Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year 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. Fivebest selling authors, Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast withfive best selling novelist whose common love of reading, writing an independentbookstores found them together with jets, author interviews and fascinatinginsider talk about publishing and writing. Thes friends discuss the booksthey've written, the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling.If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in theright place. Bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, ChristieWoodson, Harvey Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtimefriends with more than 80 published books to their credit. A to Start ofthe Pandemic They got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about theirbooks, their favorite bookstores writing, reading and publishing in thisnew, uncharted territory. They're still talking, and they've added fascinatingdiscussions with other bestselling novelists, so join them live on theirfriends and fiction. Facebook Group page every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern,or listen and view later at your leisure. Hello, everyone, and welcometo Friends and Fiction, our weekly Facebook live show featuring authorchats in support of independent bookstores five. The selling authorsEndless 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 isbecoming Mrs Lewis. Hi, I'm Mary Alice Munro, and my latest novel is on OceanBoulevard. I'm Mary Kay Andrews, and my latest novel is Hello Summer. I'mChristine Harmel, and my latest novel is The Book of Lost Names. I'm ChristiWoodson Harvey and my latest novel. It's Feels like Falling, and this isfriends in fiction, and we're so glad that you're here tonight. In a minutewe'll be welcoming our great guests, Signee Pike. So before she shows up, Iwant to tell you a little bit about her and a little bit about what we havecoming up. So signee Pike was born in Ithaca, New York, and graduated fromCornell University with her bachelor of science in communication. She worked asan acquisitions editor at Random House and then Penguin before leaving towrite her first book, Fairy tale, One Woman Search for Enchantment. In amodern world, it's amazing. Pike has spent the past 10 years researching andwriting about Celtic history myth, folklore and tradition. Her love ofhistory, the great outdoors, early medieval and ancient archaeology, whichis a tongue twister. And her dedication to historical accuracy has made hersocial media feeds an informative delight to her readers. Signee teachesseminars and work ships internationally on writing and publishing, as well ason folklore and tradition. Her writing has been published by Salon Book Riot,NPR. Lots of others. This is her official bio, but her unofficial PattyCallahan bio is this. She is magical, and her work shows it from Celticmythology to pure enchantment. She just might be a Celtic creature herself, thewild and wonderful signee pipe, and we have so much to talk about, but reallyquick before we get rolling, as everyone out there knows every week andpart of our mission and friends and fiction is to support independentbooksellers. So I want to remind you that this week Signee has chosen Bluebicycle books in Charleston. You can head over to our friends and fictionpage to find a link to Blue bicycle books where you'll find all our recentrelease since at 10% off, including signees, book the for gotten kingdomwith the code friends. And if you order...

...from Blue Bicycle there is a specialoffer and give away That's coming from signee later in the show. So do not goanywhere so you can hear about that. So, without any more blathering from meWelcome to the Celtic creature herself The wild and wonderful signee Pipesignee. Hi, everyone. I'm excited for tonight. I'm so excited. I feel like wehaven't gotten to do something like this since pre Covad days. So this iskind of a treatment with all of you tonight. It's as good as it can getright now. That's what we say. So, Sydney, I know that during the pandemicyou were also home schooling God, Lord Almighty, if that's what you want tocall it with your little son and so tell us about what you have been doingduring the pandemic. This book is so deeply researched How in the world didyou 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 Iended 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 putthe book to the side. But I was talking last night at my reading. I did atbucks, in books about how virtually about how I was sort of living in twoworlds during that time because my head was you guys know how this is? I'm sureyour 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, whileyou'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 Idon't think I've ever felt more proud of myself that I was able to accomplishit. It's amazing. I mean, I remember talking to you during it, and we wereall trying to figure out how to manage cove it. And Christie and Kristen bothhave a little one at home. But you all are superheroes. I don't know how youended up doing all of that. So how about the rest of you? I know this hasbeen 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 weekfor some of us. We plowing through some things that needed finishing. And so acouple times this week, while we were all trying to muddle through, I keptthinking about something that is asked on our friends and fiction page all thetime. 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 Ithought that I thought I would live. And I thought they would carry me outof a newspaper building feet first. Eso I don't know. Maybe I'd be an antiquedealer, but I'm really not so good with the money. Part of good e. I'm good atthe buying stuff part. But I'm not so good at letting go. I can see that. Sohow about you, Mary? Alice? What would you do if I was a teacher and I think Iwould 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 theaquarium or for some nonprofit. I think that would be very cool. How about you,Christie? There's just no calling. So I wasactually working in finance when I started writing. I mean, I went tojournalism school. I had sort of a journalistic background, and I wasstill doing some freelance writing. Eso maybe I would have ended up in thatarena. But I was really seriously...

...considering, um, going to get my PhDwhen I started writing fiction and my husband very wisely was like, If youreally want to write fiction, why don't you try to write fiction? You canalways go back and get your PhD that will be waiting for you so at least seeif this will work out. You know, before you kind of dive into something thatyou're not really sure if you want to do, especially a commitment of thatsize. 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 infinance. 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 doingsomething related toe wine. I'm so interested in wine, and well, no, it'snot. I take a sip of mine, e. I have a friend who runs a bookstore in ST Petethat opens, um, actually, right at the beginning of the pandemic. It's calledBook 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 aboutwine. She's training to be a Somali A but also being able to share books withpeople. 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, sodefinitely I think I would still be behind a desk in New York City editingbooks. Um, it's been something that I miss and I did do some freelance when Ifirst went to Charleston before I got too busy with my own writing. Um, and Ikind of hope to go back to it someday. But the other thing I would love to dois to own a tiny little pub or in in Scotland, where writers and musicianscan come. I talked to Mary, Alice and Patty and I about this all the time onDWI would have a little garden because it's like a co op. So it's all three ofus. Plus, you guys can come. Thank you a little bit. Yeah, yoga teachercertification. I could teach yoga to our patrons and Christie carry ourgrievances. Christie could do burning Chris. That is true. I'll take peopleon bird trips. I think we should do this. And then all our friends andfiction viewers can come visit. I think owning a pub and running it is what afriend of mine who grew up on a farm said people who have never lived on afarm think it's romantic to have a farm, and I bet it is the same way with thepub. E had an Irish pub in in, uh, New Orleans, and it's nonstop work. ButPatty, what would you be doing? Oh, Wow, I e a question if I want. I know, Iknow. You stumped me. You know, my career was I was a nurse, so I am surethat that's probably what I'd still be doing. But and I've often told Christiethis 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 bevery working so And I loved it. I loved being a nurse, so I'd probably still bedoing something. I probably wouldn't be in the hospital, probably at a doctor'soffice 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 thisthought 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. Soit's always interesting to think about what we'd be doing if we weren't doingthis. Okay, Signee, we have so many questions for you. But before we getstarted, you tell us all about the for gotten Kingdom, but I want to sharewith our watchers and readers and...

...members the incredible book trailerthat you had made. Que the book trailer we're sound. Uh huh. Oh, here it justimagine. Really climactic music. Oh, e Oh. Okay. Oh, cool. Come on. On mywebsite 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 specialfor me. Her to the throne, the for gotten kingdom Pop up. Okay, Me? Thevideo told us a little bit. Tell us about the for gotten kingdom. I know itthe second in the Lost Queen trilogy, so tell us a little bit about it. Sothe first thing that's really, um exciting to talk about about thesebooks is that there are some historical figures from the sixth century thatscholars agree existed and languorous of cats. Owl, um, was married to one ofthem, but she herself has never really been acknowledged. But she was, as faras we know, a real queen. She would have been one of those powerful queensin six centuries. Scotland on. She made some really powerful enemies in herlife, which caused her, I think Thio be swept under the rug and her name wasmaligned. And she was only remembered in a little scrap of Glasgow folkloreabout a fish in a ring as an adulteress, I mean, and that is his old is theBible, isn't it? If we're going to talk about Merry England, etcetera. But sothese books are a reimagining off languorous life. And so as such thereas far as I'm concerned, their historical fiction, Um, and the ForGotten Kingdom is the second book in the trilogy, and the first book wastold all from languorous point of view. But what's so exciting about the forgotten kingdom is that now the world of the Lost Queen sort of birth wide openbecause we're getting to see and experience Scotland all the way downfrom the Scottish borders up to Orkney through the perspectives of threedifferent characters, one of them being her twin brother, Lilac, in who somepeople think is the man who inspired the legend of Merlin, whose historicalfigure who inspired the legend of Merlin. So that's that Julie, the forgotten kingdom in a nutshell. You know it gives it never ceases togive me chills. Mary Alice will talk about it in a second. But when Signeefirst talked about writing this book and she started talking about theresearch in this lost queen Mary, Alice and I were like leaning forward, Writeit, write it. Why aren't you writing it? Why are you writing this book? Sosaying that we're each gonna ask you a question, but I'm going to start off byasking 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 usabout 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 creativewriting student at Cornell University and then went on to try to get hisdissertation their asses Ph. D. In creative writing but never finished hisdissertation. And so he just moved over and became a senior lecturer in thebusiness school. But that kind of dead in him and and he had such a passionand 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 reallyloved books. And my mother also was a huge. She was an English major, andthat's how she met my father. He was...

...her teacher when she was 19. Got eso wejust grew up with, You know, books were just a primary focus in our lives andstories, and it was a So my father was trying to download. As much informationinto my brain is possible. And I still have a memory of being six or seven oreight years old and sitting on the living room couch. And he was trying todiscuss with me the Anglo Saxon invasion. And I was completely boredlike, Well, Lord and hey would get so upset with me that I wasn't like a yearold really interested in learning about, you know, the conquering of the BritishIsles. And now I'm just, you know, wishing but s. So that was it. And hewould do really cool stuff like take us for walks in the woods and we would siton a log in the woods in autumn in upstate New York which is justbeautiful. The trees are all Gloria's. And we would eat apples after schooland 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 alot over that in our love of C s. Lewis and, um so, yeah, I think I grew upwith this. The world of books was everywhere around me. You know, I feltlike I was always stepping into a story, and I think I carried that intoadulthood to Oh, chill, bump. Beautiful. Yeah. Oh, wow.Yeah, and And look, if he could see you now writing about this, your father, Ithink how how proud he is that you're writing about it. It's like you had itall 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? Finewine 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 Pattymentioned 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 usthrough a little bit about your writing and your research process andspecifically what they looked like for this book? I think, you know, all of usdo a lot of research, but nowhere near that. So it z really interested to hearabout, I think. Yeah, well, so I think the research in the cultic worldstarted when I was writing Fairy tale because I started Thio delve into theidea 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 betterfor people coming into fairytale. Who might think that it's like a sillyjourney, um, to research fairies. What I actually discovered was that fairiesare actually an ancient folkloric memory of Celtic gods. And whenChristianity came into the British Isles, they literally the religionliterally pushed fairies, pushed the Celtic gods underground and they becameresidents of the burial mounds and there was a memory that they wereattached to like the ancient culture. You would find them in burial moundsand, um, stone circles and all these ancient places because they wereconnected to that previous culture. And they really were just spirits of placebecause the cults believed in these ancient spirits of place, like riverswere 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 finishbecause of life and the writing process. I've never written fiction before andwhat was amusing. I think I was really fortunate in that Patty mentioned thatshe and Mary Alice were around that...

...first night, and when I spoke aboutwanting to write the book and they said, Do it, we have your back, we're gonnahelp you. And so you know both of them throughout the writing process, themini crash course in how to write, how to write fiction, because I could teachit as an editor. But I had never done it myself. And then I went. I was ableto 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 Ifinally 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 andeverything. It was really amazing. Oh, from anything, it seems like it was thestory you were meant to write. That's incredible. I hope so. It's felt likethat. It really has felt like it. I felt like since finding this, I've justfound 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'mthinking of genetic memory here. You know, that's the question I get asked alot, and it's really interesting as far as I know. I mean, I'm just I'm parthalf Russian and half Scandinavian, but my mother has told me that one of myancestors 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 thinkthat I mean, it just seems to bubble out of e. Can't explain my connectionto 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 LostQueen. I'm sorry. I cannot see moving a number of years ahead and containingadditional perspectives. How did the process of writing a sequel differ fromdrafting the first book in the series? I felt like writing the sequel wassomehow easier. Although it wasn't the ideal time to be writing the book. Andit took me longer than I imagined because I learned how to write fictionalready. 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 wasexcited to try new perspectives and new points of view, And, um so, yeah, thatwas really a huge part of it. Um and then I didn't want it to just be whatthey call a bridge book. You know, in a trilogy, there's that dreaded sophomorenovel, 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'skind of the danger that a lot of books fall into. And I I had to just trustthe story and just go into it, and I'm a very I write really intuitively. So Iknew the historical points that had to be in there, but I didn't know where itwas gonna end until I finally reached the ending in the draft. So that waskind of exciting. That's really what you're good point. I wrote a trilogyand that middle book. It really is stressful because you were like, Youhave 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, mygosh. I just hope this works out. Yeah, obviously did for you. E hope so. Imean, the book just came out yesterday so people will let me know hopefully onGood 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 toyourselves and to the people around you. But do not do not post a nasty reviewand tagged the author. You hear the worst? Yeah. Your mama said, you knowonly nice things. Yeah, that's like walking up to someone on the street andsaying, Oh, I hate your shoes. Yeah. One day we're gonna trio which one ofus 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 myjustice. Episode of Mary Kay said she did not want to do that. Okay, let's dothat. Now. Why would you pay attention to me, Christie e, You're You're sosmart and you're usually right. E question for Sydney. My e. I think weshould do one of those. We should all take our worst good reads reviews. Andmaybe I could be someone else's. But and we read, we read them, and then youactually compare them to a classic book? Because if you guys ever seen the onestar use for really amazing books, Um, and there's a reviews, there's noexcuse 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 orwhatever it was Christmas. It was like just started out OK, but it does notclean to my carpet Now. It's like, you know, start a the one where they getthe books and it's been damaged in shipping. E. If you book a one starreview because it came damaged, Yeah, I don't think you understand the conceptof review power away when you share them, you know, it really does. I havea question I am supposed to ask, Um, but there's a question I wanna ask Mawrthan the one I'm supposed to ask for. That one that has asked it already, andI'll tell you who it is. It's a reader who says, How do you decide to end andbegin a chapter in a book you are writing? And I think this is reallyappropriate with historic fiction Yeah. Um, for me, it's a feeling. What? I'mworking it. I go through the dips and I go through the the there's that sort ofthere's this summit, and then there's the dips in the valleys that happenedthroughout the scene, and you feel I think I feel, anyway, the conclusion ofit. And then I also consents to when I'm ready to move on when I'm ready tomove on to that next seen. And what was so great about writing from threepoints of view is that there's always something happening. I think the pacingin the for gotten kingdom has really benefited from being able to just pickup in someone else's story. And it felt so freeing to able to pick up whereverI wanted Thio in that next installment, Do you try it right in the chapter on acliffhanger, or even stop it a little ahead of the cliffhanger? So the readeris saying to themselves, Oh my God, what happens next? I tend to bring itto a point where you feel okay leaving that character at least ideo. One ofthings I love, though, about Harry Potter, is how do you remember readingHarry Potter for the first time? How JK Rowling just kept you turning thosepages because she would leave it on a cliffhanger. But I think if you can'tdo it with the finesse that she did, it becomes a little gimmicky. So I triedtoe leave people with a sense of okay, this characters, they're okay. They'rethey're not imperil anymore. But we don't quite know what's gonna happennext, but I think that's a lot of rhythm. Hmm. But I think that's alsowhen 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 thatyou're like holding your breath for so much. It is nice to say, Okay, he'sfine 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 tinylittle dips and plot twist that happened to the character is not somuch, but every sort of raid in battle is an actual historical event thatreally 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 thatyou have regarding the battles makes such great historic Fitch fiction. Butwhat 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 theherbs 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 thepeople who were buried beneath, like those details really brought me intothe world. And that's historic fiction. But because, as you said, you wroteabout this really Queen Queen languorous, but her brother, her twinbrother, lie local lie Logan, who is known as Berlin that often makes peoplemisunderstand that your book is a fantasy and it's historic fiction. Canyou talk about that this conception and talk about the two different genres offantasy and historic occasion? Yeah, and you know, I think it's important tosay that I don't mind that that people call it historical fantasy so muchbecause I think there's an element that we can't we can't ever prove somethingfrom the sixth century we've lost. And this is the problem of oral traditionwith the councils that we've lost so much of their actual, um, rituals thatwhen it comes to those sorts of things, you'll find that I don't I won't makethem up. If I don't know if I don't have an old charm that I found in the19th century book from the Highlands, then I'm not going to put something inthe book. I won't just create something. Um, there are no gods or goddesses inmy books that the Kelt didn't come from Celtic history. So yeah, all of theholidays, etcetera. I think that what happens is we just tend to think a theMerlin issue. Merlin has been turned into a wizard over the 1400 years sincehe lilac in lived and and I think every author who over the centuries, startingwith Geoffrey of Monmouth and Thomas Malory, kind of took their own go at itand the story became incredibly distorted. And it was. It was alsoalways treasured, which is what's so amazing about writing about thesecharacters from our theory and myth is that, um, they were so beloved for somany centuries and and to me, I think that speaks to the historical core ofwho these people were and what they did in their lifetimes, which is what I tryto 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 aChristian character who prays and then they see the fruit of their prayer cometo pass in the text, the book is still considered historical fiction, so thatis the area that I sort of have an issue with and that I'm trying tochange. I think just I'm really trying...

...to reconstruct Celtic religion veryfaithfully, and I don't think that the book should be considered fantasybecause I'm writing about the mindset of the sixth century person, which wasa world where people believed in curses and the power, of course, is bothChristians and pre Christians alike. believed in that, um, any Hageehagiography of a saint and you'll see that these saints were doing miraclesand working magic Aziz Well s Oh, I think that that's just I'm trying towrite from an ancient mindset when a tree was seemed tohave, some sort of offeeling or sense to it, and rivers where goddesses And what is it like? Itry 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 Theyprobably be on my side with that. So, you know, with the research now, suchas the language of trees were kind of going back a little bit too. Whatyou're talking about, what the Druids Kells believe. I think we've for gottena great deal about our connection to the land. And one of things I love todo here in Charleston is I live on the beach and I'll go and walk the beachpath. And, um, there's all sorts of things that that you walk past anddifferent like be bomb is a great example. It's blooming now, and you canlook it up and it's got It's got medicinal purposes that we don't evenremember. So interesting. Good point, Good point. And Sidney, I want to telleverybody because it's so fascinating when you talk about these things, youmake us want to be there for you all watching Signee is doing and has beendoing 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 ofthe places in the book when she did her research trip. I think it's reallyfascinating, 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 theweek and talk about it real quick? I will. Thank you. It's zits, one that'svery 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 beenhosted by blue bicycle books for events and luncheons. One sat into incidenthappened last summer when the riots in Charleston occurred. They had theirfront window broken and some books were stolen, which amusingly we're some weremine because I happened to have my books through the window at the timethey found some in the street. I guess the writers weren't reading on OceanBoulevard too much, but they cleaned up. And like so many other bookstores, theyhave been so good about, um, taking orders online and during personaldeliveries. So it's a really wonderful thing for us to buy our books. They'regiving 10% off for all of Sydney's books and all of our books at BlueBicycle Books if you order from them. It's so great Thio to support thiswonderful bookstore who also hosts the largest young adult festival in thecountry, the Y'all festival right here in Charleston. And also we have a veryspecial surprise. Cigna. You're going to show the beautiful feather I haveone 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, areyou wearing yours? No, it's way. But for those who order signees, the forgotten kingdom tonight in this week, they will tally the names and someonewill win or she will mail to you this beautiful feather. So not only do youget 10% off and support a great book...

...store, if that isn't sweet enough, youget a chance to win this feather. So win, win, win. Yes. And I have to saythat that so the feather is made in partnership with a company in ColoradoSilver Hawk studios and their repurposed bison bone that air thenpainted. But you need to make sure you take it off. Whoever wins, take it offbefore you go in the sauna or the pool or anything like that, because they arenatural material in their porous. But, um, they are blessed with sage beforewe send them out on Bond that you, which is a really ancient ancientpractice. And this necklace you're seeing now is languorous feather, whichhas a really important place in The Lost Queen. The first book, but the onethat 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 getcloser. Um, and Patty and Mary Alice no, my particular particular fondness forcrows. So it was really exciting to be able to make this feather Crows areactually a huge symbol in the for gotten kingdom, so the winner can pickwhich they like and it's a $50 value. The large feather is yeah, so and Idonate 10% to charity as well, e. I mean, how could you not want to orderthe immediately if you haven't already? It's a great story to I read it andit'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 bitlate, but we're going to go through them. So we're gonna go through somerapid quick reader question. Mary, you picked the first one cane. Sydney, whatdo you want readers to take away from your novels? Well, a. Their historicalfiction, which I think we covered and be the fact that there's a lot inhistory that repeats itself. And I think right now we're in a moment wherewe can really make a change and start to avoid making some of those mistakesthat we've been making for centuries. upon centuries. Eso I would like us tostart 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 thereader questions for Debbie Causey is excited to be here tonight with uswatching you signee, and she wants to know what your favorite site inScotland was when you were doing research. I want to know, too. Move theright 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 centuriesand centuries. Some people even say it's 2000 years old or or older, and Iset in the book. There is a colony of processes there and I would say thatwas a really amazing sight. And that whole area around 14 gall um, thatGlenn 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 isstunning, Stunning. That's amazing. I think what I think. I think what'shappening here is a hot one. Trip. Yes. S Chris totally last night. Livequestions. 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'mso amazed that you are also prolific. I'm just polishing up my first noveland 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 hearfrom somebody in this group who's a plotter because I know a couple of youare, and I'm more I'm a cancer. So wait, wait, your answer That Zatz seemsimpossible? E yeah, I have the elements...

...on, but I'll do is I'll make post itnotes of the historical events that I put on my wall and it becomes verybeautiful. Mind ask and creepy E. And then I sit and I don't know how I'mgoing to get from one post it to the next, and I just like, find and crawlmy way. And it's ugly and painful and terrible. So I mean, if anybody has abetter way than that, and it's it comes down to listening, listening to yourintuition and getting very still and quiet and starting to try to listen toyour story and not block it with all of our own crazy inter criticisms, atleast for me. Um, so that's that's kinda how I do it, but I would love tohear from you guys. You're you're a plotter. That's the depth because youhave the outline. I mean, that's no different than I'm a plotter, and Ihave my outline and I know stages. But I'm a panther when it comes to actuallywriting the stuff. You know where you have to go, but they're crawling to getthere. It is terrible. What? It's terrible. I remember when we when youevery time I talk to you over a two week period, you're like I'm stilltrying to get her to the river. Yeah, E Chris Christie, I think you're prettypants. Yes, definitely. But I think it's so funny. I was just going topoint this out because I think all of us have said this at some point in thepast, like week or two, because we're all kind of coming to the end of aproject like Patty. I know you said. I know this happened to me like weekendbefore last where we're just writing, writing, writing, writing and we don'teven know what it iss. Yeah, but we have this this story and it's coming tous. But we don't know what the story is. And so we're just I think Mary Kay, youmentioned that too, like your you've got these two different things that arelike in your mind. And so I feel like for most of us, probably what we do iswe just dive in or whatever it is it's like in our head, even though we don'tknow what it is. And it might not feel like, Ah story. But it's somethingthat's gonna turn into something, God willing. E think it's like watching tosee 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 startasking 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 startedtexting it to my agent s ideas. I think they come from everywhere to me. Howabout you, Kristen? Yeah. I think if you're stuck, research is always isalways helpful. Um, I I often midway through researching a book, and I findan avenue that I didn't expect at all That turns out to be ah, much biggerpiece of the plot for a much bigger piece of the finished book than Iexpected it to be. Um, so to Teddy, who asked that question? I would just saywhatever you can do to research your story or dive deeper into your story oryour characters. Um, do that and then see where your research and your yourimagination take you. All right, Kristen. Actually, since you're on thehorn here, can you pull up a live question for us real quick? A rapidfire one? Yes. I also have to say quickly, Halle Corrigan says Mary KayAndrews, Your brother's pub is the best, best reversed Po boys and good bloodyMarys. So e very, um, alright. Peggy Steel quickly would like to know if youcould tell us a little bit about the first book in the trilogy Signee. It'sthe Lost Queen, and it details the early life of languorous up until aboutthe age of 33. And, um, how she grew up outside of Glasgow in what is nowshadow hero, but was then called cads out fortress with her father, who was aking, and her brother, who was, ah, warrior but also training to become aDruid. And in my book, I called them Wisdom Keepers.

It's awesome. Okay, this is my favoritepart of the show. Honestly, because I feel like I'm I've learned somethingevery 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 wantingto write a book. But now we realize we're just selfish and we wanted forourselves. So could you give us a quick writing it help our viewer who wasasking about starting that next book? What I do is I keep a word documentthat has the date and then the number of words that I start with so day onewill be zero, obviously, because that's the worst part. That's where we allstart when we started draft, and then each day that I write I'll sit. Howeverlong you have to write. Whether you've got, you know, 10 minutes or an hour ortwo hours of the whole day, you just track how your words to track your wordcount. And each day you tally it up. So the first day you wrote 200 words atyour end of your session, you say equals 200. The next day date startedat 200 ended at 500. And what it does for me is that it really helps me seethat I'm building something because I think we start to feel like I'm nevergoing to get through this or I'm lost in this scene or I don't know what towrite. Just put words on paper. And it's something that I got from StephenKing's book on writing. And it has helped me right so far. The great Agreat 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 toget 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 writee many words. So every week we tried to talk about books. Suggestions weredebuts and signee, I'm gonna ask you in a second if you have one. But all of ushere at Friends and Fiction wanted to tell you about this amazing debut thatcame out in paperback this month, and it is called The Magnetic Girl by theindomitable 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 theThings, and It is based on a true historical woman, and it's allatmospheric and electricity. And it centers on Lulu, who is the daughter ofa Civil War defector and the sister of Leo, whose developmental challenges shefeels responsible for. Lulu conjures magic within herself and makes othersbelieve in it, too. It's an astounding novel, and all of us wanted to let youknow about it, um, signees or anything you've been loving lately, So I broughtto books to show tonight I am just starting. Sue Monk Kidd's The Book oflongings. Awesome. Yes, which I'm very excited about because I know that shewas 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 threeother book I just wanted to share because I thought this was so cool. Isthat 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 theisland where I live. And it's just everything that I like red when I was achild. And so I'm really excited, Ace. And I'm gonna be reading this togethersoon. Right now that that's amazing that you don't have anything they wannacome all out. Anybody else have a book to talk about? Okay, because we'rerunning late. We're gonna We're gonna keep going. So, Kristen, tell us alittle 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 aboutnext week, so I switched it. O e I'm gonna be hosting and an episodenext week. Um, it's gonna be the five of us friends and fiction author. Sorryabout that, Patty. It's gonna be the five of them. And I haven't quite saida lot of topic yet, but I think it's gonna be something similar to whatPatty did last month. We loved just talking about, um, kind of our fearsand what makes us tick and those kinds of things and our failures. That's whatwe talked about last time. We might talk a little bit this time about themagic we confined in books because I think that's something that that, youknow, a lot of you can connect with also. So that's going to be, um, nextWednesday night, and then we're also going to be doing a bonus episode nextSunday, September 27th at five PM featuring Christina Lauren, which isactually two people named Christina and Lauren. And they're going to talk to usall about writing together. They write these fabulous, you know, megabestselling books, and they're just the best you guys were gonna love. UmThanks, sweetie. Okay. Mary Kay, This is the big announcement we've all beenwaiting for. Drum roll. Yeah. So we were cooking up a secret project whenyou guys weren't paying attention. What happened? We are We saved up ourepisodes, and they have been magically converted into a podcast. And todaythey were magically uploaded. You will be able to listen to them on all yourfavorite, um, podcast places. But today, Amazon started doing podcasts. Sofriends and fiction, you don't have to be here with us live on Wednesdaynights. We hope you will be. But you could listen to him in your car. Youcan listen to when you're like me when you're out running. Anyway, we'rereally excited about about the podcast, so please check it out. Starting todayand you can and you'll find the links on friends and fiction. We'll give youall of those. And if you join friends and fiction, Andi said Wait. What doyou mean you're on Episode 24. What happened to the other? You can go backnow and find him on the podcast. And just a little note that if you are anewsletter subscriber, you would have already known that because you wouldhave no today. So, Mary Alice, tell us about you now. Have a title for yourbow. Oh, yeah, You know, my goodness, it's been a while. I'm have a title formy book coming out in May. It's called And can I just say thank you, ChristianAll of it Because I went to the Fab Five and I said, Oh, my gosh, the titleI wanted was taken by someone else And Kristen said, this title The Summer ofLost and Found E. I love it. I love it. So it's coming out. You have coveredreveal later on. We have to have to wait my turn. And I also want to talk alittle bit. Given the time of one very special edition, Y'all we talked aboutwhat are off. Incredible authors who they are, who is coming. But onNovember 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 excitedabout that. So when you look at the fall schedule now, we just slipped thatright in there. So, uh, way eso Christie tell us a little bit about thenewsletter and the book club and some stuff going on? Yes. Um, don't forgetabout our newsletter is Kati said if you wanted to know signees answers toour amazing questions of the week they were in our newsletter. So if you werenot 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 andFiction 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 bevisiting over there all week long and interacting in the group. So when youhave questions, if you have any questions for her, anything that you'rejust 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 bepopping over with special content videos and answers to your questions,and I was just gonna mention really quickly. Do not miss next Wednesdaynight because it's my cover video for under the Southern Sky. I'm so excitedto 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. Thefive of us, the other four of us. We've seen it. But you have been teasingpeople 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 cantell people where to find you and where you're gonna be this week or anythinglike that? You can always go to my website signify dot com. I've got abunch of other virtual events coming up, um, one at Litchfield books and someother things coming down the pipeline. So you confined that all on my eventspage. And also, we've got a great community on my Facebook author page onInstagram as well. Sydney, we're so glad you came. It'sbeen 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 friendsand fiction page. And you can use the code friends to get 10% off with achance to win that amazing feather bone necklace. All right, ladies. Anythingelse before we sign? It s so fast tonight. Thank you. Said me That was sofun. E happy public. And just for one last thing, Yes, yes, Gorgeous. It isgorgeous. It is gorgeous match. Even if you're If you just stumbled on here andyou don't read bugs, you should still buy that just toe like display in yourthin. This fine is beautiful. It's a wonderful Alright, everyone. Thanks forspending your Wednesday night with us. We are friends in fiction. And that's awrap. Good night. Good night. Good night, everybody. Oh, that was fun. You know, I wantedfor okay, I'm bringing this time. I told her she has the brother. Buddha isher dog. So she has his brother on. I said, you've got to bring your dogtoday. 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 theday came out. So she said, I don't think I can handle Buddha tonight. Butsome nights in a patty when we go over and we get all the dogs together. It'scrazy. E bring Winnie. She'll she'll mess up a nice thing. I wanted you tobring Winnie last time next time. But her She really, um she dove in so deepwith this book, and it was she she did claw her way through it because tryingto match up all this historical as you historical authors, No, but the battlesand so much and trying to make it really in terms of people. And like Isaid, the sense I mean kissing, you...

...know, the stuff that makes a story I'malive. That was that was a tough one. And, Christie, didn't it make you feelbetter when she said that she didn't plan? I mean, because that book isstill complicated. Make you feel better, but she just like, pantsed it throughthat part e your face, Christian. Your face is like, No, no, no. You're nothaving anxiety attack or something, Christian. When your historical, thoughthere are specific timelines, right, that you still have to follow. Yeah, emean. 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 atimeline is sort of an outline, you know what I mean? You know what? Maybeit'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 onSeptember 29 1941 such and such happened. There's probably zero likethat. Maybe the time frames are a little bit looser. Possibly I neverthought about that. What I mean, just doing this book that I just finishedits like late 18 hundreds early 19 hundreds, and I am a Total Panther. SoI just pants my way through it and I got to them and I was like, Mhm. Thisdoesn't really work the way that my normal books, too, and I had to redothe entire historical timeline because it was confusing, because I really loveto 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, reallyjust it's too much. So I had to totally redo it. So having an outline wouldhave been a grand idea if I ever write another historical novel. But what Ifound really crazy is that, you know, is really trying to work from primarysources. And I don't know if you guys have found this because you've donethis so much more than I have. But so many of my primary sources, Like when Iwent to go back them up, they were wrong. S e mean. And I think at somepoint like you just some of that stuff. You just kind of have to let go alittle bit and it has to suit your story. And Patty, you sort of walked methrough this on this one major point that I was like, I could have reallycentered a story around this thing. And when I went to, like, actually go tothe places and get the records, they don't exist. So it was crazy. Wow. Andthe interview, she described what I did with becoming Mrs Lewis, and even withthe shipwreck book, because it's 18 38 survived, Anna, I made sure that I hadthe 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 cannotnot the rial stuff, but you're right with 600. So somebody just made acomment. I'm reading and it says can Sean just actually was from Sean, ourbeloved 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 bythe seat of their pants and, um, just writes the stories that comes to themlike 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 yourstory is going to go before you get started. E one sounds like evil andconniving. And the other one sounds big. Recorded, i e. I have to confess. Thisis the first time I've ever been a panther in what I'm writing. Now I kindof know what's happening, but I've...

...never done this before, and it's kindof frame. It's a terrifying e No, you get to just like it doesn't feel likegoing 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 arewriting these extremely detailed historical. I mean you have you have tohave a Z. I have now learned retrospect I'll take. I'll take that now. But Ialso have always outlined in detail and I will tell you and ask you if yououtlined 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 eresearch 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 McLaindid one who were also having in the spring. But she said, and I love thisbecause of what we're talking about. She said, the to never try to makeyourself be a different kind of writer than you are that that So for me to tryand make myself being the kind of writer Christin is with that outline, Itried with the book. I was thinking about starting, and I was like, Oh, myGod, banging my head on the computer. So, yes, I need some kind. But I thinkwhen we talk about these things, people try toe People think I wanted to do itjust the way Christie did it. Or just but half the fun of being a writer isdiscovering 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, Iactually 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 neverknow you got a local last names. My outline was actually a lot shorterbecause the research was Maura about the techniques like the meat of theresearch was the techniques of the forgery, and that didn't belong in theoutline. You know what I mean? Like some of my mom has been like the meatof the research is more like the sequence of events or you know howthings could happen. But actually that that's a good point. It does changefrom book to book. Yeah. Oh, my God. Very honest. Your dogs. They've been sogood 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 timefor us to sign off. Great. It's like when it's like when Jennifer Anistonsaid she was really upset that everyone was talking about her haircut becauseobviously her acting was not that good. Perfect metaphor. I love you guys. I'llsee you. I love you, too. Good night, everybody. Tomorrow morning you've been listening to the friendsand Fiction podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the friends and fictionpodcast wherever you listen. And if you're enjoying it, leave a review. Youcan find the friends and fiction authors at w w, w dot friends andfiction dot com A swell As on the Facebook group page, friends andfiction come back soon. Okay? There are still lots of books, writing tips,interviews, publishing news and bookstores to chat about. Goodbye. Yeah,.

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