Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 2 years ago

Friends and Fiction with Signe Pike

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Author of The Lost Queen trilogy, Signe Pike, joins the Friends & Fiction authors to discuss her research of Celtic history, myth and folklore, and how her love of history, the great outdoors, early medieval and ancient archeology informs her writing. https://www.signepike.com

Welcome to Friends and fiction. Five best selling authors, Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast with five best selling 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. A to 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. Hello, everyone, and welcome to Friends and Fiction, our weekly Facebook live show featuring author chats in support of independent bookstores five. The selling authors Endless stories. So let's get started. We have so much to talk about tonight. I'm Patty Callahan, Henry and I'm your host tonight, and my latest book is becoming Mrs Lewis. Hi, I'm Mary Alice Munro, and my latest novel is on Ocean Boulevard. I'm Mary Kay Andrews, and my latest novel is Hello Summer. I'm Christine Harmel, and my latest novel is The Book of Lost Names. I'm Christi Woodson Harvey and my latest novel. It's Feels like Falling, and this is friends in fiction, and we're so glad that you're here tonight. In a minute we'll be welcoming our great guests, Signee Pike. So before she shows up, I want to tell you a little bit about her and a little bit about what we have coming up. So signee Pike was born in Ithaca, New York, and graduated from Cornell University with her bachelor of science in communication. She worked as an acquisitions editor at Random House and then Penguin before leaving to write her first book, Fairy tale, One Woman Search for Enchantment. In a modern world, it's amazing. Pike has spent the past 10 years researching and writing about Celtic history myth, folklore and tradition. Her love of history, the great outdoors, early medieval and ancient archaeology, which is a tongue twister. And her dedication to historical accuracy has made her social media feeds an informative delight to her readers. Signee teaches seminars and work ships internationally on writing and publishing, as well as on folklore and tradition. Her writing has been published by Salon Book Riot, NPR. Lots of others. This is her official bio, but her unofficial Patty Callahan bio is this. She is magical, and her work shows it from Celtic mythology to pure enchantment. She just might be a Celtic creature herself, the wild and wonderful signee pipe, and we have so much to talk about, but really quick before we get rolling, as everyone out there knows every week and part of our mission and friends and fiction is to support independent booksellers. So I want to remind you that this week Signee has chosen Blue bicycle books in Charleston. You can head over to our friends and fiction page to find a link to Blue bicycle books where you'll find all our recent release since at 10% off, including signees, book the for gotten kingdom with the code friends. And if you order...

...from Blue Bicycle there is a special offer and give away That's coming from signee later in the show. So do not go anywhere so you can hear about that. So, without any more blathering from me Welcome to the Celtic creature herself The wild and wonderful signee Pipe signee. Hi, everyone. I'm excited for tonight. I'm so excited. I feel like we haven't gotten to do something like this since pre Covad days. So this is kind of a treatment with all of you tonight. It's as good as it can get right now. That's what we say. So, Sydney, I know that during the pandemic you were also home schooling God, Lord Almighty, if that's what you want to call it with your little son and so tell us about what you have been doing during the pandemic. This book is so deeply researched How in the world did you do this with a little one at home? How is the pandemic for you? Well, luckily, I had finished most of it before the pandemic, but I think I ended up having to finish sort of the last half as things were all happening. Um, and I just wrote when I split custody, I wrote when he wasn't with me. And when he was with me, I tried to be as present as I could and try to put the book to the side. But I was talking last night at my reading. I did at bucks, in books about how virtually about how I was sort of living in two worlds during that time because my head was you guys know how this is? I'm sure your head is still completely in the novel, and you're just trying to, like, remember how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You know, while you're thinking about all this other stuff and half of the sixth century. Yeah. So it was really tricky. Um, and it it was Ah, push for sure. But I don't think I've ever felt more proud of myself that I was able to accomplish it. It's amazing. I mean, I remember talking to you during it, and we were all trying to figure out how to manage cove it. And Christie and Kristen both have a little one at home. But you all are superheroes. I don't know how you ended up doing all of that. So how about the rest of you? I know this has been like an incredibly busy workweek for all of us, rounding out projects, finishing projects, and it shaped our days. And it's been kind of a hard week for some of us. We plowing through some things that needed finishing. And so a couple times this week, while we were all trying to muddle through, I kept thinking about something that is asked on our friends and fiction page all the time. Which is what would you be doing if you hadn't pursued writing? Catherine, Mary Kay tell us. You know, I was a newspaper reporter and I thought that I thought I would live. And I thought they would carry me out of a newspaper building feet first. Eso I don't know. Maybe I'd be an antique dealer, but I'm really not so good with the money. Part of good e. I'm good at the buying stuff part. But I'm not so good at letting go. I can see that. So how about you, Mary? Alice? What would you do if I was a teacher and I think I would probably be teaching, but I would move over to environmental education. Obviously, that's where I've gone. I would love to run programs, say, at the aquarium or for some nonprofit. I think that would be very cool. How about you, Christie? There's just no calling. So I was actually working in finance when I started writing. I mean, I went to journalism school. I had sort of a journalistic background, and I was still doing some freelance writing. Eso maybe I would have ended up in that arena. But I was really seriously...

...considering, um, going to get my PhD when I started writing fiction and my husband very wisely was like, If you really want to write fiction, why don't you try to write fiction? You can always go back and get your PhD that will be waiting for you so at least see if this will work out. You know, before you kind of dive into something that you're not really sure if you want to do, especially a commitment of that size. So those were very wise words, and still I here at here. I still am, so I'm very grateful, but I mean, who knows? I could still be working in finance. I mean, I don't know a p You have a PhD in novels. Love, that's what. Yeah, Yeah, Christian. You know, I feel like I would definitely be doing something related toe wine. I'm so interested in wine, and well, no, it's not. I take a sip of mine, e. I have a friend who runs a bookstore in ST Pete that opens, um, actually, right at the beginning of the pandemic. It's called Book and Bottle, and it is a book star bookstore slash wine bar, wine store. To me, I think would just be the dream job being ableto teach people about wine. She's training to be a Somali A but also being able to share books with people. So I think that's what I'd be doing. E could see that, too. Okay, sing me. What would you be doing? Well, I really miss editing books, so definitely I think I would still be behind a desk in New York City editing books. Um, it's been something that I miss and I did do some freelance when I first went to Charleston before I got too busy with my own writing. Um, and I kind of hope to go back to it someday. But the other thing I would love to do is to own a tiny little pub or in in Scotland, where writers and musicians can come. I talked to Mary, Alice and Patty and I about this all the time on DWI would have a little garden because it's like a co op. So it's all three of us. Plus, you guys can come. Thank you a little bit. Yeah, yoga teacher certification. I could teach yoga to our patrons and Christie carry our grievances. Christie could do burning Chris. That is true. I'll take people on bird trips. I think we should do this. And then all our friends and fiction viewers can come visit. I think owning a pub and running it is what a friend of mine who grew up on a farm said people who have never lived on a farm think it's romantic to have a farm, and I bet it is the same way with the pub. E had an Irish pub in in, uh, New Orleans, and it's nonstop work. But Patty, what would you be doing? Oh, Wow, I e a question if I want. I know, I know. You stumped me. You know, my career was I was a nurse, so I am sure that that's probably what I'd still be doing. But and I've often told Christie this my hobby is decorating and designing. I'm not that great at it, but I don't know, I bet I would still be. You are. I bet I would still be very working so And I loved it. I loved being a nurse, so I'd probably still be doing something. I probably wouldn't be in the hospital, probably at a doctor's office or something. But yeah, it's, um you know what? The worst of our times, we were all texting each other. And I know signee, you join us in this thought is that we were lamenting half joking. Why did we choose this career? And I said, texted back. I don't think we chose it. I think it shows us. So it's always interesting to think about what we'd be doing if we weren't doing this. Okay, Signee, we have so many questions for you. But before we get started, you tell us all about the for gotten Kingdom, but I want to share with our watchers and readers and...

...members the incredible book trailer that you had made. Que the book trailer we're sound. Uh huh. Oh, here it just imagine. Really climactic music. Oh, e Oh. Okay. Oh, cool. Come on. On my website to property copy. I'm making the horse Klopp noises when that Great. Good. Yeah, that was really good. That that could be your next career special for me. Her to the throne, the for gotten kingdom Pop up. Okay, Me? The video told us a little bit. Tell us about the for gotten kingdom. I know it the second in the Lost Queen trilogy, so tell us a little bit about it. So the first thing that's really, um exciting to talk about about these books is that there are some historical figures from the sixth century that scholars agree existed and languorous of cats. Owl, um, was married to one of them, but she herself has never really been acknowledged. But she was, as far as we know, a real queen. She would have been one of those powerful queens in six centuries. Scotland on. She made some really powerful enemies in her life, which caused her, I think Thio be swept under the rug and her name was maligned. And she was only remembered in a little scrap of Glasgow folklore about a fish in a ring as an adulteress, I mean, and that is his old is the Bible, isn't it? If we're going to talk about Merry England, etcetera. But so these books are a reimagining off languorous life. And so as such there as far as I'm concerned, their historical fiction, Um, and the For Gotten Kingdom is the second book in the trilogy, and the first book was told all from languorous point of view. But what's so exciting about the for gotten kingdom is that now the world of the Lost Queen sort of birth wide open because we're getting to see and experience Scotland all the way down from the Scottish borders up to Orkney through the perspectives of three different characters, one of them being her twin brother, Lilac, in who some people think is the man who inspired the legend of Merlin, whose historical figure who inspired the legend of Merlin. So that's that Julie, the for gotten kingdom in a nutshell. You know it gives it never ceases to give me chills. Mary Alice will talk about it in a second. But when Signee first talked about writing this book and she started talking about the research in this lost queen Mary, Alice and I were like leaning forward, Write it, write it. Why aren't you writing it? Why are you writing this book? So saying that we're each gonna ask you a question, but I'm going to start off by asking you the question. We ask all of our guests. It's my favorite question, and because I know some of your fascinating family history, tell us about the family values around reading and writing when you were growing up. Oh, that's a great question. So my father was a at first a creative writing student at Cornell University and then went on to try to get his dissertation their asses Ph. D. In creative writing but never finished his dissertation. And so he just moved over and became a senior lecturer in the business school. But that kind of dead in him and and he had such a passion and a love for literature that he could quote bay Wolf and Chaucer from memory. He was really spectacular, man. He's since passed away. But so he really loved books. And my mother also was a huge. She was an English major, and that's how she met my father. He was...

...her teacher when she was 19. Got eso we just grew up with, You know, books were just a primary focus in our lives and stories, and it was a So my father was trying to download. As much information into my brain is possible. And I still have a memory of being six or seven or eight years old and sitting on the living room couch. And he was trying to discuss with me the Anglo Saxon invasion. And I was completely bored like, Well, Lord and hey would get so upset with me that I wasn't like a year old really interested in learning about, you know, the conquering of the British Isles. And now I'm just, you know, wishing but s. So that was it. And he would do really cool stuff like take us for walks in the woods and we would sit on a log in the woods in autumn in upstate New York which is just beautiful. The trees are all Gloria's. And we would eat apples after school and we would sit and read C s Lewis on a log in the forest. And so, to me, growing up, I think Narnia was all around. I know Patty and I connect a lot over that in our love of C s. Lewis and, um so, yeah, I think I grew up with this. The world of books was everywhere around me. You know, I felt like I was always stepping into a story, and I think I carried that into adulthood to Oh, chill, bump. Beautiful. Yeah. Oh, wow. Yeah, and And look, if he could see you now writing about this, your father, I think how how proud he is that you're writing about it. It's like you had it all imbued in. You just meant until you grew up because now it's bubbling out. That's amazing. 40 years, you know? E rushed wine, right, Christian? Fine wine and some volleyers. Kristen, I know you had a Western person. Yeah, signee. I'm just so interested in the research you dio and I know Patty mentioned in the intro that you had spent, what, 10 years researching? Before you've even started the first book. Um, so can you just talk us through a little bit about your writing and your research process and specifically what they looked like for this book? I think, you know, all of us do a lot of research, but nowhere near that. So it z really interested to hear about, I think. Yeah, well, so I think the research in the cultic world started when I was writing Fairy tale because I started Thio delve into the idea of nature spirits from a skeptics perspective. And what were they? Because I certainly didn't believe in fairies anymore. I was I was a grown up, but what? I discovered spoiler alert. But actually, this is kind of better for people coming into fairytale. Who might think that it's like a silly journey, um, to research fairies. What I actually discovered was that fairies are actually an ancient folkloric memory of Celtic gods. And when Christianity came into the British Isles, they literally the religion literally pushed fairies, pushed the Celtic gods underground and they became residents of the burial mounds and there was a memory that they were attached to like the ancient culture. You would find them in burial mounds and, um, stone circles and all these ancient places because they were connected to that previous culture. And they really were just spirits of place because the cults believed in these ancient spirits of place, like rivers were gods and goddesses, mostly goddesses. But so that was a part of it. And then writing the loss Queen took about six years from start to finish because of life and the writing process. I've never written fiction before and what was amusing. I think I was really fortunate in that Patty mentioned that she and Mary Alice were around that...

...first night, and when I spoke about wanting to write the book and they said, Do it, we have your back, we're gonna help you. And so you know both of them throughout the writing process, the mini crash course in how to write, how to write fiction, because I could teach it as an editor. But I had never done it myself. And then I went. I was able to go over there and go to the sites Christian. That was the coolest part. And that's what changed everything was to get toe. I had to write the scene, the opening scene of the book without having ever been to this place. Um, shadow hero outside of Glasgow. And what was really eerie was when I finally got the chance to go and scraped and saved and, you know, finally got there. It was exactly as I pictured it down to the ferns and everything. It was really amazing. Oh, from anything, it seems like it was the story you were meant to write. That's incredible. I hope so. It's felt like that. It really has felt like it. I felt like since finding this, I've just found my place and my voice in writing and in life in general. Do you have any, um, in terms of ancestors that go back just Scotland or those areas? I'm thinking of genetic memory here. You know, that's the question I get asked a lot, and it's really interesting as far as I know. I mean, I'm just I'm part half Russian and half Scandinavian, but my mother has told me that one of my ancestors was a Viking, and there's a lot of sweet over a north of Scotland. So it could be that some of my ancestors ended up there. Yeah. E think that I mean, it just seems to bubble out of e. Can't explain my connection to the place, but it does feel like home when I go there, that's for sure. Oh, Christie wasn't Harvey. I know you have this amazing question for Signee. Yes, I dio So the for Gotten Kingdom, your new book is the sequel to The Lost Queen. I'm sorry. I cannot see moving a number of years ahead and containing additional perspectives. How did the process of writing a sequel differ from drafting the first book in the series? I felt like writing the sequel was somehow easier. Although it wasn't the ideal time to be writing the book. And it took me longer than I imagined because I learned how to write fiction already. Don't you think we're all always learning new new things, right? So it's not your you're done. And now you're fiction writer. But I was I was excited to try new perspectives and new points of view, And, um so, yeah, that was really a huge part of it. Um and then I didn't want it to just be what they call a bridge book. You know, in a trilogy, there's that dreaded sophomore novel, The Bridge Book. It's the book that comes between one and the next, but nothing really. There's no really are going to start and a finish. That's kind of the danger that a lot of books fall into. And I I had to just trust the story and just go into it, and I'm a very I write really intuitively. So I knew the historical points that had to be in there, but I didn't know where it was gonna end until I finally reached the ending in the draft. So that was kind of exciting. That's really what you're good point. I wrote a trilogy and that middle book. It really is stressful because you were like, You have to figure out where am I going to pick up? Where am I gonna leave off? But I'm like you. I don't outline or anything. So it was I was like, Oh, my gosh. I just hope this works out. Yeah, obviously did for you. E hope so. I mean, the book just came out yesterday so people will let me know hopefully on Good reads and say nice things. E nice to say, Don't Yeah, only nice things. Yeah, all of you out there watching on...

Lee said you could say ugly things to yourselves and to the people around you. But do not do not post a nasty review and tagged the author. You hear the worst? Yeah. Your mama said, you know only nice things. Yeah, that's like walking up to someone on the street and saying, Oh, I hate your shoes. Yeah. One day we're gonna trio which one of us had the idea? But we're gonna come on here and read our most horrific tab. You know, Mary case. That's what I wanted to do for my episode for my justice. Episode of Mary Kay said she did not want to do that. Okay, let's do that. Now. Why would you pay attention to me, Christie e, You're You're so smart and you're usually right. E question for Sydney. My e. I think we should do one of those. We should all take our worst good reads reviews. And maybe I could be someone else's. But and we read, we read them, and then you actually compare them to a classic book? Because if you guys ever seen the one star use for really amazing books, Um, and there's a reviews, there's no excuse for one star review. That's just usually someone who has sour grapes. Or, you know, that's not a real review or it doesn't clean your carpet or whatever it was Christmas. It was like just started out OK, but it does not clean to my carpet Now. It's like, you know, start a the one where they get the books and it's been damaged in shipping. E. If you book a one star review because it came damaged, Yeah, I don't think you understand the concept of review power away when you share them, you know, it really does. I have a question I am supposed to ask, Um, but there's a question I wanna ask Mawr than the one I'm supposed to ask for. That one that has asked it already, and I'll tell you who it is. It's a reader who says, How do you decide to end and begin a chapter in a book you are writing? And I think this is really appropriate with historic fiction Yeah. Um, for me, it's a feeling. What? I'm working it. I go through the dips and I go through the the there's that sort of there's this summit, and then there's the dips in the valleys that happened throughout the scene, and you feel I think I feel, anyway, the conclusion of it. And then I also consents to when I'm ready to move on when I'm ready to move on to that next seen. And what was so great about writing from three points of view is that there's always something happening. I think the pacing in the for gotten kingdom has really benefited from being able to just pick up in someone else's story. And it felt so freeing to able to pick up wherever I wanted Thio in that next installment, Do you try it right in the chapter on a cliffhanger, or even stop it a little ahead of the cliffhanger? So the reader is saying to themselves, Oh my God, what happens next? I tend to bring it to a point where you feel okay leaving that character at least ideo. One of things I love, though, about Harry Potter, is how do you remember reading Harry Potter for the first time? How JK Rowling just kept you turning those pages because she would leave it on a cliffhanger. But I think if you can't do it with the finesse that she did, it becomes a little gimmicky. So I tried toe leave people with a sense of okay, this characters, they're okay. They're they're not imperil anymore. But we don't quite know what's gonna happen next, but I think that's a lot of rhythm. Hmm. But I think that's also when I have to pee when I have two PM Ending the chapter e wanted to say was, I think, what with your story in...

...particular in the for gotten kingdom. There's so many, Like you said, perils and battles and things happening that you're like holding your breath for so much. It is nice to say, Okay, he's fine now, and I could go somewhere else because it's a different kind of story. That's so much action in your book. Yeah, and they're really events. I mean, that's that's what I think is so much fun about these books is that the tiny little dips and plot twist that happened to the character is not so much, but every sort of raid in battle is an actual historical event that really took place. Mary Alice, I know you have a question, so keep it rolling. It's a perfect Segway. Um, one of all those historical facts and details that you have regarding the battles makes such great historic Fitch fiction. But what I really love about your work is that you take us into your story world. You're really story world builder. So I smell the sense when she gathers the herbs to prepare. I really loved early on when they were at the Stone Circle, and I never knew that they were auras around the circles because of the people who were buried beneath, like those details really brought me into the world. And that's historic fiction. But because, as you said, you wrote about this really Queen Queen languorous, but her brother, her twin brother, lie local lie Logan, who is known as Berlin that often makes people misunderstand that your book is a fantasy and it's historic fiction. Can you talk about that this conception and talk about the two different genres of fantasy and historic occasion? Yeah, and you know, I think it's important to say that I don't mind that that people call it historical fantasy so much because I think there's an element that we can't we can't ever prove something from the sixth century we've lost. And this is the problem of oral tradition with the councils that we've lost so much of their actual, um, rituals that when it comes to those sorts of things, you'll find that I don't I won't make them up. If I don't know if I don't have an old charm that I found in the 19th century book from the Highlands, then I'm not going to put something in the book. I won't just create something. Um, there are no gods or goddesses in my books that the Kelt didn't come from Celtic history. So yeah, all of the holidays, etcetera. I think that what happens is we just tend to think a the Merlin issue. Merlin has been turned into a wizard over the 1400 years since he lilac in lived and and I think every author who over the centuries, starting with Geoffrey of Monmouth and Thomas Malory, kind of took their own go at it and the story became incredibly distorted. And it was. It was also always treasured, which is what's so amazing about writing about these characters from our theory and myth is that, um, they were so beloved for so many centuries and and to me, I think that speaks to the historical core of who these people were and what they did in their lifetimes, which is what I try to unearth. But I do think that when we write about a pre Christian religion, for some reason, that tends to be seen as fantasy. Whereas if you have a Christian character who prays and then they see the fruit of their prayer come to pass in the text, the book is still considered historical fiction, so that is the area that I sort of have an issue with and that I'm trying to change. I think just I'm really trying...

...to reconstruct Celtic religion very faithfully, and I don't think that the book should be considered fantasy because I'm writing about the mindset of the sixth century person, which was a world where people believed in curses and the power, of course, is both Christians and pre Christians alike. believed in that, um, any Hagee hagiography of a saint and you'll see that these saints were doing miracles and working magic Aziz Well s Oh, I think that that's just I'm trying to write from an ancient mindset when a tree was seemed tohave, some sort of of feeling or sense to it, and rivers where goddesses And what is it like? I try to put myself and therefore the reader in that world, eso Is it fantasy? Not to me. But, um and and I think that sixth century cults would agree They probably be on my side with that. So, you know, with the research now, such as the language of trees were kind of going back a little bit too. What you're talking about, what the Druids Kells believe. I think we've for gotten a great deal about our connection to the land. And one of things I love to do here in Charleston is I live on the beach and I'll go and walk the beach path. And, um, there's all sorts of things that that you walk past and different like be bomb is a great example. It's blooming now, and you can look it up and it's got It's got medicinal purposes that we don't even remember. So interesting. Good point, Good point. And Sidney, I want to tell everybody because it's so fascinating when you talk about these things, you make us want to be there for you all watching Signee is doing and has been doing for the last, What, 10 days or so. A tour of Scotland on your instagram. So if you look up signee Pikes Instagram, you can you can tour some of the places in the book when she did her research trip. I think it's really fascinating, but we're going to take a quick break to talk about our bookstore. The week Mary Alice, will you remind everyone about the bookstore of the week and talk about it real quick? I will. Thank you. It's zits, one that's very dear to I think, all five of us and Sydney, especially, who chose it. Blue Bicycle books. It's located in Charleston, and many of us have been hosted by blue bicycle books for events and luncheons. One sat into incident happened last summer when the riots in Charleston occurred. They had their front window broken and some books were stolen, which amusingly we're some were mine because I happened to have my books through the window at the time they found some in the street. I guess the writers weren't reading on Ocean Boulevard too much, but they cleaned up. And like so many other bookstores, they have been so good about, um, taking orders online and during personal deliveries. So it's a really wonderful thing for us to buy our books. They're giving 10% off for all of Sydney's books and all of our books at Blue Bicycle Books if you order from them. It's so great Thio to support this wonderful bookstore who also hosts the largest young adult festival in the country, the Y'all festival right here in Charleston. And also we have a very special surprise. Cigna. You're going to show the beautiful feather I have one yet I have one and I'm not wearing. It's not good stuff in North Carolina. It's so gorgeous. But look how beautiful looks on Sydney Patty, are you wearing yours? No, it's way. But for those who order signees, the for gotten kingdom tonight in this week, they will tally the names and someone will win or she will mail to you this beautiful feather. So not only do you get 10% off and support a great book...

...store, if that isn't sweet enough, you get a chance to win this feather. So win, win, win. Yes. And I have to say that that so the feather is made in partnership with a company in Colorado Silver Hawk studios and their repurposed bison bone that air then painted. But you need to make sure you take it off. Whoever wins, take it off before you go in the sauna or the pool or anything like that, because they are natural material in their porous. But, um, they are blessed with sage before we send them out on Bond that you, which is a really ancient ancient practice. And this necklace you're seeing now is languorous feather, which has a really important place in The Lost Queen. The first book, but the one that I'm wearing tonight is actually on Harrod's feather. And it is a crow, feather and patty. You know, you can see if it's it's kind of black. I get closer. Um, and Patty and Mary Alice no, my particular particular fondness for crows. So it was really exciting to be able to make this feather Crows are actually a huge symbol in the for gotten kingdom, so the winner can pick which they like and it's a $50 value. The large feather is yeah, so and I donate 10% to charity as well, e. I mean, how could you not want to order the immediately if you haven't already? It's a great story to I read it and it's just so good. Okay, so we have loads of reader questions, but as usual, I don't know why this keeps happening to us. We're we're running a teeny bit late, but we're going to go through them. So we're gonna go through some rapid quick reader question. Mary, you picked the first one cane. Sydney, what do you want readers to take away from your novels? Well, a. Their historical fiction, which I think we covered and be the fact that there's a lot in history that repeats itself. And I think right now we're in a moment where we can really make a change and start to avoid making some of those mistakes that we've been making for centuries. upon centuries. Eso I would like us to start learning from our mistakes that were made by our ancestors in the past. Awesome. Good answer. How about you? Mary Kay Andrews. You pulled one of the reader questions for Debbie Causey is excited to be here tonight with us watching you signee, and she wants to know what your favorite site in Scotland was when you were doing research. I want to know, too. Move the right question. Well, I will say that there was a site I went in 14 gall. There is an ancient you tree that's been there for centuries and centuries and centuries. Some people even say it's 2000 years old or or older, and I set in the book. There is a colony of processes there and I would say that was a really amazing sight. And that whole area around 14 gall um, that Glenn um, it's called it was called then the Glen of the Crooked Stones. It's a beautiful, beautiful place and you can still go there. Today is stunning, Stunning. That's amazing. I think what I think. I think what's happening here is a hot one. Trip. Yes. S Chris totally last night. Live questions. Your best theory bills. Yes. Um, how do you make man? Pruitt says. Where do you get so many plot ideas? This question could be for anyone. I'm so amazed that you are also prolific. I'm just polishing up my first novel and have absolutely loved the process and want to write another. But ideas? None. Not one. How do your inspirations come to you? I kind of want to hear from somebody in this group who's a plotter because I know a couple of you are, and I'm more I'm a cancer. So wait, wait, your answer That Zatz seems impossible? E yeah, I have the elements...

...on, but I'll do is I'll make post it notes of the historical events that I put on my wall and it becomes very beautiful. Mind ask and creepy E. And then I sit and I don't know how I'm going to get from one post it to the next, and I just like, find and crawl my way. And it's ugly and painful and terrible. So I mean, if anybody has a better way than that, and it's it comes down to listening, listening to your intuition and getting very still and quiet and starting to try to listen to your story and not block it with all of our own crazy inter criticisms, at least for me. Um, so that's that's kinda how I do it, but I would love to hear from you guys. You're you're a plotter. That's the depth because you have the outline. I mean, that's no different than I'm a plotter, and I have my outline and I know stages. But I'm a panther when it comes to actually writing the stuff. You know where you have to go, but they're crawling to get there. It is terrible. What? It's terrible. I remember when we when you every time I talk to you over a two week period, you're like I'm still trying to get her to the river. Yeah, E Chris Christie, I think you're pretty pants. Yes, definitely. But I think it's so funny. I was just going to point this out because I think all of us have said this at some point in the past, like week or two, because we're all kind of coming to the end of a project like Patty. I know you said. I know this happened to me like weekend before last where we're just writing, writing, writing, writing and we don't even know what it iss. Yeah, but we have this this story and it's coming to us. But we don't know what the story is. And so we're just I think Mary Kay, you mentioned that too, like your you've got these two different things that are like in your mind. And so I feel like for most of us, probably what we do is we just dive in or whatever it is it's like in our head, even though we don't know what it is. And it might not feel like, Ah story. But it's something that's gonna turn into something, God willing. E think it's like watching to see if a seed takes. If you know if it if it germinates at the scene, germinates then starts implanting itself in your mind and you start asking questions and thinking about it and you can't get it out of your head. Um, yeah. I was on television the other night and I got an idea, and I started texting it to my agent s ideas. I think they come from everywhere to me. How about you, Kristen? Yeah. I think if you're stuck, research is always is always helpful. Um, I I often midway through researching a book, and I find an avenue that I didn't expect at all That turns out to be ah, much bigger piece of the plot for a much bigger piece of the finished book than I expected it to be. Um, so to Teddy, who asked that question? I would just say whatever you can do to research your story or dive deeper into your story or your characters. Um, do that and then see where your research and your your imagination take you. All right, Kristen. Actually, since you're on the horn here, can you pull up a live question for us real quick? A rapid fire one? Yes. I also have to say quickly, Halle Corrigan says Mary Kay Andrews, Your brother's pub is the best, best reversed Po boys and good bloody Marys. So e very, um, alright. Peggy Steel quickly would like to know if you could tell us a little bit about the first book in the trilogy Signee. It's the Lost Queen, and it details the early life of languorous up until about the age of 33. And, um, how she grew up outside of Glasgow in what is now shadow hero, but was then called cads out fortress with her father, who was a king, and her brother, who was, ah, warrior but also training to become a Druid. And in my book, I called them Wisdom Keepers.

It's awesome. Okay, this is my favorite part of the show. Honestly, because I feel like I'm I've learned something every week. Signee give us every episode. We try and give a writing tip, and we used to say, We're giving a writing tip for those out there wanting to write a book. But now we realize we're just selfish and we wanted for ourselves. So could you give us a quick writing it help our viewer who was asking about starting that next book? What I do is I keep a word document that has the date and then the number of words that I start with so day one will be zero, obviously, because that's the worst part. That's where we all start when we started draft, and then each day that I write I'll sit. However long you have to write. Whether you've got, you know, 10 minutes or an hour or two hours of the whole day, you just track how your words to track your word count. And each day you tally it up. So the first day you wrote 200 words at your end of your session, you say equals 200. The next day date started at 200 ended at 500. And what it does for me is that it really helps me see that I'm building something because I think we start to feel like I'm never going to get through this or I'm lost in this scene or I don't know what to write. Just put words on paper. And it's something that I got from Stephen King's book on writing. And it has helped me right so far. The great A great resource. That's a great resource. That alone? Yeah, yeah, I love that tip. That's really good, because it does feel daunting. Yeah, you just got to get the words down, you know? And then you can advise, you know. Thank you, Sidney. Thank you. Actually, I bet all tomorrow morning we're all gonna write e many words. So every week we tried to talk about books. Suggestions were debuts and signee, I'm gonna ask you in a second if you have one. But all of us here at Friends and Fiction wanted to tell you about this amazing debut that came out in paperback this month, and it is called The Magnetic Girl by the indomitable and amazing Jessica Handler. Her last book was actually a memoir, but this book, The Magnetic Girl, was a Wall Street Journal's 10 best picks. And in the next pick a start. Kirkus Review, A spring Oprah Pick All the Things, and It is based on a true historical woman, and it's all atmospheric and electricity. And it centers on Lulu, who is the daughter of a Civil War defector and the sister of Leo, whose developmental challenges she feels responsible for. Lulu conjures magic within herself and makes others believe in it, too. It's an astounding novel, and all of us wanted to let you know about it, um, signees or anything you've been loving lately, So I brought to books to show tonight I am just starting. Sue Monk Kidd's The Book of longings. Awesome. Yes, which I'm very excited about because I know that she was a long time in writing this book on I read her book The Invention of Wings. And of course, I read secret life of bees and everything. So I said three other book I just wanted to share because I thought this was so cool. Is that my son and I just found this book. The Reluctant Dragon. Oh, it's so cute. I know it's 19 fifties, and we found it in the little free library here on the island where I live. And it's just everything that I like red when I was a child. And so I'm really excited, Ace. And I'm gonna be reading this together soon. Right now that that's amazing that you don't have anything they wanna come all out. Anybody else have a book to talk about? Okay, because we're running late. We're gonna We're gonna keep going. So, Kristen, tell us a little bit. We have loads of fun announcements. Eso don't go anywhere, Christian. Tell us what to expect next week. Sorry. Say again about the book club? Yeah. Okay. So you next week talking...

...about no e Christie's talking about next week, so I switched it. O e I'm gonna be hosting and an episode next week. Um, it's gonna be the five of us friends and fiction author. Sorry about that, Patty. It's gonna be the five of them. And I haven't quite said a lot of topic yet, but I think it's gonna be something similar to what Patty did last month. We loved just talking about, um, kind of our fears and what makes us tick and those kinds of things and our failures. That's what we talked about last time. We might talk a little bit this time about the magic we confined in books because I think that's something that that, you know, a lot of you can connect with also. So that's going to be, um, next Wednesday night, and then we're also going to be doing a bonus episode next Sunday, September 27th at five PM featuring Christina Lauren, which is actually two people named Christina and Lauren. And they're going to talk to us all about writing together. They write these fabulous, you know, mega bestselling books, and they're just the best you guys were gonna love. Um Thanks, sweetie. Okay. Mary Kay, This is the big announcement we've all been waiting for. Drum roll. Yeah. So we were cooking up a secret project when you guys weren't paying attention. What happened? We are We saved up our episodes, and they have been magically converted into a podcast. And today they were magically uploaded. You will be able to listen to them on all your favorite, um, podcast places. But today, Amazon started doing podcasts. So friends and fiction, you don't have to be here with us live on Wednesday nights. We hope you will be. But you could listen to him in your car. You can listen to when you're like me when you're out running. Anyway, we're really excited about about the podcast, so please check it out. Starting today and you can and you'll find the links on friends and fiction. We'll give you all of those. And if you join friends and fiction, Andi said Wait. What do you mean you're on Episode 24. What happened to the other? You can go back now and find him on the podcast. And just a little note that if you are a newsletter subscriber, you would have already known that because you would have no today. So, Mary Alice, tell us about you now. Have a title for your bow. Oh, yeah, You know, my goodness, it's been a while. I'm have a title for my book coming out in May. It's called And can I just say thank you, Christian All of it Because I went to the Fab Five and I said, Oh, my gosh, the title I wanted was taken by someone else And Kristen said, this title The Summer of Lost and Found E. I love it. I love it. So it's coming out. You have covered reveal later on. We have to have to wait my turn. And I also want to talk a little bit. Given the time of one very special edition, Y'all we talked about what are off. Incredible authors who they are, who is coming. But on November 25th, and thank you for the Segway. Sydney Sue Monk Kidd is coming. She'll be here November 25th with her book belonging. We're very excited about that. So when you look at the fall schedule now, we just slipped that right in there. So, uh, way eso Christie tell us a little bit about the newsletter and the book club and some stuff going on? Yes. Um, don't forget about our newsletter is Kati said if you wanted to know signees answers to our amazing questions of the week they were in our newsletter. So if you were not subscribed, you missed out. And also Patty had a great essay this week. Andare members have started an amazing...

...book club over at the Friends and Fiction Book Club on Facebook. So you're definitely gonna want to join in. They just finished. Mary Alice is on Ocean Boulevard and she's going to be visiting over there all week long and interacting in the group. So when you have questions, if you have any questions for her, anything that you're just dying to know pop over there, it's amazing, and you're gonna love it. Um, yes. And next month is Patty Callahan's becoming Mrs Lewis. Patty is gonna be popping over with special content videos and answers to your questions, and I was just gonna mention really quickly. Do not miss next Wednesday night because it's my cover video for under the Southern Sky. I'm so excited to share it with you guys. Um I love it, and I can't wait to show it to you. I can't wait for it. We're lucky. The five of us, the other four of us. We've seen it. But you have been teasing people with the spine of the booth. All right, we need to wrap it up. But, Sydney, I know this is probably for you. Are there any last things where you can tell people where to find you and where you're gonna be this week or anything like that? You can always go to my website signify dot com. I've got a bunch of other virtual events coming up, um, one at Litchfield books and some other things coming down the pipeline. So you confined that all on my events page. And also, we've got a great community on my Facebook author page on Instagram as well. Sydney, we're so glad you came. It's been an amazing night, lady signee. You are a treat and a Celtic fairy yourself. One reminder to support a propeller, the weak and the link is on our friends and fiction page. And you can use the code friends to get 10% off with a chance to win that amazing feather bone necklace. All right, ladies. Anything else before we sign? It s so fast tonight. Thank you. Said me That was so fun. E happy public. And just for one last thing, Yes, yes, Gorgeous. It is gorgeous. It is gorgeous match. Even if you're If you just stumbled on here and you don't read bugs, you should still buy that just toe like display in your thin. This fine is beautiful. It's a wonderful Alright, everyone. Thanks for spending your Wednesday night with us. We are friends in fiction. And that's a wrap. Good night. Good night. Good night, everybody. Oh, that was fun. You know, I wanted for okay, I'm bringing this time. I told her she has the brother. Buddha is her dog. So she has his brother on. I said, you've got to bring your dog today. Said Well, he's been kind of acting up, you know? I think you know, we get so excited when our books come out. Don't forget, Tuesday was just the day came out. So she said, I don't think I can handle Buddha tonight. But some nights in a patty when we go over and we get all the dogs together. It's crazy. E bring Winnie. She'll she'll mess up a nice thing. I wanted you to bring Winnie last time next time. But her She really, um she dove in so deep with this book, and it was she she did claw her way through it because trying to match up all this historical as you historical authors, No, but the battles and so much and trying to make it really in terms of people. And like I said, the sense I mean kissing, you...

...know, the stuff that makes a story I'm alive. That was that was a tough one. And, Christie, didn't it make you feel better when she said that she didn't plan? I mean, because that book is still complicated. Make you feel better, but she just like, pantsed it through that part e your face, Christian. Your face is like, No, no, no. You're not having anxiety attack or something, Christian. When your historical, though there are specific timelines, right, that you still have to follow. Yeah, e mean. That's why I was so confused by her saying that because I feel like, yeah, outline like with historical Thea outline even even just having like a timeline is sort of an outline, you know what I mean? You know what? Maybe it's a little looser writing about something so far in the past, you know, because, like when I'm writing historical, I I'll know that on September 29 1941 such and such happened. There's probably zero like that. Maybe the time frames are a little bit looser. Possibly I never thought about that. What I mean, just doing this book that I just finished its like late 18 hundreds early 19 hundreds, and I am a Total Panther. So I just pants my way through it and I got to them and I was like, Mhm. This doesn't really work the way that my normal books, too, and I had to redo the entire historical timeline because it was confusing, because I really love to go back and forth in time, back and forth in time, back and forth in time. But when you're already writing a contemporary historical novel, really just it's too much. So I had to totally redo it. So having an outline would have been a grand idea if I ever write another historical novel. But what I found really crazy is that, you know, is really trying to work from primary sources. And I don't know if you guys have found this because you've done this so much more than I have. But so many of my primary sources, Like when I went to go back them up, they were wrong. S e mean. And I think at some point like you just some of that stuff. You just kind of have to let go a little bit and it has to suit your story. And Patty, you sort of walked me through this on this one major point that I was like, I could have really centered a story around this thing. And when I went to, like, actually go to the places and get the records, they don't exist. So it was crazy. Wow. And the interview, she described what I did with becoming Mrs Lewis, and even with the shipwreck book, because it's 18 38 survived, Anna, I made sure that I had the major nodal point, So I always describe it like the book is a person, and the dates are the skeleton. You cannot mess with the dates You cannot not the rial stuff, but you're right with 600. So somebody just made a comment. I'm reading and it says can Sean just actually was from Sean, our beloved Sean. He said people are asking, What is a Pan pole? Oh, my God s people, right? Places all of us. Way s Christie explained. Ah, pants. Er is someone who flies by the seat of their pants and, um, just writes the stories that comes to them like you don't know if it's the beginning in the middle or the end. You're just writing, and then you sort of are muddling your way through. Ah, Plotter has, like, at least a basic outlines, you know, sort of where your story is going to go before you get started. E one sounds like evil and conniving. And the other one sounds big. Recorded, i e. I have to confess. This is the first time I've ever been a panther in what I'm writing. Now I kind of know what's happening, but I've...

...never done this before, and it's kind of frame. It's a terrifying e No, you get to just like it doesn't feel like going toe work. It feels like discovering a magical adventure today. Morning e sit down terror in my heart, not having an e mean but you are writing these extremely detailed historical. I mean you have you have to have a Z. I have now learned retrospect I'll take. I'll take that now. But I also have always outlined in detail and I will tell you and ask you if you outlined your first. Yes, and I will tell you how to sleep with the movie. Star did not require a super long like 30,000 word outline, but I did that e research like for that E. Leavitt who were having soon it was doing a this, like writing tips and having other people do him. And I saw Paula McLain did one who were also having in the spring. But she said, and I love this because of what we're talking about. She said, the to never try to make yourself be a different kind of writer than you are that that So for me to try and make myself being the kind of writer Christin is with that outline, I tried with the book. I was thinking about starting, and I was like, Oh, my God, banging my head on the computer. So, yes, I need some kind. But I think when we talk about these things, people try toe People think I wanted to do it just the way Christie did it. Or just but half the fun of being a writer is discovering what kind of writer you are. Yeah, and it changes. Even if the book, the book, how you approach a novel based on what that story requires, I actually agree with that. I think that's extremely true and especially, like the more PBS you have and the more complex it becomes And yeah, you never know you got a local last names. My outline was actually a lot shorter because the research was Maura about the techniques like the meat of the research was the techniques of the forgery, and that didn't belong in the outline. You know what I mean? Like some of my mom has been like the meat of the research is more like the sequence of events or you know how things could happen. But actually that that's a good point. It does change from book to book. Yeah. Oh, my God. Very honest. Your dogs. They've been so good sitting underneath the test, not barking during the show. So I had to. They were getting out of e like that. When the dog steals the show, it's time for us to sign off. Great. It's like when it's like when Jennifer Aniston said she was really upset that everyone was talking about her haircut because obviously her acting was not that good. Perfect metaphor. I love you guys. I'll see you. I love you, too. Good night, everybody. Tomorrow morning 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 news and bookstores to chat about. Goodbye. Yeah,.

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