Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 10 months ago

Friends & Fiction with Lisa See

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See joins the Fab Five to talk about her latest book, The Island of Sea Women. Listen in as she talks about being part Chinese and growing up fully immersed in Chinese culture, but somehow feeling like an outsider in both white and Chinese cultures—a theme that has found its way into most of her books. https://www.lisasee.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. Yeah, at theStart of the Pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour totalk about their books, their favorite bookstores writing, reading andpublishing in this new uncharted territory. They're still talking, andthey've added fascinating discussions with other bestselling novelists, sojoin them live on their friends and fiction Facebook Group page everyWednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, or listen and view later at your leisure. Hi, there s so much for being with ustonight on friends and fiction, where we celebrate books Friendship dependent.I'm Christine Harmel Off the coast, I'm in love with fourth advantage and starsthat should be out on July 6. I'm Christi Woodson Harvey, and my upcomingbook is called Under the Southern Sky and it releases April 20th. Hi. I'mMary Alice Munro in my holiday novel is Ah, Low Country Christmas Can I'm MaryKay Andrews and my holiday novel in Blue Christmas, Christmas. And as youmight notice, we're missing our Patty Callahan Henry Tonight she iscelebrating her son's graduation from graduate school. So we're sad not toHarvard tonight. Um, but she is our out of it. So everybody welcomed businessfriends infection. So tonight we will be joined by number one New York Times.Bestselling author Lisa. See? And I'm excited to tell you about her in just amoment. But first we wanted to ask you to join us in a little celebration. Andbefore we start, you know what I actually ready? Told you about Patty? Iwas gonna tell you I had e never mind. Thinks is crazy. I My power went outand I'm on the other side of the neighborhood at a friend's house, soI'm all discombobulated. E But in any case, last week we hit 25,000 membersand our friends and fiction Facebook Group, which is so incredible for allfive of us. Remember, we started back in April with just a few shows thinking,G wouldn't that be cool of a few 100 people join us. And now we've crossedthe 25,000 mark. We're in awe, and we're so grateful to all of you.Especially those of you who told your friends and fellow book lovers about us.So we would love to start off tonight by raising a little toast, toe all ofyou and the magic of books and friendship that brings us together. AndI believe Mary Alice is going to savor Savor a champagne. I'm not gonna sayone e we owe 25,000. But that's not all. Christie, I believe you have somethingcool to tell us about giveaway that we have for hitting 25,000. I do. I am soexcited about this incredible giveaway. And so if you win, you will be one ofthe very first people to get one of our amazing friends and fiction Jute. Twobags. I should have had one with me. I will for the end of the show so I canshow you all. But it will be stopped with 10 bucks, half of them written byus and half of them written by our...

...friends and fiction guests, includingthe amazing Lisa. See who's with us tonight. So to see what's in the toteand to enter, look for the leak under the announcement on the buried to betop of our friends and fiction. Facebook page. Thank you, Christie andMary Alice, You have an anthology wanted to tell us briefly about verymuch. So this is not something that this is sadder. But when Dorothy A.Benton Frank, passed away in 2019, her death really rocked us as readers andhis writers and her departure left Boy. So we wanted to do something reallyspecial to pay tribute to Daddy's life legacy as a writer and his friend. Sowe got together to create Reunion Beach, and it's an anthology, really beautifulcollection of stories that are set on the beach in the Southeast, mostly inthe low country that she loved and we love. It features short stories from me,Patty Callahan, Henry, Elin Hilderbrand, Adriana Trigiani and Cassandra King.Recipes from Natalie Decree Ah, poem by Marjory Wentworth, Who's the SouthCarolina poet laureate? An essay from Java. Hagerty in tributes from friendsand family. So re Union Beach is the title of the next beach book that DaddyFrank was going to write. So today it will be a literary homage and beautifulkeepsake for all of you and for all of us. It's on sale April 27 you canpreorder now wherever books are sold and that's re Union Beach and I. It's avery special collection, and I hope you all enjoy it. Thank you so much forsharing that with us. Mary Alice. It looks beautiful and I love it. It'scoming out April 27th, which means you could read Christie's book that comesout April 20th and then the Reunion Beach. And then we already to read MaryKay Andrews Books on May for its right e rail of E. You won't even have allour books out, and it won't even be June. Well, me. But mind just commencedin July 7 years in July, which is quite a bit, but Here's toe all the books 22years to all new viewers out there who, yeah, recently were all with us. Sospeaking of amazing authors, tonight we have someone really special Lisa seewho was not only a celebrated novelist but also a memoirist, a journalist andeven the writer of the libretto for the opera based on one of her books. I mean,how many guests have we welcome to Britain and operas? Yes. So Lisa firstappeared on the literary scene 25 years ago with 1995 on Gold Mountain andMemoir that traces the journey of her great grandfather from C, who overcameobstacles at every step to become the 100 year old godfather of Los Angeles'sChinatown and the patriarch of the swallowing family. That was the bookthat was turned into not only an opera but also a major museum exhibit guestcurated by Lisa herself and that traveled to the Smithsonian inWashington, D. C. I will tell you none of us up here have had that experiencewith their first book, right? What are you saying? Christian E. A. R. Exactly.So the research her on Gold Mountain inspired Lisa's first novel, which was1990 seven's flour. And since then she has not slowed down her more recentnovels, including Dreams of Joy, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane and SnowFlower and The Secret Fan, which was made into a major motion picture, havehonored for gotten stories. Chinese culture in the bonds between women. Hermost recent, The Island of See Women,...

...is about the three diving women ofSouth Korea's Jeju Island, and we can't wait to hear all about it. So welcome,Lisa the oh, congratulations e o E. Visa.You mean you didn't get champagne in Greenville way falling down on the jobwear so happy to have you with us tonight? So before we dive into ourchat tonight, we wanted to quickly share with Where. Bookstore of the Week.So tonight, our bookstore is Romans in Pasadena, California As SouthernCalifornia's oldest and largest independent bookstore, Romans is aninstitution and the literary landmark. If the story sounds familiar to you,it's because we also talked about them two months ago when Lian Dolan chosethem. That's her favorite bookstore to their that amazing. We have multiplebig name authors wanting to work with them. They've been in operation since18 94. That's the year that Grover Cleveland was president. Hershey'schocolate was invented in Coca Cola was bottled for the first time. How cool isthat? In fact, California, you're ever right. That's your ever no kidding andthrow it. In fact, California had only been a state for less than 50 years atthat point, and there were only 44 stars on the flag, so they've beenaround for a while. And as you might guess, they're an incredibly vital partof the community. And this week they're offering 10% off books by Lisa and theFab Five with the code F F H H. The link is on our friends and fictionbased age. We do hope you'll consider supporting Romans for another localbookstore, even if it's just once in a while, because you really can make adifference in keeping some of these stores with these amazing backgroundstories open and thriving. So, ladies, the holidays always feel crazy. But forme, it's so nice to land in this place. Solace every Wednesday night e mean, Iknow we're putting on a show here. But once the clock straight seven and weget rolling, I kind of take a deep breath and relax every night, exceptwhen my powers going out. I'm not as relaxed tonight, but I normally findsolace here because I'm with some of my very best friends. E think that everyyear during the holidays, taking a little time for self care is important,but this year it's more crucial than ever. So I would love to hear whatyou're doing this month at the end of the craziest year, we could haveimagined to take care of yourself. Is there something small that you've beenable to work into your routine? You need to take a breath. Lisa, Do youwanna start? The big thing I've been doing is walking just getting out andbreathing fresh air. And yet I go with my mask. But sometimes I you know, itwas long as I don't see any other people. I take it off and just have theair come in. And I'm also just feel nature. No, it's just really helped meand I take photos with my phone. I look for different all wanna On Tuesdays. Ido a particular walk. And, you know, one day outside, I'm just going to takepictures of all the orange flowers, or I'm only going to take pictures up or,you know, looking down I've been a Siris of pathways, and so just tryingto just enjoy my neighborhood, enjoy nature and especially fresh air whenyou know, most of us are just locked up inside. Oh, that's awesome. You havepretty things to see. I mean, it's the neighborhood with lots of interestingplants, or is there a part way? Have sort of summer all year, And but thereare seasonal differences and and, um, I don't know, You know, I I never gettired of pollen trees. Yeah, yeah. Eso to Christie. How about you? What haveyou been doing to kind of take a bath?...

Um, so this is kind of funny, but it'sbeen sort of rainy around here and hold on. So we haven't been doing a lot ofour normal outdoor stuff, but so every night, little well, and I have beenlinking Hong just really fun on then. This is gonna sound so silly. But we'vebeen playing a lot of connects for and he, like connect sport like I justnever really thought of. That is like, Well, there's a lot of strategy thatgoes into connect for and he is really good at it. So I mean, we will havethese games that will last for like, you know, you think of Connect four istaking like 45 seconds. We will have these connect four games that last forlike, 20 minutes. It's well, gosh, that's funny I'm doing That's that'sdoing kind of fun and this is not this sounds like the opposite of what youjust said, but I've been writing something that I just want to write,but I'm not even a contract for. And that has just felt so Wait e. I have toSegway into that. That's what I'm doing. I finished contracts, although copy it.It's just landed on my desk, so that kind of put a stuff on it. And you know,we want tomorrow. You know, that kind of that, that's a blink. But I have abook I've been working on really for 18 years, and every Christmas I pull itout and then I have to put it away because you're under contract. I'mdetermined to finish it this year. And to me it's a purification. I mean,being everything. Yeah, it's just pure pleasure and it'll sell. But if itdoesn't, I wouldn't care, you know? But I have. You just want everyone else toread the book. So that's kind of what you When you write books, you justwrite him. You don't write just for yourself. You want to get to be red.And the other thing that I'm languages so self indulgent. And I just have toconfess, thisted time of year to Not Tonight, because it's Wednesday nightbut otherwise really watch a Christmas movie. Eso self indulgent and it's meand my sisters are here and my husband and we've been doing a lot of Dickinsclassics, which are fun and, of course, every Christmas Carol, every ever made,but also some of the new stuff that's out and the favorites. It's just everynight everyone gets to pick a Christmas movie and I have to tell you it's beendelightful. Yeah, that's wonderful. How about you, Mary Kay? Well, maps Z e No.Yeah. Ever. And birdwatching way. Our house is in a pretty quiet. It's an intown Atlanta neighborhood, but it's, um it's very green and leafy, and we arehouse just on an acre with tons of trees. And so I've been birdwatching.My husband puts out the bird feeders and, you know, weight. Although there'sa pileated woodpecker or there's a Bluebird S O Yeah, break coming up theChristmas bird count. Yeah, So basically, I'm doing the things that 90year old of e Troop up. If I took up Crow saying it would be the try back.Yeah, for old ladies. Well, if it helps. No, Noah is very newly into birdwatching, too, but only because we way did a jingle ring with Santa the othernight where you get to video chat with Santa and Santa told him it was sogreat. And Santa told him that the reason it was great the reason um, heknew that Noah had been a good boy and was on the good list was because allthe birds watch out for his behavior and and report back to Santa. So we'vebeen very aware of birds the last few days. It's very it was awesome. So Soall of you out there. We're also glad we and we hope that this, um, thatjoining us here on Wednesday nights on...

Wednesday nights is kind of somethingthat brings a little bit of joy or breathing room to your life. To we. Welike to think that you know that that this is a nice gathering place, andwe're also happy to see you and to know that you're here. So enough of thatthat you are all looking forward to hearing from Lisa tonight. So, withoutfurther ado, let's dive in. And if you have questions for Lisa while we'rechatting, you can ask them in the comments and we'll pull one or two. Sonow Lisa Booklist called your latest the island of See Women. Stupendous,enthralling and engrossing. Um, what's pretty great, right? You get that allthe time. Stupid. This is like a pretty strong work s exactly eso Lisa on thatnote. Can you tell us a little bit about what made you decide to explorethis story and tell us a little bit about it? Yeah. So I was going back nowabout 10 years. I was sitting in a doctor's office whipping throughmagazines like We All Dio when I came across one tiny article, one smallparent, One small photo about thes diving. Women who live on an island offthe tip of South Korea and these women for centuries have been free divers.They take deep breaths. They dive down about 60 ft. That's deep enough to getthe bends. They stay underwater 2 to 4 minutes, and they harvest seafood. Sothey're the breadwinners and their families and their husbands. They hometake care of the kids, uh, do the cooking. Take care of the elders, takecare of the house. So it it is. Recently, as the late as the late 19seventies, there were still about 40,000 of these women divers. Theywould retire at age 55. If they live that long. It's very, very dangerouswork. Today. There are only about 4000 left, and the youngest one is 55. Somost of them are in their seventies eighties early nineties, doing thisamazing work. And so I have been interested in stories that have beenlost for gotten deliberately covered up, particularly about women on this justfit right in with that And so I created a story of two men. And what happens tothem? You know how they come together. What happens to them through thisliving history and in this amazing culture Oh, that's wonderful. It's sucha such a good book. And I think a beautiful story. Oh, it really is. Andwe can't wait to ask you some questions about it. And about about some of yourother work, just very end. This story is what it is. Yeah, in fact, yes.Stupendous, enthralling and engrossing. If I just had told three adjectivesthat have been here Mary Kay, did you want to start off with your question?Yeah. I know from your biography that your great great grandfather immigratedfrom China many years ago. Toe work on building the transcontinental railroadand your great grandfather, Fong See, because essentially, the God becameessentially the godfather of LA's Chinatown. The story you delve deeplyinto in your 95 memoir on Gold Mountain. Now, I know you're 1/8 Chinese, but yousaid often that your Chinese in your heart and so I've also read anotherquote from you saying because of how I look, I will always be outside in LosAngeles, China, You said Los Angeles Chinatown. People know me. But when Igo to other Chinese communities or to China, people see me as an outsider.When I go into the larger white community here in the U. S. People,people look at me and talk to me as though I belonged. But inside I feelforeign. Can you talk a little bit about that duality of being an outsiderand then an insider in different cultures and how it's affected yourwriting? Yeah, I think of what a great question. And of course, you know,whenever I hear things that I said or wrote a long time ago, it's alwaysinteresting to sort of look at them...

...again 25 years later. But, you know, Idid grow up in this very large Chinese American family here in Los Angeles,where I have about 400 relatives and there doesn't that look like me, themajority still full Chinese and then the spectrum in between. And so when Iwas a little girl, when I looked around me, what I saw were Chinese spaces forthe experience with Chinese culture, Chinese language, Chinese tradition,Chinese food. And of course, that's why I write the kinds of books that I do.But I do look different, and I think that this is really had a huge effecton my writing because, uh, actually I want to sort of disagree with something.Mary Alice said earlier that I when I'm writing, I'm actually not thinkingabout sharing it with an audience, usually a very personal journey for meand I. I could never believe that anyone is going to read what I'vewritten. It's very much about sort of what I feel and what I'm wanting toexplore within myself. And I think a lot of my books have really been aboutthat. Like, What do I know? What do I not know? How do I How do I fit intothis culture? How do I not fit into it? And I would say with from all of mybooks, the one where that's most apparent apart from on Gold Mountainwould be the tee girl of coming Berg Lane, which is looked at adoption fromChina. And I really thought a lot about these young women you know, little asbabies adopted by families here. Um, some of those families air Chinese, butalso, you know, a lot of them are just white families and and might be insmall towns around the country where that child might be the only Chinesespace and her family and her class and her school in her church, synagogue,the county fair. And I really wondered, you know, did they have some of thissort of, ah mirror feeling toe what I have, Which is, um I may look like this,you know, I'm I'm for them, you know, I have a Chinese face, but am I Americanbecause of how I was ray liest and my Chinese because of how I look and myChinese American or am I something else? And that's what led to that particularstory. So I feel like this background is always permeating my books and thatI'm kind of always looking to see Where do I fit in? Where do I not fit in?What do I know? What do I not know what happened when you run out of storiesabout that? When you figure that out, I don't know what we're doing. Kash,wouldn't that be nice to figure out what any of us think anything out.Always. I think, on a personal journey. I don't think that that ever changes.And maybe you have different questions or they evolved. I think another themethat's come up in my books over and over again is the theme of forgiveness.You could ask my husband or any you know, anyone in my family. Just leavegood forgiveness and the answer would be a big no e Keep coming back to overand over again. And I feel like in some of my books, that kind of toad aroundit, you know? And Snow Flower and the Secret fan. Two best friends. Bad thinghappens. They split apart. Spoiler alerts. No flower dies. And so shecould never forget Lily. So the end is really about atonement in Shanghai.Girls, two sisters. A bad thing happens. They split apart. And that bookactually required a sequel. Dreams of Joy, where the two sisters Perlin maydo find forgiveness, but they're on separate continents. They have nowaited talk to each other. They only see each other on the last page. Iwon't go through everyone but China dolls. You know three Best friends.Guess what a bad thing happens, but...

...they never forgive each other. But thecircumstances of their lives require that they work together. And so justjumping up to the island of see women just e knew that whatever the next onewas going to be, you know, whether it had turned out to be about to see womenor whatever it was going to be, I knew that I wanted to really look aforgiveness just straight on. No more tiptoeing around. I was just going todive right in and try to look at it. All these different levels. Wow, it'sand so something like that, you know, that's like a personal journey I'm on.Have I gotten there yet? And not not so much e have a better understanding ofit, but I have a funny feeling. I might be struggling with this for decades yetto come. Well, one of our authors, I think it was Wade wasn't raid. Who said,um, that all of us, many authors there's one word that pretty muchdefines the work. So you just said it was forgiveness, and I think that'sreally interesting word to choose you that centers your work. It'sfascinating that you say that to you because I mean, I think in the islandof see women not to give anything away. And you you did this so beautifully.But in in a moment where some bad things were happening, it seems unforgivable. I mean, I itseems unforgivable. And so I was very interesting what you did there. Eanything away? E think it's I think it's fascinating, though, how we wereworking through our own personal issues through our writing and e don't knowabout all of you, but I feel like I was doing that before I realized I wasdoing it. Was it Was it the same with all of you? Yeah, like, Well, I I couldsay some something to just to add to that There were, you know, a few yearsago of my publisher, brought up some of the books that were out of print and rereleased them. And, you know, one day they came in a nice box. I had thesereally beautiful jackets if they those books that had those pretty jackets wayback when maybe somebody would have bought them. But I started flippingthrough and I don't know about you all. But do you ever go back and read yourbooks? Really? You know, I don't. And so I started flipping through in. Whatwas so strange was I didn't necessarily remember characters. I didn'tnecessarily remember the plot. I mean, every once in a while, I think, Oh,yeah, that's pretty good, but surprises this level. But what amazed me was thatwhatever page I open to, I remembered exactly where I was emotional. Oh, wow.What? And I don't think of my books is being autobiographical, but I could seethings like, Oh, this, You know, my son had just gotten in trouble at school ormy husband and I had just had a disagreement or my, you know, somethinghappened with my mother, and then all of my emotional life had really goneright onto the page and in ways that I had no idea at all. And you know, we'llhave to hope that my son and daughter in law aren't watching right now. Butyou you got a sort of angst around a marriage, had a big wedding, did seepinto dreams of joy s so I can open that I remember that was I was like, rightbefore shower or whatever that's needs. But what a cool snapshot in time, ifevery word and how you were feeling Mary Alice, you had a question. I thinkI do. Lisa. We had two monkeys on the show last month, and I know she's oneof the people who really spoke highly of the island of See Women and to quoteher, she said. No one writes about female friendship, the dark and thelight of it, with more insight in depth...

...than Lisa See. And then Krista Hannah,who also came on the show, said Quote, What's really remarkable about thisnovel is the characters to women whose lifelong friendship is tested duringimpossibly difficult times. So I was hoping you could talk a little bitabout why you choose to explore female relationships in all your novels andhas the writing of the books deep into your own understanding of relationshipwith the women in your life. Yeah, so I am a woman. I write about women. Youall are women. I bet most of the people watching tonight are women, and as youall know for sure. You know, women writing and being published a stop are,you know, pretty recent phenomenon. I mean, yes, you could go back in historyand you have the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen and George Elliot. EmilyDickinson. But it's really not until you get to Virginia Woolf about 100years ago that women start to get published. And even today no more menare published than women. And men get paid more than women and women women by80% of all of the books. So to me, writing about women, I still feel thisis untouched territory. It's still really new, and there's so much todiscover. And so I'm just personally, really interested in femalerelationships. Mothers and their Children, Um, sisters, friends and Iparticularly keep coming back to friends, actually, because this is aunique relationship that we have in our lives. We will tell a friend somethingthat we wouldn't tell our husband or boyfriend or lover. Our mother, ourChildren. It's it's unique. And, um, whenever you have something like thatwhere you are opening yourself up, you are completely vulnerable. And ofcourse, some bad things can happen when you're completely vulnerable. Yeah,absolutely. I guess what I would say is I am very interested in femalerelationships, but whenever I sort of see the dark shadow side of them,that's where I want to go on. And you you do that so well. And it's such arich area to explore absolutely s so hard. We just added so hard to explorebecause you're putting really painful topics up front and forward. But what'sbeautiful as the reader is that we all know where that's coming from. It'srich water because it's it's universal, right? And some of us have hadfriendships, you know, since we were Children that last forever. Andsometimes we have people who kind of come and go in our lives. You know,when our kids were in elementary school, you become friends with the parents ofthe mothers in that class, and, you know, later on they kind of drift awayand people come into your life. And so it's this kind of continuum, and itdoes last throughout our entire lifetimes. Yeah, that's such a goodpoint. Christie, I think you had a question, Thio it dio I have read thatto research your novel Snow Flower and the secret fan. You traveled to an areaof china so remote that you were told you were on Lee The second foreignertoe ever visit. Can you tell us a bit about what that was like And what youdiscovered while you were there? Well, let me just start with. Do I look likea camper? No, this'll was, You know, they had a little hotel where I couldstay, but I was given a choice. Either they could lock me in the room at nightor I had to sleep with the door open. I was the only woman staying in thislittle place, but I chose to sleep with...

...the door open because I just couldn'tdeal with the idea of being locked in a room. You have to eat what they giveyou. And so, you know, dinner that night is pig Penis is what you'reyou're Now I'll just say it zoo. Well, of course. You know what I'm gonna say?It's not bad. It's just like chicken Onley. Quite a bit more chewy. Oh, yeah.Oh, my goodness. Extraordinary experience. You know, when I was there,I got to interview the old at that time. The oldest living new shoe writers isthe secret language that these women in this one remote county of China hadinvented, used and kept a secret for 1000 years. And she died about threemonths later. So I was so fortunate to get to interview. She had found feet,and so she talked to me about the time in her life before her feet were bound,what it was like to have her feet found. She showed me how to make bound footshoes and you know, the whole process, which I did write the whole thing andSnow Flower and the secret fan and then ended up taking at most of that outbecause, you know, the novel was in the book about how to make them put shoes,but just to have those kinds of details in there ending hear them from someonewho had lived. It was just extraordinary. What I do think. Therewas one of the high points of my entire life, and I learned so much. Oh, Idon't actually, I hope you do publish some of that information because it's ararity that you have it. E do have a lot of things like that up on mywebsite, you know, saying e yeah, for each book, I have a step inside theworld of So step inside the world of Snow Flower where you know, have videosand documentaries and photographs and maps and all kinds of things like that,so people can no do extra exploring. Wonderful. I'm so glad we got so we canall visit. Yeah, and it's such a It's such a perfect thing to visit now whenwe're all stuck at home and we're craving that kind of travel andexposure to the outside world. So yeah, lisa c dot com. It's fantastic. I wouldhave a big Penis, though. I'll just e exactly. You don't have to do that athome e telling me that they didn't tell me what it was until I've been eatingit. Pro e went home. I went home with my college, who was Chinese, and Ididn't know. I I didn't know I was there for Chinese New Year, and hermother gave me this soup and said, You have tow have to drink this. This isgood luck and I'm like, Well, what is it? And my my roommates, I'll tell youlater. And it was bird nest coop. All right. Okay. What? What? Adele on Thiswas the real thing. Um, and it's a really delicacy. That's right. The verybig delicacy. And it was honored that they were sharing that with me. Butwhen I found out what it was made out of, I was like, Wow, that's, you know,some of the things that we think of, you know, that we think of anothercultures make us we mish those cultures. Look at some of the things that we are.You know, anybody you know, that's like, find out. Historically, they didn't eatany, you know, kind of dairy products, right? And, um, you know, they the waythey looked at it was like, why would anybody eat something that's made outof cow mucus? That's a good point. I agree. I think my people challenges.When we were in China, we had to eat, ate insects for the first time, youknow, And I like to try things, and they were crispy. I mean, they werethey were they didn't have a whole lot...

...of flavor that I remember, but they'resupposed to be very high in protein. I just don't know if I could do that. I'mjust not sure that I could. And it's just like you say. I mean, it's justwhat you're used to. It's just a cultural thing. It's cultural. It's sointeresting. Yeah, yeah, well, as you all know, I've been working on thisbook set in the wilderness of Eastern Europe in World War Two. And obviously,when necessity calls for it also, you eat things you wouldn't. Yeah,absolutely. Yeah. So, Lisa, there's a question we ask every guest we havehere own friends and fiction. And I'm especially interested to hear youranswer tonight because I know your mother. Carolyn C. Was a celebratedwriter, too. So our question is this. What were the values around reading andwriting in your house growing up. And how do you think they influenced yourfuture writing career? Well, gosh, there's so many ways Icould answer that one. Is that, you know, my mom was in graduate schoolwhen I was little, and so she would read to me what she had toe to read forher classes. and so things like. I mean, I even remember this. I was about fouryears old when she read to me. The old man in the sea was my bedtime story, eh?So I was reading, being either read to or reading myself all the time. It washugely important in our house, but I think what I got from my mother and youshould know my her father was also a writer. Wow. And so I'm the thirdgeneration And many years ago, actually, when I was working on on Gold Mountain,my first book, I looked up my mother's papers that are kept at U. C. L. A andthe research library there. And I found a letter that her father had written toher when my mom was about 18 years old and she said, You know, if you want tobe a writer, you have to write 1000 words a day, and I That's something Igrew up with. I mean, it was something my mother always said to me, It'ssomething I still do today when I'm actually writing 1000 words a day, Ikeep a little note. Uh, how many words I think that the Itwas sort of a combination from my mother and her family of the love ofreading the love of words. Um, the love of writing, but that it had to be adiscipline. And then on my father's side, they were unbelievablestorytellers. I mean, they just they used to try to one up each other allthe time with these unbelievable stories. And my dad is an anthropology.So you can really see I'm kind of a combination of the two of them, youknow, on the one hand, writing and on the other hand, anthropology. What anincredible heritage to grow up with, Right? Just just like completely.Absolutely. So we've had a chance to ask our questions. And I know MaryAlice had one, but actually, one of the live questions we got is the one you'regonna ask. So instead of Yes, I mean, actually, maybe we'll start thentonight with the live questions. Christie, did you want to pull twoquestions? Absolutely. I would love Thio. So Penny Moyer wants to know.Lisa, what is your next book? And do you have an expected publication datethat could be kind of a loaded question. So just say what you can or want. Imean, kind of a complicated question, because I've written a novel that'sbased on a diary that was written by my great grandmother, who was born on ahomestead in South Dakota. The family continued West homesteaded again inWashington state. It was supposed to come out in March of next year. Then itgot pushed June. Then it got pushed to the fall. And now we're looking at 2022.So I'm kind of just setting that over here for a while. And I've just starteddoing research for another book who...

...kind of break things up. And we wereall talking about this a little bit before we went live the complicationsNow for doing research, you know, I can't go to the places that I wouldordinarily go. And certainly not this year, not next year and not likely forthe year after that. I did pull this down to show you, so I was just, um,fiddling around on my shelves the other day in the spine of this kind of caughtmy eye. You know, we all buy books, don't always read them, but it wasreproducing women, medicine, metaphor and childbirth in late imperial Chinaon I thought, I'm gonna pull this down. Take a page nine where they startedtalking where the author started talking about a woman Chinese womandoctor from the 14 hundreds on she was Here's the thing. She wasn't the firstChinese woman doctor there, but she was the first woman doctor to write a book,and I actually have it over there. And she wrote about taking care of women,and e pulled this down on a Saturday. That afternoon I ordered her book. Ihad it the next day, and so since then, you know, it's now been about two weeksevery day. I'm just reading about, um, women's health, but in particular allthe stuff that has to do with reproduction, you know, and what theydid in those days and how they looked at birth and how they looked atpregnancy. And it's just fascinating. It's just a And to think that doingthis, you know, she was born in I haven't found my little post it righthere where I've been keeping track of all of the different emperors who werealive in a lifetime. So she was born in 14 61 and she published this book rightwhen she turned 50 which I love. She's 50 years old, 14 hundreds, and shelived. She lived to be 96 1 of the commentaries about her. She must havebeen a very good doctor to have lived to be 96 in that time period where youhave to promise a Lisa, You have to promise us that if you find out anyspecial things she ate or good toe live will be that old you'll share with therest of us unless it's big Penis. Yeah, you soup? I mean, one of the thingsthat sort of I don't know how much all of you know about Chinese herbalmedicine, but a lot of the remedies that are used today do go back about1000 years, and some of the ones that she used she has recipes for them arethings that are still used today in Chinese herbal medicine, which is justamazing. I had an incredible experience with Chinese herbal medicine withsomething that Western medicine just could not fix, and I went to atraditional Chinese medicine practitioner, and it was the mostunbelievable thing that's ever happened. So you just what they were doinghundreds and hundreds of years ago. Sometimes it's still the best thing. Itwasn crackling. What basis for a story. Uh, you know, funny thing, Like walkingby kind of jumped out at what happened. That's what genius it isse found you.And that's why we say you can't. Someone can't say what you write aboutthis. It has to make you. You almost have to discover it. It sounds like youdid Mary Kay. You had a reader question. Yeah. This one is from Mary AnnFitzgerald. Ah, high school media specialist in Annapolis, Maryland, whorecently enjoyed your new book is part of the one Maryland one read program.Yeah, that nice. And she would like to know who in the literary world wouldyou totally fan girl over and why? Well,...

I think it would have. First of all,I'm so glad you joined in. The Maryland project was so much fun for May Ireally enjoyed it. You know, that was supposed to be alive. Tour and I wassupposed to be in Maryland for about a week. But like everything else, youknow, it was canceled, so it was all done virtually. But we ended up, youknow, seeing as many people virtually as they ordinarily have in person. So Iwas really happy about that. Um, I think the one the one person would beWallace Stegner and I love angle of repose. It's still one of my favoritebooks and in fact, for on Gold Mountain, I used as the epigraph a couple oflines from Angular proposed. I don't have it memorized exactly, but I'mpretty close. It's, uh, fooling around in the papers. My grand parents,especially my grandmother, left behind. I get glimpses of lives close to mind.I'd like to live in their clothes a while, and I didn't realize when I usethat for on Gold Mountain that that would be something that would inspireme all the way to today in my writing that I just wanna live in their clothesa while and, as you all know, is writers. You know, sometimes you're anobserver, but sometimes you just wanna be in those characters when you'rewriting. And so then that inspired me all the way to today and I would lovewhen you know he's he's gone. But that would have been someone I would haveloved to have met just because he you know he did. I don't know that peopleclassify him as a writing historical fiction, but so many of his booksreally work. And so how he approached that what he felt was valuable, what hechose to use, what he would discard, that would that that would be a reallymeaningful conversation. Absolutely. Mary Alice, you had a reader questionsyou? Yes, our friends and Nissa Joy Armstrong says, I believe thisbeautiful book, the island of See Women, was very research intensive. For howlong did the research take? And I'm just going to add in that research.What was your most surprising discovery? Uh, eso Each book takes me about twoyears. The majority of time is spent on the research. The writing is actuallythe least amount of time. And editing is somewhere in middle for me. And, uh,you know, I I spent time in research libraries. I talked to scientists andacademics and, you know, researchers. But the main thing was to go to JejuIsland and to interview these women. And I was particularly looking forwomen in their late eighties early nineties women who had lived throughthis unbelievable length of history. Very dramatic history in on the island.And, I don't know, there were so many of these women who I just loved, butone of them I remember as I approached her just she was sitting on the beach,gathering and sorting the seaweed that had washed ashore overnight. And as Iapproached, she shouted out, I was the best tenure. Penna was see women, and Iwas They all say that you know. They all right? Well, I was the best. No,really, I was the best. I was just like a call. Call Mark about about howthey're the best. But she may have been because when I went to the museum, theyhad big photographs of her in the galleries. They had a documentary abouther that ran on a When you was loop anywhere. There was this one point whenshe leaning forward, you know, confiding. So you know, I was so goodunder the sea. I could cook a meal under there. Oh, my God! It's just likeputting that gallant. This is E s. So...

...it is something that in the novel YoungSook brags to the other women E I don't want now. Did you have an interpreter?Lisa? I actually had four different interpreters on. They won. I thought Iwas being kind of the official interpreter. She was with me when I,you know, met with the governor of the province. When I met the head shaman ofthe island, Then another one. Who Ah, young girl. Who? A student who was withme when I was interviewing the women on the beach. And there was this reallysweet thing that kept happening with her eso these old women sitting onthese little cushions against sort of sorting the algae and seaweed washedashore. And there would always come a moment in the conversation where thewoman would say that this room could you hold your cell phone to my earshouting because their ears air really damaged by being under the water. Butyou hold your cell phone to my ear. I need to call my son my grandson, mynephew. You're so pretty. And he's looking for a while. I have photos ofthat on my website, but I also used it in the opening scene. I know that howyoung, you know, kind of gets rid of simple her call had this girl called,and then another woman who was the first woman in her family to beeducated. And so she became Asian on all people as re pound. Andshe took me to meet her mother, who was 93 of the time, and her mother Waas,the daughter of Japanese collaborators. A A lot of that interview and a lot ofwhat had happened. That woman did kind of go into meta story in the novel. Andthen I guess so. They you know, these different interpreters had sort ofdifferent purposes. And when I think is great about that, because I, you know,had toe have interpreters for a lot for all of these books, is it? I've neverwanna have someone who's like a professional, because you when you havesomeone who's like a young woman in that one instance, um, she had thisvery sweet way of talking to these older women and would you know, I'd saylike, Oh, you know, What were the traditions around? Childhoods? Oh, Icould never ask that. We'll just go ahead. Now what? What? What about likethe first time you have that? You know, I could never ask that, but then whenshe would ask it to you get these ab Bulus answers. And so they those thiohave something that's more colloquial and instead of kind of official U Nright, right is so valuable, e. I love that. So, Lisa, one of our favoriteparts of our weekly show is receiving a writing tip from our guests. And, ofcourse, as we were just talking about you, right, The's just beautiful, wellresearched novels, and I know we're all dying to hear what you have to say.Would you mind sharing your writing tip with us? Yeah. My number one writingtip is the one that my mother passed down and my grandfather passed down,which is to write 1000 words today. And at the end of a week you'll have 20pages of chapter, if you can. On Lee, right? 500 words a day you'll have atthe end of the week, 10 pages at the end of two weeks of chapter Um, but theother thing I would say because I've already talked about that one before,is to be passionate about what you're writing. I always say that this is, youknow, writing a book. It's more like a marriage. It's not a one night stand.You're in it for the long haul. And there's so many ups and downs, as youall know of with writing and publishing on. And if you're really passionateagain, it is like marriage. You can weather those ups and downs. Whathappened in the writing that happened...

...when the book comes out? That canhappen 10 years later when you're still talking about a particular book. So tojust be passionate and remember, you know you're in it for life. This is aIt's a marriage, not a one night stand. That is a good way to put it.Absolutely. Thank you, Lisa. So we have a few announcements, but do you stickaround because we have one more question for Lisa at the end? So,Christie, can you remind people about the Bookstore of the Week, please?Absolutely. So our bookstore this week is Romans in Pasadena, which is Kristentold us earlier, has been open since 18 94 which is just unbelievable. They'rerenowned for their excellent customer service, extraordinary staff, extensiveinventory and wide range of gifts. And this week they're offering 10% off ofour latest releases and Lisa's with the code f Ask H H. And we just wanted toremind you, especially when you're doing your shopping this holiday seasonto think about your independent bookstores and the local stores in yourcommunity. There was a recent poll conducted by the small businessmajority on This is really sad statistic, but more than a third ofsmall business owners reported that their businesses were unlikely tosurvive past the next three months. So when you're thinking about making yourpurchases this year from your independent bookstores or anywhere inyour local community, it's so important that, you know, we really do supportthose places on DWI really can make big changes. When we did awesome. Thank you,Christie. Mary Kay, can you remind everyone about our YouTube channel onour podcast on what we have in store this week? Yeah, so many of you haveasked where you can find the previous episodes, and we know it's It's alittle bit tricky finding the previous episodes on Facebook. So we havelaunched our own YouTube channel. We're not doing ticktock dances. Don't lookwhat we owe. We're not doing it yet. Never say never. Uh, the YouTube iswhere you can find our shows dating back to the end of May. You can alsowatch our weekly shows live there and that you'll find the link on ourfriends and fiction Facebook page under announcements. And we're since we're ona mission. Thio dominate the world literally magic and Sprinkle happiness.And you've also launched the podcast. Until now it's been on audio replay ofa live show. So if you miss an episode or you wanna hear one again whileyou're walking, it's a great way to catch up. But beginning this month,we're dia beauty debut ing original podcast only content interviews youwon't hear on the show. So subscribe now. Thio here are very first originalcontent podcast. There'll be plenty more of those to come. The first one,um, Kristen and I did with two book influencers on You won't one of this.We think it was We think it was good, right? Kristen, I think we did. Okay. Iknow you all our amazing e have to tune in and find out. And I think that dropson Friday, right? I think it was stupendous. E uh, Gross way, baby.We're growing. Exactly. So, yeah, you could find that wherever you listen toyour podcast. Thank you. Mary Kay and Mary. Alice, can you tell us about ourholiday ugly sweater party next week and how our viewers could take part inthe fun? I'm looking forward to it because next week is Christmas Week gasby? No. And we actually pre taped the show. Which is why we know for sureyou're going to love it. Way all put on our ugliest possible Christmas sweatersand special points went to Christie on. Uh, you will see why when you see thisgood or bad. Really? You have Thio, you get Thio and you'll hear You'll get tohear about our favorite songs, our favorite memories. And you get to meetMeg, whose are managing director and...

Sean, who is our behind the scenesproducer, aka Audio Wiz, a k a rock star and cabana boy. He's great thingthis week. We encourage you please. Here. When you come to the friends andfiction page, post a picture of yourself in your ugly Christmas sweater.Join in the fun. So that's next Wednesday and it will post at the usualtime, which is Wednesday night 7 p.m. Eastern on the friends and Fiction page.But even though we're not going to be there live, we will probably bewatching it with you. So there absolutely, and and yeah, I don't knowif anyone is gonna be able to beat Christie's ugly sweater. So you'rereally gonna have thio way all of your ugly sweater to be Oh, absolutely, Allright. And now one more question for Lisa and this one comes to us from aviewer. So Sheila Calibri, see, asks Lisa, do you plan to ever write anothermystery like your early book Dragon Bones? I don't know. I mean, I sort oftinker around with that a bit, and I actually, you know, just now doing theresearch on this woman doctor, One of the things that I've learned is that inancient China that the only people who performed autopsies were midwives andso I could almost see. I mean, you know, a midwife is not a doctor, but I couldalmost see sort of working something in. And the reason is that, you know, like,for those of you who've read Snow Flower and the secret fan, you knowthat the butcher is considered dirty in, um, sort of Confucian thought becausehe gets blood on his hands. Literally. But so too do midwives. And so they hadthis very low status, but so low that they were kind of the coroner's oftheir time, and i e kind of working in my brain a little bit. Oh, my gosh. Efeel like we could talk to you for hours. U e All right, well, so we'lljust make it the least a c shows. So everyone tuning in all of 2021 the ofun. Maybe she could respond to questions on the Facebook page becauseso many of our viewers will have some more questions. Yeah, but you know,Lisa, we would love to have you back again sometime. We love talking to youtonight. One last. Well, um, incredible honor. I'm just to be in all of yourpresence is just Wow way feel the same way we're all in All of you. So it wasso nice to have you in one last reminder to all of you out there toread the island of see women, which is beautiful, unforgettable. And whatstupendous was that the way? Lisa, thank you so much. Happy holidays.Thank you very much for being with us tonight. Thank you, Lisa. Thank you,Lisa. Eso glad and grateful to all of you out there for being with us thatwe're so happy you've chosen to spend some time with us tonight. So happyholidays. We will see you next Wednesday at 7 p.m. For our uglysweater Holiday office party right here on friends and fiction. Everyone have awonderful night. That's a good night. Good night. Happy how Christmas Week, You guys, she was so great. She was Sograb I Seriously, I had so many things that I wanted to ask her, especiallyabout like just this matriarchal society. That's not what you call it.What's this society saw? It was just so fascinating to me about how it's likeevery stereotype that we've ever had is...

...just completely flipped on its head andthe things that well, men are so sensitive, you can't tell them that. Emean it just It was fascinating to me how everything that we associate withmasculinity, they associated with femininity. I just I loved that wasreliable and the and she does right about the dark side of women'sfriendships, too. And she writes so honestly about it. I think in in anumber of her books, which is again, it makes you you resonate to it becausewhere we are women and we know those feelings. So I thought it was reallybeautiful. I always When I was listening to her talk about Asianhistory, I made me want to go back and right right, that Asian novel that I'vebeen wanting to write for 35 years, you know, maybe, maybe because just allthose rich differences, I'm sure historical fiction. You dive into thesurprises, but with a million things just go off in your brain millionpossibilities. It's so true. But you know, I feel like what she's doing isreally extraordinary because you know what I say. This is somebody who writesWorld War Two, but Um and I think there are still so many stories that wehaven't heard about World War, but she's writing things that we're nothearing about. You know what I mean? Like, it's it's it really is a way toimmerse yourself in a world that you really you know, many of us have nofamiliarity with, which I think is just so cool. And she does such deepresearch. It's amazing, like, you know, that what you're getting on the page,it is truly an insider. Look at, you know, you know how she right wroteabout was talked about how that one young girl got the best answers, andyou just know when they're coming, you know, And that any time in history,when you're writing a book, you know when you're getting the, uh that isthat that one sentence that you're gonna put in the book is that that ideathat just is like a lightning strike? E think it's interesting. That s o muchof the historic fiction being written about World War Two. You know, foryears it was, um uh, Well, not just that, but it wasalso, you know, Nazi occupied France And now you're seeing a trend. AsKristen knows we're going thio Eastern Europe. And but I wonder, you knowwhat's interesting to me? There's not so much written about the Pacifictheater during World War Two historic fiction. Not yet. Mm, It's kind of Itwas like it might be a, uh, open. It could be a rich a rich vein to mom s.Oh, yeah. I was wondering if she, uh, Nixon reads Chinese, and if she readsMadeline are Cantonese? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Eso she and I'll just have toteam up and write a, uh, right a World War two novel together. Right? Great.Yeah, that sounds great. Well, great, You guys, I have to get out of the hairof my lovely paper whose let me sit at their dining room table. E o. Thank youall for being so flexible. Christie was going to take over hosting duties. Sothank you for being willing to jump in and thanks for letting me do it. Afterall, it's so funny that because I feel like there's always it. There's onlybeen a few times when one of us needed to be out like patios tonight And everytime one of us has needed to be out, another one of us has had, like, amajor catastrophe at that. Yes, I was with my dogs. Are? Yeah, absolutely.Well, listen, I don't know whose baking cookies I'm guessing Mary Kay is gonnabe whipping up magic in her kitchen, but have a great Christmas Week. Have agreat A next week. Okay, bye. Everybody...

...have a 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 w w w dot friends andfiction dot com a swell. As on the Facebook group page. Friends andfiction come back soon. Okay? There are still lots of books, writing tips,interviews, publishing use and bookstores to chat about. Goodbye.

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