Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 2 years ago

Friends and Fiction with Viola Shipman (Sunday Bonus Episode)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Humorist, memoirist, and former People Magazine Real Housewives expert Wade Rouse joins the Friends & Fiction authors to discuss his novels written under the pen name Viola Shipman. Hear about the lasting impact Wade's grandmother, whose name he writes under, had on his life and learn the "real housewives tag line" chosen by all six authors. https://violashipman.com

Welcome to Friends and fiction. Five best selling authors, Endless Stories, Friends and Fiction is a podcast with five bestselling novelist whose common love of reading, writing an independent bookstores found them together with jets, author interviews and fascinating insider talk about publishing and writing. Thes 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. Bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews, Christine Harmel, Christie Woodson, Harvey Patty Callahan, Henry and Mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends with more than 80 published books. To their credit at the Start of the Pandemic, they got together for a virtual happy hour to talk about their books, their favorite bookstores writing, reading and publishing in this new, uncharted territory. They're still talking, and they've added fascinating discussions with other bestselling novelists, so join them live on their friends and fiction Facebook Group page every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, or listen and view later at your leisure. Welcome everyone to friends and fiction. We are five writers and friends whose common love of reading, writing and independent bookstores binds us together. Every week we come together to chat with each other and you all to support independent booksellers. We are so glad you're here. I'm Christine Harmel, and my latest novel is The Book of Lost Names. I'm Christi Woodson Harvey and my latest book, This Feels Like Falling. I'm Patty Callahan, Henry and my latest novel is called Becoming Mrs Lewis. Hi, I'm Mary Alice Munro, and my latest novel is on Ocean Boulevard, and I'm Mary Kay Andrews in my latest book is Hello Summer and this is Friends and Fiction. Tonight we're doing something a little special. The five of us were talking recently about books that had inspired us and shape this into writers, and we thought it would be nice to dedicate a whole episode to sharing those inspirations with you. Usually we push sales to an independent bookstores, and supporting local booksellers means so much to us. But we thought we would do something a little different tonight. Tonight, the link we're sharing on our pages, tow our shop on bookshop dot org's, which, of course supports independent bookstores around the country. So any purchase there will support indie stores, which is of course part of our mission. But because we're sharing our own bookshop page with you, we we're also committing to giving our personal profits from those sales this week to the American Library Association. Why? Because for all of us, libraries were an important part of our growth as readers and writers. And we know so many of you love libraries to. So 10% of your total purchase price this week will be donated to the L A 21st century fund, which gives the A the flexibility to help libraries facing challenges. It's a special opportunity to let your book purchase make a big difference, and we hope that you will join us. You can find the link and more information on the friends and Fiction Facebook Group page. We will also give you a link there in case you'd like to donate to the American Library Association on your own to. So without further ado, let's get started. I know we usually talk about what we've been up to during the week, but I'm hungry. I have not eaten dinner yet, and I have not been out to eat in a million years. You will probably hear my stomach during this episode. So I'm gonna ask you this instead just to prolong the torture for myself. What have you been eating lately? So seriously, I would love to know about an extraordinary meal you've had this week. The best meal you've had entertained my rumbling stomach. So I have a great story because it involves one of us. I have right now at my house in South Carolina, and they're from up north and they wanted good...

...shrimp and grits. And so I went and got local shrimp to cook, and I texted Kathy and Mary Kay injuries. And I said, What's the best shrimp and grits recipe? And she said, the one in my cookbook and I'm like, Duh. So that is what I made last night, and it was amazing. So God, so good, too. So good. Oh, I wish I I wish I could tell you I had a wonderful I mean, I'm not cooking. I'm quote and want writing, but my husband loves pizza and he makes his own crust. He does everything. So I've been threatening to go on. That is the whole 30 cleanse for weeks for weeks and you know, with covered 19 and all that it's hard to rev up. So last night he's made pizza and it's the crest. And we were watching television, the girls and I because this is like a commune up here in the mountain house right now. And he brought out the pizzas one after the other. We were just gorging, gorging the best pizza in the world. And girls today I am starting all 30. 0, maybe tomorrow you're starting then maybe tomorrow. That's about how my diets usually dio Chris Christie, how about you? What have you been eating? Um well, Mary Alice is going to scold me when I tell you guys this way. Um, this is really fun. And the summers We play bingo on Tuesday nights with all of our friends and over on the beach, and they do have the tables very far apart, and it's a little bit Cincy. Um but it is just this, like old school buffet. They're not serving the buffet. You're not serving the buffet. Let me just go ahead. But it normally is an old school buffet they've had since, like the fifties, it's been like the same thing, like every Tuesday night, and it's like fried chicken and baked beans and salad bar. And like all these amazing things and like big brownies and ice cream for dessert, it's just like it's the best. And every Tuesday night, like we go eat and we play and I come home and have stomach ache. And then I go back and I eat it all over again the next Tuesday night because it's so good and like, I'm never gonna probably make my own delicious stand up fried chicken in my kitchen. So it's fantastic. It makes fried chicken. It's so labor intensive. Kathy, do you I want to hear all about. I mean, I know we've talked a little bit about your cookbook before, but it just seems like you're the expert in this field for listen, about the good book and all the wonderful I'm so not an expert. No, I wrote a cookbook a couple of years ago because I could not, um, literally could not write a novel that year. I hit it in, Um, I think it was the weekenders, and I was five months late on deadline, and I was so exhausted, and I said, Can I write a cookbook instead? So it's the Beach House cookbook. It's simple, easy accessible recipes, lots of, um, seafood, local ingredients. And we just were down at Tybee, um, at our house ebb tide. And so we we cook a lot down there and my husband cooked Hey, fried fish because he's a fisherman And, um, we did What did we do? We did something with shrimp I can't even remember. I went out to dinner with a friend that night, but, you know, our garden just came in here. We're back in Atlanta and my husband planted a huge garden. So last night we had the first green beans out of the garden, used my grandmother's recipe and his green beans, which, of course, means you sautee onions in bacon and then put in the screen beans. And then I made a squash casserole in old timey squash casserole, the kind that had Ritz crackers. E Reader. Uh, it was so good. Um, just, you know, fresh yellow squash, right? Literally just picked out of the garden Summer dinner. Yeah, it's probably on your diet. E. You lost me...

...at Ritz crackers because I love him so much I would just give the top, you know, E Yeah, I had to do Ah, zoom with a book club. So I just said to him here, here's some rotisserie chicken chopped up rotisserie chicken. And so he made I gave him a recipe out of a friend's cookbook, so he made chicken tetrazzini. Oh, yeah, I e I have not eating dinner yet, so I'm really hungry. Yeah. Worse. What was I thinking? I'm starving to death, and I just asked you all about food. Your blueberries. You had your like, your first blueberries. Yeah, I had. I picked a handful of blueberries out of the way. That's lovely. All right, well, let's move on before I not start knowing my own arm off and like, desperate hunger, that all sounds wonderful. And I hope I'm invited to all of your houses for dinner very soon, because that all sounds amazing. Eso as I mentioned, we wanted to chat a little bit about the writers who inspired us this week, which I'm really excited to listen to what you all have to say about that. Um, and as a reminder to you out there, you can find the link to our bookshop dot org's storefront on the friends and Fiction Facebook group. All sales support independent booksellers, and we're also committing this week to donating our percentage 10% of all sales to the American Library Association. So, ladies, let's start tonight by talking about the books that inspired us as very young readers. Which books from your childhood made you fall in love with reading? Well, I could go that I could go first on that one if you want me Thio. One of my very favorite books ever was Matilda um, my Roald Dahl. I feel like I talked about that here. But then, you know, after all the million's of book events, when feels like E was like did I say it here? Did I say it somewhere else? I can't remember. So I'm sorry if I've already said this, but I'm sure we have some new viewers. Um, but I just that was one of it's one of the first books that I can remember reading, like, over and over again and just being so very in that world of Matilda. This little girl that loved books and she had these magical powers and she had all these hopes and dreams for her life, and she had a terrible life of books for her escape. And, um, I was just It's magical to me. It still is. And I actually recently listened to the audiobook version with little Will and Kate Winslet reads it and oh, my goodness, it is incredible. Like, I don't care if you have a kid to listen to it with or not like, It's so good. But that was just one of my favorites. I like that For me. It was it was the secret garden. It's an old classic, and I've always loved secrets and gardens and old Gothic houses. And it had it all and even the ending, you know, that these three Children pre war and then after the war it was just such a gorgeous book that I, you know, it holds up for adults even today, and I watched every one of the versions of the movies as well, because they're all so well done. So secret garden for me. How about you, Kathy or Mary Kay? Um, you know, I Well, I was a big Dr Seuss fan as a young, really young I love the rhymes. I love the whimsy. I love the illustrations. And why not? You know, I was a newspaper reporter for 14 years, So one of my favorite experiences ever was I interviewed Dr Seuss on his last book tour. You did not. Oh, my gosh. How did we not know this? Oh, wow. Yeah. I was pregnant with my son, Andy. My husband is just delivering wine. Oh, Photo of 30 water e Have a photo of me and my little maternity dress with my...

...little Peter pan collar and my little pussycat bow interview Dr Seuss with his white goatee. And he had cat in the hat. Cufflinks. Eso, I think. Really. I mean, I love a lot of other books, Mary Alice. I'd love secrets and old houses, of course. So I I remember reading a Victoria Holt when I was probably 10 or 11 years old. It was called the Mistress of Melon. And I love that book. It had a secret closet in an old Gothic ah, Statehouse and Cornwall on dso That book really, really stayed with me. Oh, that's awesome. I can't believe you that doctor Doctor, you win. We'll just stop the episode of your favorite meal is green eggs and ham. Right, Patty, How about you? You know, I always obsessed with Nancy Drew. Yeah. Nancy Drew. And also with little house on the prairie e. What that's all about are these regular girls who can do these stories. I mean, do you remember when Laura Ingalls Wilder got stuck in the blizzard? How does anybody forget that? For all their life? And then I fell through the wardrobe door of Narnia a little bit later. But e I remember reading Nancy Drew so voraciously that my parents were, like, get your nose out of that book. And I'm like, but she hasn't found a clue in the car. The secret of the speaking of U S. Oh, yeah. That was just kind of They were my first love's. Or Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew. How about you, Kristen? You know what it was Nancy Drew, Also plus the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey twins, which I know we're all part of the problem. Actually, they were written by the same author. Yeah, and under different pseudonyms. But e think it are they by different authors. Yeah, they were all published by the strap Myers syndicate makes me. That's what I'm thinking. Yeah, Yeah. Hired out by different they hired different authors to write them, but they were all under the same names. Really? That's making me want Thio. Look up. The is sort of the genesis system that also, but yes. Yeah, you're completely right. I was mixing that up. Eso yeah, Nancy through the Hardy Boys and the Bobbsey twins. And that actually sort of leads me to my next question which was gonna be Did any of you attempt to write a book when you were a kid? And the reason I'm sort of led to that next question is my first novel that I attempted was at the age of six, and it was a Bobbsey twin story. Apparently, I thought they were gonna be hiring me to write the Bobbsey twins. But wait, wait. This is what it was about. The Bobbsey Twins traveled to Worthington, Ohio, which is where I was living at the time toe. Help solve the mystery of my dad's missing solid gold tuxedo. Because apparently I thought my dad was like a pimp with no sense of style or something. I don't e Needless to say, that book never went anywhere. But did any of you attempt a book and childhood? I was trauma from my book because it was I was, I think, 878 years old and and if you know my books, you won't be surprised. It was called Willie The Wishful Whale. I still have an adult novel to write on whales one day, and I will. But I It was so I loved writing it in the illustrations and the tape on the end of the line paper, and I and my father called me in and he thought I he asked me who wrote it or like where I got the idea. It's almost like he pulled me on the carpet and didn't believe I could write a book like that on. I was so hurt that I put it in a drawer, and I don't think I showed anyone my work for a long time afterwards. But I showed him, huh? I definitely wrote when I was a kid, I would draw the covers and and staple them together. And my dad was a...

...preacher, and so there was always a typewriter like in the middle of the table and there were always, you know, pages everywhere. And I would write these long books. And then when I was 12 I wrote my biography A because I must have deemed my life worthy. It has a very sad little work on. It hasn't really. It's like, Here's my family, the beach. Here's me going to school on the bus It was very in depth, and it was had a really complicated name and it was called My life on. I still have that sweet clearly destined for writing greatness from that my life about y'all. I don't think I ever finished a book. I probably had beginnings. And, um, I can remember pretending to type because I watched Superman and I was fascinated with lowest O. E. Wanted to become a newspaper reporter because Lois Lane War wore adorable suits and cute she cats and typed. And so I had a dresser. Superman E had a dresser with a mirror trifled mirror, and I would sit at that and I would pretend to type. Um, like I was in the Daily Planet newsroom. I think that's adorable. E remember having this e go ahead. Go ahead, Christine. I'm sorry. No, because that is you fit, Hugo. I was just gonna say I did the exact same thing. That's so weird that we were both inspired to become reporters by, uh, by supermen. But for me, it was because I wanted to be Clark Kent. Like I wanted to be someone who could just change my clothes and, like, fly all those super e thought it all started in a newsroom. You could do that now, right? Like that's part of your writing. Super powers. You can not supposed to tell anybody that. Christie. What do you know that there are no phone boots now? I never attempted to write a book that I remember. I mean, I used to have this little composition books with marble, black and white covers, and I would carry them around. I remember writing stories, but nothing. I don't think I ever wrote a book, and I really didn't even know that I wanted to write a book until I was, like, 25 or 26. So not that by any stretch of the imagination, but this was not a like something that when I was young, I thought even even when I was in college, I never thought I would write a book. So it was definitely, um you know, I was not one of those people born knowing that this was gonna be her life path. So But then once I did it, I was like, Oh, my gosh, What if I had never done this? E can't imagine how empty my life would have been, and I wouldn't have even known it. Yeah, right. We're great. Well, grateful that you did it. What would the world be without Christie Woodson? Harvey e Want to imagine that world such a void. I don't even know what a sad, sad world indeed. Eso that kind of leads me to. This question is, since we're all talking about sort of how we started, who started you, though, who who was the writer or or what was the book that solidified your goal of one day? Becoming a writer, whether it was when you were a child or whether it was in your twenties? Yeah. Stomach. Good. I don't know where my I'm sorry. Good. I think, um, I remember specifically when I realized that writers just weren't people on both class, Um, that this great love I had of reading came from somebody I'd never given a lot of thought to. Who wrote the books? I just...

...felt like the books were the living things, not the people who wrote them. And I've written about this, and I have an essay about it, and I've talked about it, so this is a repeat. But when I was in college, I found an River Siddons books. And then when I graduated from college, I realized, and I read all her books back to back to back. And when I graduated, I realize I lived in Atlanta and I realized that she did, too. And then I realized that she went to the same college I did, and then I realized that she was like a living human being in the same city I was in, and it just got my wheels turning. Even though I had played is a writer as a kid, nobody had ever said, You know, writing is something you can dio and I remember. That was the first time I had this kind of knife like gut punch. This is a thing that really people do not just people on book flaps, so I always give her that kind of her books. Got me started on thinking about how riel people write books, not just pictures. Wow, that's really cool. How about the rest of you? You know, I was working as a newspaper reporter and had two small kids at home, and I wanted out, and I thought, Well, if I could write a book, I could write at home and be home and my kids got home from school And so I thought I'd always been a big mystery reader and I started writing mysteries and secrets. Um, I would work on Wednesday nights, and I eventually I saw an ad in the back of Writer's Digest magazine that Sue Grafton was teaching a writers workshop at Antioch College in Ohio. I had never been to Ohio, but I was a huge Sue Grafton fan, and so I went to that workshop and I took her workshop, and I still to this day don't know what she said. That made me believe I could do it. But I remember leaving there and, well, part of the part of I think, with the empowerment was I had a manuscript conference with her and she read 50 pages of my first manuscript and she said, This can absolutely be published. Go find yourself an agent And and then that night, Atar Workshop it was This workshop went till midnight and I stepped, stood up and read the first chapter of a new book that I had started and and, uh, there was like 100 people in that room and and they gave me a standing ovation, and she she came up to me afterwards and said, This is the book you will publish Go home and write it. And I think that was the first time I really believed that I could do it now. I had been a writer my whole professional life. At that point, I had been a newspaper reporter for 14 years, but I don't think she gave me permission to believe That's cool. That's really beautiful. Yeah, I was like, very practical, I think. And so I think around the time that I decided to start writing or to start working on a novel, I got pregnant and which would have been a big deal but was very very sick like that. I could not do anything. I mean, it was like a disaster. I could not. It was awful. Um, that's why I have an only child. I'm joking. It's not really. But I remember thinking like, well, I probably sort of miss my chance like this seems like a lot. And but I finished a manuscript during that time. And then, um after he was born, I just had this idea for a story and just would not let me dio and I just felt like it was the story that I needed to write. And I remember my mom sending me an article, and I'm going to get this wrong because it was 10 years ago. But she sent me an article about Emily Giffin and how she got her first book deal and then found out she was pregnant with twins and, you know, then had this whole wonderful career after. Not that I thought people couldn't right with the baby. But, you know, I had, like, a six day old baby or...

...something. And I was like, Okay, well, you know what? She did this and I could do it too, And I'm going Thio. And so I wrote Dear Carolina. And it was my first published novel. Um, and so it wasn't really necessarily a book per se, but I do think seeing other people, and I don't know if any of you ever felt like this, but I felt like I wasn't the kind of person that was an author, like, I don't know if that makes sense, But, like, I guess we all have that sort of imposter syndrome like, Well, I can't be an author. Other smarter people are authors. Um, cooler people are authors, more creative people are authors. I don't have enough imagination to be an author, like, I had all these reasons that I couldn't do it. And then I think just realizing that, like Okay, well, I guess maybe everybody feels like that at some point. Or there's always a reason not to do something, you know, for me, with a little difference. I guess I And I'm listening to you carefully and it seems really, um, interesting that so many of us went and had another author or conference or something. That brought us to the realization that this was Riel and I have remembered. I was we I was very secluded, and we had a very I was stripped upbringing and I was, you know, way Just read the classics all the time. And I didn't know contemporary authors for the most part. And, um, I remember when I was like you, Christine, I was put to bed and with my pregnancy, and I have this book, so I never questioned it Never occurred to me. I'm on the author. I didn't even think about author. I just wrote, but I didn't know how to publish. Yeah, you know, I had this book and a couple in the drawer, but I did not have published. So I went to the library, and this was in Bethesda, Maryland, when I lived in D C area and, ah, little thin woman with blonde hair came and maybe eight people in the group. There's a little noticed in the library writers group, and she talked about the Washington D. C chapter of romance Writers of America. And, you know, it was like, Well, I'll join. I'll join any groups, please. How do I publish? And that woman was Nora Roberts. Oh, and she was hadn't really taken off is, you know, she's so well did but are W Way and I we talked about this in another episode, really gave us the nuts and bolts off publishing and meeting editors and meeting agents, and I think it's so important for young writers to still do that today. Toe join a writer's ah professional group. But you can get plugged in to editors and agents because that's how I sold my book. It's not. It's You can have the book in your drawer and now, of course you can self published. But if you really want to get in there, you meet other writers, and if you don't know them, join a group to know them because that worked for me. You know, to this day, I'm always grateful, and I think our group right here is a supportive group. We need You need your peaks. Yeah, e you know what, and I feel like that's why we try to give writing tips every week, because I do think that there are probably a lot of people out there who are hoping to write a book one day or who are working on their first books and You know, I feel like the five of us are all sort of proof that you could do it. I mean, that you can come from any background and write a novel like so. So I mean, even if you have not met us yet face to face, you know, any of the five of us, please? All of you out there know that this is something you can do and let us be that inspiration way. Always answer questions if you if you ask if you have writing questions, you know, we're happy to help on the friends and fiction page yours. Who is yours? Who was yours? Mine. Um, Well, so the writer who made me Yeah. No, that I wanted to be a writer, and I might have said this Samos Christie was saying earlier, I can't remember if I said this in here before. Just one of the...

...million other zooms I've done, um, was honestly Anne Frank, because I used to think, Yeah, I used to think that that you couldn't right an entertaining book and change the world at the same time. I thought that you were mutually exclusive and I was this idealistic kid with John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King on my walls who, you know, thought about How can I grow up and make the world a better place and change the world and all that? But then I thought that I can also be writing books that just make people laugh or smile or feel because those air different. Um and it was the first time I think I may be read it When I was, I don't know, 11 or 12 The Diary of Anne Frank. And it just clicked in my head that Oh my gosh, you could do the same thing like you can. You can make people feel something with your book and that feeling can help them become a better citizen of the world. So, um, you know, it's just it's still a book I think a lot about. And in fact, every single one of my books has had a character. Ah, very minor character named Anne in her honor because that was such an important turning point to me. Um, but, you know, I was thinking that next I was gonna ask you all about early influences in your career, but we've already sort of talked a little bit about that. I would love to hear anything you have to say. If there's something else you wanna add about that. But I was specifically interested, especially since Mary Kay mentioned that about Sue Grafton. Were there any writers earlier, Early in your career? Like before you were successful before you? Maybe even before you had that first book deal or before you had that first breakout book where they're writers who did something kind for you. Who? A zsu graft. And it sounds like did for you, Mary Kay, where the writers who kind of helped you or, you know, gave you a blurb when you may be weren't anybody or, you know something like that? Yeah, I want to give a big shout out. It was Nora Roberts. That's awesome. Me what? She's a tough when it comes to deadlines, and she takes no prisoners. But she gave me my first blur, no questions asked, gave me my second one and pretty much said, That's enough material. You know, Thio. Typical Nora fashion. But she was there, and she was. She's been there for a lot of people, so shout out to Nora and she right? For anyone who questions it, Nora writes every one of her books. Yeah, you all, Um And, you know, I realized just as an aside, I should explain if anyone out there doesn't know what a blurb is. A blurb is just the little, um the little recommendation from another author on the front of your book or on the back or the inside flap that's called a blur. Most of you probably know that, but just in case, I sometimes worry that we get into author speak and forget to explain. And it was me who said it. So I had to clarify. How about the rest of you? I would love to hear who was kind to you with the beginning. Well, every go ahead, Patty. Okay, well, every single person in this group has written a blurb for me. Oh, you Jody Thomas actually write my very, very, very first blurb, and I did not know her at all, but we shared a publisher, and she was so kind and she said the nicest things about my book. And I actually got to meet her like maybe the next year at a conference. And, um, she was so nice about the book and just she was great. Um, and then right when dear Carolina, my first book came out, I was a b a and I met Elin Hilderbrand. And she was so nice to me. I was like, I really want to read dear Carolina and some of your next book. Um And then she wrote me an amazing blurred for lives, Another acts of love. So we're kind of my first, you know, my very first when you're I'm still terrified every time. Like Mary Kay. If you knew how long it took me to send you an email last year and ask you e I was like, sonar. Three friends and fiction. Yeah, yeah, before friends and fiction. So I didn't really like Oh, my gosh. And like, I didn't even at high a new pretty well before I asked her eso I knew and I knew she would say to me like I can't I don't have time or...

...whatever. And so that is, I think where this dress comes in for me on Bennett with Mary Alice. I didn't even have the nerve to ask or somebody else? Asked our mutual editor, our publicist. I'm not sure I e. That's awesome. Blurb asking is stomach wrenching. It doesn't matter whether you're asking a friend For those of you who read the blurbs on people's books, every blurb ask is an act of courage because we all know how busy we are. And we know that whoever we want the blurb from is probably busier than we are. And the ask is so hard, and we usually preamble the ask with about three paragraphs of I know how busy you Are. I know, but my story of authors who have been kind to me would take up three of our episodes I have been, as we all have been, um, this tribe, when you find them, have been the most fortunate. But the very first realize author that I was that I walked up to and said I want to write a book was Mary Kay Andrews. I was company Christmas party because our husbands work together, and this is about 20 years ago, E had not told anybody in my family. Pat knew I was taking some writing classes and he thought my husband and he thought It was a cute hobby, and I found out that that Mary Kay Andrews, who at that time wrote mysteries under Kathy Trocheck and her main characters First name was Callahan. I was like, This is fate. This isn't a person. I'm going to tell my dream And she was so nice to me and I was blushing and I was so nervous and she we went out to lunch. And then I met Mary Alice years later, and right after my first book came out and she was just a kind and let me spend the night at her house on book tour, even though she'd never met me. Eso just you know, people swoop up under you through the years. Yeah, coincidentally, the first writer I ever met in real life and told was, Yeah, that's great. You know, when my first book came out, my editor said, um, who we're gonna have to have cover blurbs, cover quotes who were gonna ask and and river sentence because she's published at She was published by my same editor at HarperCollins and I said great and they said any other ideas, and it was sort of a slam dunk because usually if you're in the same house and you have the same editor, it's kind of Ah, sometimes a professional courtesy. And I said, Yeah, I wanna ask Sue Grafton because I took a writers workshop with her and they said, No, no, no, we're not gonna ask to Grafton, Uh, that's not gonna happen. She's not gonna give you a cover quote for your first novel. And I said, Well, you know, I think she might, because after I took the workshop, I wrote her a note thanking her for everything she done, and she wrote back. And then I said, And then when I got my book contract, I wrote her and told her, and she wrote back. And so they said, Well, that's on you. And so I did write her. You did blurb me, and she was so lovely and gracious. And Marsha Mueller, another great mystery writer I had met her at Ah, I covered a story that she was connected with and she was so generous to me. So many, many women, especially, have been so, so gracious and welcoming to the tribe that it's really it Z you know, it makes you understand that you have, ah, responsibility toe to, you know, pass it along. Yeah, to pay it forward. Honestly, Absolutely. Yeah, it's a completely It's an important thing to do. I totally agree. Eso we're...

...running a little short on time eyes there. Any other writer that any of you would like to recommend and not not recommend but talk about is an influence just briefly. Anyone who influences your writing now or anyone else we haven't mentioned that you'd like to give a quick shoutout to is one of your influence. Us. You know, when I was writing Mystery, I had been writing mystery for a while, and I started reading thes women's fiction authors. And, um, I was reading, uh, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and I was reading Jennifer Cruzi, who wrote this. This book made me laugh so hard I still remember and it was called Tell me Lies. And that book made me think I think I could maybe right around com Okay, I have to tell this story. I was like I said, I was reading classics and my sister. It was just in the seventies, late seventies, maybe early eighties, and my sister Ruthie Yeah, I've sent me a book, and it was dog eared, you know, she'd read this book 100 times that her lines with an on the thing in magic marker. You must underline. Read this on diet Was Kathleen What? It was the flame and the flower. I'm like, What is this? I never never heard of her before. And I'm like, I was looked because to this day, I read that book maybe 10 years ago, and it holds up. It's kind of like a classic, but it was she was the grandmother romance genre as the modern romance genre boy, that woman could right? And I remember thinking, Where have e Patty or Christie? Did you want to mention any other influences? Yeah, I think. You know, if I start listing influences, we're gonna we're gonna be here a long while. But e o that that that the that From the classics to Narnia to Southern Fiction of an River Students and Pat Conroy hooking me in trying. Thio showed me what Southern Fiction Waas. I grew. I grew up in Philadelphia. I moved south when I was 13. And even then it was Florida, which we all know is the South, but not Southern Andi. And then, you know, I ended up in Alabama and I found these writers and it made me want to be that kind of storyteller. And it's never left me that they, especially the two of them, as an inspiration to to aspire to something. Thio aim for something that you'd never reached. But it's you can see it and feel it. And so they were. They were always right in front of me. As as an example. Isn't it wonderful when you find an author and you read the book and it's more than just It was a great book. It makes you want to be a better writer. It's just that kind of inspiration, like, Wow, this is maybe a little more like brass tacks. But we've been doing these writing sprints these past few weeks, and that has been the best thing in the whole world for me because especially since, like Kevin being home in all of this, I really struggled with balancing like writing and will and my design blogging and, um, there. It's just been like a lot happening and getting up in the morning and knocking my words out. I mean, I can work on my other things all day long. And I know I've gotten, like, progress on my books. Yeah, so that has been, like, the best thing ever. So thank you guys for that. So you have all influenced me. Great, E. Same here. All right. Ladies were running up against the clock. We have time for two quick reader questions. And while we're answering those reader questions, I also want the four of you to be thinking about one writing tip based on something that that a writer you admire has maybe taught you that...

...you could express to us in one sentence. Things has been such a great discussion. We've been talking for a while. So two quick reader questions than writing tips. Okay. Um, Mary Alice, do you have those reader questions for us? I do. Thanks very much. There. Right here. All right. These air from the really good questions. By the way, this is from like, uh, Haney. She says, Do you talk to your book characters? Mhm. E mean, they definitely talk to me. I feel like it's, you know, concerning sometimes now I was equated toe like you know how. If you're gonna have a big meeting or something and you're practicing in your head like, well, I'm going to say this and then I think they're going to say this. That's how I feel about it. Anybody else? I don't do it out loud that I definitely carry on imaginary conversations in my mind. Just like when somebody says something, you think of the great come back the next day and you're like, I wish I would have said back to them. I feel like that with my characters. I think about it and then I can go. And in the book, you can go back and have the witty comment right up. And the big fiction. Yeah, and anybody else Who? Mary Alice Woman asked you in The next one is from Michelle Marcus, and she says, Did you all have other careers before writing? And then how long did you keep that other career? How long did it take you to become a full time writer? Okay, when I just go around and I know you were a nurse and you know Mary Kay, who was a newspaper reported. But how about the second half of you re meet it. Um, how long did you keep your other career? And how long did it take you to become a full time writer? Which is a good question. I was a magazine writer for many years, and I continued to be a magazine writer during publishing my first six books. So it took me six novels and then onto my seventh before I was able to just be a full time writer or full time novelist. I was a nurse for Oh gosh, 10 years, and I let my nursing license. I was a pediatric nurse and I let my license go and didn't renew it when my third book came out. Well, it's a big decision. It was huge, Okay, I actually worked in finance before. I don't think I've ever talked about here before. I was writing, but I had written for newspapers and magazines and that kind of thing, like for you know, a long time. And I still did a lot of freelance work alongside my financial job had started design Sheikh, never expecting for anything to come out of it. And so about the time I think about the time that Deer Carolina was being published. Um, designed Sheikh had been around for about five years and had really started to become, like a riel business. And I thought, OK, between the two of these things, Like, I think I'm okay and I can't do anything that I had. Well, and I was like, I can't do all of these things and s Oh, I was just doing design cheek and writing, but it Yeah, so I was lucky in that way that I could sort of, um, you know, at least be working from home all the time, even if I was working on something else. What about you, Mary? Alice? I was a teacher, I Japanese. My graduate degrees was all in Asian studies, so I was a teacher. But it turned out I actually ran a program for English second language for all the boat people that came over in Wisconsin. So I didn't speak Vietnamese or Cambodian, but I had the cultural background, so that was interesting. But I only did it for a few years before I was put to bed with my pregnancy. And I wrote my first book and it's sold and that was that. Oh, but I have to say, if I was a full time mom at the time and those early years, really, you know, you don't make...

...enough. I I was fortunate that I didn't have to do another job. And I think that's a tough choice if you have to go out and work because I could find time to write while being a mother, But I didn't have to do anything else s o It took a while to make enough. It took several years before I made enough to say, Okay, I can actually pull my weight, right? Yeah. And Mary Kay, how long did you write worked as a newspaper reporter while you were writing books? I, um I was a reporter for 14 years. I wrote the first. I completed a novel that never sold while I was still working at the paper. And then my first book, my first published books sold. And, um and I quit. As soon as I handed it in. E had a book contract. I had a two book contract with HarperCollins. And so I've turned the book in, and then I quit my job. I love that interesting. Alright, quickly. We are so running out of time, everyone. We always have so much fun. Just talking to each other just goes on and on. It's wonderful. Um, anybody have a quick ratings, if they want to share mine would be just if you're based on Thank you. Influence me. Um, it would be that if you're gonna put your heart in your novel, make sure your hearts in the right place because other people will be moved or swayed by it. And it doesn't mean you have to go into it with an agenda. But I think when you're coming from a good and pure place, your book will too. That's my tip. I love this quick. Oh, go ahead, Paddy. You go first. Um, I know what it seems shocking, but I'm actually a big Stephen King fan. And I read his books a lot when I was in college. Not the true horror, but, you know, the stand and some of his other ones. I just thought they were amazing. And so when I picked up this book on writing, my He has great writing advice in there, but short and sweet, my favorite is to write with the door Shut and open edit with the door open on I Love I love That right, as if nobody is going to read it, but edit as if the door is open. That's really great. I was gonna say Mine is really short is the famous line. It's not original show. Don't tell. Yeah, always interested when new young writers out there, um, tell the story and to show them how to write a scene. If, from the point of view of the characters using all the senses, it's night and day, so show if you don't know what that means out there in your writer, look it up and study it, but I can't go into it now. We forgot to. I heard Elmore Leonard speak a couple of times, and I was a big Elmore Leonard fan. Always. I loved his caper novels. I loved his Hey was so snarky. Andi. I remember his number one people. Someone asked him, What? How do you attribute the success of all your novels? You know, all these books made into movies and he said, I leave out the parts Readers skip over. I love that? Yep. I'm gonna have another Stephen King. And you all know that I do this, um, in his book on writing, he said to write 2000 words today. I started that way, and I still do it so So far. So he said that Interesting. You also said it only takes three months. You shouldn't take you longer than three months to write your novel. Well, Chris Christie, you knock your you knock your 2000 words out in, like, 15 minutes every morning. But I'm a super fast type or two, and I know you all think that's funny, but I honest to goodness, I think that's part of the reason that I could do it really fast, cause Aiken type like I need to look up. How many words? A minute I could type. It's really fast. It's more than us. We know that video. It's more than us. E. Alright, everyone, this has been such a great night. Christie needs to, you know, write an entire two chapters in the next 10 minutes. So we should probably give her the time figures...

...flying and do that. No, thank you, everyone for joining us tonight. Um This was wonderful, ladies. It was so cool to get such an insight into what influenced all of you and kind of what makes you tick US writers. So everyone out there again you can find us all week long and the friends and fiction page on Facebook, where we do our best to answer your comments and questions. We're live every Wednesday night at seven, and you can find old episodes on our website friends and fiction dot com. One more reminder. If you buy any of our books through the Bookshop Link on our Facebook page now through Saturday night, we will donate our whole commission 10% to the American Library Association. So thank you all so much for being with us tonight on friends and fiction. Thanks to my fellow authors, thanks to everyone out there and everybody. Good night, Good night, the night 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 W w, w dot friends and fiction dot com A swell as on the Facebook Group Page. Friends and fiction come back soon. Okay? There are still lots of books, writing tips, interviews, publishing views and bookstores to chat about goodbye.

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