Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends & Fiction with Karin Slaughter

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Back by popular demand, is the one, the only Karin Slaughter. The wonderfully witty and wildly talented New York Times bestselling, Edgar-nominated author of 21 novels with 35-million copies of her books sold around the globe joins us to talk about her latest up-all-night thriller, FALSE WITNESS. This is a can't-miss episode! Karin is always full of surprises. This time, we have lots of fun surprises in store for her! https://www.karinslaughter.com/ 

Welcome to Friends and fiction. Five best selling authors and the stories 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 In 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing and to highlight independent bookstores. These 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. Hi everyone it's Wednesday night and that means it's time for friends and fiction. Welcome to our show we've got so much look forward tonight I am mary Kay Andrews on your host tonight I'm Christine Harmel, I am patty Callahan Henry, I am Christy Woodson harvey and that was my husband. You just heard porn me somewhere that's all I can. He stopped by over here. I don't think he can make it to Birmingham. All right, so this is Friends and fiction, five new york times bestselling authors, endless stories who support indie bookstores tonight. You'll figure out why I need more wine because our guest is Karin slaughter. We're going to talk about her new book false witness which was released earlier this year in which of course was an instant new york times bestseller. Um and in our continuous support Can I still can't say that word can continuing support of indie bookstores tonight our bookstore the week is foxtail book shop located right here near me in Atlanta Georgia. It's actually in Woodstock and we're going to be telling you about that in a little bit. Yeah. And also am I talking about Caroline's cakes tonight? Looks like it. I think I am, I'm talking I don't even have any weak right now. It's so sad. Okay, Friends and Fiction has partnered with Caroline's cakes for the take a bite out of summer campaign which runs through the end of this month which is coming up and it culminates in a grand prize um awarded just in time for Labor Day weekend. One lucky winner will receive the Carolinas cakes, tote bag tuft with totally good swag from Caroline's and Friends and Fictions. 10 books that's 10 crazy. I know it's from each of us. Plus another book of each host author's choice and Caroline's cake bites in the winners flavor of choice. So enter tonight for a chance to win. Also tonight we do have some exciting news because Patty has something to show us. Yo my publishing house has designed and made the most gorgeous trailer for once upon a wardrobe and I want everyone here before I even put it on social media. I want everyone here to see it first. I swooned when I saw it. It was like seeing George and meg's walk off the page. So you ready? Alright show it Alan where do you think Nanya came from? I simply must find out discover how the world of a boy in failing health and his logic driven sister are changed in Once upon a wardrobe from the best selling author of Becoming Mrs Lewis comes another beautiful story inspired by C. S. Lewis. George wants to find out where Narnia came from. His big sister makes will do everything in her power to answer her younger brothers question the gift she thought she was giving to her brother. The story behind Narnia turns out to be his gift to her. Instead hope You've read the story set in Narnia now enjoy the story behind the stories. Once upon a wardrobe by Patty Callahan on sale October 19. That was great. It was like a movie trailer. I know when I first saw it. Um Anyway there's so much to tell you about this book and it's out in seven weeks. I can't believe that we're finally coming up on it. But I think for now that trailer tells you everything you need to get started. But...

...in working I have one more thing I want to tell you because in working on this book, I also worked with Joy David Mons son, you know, C. S Lewis's stepson Douglas Gresham. I know and he read the book and he steered me when I got off course and he's a beautiful supporter of the story and y'all, he has agreed to do a virtual an exclusive the lion the witch and the wardrobe Book club? Yes, he's going to join us for a zoom Book club and he said he would answer questions he's agreed to walk through the wardrobe with us. So if you pre order the book from anywhere all you can do you can attend this book club. We will be live on sunday afternoon september 19th with Douglas and with David Downing who is also a Narnia expert. But Douglas will tell us stories about living with C. S. Lewis. He will answer questions and he will tell us the hilarious story about the first time he met the man he calls Jack and he thought he would be a night from Narnia instead of the common man. He was living in a house in the woods. Yes. So you can find all the information on my website and on social media and Kristen I thought your blurt out there. I know Taylor was great, I love that you know, but also you have some book news this week. I do and I just have to say I'm so excited about your book and about the awesome opportunity to virtually meet C. S. Lewis's steps are going to be amazing. Like what a what a once in a lifetime opportunity for anybody who's even a little bit interested in Narnia. I mean it's just it's legendary, it's amazing. But yeah I wanted to just say that my first ever mass market paperback is out. So that's that little like 9 99 that 9 99 size that you can find in like drugstores or wherever. And it's actually it's the Winemakers Wife, which was my 2019 novel. Um and uh but it came out in paperback the week Everything shut down. So this book totally missed its chance. In normal paperback, I came out, March 17th 2020 was like everything was canceled. The book didn't make it to shelves all that. So this is like, it's second chance. It's everywhere everywhere. You can find mass market paperbacks, Kroger walmart sam's, the Airport, the drugstore anywhere. You usually pick up these kind of books, so it's a cheap opportunity to pick up the winemakers wife out this week. Please don't use the word cheap. I'm just a cheap pussy for this. You know, we call that, we call that budget, it's a budget, I think. They're so cute. I love them. I love them. I like to know if it's in my purse, which is not. Yeah, I know. And so, you know, every week we partner with Parade magazine online, we stream from their facebook page and we have an original essay in their online magazine this week, Christie wrote about the joy of buying school supplies and you can find that s a linked on our facebook page and in our instagram bio, but meanwhile, Christie, could you tell us about your shopping exposition? Yes, I can um while I am taking this off because I'm reading that it's making a scratching sound, Sorry and I wasn't supposed to have it on anyway, which is why I was laughing when we came on. Um But yes, this week, Is that better this week? I wrote about what I think should be a national holiday, which is back to school shopping. It is one of my favorite things in the entire world. I have loved it from the time I was little, I don't know that will loves it as much as I do, but like he pretends for me which I think is like really kind um that he's like yeah and really I think he's like I would rather be swimming or you know whatever, but he pretends and we get all the things and um so I wrote a little bit about that this week and it was just super super fun and so I wanted to ask you guys tonight really quickly. I think one of the reasons that I like back to school shopping is because it just feels like a fresh start. Um And so are there any um like rituals or times of yours? There anything that happens in your life that feels like a fresh start to you? Oh that's a good question. Um You know what? I think it's I think I make a conscious effort to try to make a new start on my birthday every year like I kind of say you know this is this is a new opportunity and like I kind of try to think about things. I feel like I've been doing wrong or weight, I've been carrying on my shoulders or like anger I've been carrying that I shouldn't. And I kind of try to let it go with the previous year. And I also, I want to say that I really liked about your essay Christie. Um it wasn't just a fresh start for will, it was a fresh start for you. Also the school school shopping. I liked how you tied that in. Thank you. Thank you for me. I just buying school supplies. Always felt so hopeful right? Like maybe this time...

I'll get it right. Maybe this time I'll stay organized. It's like buying, I buy a new notebook for every book I write right. And so when I do that, I think this time maybe I'll get it right. I haven't done it yet, but maybe you know. Yeah, well you know for me school supplies, you know, I have grandchildren now in school and their mom buys your school supplies. But for me school supplies equals office supplies. And so every time I venture into a store this time of year I load up my cart with my favorite black and white composition books and my fine tip felt pens, they have to be black. Do you guys agree that we can only write in black or are you okay with other cars? I write a lot of blue. No, I know I like I like pink and purple. And do, I really do orange. You probably have sparkly pens. No, they always felt tip. I'm with you. Like I'm a real right now. Sharpie pens are kind of my, my love sharpie pens. Yeah. Sharpie pens. We would love to be sponsored. Okay, that was not whoring yourself out at all. Kristie not at all. Always be closing always. You know, the other thing I like to buy is an office calendar because every year I tell myself this is the year I'm going to get organized. This is the year I'll make it happen. So maybe a little when Karen comes on, maybe we'll ask her if she likes office supplies. God knows what she, I do want to know that. I know we'll ask her that. Okay, so now let's talk about our incredible guest Karin Slaughter who's cooling her heels in the green room even as we speak. She is the New York Times best selling author of 21 novels including Pretty Girls, The Good Daughter Pieces of her and the Grant County and will Trent books, Her novels have been published in 120 countries. Wow with more than 35 million copies sold worldwide. Karen was nominated for a prestigious Edgar Award for her novel Cock Town, another of her standalone novels pieces of her is in development with Netflix. Carrie is also the founder and save the libraries project which is a nonprofit. It works to support libraries and has raised more than $300,000 for the is a D Cobb County Library Foundation. Am I going to say that right? That's right. So Karen lives in Atlanta and her new book false witness shippers. It's so terrifying and good mary. Kay, we don't know what you're doing but it's cracking me up. Okay, Karen's new book false witness came out in july. It follows lee collier defensive for me at a prominent law firm in Atlanta as secret from her past threatened to catch up with her and ruin the perfect new life that she a perfect life is always the beginning of the end. Right. Another in trouble with your life when you're like that when your life is going the way you want it. There's something around the corner but the perfect life she has built for herself and her daughter Karen, I can't wait to see you. Oh what What is even happening here. Welcome Karen, I just, I need to explain to you all that. I turned my camera off because I poured a whole glass of wine on my judges barristers wig which cost $12. So that happened Karen, welcome. Thank you. We are a little bit afraid that you're here but in light of your new book false witness. I thought we would play a little game. I call false witness. Okay, in simpler terms liar, liar pants on fire. All right, so go ahead. Judge one head. Excuse me, I'm in charge of this court now by the power invested in me by the sovereign state of friends and fiction. We intend to put you on the hot seat or witness stand and question you about your checkered past. Now I'm going to be the judge of course, because I'm judging like that Kristen Kristy and patty will be your jury and they will determine whether or not you are a liar, liar and just to make things a little more complicated and edgy because things are edgy. My wig is not where...

...the pirate. We're pirates. Right, right. We have appointed I've appointed a special prosecutor for this cross examination. Alan, will you please bring in our district attorney? No damn good hands. I was running. I was not told that I had to wear a hat by lisa. No one told me anything either. I don't have a hat. We don't need one prosecutor. You need to be serious. So it's good that you don't have one. Right? That so that that is so bad. It's itching. Yeah, it's a special personality to stand up to someone like Karen. So we invited totally impartial new york times bestselling thriller writer lisa Unger to join us again tonight. The last time lisa was here last time here we talked about her novel confessions on the 7 45 but tonight it's Karen's turn to take the stand lisa, please proceed. Okay. Hi Karen. Hello. Special prosecute tricks. Yes. Okay. MS slaughter. First off the burning question of the night. Is is that your real name? I mean, isn't it a little bit too perfect that somebody who writes books that are often, you know, somewhat grisly somewhat Mercury would have the last name slaughter. Um, just a minute. Let me refer to my notes. Yes, my No. What time you can't handle the truth way? No, you're you're stepping all over our lines. Just wait. Um, okay, isn't it true that MS slaughter MS slaughter, Isn't it true that during college you worked at Disney World as the operator, engineer, engineer for the pirates of the Caribbean experience ride. Is that true? Did you do the right thing? Look at my calendar on those dates I was dropping out of college. My lawyer has advised me not to admit anything regarding the death that occurred on that day. The pirate community takes serious offense to that. Is he refusing offensive? Is there a verdict delivered on that? Is there we have a we'll table that for now. I don't think the woke pirate go. Um, let's talk about your slaughter. Let's talk about your past involvement in a criminal operation working as an alleged exterminator for an alleged drug ray. Did you ever in fact kill a single bug as a part of that job? No, no, there wasn't even Exterminating fluid in. Uh, it was water. I know that because I tasted it there. That explains exactly what I was going to ask for water. All right. I don't hearing no objections. Um, Madam District Attorney, I'll let you proceed the slaughter. There have also been allegations that you've run a cat rescue apparatus operation out of the slaughterhouse. You're sprawling mansion, the fence in town compound, which neighbors have come to refer to as the litter box. Is that true? I refuse to answer on the grounds that my cats have all declared themselves as sovereign citizens and acknowledged the authority of this court. How this horny the authority parlay. Isn't that piratey Harley? Piratey? Pirate. That's piratey. Yeah. Okay. MS slaughter back to your criminal past. Do you now? Or have you...

...ever illegally operated a forklift without a commercial driver's license? Okay. Which is the judge drinking on the job? I also don't have a drink. Well, lisa was prepared for this. That was short. That was that was your own like George judgment call. You're right, You're right. That's a personal problem. No, it's true. Meg says our whole courtroom is out of order. I don't feel like hearing ever answers the question. He has not. Well, you see the palate needed to be moved and I was willing to get on the forklift and figure it out. That's what you do. You like heavy equipment? Yes. If you if you have never operated heavy equipment before, but something needs to be moved and a forklift is there? It's what any red blooded american would do. And if you don't believe in that, you don't believe in God or the constitution. Amen. I mean you can't argue with that. I mean, I have to say it's a jury. I'm just going to say, I agree. I'm just gonna say, are that thanks? Uh MS slaughter one last question. Is it true that you've written a part loosely based on your own life in the netflix series? Pieces of her that will be portrayed by Dakota Fanning. Um I need to consult with my attorney before I answer that. Excuse me one moment please. Uh huh uh Oh, uh huh. I'd like to um invoke my fourth amendment right to search and seizure. Uh Kathy, would you please come in search and seizure me? I'm uh Karen, I want the truth. You can't handle the truth. There you go, ordering the court jury. What say you about this defendant's testimony? Fire fiction writer, liar, liar. I feel like that grandparents are indicated the add some credibility. I have. All right. Uh oh that all right now the wig is soaked with chardonnay. That's not good. Okay, everybody lisa. Thank you so much. I know there were storms going on down there in ST pete and all the things and lisa was I mean Karen was probably putting some hoodoo on you. I just want to tell folks that we are all looking forward to your new book, Which will be out October five, the last girl ghosted, can't wait to sit there. It is, that is, that is a stunning cover, I gotta say. Anyway, thanks so much for coming on tonight way. Okay, now my hair looks great, christian and I are like, kind of just content with our pirate hats, what's gonna say? Do I just texted, do I need to put my pirate happen? You do you do you do you do you Okay? Now that the fun and games well, are sort of over, let's let's get serious, Karen. Um, can we get you to give us the, the elevator pitch for false witness? Um, well, you know, I feel like people have already bought it, so I don't have to really pitch it. Um, humorous, it's about trauma, it's about trauma. Uh, something really bad happens And then we catch up with the people, this bad thing happened to 20 years later and then another bad thing happens and they're like, oh, this is a bad thing again. Yeah, okay, that's what you want to. All right. So, so, to get a little bit more in depth about the bad thing, I know that the two sisters in the novel are survivors of sexual abuse, which you portray pretty graphically in the novel, Can you talk a little bit about why this is important to you to approach? So, honestly, and head on in your writing. Well, 1st, I Love Your Chili. Um, but uh that's Hormel, not Harmel, oh uh awesome. If I were the...

...heir to the chili fortune wouldn't be here. That's uh red hat. No, you wouldn't from France. Um you know, so I don't write graphically about the sexual abuse. I write about the fallout from it. I guess if I'm gonna talk about sexual abuse us to take this off, um you know, I made a decision a long time ago with my first book that I was going to write realistically about violence against women because it's not something that I was seeing as a reader unless it was from a man's perspective and a man's perspective was always if this, you know, a woman is raped or assaulted the magic potion to heal her is for a really good guy to make love to her and everything's fine and that's really not how it works. And I bring a personal perspective to violence against women because when I was growing up, my grandmother was being violently abused by my grandfather and you know, like a good, all good southern girls, you know, our family would go to church and then we go to my grandma's for sunday dinner and sometimes my grandmother would have a black eye or a cut lip or a broken bone and my uncles would tease her about being clumsy and as I got older I thought nobody's at clumsy. My grandfather's beating the hell out of her and they're making light of it because it's really horrible and they don't know what else to do. And so I thought looking at that us making light of it or not acknowledging it only protected my grandfather. It never ever helped my grandmother. So I decided in my books to write about it for what it is. Um and it as I continued writing, it became more important because I would have women say to me, you know, I experienced violence. I was never able to articulate what it was right for people to understand because that's the part that fades to black or, you know, it's it's made titillating somehow are sexualized in a really gross way. And I wanted to show it for what it is. So, you understand, it's not sexy, it's not something any sane person would wish upon themselves. It's not bondage and s and m it's not rough sex, it's it's violence. And so that's why I chose to write about it. And and also just being really conscious, these are real people that this happens to every minute of the day, every minute of the day. This kind of crime happens. And I know Kathy's, you know, much older than me, but maybe some of you guys remember the Long Island Lolita story with Amy fisher. This story. The part that takes place in the past is uh like three or four years on from that. And Amy fisher was a teenage girl who was having uh sex with a guy in his, I think he was in his late thirties, Joey buttafuoco, which is statutory rape and then eventually he's sex trafficked her and you know, she did a horrible thing, she tried to kill, she wanted to murder this man's wife, but when this all came out, it was sort of weird how she stopped being a girl and she was a woman and it really and it's Long Island Lolita in that really disgusting sense where you know, oh this poor guy, he has no control, he was seduced by her and you know, it's just this kind of disgusting sexualization of young girls. I mean Amy Fisher is a white girl, but particularly young black girls or girls of color. This happens to a lot where they get really sexualized at a young age and I don't know if you guys have talked to like a 13, 14 16 year old girl lately, they're really stupid, you know, they they're not emotionally developed, they don't understand relationships, they don't understand power dynamics. And so that's what I wanted to talk a little about that whole Nabokov, oh, you know, I'm just a poor guy, you know, you seduce me is bullshit, it's bullshit and we need to remember that when we hear these stories uh that you know, these are girls, they're not women, it's not sex, it's rape, it's abused. Thank you for putting words to that, You're absolutely right, Yeah. Well, Karen, that's yeah, that's powerful chills thinking about it. Especially since um it can get romanticized, which is even worse than excusing. It is romanticizing it. So yeah, so I want to talk a little bit about your writing process and how it differed for you because you wrote this book during the...

...pandemic. So I know you're home body anyway, but was it different for you writing during the pandemic? And is it just me it felt like this one was closer to your the real life Atlanta that you live in? Yeah, it is. And you know, Cathy you remember when you were driving to ST Simon we were talking and you're like, oh, I finished my book early for the first time and I was like, well, fuck you. It was really hard. I thought it would be. I mean, did you guys think, wow, okay, we're not traveling, we're not doing events. It's going to be so much easier to write, but just like the sheer horror at the number of people dying or who are sick and who have long covid or who lost their jobs or their businesses are all of that was so stressful. And then this weird politicization of everything virus don't care. You know, it's like you don't care if you're a communist or your, you know, Egyptian or whatever doesn't care. Um and so it was just so hard to focus on writing. Um but and for the first time in my life I was late, I've always delivered on time. I mean, I'm very, very uh conscientious about that because I know that and you guys know this if you don't do your job, you're screwing over so many people in your publishing house and they're like, oh, that's okay, but it's like, you know, Jack eating and you know, and I'm really conscious because my first edition is always in the Netherlands that I'm screwing over my dutch translator, who is a wonderful woman, you know, by pushing her schedule because she has other things to do other than wait for me to finish this freaking book. So, you know, I got to the point where I said to my editor, you know, I see why some authors who I love just deliver crap books and I'm not gonna do that. I would rather not write a book this year this particularly with this book, because I really love the characters and story. I was like, I'm not going to deliver a bad book, I'm just not going to do it. And so they gave me a little extra time. Honestly, I think they could like printed two weeks before at Prince, it's just a lie, they need that long. Um but so, uh I got it, I got it done, but it was it was really difficult to write for a lot of reasons, but you know what, it's a very emotional book, a lot of the suspense come from the emotion of the characters and that's very hard for me to write because I get so immersed in their lives and their feelings and you know, all that kind of stuff. So it's really draining for me. Um But I'm really proud of it came out that way but also very angry at Cathy that she'd be her deadline. Well you know the thing is um didn't you have family members who were sick? Oh yeah. Yeah. Well my sister got Covid, it was so new that when she went to the hospital, they literally like put her in her room and they pushed a rolling table toward her that had a thermometer on it and the blood pressure cuff and they're like put these on, they don't want to go near her. Um And she ended up going home because they were so freaked out. But she got days just on the floor. Yeah and it was very scary. Um And of course, you know, no one could go help her because they were they were scared. Especially me. I'm such a delicate flower, you know, I'm the youngest. So it's not really my job to take care of everyone takes care of you. That's what life as well. Yeah. I mean it's like nature. Um And then my dad had some health problems, right? I know that you had you had you were taking care of family members and all I was doing was sitting up and writing in bed. Yeah, Yeah, that's true. And drinking and yelling at us and yelling at us right, yelling at them like, uh, Jamie, uh, did you write this morning? She would text us and if we didn't, but I felt it was harder to write even though there was more space. So that's what was fascinating was, and I started and stopped so many things like, oh, I think I'll write about this. No, I think I'll write about this. No, I think I'll write about this. But once I did figure out what's right. Then, then it was like this still point in the middle of the chaos, which is, um, but, but this is closer to your real life in Atlanta, isn't it? This book? Well, it's not in a part of town I live. It's more like, um, the ghetto area where Cathy is. Okay. Okay. There were some parts that were closer to where you and I live. I don't want to get too specific, but I will tell you, I did a book club at Anzio golf club last night. Yeah. And one of your fans was there and uh, she was asking me about, she...

...was telling me how much she loved your book. And I said, well, watch tonight. And she was saying, um, asking about Covid and I said, well, Karen will be on the show tonight. And I said, and by the way, if I'm not mistaken, one of the bodies in that book is found in the wake of the answer Golf club. Isn't that right? No, Brick Hayden Golf club. Okay, kevin. Yeah, way to do a close read Cathy just someplace I can't afford to live. So I don't know. Yeah, once she spelled the chardonnay on her wig, it all went down. You know, it's weird because we have a lot of golf clubs in Atlanta, like Cherokee and druid hills and Anjali and Brookhaven and they all have like these really distinct personalities. And so I was talking to a person who is a big golfer and has played at all these clubs and he's like, oh yeah, that's where the douchebags are, this is definitely where your guy would live. And so it's been, his name is Kevin, so it's his fault if you really love that club. Um, but that's a, that's like a crazy neighborhood too because it's Justin Bieber lived there and you know, a lot of rap people live there and hip hop right by these fees and Buffy's so it's, it's like a crazy encapsulation of what Atlanta is, you know, which is basically a city where if you have the money, you belong, right? That's always been the story of Atlanta, uh, interesting. So to put lee and Callie in a part of Atlanta, which I made up, I call it Lake Point, but it's kind of like an amalgamation of Lakewood and um um Riverdale, but I thought, you know, those were rough areas when I was a kid and like real people live there. My sister has a lot of friends who live there now and it's like, I don't want to really trashed this part of town because it's more like, I mean they totally uh Stewart Avenue, that kind of area, They changed the name of Stewart Avenue out after the, or before the olympics because it had such a bad reputation. Um so you know, that's the area of town that I was thinking of. Okay, so now the two sisters in false witness are understandably pretty tough characters and for large portions of false witness there, they're not very likable. I mean we learn, well, hang on, we learn early on that they are, they have, they've, you know, they've perpetrated a pretty gruesome crime and it takes a lot of book, it takes a lot of the plot until I thought to myself, okay, I get this. So what I want to ask Karen, that's a long way of asking is how how important is it to you that your protagonist right from the get go be likable or relatable. Well it's not a driving point for me. Um I think that you should be interested in. I mean, you know, want to know what they're gonna do next and what's gonna happen to them. That's really, that's, that's some flannery, O'Connor shit there, the mystery of character, right? That's the question that pulls you through the story is what is this person going to do? And for me, I think you rely on that. There's a big switch in the very the prologue, the opening of the book that should shock people unless they know me really, really well. Um and you know, I framed it that way because I wanted you as a reader to sort of relate to this person in a way. And then when you catch up with her 20 years later to understand how she got there, right? I mean, that that's the thing for me, especially given Covid we're all living in trauma right now. It's true. And I remember we would go to um to um like lunch or something at the howard johnson's with this crazy aunt of mine, like a great great aunt and she had survived the depression and whenever we would leave, she would put all the sweet and lo in her purse and any bread on the table, because, you know, she's like, the depression really affected her even all those decades later. And I'm like, I wonder if like, when we're gonna go with our great great grandkids or whatever, are we going to go to the bathroom and take all the toilet paper, just hand sanitizer, right? How's this gonna be? I'm gonna be hoarding that hand sanitizer. Someone tried to shake my hand today and I had the most like appalling physical, like diving in the opposite direction reaction and I was like, okay, that was like a little over...

...playing. But I'm like, who will shake my hand? Yeah, yeah, because you know where it's been. But yeah, so I but you know, that lee and kelly experienced a really horrible trauma and they had different reactions to it. One of them like went the whole type a full on law school always hustling and the other one just spiraled into an addiction. And so I I wanted to show, you know, we we all write about kind of bad things happening to people and, you know, usually by the end of the story, if they're not dead, they're doing okay. But I want to talk about the fact that trauma lingers. I mean, we know all kinds of scientific studies about trauma and early childhood trauma you can have as an adult, a predisposition toward depression, heart disease, diabetes, suicidal ideation, you know, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, all these things just from childhood trauma. So, you know, I wanted to explore that through these two characters when you're talking about that. Sorry, I was just saying when you were talking about that, Karen, it makes me think of that book. It's called The Body keeps the score. And when you're talking about your characters, like their body kept the score and then they acted out on that. I just think it's interesting, sorry, Cathy go ahead. Okay. No, I was I was just thinking that the two sisters are so their, their lives are so bound together and there's a, there's a plot twist, Karen, I did not see coming, I love that. I did not see coming when lee and walter were living in Chicago. I don't want to give away any more than that, but that totally twisted my head all the way around. So um we've got, we've got some live questions. So um who do you guys want to ask? Some? Uh some of the live questions people are typing in. Absolutely. Um so Diana Mcgoldrick says, Karen, what do you do to help you when you're deep in your feelings with these tougher parts and pieces of your story. Um I get on the trip. Yeah, I find the treadmill is very useful for that and I'm I'm like an all or none person, like if I'm gonna eat peas, I will eat piece at every meal breakfast included, which I had like a summer of peace where I did that. Um but you know, I'll get on the treadmill for an hour and a half and just like get it all out and that's, that's kind of a reset for me? And you know, it also helps because I think you need a little distance as a writer because you're in control of the narrative and I don't, you know, I didn't want to fall into like this long, dark night of staring at my navel sort of stuff because the story, it's a thriller, it needs to keep moving. But I certainly could have gone in that direction if I hadn't been more disciplined. Um I think just, you know, having written so many books, I, I can realize that and stop myself when I feel it happening. And you know, it doesn't happen with every book because sometimes the thriller part comes from who done it, finding out, you know, that that is the important part that drives the narrative. But this is a very emotionally driven book. So I had to be very careful not to just make it like a open sore kind of thing, you know, so things are happening and you know, the the chapters move very differently to, because these chapters are like going like this and Callie's are like this, you know, and that's just their personalities. But it's also a way to kind of slow it down because all the stuff that's happening, you know, you've got to have a moment to digest it. Yeah. And there's no doubt in the reader's mind that um, the guy on trial, hmm, whose name changes, right? Yes, there's no doubt that he did it. Right. So, you know, where does the suspense come from? And it has come from a very emotional place and that's one of the challenges of writing a book like this. And you know, I was like, jesus, this is why uh Buffalo Bill had Hannibal Lecter, right? Because you, you have to have something driving it. So, but also, you know, when you write about bad people and the focus is on those bad people, I think it's very important not to make them larger than life are unbelievable or you know, we all know a guy like the bad guys in this book, you know, and hopefully they're out of our lives now.

Um, but we know if we have a, we all have a friend who keeps dating the same guy, but so I I just needed them to be really believable and anchored in reality because it was such an important story. And honestly, you know what terrifies me is a person who is not abnormal, who's like seemingly can appear very normal and confront that and deep down there like a horrible person. I mean it's it's ted Bundy, I mean the young republicans and he had a bright future, you know, even when he got sentenced in florida, which it makes sense florida right Godly to get into that. But the judge was like young man, you had such a promising future and it's such a sad that you could have been a very good lawyer because of course he represented himself and you're thinking judge. This guy is a serial killer and you think he just made some bad choices and he could have otherwise been a really great lawyer and contributed to, I mean, come on, I'd like to see him say that to some prostitutes these sentences. You know, young lady, you could have been a doctor, you know, so much opportunity. Um, so you know that's the kind of person I find really scary is the one who's like at your dentist's office or you know the coach at school or well I won't say priest because everybody knows what priests do. But you know, it's just like that's what's scary to me and that's what the I had to concentrate on and that's where the suspense had to come from. Yeah, right. You want another like one sure. Um I'm great. So Susan God says how does Karen's parrot respond to her book? No, not her parent. Oh her family. How did parents family respond to her books and their subject matter? I want to know how her parents responded. Look much more interesting question to be honest. I mean, okay, I did it on purpose. So Susan God wants to know how your family responds to your books and your subject matter, but I want to know how your parent responds. So love it, love it. You know, they're very supportive. But I and I think I've told maybe I've told this story too many times, but like a classic example when I was growing up, I was I got in trouble at school but not for you know, breaking things or fighting or not doing work, but just doing strange things. Um I know Cathy you're shocked and I don't know if you can see my lunch box back there. Um but it's got a picture. Uh well since since I moved the parrot, I can move this, this was like my lunchbox at school and you can't see it very well, but it's like uh Marilyn Monroe after the autopsy. There you go. You know, So I got, so that my dad got called the school for that and then like, you know those baby on board stickers that were really popular, I thought it would be really funny to put the word dead at the top. So it's a dead baby on board. And so then my dad got called up to school for that and you know, so we're sitting in the principal's office and they're like, you know, hey, howard, hey, hey john because they were on first name basis. Um and uh, he said, you know, this is, this is what she did. She's got the sign in his car in the car. And my dad said, well is it against the school handbook principal said no. He said was it like illegal or is there some rule she broke? No. And my dad said, you know what, She's just weird and she's always been weird and we love her for it and just don't call me up for this shit anymore, but that's me on the shoulder as he walks out. Um and so that's like, that's how he feels about this, you know, he doesn't quite get it, he's not a big reader, you know, when he was growing up, they were so dirt poor that they would have to catch squirrels to eat. Um so he just does not think sitting around and reading is a good use of your time. Um though he weirdly talks a lot about Willie nelson's interview in Rolling Stone about marijuana. Um but he read that read that, um but he's super proud of me, you know, and he's always supportive and he says he's proud of me all the time and my sister is the same way, so, you know, they're very supportive and it reminds me of, I can't remember who told me this. Maybe Harlan Coben, he said um your family will buy your books but not read it and your friends will read your books, but not by them. That is the biggest truism...

...of any author's career? I think. Oh my gosh, so true. Yeah, that's true. That's steve do we have time for one more real right now? We probably need to get to Karen. Yes, ma'am. Um I'm trying to figure out, Okay, so I don't think we have time for any more questions, but if you will, if you feel like it, Karen, if you're not too busy, you know, slicing and dicing innocent victims maybe go on to um the friends and fiction facebook page because lots of people have questions. I mean I have questions. Um, but every week one of our favorite parts of the show is asking writers for a, for writing advice. You know how I avoided to see how I avoided the word tip there. So if you have a piece of writing advice, you actually didn't avoid it in the end, you actually just, you want just the tip Kathy, is that what you're saying? Okay. Um, just do it. I mean that's the hardest part. Every single person on earth, like literally on earth there's someone in abu Dhabi right now who probably has a fantastic idea for books, but the idea is not the hard part, the hard part is sitting down every day banging it out, figuring out how to express the idea through character, through seen through atmosphere, through setting. That's the hard part and that's what makes you a writer. Um, so that's just the tip. It's A Good one. Okay, Karen and everybody else stick around because we have one more thing to talk about and asked to talk to Karen about. But first I want to remind you, we want to remind you all out there to check out our friends and fiction writer's block podcasts. So this show will be a podcast. All our shows are, but we also have in every friday writer's block podcast this past week, Ron Christie Woodson harvey and I talked to Allison Lark in and Tracy Lang that will pop up in two days about origin stories for their books. And then Ron and mary Kay andrews talked to Virginia stand actually that was last week and this week Ron and mary Kay talked to Virginia Stanley and nancy pearl about being library rock stars because librarians are rock stars. Our Karen have nancy pearls action figure actually she's fantastic. Do you? And you know Virginia Stanley quite well to absolutely, I made her go tell it, make her tell you the story about the cat cafe. I made her go to where she was terrified of all the cats. Yeah. Oh that's awesome. Alright, if you're not hanging out with us yet in the Friends and Fiction official book club, you are missing out the group which is separate from us and is run by our friends, lisa Harrison and Brenda Gartner is now more than 8000 strong. They're closing in on 9000 which is awesome. So on september 20th, I know it's incredible and they do such a great job with it. On september 20th, Patty will be joining the group to discuss her novel the bookshop Atwater's end and they have so many more wonderful things in store through the end of the year. And next week join us right here at seven p.m. To meet Megan Abbott, author of the Read with Jenna pick the turnout and laura lippman, author of Dream Girl, I just read both of them and they are fantastic. Then in two weeks join us as we welcome Daryn Kagan and Paula Faris, if you're ever wondering about our schedule, it's always on the friends eviction website as well as the sidebar of events on our friends and fiction facebook page and I also just wanted to tell everyone, stick around for our after show because you might notice everyone, we're all wearing our friends in fiction t shirts and um, we're gonna be talking Karen insurance, anyone rude. Um, but we're gonna be talking a little bit about how you can be our friends in fiction merch star of the week. So we'll tell you that in our after show. Love it. Karen, Karen stick around. It could be, you could be, we've woken up, we're going to mail you a t shirt. It's just we are and you can even have my pirate hat if you, if you want it to so many good props. She doesn't need your, although I do, she might want my prop, you might want it and pirate hat comes with dreads. So I remember my much better mind, does not mind, does not mind, comes with two red bows and some lace, johnny Depp dreads. Yeah, alright and you all know that Kathy Christine. I have new books coming out this fall, the santa suit once upon a wardrobe and christmas at Peachtree bluff and you can be the first to read these books who are kind of amazing winter...

...wonderland subscription. You received the books just as the released along with loads of exclusive swag, including a video that only the people who buy the subscription sub subscription can get. This package is available through. Our friends are great friends at Nantucket Book partners and Karen, we have one more question for you in light of your work helping raise funds for public libraries. Would you talk a little bit about why this cause is so important to you and why it should be important to every reader out there? Well, it's a good question. I mean, as you know, I really don't like Children. Um, I don't, they're so sticky. They're very heavy. They don't, they lack in flavor. Yeah. I mean, I've got some great recipes, but like their heads, they can't even like, what is this baby? Come on, learn to hold your head up. Um, but we know a lot of things about infant brains also tasty. Um, and that is, if you have a finite amount of time in your life when you learn language and critical processing and reading and reading fluently and that's in your childhood. And so if a kid doesn't get a reading ability established, they're never going to be a fluent reader. And so if you look at it just from a financial standpoint as taxpayers spending money on the library is one of the cheapest things you can do. Kids who read do better in school. If they do better in school, they'll go to college. If they go to college, you'll get better jobs. They'll pay higher taxes. I mean it's that simple. Every judge I know in the juvenile justice system, Every cop I know who works with juvenile says the library is the backbone of our community. And we've really seen this with Covid because you know, our local libraries here in uh, the cabin Fulton County in Atlanta, of course there are closed because of Covid, but kids don't have computers. You know, they're doing math class on their parents phone and then the parent gets a call from work, math class is over. And so they invested in technology and hotspots because the internet is very expensive. Um, they, the internet companies say they help poor people. They don't, it's still expensive. Um, and so they gave hotspots, they gave tablets, they gave ipads, they made it possible for kids, Especially in rural areas. You know, 85% of kids in rural areas, they're only access to the Internet is at their local library. So it's very well that we have these libraries. Um, and that's one of the reasons why I'm a supporter. Um also, you know, just long term, maybe these kids will one day be adults and they'll read my books. Yeah, I'm playing the long game. It's selfish. I mean all that money you raised is really just hoping it all, I buy my own books. You know, I have a close family friend who teaches in a school in southwest Georgia. That's pretty, it's pretty impoverished. And those kids are driving over to fast food restaurants if their parents have a car to get wifi so they can either watch classes or or you know, do their homework online. So it's incredibly important. And I really all joking aside care and I really, I salute you for the work you've done with supporting public. You helped you And Kathryn Stockett and I did a good yeah, we had a party, we had a black, we'll just we'll do that again. Absolutely, yeah. Okay. It's time for me to say everybody go out and buy Karen's book false witness, which is a truly riveting book. I read it in about 20 hours. And our uh bookstore the week this week is Foxtail Book shop. So don't forget you can go online and order Karen's book her backlist and of course all of our books at Foxtail Book shop. And Karen, thanks for joining us. See you for lunch. Yes, we'll get the ladies together, get the ladies together. Nabit is fantastic. You're going to have a great time with him. I know and Laura lippman is an old old friend of mine. So I think we're gonna have a really good time next week to Megan is one of the smartest people. I know she just knows so much about everything. So I think that will be a lot of fun. I doubt she'll have a parent though. No, maybe some ballet shoes with their noses or glasses and...

...they just coming. I mean it's like, what's she gonna pull out next? You don't even know what someone. Yes. Yeah, we don't want to, I kind of want to see a screenshot of that desk. I'm just saying you want to see my closet where I have everything labeled and stored, wow. Hello. Yeah, this, this gets pulled it up and taken care of man, this ain't cheap. I ain't buying no $12 pirate hat, awesome. Thanks again. Thanks again. Karen, Karen, thanks for coming. Don't forget you can order Karen's book can witness at Foxtail books and we hope you will support our indie bookstores and of course your local library because that's important too. And we'll see you in a minute at the story point after show and come back next week. Same time, same place as we welcome special guests, Megan Abbott and laura lippman. Good night, wow. She's yeah, just bring out my wig now. It's very sad. She's so smart and well, I, I just find her fascinating. So I'm so glad she was with us the way we want to tell the story point bottle to our after show, sip and stays with story point because maybe a good story unfolds over a glass of wine and sometimes good stories spillover onto onto your wig. Sometimes I have too much story point before you even start. I did not have too much. I just had a lot going on on my table. I had props, I had my gavel, I had my, You know, $14. Oh, it's now, it's soggy and smells like chardonnay. Have my wig. You want me to put it back on? You should put it back on, you should put it up on what I talk about our merch. Can we do that? Okay, so while the credits were rolling, you guys talk about a missed opportunity. We were calling it our friends eviction merch star, It should have been called our friends and fiction influencer. Right? O our friends and fixed and fascism, maybe that's better. Yeah, I like that. Well, at any rate, whatever we call it every week, starting next week for four weeks, we are going to pick someone um, and share their picture with their friends and fiction merge on the screen. So for those of you who don't know, we have these amazing t shirts available. T shirts. Yeah. And super cute Friends and fiction. Wine cities and coffee tumblers as well. Although we're almost out of coffee tumbler. So if you want one of those, you need to get on that, but they are available for sale from Oxford exchange. And so just submit your picture, there's a post under announcements online where you can submit your pictures, although people have been like emailing them to me and damning me on instagram. Like, I don't care how you send your pictures, we're gonna pick some of you and you're gonna win a copy of either my christmas and Pete Street left patties once upon a wardrobe or mary Kay's um, the santa suit. I did not ask them before I announced that I just went for it. So hopefully that's okay. You go in for us, Christine your point with you, you're running contest. We're not ever gonna fight with somebody who was going to make some decisions and not ask anyone. Then they don't have to think about it or worry about it. We have to talk about that. Recall the decisions from now on that with just having that you, because you always make really good ones and then we are just yes, great idea. Maybe maybe you could make decisions on the cover for next summer's book because we're at that point and I'm kind of out of thoughts. I was going to say, I think that's pretty much a group decision. So that's okay. I don't think we get to hand that over to Christie. I think that's more of a yeah, okay, my publisher will be interested in hearing your feedback. Okay. I'm sure I'm sure they're waiting, I'm sure they're waiting eagerly waiting with bated breath. I, you know, I thought it was interesting tonight when Karen talked about how hard it was for her to finish that book and and how emotionally involved she gets. You know, we think of all these grisly murder mystery type things is maybe it's just plot driven, but she really gets into the deeper aspects of their of trauma and their lives, I think it's best. Yeah. And she does a lot of pretty nitty gritty um research. She's um...

...she's tight with um some Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents. I know um we didn't get time, we didn't have time to ask this question, but a lot of a lot of false witness. Um parts of it are very much a courtroom thriller. And so I was I was researching and she talked about one of her good friends, you know, we're all friends with people in our writer communities and she's friends with Allah for book Allah for burke. Allah for Burke who writes legal thrillers and of course is James lee burke's daughter. But she's a great writer on her own and she's a former prosecutor and went to law school at Stanford I think. And so she talked about in another interview, she talked about al affair, kind of telling her yeah, how to do the legal research in this book because in false witness lee the protagonist who is a you know, a really kick ass lawyer at a white shoe law firm. She gets basically kind of blackmailed into defending this scumbag rapist and then of course it turns out there's a connection and so she she has she has to do her job ethically her job as a lawyer defending someone who's really indefensible, but at the same time, she's got this really uh deep trauma suffered at the hands of of this person, wow, that's powerful. Kind of, interesting that it really is. And talk about it, we all, you know, Yeah, we all do a lot of research and some of that research, you know, is tougher, Yeah. Than others. But I also think it's fascinating because we've talked about it so many times on the show with so many authors, how during Covid it was easier for some people to write their books and harder for others. And just because you're granted a large swath of time doesn't mean that everything got easier. No, it doesn't. I mean, it still feels a little bit like that now, like this, this kind of unsteady tremor beneath everything and to remember that everybody's feeling it, you know, every I was thinking earlier today how, like every tiny insignificant thing just becomes this whole ordeal, because you're like, do it? Should I not? Is it? Where is it exactly? Do we not? I mean, it's just like things that are just so ridiculous. And it's just we all have to have such extreme decision fatigue because it's just like, everything I know, you know, it's like, should we go out to lunch. Well, I mean, we're probably okay, but it is one more exposure that, I mean everything, everything is a little bit more exhausting. Everything's a little bit and when she was talking about that, you know, everybody's in trauma. I was thinking while she was saying it that it's good to remember that like everybody's, everybody is an inch away. All of us. I was listening to a podcast about that last night and how it was really, really interesting about, you know, how this time has brought up like every single thing from our past and we don't even realize it that it's, you know, any other time we've been afraid before. Any other time we've had to face something difficult before. It's like all these things because we've never lived through this. So it's like our subconscious is pulling back. It's pulling on every single horrible thing we've ever experienced in our lives for like in our lives for a frame of reference because well, that's what, that, that's what that book is about. That the body keeps the score and he has, he has a really good podcast out right now with the new york times with somebody and it's, that's exactly what it's about Christie is, it's not what's happening right now. It's pinging everything that happened before. Well, and it's also that reminder that as much control as we think we have over our lives, We have none. And, and as secure as we think things are in our lives, anything could happen at any moment. I mean I think that that to me is is the scariest part of this time. It's just that realization that we all know in the back of our minds, but that realization being kind of driven home again and again because that's the thing we have to forget to be able to really live right, We have to be able to forget the page every day. We have to forget, control can ever happen at any time. We have to kind of be able to forget that to be able to live our...

...lives, but it's like in our face every second, you know, I think, I feel like when I was writing the newcomer last year, I feel like I wrote most of that book, sitting up in bed starting at seven a.m. And just for the first time there was, I'm not joking when I say there was nothing else to do or no where else to go and I just put my head down and every morning at seven a.m. Or sometimes earlier, you know, I was writing and maybe that was my escape from the reality that was surrounding me because I was in my half dark bedroom in my PJs and my only reality was the reality of that world, that fictional world I created, I was most years, I go away to write to put myself in that world, but last year I put myself in that world, that darkened room, that was my bubble. And um but I wasn't writing a legal thriller with a lot of pretty traumatic detail in a yeah, this must have been a tough year to go that dark. I mean I know a lot a lot of her work is dark, but I mean that really, I think required a deep emotional dig which this was a tough year to do that. It really was because our emotions were we're already on the surface and in a way that was difficult to deal with. So no, I've said over and over once upon a wardrobe was my touch point every day. It's like the opposite of grisly murder, right? It's but it was the, well everything else was burning and going crazy that I could return to that again. And I mean, and I will always remember that. I mean, you know, we kind of joke about it. But really and truly, I wrote the entire wedding veil at seven a.m. In my bed. And if it hadn't been for you guys, like I don't know that that would have happened because I mean, well, I mean I was home schooling, I mean I'm not like everyone was kristen was we all were but I'm just saying it was that time of like okay, I'm actually gonna do this when if I hadn't done that there would have been a million excuses. Of course did not write that book. And I just I know those excuses and making them now. Making them right now. Well you know we I mean we all do I'm like you know I mean we all we all do that but it was really I think during a time when everything was just so insane like it just made it that go to point where we were all like we weren't together but we were together every morning and we were all doing it and there was something really kind of special about that that I think made it really Just work. We should have did her at 7:00 AM. Uh huh. I started to think what she would have texted. I know I know. Uh Yeah I think uh you know the great thing what I love about this show is when we talk to different authors. Uh we're so fortunate I think so blessed to be able to see um how thoughtful and how intentional writers are. These writers are with their stories that they put out into the world and that's and all the back work. I think people don't always know whether it's her interviewing the G. B. I. Or or you doing your I don't I think people are now more a little more aware of the yeah I like the word intention to use but the story behind the story and how much work goes into it. It's not just the typing. Right? Right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah I saw I saw somebody uh on twitter of course where people get really irate and they were criticizing a new york times story and they said that's not reporting that stenography. I like that. I wish it was that easy. Right. That easy. Yeah. Only somebody who's never had to report on a breaking story. Good call it stenography but that's a different story for a different night. Okay my husband is cooking me something delicious and I can smell it and I'm lucky you. Are you sure that's not just the wig the nearby I'm going to the I'm gonna squeeze the wine, bring it out, bring the wine. Please don't be that desperate cheers. You know what we were talking about? The story point. Okay, I'm gonna twist everybody at seven a.m. To see if you're running. All right, okay, do it. All right, thanks Ellen mm Thank you for tuning in, Join us every week on Facebook or YouTube where our live show airs every Wednesday night at seven p.m. eastern time and please subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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