Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode 14 · 1 year ago

Friends and Fiction with Kristina McMorris

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Kristina McMorris joins the Friends & Fiction authors to discuss her unexpected path to writing, her former life as a child TV host--and how she was almost a regular F&F host! https://kristinamcmorris.com/home

Welcome to friends and fiction. Five best selling authors endless stories. Friends and fiction is a podcast with five best selling novelists whose common love of reading writing in independent bookstores bound them together. With chats, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing, these friends 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. Best Selling Novelists Mary K Andrews, Christen Harmel, Christie Woodson Harvey, Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Monroe are five longtime friends with more than eighty published books to their credit. At the start of the pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, your favorite bookstores, writing, reading and publishing in this new, unchartered territory. They're still talking and they've added fascinating discussions with other best selling novelists. So joined them live on their friends and fiction facebook group page every Wednesday at seven P M Eastern, or listen in view later at your leisure. Hi Everybody, and welcome to friends and fiction. Are Weekly facebook live show featuring author CH ATS in support of independent bookstores. Our Community of readers here on friends and fiction has grown to more than sixteen thousand members. How is that possible? And we could not be happier to welcome you here tonight. So let's get started. I'm Christin Harmel and my latest book is the Book of lost names. I'm Christy was in Harvey, and my latest book is feels like falling. I'm Pattie Callahan Henry and my latest book is becoming Mrs Lewis Hi. I'm Mary Ellis Monroe and my latest book is a Noshan Boulevard. And I'm Mary Kay Andrews and my latest book is Hello Summer, and this is friends and fiction. Who we are so glad you're here so tonight. As you can see, we have a new face among us, another wonderful, special guest and a true friend to all of us. I am so happy to introduce all of you to Christina mcmorris, The New York Times best selling author of five novels, including it's sold on a Monday, which is now sold more than six hundred thousand copies. Prior to her writing career, Christina was a PR director at a host of weekly TV shows, starting with an Emmy Award winning program when she was just, you guys, get this, nine years old. She also owned a wedding and event planning company, and so I'm assuming there's basically nothing she can't do and she'll be running for president maybe in two thousand and twenty four. Well, we can watching you and at an early convention in two thousand and twenty four. I'll about all about for you. You have my vote. Chris Shea why MCA dances like nobody. I feel like that's what it takes. So all right, there we go. So, before I tell you all more, I also have to tell you that Christina was initially supposed to be one of us. When we launched friends and fiction back in April, when we were still in our early planning stages, there were actually six of us, not five, and Christina was our six. She bowed out early because of her writing and family obligations, but I always feel like her spirit is very much with us. She is at her core of friends and fiction author and she always will be. And I feel like I've known Christina for ages. We actually did not meet in person for the first time until January when I had a few days of schedule events along with Christian Mary Alice in Southern California. So Christina was a part of those events too, and her parents own a beautiful house in San Diego. So, despite the fact that we had never met, she emailed me last October and invited me to stay with her during that trip along with Christine Mary Alice. I was floored by the kind offer and I wrote back to say I would...

...love to, as long as I wasn't imposing. She wrote back all in caps Yay slumber party. And then I met her in person I knew I had made a friend for life. She's kind, she's supportive and she's a real genuine cheerleader for other authors. Plus, of course, she's an incredible writer in her own right. I get chills when I think of the fabulous book she's writing now, and I hope going to give us a hint about it tonight. So we are so glad pepper with us. Before we get rolling and let Christina get a word in Edgeways, I wanted to remind you that every week we feature an independent bookseller, and this week we're working with one of my very favorites, copper fish books in Punta Gorda, Florida. So copperfish is one of Christina's favorite stores to and we decided to choose them after chatting with each other one day about bookstores where we loved having events. The two owners of copper fish, Serena and Cathy, or two of the kindest, most genuine people you will ever meet, and one of their booksellers, Gene Lewis, is also a wonderful book reviewer and advocate for authors throughout southwest Florida. They have just built a welcoming, wonderful environment for Authors and readers, a light and some of my favorite events over the years have been at copperfish. So tonight they will be giving us a discount on all of our new releases, twenty percent off of hard covers and ten percent off of paperbacks, and in addition, they will be giving away one of these unique friends and fiction couzies, friends and fiction on them with each of the first forty orders between now and Saturday. So if you want your soda cans or your beer cans to be wearing the very latest in high fashion, this is your Chie because, as we all know, there's nothing worse than a naked soda. So you guys step up. You don't want your soda to be naked or wearing something that's just not stylish. Just happen. So, Christina, back to you. We are so thrilled to have you. Can you finally know that I'm letting you speak? Can you tell us a bit about what you've been up to during the pandemic? Well, I'm welcome. Thank you. Good ladies again. Yes, yeah, I thought, oh my gosh, it was, as they know, it was so hard to decide. I wanted to be part of this group so much and then I just I was hitting the overwhelmed wall, as you all know, and deadline and children and and now. So what we've been busy doing is surviving, yes, and and trying to figure out and now what's going on. School, of course, is kind of the big thing. So so the kids are so kind of took up a week of time just recently and the kids are now doing I'll all ready to go for an online charter school. That just seems fantastic. So so I think we're all set there, which is which is good news. So other than that, just, yeah, trying to get some words in on the new book. Every day. You know, it's as we all know, it's bit of a slog when, you know, it feels like the world is burning. I'm in Portland, so yeah, really, yes, yes, burning. Yeah, doing that and then kind of catching some some fun. been shows every once in a while as I'm, you know, working out and try to decompress and find something fun to do. So that's been pretty much it. Well, yeah, every time I sit down to do yoga or work out in some way, not sit down, but try to work out, something else always seems to come up. Soever I'm in trouble with that, work out it and I'm turning on the TV. It's so weird. It's really so. I've just been doing my wine lifts. I feel like that is probably, yes, excellent arms because of that. Yeah, let's you guitar arms every once in a while. You know, you still like I do. I, I can do it with both. Yeah, equally. Well, just have to join a completely different school to do the online curriculum we did. We did. Yeah, so we joined them, Oregon Charter School, and they've been doing on. That's all we do is online. So it's fantastic. I haven't heard that. That's interesting. It's been good. Yeah, and it's all included, you know, with tuition and everything else. It's the same. And then and made it so we can transition back. We hope. We hope next year we have all that's good. Well. So usually this is...

...the point where I would say hey, everyone, tell me about your week, but I have something that I think would be a little bit more interesting to talk about and that really outs us as sort of total dorks, at least myself. I will I will take that on my own shoulders. So I thought that tonight maybe Christina, Christie and Mary Alice might like to tell the story of how we formed a fictional girl band, I mean, called Mary Alice and the Christie's. But I think we could make an exception for Patty and Mary Kay if they were willing to change their names. As Christie the saying, obviously we have the best names. So you know, I don't want to judge because you have the wrong names begin with, but you know whatever. So maybe we have a vote at the end and see if we can, you know, get you in there. But Christine, do you want to start off by telling us a little bit about Mary Elise, the Christie's gonna say. I mean Mary Kay and Patty have both change their names for books before, I don't think deals. So why not? Why not? We hate but we hate coming from behind. With the Merrit already on the record. I'm to change my name to Kristen Hannah Choice, it's more so that's that's. It has its true. I'M gonna be Christie Brinkley and we're done. So we're in. was playing. WHO's saying? What was your name? You have a special name, Kristen, yes, has. So this all came, I believe, from something I brought up at a luncheon back in that January thing we were talking about, where I was saying that my my childhood aspiration for a brief period was to be a pop singer and might pop singer name was going to be mystica. So from that sprung this just fantastical band. So you guys quickly to tell the story, because I think it's funny. We came up with it, well, I think by I don't remember how we actually the name came together, because obviously you guys were it was Christie, Christina and Kristen. So Marya I was the odd ball. So Mary Alison the Christie's just happened. But I think if, when we ever take this group tour, we all have to kind of be like, move over, Stephen King, we can form our own band. We can do this too, but we can't sing. We're brain instruments now. We tunny any details. Can write songs because when we got him, she's sure a song, a single crisis, incorporate all of our book titles. And believe it's on the friends and fiction facebook page. I did put it up there today. Yeah, it's Yay, I'm so glad it's really it's it's good. It's not. It's not me singing it, though. I actually hired somebody to sing it, but it does have our our latest book titles, hidden in the lyrics. Not, not very cleverly hidden, it just hidden. I was very impressed when you did that launch song. I pretty said, I've already said, that Patty and Mary Kay can be our go go dancers. So then they don't because it's the studio fifty four thing will bring it back and they get thrown blocks and you don't even have to change your names. And I'll give you tambourines if you care. You'RE gonna no noshime like the tambourine. I was so I was so sad when I found out that was my instrument. And then Christie said, I already who didn't you say? I have the Tamperin Fun. Yeah, that's my that's fine thing, I heard, Christina. So I guess I'm on the keyboard. There was a big ears you hard your downtown Portland years...

...ago, that you remember when when you could get together with a thousand people you didn't know in one room and crazy now, and I remember my husband and a few other couples and they had a band playing and at one point, apparently they were looking for me. They couldn't find me, and somebody said, I think he walks up on stage. So I did join the band with the tambourine, because natural. All right, when you'd take our tour girls, we're gonna WE'RE gonna work. Yes, you, is gonna be a musical element, exactly, the one that has musical talent. You can't see, we can do it. I was a drummer in my high school marching band, so I mean we need a drummer. If you need someone to March a snare, I'm your girls one, but to James Taylor songs on the guitar. Yeah, it's will play one of those songs because I was sunning together girl team. So I carried the pom poms in the band. You guys very wrong. What could go wrong? I mean billboard charts, here we come. Mary K's just silent. She's just like yeah, suddenly, Mary Kay's canoes dark. She's gone. All right, Christina. So we have a guest on the show. We each love to ask the question. But before we dive in today, I would love to have you tell everyone out there watching about sold on a Monday, your most recent novel. Can you tell us a little bit about it? Yeah, of course, I just happen to have a copy right here. So yeah, so, so, London Monday is my last book and Wow, touring feels like eons ago. Same thing, and so up. So fortunate, I feel like, that I got to do that when, when we could still hug people that we didn't know. So the quick gist is that it was inspired by, I'll close it up here this. There we go. This photo, which is pretty shocking on a lot of people seen that online at different times about having a mom turned away from the camera seemingly in shame, and and four kids on their own stoop in Chicago and a sign that reads for children for sale in quir within. So, for obvious reasons, that stopped me in my tracks and try to understand why a mother would not just give up her kids, hopefully for their betterment, because you thought they'd live a better life without you, but actually ask for money in return. And that led me down a rabbit hole of the true story behind the photo, which you know, will go into all of that because it go on and on, but pretty incredible story. Very quick gist is that the children there were actually five total. Another one was born after the photo. That photo went essentially what we call to day viral at the time, ran in ten eleven states, lots of donations, job offers, everything coming in. Supposedly the mother turned it all down and and there's whole other story behind that, but basically, just as she wanted, she had any boyfriend. He didn't want her old kids, so she got rid of all of them and the oldest one ran and I became friends after I wrote the book and she's the one in the little white dress and she's amazing and we got to meet for the first time on the today show a couple years ago, which was incredible. But Her story is that farmer came to the door, knocked on the door and asked to buy her and for two dollars, wanted to use her as slave labor, as farm labor, and her little brother started crying. He didn't want to be separated from the city and so the farmer should find will take him to for free. And she remembers her mother saying, and this is where it's not a compassionate story at all that I had hoped I would find, trying to understand how somebody could do this, she remembers her mother saying, great, I'm going to use the money to play Bingo. So I thought, wow, okay, that's not the story. I thought that maybe there's a good reason. Maybe you have a child stick at home and that's the only way you feed them. I mean, who knows all the reasons because, as we all know, especially today, we can all agree, I'm sure, that the information is coming at us very, very quickly. It's hard to keep up and sometimes, seeing a photo or snippet...

...of a headline or something, we can make a judgment on someone that that without context could be very, very wrong, and so I thought, you know, in context maybe this could be very different. And so that ended up inspiring sold on a Monday because there was one mention in an article about that photo that said some family members claim the photo was staged. And when you look at the photo the sign is so perfectly painted with reflective accent marks on the letters, it did make me wonder. Since the kids weren't sold for two years after it was published. It made me wonder sort of the chicken and egg and which one came first. But it still had the same result no matter what, and so that ended up inspiring sold on a Monday. So then one or two sent in summaries that it's a reporter then that sees two kids on a farmhouse porch being offered for sale and he takes a photo. It's not meant for publication but it leads to his big break and yet his devastating consequences for a lot of people involved and has to see if it's too late to make it right. So kind of about unintended consequences, which I find fascinating. It's such a good book. It's bird yes, a good book and it's amazing that it's if, if so many people have discovered it and connected to it, it's it's just been great to see how successful it is. One of the questions we asked here every week is when you were growing up, what were your family's values around reading and writing? Can you tell us a little bit about that? We're just so interested and you know where where all of our writer guests have kind of come from and become who they are today. Absolutely so. It's so funny. I am probably so opposite of all of you. Reading was I loved it as a kid and then and of course my mom in to read to all of us on so that was part of our childhood. I got two younger sisters, so that was a big deal. But I remember reading the Sweet Valley High Books, you know, and and and Hello, God is me Margaret, and you know, deliving all of those but it really passed that. We were not a big reading family. I remember my dad is an immigrant from Kyoto, so I remember him like this is so terrible, he probably is going to die. That I'm sure in this but he would every time you went to bathroom. But such a guy thing, right to go read on the bathroom he his Japanese Samurai books, like a hundred. It was in these little books and and and it was reading about the the you know, for we talked about our civil wars being so long and World War II being so long and and as as Mary Alice Fullwell knows about the Japanese history, there's there. Their civil war thing was like four hundred years. I mean it like Japanese people are stubborns and they do not forget. So so be happy that you all seamed with me and you're all in my good side bars. We know's. I'll tell you the Jew lady, you know, with Japanese people we do. So that's what I remember. And what's funny is my mom, when I was in junior high, I think it was, she wrote a romance novel and she wrote all of it, except she always wanted to do that and she wrote all that except the last chapter and she just couldn't figure out how to end it or something, and then she put it away forever and it wasn't until what was it twelve years ago or something that that I was barely a reader at the time, which I have done so much catching up, of course and then, but always a movie but love the art of storytelling and other forms. And I remember calling her, inspired by my grandparents courtship letters from World War Two, and saying, you know, I think I might write a novel about you, kind inspired by grand GRANDPA's courtship, because they only met twice and fell in love through letters, and I thought how beautiful. It's kind of like SID BURGREC Sept in World War II. He did right back. You know, it's like matchcom nineteen forty. So don't quite know what you're gonna get on that. We're state and and so I called her and I think it write this novel. She said, Oh honey, which clearly irrational amount of faith, and her children. She said, Oh honey, I think you should and she ended...

...up saying, I think, you know what, I have this book I never finished. I think I'm going to start over again and wound. And so she ended up. Now she's a self published author under Kaylyn mcfarron and she is the R rated one. And if I hed thirteen girls, like funny thing to say about Mama. He's are rating. He's like, I don't want to know. There's a no I can read her intros and then I stopped. You know, I'm know how she know about any of that and what she'll lecture me. Go, Chris, you know, this is like I love your book, but you always want them nineteen, forty s. she's like, you always want them to like kiss, fade, a black smoke, a cigarette, and I go, what's wrong with that? He's but you're bearing. We were talking about the whole art of writing love scenes, and it's dip more difficult for some of us. Yeah, it's a s all of us. And your mom is awesome. She we all get to know her that few days in January too. She's yes, yes, yeah, like you, she can do everything and do it well. It's weird. Something, something about your family. Know. But if Patty, you had a great question for Christina. Hi, Christina, comes so happy to see your face. I'm so tired of seeing still photos of people, and so, you know, I'm so excited that you're writing an an though. Would you call a collection? Not An anthology. What would you call it? A collection of story? Yeah, book, the one they just announced. Yes, Susan and Oh, so it's with two of my dear friends. You're writing with Susan Meismer an Ariel Law on and it's a new historical fiction book, and so we'll be sharing a pubhouse, which is really fun, because Lewis was with them. But as an ex nurse, I don't know if you're ever next nurse. Are you next turn as a nurse who used to have a license and no longer does? I'm fascinated by the premise. So I want you to tell all of us about number one, about the story, not too much, because I know it's far away, but how you feel about working with three people collaborating. Now the five of US collaborate on this show, but that's way different than writing a story together. I mean trying to juggle three people. I can just this much gruble my own life. So I'm just sitting. I want to hear about it. We are so excited and you were so helpful because right away Ariel reached out to patty is like, Patty, what do you think you know? And she said, oh my gosh, they're wonderful, and the publisher reached out to us and asked if the three of us would write a book together. And and the funny thing is, you know, it's I call them those books. You know, I've done a similar one before, an anthology with ten authors total and precluding some of the people you've had on the show, like Christen Hannah and what not. And and it was like Grand Central and it all took place on the same day France, central terminal and all ran in chronological order. But they were kind of like long short stories. They were novelettes and and this time. So I thought, Oh, this is fun again. It's kind of like Ocean's eleven, you know, it's what I call them. It's like you get to work with your friends and they pay you. You know, it's all about how we get alled up for the premiere. You know, who cares about the story? So in this case it was it was three of us, which is much more manageable than hurting cats of ten, and we immediately said yes, of course, and had to figure out they wanted historical but we weren't. But really left it open ended for us, and so we they had said we loved World War II, of course, because you know, everybody loves World War Two and so do we, and so we ended up coming across you had this this idea is I think Susan found it first, and then Ariel immediately found a documentary. It all came together, our entire story within two days. Wow, oh my God, it would. It was like it just as soon as we said yes to it and watched a twenty minute document ennery, all of a sudden I took notes. I took me like an hour and a half as I kept stopping it, rewinding it, you know,...

...and trying to catch what he's saying, and immediately said, oh my gosh, there's three kinds of nurses here. There's our me nurse, maybe nurse in the Philippine, and nurses, and so it made sense. And so what it is is it's called, as of now it's called band of angels, which I always start singing, you know, like what is it of sweet chariot in my head, angels, and what they are courses of the nurses in World War Two were called angels. That that's what the soldiers nickname them because they were so incredible and what they went through the Philippines, the day after Pearl harbors attack, of course you don't hear much about, just that being December seventh, December eight, they started attacking the Philippines and had sort of that same thing and there were so many Americans that were stationed there, including, including nurses, just like how we think of Pearl Harbor. So what happened during the occupation and the battles and everything else is what we're covering and the stories are just incredible, like gives us chills when we hear about what they went through, and there's not many people that know much about what it is they endured. They were incredibly brave and they all survived. It's miraculous that they all survived. And so yeah, so what we're how we're writing it is different than grand central in that we are writing it as a novel, but it's sort of hybrid between an anthology and a novel in that we each have our section, but all of our characters are in every section. So but the point of view changed and we essentially hand off the baton. So it's kind of like a pony express and the next person takes it and sort of takes the two of the three characters and as those two, and then the next person takes it with Solo but then joints back with all three. So we had our summary done within a week, but it's just flowed. It would go exciting it's amazing. I'm really excited about it. I'm excited about this subject. I'm excited that it's three of you. I'm just I'm really I'm really excited about it. I haven't since I heard about it. So's we already sold one book. There we go, you'll be a free copies. So I was like to I don't think she said she was buying it. I don't know. He's like wow, it really was exciting. Galley. You know me by free get a galley. So you're actually essentially five free books down. So you could hold it from hereil you all. Okay, I'm not even pay for postage at this point. It sounds wonderful. Christie, did you want to ask your question? Yeah, what if it's okay, I'm gonna go last because she sort of covered the question I was planning to ask already, but I have a million questions I could ask, but I don't know what these two lovelies are going to ask, so I'll get last. All Right, okay, okay, perfect. Mary Kaide, you want to go next? Yeah, Um, aside from being an incredible rider, I understand that you have a background and television. Can you tell us how you got started as a television host at the age of nine and you know at this Gig doesn't work out when you go back to TV, oh my gosh, um. So I will say that. Okay, this is great. So, just like writing, it was not something I planned on, not at three years old. I did not sit there in my hips are going, I really want to be on television. What happened was my mom, which you will all laugh at now of course, is that my mom thought I was too shy. Clearly I had gotten over that problem and now she's regretting. It's all, I'm sure. So what happened was she thought, well, I'll hut in one of those six week modeling acting classes. You remember those that were really hot. He's yes, and so I for two hours every Saturday for six weeks, twelve hours total. You get a certificate that says, Yay, I'm ready for Hollywood. That fell. It takes yeah, and then at the end they...

...stood. By the way, if you want to, it's a really good experience. If you want to go and try out at this audition at ABC's affiliate station and Portland. They've been new kids show. It's kind of like a kids can magazine entertainment tonight if you want to go there and they'll host and they'll interview fun people, that bands that come through town. It sounded fun. I couldn't you know? I could interview Mystica, you know, she comes through it. So I said yes, of course, it may be some good experience. So I showed up there in the funny thing is they paired me up with this little boy like nine years old, who clearly eat and have like hundreds of auditions. Is Very Short, like he was not happy about being paired with the movie. So I remember he asked you how many auditions of you had said this is my first, and he's like, oh no. So we go in. You're just to run into the studio and jump on our chairs and it's just to read the teleprompter and and just to say hi, I'm so sorry, we're late. I'm Christina. Welcome to popcorn, because that's the name of the show. So the Qus we run and I jump on my chair, which they have not told us are on rollers. Fly like it's like broadcast news, like I fly one way, my cheer flies the other, you know, the boys horrified, right, and I crawl back onto my chair and I deliver my lines through my laughter. And when we left I remember my mom saying, so how to go? I'm just like, I'll tell you in the car. Get Out of here, get out of here, big goes. I'm like hurry, run, run, run to the car and producer runs out. introducers yourself and thought it was hilarious and somehow, I'll when did it up, I got the job. So I hosted that show for six years from night and grew up literally in a new station, which is why, of course, you know, the reporters point of view were sold on the Monday. Resonated with me because I thought I knew what that new station was like. I remember me friends growing up with the weather man who would let me take the special pen and move the clouds around. You know, your memoirs going to be very interesting, right, yeah, thing. Oh, that's awesome. Mary Allie, do you want to ask your question to her? Well, you told us about your collaboration, which I am just all amazement about, with Susan and Ariel. I just I I understand how to do anthologies, but I to write with someone throughout the novel is an experience I've never had, but I'm really curious about what your next Christine and big Morris novel is, because sold on a Monday was so successful and the question is, what are you doing next? But also when you have a book as successful as your last one, does it? Does it give you that pause about, oh much, what can I do next, or do you just ignore it and ZIP right in? So tell us about your next book. I should be asking all of you that, because all your books are successful and yeah, it's a little bit daunting, but I do think that's saving me from not freaking out. Is that I am. I'm more excited about this book, the one I'm working on, than I've ever been about any book. He said, hey, that's good. Sign said maybe the first one you know where you just because it's the Labor of love and you know the letter to grandparents, sort of generation. This one is just there's as Christie, as Kristen was just saying that we already talked about it and I get so excited that I want to share everything. But so I'm working on that and and hopefully, I thought the sold on a Monday. I had that last second anxiety that hopefully I'm not alone here that write before it comes out and think, oh my gosh, that was a mistake. I shouldn't done it. I should have just written from the kids point of view. I should have done with the trend was showing done at the you know, I'll write the next book as fast as possible and we'll all forget it ever happened.

So the running joke in our house is that I'm so excited about the current book that it's doomed to fail. Wait, that's not funny. I got to put out the universe, but it's a great little funny. So yeah, so I'm working on that and also, and what I'll tell you about that one. I will the only man can state right now, which, but I cannot wait here more. It's supposed about mixed August. If you know, like we said, if the world doesn't bring down, is that I found this nugget of history from World War II that I always say I wouldn't write the same ear again unless I find something that I've never seen before. And it is a secret branch of British intelligence that I had never heard of before, and I've shared other historical friends and they've never heard of it before them and they were so specialized in what they did that they were kept classified and disbanded right after the war so that they could keep some of the tactics they use completely secret and classified until the s because they might have to use them during the Cold War. So some of the tactics they used are things that you all grew up with as children and you have no idea and you're still using them and even no idea the US from the way they did. So that's a dual that is you just put out the fishing ride and so and this is what I go and subscribe down below. No pre order. Yeah, so that's it. And then also my sister, which Mary Alice, I showed you like the PDF as we were driving into an event in February. You're so sweet to look through this picture book. My sister and I did. Amanda Yo Sheida, is amazing artist, and we finally paired up and decide to children's picture books together, something we've talked about me for years, and we sold two books and so hopefully that will come out, you know, some day, supposed, I think, next year, but we'll see how it goes with the one. They are like we have similar schedules because we both have a novel, some I have an anthology. You have your collaboration and a children's book, all coming out next year. Oh my God, to call each other and see for still alive by the end of the year. I was going to say you don't really have anything on your plates. You guys, step it up. Come on, stop being so lazy like hopefully. Oh Yeah, yeah, Chris, I, I'm behind right, exactly. Good, Chris Dye, do you want to ask your question now? To not ask a really quick one? I was going to ask you about your family and what inspired you to start writing, which you covered a little bit. I love the story about your grandparents, but I'm always interested in this. If you weren't writing, what do you think you would be doing as a career? Oh Goodness, Oh, you know, before this, I loved what I did before I started writing, which was event planning, and I know that that is so we all for getting that. Yeah, so, and I loved posting TV shows. I you know, after the kids show. I then took a break from all of that, never thought I'd do it again, and then hosted. Got Pulled back in because I was I owned a wedding and event planning company. Then, like I said, I did set fourteen weddings a summer. So I never need to see another chicken APPS. For the rest of people, it was going to experience, you know, you just go. I could write in the joke was sitting there with the vendors who I became good friends with, and we sit there go we really should write a book. We should say all the things that go wrong, but then how you do them right, you know. So you'd have these funny anecdotes, and that was the running joke that someday I would write this book, which maybe it should be a novel, you know, at some point. So to read that one. I think it's the story. Oh People, oh the stories that so we will doom later and I will do so that'll be the after hours. Yeah, you have to pay, people have to pay for that one. Listen, that right, right, right. I'd probably do that again. I love doing even planning, not weddings, but you've been planning though. Like I would do five hundred person events that were full costume and...

...bring in like the blazer dancers and and some of the globetrotters, like metal. Luck women came and it was so much fun I've loved it. So yeah, that's probably what I would have kept doing if I did do it. Oh so different than saying I want to be a fill in the blank, that you've got it all planned out. I need to be home, you know, with the kids, and that is not something. It's your weekends are gone. You know it is long hours. You know it's just set up and clean up. So it's been it's been wonderful to be homes with the kids at their age and to be home every day when they come home from school. So I assume then, when we take Mary Alice and the Christie's out of the road, you'll be the one planning our tour and like coordinating our to go go dancers and everything. Now I used to be a dancer. I'M gonna I'M gonna coordinate their daycent but my first change, though, is a kind of leaning toward the Christie's and Mary Alice. I don't know, it's just my board with that. I'm quit. And we come to Beaufort. We have a former Harlem Globe trotter that lives here and he's we can have him come nice, fantastic done. I mean, I don't know what stopping, ast you guys. Well, Oh, yes, covid, I forgot. So, Um, yeah, that's so. All of you out there do not love Christina just as much as we do. I mean she's fantastic. I wish, I wish you were here with us every week. So let me take a quick break to remind all of you. These are a little commercial break to remind all of you about our bookseller of the week, copper fish, a real favorite of many of us. So the owners are just so good and so kind and it truly does come across and everything they do. They're exactly the kind of cut the just the type of people that we all want to be supporting right now, you know, at a time like this, with everything going on. And as a reminder, they are offering a great discount on the new releases from each of us, ten percent on paperbacks and twenty percent on hardcovers. Plus you get the chance to win one of these fantastic coozies, which my lightest messing it up, but these friends and fiction coozies for the first forty people who order, and of course the link is on our friends and fiction page under announcements. And the books include Christina's sold on a Monday, Mary Alice has on Ocean Boulevard. Christie's feels like alling, Patti's becoming Mrs Lewis, Mary pays, hello summer and my new novel, the Book of last names. And, as always, each book you buy at an independent bookstore is a good deed. You are helping to keep literary community thriving, plus you get to read amazing books. So it's a win win, and this week, with the addition of this stylish couzy, it's a win, win, win. So what do you eat for? So now the four of US had a chance to ask Ristina some questions and now we would love to let you do the same. And I was actually thinking that both of the pre the pre chosen reader questions Christina touched on a little bit already, but I think there's still enough there that she can answer. So I think will still go ahead and ask them. And while we are talking, if you have something you would like to ask out there, just post it below the video and Christie's going to be pulling specially what you should. She's watching. She's ready for your questions, so just post them there and will pull them live. So, Mary Alice, while people are getting their questions in. Would you like to ask the first of the reader question? It's from Diana Condor and she says we're your grandparents still alive when you book letters from home came out, and can you tell us a bit about how that book came about? When you started to tell us that, but answered the first part too, I don't know that. Where they alive? Yeah, yeah, and my grandmother is still alive. She's like ninety four years old, Allen Washington. She's a spitfire. She cooks like nobody's business. So how that in? My grandfather passed away cautious. I'm terrible. The numbers nine. I want to...

...say maybe it's about thirty years ago. But he and I were very, very close. He's the funniest person's dark Irish, so you know his stories got better every time you told them. And I'm bigger and longer and Funnier, you know. But he know, he had hilarity strokes, that half of which you cannot tell cocktail parties anymore. And I will share this because I made shared this with you all before, but but he had this is my favorite thing about him was we called it Papa. He had a tattoo on his forearm that he got when he was seventeen years old when he volunteered for the navy right after pro harbor, and that special permission to do that. It's seventeen years old, which just sounds insane to me now and having a son who's almost seventeen. And they went out and did what American sailors did, which was drink a little bit too, but she alcohol and in the morning woke up with a bandage covering his entire four arm. No, is not from an injury, it is from a tattoo that you don't know what is under the Gauze. He didn't know in the terror as you're taking it up with oh Lord, and luckily she was clothed. You generations, the grandchildren. It was good. It was better that at the Thanksgiving dinner table that she had goes on. So she was like a little navy sailor girl. She was so cute, look like the Cracker Jack, sort of had the building up pat and hands on her hips. And the best part about her he called her his girlfriend. Apparently. Back then and when I knew he called her grandma, and so when he moved his knuckles, he couldn't make her wiggle and dance. that. Yeah, this is not, by the way, encouragement. Do Not Children, do not talk hollow, awesome. Grant answer perfect as that. And when I call him, because it was an old tattoo, at that point it's a papahouse grandma doing, and his answer is always the same. You said, well, her boobs are drooping, but she can still they ask. So yeah, so that is how that book came about in as far as you know, sharing the letters, because I was creating a self published at King Goes Cookbook full of my grandma's favorite recipes. It was a Christmas present for the grandkids and through a biographical section about her life in it and interviewed her and that's how the letters came about and that's how we even knew she had them. That's when we ask Grhanma, why didn't you share this before? And of course, or answer, as they all are, the greatest generation was. Well, nobody ever asked. So of course I could have fed that into the story and thinking it make a really good movie. You know, I was tell people it was like the notebook. Weeks seeing Tarbet Bryan, you know, got I was hormonal with my second child and pregnant, and I'm like, you know, if I'm creating life, a book didn't seem that hard. So, you know, some stupid but luckily, I'm so glad I was that blissfully or so. That's how it came to be great and sing with a great story. Oh that's amazing, Mary Kay, did you want to ask the next rereader question, and this a joint Armstrong is excited that you're going to write children's books with your sister and she wants to know what the books will be about and and when they'll be published. So we are waiting for the because of pandemic craziness, waiting for dates, but we there. The first one's almost completely done. I've done my work. I Love, Oh my goodness, you guys, to be an author of children's picture book when you can edit the whole thing in twenty minutes. Fun complets. I have five minutes. I could bust through those copys. That's amazing. It over to the the illustrator and you're like, good luck to you. What...

...is your sister? The illustrator? He is yeah, yeah, she's amazing. Her name's Amanda Yoshida and she almost worked at dream works but then decided to she was in final interviews and everything else that she's that good and but she really want to be back in Portland and she was want, you know, they've settling down with a family and and want to be closer to home than the doubt in La so so we to have her close by and she gets this. She's been dreaming of doing this since she was, I want to say two or three years old. They would when you want to be when you grow up, and I remember everybody's answer at three years old was, you know, I want to be a princess. You know, I want to be good, I want to be a wonder woman. And she was like, I want to be at Children's book illustrator. Wow, oh, minded you give it about what the first book is about? Yeah, so the first one. Oh my gosh, I'm so excited B both of them, but I can say the first one right now is called. Oh Gosh, what is it now? My brain is so pandemic fried. It's if Ellie may could be anything, and essentially it is about this little girl who has anxiety about trying to pick what you want, making choices around. I still have this will help me along and she has to pick what she wants to do when she grows up for school. We all know that. That that assignment very well. But the twist of the story is that she because she can't choose, she does mashups. So she will end up deciding that the ballon is made of cheese, is what she's heard, so why not be instead of just a chef, he's going to be the very first astronaut chef, because all these aliens have flythroughs and what are they going to eat for dinner? So she creates all these mashup careers and puts them all together and it's so cute and fun and the illustrations are fantastic. Yeah, I can for it. That sounds so great and how cool that you're doing something so different and and making it such a family thing. That's so cool, Christie. Did you have a chance to pull a couple reader pressions like the first one? I love this. I think this is sort of for all of us. From Heide Jane Angle. Have you ever been drawn to a story that you just couldn't write to Christina's you want to crown. You're gonna make me answer that first school. That's a pretty yes, Christina, you're not the host any more. My friend, mercy, you are proud of you're like you answer first, not par I mean. So all the questions that we've all been asked, I had never been asked. I asked it is a great question. That will be prepared next time. You know, I I will say yeah, absolutely. I think that I've come across story ideas that were historical that I think, oh my gosh, this could be such a good story, but it didn't feel big enough for a novel. So I think that's where I could write it as a short story. That was one where, like in Grand Central, I wrote about the female pilots the WASPOPE World War Two and their stories were incredible what they did, and it got so little recognition that but I didn't at the time. I'm sure if I had enough other elements I could make into a novel, but the time I felt like, you know what, this is perfect for maybe a smaller story, but those are what but I held off for quite some time because I didn't know that that would be a full novel. And even my current one, the story ideas I was drawn to for the one I'm working on with British intelligence. I had those ideas in my files for probably eight years. I just didn't put them to get ID. Never I didn't think that each one of them alone was a novel and suddenly one night I realized they were all one book and all of a sudden I had like almost a whole novel in my head by the end of the night. So so that's one thing that I think that I could speak to it. I'm sure there's other idea as I come across. Yeah, anytime that I click on the Click Bait that says fifty the most shocking historical photos you have never seen, but not the stories that I go yeah, but it can't be a...

...full novel yet. So yes, Patty, yeah, I have. There's there's one story that I've tried to write probably ten times. I was going to write it as a young adult and then I was going to write it as a historical then I was going to write it as a dual timeline, that I was going to write it as a bio graphical historical. I've picked it up, put it down, picked it up, put it down and at the present moment I'm in the put it down face. Yeah, but but also, like you, Christina, for example, the Florence Nightingale. I researched her for about a year and when I was in London I visited the Florence Nightingale Museum and decided and said that what I wanted to do with it, even though you could write a trilogy about her, was that I wanted to write a novella about her. So it's a audible original so that it's not out till this fall. But yeah, there's certain stories you look at side eye, then you face them head on, then you turn away again and then you face them head on and then you turn away again. So I remember there's a book that I wanted to was what I was writing sweet grass, and week been studying about the gut all of women in the and that traditional art, that's a southern art, of making the baskets, and I really, really wanted to tell the story from the view point of the sore the basket, of me for herself. And this was my gosh, eight years ago or something, but I really felt at that time what I think is a big topic in the literary world right now, that this story should be told by a gull of woman herself or a woman from that history and so I never I still told the story sweetcress, but it was a completely different novel. But just taking that rich tradition that's three hundred years from slavery to today, that should be written by someone from that culture. I always felt and I wanted to write it, but I just felt I couldn't. You know. Okay, you know, I have had ideas to do stories that were a little bit too close and too autobiographical and I bowed from that. It's like an when everyone else is dead, then I'll tell that story. Then I've had an idea, patty, and I bad it around a few times, to do another romantic comedy, which I've done some romantic comedy like Hissy fit and save the day. Kind of wondering if I should go back in that direction. So I've had a little idea noddling around in my head and it's sort of a modern day take on any name test. I don't know if I'll ever do it, but I love that idea. Yeah, how about you? How about you, Christie? Oh Um, yeah, I actually I had I wouldn't say that I can't write it, I'm just not going to write it yet. It's gonna be a while, but there was a story that sort of came to me. It was so strange. I was at this big dinner party one night and I was like at one end of the table and will was like a way at the other end of the table. It was one of these great dinner parties for like everyone's talking, and someone told this story and it was about this woman who's kind of a hero of mine, and he is he's probably in his late s and he had met her and he was telling me the story about her and it was just a lightning strike for me, like, oh my gosh, and my husband looked at me from the table and he was like that's a sign, like you have to write that story. And I thought, I'm sure people have written this and no one had, and I called the library. You and see the next day if you were like, Oh, yeah, we have eight hundred of her personal letters. If you would like US stuff, you make some copies, and I was like, oh my gosh. So it's I would love to do but I don't think this is the moment in my life to really devote that kind of time because, as you know, who write historical novels I mean, that is a tremendous kind of undertaking that I don't feel really prepared for, but I hope that.

I hope that no one writes it. In the meantime. Every time, call and I'll be like, who's checked out those lever you do like every file folder and when I was writing about joy, who checked it out? What it is like outs and I'll just go look at them and I'll be like somebody else on this holder on her yes, we're reorder. This is such a future like Thriller Story Right here. That was like, I think, like you find out all these murders, see them. They all checked out books of stories that Patti Kell Henry was gonna write about. It's amazing, Christen. And obviously the guy the dinner party. Yeah, exactly. Obviously the guy the dinner party has to go. Okay, because heaven forbiding. Mention it to somebody else and give them they made exactly checked out the letters gotta go. Thatta go, too bad. Exactly, we're ruthless around here. Fall down the stairs. Exactly, unfortunate, Christina, and mean we can, we can plot the the forthcoming deaths later, but for now on every friends and fiction episode, we try to give a writing tip for all the aspiring writers out there. So tonight we thought that they might want to hear those words of wisdom from you. Do you have a short tip for people thinking about trying to write a novel? Don't do it, and and certainly don't do it by trying to access Christie's letters, because that's ha, ha, you for disaster. Watching, you, watching you. Yeah, so, no, Oh my gosh, I'm beside wine always is helpful. So I thought about it when you asked me if I was going to do a tip and I thought, Oh, you know, I especially during the tour I was talking to a lot of high schools and colleges and and writing students and I know we all have our favorite tips to give. And and what at the ones that I thought, you know, that maybe is it talked about a lot that I thought I'd mentioned and I even I do even a look a little protub. I'm so prepared and I'll explain this and I'll tell you. So what it is is I have you all taken like a workshop at one point from Michael, Michael Haig, who dislike the three act structure right. He's wonderfully the book. Yeah, and used to go to conferences, writer conferences and whatnot, and he kind of teaches how to take the movie structure and turn it into not had apply it to novels and was fascinating because I'm such a movie buff, and he would talk about so what I'll share is one of the tips I love that stuck with me was he said if you watch a movie the first five minutes, almost always they will establish something about the character, the main character, to root for, and it doesn't even mean you have to like them, but they said put them in some kind of small or big conflict, even if it's tiny, that shows you who they are because of course, as we all know, the character comes out their traits right when they're in conflict. And so I when you watch a movie in the first five minutes, I found that fascinating. The immediately they show you something that reveals a character trait that we can root for and and that endears us to them in some way. It doesn't have to be likable, and I thought that was really interesting. And so when I when I teach the kids, and it was my favorite tips, some of the the traits are like being smart, funny, Witty, compassionate and also exceptionally skilled. I thought that was interesting. Just if you show you a see job, somebody who's just really smart and good at their job and not necessarily most likable. You know, it's how they portrayed my movies. Powerful, courageous, moral, and I love this one undeserving of an injustice, because that's something so universal that we can all relate to, that we all, at some point in our lives, have felt that we had been treated unfairly, that we didn't get what we deserved, you know, or we got something negative that we didn't deserve, and I thought that is so fascinating. So the way that I teach it, when I talk to the kids, is to think of the avengers. Yeah, that's all. They basically represent anything like that. So the way that how skilled they...

...are, how funny they are, you know, and you've got like the hulk, right who destroys things. It was really like pretty horrible at all. You couldn't control him, but he was funny and and strong, and so we could admire that and cheer for even some of the villains, like low key or something, you know, we don't want him to die, even though it was terrible, because he's funny, and so I thought that was really interesting and I tried to apply that to all my stories. Now that's great rate tip. That's a great idea. Thank you. Big's book is really good for anyone the young writers up there. Cool. So, ladies, we are running super short on time so we want to try to get through the last little bit of this pretty quickly. But Patty and and Mary K, I know you both had a book you wanted to recommend tonight. Could want to give us a quick recommendation? Yeah, yeah, like a dead new novel. It's by Kim powers. The rules for being dead it's based on. It's based on a piece he wrote about his mother's death. When he was quite young and he was told that his mother died of a brain aneurysm and later he came to find out through stories, he came to believe maybe it was suicide, maybe his father killed his mother. So this he put it into a novel. All roles for being dead, Kim powers, fascinating. It sounds great. This. How do you do? Novel coming out next week called the unraveling. They hunt the unraveling of cassidy homes, and one of my favorite novels last year was Daisy Jones in the six. So this is very much in the vein of Jay's Daisy Jones in the six. It's, like I said, debut and approached the dark side of fame for a pop star who ends our own life, and it's told from multiple perspectives and it's kind of a behind the scenes look, just like Daisy Jones list of the pop scene and the music scene and it is by Elissa else Sloan, and it comes it's a debut. So I'm really excited for that. It sounds interesting. Thank you for the great recommendation. Patti, while we had you, do you want to tell us a little bit about next week? You're going to be hosting next week while you have me, as if I'm going anywhere by I'm done. He's out. We have a really exciting week next week with the four of us and Christina, you're welcome to with the other the other for and the five of us and come back. I mean other for and the five of us. I know we celebrate our successes on here, but that might give everyone the impression that we don't have any failures. When we do. Every day and we struggle and I just thought it might be really interesting next week to talk a bit about writing and staying in the arena and perseverance and doubt and failure, because we celebrate our successes here and cheer them. But I thought we'd talked about that. And then we have an exciting addition to tell you about, because we're going to start doing once a month something called behind the book bonus episode. So next Sunday, not in three days, but the following one, we will have Rachel McMillan, who is an author and avid reader and also an agent. She wears all those hats better than I wear my one hat, and her new book, London Restoration, came out yesterday. It's like your books and climbing the charts in Canada. She's a Canadian author and so you'll love meeting her. So that's what we got coming up next week. so that sounds fantastic. I'm so excited for that. That's going to be wonderful. Mary realist, do you want to tell us quickly what the book clubs up to this month? Yes, but we have a friends and fiction book club everybody and it's really wonderful and I think we have over twozero members already, so I hope some would be more of you will come and join and that September fourteen to guard to be discussing my book and I'm very excited on Ocean Boulevard. So you have time to read the book, which I hope...

...you will, and we'll talk about it and discuss it and it's a really wonderful program and I think the people will organize it. So we will post it up on our friends and fiction page and that's the friends and Fiction Hook Club. So please join us. Absolutely. Thanks, Mary Alice. Mary Kage, you want to give us an idea of how our fall schedule is shaping up? It's amazing, amazing. We've got you top from on September two and then emily gift in, our friend, on September nine and our friend Sidney Pipe, Sidney, Sydney Pike a month September sixteen, and Cathy Reichs on September thirty. And we're also is if we mentioned earlier, will be doing a few bonus episodes on Sundays as fall, so stay tuned for news about those and we're going to be posting the full fall schedule soon and you all are going to be so excited. So want to for the newsletter on friends and fictioncom try love the news letter. I think that it's we're getting interviews with all of us, a little titen the calendar. It's turned out well. It's great. Absolutely, sign up for it. Absolutely. And Christie, do you want to give us one more reminder about the book store of the weekly? So big shout out to happy and Serena, a copper fastion. We absolutely love them. You go to our friends and fiction facebook group page right now you'll find the link for their friends and fiction sale page, which includes twenty percent off hard covers, ten percent off paperbacks, plus you'll get a super cool friends and fiction couzy. Mine didn't come in today, so I can't hold them. All right, we'll just be are you good? So, Patty and Christinner, a little bit braggy, but it's fine. Like they're crazies. If you're one of the first forty two place in order, you'll get one of those causies. No Code require, just click the link. Perfect. Thank you, guys, so much. Up What a wonderful night. Christina, it was so nice to have you with us and we'll can come back soon. I know you're you're totally one of us, and obviously I mean just from look. We've gone over an hour. Is just because it was so much fun talking to you. So to all of you out there, please do join us on the friends and fiction page to ask US your questions and interact with other readers, and please also join us next week when Patti will be hosting that episode she mentioned that features the five of us. These are the episodes where you get to really pick our brains and get to know US better, so we hope you'll join us again. So thank you again, Christina, and to all of you out there, thank you for spending some time with US tonight. We are friends in fiction, and that's a wrap night. Hio, not a Christina. Christina Open you guys, fell great, but shit love her. Her right, ladies, has some little tidbit and something really a little surprise or or a joke or something to keep things she's just fabulous. He is, and I'm sorry I let that go so long. I know that was my responsibility to kind of keep it down, but it was just such a good the good just went and wonderful. So I mean want it's on a roll. You let it roll. That's true exactly. Well, she's just such a good storyteller, you know. Yeah, yeah, some people take a question and talk for a second, and she these one of those artistic people who can take a question and turn it into a story. Yeah, it's amazing go off and in direction like the story. I can visualize that Tattoo was that. That was awesome. I could imagine her grandfather doing that. That's, and I mean her family so great, how wonderful that all of them are having, you know, such interesting journeys, like with her mom writing and her sister writing with her and her dad's exbordinary to is just such a it's I mean meeting them was a real treats going back somehow our friends and fiction tour has to include San Diego. Sure, and you know what, she's just such a good person to it's it's just such a pleasure to...

...be in the company of someone truly good and decent. You know, I feel bad about you all, so I just wanted to feel that about you exactly. I go on the flip side. Last week we had Karen slaughter on and and that was the episode the Washington Post Shot Up and put it in. We were in the for those of you who haven't noticed yet, we were in the Washington Post today about about what's happening with you. were. I wasn't was right. Your Internet already prison in our work that so my eyes are closed. I was going to say should we showed them on our poses were because mine was like, okay, this was mine. It was the first night in fiction started that I had not done my hair at another event, like I was on the road. Was At my parents. He had this weird background behind cutely, your dad has this beautiful like paneled office, but this whole all the wholeocase of your books. Why were you not sitting there? I'm like, sitting this weird place, my hair is all weird. I'm like, my eyes are closed. And Karen slaughter sitting in a pirate had a pirate hat. I mean really, and it didn't include Mary Ellis or coffy. So I think of all the pictures they had to pick that one as the GIN. We were in the Washingtons. So that which whatever. My favorite part that was that it said courtesy of friends and fiction, like we had picked that photo out. I know, all right, it's like we had sent it to them. Kind of a loose term there, curt hey, let's see, little, no, it was it was a ready shared. It was just it was just like of course, like, of course that happened to it's like we were in the Washington Post, but of course todaycom yeah, that's my God, and that was because of you. It was a jam in week for well, that was cuse Julie now, really, because she adjulie panel. That's right. Yeah, Yamn week for friends and fiction. Yeah, been a busy week and we've boll been writing like we're still doing it, it's true. So I'm weary. It's kept to me. I'm tired, me too, and I think, I think the moral of this story is everyone out there who's joining us, who's a part of this. You guys are just on the right train. We're clearly going place. Was We we we may look super weird as we're getting there, we may not be the most professional, but we're going place this we're oh my gosht good night, everybody. All right, good night, have a great night. Thanks, guys. Love you too. Vin. You've been listening to the friends and fiction podcast. Be Sure to subscribe to the friends and fiction podcast wherever you listen and if you're enjoying it, leave a review. You can find the friends and fiction authors at www and fictioncom, as well as on the facebook group page friends and fiction. Come back soon. Okay, there are still lots of books, writing tips, interviews, publishing news and bookstores to chat about. Goodbye,.

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