Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 10 months ago

S1E2: Patti & Kristin with Michael Farris Smith & Rachel Hawkins

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Patti Callahan Henry and Kristin Harmel talk about Modern Takes on Literary Classics with Michael Farris Smith about his novel, NICK, about Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby, and Rachel Hawkins about her novel The Wife Upstairs, a modern retelling of Jane Eyre. 

Welcome to Friends and fiction, fivebest selling authors and the stories novelist Mary Kay Andrews, ChristineHarmel, Christie Woodson, Harvey, Patty Callahan Henry and Mary Alice Munro arefive longtime friends with more than 80 published books. To their credit. In2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews andfascinating insider talk about publishing and writing and to highlightindependent bookstores. These friends discussed the books they've written,the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love booksand you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Friends and Fiction is sponsored byMama Geraldine's Bodacious Foods. Cathy Cunningham was a successful butunfulfilled radio executive in Atlanta. One night, while sipping wine andsnacking on expensive cheese straws, she realized her mama Geraldine's owncheese straw recipe was far superior. The idea for Cathy's company was born.Mama Geraldine's Cheese straws now come in six varieties, and they're the bestselling cheese straw in the United States. Plus, the cookies are melt inyour mouth, delicious yummy snacks and a woman owned empire. Now that issomething that we hear it. Friends and fiction can get behind try them. You'llbe so glad that you did get 20% off on your online order at Mama Geraldine'sdot com with the code Fab five Snack on y'all Welcome to the Friends and Fictionpodcast. Today we're talking about writing novels that include literarycharacters. Ah, modern take on literary classics on Patty Callahan, Henry andI'm Christine Harmel. Today we're privileged to have with us both.Michael Ferris Smith, the author of Nick and Rachel Hawkins, the author ofThe Wife Upstairs. The former is a novel about Nick Carraway from TheGreat Gatsby. The latter is a modern retelling of the classic Jane Eyre.Both were two of the most anticipated books of early 2021. Let's start Todaywith Michael and his amazing book, Michael Farris. Smith is an awardwinning writer whose novels have appeared on Best of the year lists withEsquire, Southern Living Book, Riot and numerous others. He's been named inindie. Next list. Barnes and Noble discover an Amazon Best of the Monthselections. He's been a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, the GoldDagger Award in the U. K. And the Grand Prix in France. E three Grand Prix.Loved. We're going to skip that one in...

...the UK, and his essays have appearedwith The New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Gardening, Gunn and Moore.He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters. His newestnovel, Nick, which came out on January 5th, is a prequel to The Great Gatsby.Michael Farris Smith pulls Nick Carraway out of the shadows and intohis own spotlight in this fascinating look into Nick's life before West Egg.Michael, Welcome. Thank you. It's nice to talk to you guys. Thanks for askingme to be on. We're thrilled. So let's dive right in. Why, Nick, can we juststart there? What was it about Nick that drew you to him? What was it it inNick that made you want to know more? It was something that if you would havetold me five minutes before it hit me, that that's what I was going to do. Iwould have never believed you, ever. I mean, I think it's just an example ofyou being so grabbed by something that it won't let go of you. And you have nochoice but to do it. No matter how crazy, it seems. And, uh, I think I hadto deal with that a little bit, too. It came after my third reading of gas. Beprobably about five years ago. I had read it previously when I was around 20. Could not have cared less about it,didn't get it, understand its tossed it aside. I read it again after aboutseven or eight years later, after I had actually lived abroad for a few yearsand was reading a lot of the lost generation because I was living inParis and France moving around Europe quite a bit. And if you have started toget it, then I started to see things in it then that I really wasn't expecting,or I guess that's just what time does to us, and then I really I put it aside.And then 14 years, 15 years later, I picked it up again and read it, and itseemed to just speak to me on every page is I was going along when I got tothe end of Nick, and he realizes it's his birthday. He's forgotten. He'sabout to turn 30. He just really struck me how detached he Waas and howdisillusioned he waas. And it hit me like there's something like, reallyintense going on with Nick that I've never liked realized in this bookbefore. And then he goes on to describe the upcoming decade of his thirties asa decade of loneliness and just how isolated alone he felt. And you know,it never waas the glitz and glamour of Gatsby that interested me. It was thosefeelings of loneliness and isolation and detachment that, um and depression.I think I mean, a lot of those things that I know that I've I've experiencedin my life, and I think a lot of people have experienced and I just keptthinking about it to the point. So where the very simple thought did crossmy mind. It would be really interesting if someone were to write his storybecause he tells us so little about him. And just almost before I could finishthe thought, I realized I was going to...

...do it, and I was just going to dealwith it. However, I was going to deal with it, But that's how that's how wecame to Nick. I suppose it's so fascinating. I always say that if wefollow our curiosity, that's where we find our stories. And if you would justlet that thought float by, we wouldn't have this extraordinary story. So Well,I mean, you're exactly right. Following your curiosities and being willing totake chances to I think is another great lesson. I learned through this. Imean, there was two ways. I mean, I realized all the stuff that would comewith it if I did it like in the immediacy, like right away. Like almostthat was my next thought. Almost after having the idea and thinking Do Ireally want, um, I going to do this? But it was follow this thing, go afterthis thing that I was so kind of like him, kind of like strangely mostlydrawn to with all the talent and grit and guts that I could take to it and doit or shrink back from it, be intimidated by it and always wonderwhat would have happened for me. That was the easy decision. I think we arevery glad that you decided to do it, too. It's such an amazing book and anamazing, amazing way to look at it and a great reason to look at it that way.And I think something in particular that really resonates now in 2020 slash2021. I think a lot of the emotions you just described her things that resonatein all of us. So you wrote about Nick A life divided, a mind divided to me.This was such a beautiful line that I had to stop and read it again. How didyou from reading the Great Gatsby, get to this inner working and insight intoNick's life? Was it completely imagined, or did you see some of that? And Nickoriginally, I think, probably a little bit of both. You know, I think thosebreadcrumbs that he kind of gives us throughout Gatsby and also the way Iwas interpreting his character and the thoughts he was having. Those were kindof, I guess, the beginning pieces for me. But the thing that struck me aboutit, and which seemed like a logical jumping off point for me, was the warand his experience in the war because, you know, there's a line fromHemingway's moveable feast in which he says, we didn't trust anyone who wasn'tin the war, which speaks volumes to the mood and feel of that group of peoplewho went through that. One of the first connections Nick and Gatsby make isthey ask each other. Were you in the war? Yeah, and they tell each otherwhere they were so immediately. Like, that was the thing that struck me. Ofcourse he was in the war and of course, he would be suffering from the thingsthat people suffer with who survived the war and come back home. And thenwhen I began to read about World War one of what trench warfare was actuallylike, I mean, way know about it from history books and we see depicted inthe movie. But, man, when I started to read about what really went on, I wasjust It was horrific and amazing, And so I thought, Well, I'm going to startthere, put him in World War One and let's see, and to me, that when I whenI had the notion to start there with...

...him, like it almost like it, it openedup for me from that moment on. Like to really create a young man who is notonly going to be dramatically affected by the war, but also his opinions onthings they're going to change also, if if he's able to survive it, which weknow he does so well. I had to kind of these these bits and pieces of who hewaas like. I think there was also quite a blank canvas there to kind of createhow he how he comes to make the type of interpretations that we see him makingin Gatsby. What an incredible way to build a character, though kind of fromthe back front as opposed to the other way, I starting at the end and buildinghim out from the beginning. What an interesting thing that must have beento do as a writer. Very much so. You know, I'm kind of quick thought in myimmediacy of it. Waas, um, and the very first kind of words I wrote of Nick inthe days after I had the idea I had just put him on a train, had him comingback home. And originally I thought, he's coming back home after Gatsby andI thought, Well, no, I don't want to tell us what happens after that. He'salready told us what happens after e. I mean, it's Gatsby, right? And so Ichanged that, like, just in a couple of hours. That kind of struck me. And Ichanged it to know he's on the train going back home, coming home from thewar and that really just like this. They just kind of open things upimmensely for me because I didn't have to react to the man who reacted toGatsby. Now I just had to create the man who walks up and shakes hands withgets, you know, sometimes we don't as authors see what we're really doing atfirst, Um, what you just said about the breadcrumbs. If we follow thebreadcrumbs of our curiosity, sometimes we don't see things until hindsight. Soit might sound crazy to say that a story about 1920 helps us in 2020. Butit does the trauma, the overwhelming feelings, the the blues or theDepression, their hopelessness, the crumbling of ideals and ideas in ourlives, and what we held close that disappears with without our control.And we know that we hold our trauma. If we don't face it. You know, one of myfavorite books on that is the book about the body holds the secrets of thebody tells the stories. And these were very modern day problems, but but blownup because it's a war. Did you see that tie when you were writing it? Did yousee how much it would affect today and help in many ways help us today to readabout how we dealt with it? Well, that's a good question. Get observation.One of the interesting things about this novel was I wrote it five yearsago and turned it in, and everybody was like, You did what I said, you know,and because I didn't tell anybody I was doing it. So I was not interested inthe copyright issue at all. Never looked it up, never thought about it.And then when I turned it in, they were...

...like, This is often but we got to siton it for five years. Yeah, eso We locked it down and zipped our mouthsand sat on it, you know, for five years. So to get back to the question when Iwent to revise it last year, me and my editor and I started reading it again.Hey, and I both I cannot believe how timely it felt themes a country intransition, the depression, the loneliness, the PTSD that we know somuch about. The crumbling of ideals, the lack of faith and institutions.Just the distrust, the doubt. I mean, I was really Mesmer quite mesmerized byit. How a country coming off a pandemic or in a pandemic. Also, that was also aparallel that was there, which I didn't put in the original draft and then wentback and put in in the revision. It was really I mean, I think it's it tells me that we haven't changedthat much, you know, um which is kind of horrifying all the lessons we'velearned in this country or should have learned in this country over the past100 years. And, you know, I've had five years to sit around and think aboutthis novel, and it's kind of occurred to me, probably over the last six oreight months, my experience with it, even it being 100 years old andwatching me taking Nick through those streets of 1919 1920 and the way hefelt and how it felt so like in tune with a lot of things we've been feelingin this country, I don't know. We're in a pattern of that, you know, it's hardto get out of it. And for whatever reason, we keep making these loops. Andit seems to me that perhaps that's the why Gatsby remained so prevalent ismaybe more people than I think See it like I do. Maybe it's not the glitz andglamour that people get out of it. Maybe it is these feelings, but theyattached with Nick and the other characters in it, because everybody inthere is on the edge of crumbling at any moment. The lifestyle, therelationships, everything in that novel is just on the edge of failure, whichit does. It all eventually crumbles. And maybe that's the thing that makesGatsby so timeless and makes people continue to read it and be attracted toit, not the mansions and the moonshine and the prohibition and all the glitzand glamour apart. Maybe it's those feelings and emotions of it. The peopleconnect with, like, similarly, that I did that in the way that I did thatkeeps it transferring from one generation to the next. I think thatwhenever a story hits us in the solar plexus of recognition of ourself, it'sa lot more powerful than just the plot or the mansions of the glitz. And thatstory didn't hit you in the right place until you notice that. So I thinkyou're right. And you know, Michael, it's interesting to hear you talk aboutcoming back to the manuscript for Nick five years later and seeing it andexperiencing it in a different way, even though you were the one to writeit. Because it sounds like that's what happened to you with the Great Gatsbyalso, and it's something I've noticed,...

...too. And I think Patty, you and I havetalked about this. This idea that there's a wherever you are in your lifeis such an influence on how you read the books, and sometimes you have to beat the right spot to get the right things out of the books. It's justinteresting to hear your experience, even with your own work, with that. SoMichael, I wanted to ask you about the love story in this book. So, mygoodness, The love story with Nick and Ella. Patti and I talked about this,too, and we think it echoes in small ways The story of Daisy and Jay GatsbyWas this something you did on purpose? I don't know. On purpose. That's alwaysa very tricky It occurred to me about Nick and his willingness to go down theroad so quickly with this thing between Daisy and Gatsby was there had to beensomething that would make him believe this was even possible, you know? So Iwanted to give him something that made him believe it was possible. And for mel a was this, you know, And they're too desperate People who find themselves ina desperate time and a desperate place in Paris and it's not gonna end well. Imean, I think we know that for him to be able to open his heart, mind uptowhat Gatsby is after and what Daisy and what they're kind of dreaming them. Andthat's very idealistic way that we also know it's not gonna happen. I felt likesomething led him to be able to take that bait so quickly, and I think hisrelationship with Ella was that thing for me that made it possible that hewould fall in line with with what they want him to do and what they're askinghim to be a part off. So you really did take all those breadcrumbs laid out foryou in Gatsby and assemble them into this beautiful, beautiful book? Yeah, Ihope so. I mean, I tried very hard to do that. Yeah, e mean, the thing thatstruck me about Nick all the way through Guess where he's scarred. Imean, there's no doubt about it. He has been through some shit, man.Emotionally, psychologically, romantically. I mean, however you wantphysically. I mean, he's been through a lot, and I think, yeah, I think to Iwanted to give him his own life, you know, always seeing guests because hisprojection of this thing I wanted him to have his own life because every oneof us has. We have our own lives. And no matter how quiet we are, we have ourown complexities and issues and heartbreaks and joys and triumphs. AndI just wanted him to have his own life. Well, Michael, this is an extraordinaryreimagining. Thank you not only for this novel, but for talking to us. Ofcourse. Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure. Now we welcome Rachel Hawkins, the NewYork Times best selling author of 11 novels for young adults, including thehugely popular Hex Hall Siri's. She studied gender and sexuality andVictorian literature at Auburn University, where I also studiedundergrad. And she currently lives in Alabama, which also happens to be thesetting of her new novel, The Wife...

Upstairs, which, just like Michael'sbook came out on January 5th, is actually Rachel's adult debut, named anindie Next pick and a number one library reads Pick for January. It's atwist on the classic Jane Eyre Entertainment Weekly calls itcompulsively readable, a gothic thriller laced with arsenic. And mightwe just add that it debuted on The New York Times best seller list in thenumber four spot? How amazing is that? So welcome, Rachel, can you begin todayby telling us a bit about the book and what made you take on Jane Eyre? So thewife upstairs is such a weird project in so many ways, Um, the ways that itcame to me were sort of unusual where basically, um it came to my agent first.The idea. Somebody had contacted her and was like, Do you have any clientswho might want to take a run it like a modern Jane Eyre and I had never doneadult and I had never done thrillers. But I have a very, very good agent who,as soon as she saw the pitch, was like, Well, this sounds absolutely bananas.Who do I know who can do bananas? Oh, it's Rachel s o. She passed it on to meand I immediately was like, Yeah, let me take a swing at this on. So that'sthe first time that kind of thing has ever happened to me. Usually my booksare very much they, you know, sort of start with me and and with a wholebunch of people working on it. But this kind of was collaborative, right fromthe get go, and as soon as I just saw, it was a very sort of bare bones pitch.But I thought, you know, taking Jane Eyre this kind of Gothic classic andturning it into ah, domestic nor thriller. I just thought like, Oh,there's there's so many fun things that you can mind in that original story toturn it into this kind of book. So that's sort of how it started was likea hint of an idea from someone else and then kind of running with it in my ownway. Was this something that was kind of on the track you imagined you'dbeyond anyhow, like had you been thinking about writing adult fiction atsome point? No, I really hadn't at the time. And it's one of those thingsthat's, you know, so much of this business ends up being like, just sortof fortuitous and luck and right place, right time type stuff. So it's sort oflike this hit my inbox just around the same time, I kind of started runningout of ideas for Y. A. I've had a great 10 year career and Children's lit andreally loved it, but I was beginning to realize that I wasn't reading itanymore, and I was reading almost exclusively adult fiction. Ah, lot ofthrillers. And so it was. It was almost like my brain had caught up like myreader brain knew where my heart was before my writer Brain had quite gottenthere yet. So, yeah, I mean, I definitely you know, when I was firststarting to write when I was younger, I thought I was gonna be a romancenovelist, which now I am doing under another name. So, like I hit that Butyeah, it's been such an interesting...

...thing of kind of figuring out like, Oh,okay, this is what I wanted to be doing because as soon as I sat down to writethis one, it was like one of the fastest books I think I've ever written,like the process was really smooth. And I think it's just because it was time,you know, my brain was really excited for the break. I think sometimes areright ourselves no more than our real life Selves. Yeah, like they weregetting in the back, saying, Okay, bring it on, bring it on, and then allwe have to do is say yes. First half of this podcast we were talking to MichaelFarris Smith about Nick and writing about Nick Carraway and how when theidea came to him, he said if he had asked five minutes before and somebodytold him he would done it, he would have said, You're out of your mind Andthen five minutes later, he was doing it. So I feel like exactly for you. Youwouldn't have thought about it until you did right? Exactly. It's likeStephen King has that thing where he says, like the boys in the basement.And you know, if that's what's happening, Yeah, I always say the cookson the back burner s So I have to ask, Why Alabama? And why specificallyMountain Brook? Because, believe it or not, that's where I live. That's whereI am sitting at my desk in Mountain Brook, Alabama, over right this minute,and I gasped out loud when I saw that literally on the third line of the book.Yeah, it's funny because when the idea first, like, sort of came through likeI said to my agent, it was very bare bones, and it was very kind of generic.There was no setting, and when I kind of started working in the ideaoriginally, it was just like generic Connecticut. You know, I've never evenbeen to Connecticut, but I was like surely this is where this kind of bookhappens, right? It's all like suburbs on the East Coast. And then I wastalking to somebody who was, you know, helping me out with the bug, who waspart of the company that had first approached me. And we started talkingabout setting, and then he said, Well, where are you from? When I said Youknow, Alabama and he said, Well, do you want to set it there? And it was justlike I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me that I could do that,but it was like fireworks going off in my brain like, Yes, I want to set it inAlabama because I could do so much with that. And then, as for why MountainBrook specifically, I had a friend who years ago moved from out West, actuallyfrom Las Vegas to Birmingham so that her husband could dio medical schoolthing. And she was telling me how being from Vegas she thought like she wasgonna move to Alabama and that everybody was going to be very sort oflike salt of the earth, you know, just like good country folks. And she's likeand then I showed up like everybody was like driving Beamers and they wereplaying tennis and pearls. I was like, Oh, you guys have all that too was likeOf course we do like every you know, subset of the U. S. Has their richpeople or they're kind of that subculture. And I had, you know, I havefriends in Mountain Broca's Well, and...

I've always really liked that part ofBirmingham. And I thought that there was something kind of fun, uh, to beexplored there in like that subset of Mountain Brook, which I'm sure you'refamiliar with. Well, I have never played tennis and pearls. I actuallydon't play tennis, but I actually I actually moved here about eight yearsago, so I, too, am a transplant. And I love reading about it from from thatother point of view, I think it's really fascinating. Yeah, it is. And itis. It's a neat little place, you know, Like I remember when I was I was stilllooking up. So even though I'd been there, I still like it was GooglingMountain Brook and, like making sure I was familiar with some of the thingsand it was like there was an article about it. It was like Alabama's tinykingdom. It, like it is Alabama's tiny kingdom. That's what they call a. Whata funny coincidence, though, that you write a book set exactly in Patio Town.So weird. Clearly the two of you were destined to be friends, that's all. Icould take a Rachel can you talk a bit about what it's like as a writer totake familiar characters or a familiar tale like you did and put your own spinon them? I'm wondering, just kind of from the writer perspective, if thatwas more or less difficult than writing something completely from scratch. Butit sounds like this came to you really quickly. It did, and it was, you know,it's There were parts of it that were certainly more difficult. And thenthere were parts of it that it was easier sometimes if you did get stuck,you I would go back to my copy of Jane Eyre and be like, What, can I sort ofmine from this? Um, it certainly gives you plot structure, even though I endedup getting rid of a lot of the original Jane Eyre stuff, but that was kind ofthe fun of it, too. Was that very early on in the process, I had decided thateven though Jane Eyre is this, like, obviously iconic book, I couldn't letmyself be intimidated by that. And I if I was going to do this, I needed to doit fearlessly. And that meant that if something wasn't working for me, likeas a sort of connection to the Cannon, then get rid of it. Go your own way,you know, because at the end of the day, the book has to be its own thing, andit's been interesting to hear from people, sort of. I get, like, mixedreactions of, like some people who are like, Oh, Jane Eyre is my favorite bookand I really enjoyed this. And then I get people who are like I actuallynever read Jane Eyre. But I still really like this, and I was like, Oh,yeah, no, no, you don't. There's no required reading before you start withthis one because it's it's got to stand on its own, you know, and you've got tobe able to come to it and know nothing about Jane Eyre and still have a reallysatisfying read. Otherwise, like, What's the point of doing a retailingin a lot of ways? You know, it's like if if people feel like they have to befamiliar with the original, you know, that's that's not cool. It'sinteresting to hear you talking about giving yourself this permission, though.Thio sort of deviate from that, and it...

...sounds like a conscious decision youmade and and it makes me think of, you know, I think you and I are about thesame age, and I find myself at this point in my writing career growing as aperson is the result of my writing more than I have in the past. Maybe justbecause I'm a little bit more introspective about it, or I've beendoing it long enough to get to that point. Did you kind of feel like thatto making these decisions and deciding I need to kind of blaze my own pathhere? Yeah, absolutely. And I think part of it, too, was like having comefrom Y A and having done that for 10 years till it with varying degrees ofsuccess. And so I was like being very brave in the manuscript itself, whichthen made me definitely be more brave. I think in my real life, and certainlyin my career and that, you know, when I was started working on this book,things were not going so hot in my y a career. And so it felt very freeing inthis book. Like even as I was like, Don't second guess that line. Justwrite it and go forward. I had a similar thing of, like, Don't secondguess, walking away from something that's not really working for youanymore. And walking towards something that is really making you feel happyand fulfilled is a writer in a way that you kind of haven't been a while, So,yeah, that it was definitely they definitely informed each other for sure.The book in my life So it was fascinating. I was listening to a talkyesterday by one of my favorite poets. His name is David White, and I actuallywrote this lying down on a piece of scrap paper on my desk, and it said,Whoever you are in your work is who you are becoming. I love that I'm listeningto you talk about this and I got chills head to toe because I literally justwrote it down on this piece of paper so funny and it's so true. It's so andI've never heard it put like that before. But that's it completely thatthat if we're gonna be stepped forth and bravery in our work, in many wayswe're stepping forth in our life, right, s So that's that's amazing. I gotchills when I heard you said, That is really I'm gonna write that down aswell now, Okay, I'll email it Thio. Then we'll meet at the Auburn OilSellers and E. I'm inviting myself along. I'm coming, Please. Eso Why is2021 the year that Jane Eyre is retold? I think this is really fascinatingbecause some of the literature that's coming out right now we didn't have anyidea how much we needed it in what we're living through now. So you talkabout how a plot originally imagined in what 18 40 can still have suchrelevance in our life today it is. It's so interesting because, like when I waswriting it, too, I've been working on this book for so long now. I actuallystarted it in January 2017, and I know...

I know. And it was very interestingbecause I realized I was getting out a lot of anger in the book, like thewomen in my book, because especially like this was, you know, we all knowwhat was going on in 2017 and like the me too movement was really taking offthen is well, and it felt very like cathartic to have these, like angry andcomplicated women. And I think if you go back and read Jane Eyre, you knowJane is such an iconic character because she does let herself be angryand she but she knows her worth In a world that's telling her she doesn'thave any because she's poor and playing and you know, And But she alwaysbelieves in her own self worth, to the point of, you know, walking away whensomething isn't working for her anymore. Um, and I think that that stillresonates. I think that that's why that character has been so important so manypeople over the years and I also think especially this year, people maybe like,you know, can really relate with somebody who feels very who feelsliterally locked in their house s. Oh, I think that might be part of it, too.So, yeah, I do. I just think that there's there's still so much like whenI reread the book before I started writing this, I was really struck byhow modern a lot of the themes are that it is a book about money and class andpower and sex. And those were all things were always going to beinterested, I think, in reading about and talking about and and the the ideaof women having their own agency making their own choices. This exactly. Andalthough that might sound radical even today, the idea that women have thisagency to to do what is best for them and, like you said, walk away from whatisn't working. Instead of struggling so hard to make it work exactly. So,Rachel. There's a lot of author Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre. Forexample, Jane is sent to a boarding school that's similar to Bronte'sboarding school, their characters based on people in her life. They both becamea governess. Things like that, so I have to ask you how much Rachel Hawkinsdo we find in the wife of statement? It feels like very dangerous to be likelots when everybody is. I'm basically Rachel. I'm just trying to evaluatewhether to actually come to coffee with you, too, Or if I should just clearthis is my I'm a litmus test. Yeah, it's very funny. This one does. I mean,they're certainly it certainly has, I think, sort of almost more of my like,personal observations on like people. Um, there's a character in the booktrip Ingram who is just like an amalgamation of, like, every sort ofvaguely gross rich guy I've ever known. And I went toe like, private school insmall town Alabama. So I know a lot of those guys eso eso There's a lot moreof that. And then there's like in some cases, there's actual conversationslike a friend of mine Did this whole...

...thing about reading about how, likemale CEOs don't know how much milk is in their fridge, ever. But female CEOshave to run a business and still know that, and I completely took that rightout of her mouth and put in someone else's mouth in the book because Ithought, like, what a stunning observation, you know? And yeah,there's a lot more. I think I definitely mind those sort ofobservations and and character stuff more than like, luckily, more than theplot stuff. So yeah. All right. Okay. I'll come to coffee. I was reallyconcerned. Well, thank you so much, Rachel. For joining us and thank you toMichael Farris Smith to do not forget to pick up the wife upstairs. And Nick,we highly recommend them both. And thank you to everyone for joining ustoday. Keep your ears out for mawr. Fascinating friends and fictioninterviews coming up. And don't forget to tune in on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.Eastern for our Facebook live show. In the meantime, stay safe and well andkeep reading. Thank you for tuning in. Join us everyweek on Facebook or YouTube, where our live show airs every Wednesday night at7 p.m. Eastern time. And please subscribe to our podcast and follow uson Instagram. We're so glad you're here. Good night.

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