Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 11 months ago

Friends and Fiction with Lian Dolan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Author, humor columnist, and podcaster, Lian Dolan joins the Friends & Fiction authors to discuss her work as producer and host of the award-winning talk show Satellite Sisters and her latest novel, The Sweeney Sisters. https://www.liandolan.com

Welcome to friends and fiction. Fivebest selling authors Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast withfive bestselling novelist whose common love of reading, writing an independentbookstores found them together with jets, author interviews and fascinatinginsider talk about publishing and writing. Thes friends discuss the booksthey'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 theright place. Bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, ChristieWoodson, Harvey Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtimefriends with more than 80 published books. To their credit at the Start of the Pandemic, they gottogether for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, their favoritebookstores writing, reading and publishing in this new, unchartedterritory. They're still talking, and they've added fascinating discussionswith other bestselling novelists, so join them live on their friends andfiction Facebook Group page every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, or listenand view later at your leisure. Hi, everyone. If it is Wednesday nightat 7 p.m. It is friends and pick fiction. Five Bestselling novelistEndless stories were five writers and friends whose common love of reading,writing and independent bookstores finds us together. And this is ourweakling Friends and fiction show. I'm Paddy Callaghan. Henry on my latesthistorical novel, is becoming Mrs Lewis and I'm Mary Alice Munro, and my latestnovel is on Ocean Boulevard. Hi, Mary Kay Andrews. My latest book is HelloSummer, I'm Christine Harmel on my latest novel is The Book of Last Night.I am Christie Woodson Harvey and my latest book, It's Feels Like Fallingand We Are Friends and Fiction. Thank you so much for joining us. We lovethat you show up every Wednesday night like this. We feel like the luckiestladies in town tonight. We have an incredible guest who will be joining us.We're so thrilled we have Lee in Poland to talk with us about her new book, theSweeney Sisters, which I'm vaguely obsessed with. We're going to talk toher about her hugely popular website, her Facebook group and her podcastsatellite sisters. Ah, pep talk for modern women. Mary Kay Andrews is theone who told all of us about this book and Lord Day. You must read cleaningsisters. What Mary Kay tells us to do, we dio, and we're glad we did. I lovethis book so much, and we'll talk about it more in a minute. When Lian pops in,she is in the Green Room with champagne and Eminem's Eso First, let me tell youa little bit about her. Leean is a writer, a podcaster and a speaker, and,of course, she's a sister. She's the author of Helen of Pasadena andElizabeth The First Way. She's a regular humor columnist for Pasadenamagazine and has written monthly columns for O, the Oprah magazine andWorking Mother magazine. She has written for TV, radio and websites. Inother words, she writes, she is also the producer and host of SatelliteSisters, the award winning talk show created with her riel Light sisters.She has interviewed everyone and I Love This, from Nora Ephron to Big Bird. Therecent book by the satellite sister is You Were the best, a celebration offriendship. She graduated from Pomona with a degree in classics. I hopeshe'll talk about that a little bit,...

...and she lives in Pasadena with her twosons, husband and a big German shepherd. But for me is the kind of writer andspeaker that when you read her work, you want to be her friend, her bestfriend, her humor and her insight into sisters and women's relationships areunmatched. So before we welcome her on and try to make her be our best friend,I think Mary Alice has a little bit of a special announcement. Well, I'mreally excited. We on friends and fiction have had such a good timerevealing our covers to you before anybody else it's been We've seen justabout all the covers, so I'm bringing up the rear. I'm so excited. Next week,the 14th of October, we'll see the cover reveal from my summer book, TheSummer of Lost and Found. And I'm really excited. So thank you can notwait. So let me tell you a little bit about you've seen it way Kristen comeup with a group of teamwork. Teamwork? Yeah, So looking of books, and I'm surethis bookstore will be carrying that new cover. Our Bookstore of the week isRomans. And always hope I'm pronouncing that correctly. I want to remind all ofus that the reason We even got started on this endeavor with friends andfiction was partly of our love for independent bookstores. As you know,all of us at friends and fiction are passionate about Indies. And each weekwe highlight one. And tonight Lian chose it for us. Romans is herneighborhood bookstore in Pasadena, California. It's a charming andbeautiful store founded in 18 94. Yes, that is 126 years. And yes, I used acalculator because words are my jam, not members. They they host. In timesother than the pandemic over 400 free community events here They've hadeveryone from presidents to local authors and even a few of us. Sotonight they're giving you all a 10% off with the code F f h h which hisfriends and fiction Happy hour F f h h, or whatever you wanted to stand for.Link was on our friends in fiction page under the announcement tab. So cuteland. Come join us, please. Yeah, the oh, thank you for having me. My gosh,The Fab Five. I mean, e, we're gonna have to rename it now that friends andfiction just fab five. You're cool. Hashtag You know a good idea. ESomebody write that down, please. E Lee, welcome. We're so happy you're here.These have been crazy days with endemic insane. And the five of us started theshow when the five of us had book tours canceled and had to do it virtual. AndI know the same thing happened to you. So tell us how the pandemic spend foryou. Where have you been? Spending your time. How is it then? Well, I've beenspending my time in this room, and I love it. I'm happy my oldest son movedout so I could take his bedroom. Uh, that was big timing. Um, you know. Somy book came out at the end of April, and like you all, I think I had areally exciting tour set up about 10 cities. It had been a while since I'vebeen out and about. That's kind of a whole other story. But I did go throughcancer treatments last year. A year ago I was undergoing I was getting readyand undergoing surgery for colon cancer. Last really surprised. Shockeddiagnosis had no idea. No symptoms.

Just went in for a routine colonoscopy.So this is my plug for colonoscopies. Please get one. Um, and the good newswas in stage one, they got it early. I was able and healthy four months laterand getting ready for the book tour and just so excited for it, because becauseI cancer. And I was like, I can't wait to see people and talk to them and getout and about. And that was like, early March. We said everything. And then,you know, a week later, we revamped. So, um, so I would say that that gave metremendous perspective on what's happening. Now I know that. How do youbelieve you're a cancer survivor as well? Yeah. So you know the pandemics Alot like cancer. Have you noticed that, um, I'm gonna live and die? There's notimeline. I'm just gonna order food in and do the meditation naps like thesame sort of uncertainty that groundless nous, right? You can't. Youcan't get your feet on the ground. Right, and you can't really plan. Andthere's just untold amounts of terrible unsolicited medical advice. So that'sgreat. Eso eso I just kind of went back into that mood. But I was also reallyhappy that I believe in digital communication have been connecting withwomen, you know, through my podcast and all kinds of things. So I'm like, Well,I'm gonna master this zoom thing and I'm going to take some ground classcrowd cast classes. And so a lot of you all for doing the same thing like youdid it. There's just a real need for connection. And I feel like theseevents have been real life savers for me. Help that just emotionally. So I'mhappy to be here, and I I 100% glad your efforts. Wow, that's a revelation.E didn't mean to leave with the cancer. I e. Lynn. Just It's that same feelingof trying to catch your breath and then not knowing, like, do I plan like, do Imake a plan for a month? Maybe I can Maybe I can't. It was good trainingground, but it's a long time that I wish I had never gotten a membershipcard for Yeah, it's better to not have cancer. Yeah, I'm just going to say Iwish the pandemic it really hit me like a ton of bread. Yeah, yeah, all of theladies and you to land because you have been busting it even though you're justa home. And I saw your newsletter today, and I love that you called it LaOctober. Still e s it genius. And I think we're going to steal it alongwith the hashtag five e. It's it's been thinking Ah, lot this week about hustlelike hustle. We gotta go. We gotta go. We gotta go. We gotta get another soonwe got to get And then the flip side of that, which, you know, you had to gothrough when you were going through the cancer, which is rest this weirdbalance we have to find now that the covert restrictions air a little bitlifting and are about to slam down again. So all of my Fab Five ladies Andyou, Lian, I want to know what you guys have been doing this week to make sureyour battery doesn't die, that you don't run out of gas. That you're notdoing the flim flam hustles so hard that you can't even get your feet backunder you. Um Kristen, tell me. You know I wish I had a good answer forthat. I am. I think I'm I'm still trying to figure it out. And I I amstuck in that feeling of feeling like I'm doing all the things and none ofthem quite well enough. Um, but I would say the one thing I'm trying to do togive Thio attain some peace is trying...

...to make sure that there's somethingconstructive in each day which, which works with all of us. You know where weare, making a lot of steps forward, taking a lot of steps forward. So to me,that's a big part of it. That's awesome. How about you, Mary Alice? Well, I'membarrassed to say Food, food. I e think I've gained £5. We owe it, andit's like you want ice cream. Ugo, How food. How about you, Christie? I mean,Mary Alice is Andrew E. You know, this is kind of it's been a crazy a fewweeks. I actually turned in my actually my 2022 bucks on Thursday on, but itwas my son's birthday on Thursday, and I told all you guys, I can't telleverybody else because it gives the book away. But it was kind of likereally weird that it was that date because there's like, something reallysignificant in the book that happened on that date, um, in history. So it'skind of a cool time to turn it in. But my son's birthday book, of course it'sCovitz. So we had, like, 11 birthday parties because we only wanted to have,like, two kids and it had already been around each other. I mean, it washilarious. So the whole weekend it was like my husband is a saint, like hedeserves a Nobel Prize. He took a good thing, Onda said. We had all thesehouseguests and I was just exhausted. And so this week I was like, I'm behindon everything. I'm not gonna jump into my next book this week. I'm just goingto try to, like, get everything. Like, I'm gonna clean out my closets and tryto get everything out behind with on design Cheek and like just trying toget a tie point market next week. I told you guys have a lot going on withthat. So I was like, I'm just gonna, like, get myself a minute. Oh, thanksto Michelle. I'm just gonna give myself a minute. And it's ironic because thewriting is the thing I love so much. But it's been kind of nice to just feellike Okay, I can take a week off in the world is not gonna end and it's allgonna be okay. How about you, Mary Kay? Well, I turned in revisions for thissummer's book, which is the newcomer and my editor. Let me know that itdidn't suck e more than that. I love that she did. She said she loved it. SoI was down on Tybee at Ebb Tide, our vacation rental house, and I gavemyself, um, a day to just go into town bop around. I went to my favoriteantique stores. Um, I did the things I wanted to dio I met a friend for lunchand that kind of, you know, that kind of re fuels May And then, uh, Monday Im my husband to come back to Atlanta. And so Monday again, I took another daywith a friend Patty. We went toe Bluffton, Uh, my favorite place esothat refuels me. But then, you know it's like you're right back. I neverrealized before how important it was to me to have work. Andi, I think for lotsof people, um that the knowledge that you have work that you can dio when youit's again I mean that it's a privilege. It's a privilege, right? When I decideThio I have worked to go back Thio You're right, Julian. How aboutapologize? My my engineer, my 22 year old son just had to come in text himlike my laptop is dying. Please come plugging eso I'm sorry, e reallythinking about what we've done this week to make sure that it's not all thetime. I, you know, I had put away my...

...coal meditation up. I went back to itthis week. I had for a long time, and then it sort of drifted away. And nowI'm just back at it like there's 10 minute meditations. That's all I couldDio. I feel like this was the week I needed Thio refocus on just breathingand doing that. So it's a basic answer, but it's working for me. So no, that'sway. Love these scents. And like you, Christie, I have been I handed ineverything that was due at the moment. And I have been I can't turn mycomputer left or right because I have been cleaning out my office. E lovethat yes, it really feel it. I don't know. It's really It's been good a lien.We want you to tell us about the Sweeney sisters. Whatever your elevatorpitch is, it could be a tall is the Eiffel Tower or just two floors?Whatever you want, but a little bit about this amazing book. Okay, well,you know it's It's a book about three riel sisters in Connecticut who findout after the death of their famous father that there's a force system. ButI think this group would appreciate this, and I know there are a lot ofwriters who watched this. That book came together rather quickly because Ihad written a whole other book. It was an art history mystery set in Paris,which, apparently I now have to remain because it's called lost and found inParis. And I hear that your book is called so I will be Thanks for theheads up. E Oh my gosh, I was like, Are you kidding? me. I have that book out.And an editor, William Morrow, was interested in that book and said, Doesshe have another book? Does she have another book about sisters with Secret?And my agent called. I'm like, Yeah, yeah, I'm sure I can cook something up.You know, I've been working with my sisters for 20 years. How hard couldthis be? I have plenty of sisters material. I just got to figure out asecret of the great. She's like, Do you have it in an hour? Because that's whenyou're talking to the editor. And I was like, Yeah, of course I dio So I know,you know, we've all written so many books, but that's when you're glad youhave, like, those files and those notes you've taken and those articles you'veclipped and those things you've stored in the back of your head. Um, andthat's what I drew on. I had pitched a T V E. I had pitched a TV show likeseven years ago, called Sweeney. Family Rules about a group of adults siblingsliving in and around the New York area. It didn't sell, but I went to thatfolder and When I opened it up, I had these goofy table tents that I had usedat the pitch and actual networks. You know, those PT A things where Ugo Andif you're like you got raffle tickets and tomorrow, you know next month'smeeting and I had those, but it had all these red headed actresses on it, likeEmma Stone E Come on. So those all fell out? I'm like, Okay, check three. Havered headed sisters. Great. Got that. And then I needed the secret. And overa satellite sisters. We've had a face group book group for a long time, andsomeone had posted a photo of three adult siblings and like in theirfifties or three adults in their fifties. And the comment was just Wemet our brother this weekend. You know, I'm not going to go into details, butthanks to and over the counter DNA test like we have a bigger family on, Youknow, our people like your people. They're so nice. Everyone was like, Oh,some self. That's so great. Oh, my gosh on I'm thinking, e I don't really wantsomebody else showing up in midlife like I'm your sister. grew up when thewheels being read. Yeah, exactly. Right.

There's all kinds of issues. So Ithought Okay. Well, okay. Got these sisters. Andi, I have this DNAstoryline And then the last piece of that puzzle that I pitched, I decidedto set it my actual hometown. And, um, I had most of my previous books had notbeen set there that said my current hometown of Pasadena. But I grew up inSouthport, Connecticut, And I remember, you know, 10 years ago when I sold myfirst novel, Helen in Pasadena and Editor had said to me, Um, well, Iwould buy it if it was Helen in Greenwich, but no one's ever heard ofPasadena. So on, I'm like, except the billion people that watched that paradelady a beach boys have heard about the little old lady from E. Thank you. So sso. That's so I there's I mean, you have your tribe there in the South,you're doing it. But I feel like there's such an East Coast bias andpublishing. I'm like, You know what? I could write a book set in Connecticut.I grew up there, so e just pitched that like an hour later, I had some sisters.Another one shows up in Connecticut and here we go. And then the last piece,the father in the book, Bill Sweeney, is Ah, you know, literary icon, afamous writer When we were growing up in Southport, um, all the cool peoplelived in Westport next door, That's where, like Eric John and Paul NewmanLifts and Arthur Miller lived there and Kurt Vonnegut. But in Southport, wejust had Robert Ludlum. So But, you know, he had all the best sellers inthe eighties, and he would just wander around town. He wasn't really engagedwith the town, but he would walk his dog and he would wear black socks andsandals and walk around. And then he famously worked, like, 100 hours a day,seven days a week. So, um, but then I added that piece of the father writer.And so that's what I pitched initially, you know, after an hour and they werethey were like, Oh, that sounds good. And I was like, Oh, really? Now I haveto write it, Write it on. They like to bring that one out first, and I waslike, but the other one is written it Z but now it's still written. It stillwritten e think I'm out? Okay, a little. Thanks, Mariel. So, uh, e you know thathappened more times E Just ask Christine Harmel. She's okay. S o e olike that. Get her ex string and you'll have a new title in about 15 minutes. Ecould do it for every everybody but myself. I can't for my own titles,right? I needed all of you. Okay. Kristen, I know you have a question andmaybe I don't go ahead. Yeah, Happy Thio title consult later. But so ofcourse, many of us out there. No, you. Your role is one of the hosts andcreators of the satellite sisters podcast. I understand that in 2007 itwas one of the first podcast for women and that you originally began as aradio show. Can you tell us a little bit about it? And how the idea for itcame about and how you get started doing this with two of your sister's?Sure. Yeah, that's fun to talk about satellite sisters. So satellite sistershas been on the air 20 years, which is punishing. Yeah, we started on publicradio in 2000, and then we moved to ABC Radio, where we were there for six veryhappy years. We were on at 1.6 days a week, three hours a day of lie Brady EO. But the idea started really humbly like, Well, my sister lives is short.She is a marketing genius in a big way again. She just didn't understand whythere wasn't anything on radio, which was a number one medium at the time.Anything on radio that sounded like the...

...way she and her friends sounded or sheand her sister sounded when we got together and talked. You know, whenyou're sitting around drinking coffee, what's happened this week? What are thenews headlines? What's going on with the guy? You know, what movies did youlove? What books are you reading? All right, talk to you next week like thatwas our big concept for the show was that the conversations that women hadwith each other were valid and important, and just because theyweren't necessarily about politics, right and left or sports, which wasmost of talk radio like they were still valid on DSO My sister Liz lord us toour first sisters only weekend and on and we went to the mud baths inCalistoga, California. Yeah, they're great. I've heard of it. They're not.I've always wanted Thio feeling to you. I don't know, like we're all prettyclaustrophobic. So we're like Lucy and Ethel. Hot steam. Listen, you know, oldmotels, right? Lean? Yeah, in that old motels. That's crazy. It's mostly crazyold hotels. And so Lizabeth, just this idea. We're like, we just want out ofthis mud. We will do it. And, um, that is that's how the idea started. And waydid pitch it to the one person we knew in public radio. And they're like,great. And the crazy thing was, you know, maybe you've heard public radiohas no money. So, uh, you have the tote bags, I'm sure prove it and way had to,like, start a company and a business and raise all our own funds. But thenthat we hit the air. The idea that you could be satellite sisters, we didn'thave to explain it to people think on it like you're either sisters in reallife. Or, like the five of you are satellites. Sisters like people got itright away and women in particular and got it. And so we just have kepttalking for 20 years. I mean, the secret to our success is that we don'twork together in the same place, you know? I mean, we'd all say that, like,none of us go with. The five of us have never been to an office together. Mysisters. You know, once when we started the show To where? New York. I was in L.A once in Portland. One was in Bangkok. Then we moved to a B C. And it was L. A.My sister in Bangkok moved to Moscow. You know, we have always moved aroundand done essentially this, like, connected and and just talked. And, um,the topics we talk about our exactly what you just talked about, you know? Imean, it's the things that matter to women every day. Maybe is because thefive of us air in five different states. Yeah, way Mary and I know you wanted toask a question. Uh, well, Leon, I'm way both have big families. I'm, um thirdeldest of 10 on and you're the baby of eight And the baby is a whole. Anotherthing. But I have to say that I know that I use or two things Let me go back.I really love your seven lessons I learned growing up. Let me just startthere. If you have all of you people out there haven't seen a Google it,it's hysterically. But it's true. I mean, I was like, Oh, yeah, she gets it.I know Number three. What was it? Um, someday the pork chop will be yours.Totally got the hat and the other one. Number five. You could go anywhere ifyou can get there under your own steam. But, you know, that's where we allremember walking two miles to school. So anyway, in my work, my brothers andsisters, this big group I have five sisters. I'm one of five sisters. We Iuse that for fodder for books. We have...

...so much history. And I thought when Iread this book that you must have a lot of fodder from your sisters and yourwhole big family. How much of that do you bring to the table? in your booksand especially this one. Are there any real stories that made it over intoyour novel? Um, for this one, I said to my sisters when I sold it because it'sold rather quickly. I was like, everything we ever did is going in. I'mgonna change eso eso, you know, everything on bond. But that being said,you know, as the youngest of eight in a million years, I would not honor mysisters by writing a book and making them actual fictional characters Forgetif they want to be in a book, they can write their own book. Eso the actualsisters. The Sweeneys in the book are not my sisters, but but what I tried tocapture. You know, Mary Alice, you know, is that idea of sisterhood. And I thinkin a big family there are big age gaps, you know? And you can grow up inessentially two different families. You know, there's the upper half in thelower half in the middle half, right? Right. Right. Um, so there is this kindof growing apart and then I think coming together later in life. And so Itried to capture that in this book that the sisters may have had reallydifferent twenties and early thirties, like they went off and did their thing.But when push came to shove, they're gonna come together. And, um, you canhave the same parents, but very different lives on that Z we've alwaystalked about on satellite sisters, and I tried now, but I also noticed thisparticular group when they came home for the funeral. They back in thenursery? Yeah. Isn't it true, though? It's like you're 10. You walk in thedoor. It's like, 10 again, you know? Are you really going to bring up thatthat, like you mean age 12? Yes, sure. Okay, great. E. I love I love Lian. Iposted a question on Facebook, and I said, um, I said how much I lovedMaggie. Mad Maggie. Yeah. Every time I was time for Maggie to make a decision,I just had her do the exact opposite of what I would dio. Yes, I I wish I couldlive life like Maggie. Just carefree and no thought of any, you know,repercussions or anything. I'm the opposite. I like to have overthoughtthough I've ever done you know, but but yeah, it was fun. It's fun to write acharacter. That's the complete opposite of you. I'm gonna try that. Okay. MaryKay. I know you have a question. Eso Leah, the father, Bill Sweeney. And thestory is dead when we meet him. And yet he is a powerful force from beyond awriter and an enigma. And I started thinking about John Cheever, but wasBill Sweeney modeled after anybody? Yeah, for sure. To to I wanted him tobe kind of sexy and handsome and masculine and engaging. So that's work.And that's John Irving, you know, like, remember, you know, and he's stillgreat looking. And he was like, a rock star. And he was, you know, in thegossip pages and everything. So I wanted t o. Yeah, yeah, I got right. Hewas read by men. Women? Yeah. So I wanted him thio sort of physically andsort of, you know, his public persona. Be that, but absolutely. John. Sure.Done. Cheaper. He mailed it. I read Susan Cheever's memoir. You know, he isalso from Connecticut, and I just wanted him to have the demons of JohnCheever. So eso I worked hard. Well, now you can tell you worked hard, but Iworked hard on that. May I always work hard on my male characters? Because,you know, you don't want that from you. I'm sure we're all in the same boat. Uh,and you wanted to ring true, but this I...

...just I knew he was gonna be a charactereven though he was not, you know, he's gone. Yeah, he was such a force, Youknow, when I started thinking about later was why would this book have beenif it was the Sweeney Brothers, they would. They said, Well, that's Dad.Yeah, well, yeah. Okay. Yeah, e No. I mean, you know, we have three brothers,and we love our brothers, and they're great, but it's a different book. Ifit's the Sweeney brother, like, if the third is the fourth, You know, the newperson had been a brother. That might have been, like, kind of fun. Kind of,but no, Mr. That's a different relationship, right? If it had been abrother, they would say, Who got the car? Yeah. You got the house or thegolf club? Yeah, a golf membership. I'll take the TV. I'll take the TV.Yeah, All right, Christy, fire away. So we're always so interested in ourguests pasts and how they led them to become writers And, you know, knowingnow that you are the youngest of eight Children. I think this is aparticularly interesting question for you, but it's something we ask ourguests every week. What were the values around reading and writing in yourhouse when you were growing up? Oh, you know, my parents were big believers inboth reading and writing. My father thought, like the more esoteric yourcollege major, the better like he so there was not a a single like practicalmajor in our house. He was a strong believer in the liberal arts, so mybrothers and sisters were philosophy majors and comparative literaturemajors. I was a classics major, uh, none of a lot of couple of Englishmajors. My sister Monica is like she was a nurse. She was the only personthat, like went Thio, went to college and thought, I'm gonna do somethingwhen I get out. And my father was just that he was just a huge We just used tohave a lot of a lot of discussions about the dinner table around educationand, you know, learning the classics and learning stuff. And he wasn't avery practical man at all. Even though he was a businessman, he had a verypractical job and we had a million books. And I think the best thing aboutbeing the youngest was that, you know, I have all of the books that mybrothers and sisters brought home from high school in college. So I wasreading a lot of inappropriate material at a very early age. You know, Things Ididn't really understand was both on the shelves and then hidden under theirbed. So I found this s O S. O that. You know, that was absolutely, like, a hugepart. But on the other hand, when I when I was looking at colleges, Ithought I might go to this place in New York called the New School, which wasnew at the time. And because I had a screenwriting degree and I remember myfather saying, Well, that is ridiculous. No one makes a living screenwriting,you know, because in Connecticut, Greek and lab, so much more so that I meanthat that's true. They had, they appreciated it, but they didn'tnecessarily see it as a you know, a job. So but yeah, it was a pleasure to growup in our house books. My dad used to take us to me to a wonderful bookstorein Westport, Connecticut. Klein's you know, and he bought a lot of books onSaturdays, and he would never look at my stack, you know, and that was great.That's, you know, that's when you could buy Judy Blume. He doesn't even knowyou're you know, it's not even looking. So that's one of my my storm ismemories and why now? Oh, that is such...

...a beautiful story because a thought ofa child being able to walk out with a handful of books from a bookstore aboutparent going What is that? What is that? Why you're not reading that way? Wow!Wow. Okay, you know bookstores, Kristen, Would you use it? Lee, And it's likeyou like segue for us on purpose. Thank you. Just a quick a quick reminder whatthe bookstore is before we have into some viewer questions. It's Romans inPasadena. This little place this little town you may never have heard ofPasadena. Just kidding. Everyone knows Pasadena. So just a reminder. Wefeature Indies every week because they're the lifeblood of our literarycommunities, both real and virtual. And they need your support to keep theirdoors open, to continue putting on these great events. And Romans is justone of the legends 126 years in the making, like Patti said. So if you'reinterested in picking up one of our new releases tonight, including the Sweeneysisters from Lian, you can take advantage of the stores. Great. 10%discount, especially for us with the code F f h which dance for friendsfiction. Happy hour. And of course, they will ship to you, so ff HF Romans.Thank you. I appreciate that. Thank you. Yeah, it's lovely what you're doing. Sowait, What is that? Patty? Patty, What was it that What? Is that really yourway? E Hey, heart bashers right here. You're in the show. Everyone can seeand hear you. You have to let me intro you. I know you're used to a big familyof sisters. I have two sisters. It's my job to intro. You thes are the othersatellites. The other satellites sisters. Um, this is Lives and JulieDolan. Liz Stolen. Raise your hand, please. List. There you go. Has beenchief marketing officer from everyone from Nike and Oprah Toe, Fox Sports andNational Geographic. And now her company is mixed zone media. And JulieDolan is a satellite sisters foreign correspondent, having lived and workedin Bangkok and Moscow. Apparently, they're outstanding warrants. So now,Alice, together, these three sisters are the amazing powerhouse of satellitesisters Pep talk. We wanted you to have them ask Lian questions that she istotally unprepared for it. Hit it. Okay, I'll go first. The older first of all,a special shout out to Mary, Alice and Christy. I'm so happy to see you again.This is a years. And Mary Kay. Here's the thing. Like, as you've beendiscussing, Lien is eight of eight. And growing up, quite frankly, we didn'tcare about her. I don't care about her. I mean, I'm 10 years older than her.Who she has this cute little girl. I don't know, but she wasn't in my life.I'm very happy tonight to have an opportunity to interview my sister tofind out. Like what She's really all about your rate of eight. Okay, Land.But you know the writing process, Lee And you've been writing all these books,and in the meantime, we work together every single day. Okay? On satellites,sisters. 20 years we just discussed. Why is it like we're not involved atall in your writing process way? Don't get to read your books. We don't evenknow what the title. We don't know what the subject is until until it'sfinished. Do you get royalties? Way...

...have to buy the book way right. Okay.Oh, sister. So maybe just talk a little bit about your process, OK? Okay.Thanks, Juliet. Yeah, No free copies. That's my motto. That Z that's anotherhashtag. Yeah, a mommy Get free copies. Are you kidding? E people about thebooth e? All right. You know, don't take a clean I nice trash bag. I havepeople who are fiction writers. Read my fiction. I think you're all supertalented. Was enjoy, but your opinion is not necessarily helpful to me. Firstof all, Julie, you What? Here. Here's why. Mary Kay, They love everything Iwrite. Julie is always like I love this. This is she read this looks like thisis so great. We're all in there. Everyone's in. There s Oh, that's nothelpful. Like when you're writing and you're figuring out just the 1st 3rdwork and it's all great A on Liz, you're You don't read a lot of fiction.E read a lot of non fiction. That's true. E you were a comparativeliterature major e a fiction e But so that's it. Like I like to keep thefiction writing really separate. I compartmentalized it. It's my own thing.Um, on and I have my own contracts and agents Mary Kay on, um, eso It's notthat I don't value, you know, I come to for you to opinions on everything, butI have my own team conviction. Good answer. Okay. Okay. Now, I guess it'smy turn to jump in. E Want to bring up a couple of things that came up earlier,though, because you were talking about like, what are you doing to stay saneduring these crazy things? And I was thinking without satellite sisters, I'mnot sure I would be staying saying no every week, The way you guys were doingthis, it just keeps you connected enough right with people who are not inyour living room. And so, like, we record ourselves every Tuesday and itjust it's cool. It's giving structure to my life. So, like sisters and then,I think, who mentioned the Sweeney brothers as their like That would havebeen the way our original executive producer when we started the Sweeneysisters. Um Well, what way started Satellite sisters, Um, was a guy whohad a twin sister. So he was very, like, sensitive to women, but obviously not awoman. And I remember him saying to us once in a meeting, he said He said,Yeah, even with satellite brothers would be on the radio. It would be like,Hey, how you doing? Okay. How you doing? What you do? You want to watch the game?Okay, he said, and then it would be 59 minutes of dead air. No, it would befarting and belching. That's what that would be go anyway. So, yeah, we'vebeen at this a long time, So I did wanna ask Lee and something about thisbecause I think it's It's just Leon's got a lot of talents, you know, Andwhen, and satellite and Sweet Satellite Sisters has gone through so manychanges. As she said, we started on public radio and then we were a dailyshow on commercial radio. And then that went away because ABC radio went awayand we were all like, What do we do now? And it was It was Lian it was Bin, hissister number eight a day who kind of picked the whole thing up and said,Okay, here's what we're doing now. So the fact that we are podcast pioneersThank goodness one of us was young...

...enough to figure out how to do thatbecause that you should talk about, like, the transition from, like,nationally syndicated radio star to podcast girl. Yeah. Thank you. Is, umagain, this is a surprise question, but s Oh, you know, I just felt like whenwe lost our show at a. D. C. Because they Disney sold off the radio divisionand we couldn't get another distribute. It was 2000 and eight. We were an awardwinning money making show with blue chip advertisers. And there was no oneon commercial radio that wanted to take a shot at five women because they justdidn't understand what was happening. And that was 2000 and eight when talk,right, it was a very divisive place. So we had heard about these things podcast,and I just really felt in my bones we were not done talking like just becausethe powers that being were done with our show as a commercial entity westill had conversations toe have and our listeners had, you know, things tosay. I wanted to continue to talk. So I literally, like, picked up my entire IMac and like, took it into the Apple store. And I remember talking to the 12year old genius and I'm like, Okay, so I think I want to start a podcast withmy sisters. And he was like, Okay, lady, you know, I mean, I was like a middleaged lady, and but he just showed me how to edit and rush bands and how toconnect you all and like Skype was new. And we figured it out because I justfelt really that we were not done and that women still needed these places togo and we had so a lot of our audience and I I know you've all connected onthe writing for decades, you know? You know, your readers, you know, theconnection that you have with them. And that's what we had with our audience.So eso for me. I just felt like we weren't done. And, like, we justblundered our way into the podcast business. Uh, there were more bigkeepers, and I I believe in that now, Like, I think it's amazing that anyonewho wants to can plug in the mic and talk and post their show, and theyconfined their audience whatever it iss. So eso I'm happy I was happy to beyoung was happy to be Oh, always for me to be the youngest system e everysingle week, every single week. That za little detail Yeah, way er noresentment. Yeah, way air. So happy you guys joined us. I swear we could sithere and dio a round robin with the three of you. I think we're gonna haveto dio satellite Sisters Episode e o We're gonna do a Satellite Sistersepisode crossed over. Yeah, this will be so much fun. We're gonna We're gonnahave you back to have the whole crew, all all eight of us together. This isastounding. I bet we could solve most of the world's problems on for all ofyou all out there. I know you're throwing questions in, and yet we'reending up on time. So we're going to stay a teeny bit longer after we'redone. If the sisters will hang out for a couple minutes, so but every week onfriends and fiction, we try to give a writing tip, and it's one of myfavorite things, so I don't want to skip over it. So Lian, tell us yourfavorite writing tip. Well, I recently judged a contest for the Irma BombeckWriting Institute on the faculty member this year, and it was a humorous. Itwas a contest humorous essay contest...

...about your sister or your satellitesystem. I wish it was super fun to read dozens of dozens of entries, but as Ilove writing my column, something I've been for 20 years and magazine columnswhen they're 500 words there, 500 words They're not for 101. They're better iftherefore, 99. And so I was reminded of the importance of word choice. And itseems pretty obvious when you're around your word choice is important. But somany of these essays I read I wanted to just be able to give editorial notes tothe writer like, Go through it one more time. Is this the funniest birth? Isthis the funniest adjective? You know? Is there an analogy that might be alittle bit sharper? So, you know, my tiff is just especially when you'retrying to elicit a smile. The comedy, like sharpness and specificity reallymatters, you know? Is it funny to say, Walk to the counter? Sure, but is itfunny to say wobble? Funnier, Lobell, Funnier. That's just hand sound funny aword or people were like, you know, our She has a rat. Her hair was a rat'snest. Okay, that's a good descriptors, sort of level one, you know, Level onedescriptor. But is her hair, you know, is her hair. Oh, I Now I can't rememberanything funny, but I'm like, is there? Can you take that to the next level? So,uh, so that's what I want to leave with your trying to write a funny thing orsomething that is, you know, gets a smile. Specificity of word choice. Justtake another path. That's the best one. That's great. Yeah, that is fantastic.Yeah, e any kind of writing? Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, Absolutely. I mean,in comedy, we're lucky we don't have to use conjunctions or semi Coghlan's Rand.We don't have to make sentences. Last paragraph. Eso Speaking of writing tips,we wanted to tell you about something two of our friends and fiction authorsare doing right now because we've realized as your messages and notescome in, how much you all love this part. So we wanted to tell you abouttwo of our friends and fiction guests who are doing things about writing tips.Christie, Paula McLain, who is a good friend of ours and the author of theParis Wife is doing and every Monday ask me anything on her instagram andFacebook. So go check it out. She answers the questions posted on herinstagram every Monday, and we'll post about it in our announcements. Yeah,and and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who was on in June along with Jane andFrance, who they were both hilarious and wonderful. She is doing regular, umFacebook live on her Facebook page. I will also put that under announcementsthat they're all just chalk full of writing tips. She interviews otherwriters, she interviews, agents, she interviews editors. It's fantastic, andit's just stamped with her trademark humor. So I want to take some questionsfrom some of our listeners out there, and they're going crazy typing. So,Christie, I picked one of those reader questions that I e think it's fromDiana Kander? Yes. Um, at what point do you decide? This is hilarious. At whatpoint do you decide what the title of your book is going to be? Oh, sometimesa little too late. S Is that for me or anybody that you You know what? Iusually come strong with the title first. Eso Yeah, I usually like youknow, as soon as I conceive of what the book might be the title comes to me. Ido that a lot on the podcast. Do I'm a title? Er I'm a title, so that helps me.But not anymore. Mary E. Was just to...

...say how often you have to change it.Never before You never have to change your title before. No. Oh, gosh. Oh, Ihave e You've all read more books than me. So yeah. I mean, uh, Mary Alice.There's a question from Anus employing a joy Armstrong as a writer in thepodcast. Or how do you manage to get it all done? What is a typical work week,like for you? Um you know, for me, I really have to compartmentalize. Sobecause the work I do for the podcast is really different than the work thanfiction writing and on and then and the magazine writing fiction, writing withall e just I get exhausted. It's like an Onley focused on that. I can only dothat. So for this book, for the Speedy Sisters, I had a tight deadline for me.Six months. That was the fastest I've ever written a book. So I really didjust work on a podcast production Monday and Tuesday just because thereare days to do satellite sisters and anything that needed to be done. Andthen Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I worked on thefiction. Uh, I'm a morning person, so pretty much no good after two PM That'sI'm already with for dinner. And like I'm done, I'm wrapped up eso But I getup early a very, very often pretty early around five. And then I usually,you know, start writing, uh, walk the dog. And then I started writing fromabout eight thio 8 to 1 or two. But it's very compartmentalized fictionwriting takes over. As you know, it's really interesting. So one of thethings we love to do every week is talk about a book that's really affected usthat week or really powerful or new or so I want to ask the three sisters doany What do y'all reading right now? What books do you suggest? Who? Okay,Julie raises her hands. E just finished the vanishing half. I'm reading itright now. Way have her coming. Yeah, it's gonna be our guest going to listen,because I you know, I have more questions at the end of the book, so itwaas um it was very impactful. It was that I really was so intrigued with thewhole story and and I really want to hear it left me with more questions atthe end. But that's what I just read. And that's what I was thinking. WhatI've been thinking about a lot. I have anyone saying that so bad. Yeah, Okay,I just I just go ahead list. No, you go. You're older. Go ahead. E, have acouple of I'm reading this right now. Again. This is Michael Ian Black. Youknow, the comedian and actor. This is E his new book, and we're having him onsatellite sisters in a couple of weeks. So I have this and it's a It's a veryserious because you can say mostly seriously letter to my son, but verythoughtful, very interesting. He'll be an unusual guest have on satellitesisters, So I'm doing that. But then in the meantime, during pandemic times,I'm also taking a I'm taking an African American literature class at Stanfordthat is very cross disciplinary. So it's a lot of things I've read before,like beloved and things like that. But but the but the lecturers arehistorians or sociologists or coming at it, not from the literary point of view,so way we're doing a reason in the side. Really looking forward to hearing theelection? Yes. And we're also doing eso...

You know, you did something else thiowork on. So that's fine the way we had no idea she was taking this class.Mentioned to that to us again, waking up every day. No idea. Yeah, good. Goodthat we came on this. I'd actually like to read those. Those are fabulousclassics. It's really great. Well, I think what we need to do is have you onevery week So you guys can find out what each other. Okay, lady, in whatway do just the opposite. Sometimes when we're talking on the phone willstart to tell a story and then the other sister will say Wait, don't tellme Don't tell me Way wanted to sound on the show Like we have heard it allbefore. Way literally not Tell each other things waken Save it for yourselfCan you see the thing that a stranger's z about a e I just love the sisterbanter so that Okay, Leanne, what are you reading? What do you Aziz Usual isis the family overachiever. So take the whole class eso But I just finished atheme here. I just finished Octavia Butler's Kendrick. So I've been using,um, I've been using Kobe the Pandemic to just read outside my genre. I don'tread a lot of science fiction. I've been reading more historical fiction. Iloved the winemakers life. That was really wonderful. Yeah, on eso OctaviaButler. This book entry is extraordinary time travel from likeseventies in L. A thio this late South. But he is a Pasadena girl, a swell, andso I feel breath that I have not read her. And so my son said, Well, that'sthe book to read, read, start with Kindred and it's wonderful, So I reallyenjoyed it. So I'm just really using this to get outside my comfort zone andjust read a lot of stuff I don't normally read. E Wow. And I knoweverybody out there is trying to write all those books down as fast as theycan, and I promise we'll put it in the we'll put it on the page so that we canlink them all because those air amazing suggestions. So we have a coupleannouncements to get through really quick. Mary Kay, tell them about ourguests next week. Yeah, just in time for Spooky October Next week we'regonna have my old old old friend Charlene Harris and you know, she wrotea little thing called True Blood, based on Charlene Little Show. Yeah, based onCharlene Sookie Stackhouse novels and then Hallmark movies and Mysteries isstill showing a Siris of movies created about her Aurora Teagarden character onthem. For two seasons, Midnight Texas was on the air and then two of herother Siri's or in productions. So we're not gonna bring her on. We'rejust gonna pick her brains about how to get into the O. Well, we're gonna talkabout she's got a She's got a book coming out in January called theRussian Cafe, and her most recent book is called A Longer Fall. So Charlenewill be with us next week, and I know you guys are gonna love hearing fromher and Christie wanna tell us about the rest of the fall schedule in thenewsletter? Yes, absolutely. So after Charlene, October 21st will be havingElizabeth Berg. October 28th is technically a just US episode, butwe're gonna have a really special guest. I think we're gonna tell you a littlebit more about that later, so I'm not going to spoil it yet. Um, November 1st,we'll be having violas shipment November 4th Brit Bennett of VanishingHalf November 11th. Caroline Leavitt...

...and I could keep going, but that'sprobably as much as we can all process right now. But let's just say we'rehaving the most amazing guests. I think we're booked out through, like, April.You guys, it s so excited about everyone we're having on the greatschedule. So we're excited. Excited, Okay, we're talking for hours. Sisters.Do you promise you'll come back on the preview way? We're asking you live. Sothat would be super rude of you said, No way. Three. Okay, Tritch before wesign off, Sean has keeps. Shawn is our guy behind the scenes that we're gonnaintroduce one day. And he just sent a note that said, a lot of people on thething are asking about the painting behind me, so I will, uh, I note in theand on the friends of Fiction page, it's actually a photograph. I took thata friend of mine painted for me off a photograph. Her name is offered, so eThat was an amazing night. Y'all I feel like my cheeks hurt. Does everybody ehaven't smelled this much since Covitz started? E O will be our best friends EThank you, everyone. Thanks for coming tonight. And that Z e fine. E way doing a post show. But they're socute and they were all like way. Just sit through that. You have faith in me.It's 59 minutes and 55 seconds E u Doorbell. Doorbell. Doorbell wasawesome. Thanks. That was E. I don't know where I've been in the world. Imean, I've heard of their podcast, but I haven't been listening to it, so no,I'm definitely gonna listen. Thio, Everybody's gonna hang out for theafter thing. E laughed at. It's It's harder to talk about them behind theirbacks when they're right here. Okay, come back and do a satellite sistershow. Be awesome. Great. Yeah. We owe all our sisters and they have a hugesister extravaganza. Oh, who could possibly get a word in? That would becrazy pound, especially Christian. You especially my sister, you know, causedso much trouble. Actually, her pretend sister, her satellite sister, Myhighlight sister. That's right. You know, my satellite sister lives inEngland. She really Yeah, she's a She writes plays and is super differentfrom May. But she's the city. Yeah, baby. So, you know, the baby is always,um that's a different dynamic. Which number are you? The middle. You're themiddle. Yeah. I'm the oldest of three sisters. Where do you fall, Mary? Alice?I'm number three of 10. Good Lord. I know one of five sisters, so that's andfive brothers. So we kind of my mom got it right down the middle. Wow. And howabout you, Kristen, the oldest of three.

Yeah, me too. That's why we're so thatwas really That's very telling. E feel that that's a little bit of growthorganized. It would be fun to have all the sisters not because what's so funnyabout hearing from their sisters? And I have a sister who writes Also shewrites nonfiction. Um, but it Z yeah, you have a rating sister, too. It'sfunny hearing the their perspective on her as a writer. Yeah, yeah, exactly,exactly. But I also think it's hysterical that they don't know what'sgoing on in each other's lives and they talk every day. But I get it too. But Ialso felt how we how we feel so connected to each other because we seethe show. Yeah, you know it, Zbynek. Really great. Especially during hardtimes. It's really great to know, you know, Do you think when you have a lotof people that you're like sometimes I'll say something my mom would be like,I'm sorry. What? You never told me that. And I'm like, Oh, I must have told thisperson twice. E you're like, Wait, I didn't tell you that. What do you mean?I didn't tell you that, but yeah, I don't know how that works, but that wasfunny. But I'm going to tell you guys, I love you. And this was so fun. E o.I'll talk to you guys tomorrow. E o. You've been listening to the friendsand Fiction podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the friends and fictionpodcast wherever you listen. And if you're enjoying it, leave a review. Youcan find the friends and fiction authors at www dot friends and fictiondot com a swell as on the Facebook group page friends and fiction. Comeback soon. Okay? There are still lots of books writing tips, interviews,publishing news and bookstores to chat about goodbye.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (121)