Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 2 years ago

Friends and Fiction with JT Ellison & Hank Phillippi Ryan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The incredible pair of thriller writers and Emmy Award winning television hosts JT Ellison & Hank Phillippi Ryan join the Fab Five to talk about work/life balance, their fascinating back stories, the interesting stories behnd both of their new books, and their mentors. https://hankphillippiryan.com/ https://www.jtellison.com/

Welcome to Friends and fiction. Five best selling authors Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast with five bestselling novelist whose common love of reading, writing an independent bookstores found them together with chats, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing. Thes friends discuss 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. Bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, Christie Woodson, Harvey Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends with more than 80 published books. To their credit at the Start of the Pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, their favorite bookstores writing, reading and publishing in this new, uncharted territory. They're still talking, and they've added fascinating discussions with other bestselling novelists, so join them live on their friends and fiction Facebook Group page every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, or listen and view later at your leisure. Hi, everyone and welcome Hi, Welcome to France and Fiction, our weekly Facebook live show featuring author checks in support of independent bookstores were so happier here for this really special show. We have so much tonight and we cannot wait to just jump right in. I'm hosting tonight and I am Patty Callahan Henry, and my next book is surviving Savannah out on March Night on Hello, I'm Mary Alice Munro and my upcoming book is May 11th, and it's called The Summer of Lost and Found. I'm Mary Kay Andrews and the newcomers will be out May 4th. Hi, I'm Kristen Harmel, and my next book is the Forest of Vanishing Stars. Coming July 6th. I'm Christi Woodson Harvey, and my next book is Under the Southern Sky, releasing April 20th. And this is friends and fiction. Welcome. Not only do we have one amazing guest tonight, but to I don't know how we got double lucky, but we did, and so did you. But before we talk about our guests and then talk to our guests, we get to do one of our very favorite things that friends and fiction one of our own has a cover reveal. Truth is, we've seen it already because we made for Show us now, Kristin, do not keep it from everyone else. for one more second ready way. E love it too. So I'm so excited about this one. I'm I pitched it, as were the products saying Meets Rapunzel. Set in World War Two. It sounds kind of nuts, but basically it's based on the true story of Jews and Poland to escape the Nazis by disappearing deep into the dark forests. Um, the story centers on a young woman named Jonah who was kidnapped by a crazy old woman when she was just a baby and raised alone in the wilderness in total isolation. But after the woman dies in 1942 this old kidnapper, um, Yona soon encounters a family of fleeing Jewish refugees changing her life forever. But soon she learns that you can't run from your past. So I seriously cannot wait to share this book with all of you. And of course, you can pre order it. Now if you're interested from wherever books are sold, including our Bookstore of the Week Parnassus Books and anyone who pre orders from Parnassus by Saturday night will receive one of these awesome friends and fiction Coups ease. The link is under announcements. So there you go, friends and fiction e o the...

Forrester vanishing E o. So we have listened to Christian talk about this book as she sprinted to the end of it. And I have to tell you her immaculate research on the synchronicity is that happened to her that turned this book idea into a powerful novel. Y'all are y'all We cannot wait, but wait. Speaking of Christian E Hello, Finalist for the good reads historical fiction category. Oh, proud You haven't voted. Go vote. Thank you. Know, everyone's tired of voting, but go vote. Thank you so much. And if you voted one of the previous rounds, you can vote again so you can vote each round. But this is the last one. So thank you. We want you to win with would be awesome to kind of bring it home for friends and fixing things when you're really counts. Thank you, guys. Thank you. Okay, enough, Kristen. Thank you. Think never. Enough, Christian. Very proud. It kind of like we feel like it's where it's a win for all of us. Way are all true. The a team and truly sisters. And so that means a lot. Thank you were proud. Okay, So now let me tell you about our bookstore for the week. As you know, one of our founding principles was to support indie booksellers, and tonight we're spotlight spotlighting. That's a tongue twister spotlight spotlighting, spotlighting Parnassus Bookstore. It is one of my favorite places to visit, and Parnassus is located in Nashville, Tennessee, and founded and run by the beloved author and patch it. This week they're offering a 10% discount on books by our guests, as well as the five of us with the code friends Fiction 10. There's no and in there just friends Fiction 10 and also, as Christine mentioned, anyone who pre orders from Parnassus gets one of those little coups ease, and Kristen will send that to you. And Parnassus actually has a separate page set up for Kristin. So we'll put it on the friends and victim page. Um, finally, you let me tell you about our guests tonight. JT Ellison and Hank Phillippi Ryan. We are so happy to have them. We have been looking forward to this for so long. They are both huge, best selling authors of thrillers, and this is crazy, but they're both Emmy Award winners also, and they're both kind and smart and interesting. Yes, they're both all of those things. So talking about their bios would leave no time to talk to them. So I'm going to make this really quick. Jakey Ellison is The New York Times in use, a today bestselling author of more than 20 acclaimed novels, including Tear Me Apart, Lie to Me and All the Pretty Girls. She also co authored the huge blockbusters with Catherine Culture. Ah, Brit in the FBI. She is Yet, as I mentioned, Emmy Award winning co host of the television Siri's Ah, Word Onwards in Nashville, Tennessee, with millions of books in print, Ellison's work has been published in 27 countries and 15 languages. She was once in a point to eat and worked in the White House. I asked her questions about that all the time and for several defense and aerospace contractors. After moving to Nashville, Ellison began to research her hidden passions, forensics and crime and was compelled to begin writing her stories. JTS interest go way beyond writing books. She also publishes them. In 2015, Ellison founded her own indie publishing house to Tales Press. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville, where she enjoys fine line and good notebooks. Her new novel, Her Dark Lies, is coming out next year on the same pub...

...date as surviving Savannah March 9th, and it is page turning Glorious. Hank Phillippi Ryan is the Use, a today bestselling author of 12 thrillers. Her newest book is The First Toe Lie and came out like the rest of our books. In The Middle of the Pandemic, Hank Phillippi Ryan is the use. A Today bestselling author, she has won multiple awards for her thrillers five Agatha's for Anthony's, The Daphne Touma Cavities and the company Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also Oh my Gosh, the on air investigative reporter for Boston's TV. She has won 37 Emmys, 14 more awards and dozens of other honors. National Book Reviews have called Hank a master, crafting suspenseful stories and a superb and gifted storyteller for 2019. Book is the acclaimed standalone psychological thriller The Murder List, which just won that Anthony Award. Her newest book is The First Toe Lie, a chilling psychological stand alone. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts. So without further ado, let's bring the ladies from the green room E J Away the appetizers e from her, You know, when she hit the Champaign. So we finally shared. I made her give me an advance copy of her dark lives Because I want 10 word description of that book because it is the best idea I have ever heard. We're gonna make her tell us. It's amazing. I know. Okay, So, welcome, y'all, what a few weeks this has been. I mean, let's be honest what a year it's been, um, this week for our newsletter, I wrote an essay called The Flim Flam Hustle Myth and talked about. Are we pushing too hard? Sometimes. Where do we find balance when the creative ideas air flowing? Do we want to do everything all at once? On one of my favorite comments that I don't know who to attribute it to is you can be anything but you can't be everything. So how do we choose so, J t. Hank, When we look at your body of work, it is obvious that you hustle. But you have full and beautiful lives at the same time. So tell me how you choose. How do you do anything, although you can do everything, jt Oh, I suffer from that exact thing trying to decide. What am I going to do? What's important, what is what is vital. Um, my rule is to try to keep it 90% writing and 10% business, and I can always tell when I start getting out of balance. When I start getting into 50 50 or even like this week, it's been completely swap. I haven't written a word, but I've done a ton of business. That's when I have to step back and say, Nope, definitely going Thio. Try to fix this and and get back to the work because that's the only thing that really matters for what we're doing as creative as writers. That's that's our That's our job is to write, and I don't think there's an editor on the planet. There's gonna be calling you saying, Hey, you didn't spend enough time on Twitter today. I didn't see that post for you. You know that, Zo, That's I always try to remember that when I start getting out of balance that my job is here writer and and that's the priority, and that helps so J t I think your microphone is There you go. There's, like a weird, staticky thing. Yeah, much better Magic. But that was amazing advice. The 90 10 rule. I haven't heard that. I've never been able to match that zip. Amazing.

Now you can't now we can't hear you it all. But hey, hey, how do you do anything? Although you can do everything we know you can We just read your awards because I would used to try. I used to be a really multitasker and I wouldn't a little bit of this and do a little bit of this. And I think I could talk on the phone and do my email at the same time and think about stuff and take notes. And I have realized that the thing, the way to have one way toe handle my life is to just do one thing at a time to focus on one thing. So I'm so organized. I have lists of lists I have. I can't use the calendar because there's not much, not enough room. So I have a notebook that says Tuesday the 19th or whatever day it is because who knows what day it is, anyway, who knows? And I list the things that I have to dio and I cross them off. I do one thing at a time. I'm fully present in the thing that I'm doing, and I don't worry about that. I'm not doing this and I'm not doing that. I think about them doing the task that I am doing. I will complete the task that I have, um designed to do that I've assigned myself to do and then I'll go on to the next one. It's just like a little kid. It's terrible sometimes that I'm writing. You know, I car about the time for my writing and I protect that, you know, from 2 to 5 or 2 to 6. Those are my on writing times, and I and I and I don't let anything interfere with that. That's my promise that I've made to myself. You know, when we're in our riel jobs, other jobs and we have a boss and we're trying to please the boss. Well, I'm the boss now on my writing now, and I do what pleases myself. But as I said, it's like a little kid. I I actually, I'll tell you this. I actually set a timer and I stayed to myself. I'm going to It's really 34 minute increments. I write for 34 minute increments and I do not check the email I do not want and see if any mail has arrived. I don't do the laundry. I don't allow anything else except for right. And when the bell dings, I'm often so deeply into the manuscript at that point, um, that I just said it again and go again. But it's a question of focus. That's my is to focus. Okay, I'm taking that home with me. How about you, ladies? How do you do anything although that you could do ever just it. Okay, I think when I go to bed at night, the last thing I try to think about is what I'm gonna do in the morning. And, uh, and for the past, uh, eight or nine months, what I'm gonna do in the morning is right. First thing before anything else happens. And then I think about well, what has to happen today. I've gotta, you know, run errands or do something with the house, or, you know, respond to emails or all that kind of stuff. I never feel like I have it figured out that. Yeah. How about you, Mary? Alice? How do you do anything? How do you decide which to do when you could do everything? Well, I'm listening to all of you. First of all, I think in the last week I have turned off the news. I That's helpful. It's been a time suck. And so I also read in our if anyone hasn't subscribed to our newsletter, Um, it's a really great newsletter. Patty, you wrote a really wonderful essay in a line that I really loved. It was what makes us happy isn't doing mawr, but doing what matters. Andi, I think that's really becoming key, you know, especially now that the news is off. We can all get back to our normal lives a little bit. Doing what matters? Is this going to keep us productive? Keeps it out? Yeah. Oh, thank you, Mary. Alice. So how about you, Kristen? Well, you...

...know, doing what matters is such an important thing to think about it. So that was such a great point. Mary Alice. And for me, I think my biggest struggle has been trying to figure out what are the things that matter because I can't do it all. I mean, I think I think none of us can. We would love to do it all, but there aren't enough hours in the day. And so I was thinking about this today, and I think I've really started asking myself the question is this thing that I'm going to do something that will make a better future for, like, for me, my family, for my work. And, you know, that doesn't mean that I can't sit on the couch for an hour and watch the crown, because you know what? That's gonna make me a little happier, which makes better. But, you know, I think, um I think just asking what makes for a better future, which includes playing with my son as much as I can dio Oh, I love that. How about you, Christie? Um, I feel like I'm probably not the only person in this group who could say this, but I really have toe think more about, you know, the the having fun and the letting go, because, I mean, I am a massive workaholic, I think Way e like to be working. I feel like I'm good when I'm working. You know, I feel like that's kind of like the the easy stuff. So I mean, I think my major things are just really trying. I can't do it every day because, you know, there's a lot going on, but I really do try to be the person that fixed well up from school and have the afternoons with him, and that's really important. Um e Also, I just started playing tennis again during covert, and I'm so proud of myself because for years and years and years and years, I've been like I'm gonna start playing tennis again. And then I was like, I don't have time, I don't have time. So I found this group of ladies that wants to play for one hour twice a week, and I'm like if I cannot play tennis for one hour twice a week, I don't have a life like I'm at a ballot like I need you to do this, and it isn't so great every time I do it. I'm like, Oh my gosh, I feel like I just did something So amazing. And I'm free. Yeah, so great. That's awesome. So five of us the week before this all got to see each other, but we didn't get to see each other this week, But we did get to hang out together this week at a two day extravaganza on reading with Robin. So if you shoot over to her Facebook page, you get to see that. No. J. T. And Hank, we want about your newest books. J t tell us about good girls. Lie a page turning, plot twisting heck of a read. Tell us about it. Let's make sure you can hear making hear me. Okay, You fixed? It s oh, good girls. Lie is It's the book that I wasn't supposed to write. I was supposed to be actually taking a break. I was exhausted. I had written a number of books very quickly and I just wanted to break. And I sat down at dinner with my publisher and my editor and told them I was going to take four months off, to which they were thrilled to here that news. I'm sure e walked out of that and I was like, That didn't go so Well, e need to not take a break on DWhite. Could I do fast? Because I was. I was. I had a very short deadline. If I was going to write a book, I needed to write something that I could spit out really quickly. And that meant not a lot of research and good girls. Lie is set in an all girls private boarding school. And I went to a private boarding college, all women. And so I knew the setting very, very intimately. I had a number of very weird, creepy stories. The place was haunted. All these fun things e figured. Okay, I've got three quarters of it. I've got a setting. I know all the research. I just need some characters and a plot. And just that, just like that. So I was I was actually we were flying to England and I was reading Yoga journal, and there was a whole story about this woman, and her best friend's name was Ashland. And I went, Oh, Ash, I like...

...that name. And the next page was about Belinda Carlisle, the go go's singer who is now a Yogi, which is awesome. And I'm like ash Carlisle. I've got a character. Okay. And then we were in Oxford in a coffee shop in a teashop. And I'm like, OK, well, maybe she comes from Oxford, and and then I had the character at the time I got back. So this is about a week and a half later from when I told them I wasn't going to do a book. About a week and a half later, I had pulled together. Ah, whole story about Ash Carlyle. Who is this young woman from Oxford who's just lost her parents in a terrible murder suicide on Before they died? They had arranged for her to go to the good school in March. Berg, Virginia. And she doesn't want, you know, she's got nothing. She has nowhere to go. So she has to go to this school. She just wants to fit in. She just wants to live her life. And everything is going pretty well until students start to die. Wait. So, Hank, tell us about the for I love the book of you have the word lie. Good girls lie And the first to lie way Thought you were having a scene. It's the lying Emmy award winning best selling thing. It has a really interesting origin story, so tell us about it well, quickly. I've been a television reporter for 43 years, which is so crazy to think about, and I wired myself with hidden cameras and confronted corrupt politicians and gone undercover and in disguise. And it was one of the stories that I went undercover for, that that really was the germ of this novel. I went undercover to a doctor's office. You would not have recognized me with my hair on top of my head and makeup and big glasses, and I wore, like, three sweatshirts so I wouldn't know different body shape. And over one of this over the sweatshirt was a work shirt, and in the button of the work shirt was in the buttonhole of a work shirt. Was not Ah, button. It was a camera lens. A hidden camera on snaked down under the sweatshirt was the wire of the hidden camera, which was attached to the guts of the camera in a fanny pack. I was glamorously one well, my producer and I, who was a man at the time, posed as a woman who wanted to get pregnant and her husband, he didn't have to dress up because he just looks like Chris. Uh, if doctors would tell us the truth about their malpractice histories and long story short, they did not. And I got it all on camera on Dwell Big Story about how doctors were lying about them, their malpractice histories and of new law was passed in Massachusetts as a result of that to make those histories be in their public record. So that's really good. But oh, I want to read that a story. A story came the first ally, and here's what It waas Oh wow. He allied to me for himself for selfish reasons to get me to be a patient. Onda, that's bad. But I lied to him, too, didn't I? Lied to him. I didn't say, Hey, Phillipe Ryan from Channel seven. I'm seeing if you're going to tell me the truth, right? No, I lied, but I lied for a good reason. I became someone else to get what I want. And that was the part partial key of the book. What if being someone else could get you what you want so really quickly? You know it's impossible to talk about a book, a thriller without giving it away, although J. T. Did a pretty great fabulous glob of it. But somebody said to me, Tell me about your book and forwards and I said Betrayal,...

...motherhood, obsession and revenge on then in five phrases, it's, um, a devastating childhood betrayal. An undercover reporter who's into deep, a beautiful sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay. Uh, and powerful family and an ice pick that is not used for ice. So to facing off in a high stakes psychological cat and mouse game to get revenge for a childhood betrayal. But which woman is the cat and which woman is the mouths? Awesome with anything. So Christie Woodson, Harvey, I know that you have a question for them. I do. So this is actually for both Hank and J. T. So both of you had amazing jobs before you started writing novels. J t you worked in the White House. And Hank, you were and still are a TV anchor. Eso what made you finally take pin to paper? JT, do you want to start? Yeah, I was the White House. The political stuff was the second career. I thought I was going to be a writer and I got a degree in writing and thought I was going to go and get my M F A and and all of that. And my thesis advisor told me I wasn't good enough to get published. Oh, no writing. She was very adamant. It wasn't. It wasn't incentivized her to go and try harder. She was very, very serious. She was trying to save me a lot of heartache. And so I went the political route and got my master's in political management and worked in the White House and all over the hill and all of those things, Uh, it was it was wonderful and it was a lot of fun. I was a glorified team maker. I mean, you know, come on. I was 21 but it was very fun. And it, you know, it teaches you a lot of things. But then I was never happy. I never liked it. I chafed. You know, every time somebody told me to do something, I chafed every time I got in trouble because I got in trouble all the time because I didn't like what I was doing. You know, it just was very difficult for me. I don't play well with others, especially authority figures. Um, and eventually it became very clear that I was not destined for a life where the boss and I didn't really have much of a choice but to try being a writer again. And and I did. And it was eight years later and I typed that first paragraph and I just burst into tears because I was home after all that time, I was finally home. And, you know, it's you know, at the time I probably wasn't good enough to get published. E really like who of us a 21 was ready to, like, write a great book. You know, e you have to practice a little bit. It's not like day one. I mean, I'm sure that there are people who are Yeah, but, you know, for a lot of us, it takes more than your ceases. Yeah, which was, you know? Yeah, well, they were trying to train me to write a certain way on eso you are literally have a paper here in my filing cabinet that the note says reads too much like B grade detective fiction e was writing crime fiction. It's crime fiction then And they didn't want crime fiction. E just honestly think some people, including professors, think that the critique means you have to make a critical negative college on. And that's how they that's so naive and so wrong. E yeah, that's awful. Well, Hank, what about? But you made it. You got the last laugh. Yeah, e 10 years. So whatever, does she know you're...

...published? E? I have no idea. I have. No. I looked up e my first book and saw she didn't get tenure, and I figured karma took care of it. E u Oh, gosh. You know, I I grew up in really rural Indiana so rural that you couldn't see another house from our house. And my sister and I used to write our ponies to the library to get books, and we'd read up in the hayloft off the barn behind our house. I got that. Sounds romantic. Well, well, you know what it was, though. It was lonely. It was I was such a loner. Such a geeky little, bookish little girl. Then I was voted in my middle school. Most individual which spent, like, weirdest. They put my picture in the school. You're upside down because I e because I was so weird and so unpopular and so friendless. And I was so upset by that. And I promise you, this has a point. I'm so imagine Marma You imagine doing that? I mean, if I was sobbing, I went home and I was so upset. I'm, like, 14. Upset is only a 14 year old girl could be like they can't do this to me. Um, And I and my mom said, You know, I was saying the world isn't fair, the world isn't fair on. My mom said, Listen, kiddo, you're gonna have to get over this, and you're gonna have to learn that the world isn't fair. And I decided then that when I grew up, I was going to do something to make the world more fair, you know, to stand up for the little guy and make a difference and have my life have some meaning. So I went to the biggest after working in politics for a couple of years, actually, like j t. But no candidate I ever worked for, actually one thing is not my career through radio station in Indianapolis, and I said, I'm here to apply for a job. Um, this was 1970 I was 20. And the news director says, Have you ever worked in radio before? And long story short. I had worked. No television, no radio, no magazine. Know anything. I hadn't done anything. So he said finally says, Can you give me one good reason why I should hire you? And I said, Well, your license is up for renewal at the Federal Communications Commission right now, and you don't have any women working here. Oh, wow. Oh, my first job in broadcasting. So here's the thing, though. That was brave that day. I walked into that. You know, I walked into that. Let me put it this way. Threatening a potential boss with the lawsuit during the job of them in a way to go. I do not recommend this, but I took a chance and I found my calling, You know, e thought out of the box and you gave an answer that implied you could do investigative journalism. Well, do you think Mary Ellis, I Yeah, maybe so, But I was brave, you know? I was naive, you know, in super confident 20. We think we could do anything. And I always think about that. How brave I waas to take a chance like that. And that's sort of why. How? I started writing at age 55. I had a good idea for a book, and I just thought, I'm doing this. I'm doing that. Zm e Well, we have right now. You look about 30. So that's a little confine. It's perplexing. So, Mary Alice, I know you had a question for both of them. I dio both of you write thrillers and our TV host. So I think with that background being similar, I'm curious. This is a question. We ask all our guests every week. And so, with your similar backgrounds, even in politics I wanted the answers will be saying we're different. What with the values around reading and writing in your house growing up. And how do you think it affected the books that you write today?...

Go ahead, JT. I was gonna say thank you. Get to go first this time. Okay? Just repeat. I can repeat E got it. No, I got it. I, uh My parents are huge readers e I think they're watching high I So I said I send them the link so they would watch, uh, they are. They're obviously big fans of my work too, which is great. But the rule in the house was if I could reach it on the bookshelf, I could read it on. I was a really talking about which helped. So I read things I probably shouldn't have read. When I was very, very young. I was very precocious reader. I read fast. They encouraged that they took me to the library. We made a deal with the library in because we lived out in the woods. So going to the library was was kind of a chore. And so we made a deal with the librarians that I could check out more books. Then everybody else could, because I read so fast, which was fantastic. So it truly comes from my family and my parents absolutely love and encouragement when it comes to books and bookshelves and, you know, it's it's fantastic. I still I share an account with my dad and my mom on Kindle so that I could buy books for them that we could both read at the same time and then talk about it and, you know, got book in a month. We, you know, my mom's always calling. Okay. Which book are you getting? Okay. I'm gonna get this one. You get this, My flop. I mean, it's it's really their mid eighties, and and it's fantastic that we still have this reading relationship. It's never changed. It's wonderful. Probably. Thanks. Mom and Dad miss my mom. Oh, she was so happy when I you know, she I'm so happy that she was alive long enough to see that. You know, I think she was. She was the one who she was the person in my life who would say I would say, I got an A And she'd say Not in a plus. Eso writing a book was a big deal for us. I couldn't. I was allowed to read anything in the house. I mean, it waas that my parents library was full of books. Um, they had they did not care what I read. There were more upset that I read Mad magazine. Then they will that I read Marjorie Morningstar you know it was that. But that's an interesting cap it. Yeah, but you know, the Mushroom Planet and Trixie Belden. And you know, all James Thurber. Short stories and fables. And, you know, every you know, all the books about smart girls that were powerful and that took control. I really loved. I really loved those books. And I remember tearing through books like JT reading as fast as I possibly could until I got to Black Beauty. And I don't remember how old I was. Nine. Could that be? And I remember I closed the book and usually I would close the book and then read something else real fast. And I closed the book and I got ready to pick up another book, and I thought, Wait, I don't think this is only about a horse. You know, there's more to this book than that. And at that age, I had discovered theme my I guess that more to a book than just the story. I mean, I just got remembering that and way all have to be readers to be writers, right? This is what us in life. Uh huh. E Remember that moment for me? like I remember that being like, Oh, wait, you know? Yeah, it's bigger than may. Yeah, E. That's what happens in writing to...

...when you're when we're writing our books. And we think we're writing a story on then at some point, we think, Oh, this is about a thing. You know, thinking somebody said it was like dropping a drop of iodine into a glass of clear water. When you get the theme, a whole just s Oh, wow. Yeah, that's a great image. A some Wow. Yeah, You're getting a lot of cat love on the Facebook right now. You want to, you know, like that you should dio e. I know you have a question for J T while she's showing the kitty to all of us. Yeah, JT, Patty mentioned to me that every book you write has a line that actually defines the book. A single sentence sort of encapsulates the story such as the line they thought having a baby would fix everything in lie to me or there are truths and there are lies. And there is everything in between, which is where you and I will meet. I love that line. Girls lie. What a great line. So I love that idea. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Does the line come first? Do you put it in afterwards? Once you have a sense of the story and is a part of your whole process, it's definitely part of the process. It's something that you know. A line like that will sit with me for 23 books sometimes until I could finally have that moment that it it's like, Oh, that's what this story is about, that they thought having a baby would fix everything. He thought having a baby would fix everything that from lie to me that was with me for probably five years before I actually had the story for it. Um, good girls lie, though that one happened as I was writing it. So sometimes they are out there waiting for me to start a story, and sometimes the story comes from the line. It just depends, but I have found dramatically with all of my stand alone's. There is that line that really kind of encapsulate. It's not the log line, it's not, you know, it's just mawr. What? The story is what The narrative is to me as a writer, and that's what I hang my hat on. And once I have that, then you know, I know I've got something. It becomes riel and the lines always in the book like it's not just something that you're thinking through, like it actually always appears in the book. Yeah, and a lot of times title related. You know, it'll it'll have something to do with the title. I liked the title before I start the story, and I have now you know, this money books and learned that you know, title is is not something that is necessarily going to stay. So having that thematic line in there that the chances of that sticking around are a lot awesome. I've never heard that before. What a great way to do that like a starter isn't e think about it. You have that e tell you what the line is and every single book I've written E z e c. You know, when we were joking earlier about y'all giving the writing tips for us that it's the truth because I've never thought of that. Yeah, like what? Your genius way should go through and go through our new books and find what that one line is posted way. Yeah, thinking they came. Mary Kay. I'm the line of the motivation for your protagonist. Um, and what is the one lines? You should be able to point to it that your character once in the first couple of chapters, you know, it's funny. You should get your readers to read your books and have them. You're not even better because they can't figure it out. You know, with me...

...a little anxiety. Hang, You don't want that. Um, the title for the first two lie, as a matter of fact, came from my book, the murder list, Which is which is hilarious because in the murder list, one of the main characters is talking to a police officer about somebody who was arrested, and the police officer says, Well, you know, the first to talk is the first to walk. Meaning, you know, the first to rat out the first one to get the lighter sentence. And my character in the book says, Yeah, but what about the first toe lie? And then I thought, Oh, there it isn s my title came from a fictional character who I wrote that so lucky that happened. E Mary Kay. You had a question for Hank to I do. Hank, I know that you were close friends with the late, amazing Sue Grafton and, you know, soon meant a lot to me early in my career as a mystery writer, too. I went thio when I was still a newspaper reporter. I went to a writers workshop where she was teaching, and she was amazingly encouraging to me. And I wondered if you would talk a little bit about that friendship and what it meant to you. Not just your career, but personally. Over the years, I think about two every day. I can I tell you what you know. I have to say what a class act. What a charming, hilarious, authentic, genuine, friendly, hardworking, determined, Hilarious. I mean, if I reach around my computer right now, let me see if I could do this by reach around my computer right now. This is This is the bottle of wine she gave me. Uh, with M is with e. M. Is for murder tag on it on, guy. And of course I didn't drink it. I just say that and I use it just as a Z inspiration. We met because I asked her. Oh my golly, this is so funny. Talk about J. T. And me together this way couldn't have more connections. I used to dio the author. Interviews show for Channel seven on Dyear is before years before I started writing, Sue Grafton was one of the guests that I interviewed, and I had not written a book. I had not written a word, and I said to her in this interview, You know, I've always wanted to write a mystery. You know, since I was a little girl, I wanted to write a mystery and she says, Well, you know, when you read it, you just send it to me and I will look at it So you know, because of course I'm That's never gonna happen. So nine years later, I wrote her this letter and I said, Um, this is your good deeds. Come back to haunt you million years ago when you said if I wrote a book, you could read it well, here it iss Andi, she wrote back, and she said, I'll read your book But if I don't like it, you'll never hear from me again. So don't write to me anymore. And maybe a month later can letter from Sue, which is on my wall behind me, framed with the blurb for the book. We were dear friends. Since then I mean laughing and one of the best pictures, one of my favorite pictures and her is And I'll tell you one more thing about it is her coming up to me. Somebody snapped a picture of her coming up to me with my book and asking me, Decide my book, tow her, and I just i e o amazing. That's how wonderful. That's how wonderful she waas you know, she was so genuine, she would not, she would not fake. It s had...

...not been the real thing e thank you. And I both know she would have been She would have been polite and said, Honey, stick to T v e Interesting. Is that that she told me Just if you don't hear from me, it's not a mistake. Don't know. Wow about that. Just a really good answer. E Just remember things workshop I took with her. She read my manuscript she read. You could get a manuscript critique for, I don't know, 50 bucks. It was unbelievable on. And if you read my first manuscript and she said Okay, what have you you know, you could get published. What are you doing? Uh, and after that book, I wrote it, and my publisher, Harper Collins, said, Well, we're gonna ask so and so and so. And soda Barb it as a favor to you. And I said, Well, I thought I would ask Sue Grafton and they said, Oh, no, honey, you're not We're not asking Sue Grafton, And I said, but you know what? After I got home from this workshop, I wrote her a note and thanked her for all her help. When she wrote me back and I said, How about if I asked her and she did you two, That's who she wasif. You had the woods, you know. He believed in you. She she would. And, you know, whenever she came to Atlanta, we would try to get together. What a role model. Right? And you just throw back her head and laugh. I mean, she was so famous, but, you know, she enjoyed it. And she thought life was fun and she braced it. I think that the idea that she didn't get to Z with the book is about the most profoundly beautiful thing that they're, you know, that the universe just left it as it was, just left that door open, you know, just brings tears to my eyes to think about think about, you know, shows you that there is some wisdom in the universe. Somehow we don't really understand it. Wow. You guys make me wish I had met her. She was amazing. Yeah. Okay. Mary Kay, give us a quick reminder about our bookstore of the week. You know, one of our founding principles was to support any bookstores like Parnassus, one of my favorite places to visit in Nashville, founded and run by our beloved author and patch it. This week they're offering 10% discount on books by our guests as well as by the five of the F N F host authors. The code is friends Fiction 10. Also for anybody who preorders the Forest of Vanishing Stars, Kristen's forthcoming book from Parnassus. Now, in this Saturday, the 21st, Kristen will send you a friends and fiction. Cuzzi Parnassus has a special page set up on their site and we will have it on our website to accept your pre orders. Awesome. That's awesome. Okay, cover that is quite just a okay. Because we have been such chatty Cathy's. Not just you, Kathy Trocheck, but all of us, we're gonna We're gonna skip right on down to the writing tips so that we don't run out of time. But I need to tell you, Hank and J. T you have loads of questions on the Facebook page. So if you have time just run over there this week and they're asking about your daily beast story hang, which I'm dying to hear about their asking about your friendship, they're asking about your name where he came from, so we'd all love all those answers. But what we really want right now is your writing tips. So, Hank, we talk a lot on here about writing Pips, supporting other writers. And you're an amazing example of an author who's doing that. I know...

...you're involved with the website career authors dot com with one of my favorite people. Dana Isaacson is amazing. Isn't he amazing? okay. He's an editor. Y'all, He's an editor, and he is a genius. Uh, CNN he called the story whisperer is amazing. And so that you all have a website called career authors dot com, which offers amazing articles. Writing prompts all kinds of things. So tell me, what are writing? Tip is from you. Well, Mary Kay brought up Sue Grafton. So let's go, What with what I learned from Sue Grafton, We want to keep it going. Keep the history going. Um, Sue taught me two things. One is, um, to every day, if you're writing, set your intent for the day that this is what you intend to accomplish, Accomplish in the words that your writing and that's sort of a road map for you to get that little chunk of, you know, is it the happily ever after ending is when there's a big clue is set. Is that the big reversal? It's when the emotional hook is set. What is it that you're doing? So, you know, uh, taught me and this is so crazy. And I thought it was a terrible idea, and he also taught me to keep a writing diary. Yeah, every day at the beginning of when I write, I write down Not long. I'm not I'm not even talking about a paragraph like a couple lines. Just how I feel and to say those And I have to tell you they have saved my life because when when I started writing the book that I'm writing right now which is due like tomorrow E wrote in my in my writing diary on page What Right. Pay day one. I have no idea. E I have no idea. I e yes, writing diary. And it said day one, I have no idea. And I thought, Oh, well, this is how I always feel This'll is the only time that i e I have no idea what I'm doing. This is my process. This is my emotional process of fear Coming first and then I turned I keep you know, turn the page of the old during the pages of the old diary and there is Oh, I have a good idea. Oh, I think this is gonna work. Oh, crossing fingers have that. My progress is there. And my favorite line that I ever wrote in one of those diaries is um every New York Times bestselling novel started with one word. So just write one word. Love it. That's great. Yang, bring it in. Yeah, bringing it home Your home. But you brought it. You took it all the way. You're for J. T, my friend. You have been part of my pandemic survival team. You are constant. I'm gonna get kind of choked up. You are constantly sending out inspiring notes and articles and tips. And I wish everybody could see everything you've been sending out for the past six months. It's It's really been astounding. But can you share just one of your tips with our viewers? I think the most important thing, especially for female writers, is to respect your time. If you don't respect your writing time, nobody else will respect it either. And if that means you have Teoh, you have to leave the house. If you have to go the library. If you've got a door that you can shut and say this is my writing time, if you will respect your writing time, you will learn that the people around you start to respect it as well. And then that gives you the ability to do the thing that is the real writing tip, which is You've got to touch your manuscript every day. You don't have to write 1000 words a day. That's sometimes impossible. It's great goal, but it's hard to do, right. I mean, it's a hard, hard thing, but it's very easy to open your manuscript and a t...

...least read what you wrote the day before. At least type a few lines. Just try something. Touch it every day. If you can't open the manuscript, open a notebook. If you can't do that, sit with it and and think about it and just touch it every day. No matter what you're doing, when you're building it and when you're writing it and and that just keeps you in it, it keeps you focused, and it makes it a lot easier when you sit down. You know, Tiu that page. I have no idea what this is, but if you touched it the day before, you have a little bit of an idea. I mean, if you don't know, you sort of dio eso that that would be my big thing, respect your time and then touch the manuscript every day. That's amazing. That's amazing. All right, we have a few announcements Were going to kind of try to pop through them. So, Mary Kay, could you give us the first piece of huge news? Yes, we friends and fiction. We are now on instagram uh, easy to find this. Under friends and fiction, we're gonna pose writing tips and questions and first looks at covers And, of course, the inside scoop about our guests. Um, last night I posted pictures of me with my first of advanced reader's copy. Super exciting. So make sure you go ahead and follow us on Instagram at Friends and Fiction. And Christie, um just a reminder to go ahead and preorder the forest of banishing banishing stars. Hey, E, we went through a lot of titles. Way you guys were like my title brainstorming team. So thank you. They also and I was like, Wait, that doesn't have a single like dark. And I was like, No, we decided, not dark vanishing. It's beautiful. I love it way u u s a mish with preorder at Parnassus Andi also, you're definitely gonna want to pick up our amazing guests books from them tonight is Well, Yeah. Mary Alice. Well, next week we're very excited to host Sue Monk Kidd and I've known for a long time. She's a wonderful woman. And her book, The Book of Longings, is on everyone's t B R list, and we're really looking forward to it. So join us next Wednesday. And my dear Christian So I know we have been teasing you all with merchandise, and we wanna thank you for timing in on our poll. So, more news to come really, really soon. We promise. We know you're waiting for it. Andan the meantime, very soon, even sooner than the merchandise news. I think we're gonna have some exciting announcements about being able to join a signed first editions club for the five friends and fiction authors. So we'll have that to you, I think, within the next few days. Yep. So, J T and Hank, y'all are simply amazing. We could talk to you for another two hours. Your advice, your stories? Um, e no, there's e o. We're gonna have to dio, uh, back story like a second one behind the scenes. Um, you both are amazing. Thank you so much for coming with us. Thank you. Thank you, Thank you. Thank you, Thank you. So bye, guys. So that's a wrap for this Wednesday night, and we will see you all next week for Sue Monk Kidd's. That's a wrap. Thank you. That was awesome. E information. And we got through it, e I was sweating E. That was really good.

I want to ask you a question, though. That has to do with JT's writing tip. So when she's talking about touching your manuscript every day, So, like, I'm editing right now, So I am not dealing with, like all I'm doing is editing. I'm not my other manuscript. So, like when you guys are, like, editing one book, are you also writing another one or you just know you're touching your manuscript right now? Yeah. One thing that I can't I can't do it a time. Yeah, some people can. I I just I don't want to. I think it makes for ah, confusion in your head, but where you're focused. Yeah, Just making sure e you have a question about your name Hank? Someone said we should ask about. Does anyone know the answer about the name ANC? we'll have to find out the answers it out. Yeah, Christie, I just I think if you're working on your manuscript, you're working on your manuscript, and some days you're going back and you're doing revisions, and some days you're doing copy at it that's working on That's touching your E. I am not one of these people who can work on two different writing projects at the same time. I know there are writers who do that, and they can compartmentalize their books. But when I'm in a book, my brain, it my money, I am in the world of that book and for me toe to try toe, go to another project. I feel like Who are those people? I can't I don't know those people yet. I can do it when I'm in copy at it because I think copy it. It's like you don't need to be. You don't need to be creating anymore You. You almost have to take a step back from the book and stop looking at the characters and look more at the details at that point. And I think that's when I could move forward to the next one, but not before then. Yeah, eso Speaking of our guests, JT, like I said, was part of my pandemic survival teams on one of the books she told me about that just saved me. Was this book called Deep Work by Cowl Newton cow? But it talks about that exactly. Christie, which is this idea that way have only so much deep work Weaken dio right? And if we're trying to scatter it around, none of it gets done. Well, so I try to remember that. And I think I talked about it tonight like I do this and then I do this and then I do this. We can't die deep if we're like Bing Bing, Bing, Bing Bing. So I talked about the writing intent. Like to sit down Because I know what I could have to do that day. But intent is a little more. Yeah. No. Yeah. When I took that writing workshop with Sue Grafton, she was so generous, she shared. I mean, she was super organized, so she shared pages from her daily writing journal. Wow, It would be She was very organized. And, um, so she would get up in the morning and she would meditate. And then she would, in her journal, talk about what do I need to do today with a book who? And she would say what happens? I need Thio Kinsey Milton with her protagonist. Well, Kinsey needs thio. You know, meet the suspect. Or, um, this needs to happen, and that needs needs to happen. And, um, I learned some that workshop. I can't even tell you how valuable it was to me, but she talked about that. And so, like, I have my my little composition book and lots of time start hurting Our happens today. What happens in the world of the today and sometimes it z simple. It's saying, Well, um, I ve talked to the real estate agent,...

...and sometimes it's more complicated, like I have to get. You know, this person has to die today, and then sometimes it's a simple Aziz. Well, I need to do some research because I don't know. Yeah, what happened? You know, when there's a car fire, whatever, and, um and then gold setting she was Sue is big on goal setting what? Her individual days not just know she would talk about What is your one year goal e. She was she was teaching a beginning writers workshop. So it would be like, What is your one work? One is your one year? Well, for most of it, it was finishing a book. What is your two year goals like? Maybe it's getting your book public. And five years and and somewhere I I've got to dig that up. I have the notebook where I wrote my goals out. E O. I do that every year, and it's really and I do it every month. But I do it every year, and it's really fun to go back and look at, like, 2013 and see like because, you know, sometimes you forget like where you were and where you are in such a short amount of time. And I mean, I could look back, and in 2013, I was starting to write my first manuscript, you know, so it's anything to think like how it seems like it's been a long time, but it really hasn't. But I love the idea of that, but especially with your writing, I've never thought about sitting down and thinking like, What's my goal today with my writing. I don't do that. E feel like we started this because we were all you know, Like, what are we going to dio? And I'm learning so much from these other authors what J t and Hank just talked about I've never heard said in that way. I mean, I scribble in my notebook every morning, but because I believe in morning pages artist way, But I've never thought about using it. Or what about my story? So how I thought it was amazing? E o really good on not speaking of writing, I have hours to go before I sleep on my e Don't know how you work at night e She works 20 hours a day for amazing i e o ther e o I'm gonna go eat my soup. This sounds delicious. Oh, by guy, you've been listening to the friends and fiction podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the friends and fiction podcast wherever you listen. And if you're enjoying it, leave a review. You can find the friends and fiction authors at w w w dot friends and fiction dot com a swell. As on the Facebook group page. Friends and fiction come back soon. Okay? There are still lots of books, writing tips, interviews, publishing news and bookstores to chat about goodbye.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (236)