author, natural naturalist and explorer. Sy Montgomery. I'm your host,Christie Woodson harvey and I loved how the Islanders explores the healingpower of nature. I'm patty Callahan, Henry and I adored the idea of Childrenunplugging in this modern chaos. I'm mary Kay andrews and I love the idea ofChildren exploring a discovering secrets. Uh I'm Christine Harmel and Iloved the fact that this book is partially about friendship and it waswritten by two friends. Our very own mary Alice and her friend Angela May,uh thanks everyone and I'm mary Alice Monroe and I'm the author of theIslanders. So before we get started, I hope you guys have a lot of champagnetonight because we have a lot to celebrate. First of all, um our pattiessurviving savannah just hit the USa Today bestseller list appears um andchristians, the Book of Lost Names is on the new york times paperback listfor the third week. Hetero amazing so much to celebrate so much. So you know,in addition to this being the launch night for the Islanders were expandingum this launch party to explore the fascinating world of Children's books.So we'll be talking about what is middle grade fiction, How does itdiffer from young adults and things like that? And this is Children'sfiction with a twist. So both mary Alice and Sy Montgomery write novelsthat are inspired by nature. Their books capture the awe and wonder ofnature for Children of all ages. Speaking of awe. I am in a incrediblepartner, Mama Geraldine's is bras and cookies. Hang on, let me get my I hadto pre game tonight. I got my mama G's right, you go hungry whenever I'm onbook tour I always have a box or two with me in case of you know I need aroad snack, a roadie. Remember thank you. Get 20% off your order at MamaGeraldine's dot com with the code. Fab five. Fab five. I'm left with the othertongue twister because we're excited to remind you that this is the summer ofstory point on France and fiction. Each week the after show would be called sipand stay with story Point after show and will be sponsored by a Story Pointwine a Now this week as you know, we partnerwith Parade magazine and it is online on their website and it is also ontheir facebook page and our christian wrote the most beautiful essay forparade this week. You don't want to miss it. I got definitely a littleteary eyed. She hit the nose. Oh, you're so sweet. Well yeah, it wasactually this is gonna sound weird after you just said I get teary. Iwrote about our couch. No, it was sort of the couches metaphor though. How I'mtrying not to see it for myself through other people's eyes. And how sometimesembracing our imperfections can lead us to a better, happier life. So I waswondering is there something that each of you has learned to embrace aboutyourselves this last year? Mm Well if some of you guys know I have a blogcalled design chic with my mom and we write about home decor. And so my houseis really important to me and it is just a total disaster. We've been aconstruction for literally years. And so I like Elsa have just had to let itgo. Could you have saying dress? Let it...

...go a couple more weeks to you guys.It's time. Oh I've learned that I used to blame the fact that I didn't haveenough time on my hands for not getting things done. But even with the extratime on my hands during the pandemic, I still did not clean out the attic. Andso I accept my shortcomings with humble acknowledgment. Well, I have to say forme it's if you look behind the books it's filing. I mean, I don't know, it'ssort of like those trick candles that you try and blow out and it keepspopping back up. I try and file and it just keeps piling up. So it's just likeI'm kind of giving up. So for me it's filing, it's the funniest, I think I'velearned to lean into my chaos brain. There you go. What does that mean? Youknow, I am disorganized to a fault. I um have a hard time keeping all theballs in the air that I'm juggling. And I think with the pandemic, I just said,you know, chaos Brain is also creative Brain. So I'm going to lean into hopingthat he that creative brain makes up for Chaos Brain. Oh that's lovely, Ilike that very much so. Before we move on to the rest of the show, one moreannouncement. Um Mary Alice has had quite a spring reunion beach came outin april the summer of Lost and Found in May. We're launching the Islanderstonight and we're also releasing the paperback of last summer's best sellingon Ocean boulevard today. I mean I mean what were they thinking, paperback ifyou haven't read on Ocean boulevard? No, it's in paperback, so it's anembarrassment of riches as well, that's always a good thing. So you all knowMary Alice but you have never read her quite like this. And her first evermiddle grade book, The Islanders, it is not her first foray into Children'sliterature. She's the new york Times best selling author of 28 books and twoof them are picture books. She's also achieved loads of lists and numerousawards for her adult novels, but she also won the A S. P. C. A Henry BerghAward for Children's Fiction for Turtle Summer and her novel, a Low countrychristmas had a 10 year old protagonist. And that book won the prestigious 2017Southern Prize for Fiction and then there's the fun stuff she gets to do,mary Alice, she's all about the turtle, she works closely with them as apermitted member of south Carolina's Department of Natural Resources. Shehad rehabilitated sea turtles at the south Carolina aquarium and she's onthe board, other leatherback trust, where she works with the world'slargest sea turtles in Costa rica. Hey, mary Alice, my dad lives in Costa rica.We're gonna, we're gonna meet over the turtles. Exactly. Your brother back.All right. So mary Alice has also rehabilitated, trained and cared foratlantic bottlenose dolphins. She raises monarch butterflies and haschased them across the country as they migrated to the mountains of Mexico.How cool! She has also rehabilitated birds of prey, pelicans and shorebirds.Currently she's studying whales. Honestly, I have to say working withwildlife is the best part. I mean it's it's inspiration for all my stories.But now enough about me, let's move on to my, I'm a little gushing over thenext guest, my guest sy Montgomery. I'm so honored and so thrilled that she'sagreed to come on friends and fiction when we talk about middle grade fiction.So let's talk about sai size 28 books for both adults and Children havegarnered many honors. The soul of an octopus was a 2015 finalists for theNational Book Award. She's the winner of the New England IndependentBooksellers Association nonfiction Award, the Children's Book GuildNonfiction Award and she to one, the Henry Bergh Award for nonfiction sizework, has also gone on to film her work with the man eating tigers. Who workswith man eating tigers. I'm english side, I'm like hi dolphins. Anyway, herwork with the man eating tigers, which is the subject of her book spell of thetiger was made into a National Geographic television documentary. Alsofor nat Geo, she developed and scripted Mother bear man and wanna chris award.Now she gets to do so I get to do some fun stuff to um I don't know how muchfun this is to her. She oh, she paced...

...by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire,bitten by a vampire bat in Costa rica. Not going there. Worked in a pitcrawling with 18,000 snakes in Manitoba and handled a wild tarantula in frenchGuiana. She's been definitely undressed by an Iraqi attack in Borneo, hunted bya tiger in India and she swamped swamped with peronnas, electric eelsand dolphins in the amazon. You're making this up. Okay, So mary Alice 1stMay I have a dinner invitation to the next time the two of you get together?As long as it's not in like a snake pit in Manitoba, That's okay. I don't justmake pits. That's all ok, You all right? All right. So, you must have a lot totalk about. But what is most intriguing to me is, well, aside from, you know,snake pits and man eating tigers, is that both sigh and mary Alice right toinspire both adults and Children to take care of our shared planet. Let'sbring inside Oh, hi, welcome. We're so glad thatyou're here. And as a mother of a boy in the middle grade fiction age group,I'm so excited to have these two amazing authors books to add to hissummer reading list. And I'm thrilled by all the extra lessons that I knowhe'll learn while he's doing this fun reading. So let's begin tonight'sdiscussion by digging into what exactly is middle grade fiction. There's stilla lot of confusion in the industry and among parents who are buying thesebooks for their Children. So mary Alice, can you tell us a little bit about whatmiddle grade fiction means? Right? Um, and I'm glad this is such an importantquestion. Middle grade fiction refers to the books, it's really age related.Written for readers between about 8 to 12 and these kids are still Children,but they're just developmentally on the cusp of reaching adolescence. So youngadult fiction refers to Children usually between 12 and 18 and so again,these terms are not about genre, but pretty much age specific. And itapplies to all genres of fiction, whether science fiction, mystery comingof age, everything. So the reading level of Children varies wildly fromchild to child. So here's an important point. If you have a younger childwho's reading at an advanced level, that doesn't mean you want that childto read a young adult book. And that's because the content varies wildly inmiddle grade, you have a wide range of reading levels, but to put it quitesimply in middle grade, you're not gonna get sex and rock and roll thecontent of first, you know? So I think the best example is to take this seriesof harry potter because it's so popular. The first books of harry potter arereally rooted firmly into middle grade books. But as they move on and theChildren get older, they have a darker material and little sexual overtones init. And that clearly moves those books into young adult for the libraries andschools and for general reading level. What so interesting. I've never givenit that much. I know it's, I mean really it is clearly defined and it'spretty much age specific side. You have anything to add to that. I feel likemary Alice kind of covered it, but just in case. Well, mary Alice is the experton that. I gosh, in 1999 my book in the Snake Pit, first in the series ofnonfiction books for kids in grades four through eight and that was calledscientists in the field. And with photographer Nick Bishop, we would gointo the field and describe What was going on on our expedition. And thevery first one, not only had 18,000 snakes, but what were they doing in thepit was they were having sex. So 18,006 my mother wouldn't even have the book, a puppies and bunnies. Right? And I'mlike, no, it's gonna be 18 1000 snakes in a, what are they doing? They'recopulating. Okay, well, I just have a question for you guy, who whose job wasit to count the snakes? It was it was bob mason who was, who was thescientist in the field, who we were highlighting and who is still my friendtoday who I saw my last book tour back when we were all much younger and wehad booked tours. Um, uh, there was a mathematical formula that you canfigure out how many snakes are there. But he also was able to figure out thatthe snakes in each kit, there were several of them and they hibernated orruminated in those pits in the winter.

They were stacked like like logs, youknow, in, in, in your, you were going to have a nightmare, their blood not asthick as mayonnaise. And then in the spring they all woke up and the maleswould come up first and they wait around and then the ladies would wakeup and then it was like the worst frat party you've ever been. All the maleswould gang the female and they use mating balls of like 100 guys and onefemale and bob mason is also the guy who figured out, how do they know whichone is the female? Because every snake looks like a tube. So how do you figure,how do you figure this whole thing out? And he still haven't figured it out.They have ceremonies like insects path. He was the first to figure out thatreptiles have pheromones that they used to signal. You know, I'm the one youwant to mate with. But there were also she males who pretended that they werefemales so that all the males would gang them. And that's a hole in the, well it is five months. There you go.I'm thinking that's not middle grade. Oh my God, Probably. So when you'rethinking of choosing a middle grade book, you will remember size snakestory. I say that's amazing. So both of you do research with wildlife andclearly you both completely love what you do. But there is a difference. UmMary Alice doesn't go into snake pits. Um, but there's also another differentside. You write nonfiction and Mariel's writes fiction. I want to know why eachof you chose the path you chose. You sigh first in nonfiction to bringawareness. Or was that your reason for writing about these species? Well, yeah,that I reckon you know kids, they say the leaders oftomorrow, but really there's the leaders of today as a writer. I meanthe reason that I draw breath really the reason that I don't just jump off acliff tomorrow. Um is I really, I do love this natural world. I love thecreatures in and I know that they love their lives as we love ours. AndChildren have a natural connection to that if we don't wreck it. You know,and I love writing for adults to and you get to use a lot of words and bigones and you know, as a writer that is that is enjoyable to and humans of allages can change the world. But I think of all of my readers, the Children arethe ones that are going to do most from the animals that I write about. And Iwrite non fiction because I'm not smart enough to write fiction. No, you hitthe nail on the head side. It's that the kids get it and it's instinctiveand they don't have um they doubt and the naysaying hasn't hit them yet. AndI think for me, you know, I have written the same message for adults infiction. For me it was always going to be fiction. I'm a storyteller. So Iwanted to use the power of fiction in a different way. You catch peopledifferently with fiction than you do with nonfiction. They it's a moreemotional response. But with kids you hit the nail on the head with thesekids believe in themselves. They believe they can save the world. And Iwas saying earlier, you know, if I talked to an audience of adults and Italk about all the plastic that's in the ocean, a good example would be thatmany adults will just, uh, it's too big, it's too late. What can I do? You talkto a bunch of little kids 8 to 12 and they're like, let's get out there andclean it up. What can we do? You know, I believe we have what and theyabsolutely believe that it can be changed. And so that plus their naturalpredilection for just loving animals, they just, they have that instinct thatthey haven't grown out of yet. I think it's still there with adults. When I'mon the beach with adults. I see that interesting curiosity and you know,especially on the beach with turtles. You know, what's going on? They are.And that's what you try to elicit when you write a fiction. Is that thatcaring because if they care, then I always say they'll take care. You'reabsolutely right. And I also, I love fiction because, you know, it has abeginning, a middle and narrative of course, comes from the word river andit carries you from one place to another. And even though I'm writingnonfiction, I'm borrowing that from fiction because in my books, um, theexpedition has a beginning a middle and an end. And frequently there's some, Imean, not infrequently. In fact, it's...

...never been that there wasn't some realdrama. Is this going to work? Um, in in one of the books that I wrote for youngreaders, three days from when we were going to leave, it really looked likewe might get eaten by lions and hyenas. You know, you go, that would be anunfortunate ending. Yeah, well, that wasn't gonna be too bad. But we gotwhat, we broke down in the middle of a, in the middle of nowhere and we could,you know, we could hear lions and we knew there were hyenas and uh, therewas no cell phone and there was no one coming. And um, basically two of thepeople we were with managed to manufacture car pieces out of scotchtape and dog. So we got a, you're such an adventurer that indiana jones, youare like, you're amazing. She's, she's a hero of so many of us. Yeah, wow.Well, um gosh, I don't even know how to segue past that. That's so amazing. I'mjust gonna not transition at all and say that we have another excitingguests to welcome onto the show tonight. Um, so mary Alice wrote The Islanderswith Angela May and she is going to be here to talk about the book and we alllove Angela. She's a former television news journalist, another journalismmajor. Um She has been working with Mary Alice as her right hand assistantand as a publicist and you know, we all kind of wish we had an Angela and inour lives I think she does so much behind the scenes. So the Islanders istheir very first book together and Angela lives with her family in MountPleasant south Carolina. Her family consists of her two Children and herhusband and her husband's an assistant principal, which I'm sure was prettyhelpful in writing a middle grade book. So we're so excited because this isAngela's debut novel. We're so excited. Let's welcome debut novelist Angela May,who? Angela, I can't believe I'm finally a part of you know, the bradybunch screen. Wonderful. Thank you all. So, no, Angela, it's you're dead, yournovel. How does it feel is like opening night? Uh, it's been emotional. I havehad to say probably a dozen times to myself. Don't burst into tears ofhappiness. Don't First for Happiness. It's just it's a really special andbusy time right now because it's not only did our book debut this week, butthen I also watched my fifth grader on livestream today walk across the stagefor his moving on up ceremony. And I mean, and my Children are in thiscategory that we're writing for that age group. And so it's all so verymeaningful. So I'm I'm on cloud nine. So great. Well, were you? We're soexcited for you. Well, mary Alice and Angela, y'all chose our bookstore,charleston's blue bicycle books. So, um mary Alice, will you tell us a littlebit about what the story means to you? I will. And I think many of you havebeen to events with blue bicycle here in Charleston. So, Jonathan Sanchez,I've known him for a long time since he bought boomers books. And that was backin 2007 and it became blue bicycle books. And in addition to owning thebookstore, this is really big, Y'all. Jonathan is the founder of the Y'allfest and is charleston's young adult middle grade festival, which draws inthe top audio authors in the industry. 12,000 fans to charleston, the secondweek of november. It's huge, Angela, what about you? Um I have had thepleasure of knowing Jonathan since before he owned blue bicycle books. Umand I love the fact that he hosts really great events. He makeseverything look easy because of his laid back personality, but he does instore events, events around town and it's always so fun to work with him. Umbut he doesn't just carry current books, but he also has antique books and Iknow that my Children have enjoyed going in his store in the past becausehe also has like a Children's book area. He caters really nicely to thataudience as well. So we just love him, we love his family and he had ourhearts full when he shared the news with us that his daughter Who is 12 or13, I can't remember Mary Alice that she not only read an arc copy of theIslanders, but she read it three times over the course of the right, I meanfor a kid to read your book from start to finish is a compliment we read. Itis the ultimate compliment. We love her.

And we hope that from Blue bicycletonight, you will not only order mary Allison Angela's hot off the press theIslanders, but also signed Montgomery's Wild Adventures in Nature and all ofthese books for your child or your grandchild. Because tonight is booklaunch night. And if you order Mary Alice and Angela's book tonight, yourbook will be signed by them and your child will receive a packet of fun. Theyoung islander. Yeah, that's right. I love this freebie pack. That bluebicycle book is going to send to everyone. You have a nature journalcover. It's like an adhesive on the back side and your Children get tocolor it, personalize it the way they want and you can't see it right now,but they can even put their name on it. But you'll see once you read the bookwhy this nature journal cover is so important to us. And then that um bookcover is actually an author postcards. So after you or your young reader readsthe book, you can let us know your thoughts. I think that's a good oldfashioned way of reader connecting with writer to bookmarks and exclusive madestickers um shout out to my hubby for $0 for me. I'm like, could you make mestickers? I'd really appreciate it. And you did a great job. So cute. It'sgreat to have handy husbands. Of course, as usual, you can get 10% off thepurchases of the friends and fiction authors. Books too as well as Simon gumAries books and of course The Islanders with the Code Friends. Mm I know will'sgonna want those freebies that's there. So cool. So let's begin our questionsto our authors. And remember if you have a question tonight for Cy or MaryAlice or Angela, you can put them in the chat and we will hopefully beselecting some live questions soon if we have time. All right, cy back to you because I'vegot some questions for you and your wildlife. So you have written about somany different animals for me, the octopus one is probably the mostinteresting and at least terrifying. So, I want to know, I'm really curious howyou approach your books. Are you inspired? Is the story come from theanimal or do you start with the animal or is it based on conversation withscientists or experts? How do you pick how you're going to approach whichanimal? Well, it varies. Each book is, each book is a different gift. And thefirst thing I ever did was an homage in honor of three of my heroines growingup, jane, Goodall Diane fossey and brutal gal, because I did calledWalking with the Great Apes and I felt like my first book needed to say thankyou to these incredible women and what I wrote it wasn't a triple biography,but it was a biography of their relationships with their study animals,which is how, by establishing relationships with those animals, thatwas key to their new understanding of these creatures, they understood thesecreatures in a way nobody had before they spent longer um entwined withthese animals lives and that was because they loved them. They were notstudy subjects. Who's that? I hear it, I'm sorry. But uh so how'd you pickyour animals after that? Which I mean the next, the next one, I was veryinterested in human relationships with animals because this is what's drivingthe extinctions of animals today are lousy relationships with them. So thatwas when I did the book on man eating tigers and I told my husband, you know,don't worry honey, they're man eaters and in fact they did eat men and notwomen because the women tended to stay home where they could be my crocodiles.They literally eight men because the men were the ones who went into theTiger reserves where they were not supposed to go. So um I picked thatanimal to write about because our relationship with tigers is causingtheir extinction. And I found that there was one place in the world wherepeople were not eradicating the tigers, but where The only place in the worldwhere healthy Tigers will swim out into the ocean waves afterward boat and geton board and eat you. And there's about 500 tigers that live in this 10,000square kilometer mangrove swamp between India and Bangladesh. And I wanted toknow like one, what is it that the people in that area know about thetigers that causes them not to kill them? And to why were the tigerskilling the people that they did...

...normally eating you is something thatreally irritates humans and makes them want to kill the animals more. Yet inthis place the people actually worship the tiger. So it was a mystery I wantedto solve so and so on and so on. I mean after after that I wrote about otheranimals, I saw pink dolphins um in the Ganges River, there's Pink Riverdolphins in the Ganges and how can you not want to follow a dolphin everywhere.So I just, there were pink dolphins in the amazon River and they are verystoried animals. There's wonderful stories about them. So I did I did abook called Journey of the Pink Dolphins and one book led to anotherled to another and the more relationships that I that I had withboth people and animals. Um That now there's books, I mean I'm sure you allfeel this way. You feel like you're more ideas and their planes coming atLogan. You know, you just hope, you know, you want to eat your vitamins andlive forever so that you get writing. Yeah. The curiosity that keeps yougoing, it really is. How about you mary Alice, do you decide the animal first?The story first, what inspires its except for this last one which wasabout the pandemic, which was, as we talked about before, kind of a worldand it's always the animal species that that sparks. And I don't have a I havea lot of possible ideas of animals I'm interested in, but it's usuallysomething very instinctive that it's time to write about this animal now.And I've seen over the course of my career that it's it's very prescient ina sense. And I think we all have this ability where if I wrote about I wroteabout the monarch c and the book came out right when the population crashed.So I think it's true that if we are in tune with nature and what's around us,we can almost anticipate. So I usually choose the species, and then I have todo the academic and research and talk to experts to see if there's enoughthere for a book. And it almost always is because you fall in love with thespecies, the more you learn about them. And then I work with the animals. Andit's only through working with the animals that I pull parallels out tocreate a novel. So the species First, Species First, um Angela, your background is injournalism, like a couple of us here. Um what shifted your focus to writingChildren's literature? And will you keep doing that? Well, when I first met my husband, youknow, when you're newly in love and you ask each other 1000 questions late atnight. I remember he had asked me as I was working in a newsroom if moneydidn't matter what's the one thing that you would want to do? And I said I wantto write Children's books. And when I decided to leave my career injournalism because I didn't know exactly what I was going to do next,but I just knew intuitively that it was time that that chapter of my life wasdone. Um as soon as I left my job, my husband let me know that he saw aspecial course open up at the citadel and it was an evening class onChildren's writing and publishing. And so I took the course and learned a lotand then one thing led to another where I um connected with Mary Alice, but allof that was just this kind of secret desire to write Children's books andI've dabbled with it, but I never took any of that seriously. Um so, but nownow that I'm on this journey with Mary Alice and I had this chance to do this,I am so excited to write for middle grade fiction. I know that it wasn'tChildren's picture books, which I had originally thought this is, it's thiscategory, This is the one that really connects with me and it reminds me ofhow I felt when I fell in love with reading and would devour books. I'msure you guys feel the same way when you think back to your childhood. So Ihope to have the opportunity to continue to work hard and right nowsigh so happy why kids? You've written a library of adult novels. What drewyou to write Children's books? Well, I always thought I wanted to write forkids because they're the ones that are going to change the world. Um, they'rethe ones that are going to hear about the plastic and they're going to startthe beach cleanup and they're also going to go home and tell their parents,you know what? No more straws, No more plastic stuff. I don't care. I'm gonnabe, I'm gonna be the one that's gonna make the whole family like vegetarianand guess what? We're going to buy a hybrid car and Children really drive alot of you love that. But it was, it was shit who came up to me at aconference at which I thought I had...

...horribly bombed. It was I was on apanel and all the panelists except for me were men and they were all answeringall the questions. That wasn't a moderator in telling you what thequestion saying? What about Children's books? Sigh? I've never written aChildren's book. It was like my ovaries are going to write this lot. Well itwas, it was, I just felt terrible. But then nick Bishop comes up to me lookinglike he had just woken up under a pile of leaves and I knew he was like mykind of guy, fantastic photographer and he had also written Children's books,but he really wanted to take photographs instead of instead of writethem and you know, it could have been an axe murder, but I asked him if hewould send me pictures of animals that he had taken because when you look inthe face of an animal, you can tell whether they're being pursued by thepaparazzi and particularly small animals like reptiles. You can look atthe face of the reptile or insect and tell if they have been refrigeratedbecause this is something that a lot of photographers, due to calm, calm down,make your animals not move. So you can see and Children can see this to a lotof adults just don't pay attention, but you can see it. And I looked at hisphotographs of insects and reptiles and it was clear to me that the animal wasliterally frozen, It wasn't hypothermic, it wasn't dead. There's a lot ofpictures of dead bugs that are supposedly you know live books andChildren's books and I could see that the animal was showing its true selfthat he had taken his time with these animals so that they were showingthemselves as a you know, calm creature, not like freaking out. And so I saidyeah I'll work with you. And that's when we we found that the scientists inthe field series for that's great, How cool your amazing. All right. So I wantto go back to Angela for a second, Angela and you know this is also comingin as a question from some of our readers wondering what was the process?How did you do this together? But I'm really curious. So we we have one fromSusan God asking just that question. Um but she is curious about the process ofcollaboration as am I so first of all, how did you, how did you do thistogether with Mary Alice and as a new author? What are the advantages towriting collaboratively? Um and is that something you think you'll do in thefuture? Okay, Well it was a really interesting process because even thoughshe is a senior writer, she's been doing this for decades and I'm, youknow, a new writer on this side, it was new to both of us to collaboratetogether. So we did have to feel our way through it, wouldn't you say maryAlice? Like we really didn't know what to do. So we started with the basicswhich was talking about the things that excited us most, about the setting,which is dewees island south Carolina in a place that's captured our heartsand then we had the outline who are these characters and and what's goingto happen. And then from there we would just pass it back and forth. I wouldtake some time and write a big long chunk and work on that in between ourregular job. And then I would send it back to Mary Allison. She would do allof her revisions, send it back to me and it would just chunk by chunk. Weslowly got it done. And as we were saying tonight we talkedto Ron last night and I think what came out was that it really involves a lotof trust that you can't to collaborate with someone. You have to know thatyour your ideas of where you're going and what you want to do matches up andyou trust that you're gonna do the best. You can not just for your own work butfor the book and for each other. Right, That's true. Yeah. Sorry, go ahead.Angela. Yeah, I was there and I think that one of the things that I feltpersonally that worked really well, I always felt reenergized mary Aliceevery time we stepped away from our office spaces to go back to the islandand just slink the laptops at home and immerse ourselves there and then to bewith our friends on the island. Um, most notably judy Fairchild who is aresident and a naturalist. Don't talk about her too much weight. Right, right.You know, she was just able to share all these things with us because I meanI look at things and I'm like, well, what's that, what's that mean bird?What's that tree? You know, and she's able to explain and we would walk awayjust like buzzing with energy just ready to write again. So I, I lovedreturning to the set image. Great and how nice to have that partner to kindof bounce that energy off of two. I think that must have been a really coolpart of the process. Um, see how about...

...you, can you talk us a little bitthrough the, your process of collaborations? Yes. Well for a lot ofthe books, there wasn't a whole lot of collaboration with creating the bookthat there would be work with the scientist um, with the scientists inthe fields stuff. Um, well, I mean Nick literally saved my life a couple oftimes. Um, in papa new guinea, I had hypothermia and altitude sickness, butof course you don't know and it was pouring rain and I felt sick and Iwandered away from camp and because it was pouring rain, no one could havetold me, No one could have heard me call, no one could have found me. Butnick noticed that I was missing and I suppose he didn't wanna have to rightAnd photograph the book. So he ran after it. Got me help me not fall off amountain at 10,000 feet. Okay. That's really good collaboration. Yeah, maryAlice, you're going to stop it up. Like you're just but Angela be ready to savemy life. I'm hold on adventurous. But you know, that takes it to a wholeanother level. That's right at all. But you still had to share ideas and allthat with him, right? Oh yeah, it was so great because with the photos, youknow, um scientists and field series is half photos and a half text. So we hadto be physically together during this. A lot of a lot of books withphotographs, nonfiction, animal books with photographs, the photographer andthe author never go into the field at all. And but when I would write I knewwhat photos he had because I saw he was photograph and this has continued. Iworked with a couple. I've worked with a couple of other photographers sincethen on projects that he did not want to do one. Um Some involves scubadiving and he's not a diver. Another one I worked with um T. A strong beckwho photographed California condors and that was exciting. I I got bitten by acondor. A giant vulture. Yeah totally survived a lot of things. So you need aT. V. Show. You write a piece for radio. Unfortunately your stories actually thescience that the scientists series is so great for kids. It really is. Iabsolutely love it Avalon, thank you. Haven't been a new crocodile hunterexactly what we wanted to do. The crocodile scientists, but ourscientists stopped going into the field. We're waiting for her to come back. Wow, wow. There are so many men ontelevision who are survivalists and adventurous. I mean, wouldn't it beawesome to see a woman lighting? I've watched that show. Okay, well, uh you are beautiful inside and out.You're amazing. Yeah. We want to watch you side. We want to hear your stories.We want to know where else. Maybe you and I should a size typing only. Idon't know about the snakes, but I'll go for those tigers. Oh, I know youwould. You totally would. And the gorilla signed me up with that gorilla.Yeah. All right, Well, I think we're ready for some live questions. Yeah.And there are a lot of them. Everybody wants to know sy what is the animal? Isthere an animal you would not want to come in contact or one you did come incontact with that? You regret it? Yes. And that was the mosquito that gave medengue fever in Borneo. I mean it's always say you know what's the mostdangerous animal in the world and you know could it be the crocodile or is itthe great white shark? And I dive with great white sharks and they're notgoing to bother you particularly if you're in a big steel cage, you knowtigers and lions and bears and No, it's the mosquito mosquitoes have killedmore people in the world than any other animal just by transmitting disease.Wow. Great answer. Yeah. Well the other animal that I could do without wasbleach is because I have had a lot of contact with leeches and hold off a fewleeches. Oh my God if you look like you've been shot they because of theirdrool Of course I said anticoagulants you believe like a stuck pig. It'sterrible. And I didn't even know I'd been bitten the first time and myfriends came to pick me up in this parking lot and I saw their faces justfreeze when they saw me and I thought oh is my bra strap showing or something?I look like I've been shot in the...

...stomach. I just gushing bloodeverywhere I came out I came out of the leeches were still on me. Oh yeah. Ohyeah. An aesthetic. So often you don't feel it. And at the end of the day inBorneo we would peel off her clothes and you know the fact that we justdropping out of your underwear? It's horrible. You have to do a body checkyet subject subject. Okay. Alright. That I write fiction about you knowactually. Mr come on, it's so cold. It is right. Oh my gosh, okay, so maryAlice, this comes from Becky on Youtube. So someone tuning in on Youtube. Yeah.She's wondering how do you transition from writing for adults to writingChildren's books? Right. It's a big difference. Anyone who thinks writingfor kids is easier has never tried it. It's a it's a myth. Writing forChildren is a complete transition. It's a it's a difference in sensitivity.It's a difference in vocabulary and difference in pacing. But the what themistake is thinking that you'd be writing for Children, it's it's simplersubjects, the depth of writing for kids. It's just as profound as writing foradults in fiction, you just handle it differently. So it's a completelydifferent approach. Yeah, that makes sense. So cy there's a woman named Jillceleste and I just love this question. She says, what's one that says thisquestion is for cy, what's one thing we can do is humans to make the planet abetter place for animals. But a nice question. That's great. Thank you somuch for asking that um boy, there's so there's so many. But one that is easyand it's in our hands is plastic. Don't buy it. And the whole idea aboutplastic recycling, it does not really get recycled. Really. Just number onemilk jugs is about the only plastic that gets recycled. The rest of it isnot recycled. So don't buy it, don't use it and lobby the company's yourlocal leaders to ban single use plastic items is so poisonous. And as you know,by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Oh,that's separate consequences of that. It's hideous. And I mean we love,there's all five species of sea turtles are endangered and they see that grossplastic blob floating there and it looks exactly like a jellyfish. And Iasked by a follow up question to the plastics comment. So in your own lifesigh, how do you try to what are some things that you do to really avoidplastics? Because I feel like when I have to go shopping for my family atthe grocery store, at target, there's so many things that are wrapped inplastic and there's not an alternative. Yeah, it's really true. Well, start ofcourse by don't use single use plastic bags. Bring your own cloth or recycledwhatever bag. And that is just real easy to do. A lot of, a lot of theplaces I totally hear you because you know so many of the items that you buyyogurt, lot of yogurt is in nothing but plastic. There are some kinds thataren't theirs. We owe you, I yogurt that glass. Um There's so many drinksthat are in plastic but many of them are in L. A. Medium cans and those arerecyclable and they do get recycled if you change change the way you cook andif you can change the way you shop. I joined the C. S. A. And I get the mostbeautiful vegetables and I take them I put them in my own bag and take themhome and they're better for us and they support local farmers. So at every turnI really make an effort. And many of the many of the items that we buy thatare prepackaged, they're not that hard to make it yourself. Um HMOs tons ofGMOs, it's real easy to make in the blender. You open a can of garbanzobeans and you throw in the blender with some lemon juice and some garlic orsomething else. If you want to make it taste better, there's, there's not abunch of stuff that you can that you can do and it's fun to think of with akid to sit down kid and say, listen, let's figure this up and they'll seeall. I love that, wow! Well that is so great and wow, that I feel like I'mgoing to recommit to was really, really good about that pre pandemic and thenwe couldn't use all our bins and stuff and I got a little bit worse about it.So thank you. Uh on my, on my facebook...

...page, there's a group and I started ittwo years ago. It's called light one candle. So please jump in and give someof those suggestions. It's a way for it's called light one candle. And it'sa way how you with all the barrage, what one thing can you do in your life?And it's all of us. There's a couple 1000 people on there now where we alljust try and come up with ideas of what we can do to make a difference in ourpersonal life. So what? Please join us on that? That's great. Thank you somuch as well as you know on friends in fiction. We love our surprises. And somary Alice has another special guest tonight, mary Alice, would you like totell us about her? I know I'm really excited when Angela and I wereresearching for the Islanders, we went into recess Island, which is this small,remote island right off isle of palms and I'll go to a person was judy doFairchild who's a naturalist of wonder and you'll have to watch your show.It's on instagram. It's called, it's a little series called nature walks withjudy and we're going to show you a clip of it in just a minute. But first let'sbring on judy to Fairchild. Who is, who is the number one fan of Time on hungry?I love you judy. You're not wearing your adventure shirts and things.You're all, you're not pretty good for this. Uh a bug shirt on. Yes. So we areso thrilled to have you. And can you tell us a little bit about Teresa andwhy you think that how you helped us with the Islanders? What you thinkabout it? Sure. So it's a small island right off the coast of charleston.There are, the entire island is in a conservation easement. So when youbuild your house you can only disturb a small footprint. You can't plant nonnative plants in the ground. You have to um use like sustainable buildingmaterials. Everything comes to the island by boat, every bit of trashleaves the island by boat. So you work hard at you know using those C. S. A.Vegetables and composting what you aren't you don't need to put into thelandfill kind of thing. Um And it's a it's a really interesting community.It's a little different and like you know all utopian communities. We haveour little challenges but it's um it's a really it's a really it's not thatfire from charleston. Um You know I was in charleston for lunch today, I was infor a cool exciting conservation announcement last night so we can comeand go pretty easily. And yet when you're out here there are no cars onthe island. Use golf carts or bicycles to get around. And so it's very quiet.Um There are no lawns and so it's got this sort of, I don't know, it's likethe barrier islands of your childhood that you remember that don't have any,there's no commercial activities. You know, strip malls. Now if you run outof something you ask your neighbor. Um and it's, you know, people say, well ifyou ran out of wine and like will stand in the red with a glass, somebody islikely to drive by. How closely did we come to talk about the island is andhow we wrote about it. Did you hit the nail on the head you That's one of thethings I like best about it because you know, it's like you get us and and theability for my Children to grow up and know, you know where the owl nests andwhen the sea turtles emerge from their little eggs and make it out to sea andhow that is part of the day to day rhythm and understanding how the tidesaffect you and what the bird calls in the forest are and having that freedomum to, to really explore nature in a way that is very hard to come by thesedays. And so we do have kind of free range kids, which is really, really fun.And also, you know, it's, you can lie on the dock for 2.5 hours and watchfiddler crabs fight with their, their big claws. And, and you can hear thesounds of snapping shrimp in the marsh and that's pretty much all you here,which is she's really amazing. But judy did a really wonderful thing. She tooklines of the book and she she showed us Dewey's Sean. Can you show that video?It's really amazing.

That was co kind it was amazing. Itreally is an idyllic little place if you want to see the whole thing. Shereally you can see big al the alligator come to. Um either nature, it's makingbox with nature walks with three D. Dot com has a page for the Islanders andalso just one little mini, you know my pandemic pivot was like you and sighwhere you want to get people to love the nature that's around us becausethey won't protect it if they don't know it and love it. And so you know Ido like the haiku of you know one minute. Um but the idea is just to getpeople to love what's in their own backyards and I have an easy one tofilm. But it's it's also you know, everybody can do this and it's reallygreat judy has this way of making you realize, oh, that's really a coolcritter. I want to know more about that quitter and that's, that's the wholething. It's also on my website. So judy. Thank you for coming. Thank you forhaving me. That was beautiful. I'm great. All right. That was so cool.So now it is time for one of our favorite parts of the show. The writingtip. So cy do you have a writing tip? You can give us tonight. I'm sointerested to hear what you have to say. Well, I mean for me I just need, I needquiet. So I don't look at my email in the morning. I don't answer my phone. Ilet the machine get it. That's awesome. What we should do that. That's a really,really, really good tips. I like that. So um, everybody please stick aroundbecause we have some announcements but we also have one more question and it'sone of our favorites. So patty announcement, yep. First of all we wantto remind you to check out our podcast y'all, they are just getting better andbetter and there's so much fun. I got to interview chris Whitaker today of,we begin at the end and I have been floating around on air. He wasastounding but we will always post links under announcements each time anew one goes out and superstar librarian Ron block is now the captainof our podcast ship because I'm going to keep talking about ships. And thisyour USA today bestseller that you've got to talk about. The shift body. Theship number 38 Look in the entire nation. Yeah, so there you go. So thiscoming friday, june 18th, Ron will be interviewing Stephen Rally PJ vernonand Virginia Wills for Pride week. Last week's episode where Christie and Roninterviewed Viola Shipman and the Lady Elena friedland is up now and of coursedo not forget to join the Friends and fiction official book club hosted byher friends, lisa Harrison and Brenda Gartner. So this coming monday june21st mary Kay will be joining them to discuss her summer bestseller, thenewcomer. Um so that would be a great opportunity to dig in with her. Andnext up in july is mary Alice's best seller this summer of Lost and Foundand she might even give you some insights into the Islanders to So ifyou pick up the Islanders today, that would be a great opportunity to chatabout that. And don't forget what's a book club without snacks, get 20% offyour orders on Mama Geraldine's dot com with the Code Fab five. And speaking ofsnacks, the thing what goes with him, nothing better than wine. So don'tforget your story. Point wine. Sit and stay after show tonight. And next weekright here on our sunday bonus at five p.m. We're talking to the witty, warmand wonderful and Garvin Usa today, bestselling author and founder of TallPoppies. You're not gonna want to miss that sunday episode. Then next week onWednesday at seven p.m. We will be joined by our friend Marie Benedict andspeaking of collaboration, she wrote her newest novel with victoriaChristopher Murphy. It is called the personal librarian. So we can't wait.So good. Mhm. Now, back to our one last question for our guests, one of ourfavorite site. Could you tell us about the values about reading around readingand writing in your childhood? That influenced you to be the author thatyou are today? Well, when I was growing up, there weretwo institutions that no matter where we moved, my folks were military. I always found the library and I alwaysfound the church library. Yeah. Oh my...

...gosh. I I loved uh I loved reading andalways got out books about animals and plants. And often the librarian wouldknow, you know, would see you coming and and and have a suggestion for you.The librarians are my heroes are still. That is the lovely it's amazing howmany authors will say librarians library. Absolutely! All right. So toall of you out there, we encourage you to grab the new book. Just launched theIslanders for your child, your grandchild or yourself and of course,any of size wonderful books to um I think I'm gonna be picking up becominga good creature Uh for my son. No, I think that's gonna be a great winter.Yes. Yes. Well is a little older. So he'll definitely be getting theIslanders and we live on an island. So I know the story about a boydiscovering how special island living is will appeal to him. And do notforget that you can get 10% off all of our books with the code friends. Allcaps. At tonight's highlighted blue bicycle books and your little one willlove the packet of treats he or she will get if you order the Islanders.Well, this has been the most special night. The middle grade book islanderis launched. So here's some story point wine toast for Thank you and sai youget to the world is the hummingbirds gift that just released in May. Allreally, if you're a hummingbird lover and who isn't? This is a must read. Iwant to thank all of you for helping to launch Angela. Thank you so much. Iknow you're sticking around all of you. Thank you so much. So I it was such anhonor. I'm looking forward to talking to you again. I'm sure sure hope ourpaths are gonna cross maybe with some alligators. Actually. My, the nextmiddle grade book, it's interesting. Okay, my next middle grade book isfocusing on alligators and your next book is on turtles, turtles. So we areset. That's uh, thanks. I was so wonderful meeting you. Thank you forhaving me join your group. This is fabulous. We're looking forward to the show.We're putting that out. We want that tv show starring starring SaiPan recoveryAll right, well, Friends, that is our show for tonight but don't leave stickaround for our sip and stay with Story Point after show where we will bechatting laura with debut author Angela May welcome everyone. Welcome to ourfriends and fiction, sip and stay with one point after show. As we mentionedearlier, we are so happy to be partnering with Story Point wines isthe official sponsor of our after show all summer long. It will be the summerof story points here on Friends and fiction. Story point comes in threevarietals chardonnay. You know, that's my favorite, what peanut noir andcabernet, my personal favorite of course is the short name. My husbandloves the cab 19. I like them all have to be honest, as they say at storypoint many great stories and ideas unfold over a shared bottle of wine andwho knows that better than us ladies here at friends and Fictions. That'strue. So keep sticking around for the friends and fiction after So to sit andstay with story points. Well that was a fun show. Let me just say Christie.There was a lot to unpack. You did so well thank you for taking the ship aspatio and say thank you guys. It was absolutely wonderful. And um tonight wewanted to sit and stay with Angela for a little bit and do a really classylightning round about what it's like to be a debut author. So Angela, you wereofficially in the hot seat. Now we all have a question for you. All right,Angela, I'm kicking things off. Can you tell us briefly about when you knew youwanted to be an author? Gosh! Um I guess I would say when I was inelementary school because after devouring tons of books, that wasanybody who knows me now would be shocked to know this. But I wasextremely quiet as a child. I mean like cried if my mom would try to make me goand just, you know, talk to the sales clerk at the store. Um so I was alwaysreading and then you know when you're you guys all did this as kids? Probablywhere we tried to emulate a story that you love. Right? Fifth grade, I workedso hard in my little notebook and wrote this big mystery about a portal in abasement behind the washing machine or...

...something. That's all I remember of it.But I turned it into my fifth grade teacher, mrs Bartowski and asked her tograde it and she was like, I'm not going to grade your story. I'm like, no,please grade it so I can do a good job. I get better. And I still have hernotes. And it was just all of encouragement. So, I guess your mentor.Yes. And so I guess that would probably be the actual time in my life where Iknew I wanted to be a writer. But the funny thing is as a child, I neverthought you could have a career as a writer, which I don't understand why.Because I read books written by female offers. I just never thought of that.Not until many years later in adulthood. Which goes back to what I had said thatlittle quiet. Just, you know, wish that I had shared with my husband. And thatwas it. And then here we are today. Is there anything about the process ofgoing to publication that really surprised you about the writing or the publicationprocess? I knew it was hard by watching maryAlice because I've had the joy of sitting beside her just in thebackground, not helping at all with her books, but just being a friend tolisten and what so I knew how hard it is and how joyful it is and how painfulit can be sometimes, but to actually go through the motions. I mean, then I waslike, okay, I get it now. But it was it was a great experience. You've seenevery avenue of publication from your seat before your group was published.Yes, you're so right. I mean, I really have had like a I feel like a uniqueposition and all of this, y'all for just working with you for over a decadenow, just little by little. And I remember, like, the first time I wentto new york with you for one of your business meetings, I mean I actuallygot to walk inside a Simon and Schuster and I mean Christie I think you shareda story one time about that feeling that standing right there and you'reseeing that gold sign on. Yes, I used to walk down the street, this is notabout me, but I just have to say that because you're so right. I used to walkdown the street and I would look at that gold sign and Rockefeller Centerand I'll be like, one day you can get to go in that building and that's a geta special room. The side with a special room on the port is the 14th floor before 94. Holy. And they have all those authorsfrom over the decades frame remember being like, oh my God, it's treatybloom. She's looking at me on the wall. So do you have any projects you're workingon for the future, my friends. Yeah. Well mary Alex, can we talk about it?Go right ahead. Sure. Friends. I mean as you might notice here's a clue toanybody who gets our book. So the Islanders on the front, but if you lookright there on the sign, your oh awesome are working on a booktoo. Um what's the working title that you've declared right now? Um I likereturn to the island like that and I like it too. And I hear through thegrapevine that Kristen's really good with book titles. Yeah, you just jumpin here. You don't like it that we are outlining and having so much fun justthinking about what we're gonna do next. And You know, sea turtles were the bigspecies in this book and there were lots of other wildlife in book one. Butbook to, you need one species to be prominent. And so we're going to makethe American alligator be prominent. And Mary Alice, I'm really excitedabout that because you know, around here in the low country, all there's alot of fear about, I mean you should see like, and this is no disk toanybody. But there is just this sense of when you see a gator, no matter howbig or small it is, you think, gosh, it could, you know, my dog, my cat for achild. And that is absolutely a reality. But I've had the privilege of learningmore about that species in my previous job as a journalist and needing someonewho is nicknamed the game. Uh, Oh, all right. So what you're saying is...

...just gonna say that. Please tell us.Book three is sexy snakes. Oh my God. Actually I am not afraid of snakes. I mean they're not up close and personalkind of things, but just don't make really about palmetto bugs. No, no, no,no, no, no, no. I'm sorry. Word. There's nothing redeeming about maybeto be gator bait. You always come up with good. I used to, what is thephrase about up to my alligators? Yeah, that's very, that's more of a youngadult title patty. Okay. Remember about rock and roll here. My categories mixedup. Okay, I have a question for you. Angela. We just started doing booktours. How's it going so far? Amazing. Um, but a lot of nerves. Imean I've really been like a bag of jitters every right before every single well I'm so glad. Um, and I think it'sbecause I don't want to disappoint anybody and especially you, because Iknow you've been doing this for so long and I want to make sure that I'mhelping represent our special book in the best light possible. So my darling,there's no way you couldn't, but it's been really great, but every time eachevent, each new thing is done, I'm like okay, that threw that one. Okay girls,we've all done this, so, you know, we're going to litchfield on friday,we're gonna love it, they're gonna love you, she's gonna love it. I'm soexcited. I got to talk to Olivia today for a minute or normal, it's okay, it'sadorable. She's excited we are to, it's gonna be great, well there's a lot ofgreat things going on, we're super proud of you guys. Um here's the owners, Thank you, mary Ellen, thank you for bringing onsize. She was so interesting, so fascinating. She really is amongstenvironmentalists, really like an icon. She's right up there with fosse andincredible when she said yes, I was just tickled and and Nate judy who cameon the show was like gushing. She was like fan girling because this is sideMontgomery and you know, I I I love to write about wildlife, but I haven'tdone you know what I was thinking, You know, it would be really fun is to gether in Delia Owens talking about living in africa together. To me, those twowould have a better conversation of what it was like to deal with the wild,but I was really touched by her. She truly is humble when it comes totalking about working with animals and wanting people to understand, you knowthat they have lives that matter and they have personalities. If we onlytake a moment to get to know them and it's easier to do that with the dolphin.I imagine it's a lot harder to do with the tarantula. Yeah, true. Or kind ofsnakes are mistakes. I will never get the image of Snakes 18. Thanks Nick.I'm really, I'm gonna have nightmares about. I'm gonna see that. Yeah, that'slike Indiana Jones 19. That's the point in those movies when he goes in thatand he goes snakes. That's the point when I go click exactly. You know, HDTVup for a while until the next a there's a real fear of reptiles. And I think itgoes back to the bible to be honest with you or to their fangs. It might betheir fans. It might be a deadly poison. I mean, I'm just throwing out some ideas. Yeah, Idon't know. Maybe it's a poison makes the poison all right, you guys. Thatwas Congratulations patty and Kristen. Congrats again onthe congratulations. Everyone needs theIslanders. Goodnight. Thank you for tuning in, join us everyweek on facebook or Youtube, where our live show airs every Wednesday night atseven p.m. Eastern time and please...

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