Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 4 months ago

Friends & Fiction with Katherine Center & Linda Holmes + Leslie Hooton on the After Show

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Get ready for a good time on this episode as we welcome two masters of heartwarming, feel-good fiction — Katherine Center and Linda Holmes! And we are treated to a visit from Leslie Hooton on the after show! The Fab Four discuss writing funny, crafting dialogue, and the meaning of home in Katherine's and Linda's novels. The group talks about their favorite masters and undiscovered gems in the rom-com genre—get ready to take notes with lots of reading recommendations. We get an inside look at Katherine's new novel THE BODYGUARD and Linda's new novel FLYING SOLO in a show that's laced with loads of super fun pop culture references and lots of laughs. On the after show we are joined by Leslie Hooton who tells the incredible story of learning she'd been born with a stroke and how she has overcome that in her life and writing career. And we hear all about her brand new book AFTER EVERYONE ELSE, a sequel to her 2020 deubt novel.

Welcome to friends and fiction for New York Times bestselling authors endless stories. Novelists Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey and Patty Callahan Henry are four longtime friends with more than seventy published books between them. Together they host friends and fiction with author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing to highlight and support independent bookstores. They discussed the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Hi everybody. It's Wednesday night. That means we're right here with you for friends and fiction. We've got an amazing evening ahead of us with two fabulous writers of romantic comedy. So let's get started. However, going to say I'm Mary Kay Andrews, I'm Christen. You are, yes, you are, I'm Kristin Harmel, I'm Christy Woodson Harvey and I'm Patty Callahan Henry. This is friends and fiction for New York Times best selling authors endless stories, to support indie bookstores, authors and Librarians. Tonight we'll be talking with Catherine Center and Linda Holmes and Leslie Houghton will join us or the afterwards, after show. Yeah, but first we are so grateful to you for your over the top amazing response to our behind the book partnership with our friends at fable, a free APP for your phone or tablet with loads of incredible book clubs to join. So the APP is free. You can joined a whole bunch of book clubs for free. But if you want to be with us in our premium APP, that is going to be five dollars a month. Or you can purchase an annual premium all access membership for just seventy dollars for the entire year to join all of the premium clubs including, Um, my personal favorite, which is Levar Burton's Book Club. How cool is that? It's like reading rain, though, so make sure to visit fable dot co backslash friends and fiction to sign up. Today and right now we are reading Ellen Hildebrand's the hotel in Nantucket and I believe Christie has been leading that chat. So it's a lot of fun. If you're into that book, this is a great place to go and discuss it. Oh yeah, we got to talk about so many great things. So if you love this book or you haven't read it yet, if you're one of the four people in America that's not yet read the Hotel Nantucket, or you've read it and want to talk about it, come over because we're having a good time. Okay. And so I think you've probably heard that the four of us are all on the road together and we have two events left this season a chance to see us all together in person, which means we get to hug each other in just a few days. So we have oh I can't wait to see you for having a luncheon event on Thursday July one and Rohbe with Beach Delaware. You can find info of events. Info in in a ticketing link on the browse about books website. And then the evening before all four of us will be in store at Bethany beach books and Beth any beach Delaware and you can meet us there Wednesday July at six PM. Um. You do need to register for that at Bethany Beach Books Um on their website. And we really want to see also come see us. We can't wait to be with you all in person and don't forget. As you know, we continue to encourage you to support independent booksellers just like the two that we're visiting next week. But if you can't show up and you can't visit, one way you can support indie bookstores is by visiting our friends and fiction bookshop dot org page, where you can find Catherine's books and Linda's books and Leslie's books and guess who else's books. Four of us all out of this and also this week, we're going to give you a chance to ask US anything. We did give you a chance, so you missed your chance if you didn't ask the next over. So if you want to ask the four of us a question, drop it in the comments now for next week or future weeks. We want to hear from you. And you know, we got so many great questions that I had a hard time choosing just one. But this seemed timely because so many of us are road tripping this time of year and so, Um, someone who asked that asked what's your favorite audio book ever and why? Patty Mine, I'M gonna cheat and give too because but they're totally different. So I loved Daisy Jones and the six on audio. I just felt like it was. It was the first audiobook I listened to that had a whole bunch of narrators and famous actors and actresses. But to go along with our reading challenge for the month, which is a classic you've never read, one of my favorites is the end of the affair by Graham Green and Colin for night. Well, that's gonna be a road trip. Listen next week reading the end of the affair. Holy Moley, MAC Brownie, that sounds amazing. So Daisy Jones,...

I have to say, is like one of my all time favorites to Um, but that is not my answer. My answer is Matilda. Um. It is read by Kate winslet. It is so fantastic and I ended up getting it because I was trying to find something. will was like probably six or seven and I was like, what's something that he would really like, but that I would really like to and I feel like rol dol always kind of like hits that sweet spot where adults like to listen to it to her performance is so incredible, just like the change in her voices with the different characters and, Um, you know Matilda's parents, those awful parents, and just trunchful and just I mean it's so vivid, it's so beautiful. So even if you're an adult and you don't have a kid in the car with you, you should totally listen to it. It's fabulous. How does Finn Get Kate winslet or Calin firth to read one? Because I would like. Yeah, that would be amazing. Right, we're both, we're both exactly. You know, Christie, I've got to say Matilda is on my very favorite Broadway shows. Two. It's such a great story. Um and UH and Patty, you with your audiobook recommendations. You talked last week about how much you liked the maid audio book, and so I'm listening to that now, which is so good. It's a narrator, so it's perfect. Yeah, absolutely, the personality of that character, that kind of and I thought it was so good. I think that's what makes such a great audiobook is when the narrator really becomes the character, and I mean and you can feel it. Okay, I don't know that I have a favorite audiobook, but I will tell you that Christina Siv rich, who was our Yona last year on the forest vanishing stars, musical for anyone who tuned into that. She just recorded the audio book for one of my Um the a novella that I wrote back in like two thousand fifteen. That will be out in December and it is for a novella that I haven't really thought about in five or six years. I listened to a sample of her reading it and it made me think like, Oh my God, this actually was a decent book. Well, like for a long time I was like, I really like this book. I don't know, but like there's just something about the way she brings it alive that completely changes it and it just it. Just listening to her reminded me of the magic of an audiobook narrator. Yeah, like that. I think my favorite. I have a couple, but I think my most recent favorite is the audio of Kate Quinn's the Alice Network. The narrator, or Saskia Marlaville, did so many different ask accents, French, English, German, men, women children, so incredibly and the suspense was so thick it literally made me pull off the road a couple of times when the action got intent. Wow, you to compliment. Did you see what Sean just splashed on the screen? Somebody said that Paul Brad needs to reach right. We agree. I'M gonna write a book for Palm Rod to Narrate. All right, that's that's about us. We're get narrating like he needs to star in the movie, Right. Yeah, yeah, let's welcome our guest for the evening, Catherine Center and Linda Holmes. Catherine Center is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including what you wish for, things you save in a fire and how to walk away. Book page called Katherine, the Reigning Queen Of Comfort, reads her new novel, the bodyguard, is set to release on July nineteenth and is also a book of the month pick for July. Oh my gosh, that's so great. That's great, I'll get a month pick the movie adaptation of her novel the lost husband, which stars Josh Doom. All love him. Okay, there you know Josh duo hitting. He is mighty handsome. Hitting number. Yes, it hit number one on Netflix, and her novel happiness for beginners is also on production as a Netflix original movie starring Ellie Kemper and Luke Grimes. So I'm a luke grimes like. If y'all don't know Luke Grimes. He also sings. Katherine lives in her hometown Houston, Texas, with her husband and two kids, and Linda Holmes is the best selling author of one of my favorite romantic comedy novels, Heavy Drake Starts. Over, she's also the post of pop culture happy hour, which is NPR's roundtable culture and entertainment podcast. She moderates live events and interviews people in front of audiences, including TV and movie folk like Shanna rhimes and Ron Howard and even author Judy Bloom. That's awesome and I've got to say, you know, as as authors we talk about books all the time and Mary Kay, I know you've talked about both Katherine's and Linda's like I know it's it's something you've brought up and we've talked about books we love. So yeah, I'm so excited to have them both tonight. So, before becoming an author, Linda was an attorney, which she says is where she developed her great love for arguing. She has a dog named Brian, who was rescued in Spain and brought to the United States and who was destined to be come best dog friends with Christie's dog salt, and she...

...shares many pictures of Brian on Instagram at the handle at Primo dog content. Linda's new novel, Flying Solo, was released earlier this summer. Sean, enough about us again. Will you bring on? Hi, hello, hi, Catherine and Linda. Were so excited to have you. Linda, we're gonna start with you. Would you tell us what flying solo is about, please, and then tell us what it's really about? Sure. So, flying solo is about a woman whose name is Lori and she, Um, is about to turn forty and she has just elected against having the wedding that she had planned to have and she is Um uh called upon to go back to her hometown in Maine and clean out the House and possessions of her beloved Great Aunt, who's a missed dot who has just died at ninety three years old. And while she is cleaning out the house, she finds a duck decoy that she becomes very, very curious about and she starts trying to figure out why did God have it? Why was it sort of hidden? Um, even though it's very beautiful, she reconnects with both her childhood best friend Um and her first love, who is Um. He is the town librarian. Um. I know it's such I keeps that telling people like it's such pandering, but I totally mean it like it's a great librarian, Um. And so she eventually has to kind of sort through what she's going to do with her life. And so I think what it's really about is it's really about getting to that point where you figure out what is my dream for myself and what might a happy relationship status for me look like, even if it doesn't look necessarily the way that either other people's might look or even the way that I myself thought it very good. La Catherine, give us the elevator pitch for the bodyguard and what's the deeper meaning behind this book? Alright, the bodyguard was about a woman bodyguard who has to protect a famous actor, the sexiest Man Alive on Al Rod exist brand all right by to be his girlfriend. That's basically. That's the elevator and maybe Paul Rudd can play Um, your guy, Jake right. Paul can do anything he wants and Mary Kay, you could be the bodyguard. I was gonna say Mary Jay Andrews can play the bodyguard. Okay, so what's the deep book? What's what's about. It's Um it's the book that I'm writing during the pandemic and Um it was how I made my own sunshine in some very lay times. And it is the most romantic comedy ish of all the books I've ever written, because I was just like, this is what I need right now. I need to laugh a lot and I need people to be nice to each other and I need people to figure out some way to become the best versions of themselves. I Want Piggyback Rides, I want Kissing, and that's what I went for. So it's as bright a book as I have ever written and it's just total sunshine. I'm madly alone. Okay, ladies, the protagonists of both of your books seemed to be strong minded, independent women who have made a conscious choice not to get involved in romantic entanglements. And yet, you know, stuff happens. So, Catherine, how did your seemingly bulletproof bodyguard, Hannah, have a change of hearts? Well, she's forced to live, you know, in isolation, on a branch with a super sexy, incredibly nice human man. So that's it's also apparently this is a thing. I didn't really realize it was a thing until the review started popping up on good reads. But it's got a one bed situation, one bed, and they have to, like, the two of them, have to navigate how that's going to work out, and apparently it's like a thing that is like people have on their checklist of stuff that they like. I've never heard of that. Yeah, so they have to figure that out. It's a you know, it's like life just keeps pushing these two people together, right, and that's what she wants, to be independent and on her own. and Um, life wants her to let somebody be sweet to her, somebody break up in her heart. Did you find yourself like purpose? Did you...

...find yourself outlining all the ways that they would be forced together, or did you let them kind of grow into that? I'm kind of trying to imagine. Here she is, closed off, walled off, here he is. I probably would have caved on Day One, right, you've gotta. Yeah, but she's trying to be professional, right, because it's like her job, right, and she takes a lot of pride in being very good at her job, and so she really really tries to not plus, it's a they have to be in a fake relationship. His mom is sick and so come home to Texas to be with his family while his mom's going through treatments and Um, so he doesn't want to stress out his mother. This is how this all happens. You know, he's read online that like if you Um, if you're stressed out when you're going through treatments, it can make things harder. And so he just asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend around his parents. And at the beginning he's not planning to be around his parents very much, but then wind up around them a lot and so you know, she has to pretend, she has to let him, you know, hug her and baby fake it. Yeah, so, and of course she winds up falling badly in love. But you know she's got some deeper questions in her life about whether or not she is lovable and so, Um, it forces her to kind of wrestle with some of that stuff too. I mean it's a fun story, but there's also a lot of growth and deeper stuff going onto. Yeah, it's all those things. That's awesome. That's awesome. All right, Linda, there was a bit of a mini controversy and Romance Landia about the choice made for Laurie and flying solo. She's almost forty and recently called off our wedding, like you said, and she's resolute in wanting a life of her own. Can you talk about how you arrived at Laurie's version of happily ever after? Um, yeah, I mean I think one of the things I said to my sister at one point was, you know, one of the things I'm writing about here is the less common romantic fantasy of somebody who loves you so much that they don't expect you to live with them. Um, which is a little bit true, and I actually, since this book came out, have spoken to some other women who are in their forties or or older than that, where, once you've lived by yourself for a certain period of time, you can want the relationship and you can want the companionship and yet you can also really feel strongly about your living space, things like your the the negotiations of the day to day, and it is certainly perfectly valid and happy to say I want to, you know, I want to get into this relationship and I want to share this space with with somebody else. But what would happen if you really didn't want to, if you didn't want to kind of take apart your life in your house. And you know, Laurie is not somebody who shares space just in like kitchen cabinets and stuff particularly comfortably. She really likes being able to have things how she wants them and she's always been that way. She grew up in kind of a noisy house with Um four brothers and she always really valued the opportunity to have her own space. So her the thing that I struggled with as that whole as you talked about kind of like many, I guess, day of controversy was going on, was sort of I felt that it was happy and I felt and I didn't feel like it was trick happy. Right there people who say, well, it is a happy ending because they find out they don't belong together and that's happy. That's that's not that. I did feel it was happy and I felt like it was a happy ending for the relationship, but it is a different it's different, a different shape a little bit than some other ones. Um, but to me it's a it's it's her finding a way. It's this, to me, really lovely idea of finding a way to compromise in a different way in order to have the relationship and the happiness and the connection that you want and also maintain certain things the way you want them important. Yeah, I loved, I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I love the the airport scene at the end of the book. That kind of set it for me. I had a friend a long time ago. Um, he was a sportswriter for the paper I was working on and he covered the Atlanta braves. He was a beat writer and he told me that really what he wanted out of life was to have somebody meet him at the airport when he came home. Yeah, I think one of that that a resolution that is happy in terms...

...of the relationship. Yeah, looks more than one way. Um, and that's what my that's what I felt I was trying to do right. And you know, depending on who you are, you know, I think it's sort of it depends on your own particular life and the patterns of your life, but there are a lot of ways to have relationships and and and it made me happy to lay that out as in that way. And I have had quite a number of really lovely notes women who have said, you know, this is I had a really, really nice one from a woman who was explaining that she was widowed and she knew this guy and he was also widowed and they lived in different places and they had kids, but they were kind of trying to figure it out and neither one of really feels like moving from where they live. So they're in the middle of this kind of exploratory stage, but they're very happy. They're not like tortured by what are we gonna do? When are we going to live together? They're happy in the relationship that they're in and they're fighting for it because they're trying to figure out, like, what's the like, what's the outcome for us? So that's been obviously extremely gratifying and lovely. So I'm sure. Okay, let's discuss I feel like you two, Um, could give a master class in romantic comedy. You too seem to have perfect of the art of writing fresh, sparkling, witty, not witty, novels with great Um dialogue and pattern. You know, it's easy to read, but it's also hard to pull off. I wish you would. Maybe you'll share your secrets us. Um Katherine, what's your secret about? Or do you think like I do? That if you talk about funny, it kills funny. Yeah, no, no, no time. Yeah, that's my favorite topic. Um, what's me? So I would say that, Um, I I genuinely believe in love, I mean all kinds of love, not just that it exists, but, like I'm a big fan of it and Um, I got very lucky and married like a very sweet, goofy, hilarious human being who makes everything better by cracking jokes all the time. And actually we don't have any overlapping interests. Like the Ram of like what he wants to do and what I want to do is like nothing. It's like two separate circles except joke around, and so we say that's our primary like activity as a couple is just, uh, riffing on stuff and cracking Joe and making each other laugh all the time. So Um, yeah, I think my secret about writing love stories is that I really I like them, but I also believe in them, like for for me and my own life, love has been a very nourishing and healing force, genuinely, Um, and so I feel very grateful for it and I like to write about it and I'm kind of interested in how. I mean, it's a powerful thing, all those feelings, but I'm interested in how they can be a force for good in your life. I don't know if that's a writing trick, Um, but it's certainly like a life trick for me. Like trick. That's great. Yeah, how about you, Linda? Um, I find your dialogue so um funny. And when I find funniest about it is that you don't right long chunks of paragraph. It's like line, line, line, back and forth. Is that that you've had to work on, or is that just the Linda Holmes method? I think dialogue in particular is something where, at least for me, the way you learn how to do it is to read and watch a lot of the kind of dialogue that you like. So you know, not only have I read and loved tons of writers who are great at romantic comedy type of writing, but I also, you know, in my day job, I am a TV and film critics, I've also spend a tremendous in the amount of dialogue from like when Harry met Sally or moonlighting or you know whatever that I have committed to memory is really either impressive or frightening, depending on how you say it. We're no you know we're going to ask you for your favorite bit. Oh yeah, my favorite bit it. Well,...

...my favorite bit from from Um, my favorite bit from Moonlighting is one where they're talking about a guy with a mole in his nose and they say we're looking for a man and his malt, with a mole on his nose, and I'll do the two sides so you can tell who's talking. We're looking for a man with a mole on his nose, a mall and his nose, a mall in his nose. What kind of clothes? What kind of clothes do you suppose? What kind of clothes do I suppose to be worn by a man with mull and his nose? Who knows? And it goes on like that and I think you have to listen to a lot of that and absorb it and it kind of gets in your it kind of gets in your ear a little bit, and then I just read it a lot. Then I just read it back a lot and say it out loud a lot Um and it sort of comes somewhat naturally in that sense. But it's also the result of just many, many, many years of influence from, you know, Nora Afron and people like that who write that kind of stuff so um so brilliantly, because I think that kind of dialogue you just have to kind of absorb and it's still hard. I mean it's the easier it reads, the harder it was to write nothing. Well, there's no there's no real moment where you can say about an exchange like that, about it back and forth exchange like that. There's no moment where you kind of say, okay, I accomplished everything that I was trying to accomplish. You have to just see does it feel the way that you wanted to feel when you read it out loud? Basically, well, and just like in screenwriting, you're just like in movies, those few lines of dialogue have to accomplish so much more than just what the words are saying. So I do think that's a real skill to to have the lines but then to have what's happening between the lines that carries the story forward. Yeah, I mean the the the trick with me is, I think everybody who's ever edited me would say, you know, if you let me, I would just write like thirty pages of people yapping, because it's just what I enjoy doing. And so actually particularly in the first book and vy a lot of that had to be kind of shaved down little because it got over you know, it just was too much of it. So, if you let me, I will just, you know, people yapping about food and TV and all that kind of stuff. We'll just go on for pages upon pages. That's so something that I think both of your books have in common is the theme of home. So coming back home, escaping home, finding the home of your heart. Those themes are so strong in both of these novels. But those themes of home are played out in wildly different ways. So, Catherine, your protagonist, Hannah, has had a dark and difficult childhood, which I think is reflected in her nomadic life and, by contrast, Linda, your protagonist, Laurie, by her own reckoning, has had a close, happy family life, but she's conflicted about returning to her hometown. Um, I would love to have you both Um, if you're up for it, just talk about the theme of Home, how it arose, why it felt important and and why I sort of became a piece of each of these novels. How how about you, Katherine? Would you like to go first? Yeah, sure, I was writing this novel during the pandemic. Like I said, I was stuck in my house, Um, with two teenagers who did not want to be there and, uh, my husband, who is an extrovert, who was very like he's like a shark right, he has to get water through his skills. He's just always needing to move and so very, very crazy and Um, and then our dog, who was having a few issues also. So, you know, I was home right. I was like first home situation and then, uh, I wanted to go someplace else. And the place where I want setting this book was on a ranch, but a real ranch. It's my grandparents actual real so, Um, when I was growing up, Um, they ran this ranch and my mom now runs it. It's like a real it's the real deal and that's so cool. That is yeah, I mean I think sometimes in you know, parts of this book are very high fantasy that I've written, you know, the sort of bodyguard stuff, in the movie star stuff, and in other books the ranch stuff might also be high fantasy. But in my situation it's a real place where I scampering around my whole childhood and it's like some of the best memories of my entire life happened so for me it was an incredible sense of comfort to be able to just mentally travel out there. I mean the Stapleton's house in this story is my grandparents house. That's my grandmas and so, yeah, and now and yeah, so it's so for me that was like I was trying to I was really trying to comfort myself when I was writing. I was trying to write that I needed and I was feeling very like freaked out about the world human race might be about to be, you know, wiped out. I was like not sure what it's going to happen and I was looking for like a sense of hope and I was looking for like I really...

...really wanted to see stories about people who were managing to not be terrible, like I just looking at. So I was kind of troubling down on like love and and and laughter and kindness and all those like things that we do sometimes but forget to do other times. Yes, so, anyway, that's how it wound up at the ranch and for me that that is like one of the strongest sense of home that I had because, you know, it's everybody I loved in that one place. And Yeah, that's kind of how I wounded writing about that. Oh my gosh, I love that the sense of home came about so naturally from your own sense of home during a time when things felt like they were sort of being pulled apart. I love that. That's the most natural way, I think too, Um, for a theme to find its way into a novel. I love that. Um. How about you, Linda? Can you talk a little bit about the theme of home in your novel and where that came from? Sure it's interesting hearing that because I I am you know, this book takes place in the same fictional town in Maine as my first book and I did not plan to do that. I do not have any more planned. That was not an idea that I had. But again, in the pandemic, everything being very difficult writing, I found very difficult. Um, during that time, I had this feeling of like I want to put my I want to sort of Hook into something that is familiar to me, and so that's part of why it's it's set there. And in terms of home within the story, you know, I think everybody is. I think everybody who reads any amount of romance knows and loves a lot of stories about returning to your hometown, returning to your small town Um. We're returning to your hometown, small town Um, and very often the question is, you know, you love it and do you want to come back? And I think for Lorie the question really becomes how to be at peace with it and how to work through how much she loves it without necessarily feeling like she wants to live there forever. Um. You know, she has a life that she's established for herself. She has friends, she lives in Seattle now, so it's all the way across the country. She has friends, she has work out there, she has a house. She wants to be at peace with it. She wants to feel like she can come back and see people, she wants to feel like she knows the place where she grew up and like she has a a good and healthy relationship with it. But that's a different question from whether you want to go back and live there, and so I think that's kind of part of what's pulling at her, is this idea of, you know, she loved her great aunt, she loves her great aunt's House. Like, how do you decide maybe that's not the right life for you, but you want to feel like you're not avoiding it. You want to feel like you're not staying away because you're not kind of at peace with how you grew up. Yeah, that's awesome, M I love that. That's one of my favorite kind of you know things that when people come home to their small town, and probably because I loved my small like well, I live in an even smaller town than when I grew up in, which is unimaginable, but I love my hometown so much and you know, I love those those stories. But so both of you have these really interesting and amazing other lives, Um, and I'm interested in how those other lives play into your writing. So, Katherine, we were actually talking about off screen, your beautiful arts. Um, they're actually people commenting and asking in the comments about the beautiful art behind you. Um. So you definitely have to tell us about that. But you know, even your book jackets have this colorful, joyous look to them and I was saying, I think I pre ordered one of your books or something a few years ago and you you painted inside of it and it was just magical. Um. So which came first, the art or the writing, and is one feed the other? There's like a lot of questions yeah, yes, they came at the same time. It's like my whole life doing both of those things. And in college I was trying to decide if I should go to art school or Writing School. Um, and for a long, long time, as I was struggling to be a writer, I thought I had made the wrong choice, right. And UH, yeah, I mean I just I'm crafty, you know. I'm always making, like putting things together and drawing. I'm not good at drawing actually, but I can do lots of sewing and other things. and Um, yeah, I mean I think all creative things feed you, right, because because they're nourishing, they're just, you know, when you're doing things that you love to do, whatever those things are. Um, it's just it's like comforting to your soul and it enriches your experience of life and it teaches you to pay...

...attention to details, you know. and Um, I find that I am drawn to making things a lot. So, yes, I do paint on books. It's good actually that my books have flowers on it, because that's kind of one of the only things I can really paint. No, I can't do people. Um. So yeah, I paint a lot of flowers on books and Um, I just want to make them special. I also love books as objects. You know, I love having them in my house and I love reading them and I love reading them in the Bathtub and dropping them in the bathtub sometimes. But, like all of them, the physicality of books fun for me. When I have a new book, I always feel grateful to the world and happy that it's there and I want to support it by making the books really special, although this time around I um, I have not painted any books. I mean we're just getting started. Next week this one comes out. Um. But the one thing that I've been doing is in the bodyguard there's a there's a little storyline about a Um beaded friendship pin that the main character has and Um, she made it as a child and then she gave it to her mom and then she lost it and then, you know, there's a whole sort of storyline about looking for this, for this pin. And when the book was over, I ran out of Um, like there's always that weird feeling after you finish a book where you're just like, who even am I now, like the book is my purpose in life, sort of moment afterwards. And what I started doing in that moment after the bodyguard was turned in last summer is I started making beated friendship pins, and so it became like a little bit of a problem. Like at first I just wanted to problem and before I knew it I had like a whole freezer bag michaels and like buying more and more beads, and I like, what's happening here with these? What's going on? You know? Do you need help? And I decided that I wanted to take come on book to her and I was going to pass them out to people, just give everybody an so I'm like, it's it's become girl thing. I've made like thousands of friendships and sown. Oh my God, this one. Do you have one nearby? I want to see what it looks like. Are you kidding me? This is terrifying with what I have. But they're to make those like a camp and stuff. Remember. So the PIN did they fall off? What's that question? You can't undo the pin right. You can a little bit like that, okay, cutter background, and then you can Um, you can like there. You can clip them to stop. So that's how bad works. But she's got hers hanging on a necklace. That's awesome. It's just been you know, I, like you've been things that are fictional come into the real world, and that the way that can happen, because its very real. So anyway, yes, very crafty and it just makes life more fun. In general, I would say I love it. So, Linda, you are a lawyer in the past. Lie If I love like telling you about yourself. Linda, you are a lawyer in the past life. Do you know that? Um, and you're currently the host of NPRS pop culture happy hour. So what makes you decide that a topic is pod worthy? First of all, and just listening to all these wildly divergent ideas ever play into decisions you make about your fiction? Good question. The way we decide whether something is going to be an episode of the podcast is basically we all sit around and we look at a calendar and are very smart producers. Um, you know prepare, you know, look aheads and everything, and then, you know, fortunately, there are four of us hosting now and so we have different interests and we have different, you know, areas of kind of specialty. Like you know, I will always watch a romantic comedy and stuff like that. One of my friends is a super great, Um Comic Book, kind of expert Um. So it kind of varies, Um, but we really all do kind of come to a census about, first of all, do we think we're going to have something to say about it? Second of all, do we think our audience is gonna want to hear about it? And third of all, is it's something that we really feel it's valuable to spotlight, right, because we're always kind of trying to make sure that people look a little bit outside like maybe the most heavily advertised, like we still cover all the marvel movies and stuff, but we also like to make room for to kind of help people discover something that's maybe a little bit smaller, Um, that they're going to enjoy. So there's kind of several considerations, UM, in terms of how it affects fiction, I think the biggest things are, like, it is definitely true that since I have been, Um, spending time as a critic, it does give you a lot of time to focus on what drives you crazy, about stories that drive you crazy and what you find really satisfying, Um, about the ones that you like, and so I've had a lot...

...of like being a critic calls upon you a little bit to try to untangle those things with other people's work. What is it about this that works or doesn't? What makes this effective or not effective, rather than just I liked it or I didn't like it? The challenge is always to try to really come up with the things that differentiate a successful and since I since I work with a lot of things that, frankly, a lot of critics don't bother trying to differentiate from each other. Um It. It's it'sn't always an interesting exercise to say like well, yes, you know, there are people who kind of say, like, Superhero movies are this or romantic comedies are this. But when you take that time and really try to untangle okay, but why is this working and this isn't working, even though these things look very similar on the surface, I think when you develop that, it gives you a little bit of additional it gives you a little bit of an advantage when you're approaching your own fiction. Um To to, it gives you a little bit of an advantage in figuring out how to go about it. M Yeah, that's great. Well, we got a ton of live got a ton of live questions. That did you want to ask a question. Okay, let me see. There are some great one for a lot of comments on Catherine's background. So Irene Justice would like to know for both of you, who are some of your favorite authors? So, Um, Catherine, let's start with you, and then and then you, Linda. What who are some of your favorite authors? And I'm going to kind of add to I rens question that inspire you for what you do besides more n yeah, ever, I mean up run earlier. I just actually to celebrate the bodyard coming out, I did um a newsletter that was all about one Harry met valley movies of all time, and a woman responded to my post about that and she was like my best friend. And I made a when Harry met Sally Exam in College. Do you want to take it? All? That's Stri Google talk and I took it so seriously. I took this test more seriously than anything I ever did in school. I was like this, I don't even know who I am right. And there were questions, I mean they had questions about like what number on the menu did Harry Order in the diner? Oh Wow, and I was like Gosh, the number of person was it at two was it a three? I don't know. I panicked. I don't know, I don't know, and I just like I think I know, I think I know. So, yeah, so, obviously nor at front is like the patron saying of everything good in the history of the world. Yeah, and then, uh, you know, during the pandemic I discovered two writers who I totally fell in love with and who were new to me. And one of them was Emily Henry. I'm not alone. The whole world discovered him. Um, and I actually got to read an early copy of book lovers and I got to give like a little blurb for that. So I feel very, like, very proprietary about book lovers and like that's my book, you know. Um. And then the other author who I discovered is actually two people. It's Christina Lauren. Yes, we love them, your friends writing, Christina and Lauren writing, and I just got to meet them in real life. They came to Texas and we did a book event together and but, you know, I love what I love about both of those are all three of those writers, is that their comedy is genuinely funny. Um, yeah, it's like like it's laugh out loud funny. It really gets you laugh and and there's something so inspiring and kind of incomparable about when you're just reading a book and you're actually vocalizing laughter, like it's just magic when that happens. And so yeah, when somebody can do that to me, I just fall madly in love. That's awesome. How about you, Linda? I always try to shout out the first to grown up writers that I was super into reading Um as a teenager, because I think that's such an important moment um and that was Stephen King and Jackie Collins Um, both very influential upon me. Um. And then, I think, as I got more into reading a lot of romantic comedy, Um, there are certain writers. I read a ton of Kristin Higgins, I read a ton of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, I read a ton of Um. I read a lot of Um. I read a lot of Gen Winer, I read a lot of Um. You know, a lot of kind of women who wrote, I thought, really fun and and and interesting relationships. I also really love Um, I really I I love a lot of the...

...the kind of the stuff that's out now. Um. I loved Um Melissa's Sessman's book, Um Funny You should ask uh book lovers. Certainly, I just finished, Um, I just read uh how to fake it in Hollywood. I read a book called birds of California by Um Katie Katugno, which I really love, uh, which is another kind of Um, Hollywood adjacent, uh romantic story. Uh So, yeah, I mean I I try to read a lot Um, but I think in terms of inspiring my own writing, those are probably some of the big ones. That's awesome, Kristen, you gotta ask a question. Question we have talk. Sure, yeah, maybe, just so a quick answer to this. Carrie Soderman is wondering which of your characters was your favorite to create. How about you, Linda Um my favorite is probably dot, who is um who has passed away at the beginning of the main action in this book, but who is essentially constructed out of Um, her house and her things that she left behind in the memories of her Um and she's a very, very precious character to me and and created in obviously a different way because you don't really see her in real time. You more kind of discover her through her artifacts. I like that. How about you, Katherine Um? So, the first person who popped mind is actually a character from an older book of mine called Happiness for beginners, which is getting a new life because it's being turned into a movie and and it's the grandma and that story. Her name is grandma Gigi and she's an artist and she's also in like a naughty book club, like an x rated she's like Nicety and fun and she is being played actually in the movie by blithe Danner's perfect. Why I got to I got to go to the set, you know, in the movie. So I actually will be in the to be at the character drinking pretend champagne with life danner. So answer as good as it gets. Yeah, okay, Catherine and Linda, we are wondering if there were. We've been talking a lot about books tonight. Maybe we should talk about a writing tip. Could you both give us a writing tip? Linda, how about a quick writing tip? Um, my best writing tip is, UH, start by sitting down and making yourself right without stopping, because it is much easier to work off of having something than work off of having nothing, and you will sometimes find that is the it's that old myth about the ship of theseus where if you change one board at a time until you've changed all the boards, is it still the same ship? You know what I'm talking about. And with a book, with a piece of writing, sometimes you'll actually realize later that you changed everything in it and yet it still is the same thing. So the point is to just push some thing out, get it down, and then you'll start to see what it needs and then you start to build and then it'll build up a little bit at a time. But like the sitting around being like, I don't exactly have it yet. That's good. That's the part I always have to push myself past, because you just just dump it out. It's not going to be that good. Dump it out and we'll go from there. Kaprien, how about you? Um, I have too. Can I have to? Yeah, make Um. The first one is and now that I've said I have too, I'm going to forget them. Um, I'm going to attention. What you love, right, whatever you love in stories, that's what you should be writing, right, and so just just like follow your own compass, read what you love and write what you love. Like I think that's like right to it all. But then the other thing about being a writer is I think it's so, so vastly important to learn how to practice the art of self encouragement. Right. We're all so good at being critical and so good at being hard on ourselves, but I think actually the trick to sticking with it despite all the rejection and misery is to learn to see what you're doing right in addition to what you're doing wrong right, and to and to like here yourself fun and be like, okay, I don't know what's going on with the rest of it, but this line right here is really funny, right, or it is really beautiful. So, yeah, learning how to appreciate where you're getting right is really important. That's okay, ladies, if you'll if you don't mind hanging around for a few more minutes, we got more to talk about. But first a couple of reminders from us our writer's Bock podcasts. You know about them, you love them. We always post links about them under announcements each time a new one drops, and that's always on a Friday and on the last episode it was so much fun to listen to. Ron and Christie talked to Brooklyy foster about her new novel on Jin Lane, and this week, Ron we'll talk to children's book author Christina Geist about storytelling through picture books, and I can't wait...

...to listen to that one. So that's going to be such a good one. All right, so we know many of you have been participating in our very first friends and fiction reading challenge organized by our friend and Lisa Armstrong. This month, for July, we're encouraging you to read a classic that you've always meant to read. And if you're looking for our way to keep track of those books and your other reading, we always love to recommend our beautiful reading journal available at Oxford Exchange. The friends and fiction official book club is having a blast. The group, which is as a separate facebook page from US and it's run by our friends Lisa Harrison and Brenda Gardner, is now thirteen thousand strong. So Brenda and Lisa, who we affectionately have nicknamed phoebe and J choose the books and host the authors for our monthly discussions and this coming Monday, July eighth, they're hosting author Emily Henry to discuss her blockbuster bestseller book lovers, which might have been mentioned a few times tonight. Exactly. Yeah, and we want to remind you that we are now having seasons so we're right now winding down are incredible spring and summer season and after tonight we will have two more shows, two more incredible shows, and then a two week break before our outrageously amazing fall season starting August. But during those two weeks we have off, keep your eyes out because we have some really cool surprises for you. But we will be meanwhile planning huge things for the fall. That's right now. Before we talk to Catherine and Linda again, don't forget we have a awesome Leslie Hooton on the afterwards show. Okay, Catherine and Linda, we started this way back at the beginning of the show and it's one of our favorite questions to ask and it gives so much insight. So I'm gonna Start with you, Linda. What were the family values around reading and writing when you were growing up and how do you think that has impacted the writer you are today? Um, I was always encouraged to read and I was always encouraged in my writing. Honestly, I did not discover until my first book was coming out that everyone didn't want to write books when they were kidding, but I was so I was so encouraged in that belief and I always wanted to write stories. I started writing stories when I was so little and we had like the you know, my dad had the typewriter in his desk on the big like swinging arm that would kind of get out of his desk and then you would type and then put it away trunk, and I typed on that thing. I typed some of my first stories on there. Um. So I think the value around reading was encouragement. You know, we did a lot of camping as a family and we would read aloud at night. I remember we read sounder and stuff like that, but we also read. I remember my dad reading us a book of Um, like scary short stories. He read us this Um From and the tell tale heart was in there, but also line engine versus the ants, which is this like wild story about this guy battling ants, and the most dangerous game, which is about the guy who discovers he's being hunted, and so like. It's even from when I was young. They read us a lot of different stuff and I think it was just encouragement and joy around reading and writing. Um probably is what the value was that. How about you, Miss Catherine Um? Well, my mom is a she's a she's a librarian, she has a master's in library science and she, Um, she took us a library all the time, I mean, you know, and also the bookstore, you know, like there were a lot of things we could not talk my parents into, but they never said note of books, you know, books were books were great. Um. So I get my mom a lot of credit. And my dad is a fantastic reader, like he read us all of Alison Wonderland Books and he just he likes the music of language, he likes the way words sound and he's just I feel like, you know, he could have had a career as an audiobook narrator. But I think that for me, the big thing that kind of doomed me to want to be a writer was, um, sixth grade, writing fan fiction about Duran, Duran, Duran Duran. So I'll run for you, I'll run for you. We got fan fiction, I mean, along with like many, many other teenage girls in the eighties and Um, I wrote a very compelling novel about how all five members of Duran Duran fell madly in love with me, and I did and, as you can imagine, it was pretty wrenching. You know who did? You did you do? Tell me, don't tell me, don't tell me. You picked John Taylor. You know, that would have been a good choice. He's aged very well. Um, so, Lebonne, I was gonna say. It's that. That's...

...the that's the decision. That's right. That's I feel like that's the decision right. You know, I was very dorky in them and very hard on myself and very miserable, and I had two best friends who were also very dorky and hard on themselves and miserable, and we were all in love with the random and and we each, each of us, wrote a novel, and so we would get together on the weekends, we put on our PJS, we'd pile into somebody's bed, we'd open up our little spiral notebooks and we would read our novels to each other. And, yeah, and they very kindly included each other as secondary characters, right, because there was only one of me in my novel and there were men who were gonna have their hearts destroyed when I changed to choose your friends exactly. So they were there pieces. It was. That's the thing, like, that's what that's where I got hooked, because it was so fun you know, like real life was so bad and it was so demand to all of these novels, Linda, that you could rattle off the names of the Duran Duran. Oh, definitely rattled off a couple. I mean I was, I'm a child of the seventies and eighties. Man, Ditto. Kidding, I remember they sang, but not not their name. So you got like the brooding, like the longer hair, kind of cool quiet. That's the that's your John Taylor, you got your Nick Rhodes, you got your Andy Taylor, you got come on, man, this is Linda. That is amazing. We've had a lot of pop culture tonight and it's been amazing. Linda and Catherine, thank you so much for spending time with us. Thanks for talking about the bodyguard and flying solo and Duran durant and everybody. Make sure, Ron and make sure that you go to bookshop dot org and or to your local indie and get the bodyguard and flying solo. And now Katherine goes on tour starting what Tuesday? So go to Kath Boa. Ladies, tell us where people can find you on your social media. Did Yeah, yeah, I did. Are Your Heart's going pitter pattern? I told that story on a local, UM, like morning show in Houston and now every time they have me on they play me into hungry like the wolf every time. Yes, Katherine, where can people find you? So I am mostly on instagram because, Um, it's just full of books and happiness for me. Um, and then I've got so it's just Instagram, Katherine Center, and then I've got a website that, Um, you know, I spend a lot of time updating and playing with. And Linda, what about you? Uh, you can find me at Linda Holmes on twitter or Linda Holmes Ninety seven on instagram. Can I have like fifteen seconds to say one other thing? Yes, Um, you guys talked about audio books earlier. I do want to mention that my incredibly brilliant audio book narrator, Julia Whalen, who is one of the great narrators of all time, has a book coming out at the beginning of August that's called thank you for listening. That is about the world of audiobook narrators, set in the world of audio book narrators. You must, you must. She's the she's one of the primary narrators of Daisy Jones as well. So you know her if you know that book. I just have to throw that in there because, like it came up and I was like, I have to mention Julia's book sostening the podcast. She's a genius. She's been one of the most supportive people in my brief writing career, so I just wanted to shout that book out. Well, thank you for doing that, Bie. Ladies, thanks again. Thank you so much. You have been awesome. Thank you, thank you. Okay, now you can find all of our back episodes on our youtube channel. We are live there every week, just like we are on facebook, and if you subscribe you won't miss a thing. Make sure you come back next week, same time, same place, as we welcome the amazing Jennifer Weiner and her newest the summer house and Mateo Ascara. Poor did I do that right? With black book, which was a read with Jenna, today's show pick. We'll join us for the after show and make sure to stay this week for this week's afterwards show with Leslie Houghton. See all in a minute. Well, we're back. What is that? Thirty seconds, just enough to like take another SIP. Yea, they were great guests. It feels good to belly laugh like that. I can't believe you, Duran, Duran. That was awesome and I know there's such a generation guy, a person in Duran, durant...

...and and so the Rick Roll thing really had me Havy. Well, they're funny and their books are funny and that kind of stuff. Um, we think it comes naturally because it feels so easy on the page. I've obviously both spent a lot of time figuring out the banter and the back and forth and studying it. I love it. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's fun. You know, it's nice to have. We love all kinds of books, but it's really nice to Um, to have romantic comedy and, Um, to allow ourselves to experience that joy and to laugh, laugh, I think absolutely. Okay, let's welcome our from Leslie Houghton. Right, so, Leslie Houghton is the acclaimed author of three novels. For debut novel before anyone else receive to Zimby nomination, and her second novel, the secret of rainy days, was a book club favorite. Her essays have been published in Moms don't have time to grieve and in Newsweek Leslie has often said some people have a stroke of luck she had one at birth. She brings this unique perspective to her writing with humor and heart. Leslie uses dictation for each of her novels and often jokes. I haven't hyped a single word. Leslie grew up in a small Alabama town and she earned a B A and an m a from my Alma Mater, Auburn University, and a J D from Stanford University. She's got a few degrees. She also attended the swanny writer's conference for many years and has studied with studied with Alice McDermott, Jill mccorkle and Richard Bosh. Her new novel after everyone else was just released on June and it's a standalone sequel to her debut. Sean, could you bring Lesliean? Hi, Hey, ladies me, it's the show and I don't feel like such a nerd. Sense I wrote a book about Barry Manlove. So of course Duran Durand is a lot cooler, but you know, Barry Manelode, Duran Duran, I don't know, I don't know. I think that sums me up pretty well. You know, a longing teenager. You know that's kind of me. So anyway, well, war, Eagle, Leslie, War Eagle Patty. So after everyone else brings us back to the life of Bailey Edgeworth from before anyone else. But now you show us the lengths we might all go to to protect the ones we love, and Bailey has a lot of new twists and turns. Can you tell us a bit about after everyone else? What after everyone else is about? And then we're gonna pick you with the same question we ask everyone else. Then tell us what it is really about. That's that's right. It's about marriage, motherhood and murder, not necessarily in that order. But I did not set out to write a sequel. I am you know, but Bailey and Griffin did not leave my head. They just decamped, unpacked their bags and, Um, a saint sort of bloomed up for me in the middle of the book, the Mushy Middle Patty, and I was like, well, how do you get off with something like that? How do you forgive something like that? And then you know the magic words sort of what happens next. So I'm like, okay, Bailey, you saved my life when I was really in a low spot, so I guess I owe it to you to know return the favor and see where this goes. Of course, the book opens with her being accused of murder for her ex husband, and that's not nearly so bad, except she hasn't seen him in twenty three years and her DNA is everywhere in the apartment and it is all over Elliott. So why would bailey be there on the Um the night of the murder, twenty three years later? So pomp up bomb. So that's how the book gets started, and then I go back in time to explore, which is what I really wanted, that this is what the book is really about. I really wanted to explore new love versus weather love. You know, you've got this new love that was twenty three years ago and then a weathered love which is now twenty three years later. And how does it all hold up and what all happens after? You know the end? And it also Um with the past.

The past sort of informs the present and the present informs the past. So we kind of get a glimpse as to why Bailey is Bailey. Pretty we pretty much know from her point of view that she did not commit the murder, but she is not so convinced about the rest of her family. So she is not sure what she is going to do. And she isn't a pickle because she is her DNA is everywhere and the prosecutors have offered her a plea bargain. So she's afraid she's gonna have to take one for the team. But anyway, it's about the links we go to to protect the ones we love, but it's also, at its core, uh, an exploration of marriage and about forgiveness, which is hard but necessary. So Um, so, yeah, m that's such a good point. So you know, Leslie, you know we love talking about origin stories. Can you tell us a little bit about where the idea for before anyone else and after everyone else, came from? So sort of the first seed of the idea? I know you've talked about how, before anyone else, came to you when your mom was in the hospital. Yes, she was. She was very good mammy, Christian. She was my brilliant mother who taught me my love of poetry. I infuse every book of mine with Pope Poems Um as an homage to her. where she was dying of Dementia and my twenty five year marriage was completely falling apart. So I didn't feel so uh, you know, happy or joyful, and I remember Um. I believe it was Um, and I don't know if it was. I get the two mix up. Emily UH, Emily, Um Henry or Emma Stop. That said that she wrote her book and she didn't expect it to find an audience. Well, I just wrote Bailey because I needed to feel happy again and I needed to feel beauty, and I feel beautiful. And so Bailey just shows up with her cocktails and her fun and her vineage clothing. Mary Kay, and you and Bailey would have some fun out and I just I owe a great deal of debt of gratitude her and I think that Um, the protectiveness that she's she was not. She is not a natural mother. Um, I like to throw a stereotype on its axis and like she doesn't Cook. Griffin cooks, all the men cook and she doesn't. And she's the one that travels during the week and Griffin stuff is at home. And I posed the question. Well, and everybody was criticizing her about this and she says men travel all the time and they don't get criticized. And and I have a husband that's home, I have a I have a brother that's home. So why can't I travel? So I think that there are some probing questions. One can you know, book club kind of questions. So I'm look, you could see my books in the back anyway. When I was when I was entertaing Um, the secret of Freddy Day, I just, Um, I really got this mother's love. I could feel it strongly and I think I got that Priston from my own mother, I mean my mother. I mean you know, I've had an unconventional life and I think she went to great links to protect me, to push me, to make me determined, and so I think maybe that kind of came from my origins, my you know, my my, my being on the sidelines a lot and wheelchairs from surgeries and stuff. So and I looked at I read a lot and I looked at magazines and now I followed this crazy lady that's head up the design cheek because I love Awf Um, so I so I love that. So it seemed like a natural thing to do. And there never been a story about a restaurant designer. So, you know, find not me. So anyway at sixty. So there you go. That's so awesome. Um Leslie. I think everybody that is watching you right now will completely understand and that you, you really embody this. I glide that you have, which is a...

...lover of color in a black and white world. But so much Um. And you just wrote a really honest and steering piece and Newsweek about how a birth stroke has affected your life and your writing. Do you want to talk about that to me? Well, I'll talk about anything y'all want to. Um, I um. I had to say my mother put books in my hand. I mean she was I called her the dealer because she was a library you too, just like Catherine, the mother one and and the library was my happy place and I always it was also my safe place and I called it the great equalizer, Christie, because you know, I couldn't do things like other children could do, but with my library card I could. I could, I could hike up mountains and I could do deep sea fishing and I could ride. I could ride bicycles, which I kept ever been a to do or where Jack Roger Sandals, but Um, but so I could do all that with the library card. So I loved it and my mother fostered it all and when, when I was born, she was not a necessarily maternal type either. But Um, she always thought something was wrong with me. And then a doctor said, you know, Miss who, your daughter needs to be in an institution because she's got these maladies and they're gonna just get worse over time. And I still think that's a little devailuable because I'm a little bit here. I'm scared them sometimes. I don't know. I don't think there's a cure for that. If there S, d n me after this anyway. But my mother had noticed my my eyes and my curiosity about light and things, and she said, you know, I think she is curious. and My mother valued curiosity and intellect and went above everything else, and so I think she thought if there was curiosity, there was intellect, and so she she took me home. She I wanted to learn to swim and I did as much as I could and my mother was sort of right there, kind of on the not not always on the sideline, I was gonna say on the sidelines, but not always, you know, pushing me and, you know, encouraging me, because she said, Laslie, you're going to have to be Avis, you're going to have to try two times harder than most other women because of your size and of your you know, your physical Um situation and your southern accent. All My said, I told like everybody else. But anyway, that's what she said. and My mother, you know, I always say most people think their mothers are special, but my mother was a force of nature, a lot like a tsunami, you know, and so she I don't think I would be here with you ladies tonight had it not been for her. And I just have to say, and this is probably a point of privilege and I'm taking time, but one of the first books she ever put in my hand that I just love was hissy fit. I love, I thought, I love the title. Who is this woman? And Very Madelowe's book, Mary Kay is said at Tybee Beach, thanks to you, because you know. So I was like, this sounds like an enchanting place, so it's Um. anyways, it said in Tybee beach and New England, because it's song was weakened in New England. So I had to sort of set it there and I used my little world book, My red and black world, you know, Encyclopedias, to do research and mother said well, Leslie, you should write about guff shore, as you know about Guf shoance. I'm like, well, what's the fun? And that, Mama, I go to guff shorge. I want to go someplace that I've never been. So I went to Bob you know, I went to Cape Cod and to Mary Kay, Savannah. So I feel like I'm with the you know, it's very hard to be with you often night. Guess I have not. I want to get to know you, Kristen, because I've heard so much, but I have sort of relationships. I'm writing this book because of the dual timeline. Then and now. I was very hard on my stroke brain and many times I was just ready to give the advance back. So I can't do this, I can't do this, and I think patty email me one time said,...

Leslie, you can do this, and different people along the way, Lisa Bar Um, sort of encouraged me. Kevin, you know I mean I have a whole Um, you know, a stable of people that are um supporting me, including non literary friends. But Um, I it was very hard and I'm I'm surprised that the reviews have been so good, because I'll never do the dual time like let it work for this book. No, no, no, but I know, never say never because watch we do it again. But I don't know. But it was really hard. But I was really proud of the essay. Christie. See, I will get back the things if you're giving him. I my mother was about moving ahead and I think that generation was and I always really wanted to know what cost it. And it was. I was fifty years old when I found out really that I had a stroke at birth and when I got one of my men in white coats to go on this little fact finding expedition with me and Um and my mother goes Leslie, it won't change anything, and I'm like yeah, but it'll change me. And it did, and I but she didn't stand in my way and she but, you know, in classic style, she was like at least she didn't get get on with your life. But Um, I was. I'm glad to know that something, that it that it was something. You know. It just it seemed really weird that an incubator would cause all that because I was born early. They didn't plug on the in the incubator. They didn't turn it on that, they didn't plug it up. I mean, I mean it was a comedy of their's. Today I was born. It's amazing. I guess it's a my think that I have two cents rolling around in my head, but anyway, Um, so she she was probably my first love and she is probably my truest love just because she's been so she was so supportive. Alight, I know. Speaking of supportive, I know you're a protege at the Swanne Writer's conference. I know you love talking about writing and what it has meant in your life. Do you have any any writing advice? I have to think you're writing advice is going to be really valuable for folks because you've had to overcome so much. Yeah, well, thanks for Building Building Office up, Mary Kay is, I don't know. Um, I think if you love it, just do it. Like Nike. He said we we kind uh dove telling with Katherine. We have enough self criticism. So if we start listening to that, we're not gonna do anything. And I cannot not I'm using a double negative. So if there are any grower people on the pal I'm sorry, I'm not not right. You know, I just it's it's like have I get Auntsie if I don't do it for a day or two and but for me it's not always about being at the computer. I like to know what my characters are eating and what they're wearing, and so a lot of that time has just spent in conversation with them, if you will. Um, I read something that validated that and Patchet wrote an essay and she said she didn't fear dead, she just feared that her characters would die because they sort of live in her head until she gets the the manuscript formulated. So that sort of is my approach as well. I mean I'll write found character names or sentences or praises that I love, but I am at the computer every day and it and Mary Kay, there were years. This is not I mean I'm sixty and you would think, well, but I've been writing all my life too. I mean my mother teld me what meter was when I was five years old. I'm like, well, you know, this is not gonna make me Popular Party, but you know what she was for her and you know she enjoyed that and, as I said, my parents valued with and cleverness along with intellect, and so Um, I just have always been a student of always writing. Always, whether you know I write notes all the time too. I feel like you know, you don't always have to be in the commission of actively writing a story, because...

...your characters are living and they're forming and they're putting flesh on the bone, and so that's that's not really good advice, but just doing that great advice, great advices, great advice. Well, Leslie, we could talk to you forever, but I gotta go eat dinner. Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you and I appreciate you having me and I love being with you all in my life. Christen, I've got your book. Oh my key, so good. Thank you, Leslie. I know you're active on our page and with the official Book Club. Um, what's coming up next for you? Well, I am just finished the touches for my Fourth Manu scrap, turned it in, fingers crossed, and you know, I never know if somebody's gonna like it. So we'll just see, you know, I just I just will. It's a it's it's a little bit different from me, but I like I like pushing the I don't want to be bored. I don't want my readers to be bored. Just like I didn't know the murderer in this book until the until I was in my second re rise and I'm like, Oh my Lord, so I had to go put out all the now then to make sure the clues lined up. So I don't like to be bored. I don't want my readers to be bored, and so I like a good day at the officer for me is to be surprised by a care so I have a book that's very surprising. So we love having you on tonight. We can't wait, and for all of you out there, we can't wait to see you next week. Right here, same time, same place. See Them. Thanks. lost. Wanted to thank you for tuning in. You can join us every week on facebook or Youtube, where our live show airs on Wednesday nights at seven PM eastern time. Also, subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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