Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode 6 · 1 year ago

Friends and Fiction Bonus Episode with Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jayne Anne Krentz

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Long-time friends and romance author Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jayne Anne Krentz join the Friends & Fiction authors for a hilarious bonus episode and deliver what might be our best writing tips yet. https://susanelizabethphillips.com https://jayneannkrentz.com

Welcome to friends and fiction. Fivebest selling authors endless stories. Friends and fiction is a podcast with five bestselling novelists whose common love of reading writing in independent bookstores bound them together.With chats, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing, thesefriends discuss the books they've written, the books they're reading now and the artof storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world,you're in the right place. Best Selling Novelists Mary K Andrews, Christen Harmel, Christie Woodson Harvey, Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Monroe are fivelongtime friends with more than eighty published books to their credit. At the startof the pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk abouttheir books, your favorite bookstores, writing, reading and publishing in this new,unchartered territory. They're still talking and they've added fascinating discussions with other bestselling novelists. So joined them live on their friends and fiction facebook group pageevery Wednesday at seven P M Eastern, or listen in view later at yourleisure. Hi everybody, this is friends and fiction and welcome. We arefive best selling novelist whose common love of reading, writing and independent bookstores boundus together, along with some secrecy will never share. This is not ourweekly show, but it's our special bonus Sunday show. We haven't done thisbefore, so you'll have to bear with us. The ladies, please introduceyourselves. I'm Kristen Carmel and I'm the author of the Book of last nine. I'm Christy wits and Harvey and my latest novel is feels like falling.I'm Hatty Callahan Henry and my latest novel is becoming Mrs Lewis. And I'mMary Alice Monroe and my latest novel is on Ocean Boulevard. And, asyou already know, I already told you this, I'm Mary Kay Andrews andmy lady. Hello Summer, and this is friends in fiction. Thought wehad our summer planned out. We thought we had three months of Wednesday nightepisodes, but then we just couldn't resist inviting two of our favorite authors,Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jane and Krens, to join us for what we're callinga Sunday bonus episode. Now I have done advanced with Susan and Jane andI promise we are all in for some fun tonight. We're not in form, for I'm not playing the straight man again. I've had enough of that. You are such a good straight man. Don't give me that. We're notchanging all of a sudden. Always, I always have to be the streetperson. I have all about me. It's all minute into this thing andyou are already off script. Her microphone and a camera and it's justalbow the way. I had my okay, I'm going to tell you that Janeis a New York Times best selling author and classic overachiever. He's writtenover a hundred novels of romantic suspense under three different names, Jane and Krantzfor contemporaries, Amanda Quick for historicals and Jane Castle for Futuristic Settings. Fiftyof those books were New York Times best seller. So she's just a slacker. Yeah, out of here. Novel Gentle Pirate came out in one thousandnine hundred and eighty. She's often asked why she uses three names, andthere is no good excuse. She says it wasn't the plan at the start, because there was no plan. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a New York Timesbest selling author of twenty four novel see, she's just a slacker and a beginner, starting with her her nineteen Ey two debut, the kofelan bride,which was a collaboration and she says it's now blessedly out of print. She'sa I tried to count. I could find that he is at least afour time winner of the Romance Writers of America's Rita Award for best contemporary novel. And I gotta say, for those of you who are new to Susan, she writes a some Moke and the hot sect same. I think it'sall that yoga she does. Welcome, ladies, remember Yelcome, welcome,if you put you pay. Posted a chat and we'll be pulling live questionsshortly. As an asside, I want to tell you all that we areall frequently asked by readers how they can find titles in our back list,which is especially important for those of you who love reading a series. Soyou can find all that Info and so much more on all of our websitesand we'll post that in the announcements. Oh, we want you to followus on Instagram and that's where you'll find pictures and posts and fun giveaways andwe'll keep you all up to date on our behind the scenes antics. Andone more thing and then I'll turn it over to the ladies. I wantto mention, before we dive in tonight, our featured booksellers, Anderson's books,in the good choice. We're Susan...

List. We'd love for you tovisit their store via the link on the friends and fiction page, where youcan order any of our new releases, and that includes Jane's latest. Janeit is the latest. Is The danishing? Is that right? No, well, depends which name here. This is where you just go down therabbit hole of one. That was three names. You don't even want togo there. But the personality. Yeah, the latest under my Amanda Quick Nameis close up. Okay, all right, and Susan's is danced awaywith me. So now I know that all of us have been deep thereit is. That's a great cover to such a good cover. Yeah,I know that we dealing with cabin fever during the pandemic. Susan, you'vekind of had a different experience. You want to tell us what happened toyou? We went out. We would because we've gotten to be such Sissy's. We've avoided the Chicago winner by going out to southern California, in theSan Diego area. We went out for eight weeks and ended up staying foralmost five months and buying a condo while we were there. So we wesequestered in the San Diego area and let me tell you, it was gorgeous. I mean I can walk out our back gate and down this little beachroad and the ocean is there and I got to do a lot of writingand it was lovely and I was really hating coming home until we got droppedoff from the airport here in our neighborhood and all the neighbors came out togreet us and the I hit the smell of that midwestern summer. It's itjust smells like nothing else. It was so great. So now I'm inthe position of no matter which home I'm in, I'm missing the other andthat is a pretty cool thing. That is hey, Jane, I knowSeattle, where you live, has been a pandemic hot spot. How hasthat affected your life and did did you have your most recent booked? Werecanceled, as all the rest of US did. We're pretty much trapped atthe top of a thirty eight story building. The elevator becomes a huge barrier.You know, you have to have reservations go up and down and andonly two people at a time, and it's it's there's four hundred people inthe building. So it's you know, it's very complicated just to get outand we've stayed hunkered down. To tell you the truth, we're living onINSTA CART and Amazon. Yeah, so I haven't really been out of thiscondo since March, early March. It's right. Wow, I could.I could also tell you, since we had recently moved just before all thishim and put our other condo on the market, this is not the timeto be selling a condo and see everything. The market is for single family housingwhere you can get a yard, you know, some place to gooutside and walk out your front door and and UPURBAN lifestyle is fabulous. Butthen we found this was one big drawback. So you know, that's interesting becausewe've seen a tremendous spike in sales. I'm sure you have any for everyonealong the beach it's just turn to you know, people aren't even lookingat more than two houses. It's just them buy anything to get out ofthe city. Yeah. Yeah, so have you been more productive, Jayne, since you're in lockdown, really truly locked down? Yeah, I thinkwe finally adapted at some point about a month or two ago, but beforethat it was actually very interrupt I don't have to explain it, but verydistracting. It was not what you think would be the perfect writing time.It was jump up from the computer and go check the news. Go,jump up from the computer and go check down. Yeah, and it becomesthe obsession with when are we going to find out when we can move on? And then after a while you realize this isn't going anywhere fast. Yeah, and this is the way life is going to be, and that nowyou get up in the morning, or we get up in the morning,and the first thing we look at is the overnight deaths from Colvid, like, oh, that rest of stops don't do that anymore. Yeah, butit's so full movies, I know. But it's so critical because our governoris taking a very firm stand, for which we're all grateful. But threealas, he is. If we don't keep the numbers down, nothing getsopen. So so the numbers become you know, really the first thing youlook at every morning. Yeah, no, I justerstand. I know we're allterribly grateful, but it really is just stunning how the medical community,in the first responders just keep showing up. It's just hero am fazing, absolutelyunbelievable, amazing. Okay, as the risk of the round, safety, yeah, Susan, you said that you that you did get inspirred andyou did a lot of riding in California.

I did. For one thing,the CONDO is much smaller than our house here, so there wasn't thatmuch housekeeping to do and we didn't have a lot of friends that we hadmade, so I wasn't, you know, meeting friends. And because no onelikes you, I know you're such a solid puss. Fuck. Imean, I just love posy and know it was a very predictive time forme and I already see the difference now that we're home. Yeah, yeah, okay. So I know a little bit about what Kristin and Christian,Mary, Alice and Patty have been doing because we are checking in daily doingour writing sprints, but I thought I would ask each of the friends andfiction ladies what fuels your creativity at times and like these are you have youhave any of y'all developed any new creative outlets? I have to say thesprints, Y'all save me. Girls. I was like so many people atthe beginning of this. I was enveloped with this whole covid thing and andI really I went to the mountains to live because the beach was crowded,but I just I had ideas and I was kind of working. But thesprints made me accountable to you all and I thank you. It's what yousaid me. There's and we have been. Patty and I started. This isday twenty eight. We start at seven o'clock eastern time, so it'ssix o'clock for Patty because she's an Alabama and honey, I never thought aboutthat. Yeah, we commit to writing a certain number of words or pages. We have a goal every but and I type, I text, everybodygo and first thing in the morning we're all we're all doing these writing sprintsand it's been incredibly productive, I think, for all of us really. Yeah, we're so on. How long? I think we're going to keep rowinguntil we don't want to break the streak. But how long? Howlong is each sprint. What do you know? It's long as anybody cando it like. Well, you guys explain this. I think it differsfor each of us. So, for example, I have a four yearold and he wakes up and my husband has to start work. So I'ma hard out at thirty every morning. So I go from seven to thirtyas much as I could write and then I'm done. But some of you, I think, have have, you know, sort of different types oftime constraints. How about you, ladies? Yeah, mine is whenever will isabsolute mess on. My year old son absolutely has to have breakfast.It's like how long we can await you until he has to have our ChristI, sometimes it's a and sometimes a date ten and sometimes say fifteen.But I think for all of us we try to set that goal and thenwe try to meet the goal. And so might not necessarily be an hourand a half and might be said I was going to write two thousand wordstoday and I'm not getting up till I write two thousand words. And Christiewrites like I don't even know. I don't know how you sit down atthe computer in the words just fly out. So we're all a little bit jealous, for I'm editing now, so I'm slower smoke. But Ding,you were just set talking about how hard it was and I saw this fantasticand we're talking about inspiration to keep going. I saw this fantastic New Yorker cartoon. And when, and that's how this started, is the five ofus got together and said we can't write. We were frozen, we don't knowwhat we're like. What do we do with our book tours? Andeverybody kept saying to us, Oh, what a perfect time to write yourhold up this Great New Yorker cartoon of a woman in a in a lifeboatand there was lightning all around her and sharks and the ship sinking and thecaptain said this is a perfect time to write your new novel. That's exactlywhat the beginning of Covid felt like. So happy to answer you. Whatkeeps me inspired? Not only is our sprints, but as soon, Imean I think it's the same for all of us. Once we hit onan idea that lights US sun fire, that keeps US fired up. Soonce I hit that like kind of live wire a couple weeks ago, Iwas all in. So you know what I will say that watching old movies. I saw a piece in the Sunday New York Times. They do thesemovie watch parties and one of the ones they suggested was what's up doc.They're all memory barber strays and yeah, yeah, you're right, it's righton you. Yeah, and Susan is sort of the goddess of writing aRom calm and Rom com the thing about rom calm is it's so much harderthan it looks, and so watching, for me, watching what's up talkwas a great reminder of keep those scenes moving, keep those likes coming.So anyway, yeah, it's cool. Got In is. Hey, Matt, what about uses? And it's some new inspiration that you found. Theonly inspiration I find is butt in chair. Yeah, that's right, find,but that works. Don't you get a kick out of people who sayto you you have to be inspired to...

...work? Sort of say well,yeah, that would get me to my computer maybe once every thirty days.Yeah, I do find my inspiration when I'm actually working. Yeah, aboutthere's that line that I think you met. You quoted it and we quoted it. I think Nora originally said it. You can face a sentience, youcan fix a bad page. You can't fix a blank that's it.I talk to you about that Shit and make it up either. We cannotfind the roof. I said you should take creditors and it's all you now. Nor won't know. We won't tell her. Okay, we've all gotquestions for you. Marry Alice, you think? I think you've got thefirst question right. I'm sure your introduction really pretty much established. This isfor Susan and Susan, I've known you for a long time, but Ihaven't seen you for a long time either. You still have the bird clock yourkids gave you for Christmas that one year. How did you put it? In the mountains or in your out it's here in South Carolina. Yeah, it's a little off, but I still I can't get rid of itbecause my kids gave it to me on the our different birds things. That'snot the right bird anymore, but a bird sinks every that because I seeyou know you have had your home in Chicago area was just a beautiful homeand you had that stupid bird clock on the wall. Remember thinking that's amother's present right. There always such a kick out of that. That's youwill have real birds Canary's I used to have. I used to have six. Now I'm they've all gone and I don't have one, but they're beingdelivered in August. But I love the real birds now. So, anyway, I forgot. I'm supposed to be asking you a question. Let's go. We gotta made this along. So, Susan, as you said, Susanis a goddess and we were both members, I think a lot ofus in this group remembers, of Romance Rotis of America, which is iffor those of you who don't know what that is, it's the it's theseassociation for this Billion Dollar Industry and we've all have roots in it. Andone of the things I wanted to point out is that for me, Susan, you were more than just a star. I mean you burst down to thescene when before. I'm you had books before, but when glitter babyhit, you were and then my honeymoon, on my God honey moon, andthat opening scene of honeymoon. I just can't laugh at night without thinkingabout it. But one of the things I wanted to know is that,because you've been in this institution for a long time and in the genre atthe top for a long time. You've seen a lot of the changes.I'm curious over this thirty years and what has changed and what has stayed thesame. It's funny you asked me this question when Jane's here, because I'vegotten this question a number of times because I do have a long career andI always quote Jane. One of the things I believe is there's more diversityin the romance genre and those of us who straddle romance and women's fiction thatany other genre. And Jane always says it is because for so long theacademics, the critics paid no attention to us. We flew under the radarand we could do anything we want, and I just I thought Jane reallyhit it on the nose with that one. There is nothing that I don't thinkromance writers have tried in some form or another. There's every kind ofromance you could possibly possibly look for, and we also don't care about barriers. We don't care if we're closer to women's fiction than romance. Are We? You know, we don't care if we've crossed over, we are intosuspense or into thrillers. We just kind of do whatever the heck we wantand I really, really love that. A bunch of really courageous, smartwomen. But has it changed or has it not changed over thirty years?Well, is it just going up and down? None of the contents havechanged in the books, but the innovation hasn't changed. I mean look atjust the innovation the beginning with Kathleen. What of US and the those early, early historical romances. It's always been an innovative genre and some of thebooks that we wrote early on they're not going to pass the political, politicalcorrectness. I mean they're a little hard to read now. But that wasall part of the experimentation and it was also women of a different generation whowere starting. The growth of the romance industry. Happened right along with thefeminist movement and they're very, very wonderful companions because we had all of thoselittle virginal heroines in those really brutal heroes and by the end of the bookthose little virginal heroines have found their power. So I think the books were reflectivein the beginning of the feminist movement and now we're just all we doeverything, and that's taking to you into her question for Jane Right, Christen. Yes, so Jane, I have...

...read a great quote from you sayingthat fiction encapsulates and reinforces our cultural values and that romance in particular addresses thevalues of family and human emotional bonds. I love that. I just lovethe whole idea behind that and and I love the air and outspoken advocate forthe romance genre. Can you talk a little bit about how you think bookscan change and shape us for the better and why it important to encourage peopleto read books that move them? I just that really matters, especially now. Okay, this is get ready for Jade's theory of popular fiction. SoI have always taken the darwinning approach to these things, which is people havebeen trying to kill off romance and popular fiction in general for at least twohundred years. This is the criticism of popular fiction is nothing new and thecriticism of romance is just a particularly sharp extension of that. It but itcould. He talked to a science fiction author. You talked to a mysteryauthor. They don't get no respect, you know, I mean in theirminds. But here we are, two or three hundred years after the novelas we kind of know what has developed and it's going strong as ever.Right. So I think at that point you have to step back and saywhy? Because it isn't just entertainment. We have a billion forms of entertainmentand this one is still popular fiction, is still the dominant form of entertainment, and I think it's because popular fiction teaches us and transmits to the nextgeneration and reinforces, in affirms our core values. Don't think we go backagain and again to an author who violates those values on some level. Youmight read it once or twice for pure shock value, but an author thatyou're going to becomes an autoby and author that you're going to go back toagain and again is somebody who's writing values that resonate with your own, andI think that's how we transmit our cultures core values and in the proof ofthat is that everybody knows what a hero is supposed to do when the chipsare down. It doesn't matter what the background is, it doesn't matter ifhe's being redeemed or not. We just know what a hero does and weknow what they're not supposed to do. You don't shoot people in the back, right. I mean we we just have a sense of of what realhonor is and we have a sense of what real heroism is for both menand women, and it's involves protecting the week, protecting the innocent, protectingthe young, taking care of the community, the family. Those are real corevalues and they're all invented in popular fiction, all the Genres, andthat's stick. said. Great Answer. Yeah, just my friends. Ican just let her talk and then I take her ideas and then I presentthem, I said, but now I'm not going notes on this, soI can quote lay transcript of that. She's right. She is absolutely ontarget with that. She really is. And it's interesting because we had aconversation of a couple weeks ago about voice and we I think that does translateinto voice, because you know that author who has that cultural values and shebrings it out again and again and again. That's what she is as an individualand as an author. So I think that ties in beautifully. Yes, I agree. Yeah, Christie, don't you have, like I turn, have to have some reason why it survived? Yeah, other kinds ofentertainment come and go, and this on the idea of a real hero,true heroic actions. Like we, like everybody, understands how heroic it isfor these first responders and medical workers to be going into the zone day after, day after day, and we know? How do we know them? Whatteaches those that? That is real heroism and action. That's good,good point. HMM, especially today right. That sort of brings it back toour opening conversation, doesn't it? It's what heroes do. Chris,you got a question right. Yes, I do so, Susan, Iam reading dance away with me right now and I love it so much.I'm actually a little bit sad that it's a stand alone. I'm sure I'mnot alone in that, and then you're going to have a lot of emailsand letters telling you the same thing. So my question is, I Iknow that you have written series and you've written standalones, and do you planbefore you start writing? Do you know what's going to be a series ofwhat's going to be a standalone, and what helps you make what helps youmake that decision? Any question I get about planning, I always go sayI was in a person to ask you this thing, because I never plananything. How I get whether I'm going...

...to write a standal owner, shouldif I'm going to write a Chicago stars book, it's really clear. Idon't write a stars book unless I have a great idea. If I don'tget great ideas or more stars books, because I love that series too muchto just say, well, I got to write a star's book and writeanything. I tend to like kind of going from us something that is justsort of a romp into a book like Dance Away with me, which youknow it's still has funny parts, but it's a very, very emotional book. Don't plan ahead a time. Sometimes I have a germ of an ideapremise. Sometimes I just have an idea of a character and I'm one ofthose people. I sit at the computer and I go chapter one, HMM, and I start writing and I get to page three and I go backto chapter one and then I go through the and I can start chapter twoand I'm back at chapter one again. It's such a messy process, butI'm a writer who has to internalize everything of my backgrounds in theater and Ineed to enter the characters to find out what they're capable of doing, whatthey're not capable of doing, and so the plot is growing out of thecharacters, but it's messy. But you know, one of the things whenI do writing seminars and talking to people who are who are interested in writingfiction, is some of that is going to be just the way your brainis hardwired. And won't you find your process, whatever it is. Youknow, you can experiment with other things, but make peace with it because it'sjust you. Nobody can write the way somebody else does. I seelots of it snotting here. I think. I don't know we're talking. Yeah, I've been trying to change the way I write for twenty five years. That I just can't. I'm looking out right. Yeah, it's workingfor me, but I can't change it. Let's just how do you've got aquestion? Right, I do, but I have to say, Susan, can you can join the club with Mary Kay and I, because weare the no planner club. Mary Alice and Christie and Kristen are super outliners. And No, I am zero. I do nothing that. Yeah,she Y, I do nothing, nothing, nothing out. I'm like a lunatic. But it would come to terms with it. And and I've triedall the other ways. I've tried COMP footed cards, I've tried the wholething. I am I know we joked about it at first, but I'vegot to talk to you about your names. Looking so I read under Patty Callahanand Patty coat right, right, right, and that happened because Itook a hard left and wrote a historical fiction and it's a long story,but I didn't plan it. And now all my historical fictions are under PattyCallahan and then my contemporaries or Patty Callahan Henry. But those aren't that differentyour names, except you use Jane and one of them especially a man toquit. You know, even the covers are so distinctly different that a manhold up here, a man to quick cover. It's so gorgeous, quegeous. I love that cover's a and and then your Jamie cree has more ofit. You know mystery feel to it. So I have to know. Didyou plan it? which name came first and how did you get totwo names? Okay, three names. I'd there more than that. Thereare more than three. See, this is why I've never love to goon with her, because she's gonna pull up my past. We have herher. It's like let's book Susan and Jane Together because we know they'll getinto it. Like put it up. Even know that, but isn't thisgreat? I love it. Okay, I just want to say that earlyon in my career I lost my birth name because I signed a contract thinkingI didn't need an agent. Any birth name is the best, best,best possible name I could have had. Jane Castle, no, Romance Writer, sounds made up. I know. Wow, actually my birthday. Sofor ten years I lost that because I'd signed a contract that gave a housesix you don't care about this so much anymore, but back in the day, let me tell you, ladies, it was to writing. They triedto tie up an author's name. Wow, and that was how they kept youfrom jumping ship. So I lost the name for a few years andduring that time got married and started using the Jana and crins name, whichis my married name. There's none of these are good reasons. That's that'swhy I said don't so interesting at one point. I it's not the firsttime, but it was the most devastating time. I managed to kill offmy crins career, and I did that by Writing Science Fiction Romance. Andthere's one lesson you want to take away.

There any aspiring writers out there,is you don't really want to be too far ahead of the curve.It's not a good place to be. So anyhow, that the name wasbasically going down the toilet in terms of the sales and because nobody wanted sciencefiction romance in those days. At that point I was faced with reinventing myselfyet again, third time. And is anybody still remember Walden books? Yeah, sure, of course. So I walked into the local Walden books andI looked in the romance section and at the time there was nobody writing underq. So that's picked demand to quick and I just and I just wantedsomething short and memorable and I like to take credit to this day for openingup the entire que section. I'm just saying that. If I hope JuliaQuinn has thank you for that. It is right strategy. He that thatis quick. You can't go ze because you don't want to be on thebottom of the remember we used to look awhere the names for the helpum thatfell on the shelves. Yeah, so that's that's kind of how those threenames evolved and then over time it's sort of for while I thought, okay, this is it, this will be my new career. We historical,and then another publisher who still had the rights, not the rights to theCRIN's name but still had a backlist, said, oh well, maybe wecan make her work. So all of a sudden I was offering contract forthe crins name and a okay, now I got two careers and then atsome point the castle name finally came back to me and I said well,if I ever do want to do science fiction romance again, because it's kindof my first love, I'll say that for that and that's that's how Iended up with the three names, but I do not recommend it. Isee he always says that she doesn't recommend that. But I think it's greatbecause some readers will follow her across all three names, but some readers theythey want to thriller, they want that Crintz Book and some of them wantthe more historic settings with the quick I think it was brilliant. I thinkwe all should have done it. Let's problem. I will tell you.The problem is the promotion. Yeah, just can't make people remember three names. Yeah, but you got loyal readers for those. I mean you've gota great readership for each name. You're just being niggy and greedy. Ican barely make one name work. So imagine, imagine trying to facebook,instagram, and that's just not it's awful. Yea. So how many books ayear do you write to keep up with three names? Two and ahalf is kind of how it comes out. It's tired writing more than that untilwe all start yelling at her. Well, remember, I grew upin category, and in category you can't survive unless you're doing four books ayear. Yeah, yeah, YEA, we may. COMBER mentioned that shoethat. It's just when you're in that slot, you just you know thathas to have to keep yeah, so I you just can't build an audienceunless you do. The books are shorter. So so there's that going for it, but it's still a very you just have to keep writing and writing. So the pace became familiar, I guess you would say, and Ido think every writer develops a face that works. HMM, and I mypiece is actually going to pretty much always been three to four months. Imean that's just if I go away from longer than that I forget where wehave in the book. And now it's not. It's my turn, andthis is a question for both of you, Jane and Susan. I know thatyou're both longstanding members of tight communities of women writers and that's a subjectthat's dear to our heart. So could you talk a little bit about howthose friendships evolved and what they meant what they still mean to your creative process? And also, I would love it if you would tell we have alot of beginning writers here and one thing I've had people asked me over theyears as how do you find your tribe? How do you find your your people? So if you would talk a little bit about that. Is UntilJane and I actually were just talking about this. In the early years areour Wa and old romantic times come those who are where we found our groupright and you know, we we'd meet somebody and sometimes you'd hit it offwith them, but sometimes you'd hit it off with with their writing buddy.Jane and I, I don't I don't know. We've been really close forprobably twenty years or so and it's I mean it's great in terms of theemotional support you get and also just the...

...technical support you get. Sometimes we'llhave conversations where one of us has written us into a court written herself intoa corner or is confused about a character and it's all business and then sometimeit is, you know, with me, whatever book I'm working on is thebook. Those crash my career. So you know, I'll go withthat. To Jane. I remember early on in my career when I gotmy first horrible review. It is in publishers weekly, when remember the earlydays when they were reviewing romance and they were just horrible, savage that it'sterrible. I I read the review and I burst into tears and I calledJane and Jane was like this is Jane. Get it out of the house rightnow. Get it up, just get it out of the house.It doesn't even exist. Get it out of the house and it was likethat physical act of removing that from my space. I still remember that.So those kinds of relationships. Yes, we have other female friends who aren'twriters, but you all know that the writing friendships are really, really specialbecause we get it. We get every aspect of it, and I thinkthat's also interesting is the we tell each other secrets and it's a safe harbor, unless Jane opens her mouth about something that you didn't know is a secret. Wasn't accident. I told you. You've never told me I wasn't supposedto talk about don't you dare tell it again. Say That not time,but it is give. Give, when I'm ready to make the announcer,I'll let Jane make us awesome. The future thing thoughts, Jane Not Now? Go ahead and say it better than I said it, because I know. But we should just start with your secret and then that would kind ofget yeah, I guess you know. Doctors need to talk to other doctors, nurses talk to nurses, cops talk to cops, people, people withina profession, communicate with each other and because they know that those are theonly other people who really understand. I think that in a lot of waysthe romance community was forced together because none of the other writers groups wanted us. It's like, okay, we weren't really welcome in. I went toa few meetings of other writers groups and it was pretty obvious that unless youwere writing not so much literary fiction but but what we call book club fiction. Yeah, you know when you see it, if you weren't writing that, then you were on the other side. You know you were in the wrongmarket for them. So I think the romance writers started out because wehad one thing in common, which was we loved our genre but nobody elsedid and we were going to build it. So so yeah, I think.And it's just you bond, you know, the a shared passion isa real bond that many a passion of any kind. I mean, I'msure chefs hang together, you know what I mean? If the people whohave a real passion for cooking or something, it's just and you need somebody reallyunderstands what you're going through when the times are rough. And how wouldyou, how would you advise people? I think a lot of people whenthey start writing, there maybe not sure about what Gen were they're writing.And how would you, how would you tell a new writer, advise them, how to find a how to find like minded people. They're tribe,as we call it. But the easiest way to figure out which most peoplewrite what they read. Right. So look at what you're reading and that'syour definition of the genre that you're going to be in, unless you're reallygoing in some wildly different direction, in which case you probably know that.You'll probably also realize that. And then I would say look for a writersgroup and you can find them at your local public library. They've built everyevery writer's group in the area will have a connection to your local public libraryand, speaking as a former librarian, that's where I'd start and I wouldjust start joining those writers groups until I found the one where I fit.That's a good advice. I always say to young writers of the meaning newwriters. Find a group that's going back to what Cathy said at the beginningof tribe, but not just someone who praise your work, but writers whowill actually give fair and honest critiques and not are not scathing either. Imean sometimes, I think it's one of the things I I worry about becauseI I remember we cut our teeth but not too far apart. In atime there were critique groups who unders thought the word critique meant tear apart.Yeah, and didn't understand that critique me find something positive to say. Andso anyone who follows your advice, and I hope they do, remember tobe positive and look for what you can...

...do that's constructive. And not everyauthor, young author, wants a critique group. Sometimes they just want somebodyto plot with. Because I've never been part of a critique group that evereither either might work, but I want somebody to help me work through aplot snag or to remind me that you know, you have overcome this problembefore. Just sit down and work it out. So there are a lotof aspects, I think, to what people want in a group of friends. Have writer friends. Yeah, and now the Internet, you know,is really a helpful place for people who maybe geographically or challenged. You know, maybe you live in a small town. I have a writer friend who livesin a small town in southeast Georgia and he you know, he sortof had to find his own community and so, but the Internet, Ithink, helps a lot with that right now. Yeah, and yeah,zooming now, and I think that gives a lot more not I mean forus. It gives us a fabulous opportunity to collect connect with even more readers, which is what I love. I mean that's been one of the giftsof this whole situation. But I think it also gives gives writers a chanceto find groups. So the okay, we're going to talk a little bitagain. You know, part of the reason we start hearted friends and fictionwas because at the start of the pandemic we were worried about what would happenwith independent booksellers. So we said, whatever we do, we're going tohave a weekly Indie bookstore. So Anderson's, as I said earlier, is ourbookstore of the week. And I didn't know this. I have signedat Andersonence as an amazing store. I think lots of us have got USstart in one thousand eight hundred and seventy five as w wiggles pharmacy a way. Yeah, and this I did not know that. I didn't. Yeah, it was a it was a pharmacy and they included books and Sundais intheir merchandise and they eventually expanded into a full service book shop. Today it'sthe fifth generation of that original family that still own and operate Anderson's, whichhas been a vital hub in that community. And you all, wherever you are, can be also be a part of keeping Anderson's thriving through this toughtime for indie booksellers by buying any, er all of our books there.And we'll have it up. We'll have the link to Anderson's up on thewebsite and I know that. I saw Susan that, since it's your hometownand your back home, you can even order autograph copies of Dance Away withme. They're right. So I was just as you put the order in. Tell me how you want it personalized, what your name is, and I'mmore than happy. I'm going to put my mask on and go over. I've I love and Andersence in the basement is where they keep all thebooks and and they have lots of desks down there, but when I'm goingin I'm always talking to them and I kind of I they're lovely people,but I kind of want to say, don't talk to me, Go away, just let me know. Me Shelves. Don't ever throw a writer in abook store. You'll know now. Yeah, not ever. Not MissGoing to book stores. Oh, just makes me sad thinking about it.Yeah, it's so we're going to take some questions that have been posted onthe friends and fiction page and one that wasn't posted. But all I canthink about, Jane, is you know you write this futuristic romance. SoI mean would you ever in your wildest imagination plot a book, a romancewith a pandemic written into it? No, murder and murder, romantic gators andto hands that Dusar and Bob. Yeah, yes, I think thatfalls into the category of dystopian fiction and I don't do dystopians. I'm surethere's a nice market for it, but a but you don't. You don'treally, I mean seriously, you don't see yourself writing about that? No, I don't. I don't really, because I'm writing archetypes and I'm writing, you know, for example, with the Amanda Quick World of the S. There's a real dark side to that world. I'm not going there.I am going with the Mythical California of the S. I'm going with theGolden Age of Hollywood. I'm going with the GLITZ and the glamor and themand the mythology, because it's real to right it's as real as the otherside, the depression and all the darkness that was coming with World War II. So I'm picking a, you know, an area and I'm going for themyth I'm going for the Glamor and because that's where I can get thesparkly dialog. That which is my forte is the dialog. My books arevery dialog I think it's a conscious choice that you make. So, asa writer, I'm probably not going to do pandemics because there's going to be. You know what? I think writing a pandemic story would be a lotlike writing a war story, and what...

...that means by the war is thecentral character, not the relationships going on around in the war story, ina World War II story, for example, ultimately everybody will make the sacrifice forthe war. It's most important thing in the book and that's what you'dhave with a pandemic thing to write. Okay, Susan, we have aquestion for you. Cathy Handy swink wants to know. Did you ever playfootball? For want to and if so, what mission would you have played?How much did how did you learn so much about NFL players and thestars, Franchise and football? Wow, so you're just like a football maniac, right than. Can you imagine me on a football field? A hellmany. I grew up with football goes on the back of my life.My father always watched it on television, my husband watched it, so itwas like the soundtrack of my life growing up. Me Sons to write.No, I'm Oh, no, we are boys, are their musicians andartists. It's like play football or weren't interest? They don't play football,they don't watch football. Wow, no, it's all it is my husband andmy father and what I always was intrigued by. I was intrigued bythe life of the players. I was intrigued by the idea of these youngguys having all this money dumped on them. Very much intrigued by the whole managementin the business of it. So the techniques, all the intricacies offootball. I don't really understand them all, but bill does and you know he'llgo through the books at the end to make sure they're logical. Butit's that that powerful industry. In the first Chicago Stars Book it had tobe you was putting a woman who didn't know about football right in the middleof that industry. Just the classic fish out of water story, which isone of one of my favorites. So I think it's just a fun worldto put one of my heroines in with these skies and you know what theirbig Egos and their big pay checks and and how women maneuver in that very, very male world. Yeah, that's yeah, I'm interested in baseball becausemy husband and son played baseball, but I am terrified to write a storeand my grandson now plays baseball, but I would be terrified to try towrite about it because I know I'd mess it up. Okay, where I'mtrying to keep us moving because we got so much stuff we want to tellyou about, talk about. But if you haven't, if you're here andyou haven't joined our friends and fiction group on Facebook, I hope you will. That's where you can watch our live episodes and ask us questions during theweek. If you didn't get your question in tonight, go ahead and postit there. We go back and answer as many questions as as we canand we're also will be doing some more giveaways as a summer unfolds and youknow, every week. Gosh, this is kind of been a tutorial aboutwriting already, but we always ask our guests to give a writing tip,and so tonight we thought, since Jamee's written two thousand books, we wouldhave for her for her thing. Is the tip just type fast, ordo you have another one? She doesn't write the book, She just typesthe okay, quiet now is and where? This is not your questions, Itold you. I told you, she just takes over. I wouldsay. I would say probably if you're trying to write or our writing,and even if you've been doing it for a while. It would really payto take some time to step back and figure out what your core story is, because it's not the leat. You know, the one thing I've learnedover the is it's not the fictional landscape. It's not the futuristic of the historicalsetting or or the contemporary it's not the setting, it's not the landscape. It's the themes and emotions and the conflicts that compel you to write inthe first place. And the good news is they can go anywhere. Soif you do find yourself like I have had to do and reinvent yourself invarious points along the way in your career, you will be freed to be becauseyou will know that your themes and your conflicts to the things, they'reall universal. You can take them anywhere and it frees you up to thinkthat way. I think it gives you a sense of okay, I'm notjust only ever going to be able to write paranormal romance or something and ifthat market goes on, did meet. You know, it's not that kindof situation. So that stepping back and figuring out your core story, Ithink is very useful. Is there one course is there one core story thatalways resonates for you in your in your books. No matter what, Ialways come back to the themes of trust and how you build trust with anotherhuman being. That's almost always at the heart of mine, my stories.I love that. That's why I know...

I have a little light bulb goingon right makes her entire culture and it's thinking about the things that are writeabout in every single but that's so interesting because I think that I think thething to keep in mind is that it's not that you're going to be writingthe same book over and over. You're going to be exploring those themes foryour whole career and and I think of it as an endless exploration. Nowrepetitious. Yeah, well said. Thank you, Quill said. Okay,Susan, now you can have a term. Think that, Susan. Yeah,stay far away from that. I'm going to go nuts and bolts,and that is I'm going to talk about the whole timer thing. Some people, in terms of setting goals, set page goals. I found as awriter, especially grow as my children were growing up, I never felt likethe day came to an end. It was like, how do you whenyou have a Home Office? How do you end your day? How doyou ever feel like your day is over? And for me, the final,the big gift was the timer. I figure out, you know howmany hours every day I'm going to write. I sit down and I set thetimer and if I get up to go to the bathroom or to makea cup of tea, I stopped the timer and my writing day is overwhen that timer goes off. If I'm going to write for three hours,that three hours may take three and a half hours, it may take sixhours, depending on the day. But timer, that's it. And I'vealso carried that over into tests like cleaning out a closet. It's overwhelming right, set the time of for half an hour, half an hour, whateveris and done. It's you just leave it. I use that with cleanyour basement. I can handle half an hour in that basement. I can'thandle more than that. I just go down work half an hour. Sothat the timer has been a huge gift to me in terms of finding thatclosure for the end of my writing day. That's great. Oh, I neverthought of it that way. It's straight yeah, I love that.Running out a time so so fun. I want to you. I liketelling every Sunday night with Youtube. You email or call Jane and Susan,because we're rend at a time. You know, my husband's cooking hamburgers andI'm getting hungry. Have some announcements tonight. Mary Alice has a really great announcement. Yes, I'm excited and you know, we have been so blessed, but to have so many great visitors, authors and this coming Wednesday I'm delightedmy friend Delia Owens, who wrote the phenomenal book. It's actually aphenomenon where the craw dancing, and so she's coming on Wednesday and that willbe Wednesday night h seven o'clock, and she's a wonderful speaker. She's agreat lady and I love her. We all think of her as this greatauthor, but in fact she's a truly great environmentalist and she has I willtalk a little bit more about that on Wednesday. That's going to be fabulous. Yeah, I hang out with it. I'm a bad queen. And allright, y'all, instagram. Go follow us and I will say I'mat Christie W Harvey. There is a fake profile on instagram that's at ChristyWoodson Harvey and has my photos and has. It is not me and they willnot take you down, but I am at Christie W Harvey. Thankyou. Following. You know what, we'll put the links on our friendsand picture facebook group right after the show and you can just putick there andkind us on facebook. And finally, are you under Jane or Amanda onInstagram or vote Jane? Jane Entrance? So instagram, though, honest toPete, I'm taking over her feed. What are friends for rights? Isthe author and this is and the last picture I put up on Instagram wasa picture of her book. This is the kind of friend I have.She's complaining do for you lately. Jane. I just want to say something there. This is the last book I finished just a couple days ago.I loved this book. You know what I really loved about it, andI know you're running out of time, but what I got to say isI love the fact that you have a journalistic background and I was so interestedin the whole idea of what is news, what is gossip, what do youpublish, what don't you and I really, really enjoyed this book.So thanks for writing it. Thanks citizens. That checks. That's in the mail. I was Mary Kay Andrews,...

Hello Summer, if you couldn't seewhat I was holding up. Thank you the check. The check is inthe mail. That is it for US tonight. Thank you, guys.Thanks, Susan and Jane. Oh, it's such a joy. Now y'allcome back, get back, bring Amanda with you. Okay, so greatto see you again. Wonderful. Hi, thank you. Well, are wetalking? I think she for those chips are so great, James Soell, Oh God, honestly, she has a reputation for a long timeof being the voice for the romance genre because she she put it into historicalperspective as well. She's just such a wise woman. Are Terrific. Thatwas my first time reading EI them. They were great. I adored them. I mean personally they were just wonderful. Yeah, the great together. Yeah, we we're learning something. Yet we think we're the hosts and wehave something to say and they they all swoop in and we like scribbling downsomething. Well, and the funny thing is, you know how someone cantell you something a million times, but until the right person says that?My husband doesn't think the timer and he's always telling me he's like, yourbrain is only sharp, like for ninety minutes at a time. You needto start your writing talk for ninety minutes. And I was like, yeah,I'm creative, I don't don't tell me now the seasons that I I'mlike, Oh, well, I'm definitely going to do that. I havenever heard that in all these years, about turning on the time or turningit off. Yeah, and and I think it's a little step further thanwhat we're doing for sprints and a sense, because for sprints were saying go,make your goal and stop, but sometimes you know you have to getup and leave. So in the sense if we didn't have each other tobe accountable for, you just turn off the timer to go stir the spaghettiright up and that we're making spaghetti at six am. But yeah, Ialso said about what Jane was talking about, which is that question I ask likethree week, four weeks ago to Christin Hannah. Do we all onlyhave one story? And what I really mean is like, do we tapthe live wire something over and over? And that's what she said, isthat she taps that live wire of trust with every book she writes, andI think it's interesting for us to maybe take the time and think about whatdo we tap over? Yeah, yeah, especially you know, as I knowa lot of us do this, but you know, writing slightly differentgenres or kind of moving our stories in different directions or, you know,writing something that's not completely safe feeling to be able to kind of cling toknowing that as always come back to this. This is what I always write about. Yeah, I feel great comfort in that thought now of knowing thatthere might be a quever, I was watching you like I was watching ourlight bulbs go off, like completely yes, my like the next sixty years ofmy career just got planned out up right and I'm like, I'm like, okay, timer, thing, check exactly what it is, but meanwhileI'm going to eat dinner. I love my son. Say that we knowby girls. I love everybody and a night in the morning. See inthe morning. You've been listening to the friends and fiction podcast. Be Sureto subscribe to the friends and fiction podcast wherever you listen and, if you'reenjoying it, leave a review. You can find the friends and fiction authorsat www and fictioncom, as well 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,.

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