Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 3 months ago

Friends & Fiction with Tamron Hall

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this episode, the Fab Four host broadcast journalist and Emmy Award-winning talk show host turned novelist, Tamron Hall to discuss her debut novel, the first in a thrilling new series, AS THE WICKED WATCH, recently released in paperback. The crew discusses why Tamron chose to venture into fiction, the challenges of tackling a difficult and timely subject like crime against communities of color, how her journalism work and own tragic life experiences inspired her fiction, and how she juggles it all. This episode is filled with intimate and revealing talk and, as always, a few laughs. It will leave you feeling both inspired and excited to meet Tamron's heroine Jordan Manning.

Welcome to friends and fiction for New York Times bestselling authors endless stories. Novelists Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey and Patty Callahan Henry are four longtime friends with more than seventy 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. Hello, everybody. It is a Wednesday night and that means we are right here with you for friends and fiction. We have an amazing evening ahead of us, so let's get started. I'm Kristin Harmel, I'm Kristy Woodson Harvey, I'm Patty Callahan Henry and I'm Mary Kay Andrews, and this is friends and fiction for New York Times bestselling authors endless stories, to support indie bookstores, authors and Librarians. Tonight we'll be talking with Tamarin Hall who, in addition to being the author of the debut novel as the Wicked Watch is also, of course, the Emmy Award winning host and executive producer of the popular nationally syndicated talk show, Tamaron Hall. We're actually especially happy to be talking to Tamaron tonight because, as drummer will please, patty her debut novel so we could watch, is our brand new fable behind the book club pick for this month, starting today. Yeah, we're so excited. I'm going to be leading the discussion over on our fable APP, which means I'll be popping in several times a week to ask questions, read your answers and reply to you. We love the idea that once a month we get to pick a book we feature on the show and then read it alongside you, and the APP gives you the freedom to read it's your own pace and then weigh in chapter by chapter when you're ready. So we hope that tonight you'll be so intrigued by what Tammern says that you'll rush out to pick up a copy of your of her book, which is out in paperback now. It just came out in paperback a few weeks ago, and that you will then come on over to fable dot co to hang out with me. But it gets even better. We have had so many of you ask us, text us, D M us, what is fable, how does it work and why do you need to download an APP to read along with us? Well, we've shared that feedback with fable and they want to offer all of you are friends and fiction crew a fourteen day free trial so that you can see what the fun is all about. So now, right now, head over to the APP store, download a fable APP and, if you haven't already create your account, search for friends and fiction and the apple automatically offer you a fourteen day free trial of our premium club. If you don't like reading along with us or interacting with us as we're kind of means sometimes, no worries, you can cancel before the trial is up. I can't imagine, but at least you can see what fable is all about without any risk. And if you do like it, it's only four nine a month after the first fourteen days. And don't forget, as you know, we continue to encourage you to support independent booksellers when and where you can, and one way to do that just to visit our own friends and fiction bookshop dot org page. Where you can find Tamarin's book and books by the four of us and our past guest at a discount. And of course you all know that we've been enjoying doing and ask us anything segment at the top of the show each week. But tonight Tameron...

...can only be with us for the first half of the show, so we're going to do an extended ask us anything segment on the show's second half. So if you have a question for the four of us, feel free to drop it in the comments now, because we'll be taking a live question or two from you in just a little while. All right, ladies, let's get to our guest for the evening. Tamarin Hall is an accomplished an award winning journalist who hosts and executive produces the nationally syndicated daytime talk show Tameron Hall. So we're not nervous with an MM award winning daytime basically it's basically just like us. That's just just just yeah, we're kind of the same same. So Tamaron was also a part of the NBC News Team as a Co host on the third hour of NBC's Today Show and the anchor of MSNBC live with Tamarin Hall. She has hosted it's several special reports for MSNBC AND NBC News, and she served as a correspondent for the NBC News Special and the inauguration of Barack Obama, which won an emmy for outstanding live coverage. In October of Tamon received an Edgar R Murrow award in for her segment on domestic violence as part of today's shine a light series. She also brought her signature reporting style to the guns on Campus Tamaron Hall Investigates Special which explored the importance of securing one's personal safety on public property. Taman is a native of Lulling, Texas, and she graduated from Temple University with a degree in broadcast journalism. She also received Temple University's prestigious Lu Klein Alumni and the media award in two thousand ten and again in two thousand fifteen. Sean. We're so excited to talk to her. Can You bring Tameron on please? Hi, so good to see you. Welcome. It's good to be seen, but I have to tell you you gave me this beautiful introduction and Um, because we are friends, clearly with the title true friends, don't tell your secrets. And so, for those of you watching, right before we came on, I confessed to trying to teach my three year old to finally accept macaroni and cheese. And if you see macaroni Um on me, it's because I lost the battle. I ran down to hang out with you. So that's a true sign of friendship that you hide all of this is this beautiful introduction and in real life I've got craft macaroni or whatever you actually perfect to that there's nothing. Yeah, there's nothing like macaroni cleange. Make you feel like Winn indll. Go for the MAC clevange. That's all. We're gonna do. That Hashtag just you right. I love it all right, Tambren Hall, mcarony and Cheese Warrior, first, can you tell us a bit about what as the wicked watch is about? And then, and this is one of our favorite questions lately, can you tell us what the book is really about? Well, the book follows a journalist, Jordan Manning, inspired in some ways by my thirty years of reporting. Um and I grew up reading Nancy drew right, and so as a kid in Texas I'd have my book series underneath the bed with all the dust and as I got through the little copies of the collection that my mom and dad had given me. That's always been a part of UH. I guess my personality something what of a Nancy drew type of which I don't even know if I'm articulated with these New York Times. Best that I'm darning. My words are not coming out. They come out better in my hands when I write them, and so, growing up...

...watching Nancy, they're reading Nancy drew, and also being a journalist for thirty years and being stuck in this very spot in many, many many days in the lockdown in New York, I decided Um to bring to life this character that, unknownst to me, was really trying to break free, and being here in the pandemic gave me this opportunity, a Whenan was fifty years old, to step out of my comfort zone. Um, for decades my comfort zone has been obviously what I do for a living on television, but I stepped out of my comfort zone to create this character, Jordan Manning, and the book is about what is the balance between being a reporter and also being tempted to investigate and uncover the rights the wrongs that we witness being a reporter for thirty years or many things I never talked about publicly. And while you hold this Um position of reporting, you are still a human being and it is impossible to walk away from the scene of a child being killed, a tragic accident that in someone's life, and seeing the parents and the family members gather and wondering and asking why, and to walk back into your home and suddenly erase that. It's impossible. So we see through Jordan's lends, no pun intended of reporting. What is it really like for a reporter when the story compels you, pulls you in, to do more than stand in front of the camera and tell the facts? I love that. That's amazing. That's amazing. Um I can imagine that would be a really difficult balance, and I mean, who better to write the story than you, Um. But as the wicked watches, of course, a fast paced crime novel, but it's also a statement on society, specifically the way that often when people of color go missing, their cases don't receive the same kind of media attention. So, in fact, I would really love to read a quick comment to you from our amazing book club leader, Lisa Harrison, who calls herself a forever member of the Tam Fam. Lisa says, as a woman of color originally from Chicago, I felt like we had so much in common. I want to thank Tamaron for shining a light on the differences and how criminal cases are handled by the media, police, et Cetera, depending on race, gender, sexual orientation and other characteristics of the victims and the African American community and communities of people of Color. We hear about these horrific crimes and when you turn on the news there's nothing reported. Tamaron, we love Lisa, we are we are forever member of Um the Lisa. We are waited because she's such a show at our group here. But the way this unfolds in your book is absolutely heartbreaking and it really hits home. So can you talk a little bit about this issue? And obviously so. It's so important to shed light on that. Can you just expound upon that a little? Of course I can. You know so so honestly, the storyline follows the disappearance of a young African American girl and whether or not there's a serial killer on the loose in Chicago. The story, though, was inspired by the disappearance and ultimately the deaths of two girls. One happened to be a black girl in Chicago, the other a young white girl of the same age in Texas. I was a reporter in Texas and one of the last assignments I had was this disappearance of a young girl and her brother and it's affected me in a way that, honestly, I never recognize and never dealt with until...

...writing this novel. Yeah, I remember receiving her kindergarten picture when she disappeared. And you've watched the news and we've all seen disappearances and you know there's a photo that they use. And Have you seen this child? And one of the things I'll tell you just a little bit, one beat back from that. I was the first reporter on the scene when amber the amber alert witnessing. I saw her bike, I saw her bike where it laid, where she was last standing. I arrived there with the cameraman that I was with covering this story wench later and we, like so many people, held out hope that she would be found alive, because her brother, who was missing with her, was found Um but he at the time informed authorities of an individual who was connected to the family and actually had been dating the mother. While I was in the car on this bridge waiting to hear if she had been ound or not and holding out hope and thinking about this picture, and I've met her the parents of her friends and their play groups and all these things and gone by her school. We got word that she'd been found and I thought, oh, she's been found, and then the next beat she's not alive. The camera person I was working with at the time said I walked out of the car and he said it was as if I had gone into a trance. I don't even remember it, but what I now know at that time was that I knew her. You can't walk with her picture and talk with her friends and and not know this child. Fast forward the same year. I'm in Chicago. A child goes missing and she is black and I know her. I have her picture, I'm reporting, I'm saying her name, I'm talking about her. But the case unfolded into very a different way and I saw in real time good people make bad decisions on which mattered more and which should be the headline. And I saw this theme throughout my career and we've all seen it right we've all seen it, and it's not just race, it's socio economic John Bennet Ramsey, how many times we hear her mansion that the parents lived in and these beautiful pictures of her and the pageants which we don't cost a lot of money, and the emphasis put on that, and thus the value of that story became even more important. And so this story unfolds with Jordan's now on the scene of a disappearance in Chicago. Um investigating the story and wondering why her colleagues, Friends of hers, in the Newsroom, good journalists, aren't conveying the urgency of the moment, don't care or don't seem to care. So that's the or any of the story. I just completed the second in this series and I'll since we're friends, I can share that. Um Jordan is now in this second book. Um once you read and you'll follow her career, because that's a reporter. You don't pick your story right you go in, you learn your assignment that day. And now Jordan is investigating the disappearance of a woman who happens to be white, who happens to be a mom. It's very different from Jordan. Jordan as you will see, a single, she's dating, she's wondering how can you love work and love a guy, and she's got all kinds of juice things happening in a personal life. I'm not saying if that was inspired by my life. I have a ring on saying it wasn't always there. Wasn't always a ring so and it's juggling and all of these things in her life. But now, in this second book, is part of the series, she's investigating the disappearance of a mom who's very different from her and will she be compelled to follow the leads and do more, as she has been compelled in this first case? So we just a glimpse of...

...not black and white as much as it is what happens when the journalist goes home, what happens in the mind, what happens when you want to do more? And that's what we see here with this story and again the journey of a woman at a certain age. She's in her thirty she's in her career, she loves her job, but she goes home alone and she wakes up with red wine on the side of the bed. Not that that's a bad thing. I might do that side, but you know, with the red wine glass on the side of the bed, and you wonder what's it all about? What does it all mean? Tamaron, you gave me talking about those stories and about those children. It gave me head to toe, yeah, bumps, because for you to be involved in that and lived through that as what is supposed to be a detached journalist and then not thinking about some of that until you write fiction, it's almost like you were digging into it when you were able to make get fictional is standing and I think when people first heard you wrote a book, the expectation was that it would be a memoir or a book about current events, but instead you just wrote a really compelling novel. So I want you to talk to us, if you will, a little bit about why you type took this slightly more unaccepted route, especially when you probably had some dirt to spill. N I said no, listen, I said, you know, my memoir involved some of the living, so I might wait. Um, but Um, you know, I I've always I don't consider myself a rebel, despite my multiple tattoos, but Um, I've always tried to follow my path of authenticity and do what I want. And of course people approached about a memoir after leaving the today show. In the way it's all played out and being that subsequently happened, Harvey Weinstein was the first person to approach about the national talk show. You know, what was it like to be in a room with a Harvey Weinstein? I could write the book on that, you know, Um, but I felt, you know, and it was beauty books. There were all kinds of books that have come into play and discussion and those books will come at the time. But for me this was so much about stepping out of my comfort zone at this very uncertain time and all of our lives. We're all wondering about our health, our families, our jobs, all of this this mysterious illness of plaguing the world and we're inside and I felt like, well, if this is it, I kind of want to do what I want to do even more. And then I said that and started to write this book and then I started to think about my life as a forty eight year old first time mom Um. The People magazine headlines Said Miracle Baby. I just thought I was having a babe. I didn't know a miracle. I named the moment you have it, Um, but a lot of things in my life came later and it came after stepping out of my comfort zone. And so for me, as I keep saying, you know now being and I can't even believe I'm a few weeks from my fifty second birthday, according to Wikipedia. Um, that right. I didn't know what you have friends Guen who know? So we could get this guy no fiction, that fiction out there. Friends game. Oh my God, I like a friends of no fiction age. I said I'm gonna do this. You know, I I don't know all the beats. I won't pretend that I am studied in fiction or how to write a crime novel, but I went to what I do know, and I know what Jordan's felt like being at a vigil Um the night that a child has gone missing or child has been found at...

I've been there. So I could use my personal experience as a journalist, as a reporter, as a family member who lost my sister and a murder that's gone on solved. I can use those real feelings and also bring in what I've witnessed. Right or we are witness of life or participants. Sometimes we're both, and I've witnessed other women in the business and witnessed, Um, the struggle to get to the network level and what that entails and the sacrifices of family and friends and all those things while loving your job. So I brought in what I was a participant of, but also what I witnessed, and constructing the storyline inspired by real things, but with Jordan's to your point, I had an opportunity to do things I couldn't have ever done. She was, she is much more aggressive and bold and she speaks up for herself, while I like to believe at this point in my career I'm more confident and I can speak up for myself and take the heated I just sold told to one today in a conversation. I will no longer apologize for leading my show right and so that took me fifty two years to say that. Listen, took me two years. I need to write it about my arm to remind myself, but I'm no longer apologizing for being a leader in the workplace. But when I was twenty seven, I laughed at jokes that weren't funny at my expense. I shrunk myself down. Um, I allowed things to be said to me that would make someone's flesh crawl and I was not accepting of it, but I didn't know what to do. Jordan's knows what to say. That's the pleasure of the joy of fiction. I can rewrite history through her lens and give her power that I had, but as Dorothy Gail was, as I didn't know, I was there all along, and so she did do that. You're stronger self, like you gave your stronger self to Dan's and I gave it. That's exactly right. So we see that. Yeah, yeah, at at a critical time when all of us felt weak and helpless, right, none of us. We turned on the news and we didn't know. So I think that the timing of the birth of as the wicked watch and the birth of Jordan and what I hope is a continuation of her um could not have happened, I believe, if we were not in that time. So that's why now and that's why this type of book. Yeah, absolutely great answer. You know, Tamer, and you just mentioned your own sister's tragedy and we know that she was murdered in two thousand and four and it's still never been solved and we're sorry. We're so sorry about that. So much of your career has been about shining light on tragic loss, from your deadline crime series to your talk show now Um. It seems to me that you're not afraid to go to those dark places in your journalism, but you have the ability need to do that with compassion and empathy, and I think that's one of the things that makes us book so deeply affecting too. Could you talk to us a little bout about it, if you don't mind, about how the loss of your sis, sister, help shape the past eighteen years of your life and your career? It's thank you for Um, first of all, thoughtfully asking and understanding how it is. It is a you know, my answer is a living, breathing thing. Some days I can get through an answer, some days I can and I can tell you that my decision to talk about my sister publicly and her death was one that was Um made for me by circumstances I was in. The quick story of it is I was just starting out at the today's show and oftentimes they will come to you and say, Hey, this organization needs a host, and you know you foster goodwill in the community by hosting advance and there was an organization in New York and UH. They teach children...

...and young people how to date properly, what's the right way to date, and dating safely and understanding that if someone says they don't want to call you back, you just can't keep calling them all times of the night, and these things that kids can acceptancee and culture and believe it's okay. And and I was at this event and there were a number of young women, Um, and what I mean by youngest fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, telling horrific stories of dating abuse, Um, brutal stories, and I felt as the hope that there I am, you know, I'm being Tamarin Hall, I've got my blazer on and I'm standing there and listening to their stories, one after the other, and realizing that I was robbing them because in this sense, I'm listening to their stories but I am not telling my truth. We in the South have this saying fair exchange, no robbery, and what we mean by that is if you sit down with somebody and you're saying, my husband is terrible and he did this, and are just listening and they're not telling you what's going on in their life. It's not a fair exchange. Somebody's being robbed here, and so I was listening to them but I was not fairly exchanging my truth and at that moment I got up to the MIC and I said my sister was murdered. We don't know what happened, but I do know one night in my home I kicked her out because she wouldn't kick him out. At the time I thought I was inspiring her and giving her tough love to shut it down in it. Why don't you leave things we know now? You never say I didn't know at the time and it cost US precious time together. I thank God that we mended that break, but soon after she died and in this story I was able to give life to some of those feelings of pain and the absence of a loved one and what that means with this case. My sister's story didn't become a national conversation until I became a national news figure, but with this case, with Pamela and the disappearance of macy, her daughter, it's instantly national. So you're trying to deal with your loved one being judged and my sister had struggles in her past and part of the reason I did not want to talk about what happened to her because I didn't want people to say, Oh hey, wait a minute, didn't she have a substance abuse issue at one time? Didn't she have this and make that her story. And we see that in the novel where suddenly someone becomes missing. It's Oh, she was a prostitute. For where was she, or what was she doing, or what is she that? What was she wearing? All of those things, and so that's where that was inspired. Um truly wasn't the initial and early days of me discussing my sister, my worry and fear that her worst day would define her and people would look for reasons of why this happened to her versus. It should never happened to any so we put that Um in the story with my editors and it was, you know, I had it was like a little therapy session, honestly, because it was inspired by the judgment I feared my sister would encounter the minute I spoke what happened to her. That's so powerful and that way, you know, that was something I felt so much in the pages of this book too. I just I think you spoke to that issue so well that that idea of the instinct for victim shaming right like that. The yeah, I um. It was just beautifully done and I think there's something amazing when you're able to harness things you felt and things you've gone through and things you've experienced and put them into a debut novel like this. I mean I think it feels so much more um personal and even here,...

...and you talk about it now, is just enriching my experience with the novel I'm just doing. That's because I I recognize, as I said, this is not my world. I can write a news story, I can read a new story, but this is out of my lane, this is not my my wheelhouse. So the mechanic more, that's right. Well, you know you're writing and you're thinking, James Orson would never do that. You know you're going to be people have done it way better and so I thought, okay, I know there has their rules to this and there are things that I should know and their beats and there are things that you study in any craft to become better at it, as I've done in my journalism career. But I was able to get to throw caution at the wind, because it's what's gonna Happen. We're all locked inside. Who's gonna judge me? Right? So I thought, let me just pool from again the witness in all of our lives and the participant in all our eys, and we play the role in both. And so I pull those into the story. I read it now and I can tell the days that my son was hanging out in my room and I should take that kid out sooner, and the pages where I was comfortably outside with a cup of coffee and just getting in my zone. And and so the second book in this series is far more refined and and the textures and the riches. But I'm also, and none of us are, under the weight of believing that the world was in which, again, again, I stressed up, was the space I was in with the book. So it was liberating to have that fear in some ways. But now that the waters have calmed Um in the world in that respect, because we obviously know many other things are going on, from Ukraine into anything else. But in that respect the waters have calm where we can leave out of our homes and socialize with our friends. It gave me a different beat a different texture to her story, which is why in the second book she does travel and she's out, because now my mind, I'm not locked in, and so I guess that also tapped into something. So Jordan travels out of her lane. Well, you know, and I want to ask you about that writing during the pandemic, but first I do have to say take it from the four of us. We've written between us more than seventy books and we all think you were one of us, like you did a I mean is, you were just you might feel like it was not a seamless process or it didn't come across seamlessly, but we do not feel that way. It was very well executed and very well written and we're so how do you join? Yeah, one, your editor, is a friend of all of ours. Car, yeah, we love carry very much. Harry was outstanding and in the support system around me, Um, was was phenomenal. And again, as I say, part of the book was an accomplishment, as it's sitting right here. Um, but it's a reminder and my message overall, Um, to anyone listening, especially women, stepping out of our comfort zones and taking on new things. From the small I'm getting ready to change my hair color for the first time ever in TV. We go back to my show. September six we start new season four of the show. I've never changed my hair color and I'm changing my hair color and I'll probably change it back the next day. But it's just another reminder of stepping out of our comfort zones creatively. Um Big things in our lives and small things in our lives, and that's what this book represents to me as well. It's the story of Georgane Manning, but it's the story of Tamren, a woman of a certain age. Thing, I'm going to step out of this comfort zone. Well, let me ask you quickly about that, because when you wrote this book, You had to be the furthest from Your Comfort Zone you'd ever been. You your son was still a baby, I mean a small baby. You had a relatively new talk show when the pandemic began in early and yet somehow you managed to keep the going, and thriving in fact,...

...from the basement of your house right well, while parenting a child who was not even a year old yet. And Somehow, in the midst of that, you brewed a book. That's because you're only as good as the company you think right. This is why I love what you're doing, Um and, and having the whole concept in the intention of this being about friends. You're only as good as the company you keep, and I'm thankful I keep great company and my husband, who's awesome, and I have great company and a phenomenal team that pulls together that show. So it allowed for me to do this. So I mean, which is again I was so honored to be invited to just fate denied, because the friends you keep matter and those friends allow you to grow, they inspire you, they they pull you into being your better self when sometimes you don't even want to be your better self, and also bring you into spaces of light, and this was a space of light for me and it was only born because of the company that I keep in that my husband was helping in the team, helping to keep the show grounded and going. I love that. All right. Well, Tameron, we would love to pull a couple of live questions for you. Maybe one or two live questions. A lot of people getting in, a lot of people are super engaged in asking things. Um, Kathy or Mary Kay, would you like to pull a question? Yeah, here's a good one from Gen deal. How do you compartmentalize what you see in the news so it doesn't affect you personally the way it does Jordan's in this story? And you know, I think that's a good one. That's a great question. Thank you for asking it. I you know, when I did deadline crime, which was on for six seasons, I had this Um process where I would go to a restaurant and I have like a steak and I just would read whine like like give me a gobbler later. I was just Um. It felt like I had to fill this this this um overwhelming sadness with something. So I have to admit I would overindulge in these big meals and I've just and Um, I. I. I knew that that wasn't healthy behavior, but I didn't know how to deal with it. I go to therapy, like I hope most people, if you're able to Um, whether it's on zoom or in person, and I was processing a lot of in therapy, but Jordan's really that's probably the strongest glimpse of my life, which is her trying to process this. I didn't find a path for and I still struggle with it. I can tell you I ended that show after I got pregnant with Moses. I remember being in the Audio booth and I was recording something and it was like I got a script that I don't even want to think about. It was horrifying and I thought, can my baby hear this? You know, they tell you to listen to baby Einstein and I'm reading a murder story, you know, and I'm like, I gotta get out of here, this is not good. So that bright that I had allowed me to process some of it. But I don't know, I'm a crier. Um, very naturally, to the Chagrin of my team and my makeup artists too, the eyelash just go fallen off. I my mother did say, you know, she was happy that I had Moses for many reasons, but she said, you know, he gave you something else to focus on, and so I think that he's helped a lot, which is not fair to him to have that burden of helping mom Gil to go over and cry. But Um, he's helped a lot and I think it is something that I struggle with and and what in the next chapter of my life. I've talked to my husband about perhaps wanting to uh, breaking news. Um Start a curriculum it temple, you know Arsity, which is I'm on the...

...board of trustees, or some of the university, on a PTSD that journalists Um deal with. I Um, I had, you know, when I was studying to be a journalist. There were law and ethics, there was this, all these classes on how to be a reporter. But I believe that there's a version of a PTSD, and I don't use this lightly. My father was in the army for thirty years, so I've been in a military home my entire life. But Um, I can tell you that some form of PTSD that when you were interest from a body, firefighters and police officers, they are trained for that right. They go to a specific training there's no training for a reporter to deal with that. You know. I got into the report, you know, and then suddenly your steps away from things that no human being can just walk away and, by the way, nor should you. I don't want to be the reporter who can walk away from that and Think, Oh, you know, I I wanted to stick with me and that comes, Um, you know, with with complexities. But I'd like to explore in my next chapter of my life at some point a curriculum that helps the next generation of reporters recognize that it's real, how to deal with it and how to maybe even incorporated. One of the most liberating things for me as a reporter was one of the first times I cried in the middle of an interviews, interviewing the father lost his daughter to suicide and he looked at me and his eyes said help and I felt it and I couldn't do the reporter thing we understand. I leaned in and I touched him. I broke the wall and I felt so liberated and free, and that's some of again, what I tried to put into Jordan's and as she evolved. I hope to be able to present that, because reporters don't talk about it a lot. That's so true. So you're being so um transparent and honest and vulnerable with us. It's really touching. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much, Tameran. We love to have a writing tip on this show. It's one of the things we always Um, we always love to ask before we let our guests go. Would you mind sharing a writing tip with our viewers? Oh Wow, well, okay, the first tip that comes to mind. Don't do long nails. It's hard to type. Clone Kardashian kid isn't no, no, I cannot go into it. Doesn't work technique. Um, I think the tip for me was certainly using modern technology. As your friend, a lot of the things, uh, I would pick up my phone, which is never too far away from except for now, and I would talk to my phone and I map about the story in my phone and using, Um, this gadget in the middle of the night. Help me now. It's not great for your marriage when the phone is in the middle of bit. But I you know, they say it's the witching hour. I found my my witching hour as far as creativity, and so I think for me, because it's not my world and it's out of the zone of which I operate. For writers, don't restrict yourself by rules, right, and you can apply that to anything in life, but don't find yourself following the template. We could hear um any of your stories and you can map it out and we follow exactly the steps you took and we would not end up in the same space. We're could be inspired by other writers, especially those as successful as a four of you are. That said, the rules will break you, they won't make you. So for me, young writers, new writers, Um, one of the things that you have to find is your and I don't like saying witching hour, but it really is. It's where you feel the most creative time of...

...the day, the routine, where you feel what you have inside of you. It's flowing. I know writer's block and that is so real and all of those challenges and life gets in it. But find your zone of creativity and it doesn't have to be with anyone else expects. It can be. Listen, potty training the kids. Some people multitasks well and I did that. I was like doing things with my son and sudden I'm like and the chaos and I thrive. I happened to thrive in chaos, um. But I think that's the advice. It's not I know that's not beautifully said and it's all over the place, but I think what I'm trying to articulate is don't don't restrict yourself by the rules of how it's supposed to play out. Yeah, that is excellent advice. And Tamarin, I just cannot tell you what a pleasure it's been speaking with you tonight. I wish we could have you for another hour. I mean, I know you have to go and deal with Ma Grani and cheese time. My husband is traveling and I'm like, Hey, dude, I'm my friend yactly. What are the odds? But truly an honor and it is um it's not lost on me whenever we have these kind of conversations, but especially with a steam writers and respected writers as the four of you are, and how thoughtful as women you've been in this space to support other women, and I'm so grateful and I appreciate you so much. Oh my God, so much, Tambra timber, but kind words. Thank you. It was so nice to see you and we wish you the best with this book and we're so excited for the next one. I can't wait to see your new hair color. Camera. I listen if I just got off the phone with I just looked once I started talking again. Stop, you know, by the lighting person from our talk show just called a hair person and like the lighting is going to be off. What color is this? That's behind the scenes. We'll have to put that in joy in the whole wardrobe battle. That happens even in the world journalism. So I'm excited to see my son's reaction. I'm sure you've seen the tiktok videos where the dad shave their beards the kids are like, who are you? I'm curious how my son will react. So thank you. We can read to say thank you so much, Chammeron. Thanks a lot. Oh my gosh, she's so much fun. I loved her. She was so wrong introspective and so honest and it was just such a pleasure chatting with her. Yeah, I feel like she I know she had to go, but we could have talked to her for another hour. I know we'll definitely have to have her back when the next book comes out. I feel like I feel like there's so much else we have to talk about with her. Um. But speaking of talk about things, as we mentioned earlier in the show, we thought we would do a bit of an extended ask us anything segment tonight. We'll do that maybe for the next I don't know, eight or ten minutes. You guys always are sending us such great questions, Um, and we never seem to have enough time to get to them. So maybe well, we'll do a little bit of that tonight. Yeah, so each week we've been giving you a chance to ask us anything, and if you have a question you'd like for the four of us to answer or a topic you'd like to discuss, we're all ears, so feel free to drop a question in the comment now, or, it's really helpful for us, we can grab them for future weeks. So we want to hear from you and I can't wait to answer some of your questions now. Okay, I'm gonna get this ball rolling. Already. The first one tonight and I am super curious to hear your answer comes from our friend Debbie Cooperman stone, and she asks, is there an experience you can describe? They gave you that I've made it feeling very okay. That's the best question. I know. Well,...

I was standing in line at a state sale today with no makeup, I know, big shop right, no makeup on my hair, you know, looked like a big pile of fuzz and the woman in front of me looked at me and said, I feel like I know you from somewhere, and I just said, Oh, you know, I have one of those faces, and I do. I have one of those faces. I look like everyone's cousin or their childhood best friend. And No, do you? I feel like it's more than that. Do you just live in my subdivision? And I said no, I know, and she was finally, she goes, are you Mary Kay Andrew I wanted to say no, Mary Kay Andrews is not wearing a dirty t shirt and no makeup. So then you had that. I have made it feeling. I love to give you a more glamorous I had. You know, it's interesting because there are some days that something will happen like like I'll be on the front page of a newspaper in Israel and I'm like, oh my gosh, like whose life of my living. And then there are other days where I'll be kind of like you said, Mary Kay, like in a dirty t shirt at like school pickup or something, and another parent will say, you know, what do you do, and I'll say, oh, I I write books, and they'll be the response will be something like well, that's so cute that your husband lets you do that, or like, you know, things like that, where it's just like yeah, that's really cute that he lets me. Um, you know. So I don't know, there's kind of both sides of it. There are days that, um, little things happened, but the majority of the time I just feel like I'm this impostor living this life and this can't be me. I don't feel like I've made it most of the time. I just saw another one. The first time, back in the day when publishers throw money around like it was water, my publisher, when I went out on book tour, would send Um a limo to pick me up at the else and the first time it happened my kids were young and they came out on the porch and I was like, mom's it a Loto? Um, oh my gosh, I have like a lot floating around now. Um, I mean definitely being recognized just like fun. But I guess I think I have a little bit of a different situation because I live in a small town and it's like a tourist town. So I think maybe I don't know like that. It's like gives me a different situation of people like knowing, like saying stuff about my books or something like. I don't know, like it's more I don't know, Um, but that's always like really exciting. But I will have to say, Um, I posted a picture was when we were in New York and Um, I never saw it. My sister in law sent this to me later, which is really funny, but she said that there was a comment on the picture and there was a lady and I didn't know I didn't know her, I didn't know who she was, and she said, I saw you walking around Bergdorf and I wanted to say hello and how much I loved your books, and I was like. My sister alsoense to me and she was like, you've reached the pinnacle of Your Life. You can quit now. Ever, again, I was like, oh my gosh, it's like really, really cool. But again, on the flip side of that, Kristen, most of the time I feel like people think that I'm like, you know, scribbling in my notebook and like take my pages to Kinkos. So, yes, the same, I know it's a real it's a real brief glimmers of Oh my gosh, that's so cool, kind of what I mean. I think we would probably all have to say to like being on a stage like together and having comes out to see us and yeah, it's you've made it, but it's almost it's like such gratitude for me because of all of the Times that you go somewhere or have or have gone somewhere and there were like three people and you're like, Oh God, like yes, I can't do this again. I...

...feel like, Um, I'm waiting for the I have made it, like I've made it, that's it. I've made it. But I can tell you the very first time I thought I did, but I really didn't, and I was in Carpool and I mean most of you know I'm a grandma and Um, my oldest daughter has, you know, has two darling babies and she's thirty now and she was in preschool and I was in Carpool line and I got the call on my flip phone that, Um, I had my first publishing offer from he was penguin and before it was even penguin, random house, and I remember thinking like this is the thing, but then there's a million things after that, like there's always this next goal and this next goal, and then there's the impostor syndrome and then there's the next goal. So, Debbie, I think that we can get that I've made this goal feeling, but like that I have made it feeling is very, very elusive. Yeah, we keep moving our own goal posts. Yeah, that's a good point. As I as I think we should. I think that's how you keep growing and and I think when the moment you get too complacent and think like everyone loves me, I've made it, like it's just that. Imagine even thinking that. Like, I mean I pretty much do that every day eating caviare and was like, Oh, you know, I didn't really know what I was doing, and I kind of feel like maybe I'm like I still like that. What am I doing here? Like, and I know we talked about this all the time, but literally every book I'm like, this is a book where they figure out that I can't actually do I feel like that every single times. It's all over. So we may never have the real I've made it feeling, but that first phone call, that's the best one. Maybe that can be on our tombstones, like I made it, like Patty made it, Christie made it, Kristen made it, catty made it, like, well know then, right, let's see. Um, okay, uh, yeah, Patty, you right. So, Mary Kay, you want to ask your ask you a question. Yeah, brial Petretti bleaker asked, besides having a thick skin and being prepared for rejection, what do you wish you knew then that you know now about querying, Kristen Um, that that it's something that I wish I knew about. That that I've had to learn about life too, is that you don't have to take you don't have to undervalue yourself and take the first offer that comes your way. Um, Um. I have an amazing agent now. My first agent decision wasn't a bad decision, but it wasn't the right decision because I think I just thought any agent, oh my gosh, this age wants me, like yes, I'm in, you know, and I think I undervalued myself and and just didn't read the industry correctly. So I think I wish I had known. Don't undervalue yourself. MM HMM. The mine's kind of similar to that. I can I get queasy like thinking about this. I really do like we skipped that one. It's so hard. Um, I really felt like I could never make it, I would never get an agent, I would never get an editor because I didn't know anyone in publishing and I really thought like everyone getting published had like these connections where they have friends, where they knew someone or they somehow, because I just it just felt so impossible. Otherwise Um, it was obviously not true because, I mean, I didn't know anyone. I got an agent from just a cold query letter. And Kristen, you're the same right, and I think we all mostly so, Um, yeah, I think that's what I would say. If you're like sitting at your else like thinking, you know, no...

...one knows me and this is never gonna work, like I was in that same boat. So it, I do think. I don't think that's the case now, you know, knowing what I know now, I don't think that's the case. So yeah, I think I would say don't be so eager to accept rejection. I had an agent, Um that I had queried and sent her my Um my manuscript, my first manuscript, which, by the way, never got published, and she wrote me back a very thoughtful letter of suggesting some changes in it, and I thought, well, that said, she's telling me I suck. She was actually telling me, if you make these changes and and send it back to me and re submit, I think I could sell it. And I didn't know that until I was at a writer's workshop and I had a manuscript evaluation with sue Grafton and I told she said, well, if you started querying and I said yeah, but this agent. You know, here's what she said. I had the letter in my per Um, you know, along with the heck so blade that I carry around, Um, and I showed her. She said, you idiot, this woman wants to represent you be so eager to accept rejection. Um, sometimes, and it's hard to know when you're going through it, then a rejection that opens even a glimmer of hope. Grab onto that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely well. Um, okay, we've got another live question to ask, but before we do that, oh, Patty, did you want to answer? I'm just gonna I'm just gonna Repeat you, guys. So keep going. We have a great question coming up. Everything y'all said. I'm just gonna go Ditto, Ditto, Ditto, Ditto. Mike's gonna come on for this one. Yeah, Sean should come on for this one. I think that's a great idea, great idea. You can take me out because I have no answer to this question. Jean, get out here on the stage. So Brenda gaskell asked me this question, which is so great. Um, so I'M gonna turn around for all of you in a little bit of a different way. But she said what is your favorite Peloton workout and what else do you do for exercise and do you work out when you're on the road for book tour? So I'll answer in a moment, but I'm really interested to hear your reply. Is Like what do you exercise? If you do, what do you do and and do you work out when you're on the road or when you're deep and revisions? Oh, you added to it, Um, so I my favorite Peloton workout is with Ali Love. I'm part of the love squad and when I'm dying on the bike and she says you can do this, I'm like no, I can't, Um and then I'd like when she calls me a boss, but I like her thirty minute interval and arms. And I'm really terrible about exercise on the road. I definitely do it when I'm deep in revisions because it keeps me from going mad, but on the road I I just frankly, I just don't. I just don't. It's too hard for me to find where to do it. I try to walk a lot when I'm on the road, but I don't do a workout. How about you, Mary Kay? You all know the answer to this question. I'm a slug. Walked with you every day when we're on trips together. Yeah, I walk. Um, I'm currently facing a totally new replacement, so I'm not doing a lot of I get on the I get on the exercise bike and try to pedal for fifteen minutes. But when I'm in revision, I all I do is revision. M M. Yeah, yeah, I'm just aim...

...when I'm in revision, when I'm on a tight deadline, all of the things that are actually good for me go out the window. Um, but in my normal life, when I'm not on a super tight deadline, when I'm not buried under, you know, work I need to do, I also write a stationary bike, but it's not a Peloton Um, partially because I don't use I wouldn't use like the like watching an instructor or whatever I should. I would be in better shape if I did. But I use my time on the stationary bike to read, and that's when I get a lot of my blurb reading done. So if I've committed to blurbing a book, Um, I'm often reading it on an on, yeah, on on the bike, and I'm probably not getting as good of a workout as I would otherwise. Um, but that, yes, and I have that wonderful feeling of multitasking and I and I always make sure that I'm at least sweating and breathing hard, because then I feel like I'm doing something, like something's happening in my body. Yes, Oh, yeah, sorry, me. Yeah, UM, well, I go to the gym. I have a little local gym that I go to five days a week with like little Um classes. A Lissa, who runs our gym. You are fifth in New Jersey, is a is a friends and fiction member. Maybe you could do online classes for us. He does. But we do have a Peloton, which I bought for Dave and my husband as a gift, and I probably right at the least that of everybody in the house. But my favorite instructor is definitely cody Briggsby, and I know I'm not alone that. Like I'd love him. My grace is like a rabbit Peloton Ryer and she's about to which is like very exciting because I haven't even had to bike that long. Um, but every time I walked by the room where the Peloton is and she's on cody and he's just so Um, positive and like you could just weep with the positivity and the fun. Yeah, where does he come up with this stuff? Just in your city? I haven't thought about it at all, like it's yeah, he's adorable. What about you, Sean? Well, I'm just gonna freak out about this live comment. Cody was on dancing with the stars. Yes, I already talk about that. Did the tango. Well, pardy is my favorite and I think the only reason you guys pulled me on was because cody is my favorite and idal like cody rigsby moment that I blanked on his name and I said Cody Banks, which is a movie agent. Cody banks with Franky is now comm in the middle and I don't my wires just got across. That's a total cody moment. The reason I'm here is just to say, cody, I love you. I hope this goes viral. All Go. Um. Well, I'm gontle a different situation right now because I tore my half playing tennis. Um, which has been I was like Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, like I'm gonna be on crutches for a few days, I'm gonna be fine. Well, we're twenty two days in and Um, it's going slowly. It's going very, very slowly. Um, so I have had to switch gears a little bit. I'm not doing Peloton, I'm not playing tennis, I'm not going to my downtown Bar Studio. So I've been doing a lot of Ali love because she has an awesome bar series Um with Hannah Corbin. They both do it, and so I've been doing a lot of like arms and abs and like floor leg work and stuff because, Um, yeah, it's sort of throw me for a loof a little bit. Um, during revision and on the road I always have these like really grand plans. I will say there are hotels now that will bring a Pelotonto your room and that's really helpful, because if it's sitting in your room it's really hard. I mean, even if you're just like that, yeah, I'll hook you up, but even if you're just like I'm gonna get on a twenty minutes scenic ride or...

...whatever it is, like at least it's like kind of something. But I always have really good intentions, but the reality is, I mean when we're on tour we're usually doing like two or three of them. Today we're traveling in between. We're lucky to get like a human beings sleep and yeah, like and and something that, like we'll talk about it. Like well, I'll be texting. will be like, has anyone eatn anything that wasn't in a package today? Like I mean, so exercises sort of by the way side and when I'm deep in revisions, like lifting my wine glass is really heavy. It's so good as curls sean to pull this last segment and I'll send it to try to get them to our sponsor. Just cut cut out the part where I'm like, I ride a stationary bike. You because, Kristen, I've ride ploton sometimes and but that's what I always did in college. I would like study on the stationary bike. So I feel you on that. That is a really excellent use of time. I also have to say I've really I love the Peloton Mom's book club. I love the idea that there's like a book club around Pelotons. So like so I I could probably be easily converted. I'm not ruling it out one second. To the previous question about when you felt like you made it, because we had the best comment from Devon Stokes, who said she felt like she made it when she peeked out by meeting all of you in Cleveland this so, Devin, thank you. That's so awesome. All right, well, you guys. That was so much fun. Thank you for sharing that, meg. Okay, so Um. Yeah, let's do our announcements and then we will close out the show. This has been such a nice time tonight. I feel like we were just we could sit around for hours, but so fun. I want to talk about our writer's block podcast. We will always post links under announcements each time a new one drop. A new episode launches each Friday. On last week's episode out now, Ron and I talked to author Claire Pooley about her brilliant new novel, Iona Iverson's rules for commuting. Coming this Friday, Ron and Med will talk to Christine Pride and Joe Piazza about their timely novel. We are not like them, which was a g M, a pick and hardcover and was just relieved in paperback. The Friends of fiction official book club with Brenda and Lisa is having a blast. I never can say that, y'all. I'm gonna have to practice. If you're not there, well, you are missing out. The group, which is a separate facebook page from our friends and fiction facebook group. That's how many members are in our friends and fiction facebook. Three thousands. I think we're up to eighty five, aren't we? Are we actually are, because to me last week, like if you watched the show on Youtube every week, you might not know we have a facebook group with eighty three, to five, eight, four, point four. I just looked eighty work. Yeah, but anyway, Lisa and Brenda have the amazing book club that has suffered from us and it is thirteen thousand strong. So Brenda and Lisa, otherwise known as poebe and J, choose the books and host authors for monthly chats. We have happy hour, happy hours with our writer's block podcast host, rock block, and they keep everyone in the leap about suggested reads and upcoming releases. Joined them on September nineteenth when they will be discussing the lost book of Eleanor dare by our darling friend can really rock. And have you heard? Our new friends and fiction first edition subscription and box is now available from booktown in Manasquan and features signed hardback first editions from all four of us for our three books and a darling picture coming soon. Friends and fiction, although I like Cameron's new name friends who know fiction. I was just gonna tell you all...

I am surrounded by tea towels. I have samples and samples and samples and samples. So you will be receiving a tea towel. That is awesome. They're so cute, y'all, so don't miss out, because you can only get that with with this subscription, and we have a link on our facebook page. But another easy way to find it is to go to book town and there's an e at the end of town, booktown dot com, and enter friends in fiction into the search box. It's actually on their home page and it'll come right up. Speaking of our sorry, have we told everybody what the tea towel is going to say on it? Nope, this is an M K A special, but we'll go ahead and tell y'all tonight. It says dinner. Dinner can wait. It's time for friends and fiction. So much. Okay, and speaking of our books, which I am trying to fit mine, next year we will do at least four friends and fiction live events, one during each of our book tours. So stay tuned for news about those four events so you can mark your calendars and make your travel plans to join us as we take our show on the road in April, May, June and again in the fall if I finish my book. You will, which you will. All right, everyone, what a night this has been. Thank you so much to all of you out there for spending time with us. You can find all of our back episodes on Youtube. We are live there every week, just like we are on facebook. And, as Christie said, if you're watching us on Youtube, you don't know about our facebook group. There are eighty five thousand people and I look today there are forty two thousand interactions per day in our day, per day, Forty two thousand interactions. So if you want to talk to other people who love books, make sure to keep coming. Or Cody, if cody rigsby wants to come, we will interact with you. We would love to interact with cody rigsby. Yeah, alright, so make sure to subscribe on Youtube. You won't miss a thing and be sure to come back right here next time, same time, same place, next week when we welcome team W and Miriam Parker. Good night everybody. Good night everybody. 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.

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