Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 8 months ago

The Friends & Fiction Launch Party Episode for The Homewreckers & the paperback of The Forest of Vanishing Stars

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Don't miss this episode as we gather to celebrate the launch of Mary Kay Andrews’s 30th novel THE HOMEWRECKERS. It wouldn’t be an F&F launch party without silly hats, role playing, and special guests. The crew will revive “F&F Theater” as they get in character to engage in a not-ready-for-prime-time cable TV-style gossip show, to dish about the reality television show at the heart of THE HOMEWRECKERS.Then on the after show we celebrate the launch of Kristin Harmel’s paperback of THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS which is new this week in stores across the country. Kristin will share with us some footage we’ve never seen before of Aron Bielski whom she interviewed while researching her book about his experience fleeing the Nazis in the woods of Poland eight decades ago.

Welcome to friends and fiction for New York Times best selling authors endless stories. Novelists Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Christy Woodson Harvey and Patty Callaghan Henry are for 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 book stores. They discussed the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Hi, everybody is Wednesday night and that means it's time for friends and fiction. It's the happiest hour on the Internet and we are so glad that you are here. I'm Christy wands and Harvey, I'm Patty Callahan Henry, I'm Mary Kay Andrews, I'm Kristin Harmel, and this is friends in fiction for New York Times best selling authors endless stories, to support independent bookstores, authors and Librarians. We are so happy to be here with you for a grand celebration of not only Mary Kay Andrews brand new the homeworkers, but it is also the paperback launch of Christen Hermel's beloved the forest of vanishing stars. And, as you know, we continue to encourage you to support and dependent booksellers when and where you can, and one way to do that is to visit our own friends and fiction bookshop dot org page, where you can buy books by the four of us, fun, two, three, four of us and of course all of our guests. And of course that includes the home wreckers and the forest of banishing stars. And of course both at the wedding bail and the home wreckers are available wherever books are sold. But if you want a hand signed first edition of the home wreckers and the wedding bail, plus a little free gift, which is not so little actually. It's a notebook with some nice little sticky sheets, which is awesome, you can order the spring box from our friends at independent Bookstore Oxford Exchange. You will receive a beautiful delivery of both books autographed for you as soon as they are released. And of course it's Christie's is already out. You will get a two forty one wonderful delivery with both books at once. All right, now let's talk to Mary Kay Andrews about the homewreckers. So some of you might know this, but Mary Kay's first book, every crooked nanny, was published in one thousand nine hundred and ninety two, which means she's been doing this for thirty years. That's amazing. Wow. And the home wreckers is her thirty novel and there's been even more than one book per year, as we know, because there's been a few NAVELLAS. There was a cookbook. Everybody loves that Cook Book. And as far as full length of novels, of the home wreckers is the thirty in thirty years, and that's quite the milestone, my friend. Congratulation. Thank you, and I'm sure none of you out there believe it because obviously none of us are a day over thirty. So how is that even possible? Clearly, right, right, yes, exactly, but anyhow. So the home wreckers. It is quintessential Mka. There's a plucky heroin there is an incredible setting in Savannah and Tybee island which really comes to life. Mary Kay goes back to her mystery roots with a cold case murder. There's a love story and, in True Mka form, there is lots of house porn, not to be confused with the other kind of porn, like no, not where, we say the kinder. We talked about houses, not. Yeah, and even there's even a dog, right. I mean it has everything. It's like, yeah, it's amazing. So, Mary cake, can you tell us a little bit about the home wreckers? Yes, well, there's a shark. That was from last year's...

...but now ptagons a bad thing. Protagonist of the wreckers banks practice. That's awesome. Of the home wreckers and Satti capital. She's a young widow and she works with her father in law fixing up and flipping old historic Holms and Savannah. But when her latest house flops, she's facing financial ruin. On a handsome stranger throws her a lifeline. He is named as Molopez. He is an LA based producer of television reality shows for an h GTV like network, and Mo needs help to his latest show as a ratings flop. So he comes across Hattie on a visit to Savannah and gets the idea that they should film it a television home restoration show in Savanna because there's so many beautiful historic homes there, and he pitches it to the network and they buy it. His idea is to call it. Excuse me, Patty, it's his idea is to call his show saving savannah. But the network turns it around and they create a show called the home wreckers, which they decide should be a mashup of flipper flop and the Bachelorette and had. He gets paired up with a California designer who has had another hit show. There's a fly in the appointment, because Hattie is surprised to know that when the she has to fix up an old house, she has to buy it herself, which is real life, those fixer upper shows, the people doing the restoration by the house themselves. I never knew that till I read the book. Yeah, anyway, she has to, you know, scrape up all the money to buy the house, and she does that and then stuff happens. There's a body and a dead body, not just a body, there's a dead body and there's somebody who will do anything to keep Patty from making a success of that house and from discovering the truth about stuff that's happened at that house. Ty On. That's yes, I was about to give something away. Don't give away this meeting. No, spoilers, boiler. It's that you and book that I kept hearing from people on to our I told you this, that everyone kepting like this is her best but this is her best book. It really it's so good. I mean to react so good. I just love this one. It's it's fabulous. But y'all know, if you've been around for friends and Fiction Launch Party, it will want me some fiction launch without some silly hats, some role playing and some special guests's night, Ron Meg and Shawan, to the friends and fiction theater stage, as we engage in a not quite ready for prime time cable TV style gossip show all about the reality is hellion show, the heart of the home wreckers. And here's our host, Ron Cohens in as an Andy Huh and the cast of the home wreckers and some of the HP TV exacts and Mka's novel. What do in Ron Block is? He hosts them on his gossipy talk show. Reality Bites the WHO do we have here today? Well, Um, am I supposed to introduce myself? You are indeed okay, thank you. I am Pattie Cavan all, I'm a dog lover. Obviously, I was a licensed failing contractor with zero interest in making a career in show business. And all of that is to say, until Molopez literally dropped into my life. I...

...can't the screen because Kristen has until now we have our main character there. Welcome to reality bites. Tonight, the whole cast is here from the series the home wreckers, and we're all going to talk about what went down on this set. So, after Hattie, why don't you all introduce yourself? I've got the questions ready. All right, Bron Cohen, I am CASS. I'm the Sassy best friend since childhood of Hattie, which sounds an awful like like Patti. Yeah, you ask, and construction foreman for Cavanaugh and sons. As always, I'm here to make sure that no one messes with my girl. You got me, got you, and don't let my sunny disposition fool you. I've got my troubles. Well, hi y'all, I'm tug Cavanah, I'm the cavanaw in cabin and stun's construction and I am Hattie's Fatherin law, or I used to be, I guess. Big God rest my son, hanks soul. I don't even really know what I'm doing here. Participating in this nonsense, but my name's on the company, so I figured I better show up and keep this hot mess express, as Y'all call it, from going completely off the rails. Oh you really need me to tell you who I am? Hey, barth all mule, everyone, I'm the star of this operation. I'm sure you know me from design minds and from all my pap rot Paparazzi photos on page six, but don't forget to follow, like and follow Trey Bartha Mule, clid, like and fall this guy molops. I'm the producer and the creator of the home workers and I'm a desperate need of another hit show. I did drop into Hatti's life, straight through the rotted floor, literally onto her head at the Lumpkin Street House in Savannah. Okay, Oh, don't get so carried away with yourself. You only got this chance because my real stars, Christian will HPTV's crown jewels, are on Hi's dealing with a complicated pregnancy. You stumbled into this palm opportunity and a gaping hole in my line up through pure dumb luck the glasses. So I don't know whether to keep going or get the net. But what I want to know, Rebecca, is what is your role here? To claim credit for my success, apparently, Oh and also to try to spark some make believe heat between me and tray. Hey, don't hate the player, beat the game. Oh, tray, we hate both. Don't you worry, Ashtray, I told you did never call me that. All right, everybody, come on back in. Let's go back on track. Rebecca, if you can answer the question, what is your role? I obviously am the HPTV network. Exact. I'm in charge, for better or worse, of all of this. Oh, so, Rebecca, is it true that you took the most original idea of a show called Saving Savannah, about historic home restoration, and turn it into this? Yeah, she turned it into a fake setup of boy meets girl with a side order of whom? Right now, wait, that was all orchestrated. It was a setup. Thanks, old man. Well, it felt super real to me, especially the kisses seen in the dark. You remember the kisses and the dancing, don't you? Hattie, please do not remind all right, let's let's...

...get ahead a little bit and let's see what went down. Let's talk about what went down on Chatham Avenue in the house out on on Tybe Island. Well, you know, I scraped together the funds to buy the house through some avenues I'd really rather not talk about, to buy this falling down wreck of a hundred year old Bake Beach House on tybe that had been condemned and put up for auction by the sitting. Yep, the creed Moors, he used to own that place, let it fall to pieces. Yep, and they were super, super pissed off that the city of Tybe sold it to my pal Hattie. That's right, she was the highest bidder. The House was hers fair and Square, and it was the perfect setting for our show. Oh so cute, you're defending your girlfriend. Mo I am not as girlfriend. What you're not? Oh Lord, where's that Ned? All right, did the creed Morse maybe have a reason to be nervous that the house was now in someone else's hands? Did they have something to hide? Let's just say there are some major skeletons in that family's closet, literally literally. What of your more wrong me on drever? Well, you know what they say, and show Benz, bad news is good news when it's ratings. Gold Man, we were tearing down a termite to wall when we found a billful belonging to our favorite high school teacher. Tay To say I told you so, but I knew that house was trouble. I warrned Hattie, those Hollywood people would bring nothing but heartache. You know I don't like fakes. I mean, look at how real this beard is. You ask me. Those Hollywood taps are all Weirdos and bikes. Not all of us tug, not all of us. Okay, so legend has it that the high school English teacher LNNEAR Reagan disappeared seventeen years ago. WHO's on a stormy super bowl Sunday night, never to be found? And then her billfold turns up hidden in a wall of the creedmore cottage. WHO THAT SMELL? A rat? You think you guys have problems? That body turned up on my set. Okay, Rebecca, the obvious tragedy and heartache of this case of side. Let's talk about how this miss this body, through a monkey wrench into our production schedule on the home wreckers. Who can tell me about that? Well, became an active crime scene for one police tape, cops crawling all over the place. Such a nuisance, such a new, since I've been telling you from the beginning this house is nothing but a Jank's. First this Code Enforcement Officer Gadget keeps slapping us with fines. We cut down a tree, who cares? And a dumpster fire, then the wallet and an imcoing cold case investigation. It's been jinks from the start, sewing everything down. Well, all of a sudden, you wait, you took wait, all of a sudden this, this major cottage fix her upper, is turning into another major money put. Where have you heard that before? And now now there's a crime scene. I don't care much. I was too busy inside the play in my magic touch. Yeah, you are busy, all right. PUTT that magic touching hers all over my daughter Inlaw into that. All right.

Come on, everybody, calm down. Let's do talk, though, about that onset romance. Sparks were flying between tray and Hattie. How fast is it, fistle? Was it all for the camera or was some of it for real? Run, run, don't give it all away. There might be some people out there who haven't already beenched the whole series. We want everyone to watch the home workers to see how it all turns out. Whatever. Well, you kind of have a point anyway. So let's focus back on the house. Well, how do you pulled off a major miracle? She transformed that dump into a MAC magazine's magazine, a magazine. Turn that face into a magazine's party waiting to happen, and they think I cannot bad. So Hey, I distinctly recall being there, toiling away with my Hattie many a late night. Who Put who? Who Was it that pulled up that Shanky, skanky old carpet and kept an eye on treys? Shady practices, please, ladies and kitchen, those hand painted floors, all the finishes, y'all know who that was. He's got two million ticktock followers. Don't right here. I'll get over yourself, man. These girls have been flipping in staged houses longer than you've been out at charm school. Yeah, maybe you should go back to California, Dream and Ashtray. Your charm is lost on me, Sheridan, seemed that way last night and Sunday cafe. Those gossip rag pictures from that night, Whoo Yeah, you sure love those, Rebecca, didn't? You really played right into the network's hands. Well, bunch of voltures snapping picks of people's private exchanges, spilling the tea on my girl Hattie's family secrets. Why do they care about any of the devist I mean, why don't you just leave us alone? Who actually cares? Okay, well, I am loving all of this. This is ratings gold for me. We all care, right, we all care, trust me. Everybody, right, right, everybody agree with me? Oh, yeah, care. Yeah, sadly, I'm afraid that that's all the time we have right now. Thank you to the cast of the home wreckers for joining us here on Reality Bites. Who Killed Lannia Reagan? Who helped cover it up? Who Finds True Love? Is the type house a flip or a flop? Will had he sell the place and get out a hawk? Everybody, tune in for the home wreckers and find out for yourselves. And I conclude this episode of friends and Fiction Theater. Everyone take a bow. Yay, you mean I have to come out of character now? I have to be pchn AG again. Gotta be Patty, not Hattie. All right, I'll t listen. Listen, listen. Can I still be an old mayon note for the rest of the show? No, you cannot. That beer is thank God I have a rush on my face. Our MAG and Ron and Sean thing. I mean, I hope so. It's my party and I say they're staying, I'm in. They're saying whatever are you saying, Haddie? That yeah, that's I think we're gonna follow enough cake for them. Brought the cake, right. I brought the cake and the champagne and the jazz and the snaz and the sparkle and the spring folk. Great, my love brought it all. That was so fun hilarious. John, you have totally missed your calling, Dude. Yeah, yeah, you're wasting your time with us. You're right. I gotta go. There's an audition down the the street, right down the street, looks out here. Now,...

...come on, we're blowing up, all right. So now that we have done that amazing, amazing theater, and let's talk about the book. You Talk To us, Mary K, a little bit about the setting. I would love to know why you chose Savannah and Tyde, what draws you to this locale and what impact you hope the setting has on your readers. You know, I we've had vacation rental homes on Tyby island for fifteen or sixteen years and toady was the first beach that we found out about. When we move, my husband and I, my starter husband and I got married right out of college and moved to Savanna and I've got a job at the at the newspaper there, and Savana is one of these places. I think it's it all. It gets under your skin. It's so invocative. It's like a it's like a nail fungus. You just cannot look like you're sugarcake or like yeah, it's like a hell Fu'm it sells. It one of these places that the past is always present you. You walk down a street in the historic district and you know these beautiful nineteen century homes are there and the thing about living in a place that has so many echoes of the past is when they come up against the you know, the present time, there are lots of conflicts and conflict, you know, makes for a good story. That's so true. And just to clarify for those who don't know you, your starter husband is still your currents fen last night. He's great. He's great. As far as you both know, he's still your husband. Yes, forty five, some forty six years, I don't know. I lose dress. Amazing, I love that's awesome, awesome. Well, Mary Ka, how did you come up with the idea to include an hgtv style reality house flipping show at the heart of the plot? I'm pretty sure it was because you envisioned me right here in the Andy Cohen Roll Right, no, you know, can't even fake it. Your favorite word drawn. Yeah, I watch a good bit of hgtv shows and I was watching one night. I think I was watching hometown. I like that show. It's set in Mississippi with a cute young couple, and all of a sudden I thought, what if I wrote a book about, you know, somebody who's trying to flip a house and and it's not working out so great, and I thought, Oh, the first thing I thought was homeworker. So sometimes I start with the idea for a book, starts with a title, sometimes it starts with a premise, sometimes it starts with a character. This time it the idea definitely spark from the title. And then, and of course I thought, well, I'll sat it. Obviously I'll set it in Savannah and for one rea. You know, there's so much television and movie production taking place in and around Savannah right now in real life. Yep. So well, when you were going your own house, Coquina cottage, out on time, you found an old wallet tucked into a Razorblade Slot in the wall and that became a little bit of a local news story and a little bit of a sensation on your social media. So how did that story find its way into the home workers? Talk to us a little bit about that. Well, I knew that I would have a body in the book. I knew that the dead body, the dead body, really redundant to call it a dead body. It's I call it a dead corpse. All corpses are dead. I have a live body right here. Okay, yeah, I lost my train of thought. Sorry. The bill to be to separate you two did where you just push your out of the screen? Welcome to the launch and our fun actors. We had a we had a wall in a in a...

...bathroom at the back of the House that had a lot of termite damage. We ended up having a tear the wall completely out and the contractors found an old bill fold in between the wall joys, behind a large razorblade slot, and so they gave it to me and it had this had been there since one thousand nine hundred and fifty four. The woman's name was Melba and it had her all of her ID her social security card or driver's license, pictures of her sailor husband. We figured out that he was in the navy and I of course looked up her, looked her up online and I found out that she had passed away. I found her obituary and I found the names of her survivors, but I couldn't find them myself. So I posted something on my social media like ten o'clock at night. By the next morning I had contact information for both her her daughter and son. And you know, he came to find out that Melba and lived in that house for only a year. It was a duplex, while her husband was at sea in the navy and she had a little one year old son. But nobody could tell us, and we still don't know, how that wall wallet got in the wall. So I had already started working on home wreckers and I thought, well, you know, I'll that wallet will reveal something about an old cold case, which I have a sick fascination with true crime and old cold cases. Explain what, because I didn't understand when it happened. It was so fascinated. Explain what a race sor blade right, so in a mode of old house is. We've re we rattled four or five old houses and an old bathrooms lots of times in the you know, the cat medicine cabinets that are built into the wall. There was a slot in the in the back of the medicine cabinet where you would dispose of used razor blades, and so this one was much bigger than anyone I'd ever seen. To have, you know, for that Walla to have got I guess that's how the Walla Gotten. We still don't know. Wow, crazy, so interesting. Well, one of my favorite things about this novel is it is so chalk full of those little Easter eggs, with lots of characters named for real people in real life locations. So is it my imagination or did you do a little bit more of that in this book than any of your others? And was this just you having fun? Sort of it? By expense, I mean Christian will, and if I can work in the twins, I'm holding you personally responsible. But all, my son's name is in there. Yes, her son's name is in the book. Daughter mixed with. My granddaughter is a newspaper columnist. There are real places in the book on some of our favorite restaurants and Savannah on t I be the Sunday cafe and the crystal beer parlor and box you real? Yeah, it is. How? Yeah, yeah, MEG's been there. Boxy losing is a real it's a really fun coffee shop. Um, you know there's a designer in the book called Lalla Terra Bella, and that's that's named after a friend who lives in fair hope who always comes and helps out with my with my book signing at page and Palette and fair hope. I think one thing I wanted to do I want to give readers the shock of recognition. So it's fun. There are lots. Of course it's fiction. I make it all up, but every once in a while I love to put in a real setting so people can go. Wait, I've been to that place, you know. I've seen that giant fiberglass turtle resin turtle when you make the curve on to tie the island. I've seen that and I've crossed over that Lazaretto Creek Bridge and I've seen that little shrimp boat there and so I it's just my way of putting my readers in a real play ere. They haven't been there. I want them to picture it in their minds. Just wait till the dogs ruined Douce, read the book and see that they're yes, going to be asking for royalties and and this book also you had a little bit of prophecy. You wrote a...

...scene that like months later, happened to all of us together when we were together. Oh Yeah, the trailing these in the tree. God, yeah, that was crowd was weird crazy. wrote the vallet key thing and it happened. I'm telling you, I'm going to be yet, and I swear I had the early copy in my hand and I read it before that happened. It's like what, give you a list of things to write into your next book? We exacted three wins with the Belle key thing. I don't yeah, Oh, well, when we were at the SAVANNA book festival, we were all there, the five of us were there, and my cars part in the valet parking lot at the hotel where Christian had a room and we were leaving to go to our event and we're running really right on time, like and the Valley folks couldn't find my car keys, my car keys or my car. They're like, no, we don't have your car and we don't have your keys, and so there's a of course they did have my car and they had my keys. I just didn't know where they were. So there's a there's a just a tiny mention in the book. Tray, tray, is his late to filming because he says the Valet parking people lost his car. That's crazy. We think that's stuffed by a train, which we all did coming home from the men. Really do. That was for a valley parking company and I have told him that story and read them the Rhodoch about how not to react to the people who are in a panic. Yes, it's true's gone. That's what that's what not to here's what you're okay, okay. So it's no secret, because you've been so honest and forth right. They've had a really hard six months and I'm amazed that you were even able to turn out a book so joyful and fun and Witty and expertly crafted and page turning while you were facing some impossibly difficult things in your personal life. Has Work helped you? Is it kept you focus. Has it been a ballast? How is this even possible? Yeah, well, you know, for people who don't know my daughter, my thirty nine year old daughter Katie, died of complications of Covid in February. And Yeah, it's been an incredibly tough time. She was very sick for for four or five months. So you know, of course I'm the grief is still there. It doesn't go away. But I think what happens with my work is and it doesn't just distract me, it saves me really yeah, you know what, I I wasn't sure I could finish the book and my editor actually said you don't have to finish this book, you can, you know, you can put it off, and I said no, I you know, this writing takes me to another place, a place where I'm not sad. So yeah, and and how you maintain your focus? Is You just do? You really don't have a choice, you know. I just put one, one foot in front of the other. And of course fans and followers of the show have been amazing. They've sent hundreds and hundreds of condolence cards and the head masses said, and I was sent a miraculous metal a dear fan, Linda Ten tindals, sent me a beautifully knitted shawl. So that has been so heartwarming and so rewarding to know that you know that people are thinking of you and praying for you. So that's been amazing. Well, just to switch gears a little bit, you've been at this a long time, thirty years of Mka. Perspective have you gained on this profession and your writing craft over the years? I mean, I know you're a Panswer, so I'm sure you're as into your process. Hasn't changed. But and then what's on the horizon for you? What's next? Well, I mean it M my first mine. My craft has changed. I am more spontaneous...

...in my writing. I think I'm during Covid I started, you know, I finally got some good rating writing habits, writing every morning. I've kind of slid slid down the slippery slip past two weeks. But the perspective I have gained is that whatever happens today, the stets that that's just what happened today and tomorrow can be different. I never have any perspective on my own work. I never know if it sucks or not. It never does that. Okay, it does but you know, I think my my thought is if you just keep doing it and keep trying to do it better, to make hone your craft and to and to give yourself new challenges and and to stretch yourself, I think I I can't imagine any writer I've ever known, and of course we've all known a lot. No rider I know phones it in deliberately. Nobody phones it in on purpose. So I'm just you know, I want to make a better book every year. I want to push myself to learn new skills and to try new things and and that's what I know about my craft. You know my my motto is you can't fix what you ain't wrote, so write it and just put pound the keyboard and if it sucks then you can fix it. But I've got a delete key on my laptop. And for what's on the horizon, I'm working on another Christmas book, Christmas box, Spring box. Yes, that will be for when? That'll be for winter? Two Thousand and twenty three. Okay, well, I feel like you. I feel like you sort of just gave this one, but do you have you know, we love a good writing tip and I'm getting ready to start a new book. So I need a good writing tip. Do you have one you could share with us? I did just give you my best writing to what else do you need? Christie's really you have to, I think, if you, I think if you keep yourself interested in the story and understand that you know every every book, and that now I've done thirty. Every year I tell myself I can't do it, this book is going to kill me. I won't happen. Then you know I have you can see in the background I have my book jackets framed and my New York Times but seller list. I have them framed, and that's not just for ego. That is to remind me that no matter how tough the writing is, I'm going to do it. I'm going to power through and I'm going to get it done. And so that's my writing tip, is just you have to power through. You have to you have to power through the sucky parts, through the flabby middles, and just keep going. Perseverance band. Okay, so what have you read lately that you're absolutely loving? Like, what have you can't put down? Oh well, I loved Landolan's book lost and found in Paris, and I'm currently reading the golden couple by Greer Hendrick and Sarah Pecana. He can then a Connin picking and I picking and I can never, I can never say that. Don't ask me how to pronounce something. Yeah, and then I've got I've got Linda Holme's new book, one of my favorite books on Katie's two of the past five years. When was Linda Holmes Book? Eddie Drake starts over and it's been that what came out three or four years ago. Her new one is called Flying Solo. Is that right? Meg? Yeah, yeah, it's fantastic. I just read it. No good. Yeah, I I've got that next up. So Lot's all right. A few reminders from all of us. Do you need an idea for a great hostess gift, Teacher Gift...

Most importantly, Mother's Day gift? Well, along with our books, we suggest the friends and fiction book and Coffee Bundles available through our friends at Charleston Coffee roasters. What you do is you choose to choose assigned book by one of us, then you pick the coffee roast and grind of your choice, pay one price for that bundle and you get the book and the Coffee Pairing in the mail together. Gift Paradise Out Coffee Charleston Coffee Roasterscom all one word, and remember to enter our ongoing coffee of the month give away. Last week we announced our April winner, so congratulations again to Bubba Wilson, who is one a three month subscription, which is a ninety dollar value. So, Bubba, I actually went and bought myself a three month subscription. So good on you, and will you be our may winner? Enter now and find out. And don't forget that everyone in the friends and fiction community gets twenty percent off all bagged coffees on the Charleston Coffee roasters website with the code coffee with friends. Coffee with friends, all lowercase, all one word. You're up, my friend me. Yes, what am I saying? You're saying of our writers block block rap. She's heard dirty books. What do you want from her? My Hard Pat I have you know the hard hat thing. Oh, now I'm smart again. Okay, just reminder of our writers block podcast. We will always post length under announcements each time a new one drops. A new episode launches each Friday and on the last episode run and I talked about the home workers and we loved it. It was so good. I can't wait for people to hear it. Oh, I can't wait to hear that one. So we know many of you have been participating in our very first friends and fiction reading challenge. So this month we start a new challenge, a beach read, and I don't know about you all, but I can think of a really great book that fits that category that you might want to pick up. I think that it begins with home and ends with wreckers. Yeah, one, so it's look a good one. And, by the way, if you're not hanging out with us yet in the Friends of Fiction Official Book Club, you are missing out. I know a lot of you are in it already, but this group, which is separate from us, is run by our friends Lisa Harrison and Brenda Gardener, and it is now more than elevenzero strong. So join them on Masis for a happy hour with Ron Block, who will be transformed back into and Patty Callahan entry, and that's just two days away, the day after tomorrow. That's awesome. Good to see fun Patty again. WHO and make sure to join us for our next episode of friends and fiction next Wednesday, right here at seven PM, where we will welcome the incomparable the hilarious Adriana Trigiani that I never say right. So if you are ever wondering about our schedule, it is always on the friends and fiction website and always in the header graphic on our facebook page. All right. Also, I know we've mentioned this a couple weeks in a row now, but it's such exciting news we want to keep your minding you. Did you know that we have joined forces with fable, which is a relatively new reading APP, to start a brand new premiere club we are calling friends and fiction behind the book. This is an interactive book club, Totally Different From the book club we already have run by Lisa and Brenda, but it's led by us, with a different selection every month based on something we featured on the show. So we hope you will join now to get the full immersive experience. As you read with us on...

...fable, you'll discover the story behind every featured book, fascinating insider talk with the authors, and they have these really unique social reading features that it will let you share your reaction to your thoughts, your favorite quotes from the book with US and with other people in the APP, and you get total special access to resources about that book that you can't find anywhere else. Yeah, you know what wonders they gift? That's such a great idea. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, one of the reasons, I think, we're so excited about doing this is it's different. It's not like anything else out there. This isn't it's just it's like a very new innovation and how to read a book as a community. And you we feel like we innovated with friends and fiction. You know that this is something new. This is something we've been doing for a couple of years and developing and and I think we feel like fable is kind of the same thing, a chance to kind of deliver you a new experience. So our first pick for fable is the wedding bail, the brand new bestselling novel by our very own wonderful Christie Woods at Harvey, who, as far as we know, is not pregnant with twins. Eating before tolds. That, in very is wordy. Jump in with the more than one hundred and fifty members who are already reading Christie's latest together, discovering deleted scenes, her inspiration, vanderbilt family secrets, research tips and much, much more. So visit fable dot co backflash friends and fiction, to sign up today, and that's friends and fiction, with the word and spelled out. The cost to join our premium club is just five dollars per month and we hope you will subscribe. All Right, Mary K, can you tell everyone where to find you your new book and You on tour, because I know you're going to be everywhere. You are basically hitting, I think, every city across the United States a new week period. Yeah, and some twice. I'm staying as of the Mississippi. You can find my tour schedule on my website, Mary Kay Andrewscom. You can find me and all my Chinnan agans on marry Kay Andrews, on Instagram and and on my facebook page. And Oh, I'm on Tick Tock now. Let's do it ticktops nets tonight. What so holy not? We're I'm going to make Mary K do a tick Tock dance tonight and we're going to put it on Ticktocka the Toub Dude baby would make me join tiptop. Could be a whole viral sensation. Viral would be vomiting because it would be so viral. Just an idea. Okay, on that note, make surety to for our after show, where we will be celebrating our fabulous Christian and her beautiful new paperback, and possibly also her beard, although perhaps we've seen quite enough of that. Back episodes on Youtube or live there every week, just like we are on facebook, and if you subscribe you won't miss a thing. Plus you all have access to special short clips. Before I leave, most important thing of the night if you have not bought the home records yet, by the book, by the book, Damn It. See An amazing word you join us next week is we welcome adrianage for Gianni. Good night, even after getting ready to say, do you still have your flower crown? And I was totally kidding and you do. Oh, you both do. I don't even...

...know where mine is. That's crazy. Well, I only know because I've I was trying to in a in a doomed attempt to get organized, I threw all my my props, my props in a bin and I haven't even put them away it. So they're all seems right now. Sorry, I even know where it is and it did not occur to me until right now that I should be wearing it. So everyone per ten that I have. I don't have fighty that. I have my veil like I wear my wedding veil. Well, there is part of the veil here too. I'm not really I don't know what happened to the rest of it. You broke my veil. God Damn it, I can't have anything nice. Complained about it so much. Yeah, what can I can I just point out first of all, you too look lovely in your flower crowns. Thank you. I can I just point out we've all been wearing a helmet for the last for the last hour, right, yes, I would you all take a look at Christy's hair. There, she still looks perfect. Like what? I don't understand. UNDERSTANDS? I don't understand. We get exhausted of it, but these are the things that lead to you getting pregnant with turns. I don't know what to say. Well, if that happens, everyone's gonna have just come move here. That's all I can say. How your Trad you know, you're trying to get your parents to move the boat, or I think that that would be the way. Yeah, I would be the way. Yeah. Well, I mentioned earlier. How lucky are we? Not only do we get to spend the evening celebrating Marycase brand new release. But now we get to celebrate the paperbacklatch of Christian's beautiful novel the forest of Manishing Stars, which is also new this week and in stores across the country. So we're so excited. You know, we've had a few questions about these paperback releases since, of course, we celebrated patties paperback release of surviving Savanna just last month and in fact my twenty four one book, the newcomer, just came out last week in paperback to and that, of course, for that occasion we had to put a friend in a shopping car to target. Yeah, we celebrate in different ways, as one does. Feel like I kind of started that trend a little bit, you know. So I think that I feel really like special, that that's like a new thing now that we can all get into shopping cart at target or pad. I have not been pushed or pushed in a shopping cart. Yeah, I have not done either. But I would like to make a request when I get to make my target appearance, kind of wear the beard, yes, but you have you have to sit in the top or race car, because she could actually like put her little legs in the little seat a little in front of chase, like strapper in yeah, don't be good, great in the car. That right. Back to the force of vanishing stars. Basically, whenever book is released in our cover, this general generally release later, usually about a year later, in trade. Pepper back to it. What this does is it allows the book to find a new audience in a different format and in many cases, as in theirs, it can include bonus content like a reading group guide. It also sometimes is an opportunity to tweak or change the cover. For example and surviving Savannah. They change the color of her dress, which is and made the background brighter. So paperbacks, you know, they come out for different reasons at different times. Oh yeah, listen to the twos bag. I love that. I love it. Yeah, it's awesome. All right. So, if you've already read the forest of vanishing stars, your way ahead of the game and thank you so much for picking it up. But if you haven't, I do hope you'll consider picking it up this week. You can find it, of course, in indie bookstores, which you know means so much to us here at friends and fiction, and of course it's also available at places like Costco, tar get, Sam's,...

Walmart and of course Amazon, Barnes and noble books, a million kind of just wherever you pick up your books. So look for it. It's the same cover that it was in hardcover, which we've probably shown you too many times. But like MPA, I'll be on tour all this week and part of next week talking about the book around the country, although I won't be in as many cities as Mka, but I will be on the road. You'll be in every city in the country. I'll be like in every other city. Yeah, and we'll all be together in Cleveland and and Christen are going to be together in Tampa or in State Pete see piece. Yeah, exactly. Yep, I mean we are. We were bound to overlap at some point or since we're both hitting every city in the cotton in the Yes, right, yeah, I mean you would eventually have to just statistically speaking. Yeah, just thinking, even if you've already read farst manishing stars, you know, it's kind of Nice to sometimes in your you know, if you're traveling, you're on the beat, you know, just like a little lighter version given to a friend. But it makes a great mother's Day Combo Pack Right, yes, yeah, and m absolutely does. I love that. You might remember celebrating the Hardcover Lodge, those on friends of fiction last a lie, because I think it was definitely one of our most memorable episodes. Christen our residents, overachiever and good at everything person and who are always like what you did? What? She reade a musical, because that's what kristen does. She just writes a musical just because you can't. It's Wednesday, I think I'll write a musical today. So she didn't. I mostly just excel at beard wear, facial hair. That's do you have a lot of skills? You have a lot of seals. That's it. That's the main one. Yea. But Sean, could you show us, like a little clip of the first vanishing stars musical into the woods? We vanished, a last nish, a last lies. There's hope by magic, because we explore the past here in these pages you'll find a story lost of faith and perseverance, whatever the cause. You'll find hope in the darkness, a story of light, of the beauty of nature and the stars out at night, with love and understanding. You know will find her away. She'll getful. There's as they survived the days. I hope you will find yourself, wherever you are, in the story really surrounding us in the forest of vanishing star. Yeah, they were part of that. Was Christina's face. Well, memories like the corners of my mind. Yeah, the baby, all her water memory. Oh, the way, we were okay, I think we established why all of us pursued a career in writing fiction instead of pursuing careers as singers. Nice, we were all excellent. Yeah, so, Christen, remind us what the book is about after we after that Song Fest? Yes, sure, so. The first of vanishing stars, briefly, is about a young woman named Yonah who's kidnapped from her German parents on her second birthday. She's raised deep in the woods by this woman named Rusha who feels like she's been called by the forest itself to take this little girl, to raise her in basically complete isolation and give her a different life. So she raises her with all of these survival skills, the vistually no skills of human interaction. So in one thousand nine hundred and forty two, which of course...

...is during World War Two, when the woman dies, leaving Yonah alone in the forest. Yonah's in her early s and she's all alone, kind of wandering around Adrift, wondering, you know, what she's supposed to do and setting me her sly, her life intersects with that of a family of fleeing Jewish refugees and she learns for the first time what's happening in the forest or in the kind of the world outside the forest, which, of course earse is that the Germans have arrived and tragically, they're rounding up Jews who live there and forcing them into Jewish ghettos and executing many of them. So people are fleeing into the forest and Yona soon faces this choice, which is does she retreat back to the safety of the woods, which is what the Rusha has always told her is the only way forward, or does she do what she can to help? So of course she chooses the ladder or, as I've said before, it would be a very short book and we would not be here talking about it. But in doing so it changes her life and it's so it becomes this coming of age story, it becomes the story of identity and it becomes this story of who makes what makes us who we are. Is it, you know, what we're born to be, what's in our blood? Is it who were raised to be? Is it who we choose to become, or is it some combination of the three? So the story unfolds as you, Yonah, grows closer to this growing group of refugees, and the refugees are based very, very much on the real life stories of refugees who really did flee into the forests of eastern Poland. Actually this forest is now in in Belarus. It's an area of the world you know, like the borders have changed, but there were thousands of Jewish refugees who fled into those forests and survived the war that way and their real stories can be found in this book. So that's kind of the basics. I mean, I've read it, I've heard you talk about it so many times and still to do that and I get those chill bumps right. So I think that's just from that's the singing, the beautiful singing. It might be the flower had been probably giving me chill bumps. But of course the book takes place in an eastern poet in eastern Poland, which, like you said, is now Belarus. So the events you follow, which are very real historical events from World War I, are actually unfolding in the same area of the world that we now see on the news every single night. So, of course Ukraine is just south the Belarus and it shares a border with Poland. I kind of wish I had a picture. So that has been particularly interesting as we watch this unfold and in reading the book, because it feels like it has a more intimate we have a more intimate understanding of what it's like to be in that part of the world, so it doesn't seem so far away and like something we only hear about in the news. So what it must have been like to force to be fleeing from the only place you've ever known. So, Kristen, yeah, I've also heard you talk a bit about the research into this book because you worked closely with Belarusian for a forest guide from Belarus of Belarussien did it. But you also have the opportunity talking many times to ninety four year old Aaron belief stop. See, I think you tell yea and deal day Aaron okay, who actually survived World War Two by hiding deep within the forest. So just like your characters he did that. Can you tell us a little bit about him and getting to know him and talk to him? It was just one of the most incredible gifts about this book. So you know, whenever you're writing about history, you know as as all of you know it. You know you it brings the story...

...so much more alive if you're able to talk to people who were actually there, which, of course, if you're writing about the vanderbilts a very long time ago, the people who were there aren't alive right or or if you're writing about the the steamship Pulaski that blew off, it blew up off the course the coast of the Carolinas. There are not survivors still living from that. But I'm so fortunate that I was able to come across this man named Aaron Bielski, who was one of the Bielski brothers who founded the most wellknown group of Jewish survivors in that forest. So his story is an extraordinary one. It was eighty years ago. It was fourteen years old when the Germans came for his parents. He hid in the barn and then later he fled into the woods. His parents were murdered, along with more than four thousand other Jews within a few days of their arrest. So yeah, so he fled into the woods, joined his older brothers and together they started this group which started with just a handful of people who knew each other and grew two, one, two hundred people by the end of the war. And he actually I mean, of course, obviously he used to live in Poland, but he lives in the United States now and he lives just a couple of hours from me and Palm Beach. So not only did I have a chance to talk to him for this book, but I've had the chance to see him and talk to him multiple times since then, which has been incredible. And that brings me to one more thing we have for you tonight before we let you go. So I've talked a bunch about Aaron Bielski on this show, in live events and on my social media, but I've never had the chance to share him with you in his own words. So I did an event with an organization called Morse life in Palm Beach earlier this year and when the event organizers realized that Aaron and his wife, Henrica, also lived in Palm Beach, they sent someone out to interview him so that they could play that before my talk. So they can. They condensed their hour long interview into this three minute video and we have it here for you tonight. They were kind enough to share it with me and give me permission to share it with all of you. So I would love for you to see Aaron and his wife, Henrika, tell you a little bit about their story. Sean, can you show us that three minute video? Thank you so much for doing this. We appreciated. WHO HAVE TO SPLIT WAMES? Yes, to the old happened through during CALACAS. Educate. Yes. So we have to enducate people who they should know what's happened. Really. Some people deny. Toto goes but off on biball. We want to people know more about Holocaust. What was it like for you in the forest? Forest was great freedom. Freedom, you said, is Sun, you see the stars, everything. You Freedom. Were you scared when you were in the forest? No, you think how to make life possible. Dad and that to be scared of anything. was afraid of nothing. Afraid, yes, but he did not know that. I'm afraid. Next, first he did that down when you were in the forest. What kind of people were there with you? Same as we what? Very few, my older brothers soils, some heavier children. Very little in a child had to be at least five or six years old. The Way I remember, you had to be able to run, to hide. What was your job in the forest? Help out us as much as I can. A child is sitting and crying. Some of the last I picked it up. Someone is still alive from those. What...

...did you do after hiding in the forest after the war was hardbreaking. have no one, no parents, don't nothing, have no one. Yesterday you are afraid to be seen and here all of a sudden. Do Anything you please answer. Was a shock. Look how we leave yesterday and I was today. They so well of forget for a few days it took to understand, to figure out that the Bensh Alet of according to me, the better for them. Is the good Lord. Walk Up. What is your message for people? They could see this video, this movie, you see a person that needs help. Help Him, no matter what is June dread, black, white and different. This is the last of my life like that. It's not incredible? Yeah, powerful stuff. Yeah, yeah, thanks. What me? So hold was young Christian. How old was he when he was fourteen when he fled into the forest. It was it was was a little over eighty years ago. It was December fifth one thousand nine hundred and forty one that the Germans came for his parents. So eighty years. I just really inspired by him and I love that he mentioned that in the forest you could see the stars like that's you know, like those one of the first things he said in the video and and I like how he said that. I like how she said were you scared? He said no, and then he said the man behind you. Besides, you didn't know you were scared. So what he was saying was they were, but you couldn't let other people know. And and then he put up the little girl and someone's alive today because of that. Did you hear that? And not only is somebody alive today, but this is an old statistic, but of one hundred people who walked out of the forest alive at the end of the war, they have more than twenty five thou descendants today, and that numbers years old. So I'm sure it's far more than that, but think about that. So you're not just saving that one life, you're saving all of the lives that come after just well, it's amazing. Yeah, I see those pictures of the very young children and you're and you just stunned that they were able, the old ones and the young ones, and it's amazing, this amazing testament to the strength of the human spirit, his kindness, people helping each other. Yeah, Highness, absolutely. Yeah, you went, I'm doing, together like that to help each other. Yep, APPs and going out of their way to do so. You know, it wasn't just, I've said this before, it wasn't just a group that happened to find their way into the woods and survived together. They actively sought out people to bring into the woods. I mean they basically went into these ghettos, risked their lives every time and said, if you come with us, you have a chance to live, but if you stay you're going to die. So it's just it's a great it's a great example for all of us, I think. Yeah, I think so too. Yeah, yeah, so on that note. So that note. Well, this has been a really incredible night and we have so much to celebrate and so many green books for you guys to go out and get right now. You can order them or pick up at your independent book store and hopefully you'll see Christian and Mary Ka on tour. Yes, so that's what a little bit about your tour, where you're going to be? Yeah, well, I mean the most important tour stops are the ones we're doing together. Of course, you know we're in we're...

...in Cleveland tonight. Will be at the Jersey shore on July twenty, will be in Rehobeth Beach Delaware, in Ja. Wait, wait, may twenty. I say May, I'm at May. Will be in Rohobeth beach in July and then Mary K and I are going to be whether next Tuesday in State Pete, so, which is where we both grew up, where we both went to high school, although my rival high schools right. I was about to say don't hold it against her that she went to the inferior school. Clear. I mean they learned to rite, you know, if they taught English there. She did learn to wait a little bit. So, you know, whatever she managed despite sad beginnings. But we're going to be together in St Pete on Tuesday, which we're really excited about. I'm excited to see her and you know, of course, you can find her tour schedule at Mary Kay Andrewscom. You can find mine at Christen Harmelcom and we hope that you meet up with us and all of us somewhere on the road. We're really looking forwards seeing you. Can't wait to see you. Guys. Well, friends, we hate for the fun to come to an end. It's been such a great night. But one last time, just to reminder to pick up your hardcover copy of the home workers and your paperback copy of the first to finishing stars. And we know we say it here often, but this first week is so important to our books and our friends and we really really appreciate you supporting us right at the beginning because it makes such a difference for these books. So thank thank you, and we will see you back here next week, same time, same place, when we chat with the amazing Adriana Trigiani. Good night. 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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