Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 11 months ago

Friends & Fiction with Maria Amparo Escandon

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Friends & Fiction welcomes New York Times bestselling bilingual novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and film producer, María Amparo Escandón. María is the author of #1 L.A. Times bestseller ESPERANZA’S BOX OF SAINTS and GONZÁLEZ & DAUGHTER TRUCKING CO. She joins us to discuss her third novel, L.A. WEATHER, which was selected as a Reese’s Book Club pick and a Best Book of the Month by Barnes & Noble, People, PopSugar, Bustle, CNN, E! News, and GMA. Named a writer to watch by both Newsweek and the L.A. Times, María was born in Mexico City and has lived in Los Angeles for four decades.

Welcome to Friends and fiction four new york times, bestselling authors endless stories, novelists, mary Kay andrews Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey and Patti Callahan Henry are four long time friends with more than 70 published books between them together. They host friends and fiction with author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing to highlight and support independent bookstores. They discussed 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. Hi everybody. It's Wednesday night and that means it's time for friends and fiction. It's the happiest night of the week as far as we're concerned for us. Yeah, I'm mary, Kay Andrews and tonight we are excited to introduce you to Maria Amparo Escandon. I'm Kristin Harmel, I'm Kristy Woodson Harvey, I'm Patti Callahan Henry and this is Friends and fiction for new york times, bestselling authors, endless stories to support indie bookstores Tonight. Our guest is Maria as I said Maria Amparo Escandon, the author of L. A. Weather. I can't wait for you to meet the creator of one of the most memorable families and set of sisters in recent history. The Alvarado's as you know, we continue to encourage you to support independent booksellers when and where you can. And one way to do that is to visit our own friends and fiction bookshop dot org page where you can find Maria's books and books by the four of us and our past guests at a discount of course at bookshop dot org. A portion of each sale through the Friends and fiction shop goes to support independent bookstores and it also helps to support this show. So if you enjoy watching this is a great way to support our guests. Independent bookstores and the Friends and fiction group itself all at the same time. Three. And if you've been watching, you've heard us talk about butterball are exciting partner this month, butterball Turkey, We're especially excited about this because I mean we can celebrate Christie's under the butter butter and butter ball. I mean especially excited about this, celebrate The 40th anniversary of the Turkey talk line all month long. So make sure you join us on our talking Turkey with butter ball after show tonight. We have loads of surprises for you tonight and a couple of games on the talking Turkey after show. So do not miss it. I also wanted to remind everybody that we have a fabulous Springboks coming your way. If you've loved our subscription boxes in the past, you're gonna love this one. And if you haven't joined us yet with our subscription boxes, it's a really good time to start. So my the wedding veil releases on March 29th, you will get that in your first box and mary Kay's the Home Records releases in May, which is so exciting. And um it's going to come with a snazzy Friends and fiction notebook that has um it's really cool little sticky flags inside. So you can mark all your favorite passages of, I'm sure there will be many patty and I can work that out for you. Can you make that make that happen? We can make that magic happen for you. Um, and if you order before tomorrow, december 24th, you will also get a really fun um seasons, readings, ornament in your very first box. So, um, that's available from our partner Oxford exchange and we can't wait to share it with you. You know what better gift for yourself before the holidays, right? To give yourself the gift of two great books coming in the new year, Right? And you know, you're going to get all those like random, like Visa gift cards. They were like, what am I gonna buy with this? This is what the box, It's way better than the jelly of the month club. Can I just say that? I mean every year when Pat asked for us, what do you want for christmas and he says, I don't know, Pat says I'm going to give you the jelly of the Month club and it's just a joke that never ever gets old. Never gets old. Okay enough enough jollity. I like the word jollity, There's never come on. There's never alright enough jollity because I want to introduce our guests, new york times. Bestselling author Maria Amparo Escandon her most recent novel, L. A...

Weather was a Reese's book club pick and was featured on Oprah quarterly as well as best book of the month in Barnes and noble alta people pop sugar bustles, Cnni News, MS magazine, Nylon G. M. A. And more none other than Reese Witherspoon said L. A. Weather there is 100% chance you'll be paging through this book to uncover the secrets and deception that could potentially burn everything down. What a what a quote. I love that. She should. I hope she had that tattooed somewhere. I would Publishers weekly and a starred review said this is by far one of the most endearing ella novels in recent memory. The new york times book review called L. A. Weather. A capacious book chock full of human drama Escandon narrative voices often witty and warm. And her meditations on Los Angeles are lush and lyrical, a lively and ambitious family novel. That's another great quote. She should have tattoos, wow, nice. Okay sean please bring Maria on so everybody else can have the pleasure of meeting her. Hi Maria, Hello, thank you. I feel so honored to be among such amazing writers and support not only other writers but independent bookstores. Your work is so valuable and it's just so great that you're part of part of this. Thank you for sharing your night with us. Nice Maria, welcome to friends and fiction where the four of us are sort of sisters from different misters but without the hair pulling mean shoplifting as far as I know, you definitely have a wonderful dynamic going there. So, thank you. Yeah, you know, the great thing is you don't you don't get to pick your family, but you do get to pick your friends. And so that's kind of what friends addiction is about. We are so thrilled to have you with us. Would you tell our viewers all about L. A. Weather, all about it? What do we have? Well, this is this is my third novel. My first novel, esperanza's Box of Saints was a mother daughter story. My second novel, Gonzales and Daughter Trucking Company was a father daughter daughter's story. So, for any whether I wanted to sort of, you know, double the challenge and and make it an ensemble, make it a family story. And so I came up with the Alvarado's not very different from my own family. I have to say it wasn't much of a stretch, a lot of, you know, if if you if you read the novel, you will notice that it is a disastrous year for this family, And everything happens within a year. It's 2016 january to december, and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose issues with health with family issues with relationship issues, you know, so it's that kind of year that, you know, at the end of the year, you're wishing the year away and you're saying good riddance, and and so years like that, so, so that's that's sort of in a nutshell, the story, it's it's a family dealing with everybody has their own issues and everybody else is in their family. And they have to come together to help one another. Mm hmm. So these are three incredibly fascinating sisters. So, I am the oldest of three sisters. I've written about three sisters. Um, I have a book called The Favorite Daughter and also driftwood summer. That's about sisters. We've talked to Lian Dolan who wrote the Sweeney Sisters. And I know mary Kay loves the weird sisters book. So Eleanor Brown. So we love talking about family dynamics and sisters here. And like I said before we came on air, my sister is actually in the other room and I'm not going to let her come and tell stories about me. But these are three really fascinating sisters. Claudia Olivia and Patricia are respectively a professional chef, an architect and a social media guru. And...

I know you said you're one of three sisters. But where do you fall in the sister line? And are there parts of you in each of these one? In and how much of your real life did you kind of draw on to write these sisters? Okay, so personally in my life, I am the first born then I have two brothers and then 11 years later came my sister Ali who I adore. She was my, my, my, my my doll. She was my she was, you know, and and we still are so so close together that I really wanted to pay tribute to our relationship and we've been through everything. And so I really want to um point that out now, as far as who do I identify with in the novel with, which character I Claudia is the oldest. So the natural thing would be that I identify with her. But that is not the truth. I think I identify more with Olivia, the middle system because she's more artistic and you know, she's an architect. I love architecture, all the topics that they are, you know, like uh food, architecture, social media, all of that. I'm a, I'm a fan. And so I really, I really tapped into things that I know, not just because I didn't want to do much research, it's part of it, but I didn't don't in other things, you know, but sort of, I wanted to sort of see myself in this family because I've read it a lot of, a lot of latino themed books and I watch tv series with Latinos and, and movies and um, there is some sort of constant in the way they're portrayed, which doesn't really represent who I am and who my family is. Um, you know, we were, you know, we're not in the cartels were not, you know, so I wanted to, I wanted to reflect a little bit of see a little bit of my own family there and sort of complicate the general views of water latino family. Yes, I love that. That's that's really great. Um I like that you're not in the cartels. That's that would be really interesting episode though Maria, I mean you know you gotta have, would you make some things up just so this is obviously a fascinating book for so so many reasons. You have just so many incredible things at play in this story. But I was really fascinated by the life and death of the marriages in this book. So no spoilers, but um a marriage that I was pretty sure it was doomed, survives really well. So was that planned? And how did you um did you, did you set out to sort of tackle this idea of, you know what makes a marriage work and what doesn't or was it something that just kind of came to you as you were writing the story? Okay, so personally I was the worst. Um I think it was 17 years ago and it took me all these years to finally dare to 222 approach this topic. You know, it was very hard for me and and I, and I knew I needed to learn a lot from the experience and it got to a point where I said, okay, I think I have learned enough, I think I have a few lessons to share as far as you know what what the lessons are and you know for instance, you know, you you you hear all the time that you know, marriages until death do you part. But that's far from the truth. Because we've seen many people split up. And so it's not that marriage is forever until you die. What's really until you die is divorced. So it's a it's a new relationship with no exit clause and new relationship that you can't get out of unless you guys or you never thought of that. Yeah. And so you enter, when you divorce, you enter a...

...new relationship where, you know, it's it's forever. And so you better have a good divorce. Yeah. Have a good marriage at least have a good divorce. You know, So I am very well divorced. And it took me a while, but I learned that I will always be divorced from my kid's dad. And so I learned that in in in time and I was able to to share it in L. A weather, you know. And and the truth is, and I and I put on an epigraph in the novel, you know, there's this epigraph that I want to to read to you because it's by it's by Jack Gilbert and it says I believe d'cruz was not failing as he fell. But just coming to the end of his triumph. Mm hmm, wow. I think that when you've had a family, you've raised the family, you've had a business, your kids have grown and then you're divorced. It's not like you failed. You just the end of your triumph and that's how I want to, you know that, oh wow, you just touched so many people's lives out there right now. I mean yeah, what an incredible, incredible piece of insight. Um That's really beautiful and really well said and now I feel like I have a completely deeper understanding of the book that's neat. It's amazing when we get the chance to explore these things that we've worked through in our own lives and put them in our fiction, isn't it? I mean I think it it deepens our understanding and deepens our ability to be able to share it. Like you just did that. That's really cool. Um Maria, I'm interested when we're always interested on this show and talking about um writing process. You know, whether you outline or whether you just sit down and write kind of all the things that go into it, but I'm particularly interested to ask you that question because I've also read that you write in both english and spanish. Can you talk a little bit about how you develop a novel from start to finish what your processes? Um Yes. Yes, well you're right english is my second language and I learned when I came to the U. S. After college and I've been I believe I'm a you know, perennial student of the english language, I still you have so much to learn, but writing the books in english have really have really helped me learn the language. It's it's kind of like a you know, like an intensive crash course of english every time I every time I write and uh and I chose to write in english for that reason, because I do want to learn the language and then I do my own translation into spanish and that's the fun part because everything has been resolved and, you know, I know the story and so it makes it a lot easier as far as the writing process. Um I usually start out with the fear, oh, for instance, it's like a seed and I'm gonna plant the seed and it's usually a fear my first novel esperanza's Box of Saints. I asked myself what was I most afraid of? And it was immediately it came clear that it was losing my daughter, mm hmm. And uh and I said, well, I'm going to write about that and what would I do if I lost my daughter? And and so that's gonna be the journey of this character and to double the challenge. I'm gonna write it in english and to trickle the challenge, I'm gonna make it a comedy. And so that's what it was second novel. It was the fear of killing somebody by accident. Uh being the reason why somebody loses their life. Um and I don't think I could live with myself uh you know, after something like that. And so I explore that in my second novel, and uh and L. A. Weather, it was the fear of uh just losing your people, losing your family, you know, being disconnected. Um And so this is where the story begins, It begins with the family that even though they meet for for dinner every sunday, they're disconnected emotionally. Nobody is any more interested in what the other one...

...is doing and along the year, and crisis after crisis, they will have to learn. And of course, I go to the extreme and, you know, you gotta have a little bit of extreme things happening. Yes, I love starting with I love through my brain, like a book, what is the fear? Do? That's what an interesting way to think of it. Do you think when you write about them, it helps you work through them? Good question. It does actually not that not that I'm not afraid anymore of losing my daughter or, you know, but I what I know now that I can put it in perspective and it's very therapeutic for me, actually. I really Yeah, and another thing that I that I would like to um you know, discuss about the writing process is that I I very much embrace writer's block. I think that writer's block is your head's way of telling you you're not ready, You're not ready, right? You know, so, go off, go off, you know, run your errands go to the supermarket, take a sharing your thing, give your life and as you as you work through your day doing you know what you do cook. You know go to the doctor whatever dr you know think about your characters, think about your plot. Think about possible ways where it could go. That's why I tell my students at U. C. L. A. You know writing is a 24 7 job because if you're you know even if you're asleep you're probably dreaming about your character's true. So writing is not typing. Writing is not typing. So um when I hear people say oh no I write you know five hours a day I sit in front of the computer and crank out 10 pages. That's typing. You know writing the right the actual writing happens when you're along with your head and you're thinking about your characters and then you come and you download it all on the computer. You know and and and that that's when uh more practical function in your brain comes to be because you're putting everything in the words. But but you already did a little bit of thinking beforehand that's that's my process. I love it. We were all working recently and Christie said I wonder what people who aren't writers think about it. That's all we're thinking about right what's next what my protagonist is up to. You know right I feel like I'm learning so much tonight. Oh my goodness Like this is definitely a show. Um this is really amazing. Um Speaking of amazing and this is something that you mentioned that you do when you have writer's block, but the food in L. A. Weather. Um this is our warning. If you're hungry, you should not tackle this book because of course we have Claudia who's a professional chef, but her mother is also a fabulous home cook. And so you know, we know food is such an essential part of our lives and especially right now is you know, we're in the midst of this holiday season where you know, food binds us in so many ways. So what are were there any food influences or traditions from your own life that entered into the writing of this story? Yes, of course. I think that Kayla, the mother who is a fabulous home cook is some sort of the mother I wish I had in terms of cooking because my mom was a terrible cook. I never realized that I was a foodie until I went on my own and discovered good food and home with my mom. It was it was painful and I was gonna watch this show and she knows what I mean. I don't think she'll be offended. She she's very aware and has accepted, you know, fabulous in many other ways. She's an amazing woman, but she can't cook and sew. I gave that to Kayla because I just wanted that, you know, I really love food. I'm a super foodie. I explore every possible restaurant I can afford. I go um my husband Pedro, he's...

...an amazing cook. I'm not a good cook and I'm really bad but Pedro amazing. And so he's my next husband and he is just fantastic. So I just, you know my lazy foodie, I enjoy other people's cooking. Nothing wrong with that. I love that. I love that you combine kayla's um jewish ancestry. And so um they're they're having um incredible mexican dishes but they're also having traditional jewish dishes. Talk about that if you would sure I am in a mixed religion family. Uh Pedro. My my husband is uh of a jewish family. So right now we have, you know, we just went through the menorah and we have a christmas tree, you know, why not? And so I wanted also to talk about the the small community of um mexican jews which there, you know, there are quite a few actually a lot of them live in have moved to san Diego. But there is a community in Mexico that is never in, you know in any books, you know a lot of people ask. So is there a mexican jews What? And yes, there are quite a few, wow, I thought that was fascinating. Yeah. Um Okay, so Maria, I read that you grew up with telenovelas and reading L. A. Weather. It struck me then this is a very literary telenovela. I mean one goodreads reviewer noted that in L. A. Weather. The Alvarado family endures a brain tumor, infidelity, a gender fluid, teen kleptomania, artificial insemination, divorce, sub subterfuge, hidden businesses, Raw sex near drowning rate. Climate change and gender. Oh and fire wire. Was the structure intentional? Or is that just a natural extension? Did you say to yourself, I am going to do all this or is it just the Alvarado's just had a really shitty year. That's that's what I wanted I wanted. Well, here's the thing, you know, um uh there's people out there who think that people in L. A. Live like celebrities that everything is wonderful and rosie and uh and that's not really the case. Uh here in L. A. There's a lot of heartbreak and sadness and just bad things happening to people just like anywhere else. And um I wanted to be, I wanted to make a metaphor of the weather in L. A. And life in L. A. For people. So it's not always 72 sunny in L. A. And it's not always 72 sunny in these people's lives. There's all kinds of issues going on now. I confess I did pile it on this poor family. I really did. And I because I've had years like that where, you know, divorce disease, all these things happen. And and I thought, well if it's happened to me it can happen to my characters, but it was one way of illustrating how, you know, it's not always nice and rosy people out there. Plus, you know, you want a little bit of conflict. Yes, piled it on this family. But it does have that telenovela field, you know, where there's always somebody in the hospital. There's, you know, all these hospital drama and there's relationship drama, but there I want to say a little bit about the tone. Yes, there's a lot of drama, but it's a kind of drama that has a little bit of humor. You know, it's like, you know, you're announcing at the dinner table, I'm getting divorced all hell breaks loose. Everybody starts yelling, screaming, doing. And then at the end it's past...

...the chicken, you know, because that's life. Right? I mean, everything becomes a little bit funny at some point. Yes. For the most part, these scenes are also ones that you can see, they just would translate so well to screen. I would think, you know what I mean? Like just even even hearing you talk about them now, I can see them playing through my head. And I know you've done some film writing in the past. Are there plans to bring L A weather to the big screen? Yes, I'm working on it. Tell us. Tell us. Well, not much I can say right now, but, but it's definitely, um, it's definitely in the plants and hopefully I can write myself because I have written screenplays and uh, in fact, I've been to Sundance um Screenwriting lab advisor and I had my first book esperanza's Box of Saints was made into a movie that I wrote the script. And so I it does have, my writing does have a sort of very cinematic feel just because I'm very sensory a little. I use all my senses and the visual part is very strong. That's awesome. Yeah, I could see that swimming pool in the opening of the book. I mean thinking about it now, um that swimming pool kind of give me the heebie jeebies. Yeah, and then thinking about Oscar sitting up in his chair tracking the weather. Uh he was, he was a great foil for the rest of the family I thought, yeah, yeah, he's a little bit based on my dad, my dad had had a terrible year as well. His business went under. My mom got cancer, you know, right after his father died. And then what he did is he just sat on his couch and watched the weather channel all day. He got really depressed and I wanted to write about that. I just wanted to get that out of time. And I remember I was living already in Los Angeles and he would call me up long distance when it was really expensive and he would call me up and say take your umbrella, it's gonna rain. Um he was in Mexico city, so it was, it was really cute and it was definitely my weatherman for a long time. You know my father went through that after my mom died. He um he was so depressed and he would sit and watched the weather channel. What is it with the channel ceaselessly and um then I'll never forget um after a while I would say I would come in and uh the television wouldn't be on and I'd say dad what are you doing? You don't want to watch the weather channel? And he'd say no I'm thinking about it oh that's exactly how my dad died. He would he would literally watch at the tv turned off and then eventually turn it on into the weather channel and then just sort of drift you know. Yeah I wonder what it is. Is it the constant monotony like moving around the country or I don't know maybe maybe it's that sense that you have some control because you know what's coming. Yeah you can bring your kid you know Christine I think you're right I think you nailed it. Yeah you can tell your kid to take an umbrella and at least be doing something and you have some control over that at least wow wow what I thought. Yeah I can remember being with my dad watching when um hurricane um Katrina hit New Orleans and he was frantic. He kept saying why don't these people get out because of course the news was showing people that were stuck in L. A. In new Orleans and I finally had to say, dad, you don't have any any comprehension about how many people don't have a car to go, Don't have anyplace to go, don't um when there's no electricity, you can't get money out of an A. T. M. Machine. And all he could think about was there was something wrong with them because they weren't fleeing this storm of the century. And he had no comprehension that were people that did not have the wherewithal to flee. Yeah, a little deeper than I meant to know that conversation that we need for...

...our pre christmas show. I mean, I'm just saying it's awesome. Well we, you know, writers were all pretend psychoanalysts, so we like, no, no things like I love it. Yeah. And knowing how much of your family, I won't say you put in there, but inspired pieces of this novel. I would love to know how different was your first draft from your last draft. How much did it change from the first inception to the ends? Um It didn't change much because I used I actually used a color coded calendar. Like in the book, I had this big wall with the big calendar month by month and every character had a different sharpie, different color. And I literally drafted out their entire arc, their entire story on the calendar. And then I character like character like in a loom, you know, like I was weaving and interconnected everybody and so it was easy to, you know, I never do outlines. Um but this was kind of an outline because, you know, with some weird outlines, I'd say. Um did the character have a calendar or we're all three characters, all the characters on the calendar altogether altogether and they were quoted. So I could see at a glance very visually, oh, you know, I haven't talked about Oscar in half the month. You know, he needs to come back, something needs to move forward, you know, the story and so that's how I am, how I was. So, I really liked the calendar. So I inserted it into the story. I liked, I liked how when it looked like the family was maybe finally getting back on track, they find the calendar again and they, and they start posting and I don't want to give too much away. But um, there's a post about a doctor's appointment, the kind of makes your heart seize up. Yes, it is. Well, that's that, that kind of happened to me. So, and it was actually, it was exactly on the same day that I put it in the novel, and that's when I went to the doctor and in, in early january, I found out, so there's a lot of stuff, a lot of personal, can we talk about, what can we talk about it? That what that can we talk about that incident because patty had a similar um experience. Well, I was um I had had a knee replacement and I had had um, that year I had had several medical issues. I almost lost an eye. It was had to have emergency surgery. So it was a bad health here. And so in december, my husband Pedro and I said, well let's have a nice trip and you know, get that gear behind us, get this year behind. So we went to Rome and we toasted over New Year's over over christmas next year is gonna be the year of health. Yes, Okay, come come january, I get a mammogram and all right, there's a lot, there's a lump. Right? So seven years later I'm here and mine was seven years ago too. Oh yeah, look at us. Yeah, we're breast cancer sisters. I love it. I knew the sister theme would come up again very gay. Oh my God, you know how I am with alliteration? Love it. Okay, Maria, we could talk on and on and on. There is there are so many bones to pick in this novel. We could pick it clean. But um, one of our favorite parts of the show is where we get to ask our writing guests for a writing, our guests for a writing tip and honestly, I think you could just write out, you could just do an info dump and tell us everything. Just one your most your juiciest, most...

...valuable writing tip just for us. No one else. Well the ones I gave you which is basically embrace writer's block because it's your body telling you your mind telling you you're not ready. Go out and live your life and come back when you're ready and don't worry, you know? So I think that is the writing tip of the week. I love that one. You know Julia Cameron talks a lot about that. Um you know, filling back up the well and going on writers dates, which means going out by yourself to do one of your favorite things and filling back up that well. So I really love that. That's awesome. Well one of my favorite things is eavesdrop at restaurants. Um Yeah, you got some good ideas as a writer. My favorite is like a super awkward like blind date or first date or like, you know people who met online but like clearly misrepresented themselves. It's so good. Yeah. Tom and I were on vacation in um Cape Cod this summer and we were sitting at the bar at a restaurant and eavesdropped on what was clearly a first um Tinder or match dot com date and I was dying, dying. Was that, was that what did I text you all that? Yeah, the guy was telling his his date about his parents were still married. It was, it was just delightful. Okay, so Maria, hang on because we, if you will, we're gonna ask you oh do you have a book recommendation you want to share with us tonight? Something you're reading and loving. Well yes, I am actually almost done reading. Lucky by Marissa. She is a december peak for the Reese's Book Club and it is hilarious, hilarious. I've been saying a lot about it and you know it's it's it's perfect for for this holiday. You know you want to if you want to just you know cuddle and read a book where you are gonna laugh out loud. Just read read Lucky. It's a great book. Okay. Yeah, I've been hearing a lot of good things about it. Okay, so we're gonna be right back with with Maria but in the meantime we have some of those we have some business to conduct as usual. It's me here reminding you about our podcast, our writer's block podcast. We will always put the post the links under the announcements each time a new one goes out which is as I said, every single friday, A new episode launched this past week where Ron talked with kim Richie and Gretchen Peters part dieu. Which for those of you who don't know french is part two uh songwriting and that's like literally the only french word I know which is the part two of songwriting as storytelling and I am obsessed with these two podcasts because kim Richie and Gretchen Peters are these award winning songwriters and hearing them talk about songwriting is such a mirror to how we talk about writing our stories except different. It's fabulous. And then this friday Ron celebrates the holidays. My past. Yeah. And you know, I am always reminding you about the Book Club, the Friends and Fiction official Book Club, which of course is run by our friends, lisa Harrison and Brenda Gardner. They're always doing such great stuff over there too. I know mary Kaye was over and I think the first week of the month to talk about the santas to Christie was there just a couple of days ago to talk about christmas and Peachtree Bluff. They've got a great lineup coming for the first few months of the new year. Um It's just exciting stuff. And they are 10,000 strong now, which is absolutely amazing. It's a great group, a warm, lovely group. And we hope that you'll join if you haven't already. It's it's a great way to read along. Yeah. And make sure that you don't forget to join us for our next episode of Friends and Fiction. Next Wednesday, right here at seven, we're gonna welcome Sarah Mclean who writes these very steamy romance novels, which I love Then on January five will host Sally Hepworth and Kelly Rimmer. And if you're ever wondering about our schedule and who we're going to have on. It's always on the friends and fiction website. Mm And I'm here again to remind you about our friends and fiction merchandise. In addition to our Springboks that I told you about the top of the show, you can still get...

...our holiday bundle from our friends at Oxford exchange and includes um my christmas and Peachtree blocks mary. Kay's the santa suit um patty's once upon a wardrobe and you have the option to add Kristen's the Forest Vanishing Stars. And we also have a really special sale going on right now. So if you want to get any of our friends in fiction merch, including our beautiful new reading journals, which we're going to be using for our reading challenge this year, you can use the code f f happy holidays and Um, get 20% off your purchase. Okay, Maria, we're back to you. One question we, what we always love to ask, What were the values around reading and writing when you were growing up growing up at home. Okay. So my mom is an Abbot breeder and when I was in second grade, um, she, I made it, I lied to her and the cost caused the babysitter to get fired. It was my fault. Oh yes, yeah. I told my mom she teach me, but it really was the immunization Bruce. Anyway, my grandma gave me a notebook and said, look, um lives and stories are the same thing. The only difference is when you're trying to treat people into believing you, then it's a lie and it hurts. But if you want to entertain people, which I think is what you wanna do then then it's a story and then you need to read it here. And so I spent all of second grade writing my stories and I have to be held back because I didn't learn anything. I literally have been writing ever since and uh my mom was very supportive. In fact when, when I was nine years old, santa claus brought me a typewriter. So you know what, what kid gets a typewriter when they're nine. So, so it's always been a very encouraging environment for for me growing up. That's an incredible story. You can tell, you can tell that those lessons stuck Maria, thank you so much for spending time with us tonight and introducing us to those gorgeous memorable Alvarado's thanks so much and happy holidays. We love meeting you. Thanks Maria Maria to you all. Happy holidays I send you each one of you a big, big hug. Thank you. Thanks for being here with us. Okay now everybody make sure that you stay with us for our talking turkey with butter ball after show. Don't forget you can find back episodes on Youtube. We're live there every week. Just like we are on here on facebook and if you subscribe, you won't miss a thing. Plus you'll have access on um youtube to special short clips and be sure to come back next week. Same time. Same place as we welcome Sarah Mclean and we're back, We're back. Three, we want to take a potty break. She's a butter ball because she's not here yourself. Exactly. Maybe her sister came in and like you didn't call me out from my, like, I just hear that like that just happened. Gonna call you patty party used to be party, party Patti now. You're potty patty patty patty. I can't get away with anything around here. Nothing, nothing. Okay. We're going to talk Turkey. We're not talking patties, potty, potty, potty party. Yes, she was, she was, I feel like I got like a master class. Well how much of her family, she worked into that. Like sometimes I don't know about, y'all, but I get really nervous about real life things in and she really, I'm just waiting for it. Yeah. I thought the same, it's a, it's a brave thing to do. I think, I think it takes some extra digging deep and um, you know, some, some willingness to be able to take what comes with that sort of, you know what I mean? I think that's incredible. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever. Dad. I don't want you talking...

...about my weather channel days, you know? Exactly, yeah. Yeah. I remember I waited a long time before I wrote a story, a story that deeply involved sisters. Um, because it was too close for me. Yeah. Do y'all ever have things that you think like, well I can't write that till so and so is gone. But that's going to be a good story one day. Yeah, I mean, yeah, I grew up as a preacher's kid. There are, there is a cache of stories. Yeah, I couldn't write a sex scene until my dad was dead. Really? Yeah, because I could hear, I could, I could see him reading over my shoulder going, yeah, wow, that's amazing. That was my hang up writing sex scenes from my very first book because I thought my grandparents will read this, my my grandparents will read it and they'll know that I know what that is. You know my Yeah, yep, that's really funny, wow. Well she didn't have any hang ups about that. It was amazing. She was great. Yeah, I love her philosophy on writers. Yeah, I like that too. How about her grandmother handing her a notebook and saying, if you want to make up a story, write it down. Like that's so wise. I mean, most grandparents, you know, you're grounded for your, I mean whatever, but wow, to like really be able to kind of diagnose that, you know, and what the real thing was, I was actually looking at her and said, I know you're trying to entertain. So here's a better way to do it. How intuitive of her grandmother too. That's incredible. Yeah, yeah. What a family. No wonder she writes about them. Yeah. Um I was thinking about when she talked about her babysitter about this really great story that will can't hear me. So I'm gonna tell my husband will not, my son will, but I guess it was the lone ranger, it seems like he would be too young for that, but I feel like he was the lone ranger and the lone ranger and one night he had a babysitter and he was dressed up like head to toe lone ranger like outfit with the boots and the handcuffs or whatever and um his mom and dad came home from wherever they were and they had those, you know, there's like double doors that will like separate like the front of the house from the back of the house or whatever like inside, but he had handcuffed, like put his handcuffs around the double door knobs and like he was on one side of the house locked her and the other, I bet she did not come back if Yeah, but also he was like four, so I'm like, it's pretty inventive. My mom used to be like you are in trouble if you have a son because karma is really going to come back. Well ladies, I need to go get something to eat but it just quickly is everyone excited for christmas in just a few days. Yes, I hope I can, I hope I can finish, I just have a tiny bit more to do and I don't know if the elf, if the elf would just come wrap it for me, Wouldn't that be nice, How do we make that happen? Exactly? So I've discovered that if you binge watch something rapping goes much faster. It's a good point Maria was giving us writing tips, but I'm just, that is my truth bomb. I'm gonna drop on you all the night patty patty patty is wrapping tips you for one night. I got to go. I have to do, I love you. All of you have to talk about. Oh yes. So before you leave, just a reminder, the butter ball is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its turkey talk line, which started as just a phone line. But now they have a website and a facebook page. They're on instagram and Tiktok. So if you have any last minute questions as you're preparing that holiday meal, give him a call or an email or check them out on Tiktok. So, um, yeah, thanks so much. Everybody, merry christmas, merry christmas. Thank you for tuning in. You can join us every week on Facebook or YouTube where our live show airs on Wednesday nights at seven PM eastern time. Also subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here. Mm hmm.

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