Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year 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. Five best selling authors Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast with five bestselling novelist whose common love of reading, writing an independent bookstores found them together with jets, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing. Thes friends discuss the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, Christie Woodson, Harvey Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends with more than 80 published books. To their credit. Yeah, at the Start of the Pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, their favorite bookstores writing, reading and publishing in this new uncharted territory. They're still talking, and they've added fascinating discussions with other bestselling novelists, so join them live on their friends and fiction Facebook Group page every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, or listen and view later at your leisure. Hi, there s so much for being with us tonight 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 stars that should be out on July 6. I'm Christi Woodson Harvey, and my upcoming book is called Under the Southern Sky and it releases April 20th. Hi. I'm Mary Alice Munro in my holiday novel is Ah, Low Country Christmas Can I'm Mary Kay Andrews and my holiday novel in Blue Christmas, Christmas. And as you might notice, we're missing our Patty Callahan Henry Tonight she is celebrating her son's graduation from graduate school. So we're sad not to Harvard tonight. Um, but she is our out of it. So everybody welcomed business friends 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 a moment. But first we wanted to ask you to join us in a little celebration. And before we start, you know what I actually ready? Told you about Patty? I was gonna tell you I had e never mind. Thinks is crazy. I My power went out and I'm on the other side of the neighborhood at a friend's house, so I'm all discombobulated. E But in any case, last week we hit 25,000 members and our friends and fiction Facebook Group, which is so incredible for all five 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 crossed the 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 of you and the magic of books and friendship that brings us together. And I believe Mary Alice is going to savor Savor a champagne. I'm not gonna say one e we owe 25,000. But that's not all. Christie, I believe you have something cool to tell us about giveaway that we have for hitting 25,000. I do. I am so excited about this incredible giveaway. And so if you win, you will be one of the very first people to get one of our amazing friends and fiction Jute. Two bags. I should have had one with me. I will for the end of the show so I can show you all. But it will be stopped with 10 bucks, half of them written by us and half of them written by our...

...friends and fiction guests, including the amazing Lisa. See who's with us tonight. So to see what's in the tote and to enter, look for the leak under the announcement on the buried to be top of our friends and fiction. Facebook page. Thank you, Christie and Mary Alice, You have an anthology wanted to tell us briefly about very much. 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 and his writers and her departure left Boy. So we wanted to do something really special to pay tribute to Daddy's life legacy as a writer and his friend. So we got together to create Reunion Beach, and it's an anthology, really beautiful collection of stories that are set on the beach in the Southeast, mostly in the 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 South Carolina poet laureate? An essay from Java. Hagerty in tributes from friends and family. So re Union Beach is the title of the next beach book that Daddy Frank was going to write. So today it will be a literary homage and beautiful keepsake for all of you and for all of us. It's on sale April 27 you can preorder now wherever books are sold and that's re Union Beach and I. It's a very special collection, and I hope you all enjoy it. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Mary Alice. It looks beautiful and I love it. It's coming out April 27th, which means you could read Christie's book that comes out April 20th and then the Reunion Beach. And then we already to read Mary Kay Andrews Books on May for its right e rail of E. You won't even have all our books out, and it won't even be June. Well, me. But mind just commenced in July 7 years in July, which is quite a bit, but Here's toe all the books 22 years to all new viewers out there who, yeah, recently were all with us. So speaking of amazing authors, tonight we have someone really special Lisa see who was not only a celebrated novelist but also a memoirist, a journalist and even 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 first appeared on the literary scene 25 years ago with 1995 on Gold Mountain and Memoir that traces the journey of her great grandfather from C, who overcame obstacles at every step to become the 100 year old godfather of Los Angeles's Chinatown and the patriarch of the swallowing family. That was the book that was turned into not only an opera but also a major museum exhibit guest curated by Lisa herself and that traveled to the Smithsonian in Washington, D. C. I will tell you none of us up here have had that experience with 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 was 1990 seven's flour. And since then she has not slowed down her more recent novels, including Dreams of Joy, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane and Snow Flower and The Secret Fan, which was made into a major motion picture, have honored for gotten stories. Chinese culture in the bonds between women. Her most recent, The Island of See Women,...

...is about the three diving women of South 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 job wear so happy to have you with us tonight? So before we dive into our chat tonight, we wanted to quickly share with Where. Bookstore of the Week. So tonight, our bookstore is Romans in Pasadena, California As Southern California's oldest and largest independent bookstore, Romans is an institution 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 chose them. That's her favorite bookstore to their that amazing. We have multiple big name authors wanting to work with them. They've been in operation since 18 94. That's the year that Grover Cleveland was president. Hershey's chocolate was invented in Coca Cola was bottled for the first time. How cool is that? In fact, California, you're ever right. That's your ever no kidding and throw it. In fact, California had only been a state for less than 50 years at that point, and there were only 44 stars on the flag, so they've been around for a while. And as you might guess, they're an incredibly vital part of the community. And this week they're offering 10% off books by Lisa and the Fab Five with the code F F H H. The link is on our friends and fiction based age. We do hope you'll consider supporting Romans for another local bookstore, even if it's just once in a while, because you really can make a difference in keeping some of these stores with these amazing background stories open and thriving. So, ladies, the holidays always feel crazy. But for me, it's so nice to land in this place. Solace every Wednesday night e mean, I know we're putting on a show here. But once the clock straight seven and we get rolling, I kind of take a deep breath and relax every night, except when my powers going out. I'm not as relaxed tonight, but I normally find solace here because I'm with some of my very best friends. E think that every year 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 what you're doing this month at the end of the craziest year, we could have imagined to take care of yourself. Is there something small that you've been able to work into your routine? You need to take a breath. Lisa, Do you wanna start? The big thing I've been doing is walking just getting out and breathing fresh air. And yet I go with my mask. But sometimes I you know, it was long as I don't see any other people. I take it off and just have the air come in. And I'm also just feel nature. No, it's just really helped me and I take photos with my phone. I look for different all wanna On Tuesdays. I do a particular walk. And, you know, one day outside, I'm just going to take pictures 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 trying to just enjoy my neighborhood, enjoy nature and especially fresh air when you know, most of us are just locked up inside. Oh, that's awesome. You have pretty things to see. I mean, it's the neighborhood with lots of interesting plants, or is there a part way? Have sort of summer all year, And but there are seasonal differences and and, um, I don't know, You know, I I never get tired of pollen trees. Yeah, yeah. Eso to Christie. How about you? What have you been doing to kind of take a bath?...

Um, so this is kind of funny, but it's been sort of rainy around here and hold on. So we haven't been doing a lot of our normal outdoor stuff, but so every night, little well, and I have been linking Hong just really fun on then. This is gonna sound so silly. But we've been playing a lot of connects for and he, like connect sport like I just never really thought of. That is like, Well, there's a lot of strategy that goes into connect for and he is really good at it. So I mean, we will have these games that will last for like, you know, you think of Connect four is taking like 45 seconds. We will have these connect four games that last for like, 20 minutes. It's well, gosh, that's funny I'm doing That's that's doing kind of fun and this is not this sounds like the opposite of what you just 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 to Segway 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 a book I've been working on really for 18 years, and every Christmas I pull it out and then I have to put it away because you're under contract. I'm determined 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 it doesn't, I wouldn't care, you know? But I have. You just want everyone else to read the book. So that's kind of what you When you write books, you just write 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 to confess, thisted time of year to Not Tonight, because it's Wednesday night but otherwise really watch a Christmas movie. Eso self indulgent and it's me and my sisters are here and my husband and we've been doing a lot of Dickins classics, 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 every night everyone gets to pick a Christmas movie and I have to tell you it's been delightful. 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 in town Atlanta neighborhood, but it's, um it's very green and leafy, and we are house 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's a pileated woodpecker or there's a Bluebird S O Yeah, break coming up the Christmas bird count. Yeah, So basically, I'm doing the things that 90 year 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 bird watching, too, but only because we way did a jingle ring with Santa the other night where you get to video chat with Santa and Santa told him it was so great. And Santa told him that the reason it was great the reason um, he knew that Noah had been a good boy and was on the good list was because all the birds watch out for his behavior and and report back to Santa. So we've been very aware of birds the last few days. It's very it was awesome. So So all of you out there. We're also glad we and we hope that this, um, that joining us here on Wednesday nights on...

Wednesday nights is kind of something that brings a little bit of joy or breathing room to your life. To we. We like to think that you know that that this is a nice gathering place, and we're also happy to see you and to know that you're here. So enough of that that you are all looking forward to hearing from Lisa tonight. So, without further ado, let's dive in. And if you have questions for Lisa while we're chatting, you can ask them in the comments and we'll pull one or two. So now Lisa Booklist called your latest the island of See Women. Stupendous, enthralling and engrossing. Um, what's pretty great, right? You get that all the time. Stupid. This is like a pretty strong work s exactly eso Lisa on that note. Can you tell us a little bit about what made you decide to explore this story and tell us a little bit about it? Yeah. So I was going back now about 10 years. I was sitting in a doctor's office whipping through magazines like We All Dio when I came across one tiny article, one small parent, One small photo about thes diving. Women who live on an island off the 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 get the bends. They stay underwater 2 to 4 minutes, and they harvest seafood. So they're the breadwinners and their families and their husbands. They home take care of the kids, uh, do the cooking. Take care of the elders, take care of the house. So it it is. Recently, as the late as the late 19 seventies, there were still about 40,000 of these women divers. They would retire at age 55. If they live that long. It's very, very dangerous work. Today. There are only about 4000 left, and the youngest one is 55. So most of them are in their seventies eighties early nineties, doing this amazing work. And so I have been interested in stories that have been lost for gotten deliberately covered up, particularly about women on this just fit right in with that And so I created a story of two men. And what happens to them? You know how they come together. What happens to them through this living history and in this amazing culture Oh, that's wonderful. It's such a such a good book. And I think a beautiful story. Oh, it really is. And we can't wait to ask you some questions about it. And about about some of your other work, just very end. This story is what it is. Yeah, in fact, yes. Stupendous, enthralling and engrossing. If I just had told three adjectives that 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 immigrated from China many years ago. Toe work on building the transcontinental railroad and your great grandfather, Fong See, because essentially, the God became essentially the godfather of LA's Chinatown. The story you delve deeply into in your 95 memoir on Gold Mountain. Now, I know you're 1/8 Chinese, but you said often that your Chinese in your heart and so I've also read another quote from you saying because of how I look, I will always be outside in Los Angeles, China, You said Los Angeles Chinatown. People know me. But when I go 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 feel foreign. Can you talk a little bit about that duality of being an outsider and then an insider in different cultures and how it's affected your writing? 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 always interesting to sort of look at them...

...again 25 years later. But, you know, I did 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, the majority still full Chinese and then the spectrum in between. And so when I was a little girl, when I looked around me, what I saw were Chinese spaces for the 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 effect on 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 thinking about sharing it with an audience, usually a very personal journey for me and I. I could never believe that anyone is going to read what I've written. It's very much about sort of what I feel and what I'm wanting to explore within myself. And I think a lot of my books have really been about that. Like, What do I know? What do I not know? How do I How do I fit into this culture? How do I not fit into it? And I would say with from all of my books, the one where that's most apparent apart from on Gold Mountain would be the tee girl of coming Berg Lane, which is looked at adoption from China. And I really thought a lot about these young women you know, little as babies adopted by families here. Um, some of those families air Chinese, but also, you know, a lot of them are just white families and and might be in small towns around the country where that child might be the only Chinese space 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 this sort 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 American because of how I was ray liest and my Chinese because of how I look and my Chinese American or am I something else? And that's what led to that particular story. So I feel like this background is always permeating my books and that I'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 stories about 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 theme that'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 leave good forgiveness and the answer would be a big no e Keep coming back to over and over again. And I feel like in some of my books, that kind of toad around it, you know? And Snow Flower and the Secret fan. Two best friends. Bad thing happens. They split apart. Spoiler alerts. No flower dies. And so she could never forget Lily. So the end is really about atonement in Shanghai. Girls, two sisters. A bad thing happens. They split apart. And that book actually required a sequel. Dreams of Joy, where the two sisters Perlin may do find forgiveness, but they're on separate continents. They have no waited talk to each other. They only see each other on the last page. I won'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 the circumstances of their lives require that they work together. And so just jumping up to the island of see women just e knew that whatever the next one was going to be, you know, whether it had turned out to be about to see women or whatever it was going to be, I knew that I wanted to really look a forgiveness just straight on. No more tiptoeing around. I was just going to dive right in and try to look at it. All these different levels. Wow, it's and 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 of it, but I have a funny feeling. I might be struggling with this for decades yet to 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 much defines the work. So you just said it was forgiveness, and I think that's really interesting word to choose you that centers your work. It's fascinating that you say that to you because I mean, I think in the island of 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 it seems unforgivable. And so I was very interesting what you did there. E anything away? E think it's I think it's fascinating, though, how we were working through our own personal issues through our writing and e don't know about all of you, but I feel like I was doing that before I realized I was doing it. Was it Was it the same with all of you? Yeah, like, Well, I I could say some something to just to add to that There were, you know, a few years ago of my publisher, brought up some of the books that were out of print and re released them. And, you know, one day they came in a nice box. I had these really beautiful jackets if they those books that had those pretty jackets way back when maybe somebody would have bought them. But I started flipping through and I don't know about you all. But do you ever go back and read your books? Really? You know, I don't. And so I started flipping through in. What was so strange was I didn't necessarily remember characters. I didn't necessarily 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 that whatever 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 see things like, Oh, this, You know, my son had just gotten in trouble at school or my husband and I had just had a disagreement or my, you know, something happened with my mother, and then all of my emotional life had really gone right onto the page and in ways that I had no idea at all. And you know, we'll have to hope that my son and daughter in law aren't watching right now. But you you got a sort of angst around a marriage, had a big wedding, did seep into dreams of joy s so I can open that I remember that was I was like, right before shower or whatever that's needs. But what a cool snapshot in time, if every word and how you were feeling Mary Alice, you had a question. I think I do. Lisa. We had two monkeys on the show last month, and I know she's one of the people who really spoke highly of the island of See Women and to quote her, she said. No one writes about female friendship, the dark and the light 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 this novel is the characters to women whose lifelong friendship is tested during impossibly difficult times. So I was hoping you could talk a little bit about why you choose to explore female relationships in all your novels and has the writing of the books deep into your own understanding of relationship with the women in your life. Yeah, so I am a woman. I write about women. You all are women. I bet most of the people watching tonight are women, and as you all 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 history and you have the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen and George Elliot. Emily Dickinson. But it's really not until you get to Virginia Woolf about 100 years ago that women start to get published. And even today no more men are published than women. And men get paid more than women and women women by 80% of all of the books. So to me, writing about women, I still feel this is untouched territory. It's still really new, and there's so much to discover. And so I'm just personally, really interested in female relationships. Mothers and their Children, Um, sisters, friends and I particularly keep coming back to friends, actually, because this is a unique relationship that we have in our lives. We will tell a friend something that we wouldn't tell our husband or boyfriend or lover. Our mother, our Children. It's it's unique. And, um, whenever you have something like that where you are opening yourself up, you are completely vulnerable. And of course, some bad things can happen when you're completely vulnerable. Yeah, absolutely. I guess what I would say is I am very interested in female relationships, 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 a rich area to explore absolutely s so hard. We just added so hard to explore because you're putting really painful topics up front and forward. But what's beautiful as the reader is that we all know where that's coming from. It's rich water because it's it's universal, right? And some of us have had friendships, you know, since we were Children that last forever. And sometimes 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 of the mothers in that class, and, you know, later on they kind of drift away and people come into your life. And so it's this kind of continuum, and it does last throughout our entire lifetimes. Yeah, that's such a good point. Christie, I think you had a question, Thio it dio I have read that to research your novel Snow Flower and the secret fan. You traveled to an area of china so remote that you were told you were on Lee The second foreigner toe ever visit. Can you tell us a bit about what that was like And what you discovered while you were there? Well, let me just start with. Do I look like a camper? No, this'll was, You know, they had a little hotel where I could stay, but I was given a choice. Either they could lock me in the room at night or I had to sleep with the door open. I was the only woman staying in this little place, but I chose to sleep with...

...the door open because I just couldn't deal with the idea of being locked in a room. You have to eat what they give you. And so, you know, dinner that night is pig Penis is what you're you'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 is the secret language that these women in this one remote county of China had invented, used and kept a secret for 1000 years. And she died about three months 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 foot shoes and you know, the whole process, which I did write the whole thing and Snow Flower and the secret fan and then ended up taking at most of that out because, 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 someone who had lived. It was just extraordinary. What I do think. There was one of the high points of my entire life, and I learned so much. Oh, I don't actually, I hope you do publish some of that information because it's a rarity that you have it. E do have a lot of things like that up on my website, you know, saying e yeah, for each book, I have a step inside the world of So step inside the world of Snow Flower where you know, have videos and 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 can all visit. Yeah, and it's such a It's such a perfect thing to visit now when we're all stuck at home and we're craving that kind of travel and exposure to the outside world. So yeah, lisa c dot com. It's fantastic. I would have a big Penis, though. I'll just e exactly. You don't have to do that at home e telling me that they didn't tell me what it was until I've been eating it. Pro e went home. I went home with my college, who was Chinese, and I didn't know. I I didn't know I was there for Chinese New Year, and her mother gave me this soup and said, You have tow have to drink this. This is good luck and I'm like, Well, what is it? And my my roommates, I'll tell you later. And it was bird nest coop. All right. Okay. What? What? Adele on This was the real thing. Um, and it's a really delicacy. That's right. The very big delicacy. And it was honored that they were sharing that with me. But when 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 another cultures 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 eat any, you know, kind of dairy products, right? And, um, you know, they the way they looked at it was like, why would anybody eat something that's made out of 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, you know, And I like to try things, and they were crispy. I mean, they were they were they didn't have a whole lot...

...of flavor that I remember, but they're supposed to be very high in protein. I just don't know if I could do that. I'm just not sure that I could. And it's just like you say. I mean, it's just what you're used to. It's just a cultural thing. It's cultural. It's so interesting. Yeah, yeah, well, as you all know, I've been working on this book 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 have here own friends and fiction. And I'm especially interested to hear your answer tonight because I know your mother. Carolyn C. Was a celebrated writer, too. So our question is this. What were the values around reading and writing in your house growing up. And how do you think they influenced your future writing career? Well, gosh, there's so many ways I could answer that one. Is that, you know, my mom was in graduate school when I was little, and so she would read to me what she had toe to read for her classes. and so things like. I mean, I even remember this. I was about four years 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 was hugely important in our house, but I think what I got from my mother and you should know my her father was also a writer. Wow. And so I'm the third generation 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 and the research library there. And I found a letter that her father had written to her when my mom was about 18 years old and she said, You know, if you want to be a writer, you have to write 1000 words a day, and I That's something I grew up with. I mean, it was something my mother always said to me, It's something I still do today when I'm actually writing 1000 words a day, I keep a little note. Uh, how many words I think that the It was sort of a combination from my mother and her family of the love of reading the love of words. Um, the love of writing, but that it had to be a discipline. And then on my father's side, they were unbelievable storytellers. I mean, they just they used to try to one up each other all the 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, you know, on the one hand, writing and on the other hand, anthropology. What an incredible heritage to grow up with, Right? Just just like completely. Absolutely. So we've had a chance to ask our questions. And I know Mary Alice had one, but actually, one of the live questions we got is the one you're gonna ask. So instead of Yes, I mean, actually, maybe we'll start then tonight with the live questions. Christie, did you want to pull two questions? Absolutely. I would love Thio. So Penny Moyer wants to know. Lisa, what is your next book? And do you have an expected publication date that could be kind of a loaded question. So just say what you can or want. I mean, kind of a complicated question, because I've written a novel that's based on a diary that was written by my great grandmother, who was born on a homestead in South Dakota. The family continued West homesteaded again in Washington state. It was supposed to come out in March of next year. Then it got 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 started doing research for another book who...

...kind of break things up. And we were all talking about this a little bit before we went live the complications Now for doing research, you know, I can't go to the places that I would ordinarily go. And certainly not this year, not next year and not likely for the 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 caught my eye. You know, we all buy books, don't always read them, but it was reproducing women, medicine, metaphor and childbirth in late imperial China on I thought, I'm gonna pull this down. Take a page nine where they started talking where the author started talking about a woman Chinese woman doctor from the 14 hundreds on she was Here's the thing. She wasn't the first Chinese 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. I had it the next day, and so since then, you know, it's now been about two weeks every day. I'm just reading about, um, women's health, but in particular all the stuff that has to do with reproduction, you know, and what they did in those days and how they looked at birth and how they looked at pregnancy. And it's just fascinating. It's just a And to think that doing this, you know, she was born in I haven't found my little post it right here where I've been keeping track of all of the different emperors who were alive in a lifetime. So she was born in 14 61 and she published this book right when she turned 50 which I love. She's 50 years old, 14 hundreds, and she lived. She lived to be 96 1 of the commentaries about her. She must have been a very good doctor to have lived to be 96 in that time period where you have to promise a Lisa, You have to promise us that if you find out any special things she ate or good toe live will be that old you'll share with the rest of us unless it's big Penis. Yeah, you soup? I mean, one of the things that sort of I don't know how much all of you know about Chinese herbal medicine, but a lot of the remedies that are used today do go back about 1000 years, and some of the ones that she used she has recipes for them are things that are still used today in Chinese herbal medicine, which is just amazing. I had an incredible experience with Chinese herbal medicine with something that Western medicine just could not fix, and I went to a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, and it was the most unbelievable thing that's ever happened. So you just what they were doing hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Sometimes it's still the best thing. It wasn crackling. What basis for a story. Uh, you know, funny thing, Like walking by 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 about this. It has to make you. You almost have to discover it. It sounds like you did Mary Kay. You had a reader question. Yeah. This one is from Mary Ann Fitzgerald. Ah, high school media specialist in Annapolis, Maryland, who recently 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 would you 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 I really enjoyed it. You know, that was supposed to be alive. Tour and I was supposed to be in Maryland for about a week. But like everything else, you know, it was canceled, so it was all done virtually. But we ended up, you know, seeing as many people virtually as they ordinarily have in person. So I was really happy about that. Um, I think the one the one person would be Wallace Stegner and I love angle of repose. It's still one of my favorite books and in fact, for on Gold Mountain, I used as the epigraph a couple of lines from Angular proposed. I don't have it memorized exactly, but I'm pretty 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 use that for on Gold Mountain that that would be something that would inspire me all the way to today in my writing that I just wanna live in their clothes a while and, as you all know, is writers. You know, sometimes you're an observer, but sometimes you just wanna be in those characters when you're writing. And so then that inspired me all the way to today and I would love when you know he's he's gone. But that would have been someone I would have loved to have met just because he you know he did. I don't know that people classify him as a writing historical fiction, but so many of his books really work. And so how he approached that what he felt was valuable, what he chose to use, what he would discard, that would that that would be a really meaningful conversation. Absolutely. Mary Alice, you had a reader questions you? Yes, our friends and Nissa Joy Armstrong says, I believe this beautiful book, the island of See Women, was very research intensive. For how long 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 two years. The majority of time is spent on the research. The writing is actually the 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 and academics and, you know, researchers. But the main thing was to go to Jeju Island and to interview these women. And I was particularly looking for women in their late eighties early nineties women who had lived through this 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, but one 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 I approached, she shouted out, I was the best tenure. Penna was see women, and I was 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 how they're the best. But she may have been because when I went to the museum, they had big photographs of her in the galleries. They had a documentary about her that ran on a When you was loop anywhere. There was this one point when she leaning forward, you know, confiding. So you know, I was so good under the sea. I could cook a meal under there. Oh, my God! It's just like putting that gallant. This is E s. So...

...it is something that in the novel Young Sook 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 I was 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 of the island, Then another one. Who Ah, young girl. Who? A student who was with me when I was interviewing the women on the beach. And there was this really sweet thing that kept happening with her eso these old women sitting on these little cushions against sort of sorting the algae and seaweed washed ashore. And there would always come a moment in the conversation where the woman would say that this room could you hold your cell phone to my ear shouting because their ears air really damaged by being under the water. But you hold your cell phone to my ear. I need to call my son my grandson, my nephew. You're so pretty. And he's looking for a while. I have photos of that on my website, but I also used it in the opening scene. I know that how young, 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 be educated. And so she became Asian on all people as re pound. And she 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 of what had happened. That woman did kind of go into meta story in the novel. And then I guess so. They you know, these different interpreters had sort of different 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 never wanna have someone who's like a professional, because you when you have someone who's like a young woman in that one instance, um, she had this very sweet way of talking to these older women and would you know, I'd say like, Oh, you know, What were the traditions around? Childhoods? Oh, I could never ask that. We'll just go ahead. Now what? What? What about like the first time you have that? You know, I could never ask that, but then when she would ask it to you get these ab Bulus answers. And so they those thio have something that's more colloquial and instead of kind of official U N right, right is so valuable, e. I love that. So, Lisa, one of our favorite parts of our weekly show is receiving a writing tip from our guests. And, of course, as we were just talking about you, right, The's just beautiful, well researched 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 writing tip 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 20 pages of chapter, if you can. On Lee, right? 500 words a day you'll have at the end of the week, 10 pages at the end of two weeks of chapter Um, but the other 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, you know, 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 you all know of with writing and publishing on. And if you're really passionate again, it is like marriage. You can weather those ups and downs. What happened in the writing that happened...

...when the book comes out? That can happen 10 years later when you're still talking about a particular book. So to just be passionate and remember, you know you're in it for life. This is a It'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 stick around 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 Kristen told us earlier, has been open since 18 94 which is just unbelievable. They're renowned for their excellent customer service, extraordinary staff, extensive inventory and wide range of gifts. And this week they're offering 10% off of our latest releases and Lisa's with the code f Ask H H. And we just wanted to remind you, especially when you're doing your shopping this holiday season to think about your independent bookstores and the local stores in your community. There was a recent poll conducted by the small business majority on This is really sad statistic, but more than a third of small business owners reported that their businesses were unlikely to survive past the next three months. So when you're thinking about making your purchases this year from your independent bookstores or anywhere in your local community, it's so important that, you know, we really do support those 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 on our podcast on what we have in store this week? Yeah, so many of you have asked where you can find the previous episodes, and we know it's It's a little bit tricky finding the previous episodes on Facebook. So we have launched our own YouTube channel. We're not doing ticktock dances. Don't look what we owe. We're not doing it yet. Never say never. Uh, the YouTube is where you can find our shows dating back to the end of May. You can also watch our weekly shows live there and that you'll find the link on our friends and fiction Facebook page under announcements. And we're since we're on a 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 of a live show. So if you miss an episode or you wanna hear one again while you'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 you won't hear on the show. So subscribe now. Thio here are very first original content 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. I know you all our amazing e have to tune in and find out. And I think that drops on 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 to your podcast. Thank you. Mary Kay and Mary. Alice, can you tell us about our holiday ugly sweater party next week and how our viewers could take part in the fun? I'm looking forward to it because next week is Christmas Week gas by? No. And we actually pre taped the show. Which is why we know for sure you're going to love it. Way all put on our ugliest possible Christmas sweaters and special points went to Christie on. Uh, you will see why when you see this good or bad. Really? You have Thio, you get Thio and you'll hear You'll get to hear about our favorite songs, our favorite memories. And you get to meet Meg, whose are managing director and...

Sean, who is our behind the scenes producer, aka Audio Wiz, a k a rock star and cabana boy. He's great thing this week. We encourage you please. Here. When you come to the friends and fiction 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 usual time, 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 be watching it with you. So there absolutely, and and yeah, I don't know if anyone is gonna be able to beat Christie's ugly sweater. So you're really gonna have thio way all of your ugly sweater to be Oh, absolutely, All right. And now one more question for Lisa and this one comes to us from a viewer. So Sheila Calibri, see, asks Lisa, do you plan to ever write another mystery like your early book Dragon Bones? I don't know. I mean, I sort of tinker around with that a bit, and I actually, you know, just now doing the research on this woman doctor, One of the things that I've learned is that in ancient China that the only people who performed autopsies were midwives and so I could almost see. I mean, you know, a midwife is not a doctor, but I could almost 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 know that the butcher is considered dirty in, um, sort of Confucian thought because he gets blood on his hands. Literally. But so too do midwives. And so they had this very low status, but so low that they were kind of the coroner's of their time, and i e kind of working in my brain a little bit. Oh, my gosh. E feel like we could talk to you for hours. U e All right, well, so we'll just make it the least a c shows. So everyone tuning in all of 2021 the o fun. Maybe she could respond to questions on the Facebook page because so 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 you tonight. One last. Well, um, incredible honor. I'm just to be in all of your presence is just Wow way feel the same way we're all in All of you. So it was so nice to have you in one last reminder to all of you out there to read the island of see women, which is beautiful, unforgettable. And what stupendous 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 that we're so happy you've chosen to spend some time with us tonight. So happy holidays. We will see you next Wednesday at 7 p.m. For our ugly sweater Holiday office party right here on friends and fiction. Everyone have a wonderful night. That's a good night. Good night. Happy how Christmas Week, You guys, she was so great. She was So grab I Seriously, I had so many things that I wanted to ask her, especially about 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 like every stereotype that we've ever had is...

...just completely flipped on its head and the things that well, men are so sensitive, you can't tell them that. E mean it just It was fascinating to me how everything that we associate with masculinity, they associated with femininity. I just I loved that was reliable and the and she does right about the dark side of women's friendships, too. And she writes so honestly about it. I think in in a number of her books, which is again, it makes you you resonate to it because where we are women and we know those feelings. So I thought it was really beautiful. I always When I was listening to her talk about Asian history, I made me want to go back and right right, that Asian novel that I've been wanting to write for 35 years, you know, maybe, maybe because just all those rich differences, I'm sure historical fiction. You dive into the surprises, but with a million things just go off in your brain million possibilities. It's so true. But you know, I feel like what she's doing is really extraordinary because you know what I say. This is somebody who writes World War Two, but Um and I think there are still so many stories that we haven't heard about World War, but she's writing things that we're not hearing about. You know what I mean? Like, it's it's it really is a way to immerse yourself in a world that you really you know, many of us have no familiarity with, which I think is just so cool. And she does such deep research. 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 wrote about was talked about how that one young girl got the best answers, and you 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 is that that one sentence that you're gonna put in the book is that that idea that just is like a lightning strike? E think it's interesting. That s o much of the historic fiction being written about World War Two. You know, for years it was, um uh, Well, not just that, but it was also, you know, Nazi occupied France And now you're seeing a trend. As Kristen knows we're going thio Eastern Europe. And but I wonder, you know what's interesting to me? There's not so much written about the Pacific theater during World War Two historic fiction. Not yet. Mm, It's kind of It was 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 reads Madeline are Cantonese? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Eso she and I'll just have to team 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 hair of my lovely paper whose let me sit at their dining room table. E o. Thank you all for being so flexible. Christie was going to take over hosting duties. So thank you for being willing to jump in and thanks for letting me do it. After all, it's so funny that because I feel like there's always it. There's only been a few times when one of us needed to be out like patios tonight And every time one of us has needed to be out, another one of us has had, like, a major 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 gonna be whipping up magic in her kitchen, but have a great Christmas Week. Have a great A next week. Okay, bye. Everybody...

...have a You've been listening to the friends and fiction podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the friends and fiction podcast wherever you listen. And if you're enjoying it, leave a review. You can find the friends and fiction authors at w w w dot friends and fiction dot com a swell. As on the Facebook group page. Friends and fiction 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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