Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 7 months ago

Friends & Fiction Special Feature on SURVIVING SAVANNAH

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This “F&F Special Feature” is all about Patti Callahan’s SURVIVING SAVANNAH. Newly released in paperback, this is the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling novel that none other than Kristin Hannah called “an atmospheric, compelling story of survival, tragedy, the enduring power of myth and memory, and the moments that change one's life.” Hear directly from Patti in a specially taped personal message which leads right into a recording the full F&F team—Patti, Kristin, Kristy, MKA, Ron & Meg—made while they were together in February at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in Savannah, GA. The crew talks about the things each of us saves and why, and they handle actual artifacts pulled from the bottom of the sea in the Pulaski’s wreckage, all while standing in front of the scale model of the "Titanic of the South" itself.

Welcome to friends and fiction. For New York Times best selling authors endless stories, novelists Mary Kate Andrews, Christen Hermel, Christy Woodson Harvey and Patty Callighan Henry are for longtime friends with more than seventy published books between them. Together they host friends and fiction with author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing to highlight and support independent bookstores. They discussed 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. Hello, friends and fiction. If it is Wednesday night at seven P M, it's usually time for our show, but we are on break between seasons. Yet we could not resist to popping in tonight to celebrate the paperback release of Surviving Savannah that was just released. On April Fifth at the Savannah Book Festival, I gathered my friends and fiction, ladies and Gent in Savannah, Georgia, at the ships of the Sea Maritime Museum. I am Patty Callaghan. Join me with Christie Kristin Meg and Ron as we talked about why the artifacts of our life really matter. Will show some of the treasure from the shipwreck...

...that was found at the bottom of the sea after almost two hundred years, and we'll talk about some of the things we've saved in our own lives that someone else might throw away. Discovering untold stories is like having a great secret whispered in your ear, and this story was one of those secrets. Surviving Savannah was inspired by the true and forgotten to time saga of a luxury steamship with the nickname the titanic of the south. Only for women survived this catastrophe and I wanted to tell their stories. I explored the role of fate, family histories and the myriad ways we survived the surviving, along with the backdrop of the beloved and Mystical Savannah. Now join us as we talk about the things we save and why. Hi, everyone here. We are at the ships of the Sea Museum in Savannah, Georgia, and we are celebrating the survivings that they have a paperback champagne coming out on April fifth. This, as you know, is our friends and fiction crew. I am padding Allahan Henry, on my Walker, I'm Christy Woods and Marty, I'm Christen her Mel I'm Mary Kay Andrews and I'm rollable and we are friends in fiction for New York Times best selling authors. Are Rock Star Library and a GURU MAG Walker who keeps us in shaping on the rails, keeps us from being a hot mess. Expression. She tried, it doesn't always happen. And we are here to talk about the paperback and about artifacts and about the things we save and why we save them. So this is a special episode because once...

...upon a time, a hundred and eighty four years ago, passengers boarded this shop, the SS Pulaski, to sail North for the summer. Over two hundred passengers were on board. They expected only one nighted scene. They expected a lovely trip. But what we expect what we get are rarely the same thing things. And they boarded with their babbles and their jewelry and their artifacts and their religious reliquarysals and their lass that are and their luggage tags. And they boarded expecting to be on the other side of Baltimore, Maryland, with all of these things. But that's not what happened. Thirty miles off the coast of North Carolina, the starboard boiler when dry and the second engineer board cold water to a Stephen Hot Boiler, creating a bomb and the ship exploded. It's a forty five minutes to sink, and the stories of survival, especially through the two eyes of my characters, are astounding, some of them floating for five days and five nights at sea. But how could they know that the things that matter to them ended up on the bottom of the ocean? So I thought we to talk a little bit about the things we save and the artifacts that matter to us and why we saved them, because it doesn't make sense why the things that we save matter so much to us. For example, I've here with me a story that I wrote in fourth grade. Every time I clean out my files, I think I should get rid of it. What does it matter that I say it anyway, do not panic, I will not read it to you. Will tell you how I started one day or grown names. Susie went to a new school in the...

...first time. It's a pretty good opening line for it. Or Raider, you have pad. So I want to get this stuff, of the artifacts you've kept in your life that every time you got to look at them, you think I should get rid of that. I shouldn't throw that away, but you don't that. Well, there was. I should throw it away. But one thing that I keep close to me is this ring that I have with my grandmother's when she when she was alive, she word all the time. As a child I thought it was sort of silly because it's large and it felt big and I was notatious or something. But when she died I wanted it just so that I had a piece of her. And then, years and years later, cocktail rings came in style and I thought I have my dresser, and now I wear it all the time. I wear when I want to feel the strength of her close to me, and it's some reason doesn't make sense. Right. Yeah, it's a day, is nothing. Even the stone has been replaced, like it's not the same ring really, but it is to make it meet something. And so when you went on, say, a steam ship North for the summer, you would have brought it with the absolutely right. So we do these things. We gotta brought my lad, but we're going to talk about these in it was one thousand eight hundred thirty eight, you might have brought your lad. Yeah, right, sure, right. We speaking of fourth grade, but maybe think as something that I've never been able to get rid of. I'm not one to like keep up with I don't keep score herding like that, not even of my sons. All that you noticed is sometimes. But in the fourth grade we did something called an worth Carolina project and I think every fourth grader did it and they still do it, and I just never been able to get rid of it because it was something that, like I interviewed too many people in my family for and I talked to so many people, you know my life. I got all these different things that had to do with North Carolina, which just stay where I'm from, and so I just always kept it. And so funny how now my son's and worth grade these stories. I had North Carolina Project and I was actually able to share mine with...

...them and it made me realize how many things I have read about in the fourth grade like I'm still interested in now or like showing up my stories all these years later. So it's like your story here. It's funny how the things that we're thinking about as children you show them in our adult lives and and kind of safe it. I wouldn't see those Christen. You know, it's interesting. Men mentioned your grandmother, because I think just had such an attachment these people who came before us kind of hate something for us and playing a huge Rolea meyzing is who we are. Soup for me and also be something for my grandmother, which I have such a stinct memories, is sitting on her lap while she read me the Book Gust was a friendly ghosts, an old book that I think she read to my mom my mom was a little girl. I'm just trying to me when I was a little girl and it was one of the things that I get to take after my grandmother died. I was really close to my grandmother's and I haven't and you know it's Fund you said. You think about you know, we have to should this really be here? Should I move it? Should I get ready to? I need to keep to it. That matter. I never throw it away, but it's it's on the bookshelf. It's behind me everything you watch, Frans and fiction and it doesn't belong because everything else there is new, but it's that piece of the old, the King Land. So that's how about, you may think. Well, you know, unlike everybody else, I am a order to starting what didn't knowed my late mother on her honeymoon, if my father was in the air force and he was stationed in England. So on their honey they got to go all over Europe. Everywhere she went she would buy a souvenir spoon and I guess or about what we used to take him to show and tell at school. You know, look, this is from, you know, Switzerland or both, England and so I when she passed away about or nineteen years ago, I kept the spoon and I...

...have some of them mounted in a shadow box. Well, anybody who knows me knows that I am vary at home in the kitchen. Continue the grandma, which is why you get told the EUTYPES. So continuing the grandmother theme, when my grandmother passed, I would read in her kitchen and I have still her old anti potato master, yea some movie plates at up her pie distance used all the times to don't use now because of the spot to plow it up, but I won't get rid of that because there's still a connection that I've learned to cook from her. So it's all the connection. It comes down a generation of the she she held it long ago and I do it now. So great connections. It's best say, because when I was doing the research for the Pulaski and I discovered that they had discovered the ship. You know, thirty months right. You know, I think I was North Carolina, hundred feet deep. Well, was interesting to be at first. was that the ship record itself? But is you start to see these artifacts and things that have been at the bottom of the ocean. You imagine somebody boarding the ship with their silver. Yeah, right, and I became so obsessed with wanting to know who took me here and a half. But I figured out who belonged to. So the silver that y'all are holding. Nobody from that parent, from that family, survived. And we don't know about this beautiful religious reliquary. But somebody went on board saying this is important to me. Right, and there were a lot of Catholics and Subail yes, so probably you know, real inquaries. Sometimes you put a little place here and you have holy water to what's yourself and came with, I think, votives also from there. And then this luggage tag is from the character I wrote about and when I was halfway through the book I wanted to give up. Mike Eldrid, the man who heads up the company that is meeting...

...up the art attacks and treasure, sent me a picture of this bogish tag was the name of my main character. Her real name is it's so crazy, and this is right now, the only lunch big they found. Her name is Rebecca Lamar going. You all told me to keep going, but Rebecca really TWAS. So thanks for celebrating with us and make every memory, you say. Be a good and buy her Bookdana. Here I am in the ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in Savannah, Georgia, next to the full scale model of the Pulaski, discovering untold stories. It's like having a great secret whispered in your ear, and this story is one of those secrets. My new novel Surviving Savannah is inspired by the true and forgotten to time saga of a luxury steamship with the nickname the titanic of the south, but her real name was the steamship Pulaski. Here in Savannah, Georgia, on the river's wharf, one Balmy June morning in one thousand eight, hundred and thirty eight, this beautiful ship set sail and began its three day journey to Baltimore. It was to doc overnight in Charleston and pick up more passengers, and then was to be only one night at sea until reaching the north. This was part of the ship's allure, a luxury ship with only one night at sea to escape the cruel southern summers. She was the talk of the town. She had already made three journeys and everyone expected an easy and luxurious trip. But what we expect and what we get are rarely the same and thus the makings of a story. In the middle of the night hundred and fourteen, with close to two hundred passengers on board, this steamship exploded off...

...the coast of North Carolina. About one third of the passengers and crew survived. When I learned about this little known story, I was immediately fascinated because I realized how close to home it was, right here in my towns of Savannah, Georgia and bluffed in South Carolina, and how its tale had never been fully told. I was three weeks into my research, tinkering with the idea, researching local families and plotting, when I sat down one early morning at my desk and hit on a headline. Pulaski wreck found by endurance exploration, a shipwreck hunting company had found the Pulaski at the bottom of the sea, a hundred feet deep, thirty miles off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina. chills ran up my neck while I was researching the story. They were researching the sea. My exhilarating hunt for the forgotten story began while the ship's artifacts, gold, silver, pocket watches and treasure were being discovered and brought to the surface. I rushed here to the ships of the Sea Maritime Museum to see the ship's model and find information, and then to the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah to sift through the ancient papers, trying to find the full truth of that calamitous night. What I discovered, among many other tales, was the story of a very real Savannah family who brought me closer to the tragedy and my novel. They are renamed the longstreet family, a father with his wife, six children, sister and niece who traveled on this ship and not everyone survived, but among those who did survive was the oldest son, a fourteen year old boy named Charles. He spent five Harrowing Days and nights at sea, not only living through the hell but also helping others to...

...survive, earning him the nickname the noble boy. And then here's the kicker. Twenty five years later, that same boy, now a man, had a new nickname, the red devil. He became a cruel slave importer and traitor. He also joined the fire eaters as a rabble rouser for the civil war. In a short twenty years, this saved child had transformed from noble boy to Red Devil, and this is when I knew what the story was really about. How do we survive? The surviving? Who Do we choose to become after tragedy? After years of research, reading, writing and digging, I finally put together the events of that doomed journey with a dual timeline and a modern day museum curator designing an exhibit of the artifacts alongside the stories of the Long Street family. In one thousand eight hundred thirty eight, I look much closer at our collective ideas that survival merits some kind of worthiness, that everything happens for a reason and that our lives are destined to end up in certain ways, all with the backdrop of the beloved and mystical city of Savannah, then and now. I hope you love this story as much as I do. Thank you for tuning in. You can join us every week on facebook or Youtube, where our live show airs on Wednesday nights at seven PM eastern time. Also subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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