Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode 6 · 1 year ago

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


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.

Welcome to friends and fiction. Five best selling authors endless stories. Friends and fiction is a podcast with five best selling 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, 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. Best Selling Novelists Mary K Andrews, Christen Harmel, Christie Woodson Harvey, Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Monroe are five longtime friends with more than eighty published books to their credit. At the start of the pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their 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 best selling novelists. So joined them live on their friends and fiction facebook group page every Wednesday at seven P M Eastern, or listen in view later at your leisure. Hi everybody, this is friends and fiction and welcome. We are five best selling novelist whose common love of reading, writing and independent bookstores bound us together, along with some secrecy will never share. This is not our weekly show, but it's our special bonus Sunday show. We haven't done this before, so you'll have to bear with us. The ladies, please introduce yourselves. 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'm Mary Alice Monroe and my latest novel is on Ocean Boulevard. And, as you already know, I already told you this, I'm Mary Kay Andrews and my lady. Hello Summer, and this is friends in fiction. Thought we had our summer planned out. We thought we had three months of Wednesday night episodes, 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 calling a Sunday bonus episode. Now I have done advanced with Susan and Jane and I 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 not changing all of a sudden. Always, I always have to be the street person. I have all about me. It's all minute into this thing and you are already off script. Her microphone and a camera and it's just albow the way. I had my okay, I'm going to tell you that Jane is a New York Times best selling author and classic overachiever. He's written over a hundred novels of romantic suspense under three different names, Jane and Krantz for contemporaries, Amanda Quick for historicals and Jane Castle for Futuristic Settings. Fifty of 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 thousand nine hundred and eighty. She's often asked why she uses three names, and there 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 Times best 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's a I tried to count. I could find that he is at least a four 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's all that yoga she does. Welcome, ladies, remember Yelcome, welcome, if you put you pay. Posted a chat and we'll be pulling live questions shortly. As an asside, I want to tell you all that we are all 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. So you can find all that Info and so much more on all of our websites and we'll post that in the announcements. Oh, we want you to follow us on Instagram and that's where you'll find pictures and posts and fun giveaways and we'll keep you all up to date on our behind the scenes antics. And one more thing and then I'll turn it over to the ladies. I want to 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 to visit their store via the link on the friends and fiction page, where you can order any of our new releases, and that includes Jane's latest. Jane it is the latest. Is The danishing? Is that right? No, well, depends which name here. This is where you just go down the rabbit hole of one. That was three names. You don't even want to go there. But the personality. Yeah, the latest under my Amanda Quick Name is close up. Okay, all right, and Susan's is danced away with me. So now I know that all of us have been deep there it 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've kind of had a different experience. You want to tell us what happened to you? 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 the San Diego area. We went out for eight weeks and ended up staying for almost five months and buying a condo while we were there. So we we sequestered 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 beach road and the ocean is there and I got to do a lot of writing and it was lovely and I was really hating coming home until we got dropped off from the airport here in our neighborhood and all the neighbors came out to greet us and the I hit the smell of that midwestern summer. It's it just smells like nothing else. It was so great. So now I'm in the position of no matter which home I'm in, I'm missing the other and that is a pretty cool thing. That is hey, Jane, I know Seattle, where you live, has been a pandemic hot spot. How has that affected your life and did did you have your most recent booked? Were canceled, as all the rest of US did. We're pretty much trapped at the 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 and only two people at a time, and it's it's there's four hundred people in the building. So it's you know, it's very complicated just to get out and we've stayed hunkered down. To tell you the truth, we're living on INSTA CART and Amazon. Yeah, so I haven't really been out of this condo since March, early March. It's right. Wow, I could. I could also tell you, since we had recently moved just before all this him and put our other condo on the market, this is not the time to be selling a condo and see everything. The market is for single family housing where you can get a yard, you know, some place to go outside and walk out your front door and and UPURBAN lifestyle is fabulous. But then we found this was one big drawback. So you know, that's interesting because we've seen a tremendous spike in sales. I'm sure you have any for everyone along the beach it's just turn to you know, people aren't even looking at more than two houses. It's just them buy anything to get out of the city. Yeah. Yeah, so have you been more productive, Jayne, since you're in lockdown, really truly locked down? Yeah, I think we finally adapted at some point about a month or two ago, but before that it was actually very interrupt I don't have to explain it, but very distracting. 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 becomes the 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 now you 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, but it's so full movies, I know. But it's so critical because our governor is taking a very firm stand, for which we're all grateful. But three alas, he is. If we don't keep the numbers down, nothing gets open. So so the numbers become you know, really the first thing you look at every morning. Yeah, no, I justerstand. I know we're all terribly 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, absolutely unbelievable, amazing. Okay, as the risk of the round, safety, yeah, Susan, you said that you that you did get inspirred and you 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 that much housekeeping to do and we didn't have a lot of friends that we had made, so I wasn't, you know, meeting friends. And because no one likes you, I know you're such a solid puss. Fuck. I mean, I just love posy and know it was a very predictive time for me 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 doing our writing sprints, but I thought I would ask each of the friends and fiction ladies what fuels your creativity at times and like these are you have you have any of y'all developed any new creative outlets? I have to say the sprints, Y'all save me. Girls. I was like so many people at the beginning of this. I was enveloped with this whole covid thing and and I 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 the sprints made me accountable to you all and I thank you. It's what you said me. There's and we have been. Patty and I started. This is day twenty eight. We start at seven o'clock eastern time, so it's six o'clock for Patty because she's an Alabama and honey, I never thought about that. Yeah, we commit to writing a certain number of words or pages. We have a goal every but and I type, I text, everybody go and first thing in the morning we're all we're all doing these writing sprints and 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 rowing until we don't want to break the streak. But how long? How long is each sprint. What do you know? It's long as anybody can do it like. Well, you guys explain this. I think it differs for each of us. So, for example, I have a four year old and he wakes up and my husband has to start work. So I'm a hard out at thirty every morning. So I go from seven to thirty as much as I could write and then I'm done. But some of you, I think, have have, you know, sort of different types of time constraints. How about you, ladies? Yeah, mine is whenever will is absolute 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 Christ I, 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 then we try to meet the goal. And so might not necessarily be an hour and a half and might be said I was going to write two thousand words today and I'm not getting up till I write two thousand words. And Christie writes like I don't even know. I don't know how you sit down at the 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 fantastic and 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 of us got together and said we can't write. We were frozen, we don't know what we're like. What do we do with our book tours? And everybody kept saying to us, Oh, what a perfect time to write your hold up this Great New Yorker cartoon of a woman in a in a lifeboat and there was lightning all around her and sharks and the ship sinking and the captain said this is a perfect time to write your new novel. That's exactly what the beginning of Covid felt like. So happy to answer you. What keeps me inspired? Not only is our sprints, but as soon, I mean I think it's the same for all of us. Once we hit on an idea that lights US sun fire, that keeps US fired up. So once I hit that like kind of live wire a couple weeks ago, I was 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 these movie 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 right on you. Yeah, and Susan is sort of the goddess of writing a Rom calm and Rom com the thing about rom calm is it's so much harder than it looks, and so watching, for me, watching what's up talk was 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. The only 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 say to you you have to be inspired to... 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, about there'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, you can 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 cannot find 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 got questions for you. Marry Alice, you think? I think you've got the first question right. I'm sure your introduction really pretty much established. This is for Susan and Susan, I've known you for a long time, but I haven't seen you for a long time either. You still have the bird clock your kids 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 it because my kids gave it to me on the our different birds things. That's not the right bird anymore, but a bird sinks every that because I see you know you have had your home in Chicago area was just a beautiful home and you had that stupid bird clock on the wall. Remember thinking that's a mother's present right. There always such a kick out of that. That's you will 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 being delivered 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, Susan is a goddess and we were both members, I think a lot of us in this group remembers, of Romance Rotis of America, which is if for those of you who don't know what that is, it's the it's these association for this Billion Dollar Industry and we've all have roots in it. And one 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 the scene when before. I'm you had books before, but when glitter baby hit, you were and then my honeymoon, on my God honey moon, and that opening scene of honeymoon. I just can't laugh at night without thinking about 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 at the 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 the same. It's funny you asked me this question when Jane's here, because I've gotten this question a number of times because I do have a long career and I always quote Jane. One of the things I believe is there's more diversity in the romance genre and those of us who straddle romance and women's fiction that any other genre. And Jane always says it is because for so long the academics, the critics paid no attention to us. We flew under the radar and we could do anything we want, and I just I thought Jane really hit it on the nose with that one. There is nothing that I don't think romance writers have tried in some form or another. There's every kind of romance 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 into suspense or into thrillers. We just kind of do whatever the heck we want and I really, really love that. A bunch of really courageous, smart women. But has it changed or has it not changed over thirty years? Well, is it just going up and down? None of the contents have changed in the books, but the innovation hasn't changed. I mean look at just 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 the books that we wrote early on they're not going to pass the political, political correctness. I mean they're a little hard to read now. But that was all part of the experimentation and it was also women of a different generation who were starting. The growth of the romance industry. Happened right along with the feminist movement and they're very, very wonderful companions because we had all of those little virginal heroines in those really brutal heroes and by the end of the book those little virginal heroines have found their power. So I think the books were reflective in the beginning of the feminist movement and now we're just all we do everything, and that's taking to you into her question for Jane Right, Christen. Yes, so Jane, I have... a great quote from you saying that fiction encapsulates and reinforces our cultural values and that romance in particular addresses the values of family and human emotional bonds. I love that. I just love the whole idea behind that and and I love the air and outspoken advocate for the romance genre. Can you talk a little bit about how you think books can change and shape us for the better and why it important to encourage people to read books that move them? I just that really matters, especially now. Okay, this is get ready for Jade's theory of popular fiction. So I have always taken the darwinning approach to these things, which is people have been trying to kill off romance and popular fiction in general for at least two hundred years. This is the criticism of popular fiction is nothing new and the criticism of romance is just a particularly sharp extension of that. It but it could. He talked to a science fiction author. You talked to a mystery author. They don't get no respect, you know, I mean in their minds. But here we are, two or three hundred years after the novel as 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 say why? Because it isn't just entertainment. We have a billion forms of entertainment and 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 next generation and reinforces, in affirms our core values. Don't think we go back again and again to an author who violates those values on some level. You might read it once or twice for pure shock value, but an author that you're going to becomes an autoby and author that you're going to go back to again and again is somebody who's writing values that resonate with your own, and I think that's how we transmit our cultures core values and in the proof of that is that everybody knows what a hero is supposed to do when the chips are down. It doesn't matter what the background is, it doesn't matter if he's being redeemed or not. We just know what a hero does and we know 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 real honor is and we have a sense of what real heroism is for both men and women, and it's involves protecting the week, protecting the innocent, protecting the young, taking care of the community, the family. Those are real core values and they're all invented in popular fiction, all the Genres, and that's stick. said. Great Answer. Yeah, just my friends. I can just let her talk and then I take her ideas and then I present them, I said, but now I'm not going notes on this, so I can quote lay transcript of that. She's right. She is absolutely on target with that. She really is. And it's interesting because we had a conversation of a couple weeks ago about voice and we I think that does translate into voice, because you know that author who has that cultural values and she brings it out again and again and again. That's what she is as an individual and 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 of entertainment come and go, and this on the idea of a real hero, true heroic actions. Like we, like everybody, understands how heroic it is for 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? What teaches those that? That is real heroism and action. That's good, good point. HMM, especially today right. That sort of brings it back to our opening conversation, doesn't it? It's what heroes do. Chris, you got a question right. Yes, I do so, Susan, I am 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'm not alone in that, and then you're going to have a lot of emails and letters telling you the same thing. So my question is, I I know that you have written series and you've written standalones, and do you plan before you start writing? Do you know what's going to be a series of what's going to be a standalone, and what helps you make what helps you make that decision? Any question I get about planning, I always go say I was in a person to ask you this thing, because I never plan anything. How I get whether I'm going... write a standal owner, should if I'm going to write a Chicago stars book, it's really clear. I don't write a stars book unless I have a great idea. If I don't get great ideas or more stars books, because I love that series too much to just say, well, I got to write a star's book and write anything. I tend to like kind of going from us something that is just sort of a romp into a book like Dance Away with me, which you know 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 idea premise. Sometimes I just have an idea of a character and I'm one of those 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 back to chapter one and then I go through the and I can start chapter two and I'm back at chapter one again. It's such a messy process, but I'm a writer who has to internalize everything of my backgrounds in theater and I need to enter the characters to find out what they're capable of doing, what they're not capable of doing, and so the plot is growing out of the characters, but it's messy. But you know, one of the things when I do writing seminars and talking to people who are who are interested in writing fiction, is some of that is going to be just the way your brain is hardwired. And won't you find your process, whatever it is. You know, you can experiment with other things, but make peace with it because it's just you. Nobody can write the way somebody else does. I see lots 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 working for me, but I can't change it. Let's just how do you've got a question? Right, I do, but I have to say, Susan, can you can join the club with Mary Kay and I, because we are 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 tried all the other ways. I've tried COMP footed cards, I've tried the whole thing. I am I know we joked about it at first, but I've got to talk to you about your names. Looking so I read under Patty Callahan and Patty coat right, right, right, and that happened because I took 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 Patty Callahan and then my contemporaries or Patty Callahan Henry. But those aren't that different your names, except you use Jane and one of them especially a man to quit. You know, even the covers are so distinctly different that a man hold 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 of it. You know mystery feel to it. So I have to know. Did you plan it? which name came first and how did you get to two names? Okay, three names. I'd there more than that. There are more than three. See, this is why I've never love to go on with her, because she's gonna pull up my past. We have her her. It's like let's book Susan and Jane Together because we know they'll get into it. Like put it up. Even know that, but isn't this great? I love it. Okay, I just want to say that early on in my career I lost my birth name because I signed a contract thinking I 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. So for ten years I lost that because I'd signed a contract that gave a house six you don't care about this so much anymore, but back in the day, let me tell you, ladies, it was to writing. They tried to tie up an author's name. Wow, and that was how they kept you from jumping ship. So I lost the name for a few years and during that time got married and started using the Jana and crins name, which is my married name. There's none of these are good reasons. That's that's why I said don't so interesting at one point. I it's not the first time, but it was the most devastating time. I managed to kill off my crins career, and I did that by Writing Science Fiction Romance. And there'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 was basically going down the toilet in terms of the sales and because nobody wanted science fiction romance in those days. At that point I was faced with reinventing myself yet again, third time. And is anybody still remember Walden books? Yeah, sure, of course. So I walked into the local Walden books and I looked in the romance section and at the time there was nobody writing under q. So that's picked demand to quick and I just and I just wanted something short and memorable and I like to take credit to this day for opening up the entire que section. I'm just saying that. If I hope Julia Quinn has thank you for that. It is right strategy. He that that is quick. You can't go ze because you don't want to be on the bottom of the remember we used to look awhere the names for the helpum that fell on the shelves. Yeah, so that's that's kind of how those three names 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 the CRIN's name but still had a backlist, said, oh well, maybe we can make her work. So all of a sudden I was offering contract for the crins name and a okay, now I got two careers and then at some 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 kind of my first love, I'll say that for that and that's that's how I ended up with the three names, but I do not recommend it. I see he always says that she doesn't recommend that. But I think it's great because some readers will follow her across all three names, but some readers they they want to thriller, they want that Crintz Book and some of them want the more historic settings with the quick I think it was brilliant. I think we 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 got a great readership for each name. You're just being niggy and greedy. I can 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 a year do you write to keep up with three names? Two and a half is kind of how it comes out. It's tired writing more than that until we all start yelling at her. Well, remember, I grew up in category, and in category you can't survive unless you're doing four books a year. Yeah, yeah, YEA, we may. COMBER mentioned that shoe that. It's just when you're in that slot, you just you know that has to have to keep yeah, so I you just can't build an audience unless 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 I do think every writer develops a face that works. HMM, and I my piece is actually going to pretty much always been three to four months. I mean that's just if I go away from longer than that I forget where we have in the book. And now it's not. It's my turn, and this is a question for both of you, Jane and Susan. I know that you're both longstanding members of tight communities of women writers and that's a subject that's dear to our heart. So could you talk a little bit about how those 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 a lot of beginning writers here and one thing I've had people asked me over the years 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 Until Jane and I actually were just talking about this. In the early years are our Wa and old romantic times come those who are where we found our group right and you know, we we'd meet somebody and sometimes you'd hit it off with 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 for probably twenty years or so and it's I mean it's great in terms of the emotional support you get and also just the...

...technical support you get. Sometimes we'll have conversations where one of us has written us into a court written herself into a corner or is confused about a character and it's all business and then sometime it is, you know, with me, whatever book I'm working on is the book. Those crash my career. So you know, I'll go with that. To Jane. I remember early on in my career when I got my first horrible review. It is in publishers weekly, when remember the early days when they were reviewing romance and they were just horrible, savage that it's terrible. I I read the review and I burst into tears and I called Jane and Jane was like this is Jane. Get it out of the house right now. Get it up, just get it out of the house. It doesn't even exist. Get it out of the house and it was like that 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't writers, but you all know that the writing friendships are really, really special because we get it. We get every aspect of it, and I think that'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 supposed to 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 of get yeah, I guess you know. Doctors need to talk to other doctors, nurses talk to nurses, cops talk to cops, people, people within a profession, communicate with each other and because they know that those are the only other people who really understand. I think that in a lot of ways the 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 to a few meetings of other writers groups and it was pretty obvious that unless you were 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 wrong market for them. So I think the romance writers started out because we had one thing in common, which was we loved our genre but nobody else did and we were going to build it. So so yeah, I think. And it's just you bond, you know, the a shared passion is a real bond that many a passion of any kind. I mean, I'm sure chefs hang together, you know what I mean? If the people who have a real passion for cooking or something, it's just and you need somebody really understands what you're going through when the times are rough. And how would you, how would you advise people? I think a lot of people when they 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 people write what they read. Right. So look at what you're reading and that's your definition of the genre that you're going to be in, unless you're really going 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 writers group and you can find them at your local public library. They've built every every writer's group in the area will have a connection to your local public library and, speaking as a former librarian, that's where I'd start and I would just 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 new writers. Find a group that's going back to what Cathy said at the beginning of tribe, but not just someone who praise your work, but writers who will actually give fair and honest critiques and not are not scathing either. I mean sometimes, I think it's one of the things I I worry about because I I remember we cut our teeth but not too far apart. In a time 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. And so anyone who follows your advice, and I hope they do, remember to be positive and look for what you can... that's constructive. And not every author, young author, wants a critique group. Sometimes they just want somebody to plot with. Because I've never been part of a critique group that ever either either might work, but I want somebody to help me work through a plot snag or to remind me that you know, you have overcome this problem before. Just sit down and work it out. So there are a lot of 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 lives in a small town in southeast Georgia and he you know, he sort of had to find his own community and so, but the Internet, I think, helps a lot with that right now. Yeah, and yeah, zooming now, and I think that gives a lot more not I mean for us. 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 gifts of this whole situation. But I think it also gives gives writers a chance to find groups. So the okay, we're going to talk a little bit again. You know, part of the reason we start hearted friends and fiction was because at the start of the pandemic we were worried about what would happen with independent booksellers. So we said, whatever we do, we're going to have a weekly Indie bookstore. So Anderson's, as I said earlier, is our bookstore of the week. And I didn't know this. I have signed at Andersonence as an amazing store. I think lots of us have got US start 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 in their merchandise and they eventually expanded into a full service book shop. Today it's the fifth generation of that original family that still own and operate Anderson's, which has 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 tough time 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 the website and I know that. I saw Susan that, since it's your hometown and your back home, you can even order autograph copies of Dance Away with me. 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'm more 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 the books and and they have lots of desks down there, but when I'm going in 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 a book store. You'll know now. Yeah, not ever. Not Miss Going 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 on the friends and fiction page and one that wasn't posted. But all I can think about, Jane, is you know you write this futuristic romance. So I mean would you ever in your wildest imagination plot a book, a romance with a pandemic written into it? No, murder and murder, romantic gators and to hands that Dusar and Bob. Yeah, yes, I think that falls into the category of dystopian fiction and I don't do dystopians. I'm sure there's a nice market for it, but a but you don't. You don't really, 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 the Golden Age of Hollywood. I'm going with the GLITZ and the glamor and them and the mythology, because it's real to right it's as real as the other side, 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 the myth I'm going for the Glamor and because that's where I can get the sparkly dialog. That which is my forte is the dialog. My books are very dialog I think it's a conscious choice that you make. So, as a 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 lot like writing a war story, and what...

...that means by the war is the central character, not the relationships going on around in the war story, in a World War II story, for example, ultimately everybody will make the sacrifice for the war. It's most important thing in the book and that's what you'd have with a pandemic thing to write. Okay, Susan, we have a question for you. Cathy Handy swink wants to know. Did you ever play football? 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 the stars, Franchise and football? Wow, so you're just like a football maniac, right than. Can you imagine me on a football field? A hell many. I grew up with football goes on the back of my life. My father always watched it on television, my husband watched it, so it was like the soundtrack of my life growing up. Me Sons to write. No, I'm Oh, no, we are boys, are their musicians and artists. 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 and my father and what I always was intrigued by. I was intrigued by the life of the players. I was intrigued by the idea of these young guys having all this money dumped on them. Very much intrigued by the whole management in the business of it. So the techniques, all the intricacies of football. I don't really understand them all, but bill does and you know he'll go through the books at the end to make sure they're logical. But it's that that powerful industry. In the first Chicago Stars Book it had to be you was putting a woman who didn't know about football right in the middle of that industry. Just the classic fish out of water story, which is one of one of my favorites. So I think it's just a fun world to put one of my heroines in with these skies and you know what their big 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 because my husband and son played baseball, but I am terrified to write a store and my grandson now plays baseball, but I would be terrified to try to write about it because I know I'd mess it up. Okay, where I'm trying to keep us moving because we got so much stuff we want to tell you about, talk about. But if you haven't, if you're here and you 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 the week. If you didn't get your question in tonight, go ahead and post it there. We go back and answer as many questions as as we can and we're also will be doing some more giveaways as a summer unfolds and you know, every week. Gosh, this is kind of been a tutorial about writing 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 would have for her for her thing. Is the tip just type fast, or do you have another one? She doesn't write the book, She just types the okay, quiet now is and where? This is not your questions, I told you. I told you, she just takes over. I would say. 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 pay to 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 learned over the is it's not the fictional landscape. It's not the futuristic of the historical setting 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 in the first place. And the good news is they can go anywhere. So if you do find yourself like I have had to do and reinvent yourself in various points along the way in your career, you will be freed to be because you will know that your themes and your conflicts to the things, they're all universal. You can take them anywhere and it frees you up to think that way. I think it gives you a sense of okay, I'm not just only ever going to be able to write paranormal romance or something and if that market goes on, did meet. You know, it's not that kind of situation. So that stepping back and figuring out your core story, I think is very useful. Is there one course is there one core story that always resonates for you in your in your books. No matter what, I always come back to the themes of trust and how you build trust with another human 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 going on right makes her entire culture and it's thinking about the things that are write about in every single but that's so interesting because I think that I think the thing to keep in mind is that it's not that you're going to be writing the same book over and over. You're going to be exploring those themes for your whole career and and I think of it as an endless exploration. Now repetitious. 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 a writer, especially grow as my children were growing up, I never felt like the day came to an end. It was like, how do you when you have a Home Office? How do you end your day? How do you ever feel like your day is over? And for me, the final, the big gift was the timer. I figure out, you know how many hours every day I'm going to write. I sit down and I set the timer and if I get up to go to the bathroom or to make a cup of tea, I stopped the timer and my writing day is over when 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 six hours, depending on the day. But timer, that's it. And I've also 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, whatever is and done. It's you just leave it. I use that with clean your basement. I can handle half an hour in that basement. I can't handle more than that. I just go down work half an hour. So that the timer has been a huge gift to me in terms of finding that closure for the end of my writing day. That's great. Oh, I never thought of it that way. It's straight yeah, I love that. Running out a time so so fun. I want to you. I like telling 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 and I'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 delighted my friend Delia Owens, who wrote the phenomenal book. It's actually a phenomenon where the craw dancing, and so she's coming on Wednesday and that will be Wednesday night h seven o'clock, and she's a wonderful speaker. She's a great lady and I love her. We all think of her as this great author, but in fact she's a truly great environmentalist and she has I will talk 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 all right, y'all, instagram. Go follow us and I will say I'm at Christie W Harvey. There is a fake profile on instagram that's at Christy Woodson Harvey and has my photos and has. It is not me and they will not take you down, but I am at Christie W Harvey. Thank you. Following. You know what, we'll put the links on our friends and picture facebook group right after the show and you can just putick there and kind us on facebook. And finally, are you under Jane or Amanda on Instagram or vote Jane? Jane Entrance? So instagram, though, honest to Pete, I'm taking over her feed. What are friends for rights? Is the author and this is and the last picture I put up on Instagram was a 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, and I know you're running out of time, but what I got to say is I love the fact that you have a journalistic background and I was so interested in the whole idea of what is news, what is gossip, what do you publish, 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 see what I was holding up. Thank you the check. The check is in the mail. That is it for US tonight. Thank you, guys. Thanks, Susan and Jane. Oh, it's such a joy. Now y'all come back, get back, bring Amanda with you. Okay, so great to see you again. Wonderful. Hi, thank you. Well, are we talking? I think she for those chips are so great, James So ell, Oh God, honestly, she has a reputation for a long time of being the voice for the romance genre because she she put it into historical perspective as well. She's just such a wise woman. Are Terrific. That was 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 we have something to say and they they all swoop in and we like scribbling down something. Well, and the funny thing is, you know how someone can tell 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, your brain is only sharp, like for ninety minutes at a time. You need to 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'm like, Oh, well, I'm definitely going to do that. I have never heard that in all these years, about turning on the time or turning it off. Yeah, and and I think it's a little step further than what 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 get up and leave. So in the sense if we didn't have each other to be accountable for, you just turn off the timer to go stir the spaghetti right up and that we're making spaghetti at six am. But yeah, I also said about what Jane was talking about, which is that question I ask like three week, four weeks ago to Christin Hannah. Do we all only have one story? And what I really mean is like, do we tap the live wire something over and over? And that's what she said, is that she taps that live wire of trust with every book she writes, and I think it's interesting for us to maybe take the time and think about what do we tap over? Yeah, yeah, especially you know, as I know a lot of us do this, but you know, writing slightly different genres 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 to knowing 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 that there might be a quever, I was watching you like I was watching our light bulbs go off, like completely yes, my like the next sixty years of my career just got planned out up right and I'm like, I'm like, okay, timer, thing, check exactly what it is, but meanwhile I'm going to eat dinner. I love my son. Say that we know by girls. I love everybody and a night in the morning. See in the morning. You've been listening to the friends and fiction podcast. Be Sure to subscribe to the friends and fiction podcast wherever you listen and, if you're enjoying it, leave a review. You can find the friends and fiction authors at www and fictioncom, as well as on the facebook group page friends and fiction. Come back soon. Okay, there are still lots of books, writing tips, interviews, publishing news and bookstores to chat about. Goodbye,.

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