Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 month 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 newyork times, bestselling authors endless stories, novelists, mary Kay andrewsKristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey and Patti Callahan Henry are four longtime friends with more than 70 published books between them together.They host friends and fiction with author interviews and fascinatinginsider talk about publishing and writing to highlight and supportindependent bookstores. They discussed the books, they've written the booksthey'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. Hi everybody. It's Wednesday night andthat means it's time for friends and fiction. It's the happiest night of theweek as far as we're concerned for us. Yeah, I'm mary, Kay Andrews and tonightwe are excited to introduce you to Maria Amparo Escandon. I'm KristinHarmel, I'm Kristy Woodson Harvey, I'm Patti Callahan Henry and this is Friends and fiction for newyork times, bestselling authors, endless stories to support indiebookstores Tonight. Our guest is Maria as I said Maria Amparo Escandon, theauthor of L. A. Weather. I can't wait for you to meet the creator of one ofthe most memorable families and set of sisters in recent history. TheAlvarado's as you know, we continue to encourage you to support independentbooksellers when and where you can. And one way to do that is to visit our ownfriends and fiction bookshop dot org page where you can find Maria's booksand books by the four of us and our past guests at a discount of course atbookshop dot org. A portion of each sale through the Friends and fictionshop goes to support independent bookstores and it also helps to supportthis show. So if you enjoy watching this is a great way to support ourguests. Independent bookstores and the Friends and fiction group itself all atthe same time. Three. And if you've been watching, you've heard us talkabout butterball are exciting partner this month, butterball Turkey, We'reespecially excited about this because I mean we can celebrate Christie's underthe butter butter and butter ball. I mean especially excited about this,celebrate The 40th anniversary of the Turkey talk line all month long. Somake sure you join us on our talking Turkey with butter ball after showtonight. We have loads of surprises for you tonight and a couple of games onthe talking Turkey after show. So do not miss it. I also wanted to remindeverybody that we have a fabulous Springboks coming your way. If you'veloved our subscription boxes in the past, you're gonna love this one. Andif you haven't joined us yet with our subscription boxes, it's a really goodtime to start. So my the wedding veil releases on March 29th, you will getthat in your first box and mary Kay's the Home Records releases in May, whichis so exciting. And um it's going to come with a snazzy Friends and fictionnotebook that has um it's really cool little sticky flags inside. So you canmark all your favorite passages of, I'm sure there will be many patty and I canwork that out for you. Can you make that make that happen? We can make thatmagic happen for you. Um, and if you order before tomorrow, december 24th,you will also get a really fun um seasons, readings, ornament in yourvery first box. So, um, that's available from our partner Oxfordexchange and we can't wait to share it with you. You know what better gift foryourself before the holidays, right? To give yourself the gift of two greatbooks coming in the new year, Right? And you know, you're going to get allthose like random, like Visa gift cards. They were like, what am I gonna buywith this? This is what the box, It's way better than the jelly of the monthclub. Can I just say that? I mean every year when Pat asked for us, what do youwant for christmas and he says, I don't know, Pat says I'm going to give youthe 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 wantto introduce our guests, new york times. Bestselling author Maria AmparoEscandon her most recent novel, L. A...

Weather was a Reese's book club pickand was featured on Oprah quarterly as well as best book of the month inBarnes and noble alta people pop sugar bustles, Cnni News, MS magazine, NylonG. M. A. And more none other than Reese Witherspoon said L. A. Weather there is100% chance you'll be paging through this book to uncover the secrets anddeception that could potentially burn everything down. What a what a quote. Ilove that. She should. I hope she had that tattooed somewhere. I wouldPublishers weekly and a starred review said this is by far one of the mostendearing ella novels in recent memory. The new york times book review called L.A. Weather. A capacious book chock full of human drama Escandon narrativevoices often witty and warm. And her meditations on Los Angeles are lush andlyrical, a lively and ambitious family novel. That's another great quote. Sheshould have tattoos, wow, nice. Okay sean please bring Maria on so everybodyelse can have the pleasure of meeting her. Hi Maria, Hello, thank you. I feel so honored tobe among such amazing writers and support not only other writers butindependent bookstores. Your work is so valuable and it's just so great thatyou're part of part of this. Thank you for sharing your night withus. Nice Maria, welcome to friends and fiction where the four of us are sortof sisters from different misters but without the hair pulling mean shoplifting as far as I know, youdefinitely have a wonderful dynamic going there. So, thank you. Yeah, you know, the great thing is youdon'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 thrilledto 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 ismy third novel. My first novel, esperanza's Box of Saints was a motherdaughter story. My second novel, Gonzales and Daughter Trucking Companywas 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 familystory. And so I came up with the Alvarado's not very different from myown 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 disastrousyear for this family, And everything happens within a year. It's 2016january to december, and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose issueswith health with family issues with relationship issues, you know, so it'sthat kind of year that, you know, at the end of the year, you're wishing theyear 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 familydealing with everybody has their own issues and everybody else is in theirfamily. And they have to come together to help one another. Mm hmm. So theseare three incredibly fascinating sisters. So, I am the oldest of threesisters. I've written about three sisters. Um, I have a book called TheFavorite Daughter and also driftwood summer. That's about sisters. We'vetalked to Lian Dolan who wrote the Sweeney Sisters. And I know mary Kayloves the weird sisters book. So Eleanor Brown. So we love talking aboutfamily dynamics and sisters here. And like I said before we came on air, mysister is actually in the other room and I'm not going to let her come andtell stories about me. But these are three really fascinating sisters.Claudia Olivia and Patricia are respectively a professional chef, anarchitect and a social media guru. And...

I know you said you're one of threesisters. But where do you fall in the sister line? And are there parts of youin each of these one? In and how much of your real life did you kind of drawon to write these sisters? Okay, so personally in my life, I am the firstborn then I have two brothers and then 11 years later came my sister Ali who Iadore. She was my, my, my, my my doll. She was my she was, you know, and and we still areso so close together that I really wanted to pay tribute to ourrelationship and we've been through everything. And so I really want to umpoint that out now, as far as who do I identify with in the novel with, whichcharacter I Claudia is the oldest. So the natural thing would be that Iidentify with her. But that is not the truth. I think I identify more withOlivia, the middle system because she's more artistic and you know, she's anarchitect. I love architecture, all the topics that they are, you know, like uhfood, architecture, social media, all of that. I'm a, I'm a fan. And so Ireally, I really tapped into things that I know, not just because I didn'twant 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 becauseI've read it a lot of, a lot of latino themed books and I watch tv series withLatinos and, and movies and um, there is some sort of constant in the waythey'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 myown family there and sort of complicate the general views of water latinofamily. Yes, I love that. That's that's really great. Um I like that you're notin 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 isobviously a fascinating book for so so many reasons. You have just so manyincredible things at play in this story. But I was really fascinated by the lifeand death of the marriages in this book. So no spoilers, but um a marriage thatI was pretty sure it was doomed, survives really well. So was thatplanned? And how did you um did you, did you set out to sort of tackle thisidea of, you know what makes a marriage work and what doesn't or was itsomething that just kind of came to you as you were writing the story? Okay, sopersonally I was the worst. Um I think it was 17 years ago and it took me allthese years to finally dare to 222 approach this topic. You know, it wasvery hard for me and and I, and I knew I needed to learn a lot from theexperience and it got to a point where I said, okay, I think I have learnedenough, I think I have a few lessons to share as far as you know what what thelessons are and you know for instance, you know, you you you hear all the timethat 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 isforever until you die. What's really until you die is divorced. So it's ait's a new relationship with no exit clause and new relationship that youcan't get out of unless you guys or you never thought of that. Yeah. And so youenter, when you divorce, you enter a...

...new relationship where, you know, it'sit's forever. And so you better have a good divorce. Yeah. Have a goodmarriage 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 mykid's dad. And so I learned that in in in time and I was able to to share itin L. A weather, you know. And and the truth is, and I and I put on anepigraph in the novel, you know, there's this epigraph that I want to toread to you because it's by it's by Jack Gilbert and it says I believed'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'snot like you failed. You just the end of your triumph and that's how I wantto, you know that, oh wow, you just touched so many people's lives outthere 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 acompletely deeper understanding of the book that's neat. It's amazing when weget the chance to explore these things that we've worked through in our ownlives and put them in our fiction, isn't it? I mean I think it it deepensour understanding and deepens our ability to be able to share it. Likeyou just did that. That's really cool. Um Maria, I'm interested when we'realways interested on this show and talking about um writing process. Youknow, whether you outline or whether you just sit down and write kind of allthe things that go into it, but I'm particularly interested to ask you thatquestion 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 finishwhat your processes? Um Yes. Yes, well you're right english is my secondlanguage and I learned when I came to the U. S. After college and I've been Ibelieve I'm a you know, perennial student of the english language, Istill you have so much to learn, but writing the books in english havereally have really helped me learn the language. It's it's kind of like a youknow, like an intensive crash course of english every time I every time I writeand uh and I chose to write in english for that reason, because I do want tolearn the language and then I do my own translation into spanish and that's thefun part because everything has been resolved and, you know, I know thestory and so it makes it a lot easier as far as the writing process. Um Iusually start out with the fear, oh, for instance, it's like a seed and I'mgonna plant the seed and it's usually a fear my first novel esperanza's Box ofSaints. I asked myself what was I most afraid of? And it was immediately itcame 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 thechallenge. 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 wasthe fear of killing somebody by accident. Uh being the reason whysomebody loses their life. Um and I don't think I could live with myself uhyou know, after something like that. And so I explore that in my secondnovel, 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 wherethe story begins, It begins with the family that even though they meet forfor dinner every sunday, they're disconnected emotionally. Nobody is anymore interested in what the other one...

...is doing and along the year, and crisisafter 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, Ilove 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 youwrite about them, it helps you work through them? Good question. It doesactually 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 verytherapeutic for me, actually. I really Yeah, and another thing that I that Iwould like to um you know, discuss about the writing process is that I I very much embrace writer's block. Ithink that writer's block is your head's way of telling you you're notready, You're not ready, right? You know, so, go off, go off, you know, runyour errands go to the supermarket, take a sharing your thing, give yourlife and as you as you work through your day doing you know what you docook. You know go to the doctor whatever dr you know think about your characters, thinkabout your plot. Think about possible ways where it could go. That's why Itell my students at U. C. L. A. You know writing is a 24 7 job because ifyou're you know even if you're asleep you're probably dreaming about yourcharacter's true. So writing is not typing. Writing is not typing. So umwhen I hear people say oh no I write you know five hours a day I sit infront of the computer and crank out 10 pages. That's typing. You know writingthe right the actual writing happens when you're along with your head andyou're thinking about your characters and then you come and you download itall on the computer. You know and and and that that's when uh more practicalfunction in your brain comes to be because you're putting everything inthe words. But but you already did a little bit of thinking beforehandthat's that's my process. I love it. We were all working recently and Christiesaid I wonder what people who aren't writers think about it. That's allwe're thinking about right what's next what my protagonist is up to. You knowright I feel like I'm learning so much tonight. Oh my goodness Like this isdefinitely a show. Um this is really amazing. Um Speakingof amazing and this is something that you mentioned that you do when you havewriter's block, but the food in L. A. Weather. Um this is our warning. Ifyou're hungry, you should not tackle this book because of course we haveClaudia 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 andespecially right now is you know, we're in the midst of this holiday seasonwhere you know, food binds us in so many ways. So what are were there anyfood influences or traditions from your own life that entered into the writingof this story? Yes, of course. I think that Kayla, the mother who is afabulous home cook is some sort of the mother I wish I had in terms of cookingbecause my mom was a terrible cook. I never realized that I was a foodieuntil I went on my own and discovered good food and home with my mom. It wasit was painful and I was gonna watch this show and she knows what I mean. Idon't think she'll be offended. She she's very aware and has accepted, youknow, fabulous in many other ways. She's an amazing woman, but she can'tcook and sew. I gave that to Kayla because I just wanted that, you know, Ireally love food. I'm a super foodie. I explore every possible restaurant I canafford. I go um my husband Pedro, he's...

...an amazing cook. I'm not a good cookand I'm really bad but Pedro amazing. And so he's my next husband and he isjust fantastic. So I just, you know my lazy foodie, I enjoy other people'scooking. Nothing wrong with that. I love that. I love that you combinekayla's um jewish ancestry. And so um they're they're having um incrediblemexican dishes but they're also having traditional jewish dishes. Talk aboutthat if you would sure I am in a mixed religion family. Uh Pedro. My myhusband is uh of a jewish family. So right now we have, you know, we justwent through the menorah and we have a christmas tree, you know, why not? Andso I wanted also to talk about the the small community of um mexican jewswhich there, you know, there are quite a few actually a lot of them live inhave 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 mexicanjews What? And yes, there are quite a few, wow, I thought that wasfascinating. Yeah. Um Okay, so Maria, I read that you grew up with telenovelasand 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 Alvaradofamily endures a brain tumor, infidelity, a gender fluid, teenkleptomania, artificial insemination, divorce, sub subterfuge, hiddenbusinesses, Raw sex near drowning rate. Climate change and gender. Oh and fire wire. Was the structure intentional? Or isthat just a natural extension? Did you say to yourself, I am going to do allthis or is it just the Alvarado's just had a really shitty year. That's that'swhat I wanted I wanted. Well, here's the thing, you know, um uh there'speople out there who think that people in L. A. Live like celebrities thateverything is wonderful and rosie and uh and that's not really the case. Uhhere in L. A. There's a lot of heartbreak and sadness and just badthings happening to people just like anywhere else. And um I wanted to be, Iwanted to make a metaphor of the weather in L. A. And life in L. A. Forpeople. So it's not always 72 sunny in L. A. And it's not always 72 sunny inthese people's lives. There's all kinds of issues going on now. I confess I didpile it on this poor family. I really did. And I because I've had years likethat where, you know, divorce disease, all these things happen. And and Ithought, well if it's happened to me it can happen to my characters, but it wasone way of illustrating how, you know, it's not always nice and rosypeople out there. Plus, you know, you want a little bit of conflict. Yes, piled it on this family. But it doeshave that telenovela field, you know, where there's always somebody in thehospital. There's, you know, all these hospital drama and there's relationshipdrama, but there I want to say a little bit about the tone. Yes, there's a lotof 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 gettingdivorced all hell breaks loose. Everybody starts yelling, screaming,doing. And then at the end it's past...

...the chicken, you know, because that'slife. 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 justwould translate so well to screen. I would think, you know what I mean? Likejust even even hearing you talk about them now, I can see them playingthrough my head. And I know you've done some film writing in the past. Arethere 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 Ihave written screenplays and uh, in fact, I've been to Sundance umScreenwriting lab advisor and I had my first book esperanza's Box of Saintswas made into a movie that I wrote the script. And so I it does have, mywriting does have a sort of very cinematic feel just because I'm verysensory a little. I use all my senses and the visual part is very strong. That's awesome. Yeah, I could see thatswimming pool in the opening of the book. I mean thinking about it now, umthat swimming pool kind of give me the heebie jeebies. Yeah, and then thinking about Oscarsitting up in his chair tracking the weather. Uh he was, he was a great foilfor the rest of the family I thought, yeah, yeah, he's a little bit based onmy dad, my dad had had a terrible year as well. His business went under. Mymom got cancer, you know, right after his father died. And then what he didis he just sat on his couch and watched the weather channel all day. He gotreally depressed and I wanted to write about that. I just wanted to get thatout of time. And I remember I was living already in Los Angeles and hewould call me up long distance when it was really expensive and he would callme 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 longtime. You know my father went through that after my mom died. He um he was sodepressed and he would sit and watched the weather channel. What is it withthe channel ceaselessly and um then I'll never forget um after a while Iwould say I would come in and uh the television wouldn't be on and I'd saydad what are you doing? You don't want to watch the weather channel? And he'dsay no I'm thinking about it oh that's exactly how my dad died. He would hewould literally watch at the tv turned off and then eventually turn it on intothe weather channel and then just sort of drift you know. Yeah I wonder what it is. Is it theconstant monotony like moving around the country or I don't know maybe maybeit'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 thinkyou nailed it. Yeah you can tell your kid to take an umbrella and at least bedoing something and you have some control over that at least wow wow whatI thought. Yeah I can remember being with my dad watching when um hurricaneum Katrina hit New Orleans and he was frantic. He kept saying why don't thesepeople get out because of course the news was showing people that were stuckin L. A. In new Orleans and I finally had to say, dad, you don't have any anycomprehension about how many people don't have a car to go, Don't haveanyplace to go, don't um when there's no electricity, you can'tget money out of an A. T. M. Machine. And all he could think about was therewas something wrong with them because they weren't fleeing this storm of thecentury. And he had no comprehension that were people that did not have thewherewithal to flee. Yeah, a little deeper than I meant toknow that conversation that we need for...

...our pre christmas show. I mean, I'mjust saying it's awesome. Well we, you know, writers were all pretendpsychoanalysts, so we like, no, no things like I love it. Yeah. Andknowing how much of your family, I won't say you put in there, butinspired pieces of this novel. I would love to know how different was yourfirst draft from your last draft. How much did it change from the firstinception to the ends? Um It didn't change much because I usedI actually used a color coded calendar. Like in the book, I had this big wallwith the big calendar month by month and every character had a differentsharpie, different color. And I literally drafted out their entire arc,their entire story on the calendar. And then I character like character like ina loom, you know, like I was weaving and interconnected everybody and so itwas easy to, you know, I never do outlines. Um but this was kind of anoutline because, you know, with some weird outlines, I'd say. Um did thecharacter have a calendar or we're all three characters, all the characters onthe calendar altogether altogether and they were quoted. So I could see at aglance very visually, oh, you know, I haven't talked about Oscar in half themonth. You know, he needs to come back, something needs to move forward, youknow, the story and so that's how I am, how I was. So, I really liked thecalendar. So I inserted it into the story. I liked, I liked how when itlooked like the family was maybe finally getting back on track, theyfind the calendar again and they, and they start posting and I don't want togive too much away. But um, there's a post about a doctor's appointment, thekind of makes your heart seize up. Yes, it is. Well, that's that, that kind ofhappened to me. So, and it was actually, it was exactly on the same day that Iput it in the novel, and that's when I went to the doctor and in, in earlyjanuary, I found out, so there's a lot of stuff, a lot of personal, can wetalk about, what can we talk about it? That what that can we talk about thatincident because patty had a similar um experience. Well, I was um I had had aknee 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 badhealth here. And so in december, my husband Pedro and I said, well let'shave 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 nextyear is gonna be the year of health. Yes, Okay, come come january, I get amammogram and all right, there's a lot, there's a lump. Right? So seven yearslater 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 upagain very gay. Oh my God, you know how I amwith alliteration? Love it. Okay, Maria, we could talk on and on and on. Thereis there are so many bones to pick in this novel. We could pick it clean. Butum, one of our favorite parts of the show is where we get to ask our writingguests for a writing, our guests for a writing tip and honestly, I think youcould 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. Noone else. Well the ones I gave you which is basically embrace writer'sblock because it's your body telling you your mind telling you you're notready. Go out and live your life and come back when you're ready and don'tworry, you know? So I think that is the writing tip of the week. I love thatone. You know Julia Cameron talks a lot about that. Um you know, filling backup the well and going on writers dates, which means going out by yourself to doone of your favorite things and filling back up that well. So I really lovethat. That's awesome. Well one of my favorite things is eavesdrop atrestaurants. Um Yeah, you got some good ideas as a writer. My favorite is likea super awkward like blind date or first date or like, you know people whomet 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 weresitting at the bar at a restaurant and eavesdropped on what was clearly afirst um Tinder or match dot com date and I was dying, dying. Was that, was that what did I text youall that? Yeah, the guy was telling his his dateabout 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 youhave a book recommendation you want to share with us tonight? Something you'rereading and loving. Well yes, I am actually almost done reading. Lucky byMarissa. 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 perfectfor for this holiday. You know you want to if you want to just you know cuddleand 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 aboutit. Okay, so we're gonna be right back with with Maria but in the meantime wehave some of those we have some business to conduct as usual. It's me here reminding youabout our podcast, our writer's block podcast. We will always put the postthe links under the announcements each time a new one goes out which is as Isaid, every single friday, A new episode launched this past week whereRon talked with kim Richie and Gretchen Peters part dieu. Which for those ofyou who don't know french is part two uh songwriting and that's likeliterally the only french word I know which is the part two of songwriting asstorytelling and I am obsessed with these two podcasts because kim Richieand Gretchen Peters are these award winning songwriters and hearing themtalk about songwriting is such a mirror to how we talk about writing ourstories except different. It's fabulous. And then this friday Ron celebrates theholidays. My past. Yeah. And you know, I am always reminding you about theBook Club, the Friends and Fiction official Book Club, which of course isrun by our friends, lisa Harrison and Brenda Gardner. They're always doingsuch great stuff over there too. I know mary Kaye was over and I think thefirst week of the month to talk about the santas to Christie was there just acouple of days ago to talk about christmas and Peachtree Bluff. They'vegot a great lineup coming for the first few months of the new year. Um It'sjust exciting stuff. And they are 10,000 strong now, which is absolutelyamazing. It's a great group, a warm, lovely group. And we hope that you'lljoin if you haven't already. It's it's a great way to read along. Yeah. Andmake sure that you don't forget to join us for our next episode of Friends andFiction. Next Wednesday, right here at seven, we're gonna welcome Sarah Mcleanwho writes these very steamy romance novels, which I love Then on Januaryfive will host Sally Hepworth and Kelly Rimmer. And if you're ever wonderingabout our schedule and who we're going to have on. It's always on the friendsand fiction website. Mm And I'm here again to remind you about our friendsand fiction merchandise. In addition to our Springboks that I told you aboutthe top of the show, you can still get...

...our holiday bundle from our friends atOxford 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 optionto add Kristen's the Forest Vanishing Stars. And we also have a reallyspecial sale going on right now. So if you want to get any of our friends infiction merch, including our beautiful new reading journals, which we're goingto be using for our reading challenge this year, you can use the code f fhappy holidays and Um, get 20% off your purchase. Okay, Maria, we're back to you. Onequestion we, what we always love to ask, What were the values around reading andwriting when you were growing up growing up at home. Okay. So my mom is an Abbot breeder andwhen I was in second grade, um, she, I made it, I lied to her and the costcaused the babysitter to get fired. It was my fault. Oh yes, yeah. I told mymom she teach me, but it really was the immunization Bruce. Anyway, my grandmagave 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 believingyou, then it's a lie and it hurts. But if you want to entertain people, whichI think is what you wanna do then then it's a story and then you need to readit here. And so I spent all of second grade writing my stories and I have tobe held back because I didn't learn anything. I literally have been writingever since and uh my mom was very supportive. In fact when, when I wasnine years old, santa claus brought me a typewriter. So you know what, whatkid gets a typewriter when they're nine. So, so it's always been a veryencouraging 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 muchfor spending time with us tonight and introducing us to those gorgeousmemorable 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 abig, big hug. Thank you. Thanks for being here withus. Okay now everybody make sure that you stay with us for our talking turkeywith butter ball after show. Don't forget you can find back episodes onYoutube. We're live there every week. Just like we are on here on facebookand if you subscribe, you won't miss a thing. Plus you'll have access on umyoutube 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 abutter ball because she's not here yourself. Exactly. Maybe her sistercame in and like you didn't call me out from my, like, I just hear that likethat just happened. Gonna call you patty party used to be party, partyPatti now. You're potty patty patty patty. I can't get away with anythingaround here. Nothing, nothing. Okay. We're going to talk Turkey. We're nottalking patties, potty, potty, potty party. Yes, she was, she was, I feellike I got like a master class. Well how much of her family, she worked intothat. Like sometimes I don't know about, y'all, but I get really nervous aboutreal life things in and she really, I'm just waiting for it. Yeah. I thoughtthe same, it's a, it's a brave thing to do. I think, I think it takes someextra digging deep and um, you know, some, some willingness to be able to take what comes with that sort of, youknow 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 astory, a story that deeply involved sisters. Um, because it was too closefor me. Yeah. Do y'all ever have things that you think like, well I can't writethat 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 ofstories. 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 shouldergoing, yeah, wow, that's amazing. That was myhang up writing sex scenes from my very first book because I thought mygrandparents will read this, my my grandparents will read it and they'llknow 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 hergrandmother 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 beable 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. Howintuitive of her grandmother too. That's incredible. Yeah, yeah. What afamily. No wonder she writes about them. Yeah. Um I was thinking about when shetalked about her babysitter about this really great story that will can't hear me. So I'm gonna tellmy husband will not, my son will, but I guess it was the lone ranger, it seemslike he would be too young for that, but I feel like he was the lone rangerand the lone ranger and one night he had a babysitter and he was dressed uplike head to toe lone ranger like outfit with the boots and the handcuffsor whatever and um his mom and dad came home from wherever they were and theyhad those, you know, there's like double doors that will like separatelike the front of the house from the back of the house or whatever likeinside, but he had handcuffed, like put his handcuffs around the double doorknobs and like he was on one side of the house locked her and the other, Ibet 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 havea son because karma is really going to come back. Well ladies, I need to goget something to eat but it just quickly is everyone excited forchristmas in just a few days. Yes, I hope I can, I hope I can finish, I justhave a tiny bit more to do and I don't know if the elf, if the elf would justcome 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 muchfaster. It's a good point Maria was giving us writing tips, butI'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 haveto 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 itsturkey talk line, which started as just a phone line. But now they have awebsite and a facebook page. They're on instagram and Tiktok. So if you haveany last minute questions as you're preparing that holiday meal, give him acall 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. Youcan join us every week on Facebook or YouTube where our live show airs onWednesday nights at seven PM eastern time. Also subscribe to our podcast andfollow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here. Mm hmm.

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