Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

Friends & Fiction with Stephanie Dray & Kate Quinn

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

To close out Women's History Month, the Fab Five welcome TWO giants of historical fiction! Meet Stephanie Dray, whose new book just released this week! THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE is an epic saga based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy. Stephanie will be joined by the one and only THE ALICE NETWORK author Kate Quinn, whose latest book, THE ROSE CODE (published March 9th!), is the heart-stopping World War II story of three female code breakers at Bletchley Park and the spy they must root out after the war is over. https://www.stephaniedray.com/ http://www.katequinnauthor.com

Welcome to Friends and fiction, five best selling authors and the stories Novelists 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. In 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing and to highlight independent bookstores. These 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. Hi there. Hi, ladies. Hi out there. We are so thrilled to see you all here tonight. Spring has sprung, the world is turning around and we are just two weeks away from celebrating the one year anniversary of friends and fiction. Can you believe it? We would freeze me. In fact, actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I think it was this week, a year ago that we had the idea to do this. So I think it started with a glass of wine. It did as all that you do that So it is such an honor to be spending time with all of you here on the show and on our Facebook page each week. So let's get started tonight. I'm Christine Harmel. I'm Christi Woodson, Harvey. I'm Patty Callahan, Henry. I'm Mary Alice Munro, and I'm Mary Kay Andrews. This is friends and fiction. Tonight we are thrilled to welcome two of my favorite historical fiction authors, Kate Quinn and Stephanie Dre, each of whom released a sweeping new novel about extraordinary women. This month we'll be talking to both authors about their careers and why it's so fulfilling to write lost stories from history. And we'll be discussing Christie Woodson Harvey's essay this week for parade dot com. But first, before you start doing all of that, Christie has something amazing to share with us. The trailer for her new book Under the Southern Sky, which comes out in just three weeks, although who's counting? Three weeks Can you believe it? So, Christie, let's take a look at the trailer and then we want to hear all about this new novel. Yeah, I love it. Tell us about it, Christie. Well, thank you all so much. I'm so excited. Actually, I got one of my first author copies in today, So I'm so excited to see it in my life. I like this. It's always fun to see the spine, you know, Um, but I'll be really brief. But under the Southern Sky is a story about an investigative journalist named Amelia who inadvertently discovers that a cluster of frozen embryos belonging to her childhood friend Parker and his late wife career have been deemed abandoned. So she, of course, has to tell Parker this. And then he has put in the situation to have to decide what to do with what is effectively the last remaining part of this woman that he loved so much. So there's lots of Southern charm and family dynamics in this story, and I cannot wait to share it with you. Um, and our friends at a likely story is our bookstore tonight are offering 10% off of of all of our books, but including under the southern sky. And if you order the book tonight, you get one of our super fun pairs of friends and fiction sunglasses. I don't know if you can see that. Let me hold it, but that's the wrong side. Y'all stream your it gets me every time I see friends in fiction because it gets really under the southern sky. Super cute. I've got to have your shape. That's awesome. Awesome. I cannot wait for everybody to get their hands on a copy because I'm super special. I already have mine. I'm special, too. Oh, yeah? OK, Speaking of getting your hands on amazing things, let's take a moment to thank our partners, Mama Geraldine's and Page one book subscriptions. We adore them both, and the code Fab Five named after the five of us we'll discount on both websites will be telling you more about them later in the show. Sean. Oh, you did already. Oh, he's so smart. He already...

...showed you the babies on top of it. There you go. And we'll also be telling you about our independent Bookstore of the week, a likely story in Sykesville, Maryland, and reminding you just why it's so important really, today. Still to keep supporting independent bookstores. But for now, let's talk a little bit about the essay Christie wrote as part of our friends and Fiction partnership with Parade magazine and parade dot com this week. So in her essay. She tells us about a fateful Easter in her family in one egg that went very, very, very, very bad. It's hilarious and heartwarming. And with Easter coming up this week, we would love to talk about it. Christie, can you give us sort of a brief recap of that essay? Oh yes, it's a It's an Easter I'll never forget. Um, Easter's dying is like a big deal in our house. I mean, it is truly like our neighbors from Salisbury just got down to the beach, and we're like texting to be like, When are we dying? Easter eggs? We've done it. I used to come in from college. We've done it every year since we were like little kids together. Um, and so, you know, little will has been like indoctrinated into these Easter eggs. And so the year he was 2.5, he did not want to give up the dyed Easter eggs. But we were like, No, you know, it's after Easter. We give the Diet Easter eggs. You still have your candy ones. Fast forward. There was this terrible smell in our playroom, and we could not figure out what it was coming from, and I mean to the point that people were coming in to take walls out of our house like it's inexplicable how awful it was. You couldn't tell where it was coming from and we can imagine. So I finally I go into his playroom and I am getting his little Easter basket and I accidentally drop it on the floor and one of the eggs comes tumbling out. And he had hidden one of the dyed eggs inside a plastic egg. You know, I'm not kidding. Like the minute I took that basket out and threw it away like the smile is gone. I mean, it was like we had men and masks coming to tear walls out. And as soon as I had gone, everything was fine. It was It was hilarious. Anyway, you all read, You all read the story because it was kind of funny. But it's all about our Easter traditions and just you know how they helped get us through the hard times. I love it, ladies. Any other lessons learned kind of the hard way holiday at lessons learned the hard way? Well, don't let big kids or even the parents joined the Easter egg hunt. That's the inner child comes rushing out and you haven't seen competition until you've seen so middle middle age like grain. 12 year old kid running out to collect eggs with all the little toddlers whose eyes are big and like they're all gone. So it's, um, they lead the toddlers in the best. You know, my friend Susan always says it's not really a family gathering until somebody cries or somebody goes to the emergency room. So just f Y I speaking of emergency rooms? If Birthdays Countess holidays, I would say my lesson came. So three years ago, the day before Jason, my husband's 40th birthday and two days before Noah's second birthday, we were cleaning the house because we were about to have this huge blowout party for both of them. 1/40 birthday, a second birthday was a big deal, and while cleaning the house, I slipped on a wet tile floor, shattered my kneecap into several pieces, had to go to the ER so clearly, Now it's a holiday. Um, and I spent Jason's 40th birthday in surgery so far. Lesson. Oh, yeah. Good times. Yeah, My my knee still aches. It's amazing. But the lesson I learned I was trying to make everything perfect, which just was not us. We are not perfect people. Um, and in the process, I ruined everything. So since then, it has given me permission to just be myself a little bit more freely, um, imperfect floors and all. Well, mine's a holiday, too. But it was Christmas. I've been married for two years. We were in our brand new house and I was doing two weeks with my firstborn daughter and I was feeling mighty proud of everything. The new house, the new baby, the new husband and we were having guests over for Christmas dinner. And I snuck behind the Christmas tree to turn on the stereo, forgetting I was nine months pregnant and knocked over the entire tree. The ornaments shattered, gifts were crushed. And the Yeah, the moral of the story is truly pride comes before the fall. That's hysterical. Great story. So all of you out there, we would love to hear your stories to. We all do go back and read the comments after the show. So if you have a you know something like this to share. We would love to see it. Um, and, you know, laugh with you, since now you can laugh at us, right? So now, without further ado, let's welcome our amazing guests tonight. And remember, if you have a question for them, please, please put them in the comments. We'll be pulling a few during the show, and we would love to ask your burning questions for them. So let's meet Kate and Stephanie Christie. Do you want to start us off? I sure do. Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today, bestselling author...

...of The Alice Network. The Huntress and The Rose Code, which came out earlier this month and debuted at number two on the New York Times list. And I'm sorry for my glitchy sound. I am far, far away across the Pacific Ocean with my daughter and granddaughter, um, Stephanie Drink. It's taking a long time for my voice to reach a Stephanie Dre, whose book came out yesterday. I'm so excited is The New York Times and USA Today, bestselling author of America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton, along with co author Laura Comey and on her own, she is the author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette, which just came out yesterday and is already a huge hit. And both women have written extensively about other time periods to not just World War two. Stephanie has written, among other things, a series about the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Well, Kate, Kate, uh, has written four novels in The Empress of Rome saga and two novels set during the Italian Renaissance. But like the five of us, the most important thing between them is that they're friends with each other. So let's bring them out. Welcome. Kate and Stephanie. Welcome. We are so thrilled to have you on with us. So let's get started with all of our questions for Kate and Stephanie and Kate. Since your book came out first, could you begin by telling us briefly about the rose Code? Yes, I absolutely can. Um, thank you so much for having me. This is just such as real. Believe me. Uh, roast copy the story of three very different women. A beautiful blue blooded debutante, a tart tongue London shop girl and a shy crossword solving spinster who are all recruited to the mysterious Bletchley Park, which is a secluded English country manor where the best and brightest minds in Britain work in direst secrecy, breaking Hitler supposedly unbreakable military codes. But as we all know, when you start throwing words like unbreakable around, fate laughs. Just ask the Titanic or just ask the black ski going back. There you go. Nice plug, joke. I love it. Oh, that's great. It's such a great book. And Stephanie, can you tell us a little bit about the women of Chateau Lafayette? I would love to, but first, I do also want to thank you for having us. I just think this show is spectacular and fine. You're also adorable. I can't say anything. So the women are. Santo Lafayette is based on a true story of an extraordinary castle in France. It is actually the birthplace of Marquis de Lafayette, who some of your viewers might know from the play Hamilton as America's favorite fighting Frenchmen, where he follows. Actually, the women in his life, including his wife, Adrian, who was an amazing heroin, are French founding mother and the women who followed in her footsteps at the castle in World War One and World War Two. So It's a story of three women, three wars, one world changing legacy and the castle at the heart of it all. Wow, two incredible books and we are so lucky to have you guys here tonight to talk about them. And since friendship is at the heart of our show, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that. So not only are the two of you friends, but your characters are friends, too, because in an active support for each other you collaborated on the short story. If the hat fits, that features characters from each of your books, which I think is just incredible. And you also collaborated with four other authors on the novel Ribbons of Scarlet, about the women of the French Revolution. So I have heard through the grapevine that part of your amazing friendship is that you have a little bit of a launched a support system ritual when it's not the pandemic, of course. So, um, Stephanie, do you want to start us off and tell me a little bit about that? Well, um, normally, what we do is we go to lunch together, and I believe the first time that we met was Kate's release a million years ago. We went to a restaurant and we had goat. And then I know what a horrible driver Kate Quinn is. I am not blasphemy. Live a dangerous driver while she drives. Makes up for it right? You field out of that parking lot, left rubber on the pavement and I thought, That's my girl. I like her. We got...

...there. Nobody was arrested. It was Come on, that's fine. Everybody was moving into Well, yeah, So we really became a tradition after that. That when anybody had a release. And, you know, this isn't just for Stephanie me. It was for our whole circle of ladies when we were living in Maryland at the same time. But what anyone had released. Anybody who was available would take her out to lunch, and the aim was is that they would then separate her from her phone and remove it from the table and attach her to the table to a drink with handcuffs if necessary. And there will be 2 to 3 hours in which she would be unable to hit Refresh on her Amazon long and I love it. That idea was that for two or three hours, your friends would make you relax to celebrate whether you liked it or not. That's lovely. Okay, can you just tell us to briefly, What is it like when you've worked together? Kate, you want to start us off on that one? Well, we actually had this conversation a little bit with when we were co writing Our little short story of the hat fits, and we had already written together in a number of other things. But it was so much fun to go back to it because we're both agreeing that it's like a kind of fun mind melt, you know, because we know each other well. We have styles that mesh, and there is a fun thing where if Stephanie takes a decides to go off with something in prose, it's like I know why she's doing it. I can see why she's doing it, and I can follow her where her mind has taken her advice first. So you want to add to that? That's cool, but it really is kind of like a mind meld where you're like, Oh my God, this is like like it's like a weird thing, like falling in love with someone. It's like falling in love with a colleague when you realize your brains run on the same track and it's just magic that that's a great description. Stephanie. Everything to add. Do it. I cannot do that exactly that. I'm in love with Kate's brain to love with Kate's brain. We actually were discussing the brilliance of the two of you before you came on. So we are really in all absolutely Okay. So we all wrote about women in history, and we all are you hearing me? Okay. Okay. Good. And we all chose women's points of views. And one thing that stood out to me is your women were doing incredible creative world changing things during turning points in history. And Stephanie, you have a degree in Lafayette, which you mentioned the French founding mother, which I've never heard of her described that way. So I really like that. And then the American Revolution in World War One with Beatrice Chandler, World War two with Marcus Ammon and Kait. You have the three incredible code breakers that you described and Kate We did an event whether the other day and you said something I just loved. And since you mind meld with your friend Stephanie, I bet she would say the same thing, which is that part of your impetus is where the women's voices, where are they? And that's what I asked when, when I wrote that, too. But I want you both to talk about the challenges and payoffs of writing such strong women, and most of them are based on real historical figures. And as we close out Women's History Month, Kate, you talked about this so beautifully the other day. Why is it so important? So the challenges of it, the real women and why is it so important that you want to jump in first? Absolutely. And it's really one of the things that I think my subconscious realized what I was doing before I did, because I must have written maybe six books before I realized that what I really was passionate about was taking a look at something in history, whether it's an event, whether it's a war, whether it's a place of time, and then saying, What were the women up to? What were the ladies doing that? Because that you know they were up to something. It's just that it's probably not recorded in the broad strokes of history. And so you can You can find these women. It's just a matter of looking for them and my goal, really. And I'm not going to say it's like, Well, aren't I special having this goal? Everybody here has this goal, but my goal is really to do my bit in trying to shine a little bit more light on the ladies of the past and trying to bring them even a little bit more into prominence. And it's one of those things where, you know, just for those who might think well, aren't women being talked about more than ever? They are, and that's really wonderful to see, and I want that trend to continue. But, you know, a book I came across not long ago, which was about the Italian Renaissance, a scholarly nonfiction book published in the team's not an Old book. Their family Tree of the Medici listed none of the women which which my mother to call me and say apparently,...

...the Medici men, like undersea bivalves reproduced by themselves without there needing to be any women involved. So isn't that a new fund scholarly take? And that's the kind of thing that we still see. And even when women aren't being written out, there is still this idea that if it's if art is for women and by women and about women, that it's patted on the head and sent into the pink corner in a little bit of a way, there's a pink ribbon tied around it and people say, Oh, isn't that pretty? But it does not get the same kind of respect, and I know that all the ladies here are probably familiar with the whole thing of like what you write like chocolate. You, like beat reads like women's fiction and there's that little no scratch sometimes. And you know, my my goal really is that I want to see the achievements of women celebrated. I want to see light shone on the women in the past. You did amazing things, and I want to read these books. I want to write these books and I want I hope this movement continues through many women writers, many women creators everywhere we see them. What about you, Stephanie? I bet so, um, I am a graduate of Smith College, which is women's college. And, um, I think that gave me a really a special appreciation for the role of women in history and the opportunities that we had in my generation, um, to do great things. But where are your examples? How do you know what you can accomplish if you don't know the past? So I've always been interested in what women were doing, and, as Kate said, they've always been up to something. Uh, their accomplishments are usually under appreciated. And, you know, Kate and I also joke about this is that we get frustrated that in our business we all write about women in history. And yet men will often shun these books if there's a woman on the cover because she exists in close and that somehow means that it's not for them. And I find this people doing It's half the population at any given time in history. So it's okay if a woman in a dress is on the cover. We're still going to learn important things about the world, about humanity and about history in those books. Um, for me, my work has, oddly, all been about legacy builders. And I didn't really think about how important that was until I visited Picou Cemetery in France. Which is where, um, the Lafayette's are buried. And not only did Adrian found that cemetery with her sisters, but there is a plaque that keeps it up, and one of the plaques there is from the Daughters of the American Revolution. And it just suddenly occurred to me that three of the biggest historical sites that I have used for my research have been maintained and helped along by the daughters of the American Revolution and that women have carried these historical legacies forward. And that's really important. Is thank you. Well, I feel like you go ahead. Mary Ann. Oh, I'm done. Sorry. We have this delay. The Hawaii Hawaii DeLay. Panty. Do you have a follow up or you want me to jump in with my question? Go ahead. Go ahead. Okay. I have I have a question for Kate and Hi, Kate. You did it again. That's all I can say. I couldn't put it down. So Patty asked you about the women, and I'd like to ask you about the place and in the book. This is the English country estate of Bletchley Park, which is also known as the legendary top Secret code breaker description. Vast facility and the code breakers played a huge role in World War two. I love code breaker stories. Yeah, I loved in particular. You mentioned the fact that the women played real strong roles in this facility and that all the people were accepted on their own merit and it was years, if not decades ahead of its time in that way. So here's my question. What drew you to write about this place and this time, and especially the idea that it was a kind of a fortress for the future, this idealistic place of what a society could look like even in the midst of a war. So can you talk about Bletchley Park and why it was so extraordinary? And what moved you to write about it? Well, I'd be delighted to, because I was fortunate enough to spend about four days at Bletchley Park pre pandemic pre lockdown when I was researching for this novel. And, you know, I encourage anyone who can do manage a trip to the U. K. As the world...

...reopens to visit. It's a superb visitor center in historic site. Now it's mocked up to look the way it would have looked in the forties, so you can honestly feel like you are walking into the past. I got absolute stores. I bought out the gift shop of every book they had. Uh, it was just incredible. And the thing I really realized as my especially as I was doing my research, was that in addition to the people who were characters in the Rose code, the park was going to be a character because it really was, as you know, And I can tell from the way you asked the question that you got the sense of it as a character which delights me because it was this place where you know it was. It sounds at first sight, you know, like a like a quirky Hollywood pitch. You know, you know, it's like sneakers meets Downton Abbey. But in World War Two it's stuffed with peace, sometimes very odd people. And that was one of the things I liked about. It was that there was a real, remarkably flexible attitude toward the people they hired. They realized that some of the folks who are good at code breaking are going to have slightly quirky minds and personalities. And they decided that was okay. You know, people did not have to fit into some corporate or societal norm in order to be accepted. It was pretty much if you could do the work. You were accepted, your voice was heard. And that meant that women found a level of acceptance there that they were not likely to find in other job job posts at that point in the forties and in the fifties afterwards, you know, it also meant that a lot of folks who were neurodivergent or at least not quite you're a typical as we would call it today. Although certainly they would not have had the words then they were also accepted. You know, the square pegs were not required to fit into the round hole. They were just required to do the work. And so I really did have this idea from the start that Bletchley Park was like this little bit of this Alice in Wonderland place, you know, fell down the rabbit hole and you fell into this strange spot. And where you know, you might see odd things, you know, codebreakers cycling to work in gas masks to avoid hay fever. Or, you know, there's another guy who, at least once like, pitched his tea mug into into the lake because he got a eureka moment while he was drinking tea by the lake. And you, you know, people playing rounders games are doing Highland dancing on the lawn. You know, in there after work clubs when they were off shift because, you know, they work hard, you play hard. And, you know, I just thought that what a place this was and what a thing to celebrate and so depicting Bletchley Park itself as a character just as much as any of the people who worked there really became an important goal for me in writing the broad scope. And you really succeeded. It really was a very strong sense of place. I felt I was there. I was getting hot when the air conditioning was broken. Oh, that's wonderful. And I'm not trying to romanticize it. The work was hard. The a C was terrible. There was no a c really. In a lot of those huts, it was freezing in the winter time. Those coke stoves smelled awful. But my goodness, did these men and women, you know, do extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances. Yeah. Um, we're gonna go jump back in time. Stephanie, you've said that it was Adrian La. Via the wife of American Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, who, by the way, has ties to Savannah, where Patty and I have both set book. There's a Lafayette Square in Savannah. There's no Lafayette Square everywhere. Teams. Yeah. So the one of my characters, the one we all talk about Charlie the boy. His middle name was Lafayette because Lafayette was at his baptism. Uh oh. Wow. That's one of those things Stephanie and I talked about when she was researching us. Because we message each other all the time. While writing is that Lafayette is like the dais x McKenna of American history. Whenever we need to be saved, a lot basically comes out of the sky in a basket, like on a French page and, you know, used to save the day and then, you know, goes off somewhere else. Which is why there's a lot of that square pretty much everywhere because everywhere it's six degrees of their of Marquis de Lafayette. Okay, give me a fun idea for a game, okay? With that, um, Stephanie, Anybody who's seen Hamilton, we will know Lafayette. But there's so much more of this Frenchman story, as you yourself know, from writing America's first daughter with First Quarter and my dear Hamilton with Laura Come y. Can you talk to us a little bit about why that Revolutionary War period continues to appeal so much to you? And why Adrian Lafayette in particular, intrigued you so much? You know, I think so many of us. It's been a long time unless we took a lot of history in...

...college. Since we studied, you know, the American Revolution. Yeah, so I think that the American Revolution is relevant in every age. Every generation has to contend with it a new, um, because democracy is fragile. The American experiment is still an experiment, and we're still perfecting it. And so it's endlessly fascinating, both because of what it was and what each generation interprets it to be. We looked at these founding fathers with very different eyes now than we did even when I was growing up, so I find them fascinating. And Lafayette in particular, is sort of the most lovable of our founding fathers. He's not terribly problematic. He's always ahead of his time. He's extremely idealistic, and he did most of what he did out of a sense of generosity, of spirit and a desire to change the world. And a lot of his contemporaries believed that he was naive and silly, and he failed at many things. But he failed at more things than other men have ever tried and succeeded at things that no one else succeeded at. Um, and I'm paraphrasing his biographer here, Uh, but he couldn't have done it without Adrian, his loyal wife who was supporting him in France against her very angry family when he left for the American Revolution and even the wrath of the King. And she's someone who just showed enormous courage under extraordinary circumstances, as most of the heroines in this book did in their own generations. Um, I know we've had a very difficult year right now, and for me it's been really inspiring to look at the stories of these women and think to myself. We have we are in having a difficult time. But there have been difficult times in the past, and women have reached within themselves and found the strength to triumph. And so so can we Mm. Want to be fascinating to think about what women of this time this contemporary time people but will be writing about 2040 60 years from now? Yeah, it really is. Yeah. What a crazy thought. Um, so I I love that idea of history, teaching us things that, um that are so applicable today. You know, I felt like that with Patty's book Surviving Savannah to she asked that great question. How do you survive the surviving, Which is, I think, is a question that we're all asking ourselves as we come out of the the Pandemic now. So, yeah, that's very relevant. So this question comes to both of you from one of our friends and fiction members, Susan Schwarz Seligman, who says your books require an extraordinary amount of research and you're both amazingly meticulous and thorough. Is the research your favorite part of the process? And how do you know when it's time to pause from that research and dive into the writing of the story. So that's such a great question. And I will add to that this question. What appeals to you so much about writing about the past rather than the present? So, Stephanie, do you want to start us off with that? Okay, um, I will start off by saying that I do love the research. It is my favorite part. Go down the rabbit hole and the thing that stops me is Kate Quinn long and she says she holds an intervention, and she says no one cares what color grapes they had in France 2000 years ago just called him grapes and move on, thanks to her like, But I did all this research, and I'm pretty sure they were red grape. And I will change the whole paragraph so that it needs detail because I did the research, so Oh, gosh, I know. Okay, so, Kate, this my is the person who keeps me on past and tells me things like no one cares what color grapes it is. Or most recently, no one cares what breed of dog it is. Just say it's a dog and move on. I do. Mary Alice cares. So there. Yeah, there's the fact that you needed to know she's your audience. Yeah, nobody cares. Is my comment that I write in the sidelines when everything has something like, Do we know what hotel this is? Do we know what you know? Do we know where the map is? Do we know where it was? And I'm just like no one cares. We had a whole discussion. It was actually in for the writing of, uh, women are said to Lafayette when I stopped her from going down a rabbit hole because she's like, I want the interest to I want my World War one era heroin to look out and see, you know, the tallest building in the city's. Because it's a cool thing that I can mention, Uh, you know,...

...that's a little bit of local historic flavor, but I don't know if she could see that building from there. So I need to find a map of New York City in 1912 and see where she could have been standing and if the building would have been visible. And I'm like, No, you do is you say she looked out the window in the direction of that building, and that completely covers you from needing to go down the rabbit hole and find the map of the city 1912 deadline. But that's the fun part. It is the fun part, and I have to admit research is my jam, too. And I don't think you can do historical fiction if it's not your jam or you're just never going to enjoy this part of it. But it is true that sometimes, uh, the question of how when are you done researching and when do you start? The writing does need to come in the form of an intervention from a friend, your agent, your editor, who is reminding you that, You know Time's winged chariot is running closer on your deadline, and it really is time for you to do some actual writing now. So that's that's We all rely on those outside influences, and this is why we have Google chats that are up more or less all the time so we can drop these questions in, and somebody else sometimes can pull the reins on us. Uh oh. Interesting. Great idea. Yeah. And someone saying every writer I love that. Yes. Kate, Can you be our K two, please. Absolutely. Because I will have to admit I feel like such a research slob compared to someone like Stephanie, who totally will run down thing in the world because I am lazy. I have to admit, I am like, Okay, do I have to find that? Do I have to find this fact? Do I have to? Because if I don't have to, I will do an end run in the language, and I will find a way to get around having to state what this fact actually is. If it means I don't have to look it up now, if it's something I really do need to know, Yes, I will go down that rabbit hole and I will not come out until I have it. But I will do the end run because I believe very firmly you do all the research in the world that you need to do. You should not get hung up doing research that is unnecessary. And we've all done the thing now and then. Where you you blew a whole day's writing time looking something up in that paragraph, Got your your yes, or like trying to cram in something because you worked so hard finding it. And you're like, you know, it doesn't serve the story, but you can't bear to take. You had 19 tabs. Open desk. You can do it. You even have a picture of it. And you need to have that picture you've been saving on desktop. Yes. I think we need an actual official support group for this. I would just be the first. This is a problem. Serious problem. I have. All right. So, ladies switching tracks a little bit. You know, we talk on this show a lot about independent bookstores. Kate, Um, I know you're a great supporter of independent bookstores. Can you talk to us a little bit about why it's important to support? I mean, you know, we support all bookstores, but you know why? Especially as the world's reopening, it's so important to keep supporting our Indies. Well, it's one of those things where, you know, I am grateful to all those online retailers you know, Amazon and various other ones, too, you know, Anyway, people can get folks this wonderful, but the fact is, is that just because you know Amazon and otherwise may be convenient. But independent bookstores have done their part to move into this modern world that we live in there doing worldwide mailing. They're doing curbside service. They're doing everything they can to get books into our hands more easily, just like any huge conglomerate. So the whole idea of it's easier should not just should not discourage us from, you know, ordering from our Indies rather than from some huge giant giant publication that which, with, you know, possibly evil empire at the top. And you know, it's one of those things, too, where independent bookstores quite often have such a story Long history. They have been in the same family or in the same city for generations. And, you know, they're small businesses that are trying to make it through this pandemic just like us. And even now, more than ever, I think we need to support them because they're they're aware that books are the only thing that are getting so many of us through lockdown saying so they're trying to meet our needs and keep us from going crazy. We need to keep them in business by ordering our books from them, and I have so many favorite bookstores that have been so wonderful and hosting me for offense in promoting their, you know, authors and their sellers. And they have given so much to writers I want us to give back to by promoting them any chance we can. So true, So Well said Stephanie, can you tell us a little bit about a likely story, which is the bookstore that you chose tonight? I can't wait to tell you about them. So they are about 20 minutes from where I live, which in Maryland is extremely local, and, um, they have developed just such a...

...wonderful sense of community. Every event I've done there has been absolutely lovely that people, the readers are so engaged. The booksellers understand that, John, especially they love historical fiction. So that makes them all the more dear to me. Um, but they understand what everyone wants to read, and they are up on the best recommendations that they that readers can get. And I don't know that you necessarily always get that from an algorithm. That personal touch live and well at a likely story. And I'm so grateful for how they've helped me with this launch. Uh, they've been selling signed books of Of, um, the Women of Chateau Lafayette. And so I sent them many hugs and kisses, and I can I can. Second, I've had events with them to everything has always been stellar, and I think Stephanie really touched on it. The message that you're not going to get a personal recommendation from an algorithm and a knowledgeable bookseller or librarian. I will always also a library for sure. A knowledgeable bookseller librarian is someone who will turn you on to something you may never read before because they know how books go together and how there might be a whole underlying theme that you're reading in that you don't even know about, and they will feed it. They're the best pushers in the world. It sounds like an incredible store. I hopefully get together someday, and it's just a reminder that a likely story is offering 10% off of the Rose code. The women of Chateau Lafayette and all of the friends and fiction authors spring and Summer 2021 releases right now with the Code F F March 21. The link will be on our Facebook page, and it's a great opportunity for all of you to get these great books at a great price and help support a great store. And when you pre order under the southern sky, get your great friends and fiction film glasses. So there you go. I love it. What? Mary, Alice, You're muted. I'm trying. I don't want you to hear my canary singing in the background. Don't worry, I just want to take a moment to thank our partner, Mama Geraldine's. And whether you love the cheese straws or the cookies is delicious. You won't be disappointed. They are even having gluten free. So remember, you can get 20% off orders on their website Mama Geraldine's dot com with the code Fab Five. And while those of you are already having your cheese straws and our snacking on right now, I'm going to ask a question from Darlene Nicolini. How did you pick the names of your characters? The ones not based on real people? Do you ever base them on family members, friends or classmates? And either one can answer Well, I couldn't start with that. I guess History sometimes gives you the names, of course, but it's also something where, Naming the character If you haven't named a if you don't have a name that is dictated by time, that's a little bit different. And you really need I found you really need to know the name before you know the character. And I have sometimes said characters who walked in and absolutely knew what their names were. And I've had some that were a little shy with me, and I would try names on them and, you know, it wouldn't sound quite right until, you know it would finally come on in. And then I was like, Yes, that's the name. And then, you know it does. Although it does sometimes lead to some funny things because sometimes you know a certain name might sound a little strange for the time period. And this is where you end up cruising. You know what kind of baby names were being given to, you know, babies born in the 19 twenties. You know, you're cruising that kind of list, and I can also tell you to that I have freaked out more than one college roommate and once, unfortunately, my mother, uh, you were really quite perturbed to see a baby name book. Very well. Thumb my nightstand. And you know that that entailed some very quick explanation. Yes. Uh, how about you stuff? So I like to keep a naming chart with every project, and so I try not to Smart. Try not to be used. Um, letters. Uh, and, um yes. Worked out pretty well, but I had a very giant cast and the women of Chateau Lafayette. So we were getting into the X is pretty pretty far in there. Well, that's how I'll generally start picking out character names of the fictional people. The plot suggests something which, in the women of Chateau Lafayette it did for Marta. And I know we've all done that thing where you end up thinking, Okay, I need to name this her character's sister's...

...boyfriend. And it needs to start. You can start with any letter that is a T and X, z, g or F. Because everything else is used, that always happens. We want to take a minute to thank our sponsor Page one books where you can also use the same code Fab 5 10 to get 10% off your first subscription. And you know that's what they do. Books, subscriptions, awesome handpicked, personalized books, subscriptions from an independent bookstore right to you. So if you like to read, this is a great way to be surprised by new and exciting books each month. And it's a great gift to give somebody. Uh, my granddaughter is a huge reader, and I think I'm gonna have to get her that Sean has got Oh, there we go. Yeah, Page One books. And now I have a question for both of you ladies from Vickie Davis, who wants to know if you know the whole story before you start writing or does it? Does it follow along as you go along? So I think that's a long way of saying Pants or Potter. So, um, I think for historical fiction, that's biographical. You tend to know the large outlines of the story just because you know what the person's life was. So in that respect, you do know what's going to happen. What you don't know is what the shape of this story is going to be because people's real lives don't fit into a narrative form. They have boring trips that they take that you might have to take out or things might not happen in a nice, neat character arc. So I always feel like I'm chiseling a story out of what already exists when I'm telling biographical fiction. So the answer is sort of yes and no, I'm not really. I'm definitely a plotter, but there's some inevitable pantsing. As I fell really far that story out, I'd say for me, I'm becoming more of a plotter. The more I go along, um, it has generally been my thing that I will do it quite a bit of plotting. I do a lot of character exercises in advance, you know, like trying to figure out who is this person. What are their wounds, their talents? What are the ghosts that drive them? What are their weaknesses? Their strengths. That's the kind of thing I like to know before I start writing and I generally speaking, we'll know if it's like a three act story. I will have a very good idea when I begin drafting of what happens in Act One. The pretty good idea of what happens in Act two, and I kind of know what happens in Act three. Generally I'll know where it's going, but I'm not quite sure how it will get there, which inevitably leads to some point around the 85% mark. When I say something in the group, chat to Stephanie and all the friends like damn it, I have spent 180,000 words just saying that at this point they escaped the convent, and now I'm here and I don't know how they escaped. The convent has to talk me off the ledge. So I have tried to do more plotting as I go to get me out of that kind of thing. And this actually worked rather well for the last book I did after the one after the Rose Code. Um, I don't know about you, ladies, but I had the attention span of a goldfish during 2020 to walk down. I felt like I could not face that that blank, blank page in that blinking cursor to start drafting a new book. So I just kept outlining and outlining and outlining, and I went way further than I usually did. So by the time I was ready to draft suddenly it was like 100,000 words in 3.5 months super quick and I was just, like, kind of blamed, I kinda would say probably mostly the outlining, although I do think part of me was sort of like since this was fall of last year and everything is horrible with the pandemic in the lockdown and the election. And I think part of me was like, You know, I want to escape into any world but this one. So my brain dive into the wonderfully calming, soothing spa town of the world. That was the World War Two Russian front, which is so notorious for being relaxing and, you know, Yeah, and positive. My brain was desperate to escape anyway. It could. So it escaped into a book that I had plotted out really, really meticulously. And the result was a book that came out extra fast. Oh, awesome. It's crazy. Christie, do you want to? I think one crazy. How sorry. But that's the way I was going to pull the live question. I know. I'm too glad to to pull the live question. Go on. Okay, well, I just have to ask this one because I love it so much. Rachel McMillan. It's her question. It's so good. Um, I know. Hey, Rachel, she said. Stephanie, how in Hades did you balance three different time periods with such aplomb? And so intricately, Was there a lot of outlining or sticky notes? There was a lot of crying, and that I get Kate can attest to that, Um, I what I What I...

...wanted to do for this story is I wanted to make sure that each of the women was very distinct. They were each living in a different time period with its own, uh, slang and technology. So I wrote each of the three stories separately, and then I thought I was just what? We've them together. I'll just weave them together. There's no just weaving them together. Um, it was a real struggle to figure out, for example, which story should go first? And that was, you know, an endless round of debate. And I think Kate had to help with giving me an intervention on that as well. Like just make one anyone. Uh, So I really hearing you say that I did it with the plume? Makes my night. I mean, really, I can't tell you how delighted I have to hear that. I got to be with it. Kate. I got away with what I was telling you. Like at midnight on all those nights saying No, no, no. You have not forgotten how to write a book. You know how to write a book. I swear you do. You just don't remember right now. But you do know, and Rachel knows. I mean, so for her to say that she reads everything. So she know Stephanie, I read your book early to and you know, I Oh, my gosh. I'm just in awe of how you tied everything together. And, uh, yeah, you intimidate the heck out of it. You're You're so good at that. Seriously. So, ladies, I have a question to every week. One of our favorite parts of the show is receiving a writing tip from our guests. And since there are two of you this week, we're expecting double the wisdom. So, Stephanie, do you want to start off by giving us a short writing tips? I would love to hear it. So I'm going to pass along the best writing advice I ever got. And it was this. It was that you have to learn to hold two simultaneous thoughts in your head, the first one being that what you're doing is special and important, that your work is great and the second thought is that your work is terrible and it needs a lot of help. And if you can keep both of these thoughts in your head, you'll keep the faith and you'll be able to persevere to the end of the project. But you won't get too invested in your words. And hopefully you won't get a big head because there's so much that can be honed. Your craft can change over your career. You can learn so much from other authors, which is why I love having author friends and why I love this whole show and Kate and all of you, because other authors are going to help up your game. And when Kate and I write together or Laura and I write together, we're always trying to impress each other or amuse each other, and that makes us better writers. And I don't become a better writer. If you're so convinced that your words are precious, that you have done something perfect, that's the best advice I got. That is a great tip. Thank you. Kate. How about you? Do you have a writing tip you can share with us tonight? Absolutely. The one that I really think of is that you need to give yourself permission to be bad. And by that I mean that I have seen so many writers who get so paralyzed by that voice in their head that says This is terrible. This sucks. You know? How can I can never show this to anyone that they never really gets hurted, and they never actually get it down, and they just the project dies before it even starts because of that voice in the head. And I think it was Nora Roberts who said I can fix a bad page. I can't fix a blank page. I think of that all the time because, you know, it doesn't matter that it's bad. My rough drafts are terrible. Stephanie's rough draft are terrible. I bet all of you here would say you're rough. Drafts are terrible. It's okay. Terrible idea. Yeah, exactly. No, I have not met anybody. Any writer who said Yeah, my draft took great. I just sent him right off the age, I'd be like, Oh boy, what do you think they are? But the important part with a rough draft is just to get it down because you get it down, no matter how bad it is. You can fix it later, and you can always fix it later. And you don't have to show it to anyone as a new writer before you are feeling ready to, because that's something else I see is that writers seem to have this idea that you have to have. You have to show it to people, whereas like, I know plenty of people who take dance classes and don't think that they're necessarily going to be, you know, dancing in a ballet. I see plenty of people who take art classes and don't think that they're going to have a show, you know, in New York. But writers seem to think it doesn't count unless someone else sees it. You don't have to show it to anyone before you think it's ready. That's fine, and you don't just the only thing is get it out there, no matter how bad it is, then...

...fix it and then show it when it's ready to be shown, and then the whole that really will help. And as my military husband would say, Embrace the suck, That's awesome. I embrace it. Just embrace it, just get it down. So I'm going to sum up your writing tip with Embrace the suck on it. That's what it on a put it on a your T shirts. You know, people might get wrong. I'm not sure. All right, a T shirt. It might be wrong. All right, ladies, please stick around because we have one more question for you, and it's one of our favorites. But first we want to remind all of you out there to check out our podcasts. We have started recording even more podcasts than just the show and will always post lengths under announcements each time a new one goes out and one went out today with our beloved Christie Woodson Harvey. It's a lot of fun, and it's totally different from the show, so you'll like hanging out with us there, too. Don't forget to join the Friends and Fiction Official Book Club and is hosted by our darlings Lisa Harrison and Brenda Gartner. And this month they're reading Patties. Amazing. Surviving Savannah. Yeah, And next month they'll be reading under the southern sky, which, if we haven't mentioned it yet on the show, comes out on three weeks from now. And hey, everybody, Actually, it's like two weeks and change, which is kind of terrifying, but, you know, it's the right time to pre order. If you choose our bookstore tonight, you will get your incredible way. I can't see myself, your incredible friends and fiction sunglasses with your pre order and your 10% off. But it is available for preorder wherever books are sold. And I can't wait to see you, um, at our book club meeting next month. And don't forget to join us next week. Right here at 7 p.m. Eastern as we welcome New York Times best selling author Josh Lynn Jackson and get to see the very first trailer from Mary Kay Andrews upcoming novel. The Newcomer, which I have read and it is spectacular. It is. It absolutely is, um and, uh, what I'm gonna tell you about I'm going to tell you about tomorrow night. Uh, being the best sellers, we've got our friend Lisa Scottoline E. Who is the author of Eternal, which just hit the list. The list, which is the New York Times bestseller list at number four tonight. So we're so thrilled and happy for Lisa. And, um, the way you catch us tomorrow night is go to foxtail book shop dot com and you'll find the link to the zoom there. And we're going to all be on there grilling Lisa about her new best seller, eternal. And now we've got one more question for Stephanie and Kay that we always our favorite how to talk to us. I'm low on wine. Y'all. What were the values of reading and writing? Your childhood? Thank you, Sean. John Telling the Hail Mary pass. He's like the camera. Try your underwear. What is called to tell us about that and how that made you into the writers that you are today. Uh, okay. You want to go first? Well, I'm very lucky because I happened to be raised by a librarian, and my mother not only turned me into a reader, she turned my dad into a reader because he had never been much of a reader. And then, well, he started living with a librarian uh, so became a reader, and then both of them read to me. And the thing is that I know a lot of I know various folks have said, Oh, I was reading by age two and I was not reading particularly early, but I was hearing stories from a very early age and I was obsessed and they read to me and I just loved it. And so by the time I was writing and reading myself, I had that love of story. I was already making my own. And you know, those memories I have from when I was a kid and my parents reading to me are some of the best that I have, especially my dad, because not having been a reader, he was reading me all these classic kid books, and he didn't know how they came out. So it's like we got to the end of Robin Hood were both crying, You know, my mom walks home. We looked like we've been to a funeral, you know, it's so it's that whole thing of I do really do believe in that whole saying that Children are created readers in the laps of their parents I get that out of pillow, that's yeah, That's how it became important to me. And that's how and why I writing my own stories as soon as I could write. How about you, Stephanie? So my parents were both...

...teachers. They met because they had an adjoining greenhouse and they in their high school and they had a lot of books in the house, and I was allowed to read anything I wanted. Um, even though they were very strict about television shows, I think they probably I thought that I wouldn't understand something that was too advanced for me in the written form. Jokes on them I understood. So I started reading stories. And then I got into writing because of my grandmother, who was not a big reader. She considered vote to be her favorite book. Professional areas loved to stop, um, garage sales, and she would always take me and my cousins in the back seat of her lying green Ford Fairlane, and she would have been arrested today because you cannot lock Children in the back of a car and go into a garage sale. Or but that's what she used to do. And since I was the oldest. She would say, If any of these kids leave the car, you're the one who's in trouble, so we're going to keep them in the car. I would have to spin stories like Scheherazade with no really cliffhanger endings to keep them from leaving so that I wouldn't get in trouble. So that is how I became a writer. And I do want to say that as far as reading being important, I know that Kate Quinn read a book called Celia Garth when she was a Girl. This is her book, which I kidnapped when she left Maryland. I'm holding it hostage. This is proof of life. She cannot have it back until she comes back home. Oh, that is low, Dre, you're wholly fully costed. That's true. Love that friend. Exactly. So to all of you out there, keep hanging out with us because we're going to chat somewhere in the after show. But for now, we'll say goodbye to Kate and Stephanie and encourage you as strongly as possible to go out and buy both of their books, preferably from Our Bookseller of the Week, a likely story where you can get 10% off with the code F f March 21. Thank you so much for being here with us tonight. You're awesome. Pleasure. Amazing. Yeah. Thank you so much, Seller. Awesome, ladies. Such a pleasure. Thank you for having a good night, you guys. Yeah, the way. I think we should raise a toast to those ladies they have just way New York Times list. So Bravo, Lee, wearing my sunglasses for all of the after shit way. I'm going to wear mine when I get them. I promise to disappear because she ghosting us. She goes there. She you are. I know how patchy. Oh, am I Am I still sounding glitchy? And I like that at all. It just that's a little different, but the sound is fine. Okay, Okay. I just got so much I wanted to say to them because we write in these same genres and we have these, um, you know, I'm just such a big fan of their books. And I was like, but my voice isn't going to match my mouth and life. No, it wasn't about at all. It's hard when their friends and they have their little dialogue going on jump in and hear it. I mean, there was really great to see that. Yeah, we're gonna have to try to that Google hangout. Yeah, it was the same thing. I don't know what that is. I just rely on to go hang out before. It's kind of like I think it be easier than texting. The texture is so small. We do. We do have quite the text chain, though. Don't we write like, yeah, I wonder if there's a way to go back and quantify how many texts we've exchanged. I mean, thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands. After I get through with this massive move into cocaine a cottage. I'm going to start the 7 a.m. Napping because my agent, please, I don't worry. I don't do until after a tour. Yeah. Okay. Well, start the other day we were talking about something and he goes, Dare I ask how many words today? And I said, Well, I said a lot of words. I emailed texted a lot of words, but I didn't write a lot of fiction. Words I should say after Kristin's book is that we really hit the pavement. You know, we just really, man, I have a way to start. Yeah, I think we started as soon as we can. And when you need to take a little break from your book tour for your book tour, and that's okay. But I think, you know, we just dive in and hit the ground running. Chris Christie, I want a...

...screenshot of you so bad right now that I'm doing it. My influence. You guys want the sunglasses? Yes, I want to. I already have, like, two copies of the book, but I think I'm gonna order another just There you go. Well, the good news is Christian, you a pair earlier this week, so you'll get them. I think next week we should all wear them. Yeah, great idea. Well, I like to friends and fiction on the side. I thought John John, John, John. Josie Barrel. So that's right. A picture of the baby wearing this one. I was when I was reading your essay, which was so good. I'm so India for your talent at writing essays. That good at it, You know, when and he was a baby, we had a housekeeper who had some very odd ideas her name was Veronica and I. I was working full time as a reporter at the Atlanta Constitution, and I came home one and one Saturday. I guess I was digging through the little chest of drawers in his room. He was about probably 18 months old, and I found an egg, a real egg. And I'm like, Oh, my God, that we have some kind of snake laying and And I, um So when I saw her on Monday, I'm like Veronica. I found an egg in Andy's baby cause she goes, Oh, yeah, I put that in there. I'm like, what she said, Yes, it's very important you put an egg in a baby's in with his clothes. Um, so that, uh, he'll be healthy and then where you go because no one will kneel him. She had already had very curly hair like mine earlier than mine. Even kinky And, you know, we were going to give him his his first haircut. He did have a lot of hair and she said, No, no, no, no, no, you can't have. You can't give him a haircut until these two, otherwise, he'll stutter. What? Well, I was going to use that book. It's excellent advice. I mean words to live by. But what do you mean if you don't refrigerate them? I mean, like you can have eggs. I mean, because I think I know it's yeah. If you don't refrigerate them, you can have an egg forever and it doesn't smell like that. It's like once it's been cooked, though, it's yeah, get to that point, Thank you very much. And then the South to start gathering, um, friends and fiction superstitions. Because that those are some good ones right there. You know, writing superstitions, Children, superstition. Oh, I have. So you know, I'm Irish and we have a lot, well, Patty to we have a lot of superstitions, like a lot. And I make up a lot of my own. I want I have writing rituals. And if I don't do something a certain way, I'm always certain. Keep that mind because wouldn't that be a fun question to ask writing when you have so many superstitions can only that I don't even realize or like, not normal. I mean, like, there are things that I just are so ingrained in me that I'm like, oh, wait. Like maybe you don't actually have to, like, lick your finger and touch the windshield. When a black cat crosses, it might be a not a chance. Maybe if your ear itches, it doesn't mean someone's talking about you. And if your nose it's just maybe you're not gonna have company. Or maybe if you stir your tea clockwise or counterclockwise, you're not gonna have bad luck. And I was I was okay about your hands. If your hand itches, uh, you're gonna meet somebody new. And if your foot catches, you're going on a journey. Well, nice. You have My mother's family was very itchy. That is hilarious. I actually think would be a really good question. Yeah, we should definitely talk about that, Christie. We're still getting a lot of questions about where to get the sunglasses. Okay, well, let me model them again, because because they're just Maybe that was working. Um, wear the sunglasses is to pre order. My mom is laughing, and so now I'm laughing is to pre order under the southern sky from a likely story. You get 10% off and a pair of friends of fiction sunglasses. You don't have to do anything. You just pre order under the southern sky and they will let me know. And I will send you your snazzy friends and fiction glasses. And you can rock them all summer long whether you're in the Southern sky or not. But it has to come from a likely story. It has to come from a likely story. Yes, I'm a likely story. Yeah, in Maryland. A special waiting, guys, I'm gonna say adios. I am a long, long...

...day and it's so fun to see you spend the highlight of my day. Uh, are the greatest so fun? Roll out of bed and get in the car and drive four hours to tidy safe drive, my darling. And good luck with that. Yes, that was fast. Tomorrow night. Okay. Okay. Thank you for tuning in. Join us every week on Facebook or YouTube, where our live show airs every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Eastern time. And please subscribe to our podcast and follow us on Instagram. We're so glad you're here. Mhm.

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