Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 3 months ago

WB S1E5: Ron Block and Patti Callahan with Susan Cushman and Lisa Patton

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

WRITERS' BLOCK: Susan Cushman and Lisa Patton tell the story behind their books, John and Mary Margaret and RUSH, very different stories set in college life at Ole' Miss at very different times, yet exploring very relevant themes.

Welcome to the Friends and FictionWriter's Block podcast. Five new york times, bestselling novelists, endlessstories, joined mary Kay andrews, Kristen, Harmel, Christie Woodson,harvey paddy, Callaghan, Henry and mary Alice Munro along with librarian RonBlock As novelists were five longtime friends with more than 80 publishedbooks between us and I am Ron Block. Please join us for fascinating authorinterviews and insider talk about publishing and writing. If you lovebooks and are curious about the writing world, you're in the right place.Friends and fiction is sponsored by Mama Geraldine's bodacious food. CathyCunningham was a successful but unfulfilled radio executive in Atlantaone night while sipping wine and snacking on expensive cheese straws,she realized her mama Geraldine's own cheese straw recipe was far superior.The idea for Cathy's company was born Mama Geraldine's cheese straws now comein six varieties and they are the best selling cheese straw in the UnitedStates plus the cookies are melt in your mouth, delicious yummy snacks anda woman owned empire. Now that is something that we here at Friends andfiction can get behind try them, you'll be so glad that you did get 20% off onyour online order at mama Geraldine's dot com with the code Fab five snack ony'all. Welcome to the Friends and Fiction writer's block. Today wecontinue our ongoing series called Origin Stories, in which we will talkwith two authors who wrote about a college in Mississippi, the Universityof Mississippi, which is also called Ole Miss. We're digging deep to learnthe kernels of their ideas for their latest work and learn how theyblossomed into some of our favorite reads on today's episode. We arethrilled to welcome Susan Cushman who wrote john and mary Margaret and lisapatent, the author of Rush. Both writers right of college days inMississippi, John and Mary Margaret is set in the 1960s and Rush in Modern Day.Ole Miss Both are a work of fiction inspired by historic times and eventsand both of them staying very true to the decade in which they unfold. I ampatty Callahan and I am Ron block. First up, we welcome Susan Cushman, theauthor of john and mary Margaret. Her published books include not only johnand mary Margaret which is a novel, but also Friends of the Library, which isshort stories, Cherry Bomb, another novel, Tangles and plaques, a motherand daughter face Alzheimer's which was a memoir And three anthologies sheedited, she was born in Jackson Mississippi and came of age in the1960s. Jim Crow, South Cushman rights with deep insight into the Southstoried past, bringing elements of hope and healing to her short stories,memoir and novels honoring the heart soul and history of the south. John andmary Margaret is her seventh book, she lives in Memphis lisa. Wingate has saidthis novel is an authentic window not only into two lives but also into thesouth then and now welcome Susan, can you first tell us about the novel andget us started as we dive into its origins? Thanks Ron and patty, thanksfor having me. Yes, john and mary Margaret is about a black boy and awhite girl who fall in love on the Ole Miss campus in 1966 which didn't gowell, they meet again 35 years later and in between, there are chaptersabout their lives separately. I'm not going to tell you how they meet againbecause that would be a spoiler alert, but the book is set against 50 years ofcivil rights history. It has real people like a cameo with Eudora Weltyand Martin Luther King and true events...

...that were happening. But john and maryMargaret are fictional characters. I will say that john is a model after twoActual students at ole miss who were arrested and expelled in 1970. And butMary Margaret is a little bit me, a little bit, a lot of other girls FromJackson Mississippi in the 60s. This novel so fascinating. It interweaves somany different things, but its origins begin in another book of yours, Right,These are characters from your short story collection, Friends of theLibrary. So, can you tell us a little bit about why you wrote the short storyand why you decided it was worth it to turn this into a novel? Sure, thank you.When my first novel, Cherry Bomb came out, my my publisher who is fromMississippi asked me to go on a little mini book tour through small towns inMississippi speaking to the friends of the library groups. And as I went toeach one, I thought about writing a blog post about each visit. And insteadI thought, what if I write short stories? What if I create a fictionalauthor named Adele Covington and have her be visiting each of those towns.And so I wrote the 10 short stories and Friends of the library. One of those 10,which is about john and mary Margaret. I don't know how they popped into myhead. I had this mixed race couple show up at one of the readings Adele went tobut several of my readers, I said, why don't you turn that short story untilnovel? We want to know more about that. And so I did. We certainly did want toknow that so much more about them. And it's just such such a wonderful,wonderful book. And it's interspersed with lots of color from the from theOld South and really helps move it along to modern day. But you said thatyou wrote most of this book while you were isolated during the pandemic whenthere was growing unrest in our country as protests erupted over inequality andmistreatment of blacks. You were born in Mississippi. Can you tell us howthat and other influences were the embers of this story? Sure, Well, likeI said, growing up in Mississippi in the fifties and sixties, I really didlive in that white privileged bubble and I didn't have any black friends.There were so few black students at my school. And so when I got told me this,I sort of continued in that bubble, sorority life, you know, activities oncampus that were not having anything to do with what was going on with the race.Even to the point that there was a big protest in 1970 at a concert. Thisgroup up with people that was popular back then. Remember them. So my husbandand I were dating and we went to the concert and later when I wasresearching for this book, I discovered that 60 black students protested at theconcert and were arrested. So I said to my husband, how could we have missedthat? We were there. And finally after talking to a half dozen others who werethere, I discovered that the concert lasted two nights and we went the nightthat there was no protest. But the fact that that wasn't even on my radar, I'mashamed to say, you know that I was just totally unaware back then what wasgoing on. And then last summer, especially being at home during Covid.But with a racial protests going on and a lot of reading I was doing, I beganto have an awakening, especially reading Isabel Wilkerson's book cast,y'all that is a master class. And so I wanted to go out and join the proteststhat were going on in Memphis and but I was 70 years old. It was Covid, myhusband's like, no, you're not going out on the streets of Memphis. And Isaid, what can I do? And he said, well, you're an author, you can write it, youhave a voice. So let's bring in summer. I wrote john and mary Margaret as myway of protesting as my way of having a voice. Yeah. That gives such a newlayer to the reading of the book. So it really just adds to it. That's why Ithink origin stories are so interesting because they let us see the novel assomething that grew out of this rich...

...soil. That isn't just the plot. And Ilove to know that that was part of what made you want to write the novel soreal quick I want to talk about the supporting characters. There'sElizabeth and walker. There's a Dell as the reliable observer and narrator. AndEddie and Diana who were modeled after true historic people as you justmentioned, who were at the concert and then expelled from Old Miss. So I wantyou to talk about where the supporting characters grew from in this soil ofyour your story. Did you have them before you started writing or did theygrow out of the other origins that already existed Elizabeth and walkerdefinitely grew later. I will say that my my way of writing changed with theshort story collection. I'd always been an outline er who planned everything.And starting with the short story collection I joined the crowd of peoplewho let their characters take on the life of their own so much fun. Ienjoyed writing so much more. And so the short story didn't have anythingthese extra characters that we're talking about because it was just a thebare bones of john and mary Margaret's story. It didn't have Elizabeth andwalker who are both just people that came to me. I mean Elizabeth is still alittle bit me even though she's black. We have a lot of things to come. Andthey say you always put some of yourself you know walker has a littlebit of my husband in him. Uh So that's where they came from. But now Diana andum Eddie and some of the others came right out of the old Miss Eight stories.And these these people became famous because of their protests 50 yearslater, february of 2020 50 years after they were arrested. Old Miss held areunion for them. The old Miss eight on campus in february of 2020. And Dianawho had been denied her diploma In 1970, even though she had done all the work,received her diploma 50 years later, which you know, that's Gotta felt goodin a lot of ways. But I was just amazed that she even showed back up after theway she had been treated. You know, one of the oldest eight, Don Cole had tofinish his degree at another school, went back to Ole Miss and taughtmathematics and just retired a couple of years ago and their resilience andthey're wanting to make a point Really inspired me very, very much. And thenAdele was she's just me. You know, she's the author who went to all thelittle towns. I had to keep her in there. They had to have somebody tellsher story to, you know, like touched by an angel. She was the angel. Wonderful.Wonderful. So, one of the things I love about this book is your inclusion ofthe Eudora Welty quotes. Can you think of one that you can share with us?That's your favorite. Yeah, I like several of them. And and the authorsnote in the back of the book, I say that every writer like everybody else,thinks he's living through the crisis of the ages, right? Honestly, you'reright to write honestly and with all our powers, it's the least we can doand the most. And I did think that I was living through the crisis of theages last summer and maybe I was and maybe we still are. But so throughoutthe book, at the beginning of every chapter, I had quotes by William,Faulkner, martin, Luther King, James, baldwin, richard wright, Eudora weltyrosa parks. But Maduro has always been a favorite of mine and she lived a fewblocks from me in the 19 seventies, in a neighborhood in Jackson Mississippi.So I had mary Margaret grow up there and meet her when she was 14 years oldand be inspired by her. So here's one more Eudora Welty, great fiction showsus not how to conduct our behavior, but how to feel eventually. It may show ushow to face our feelings and face our...

...actions and to have new inklings aboutwhat they mean. A good novel of any year can initiate us into our own newexperience. So, she inspired mary Margaret and awakened her to raceissues and inspired me to writing and a whole lot of other things that is sofascinating. It's such a great part of the book and I look forward to everyone of them coming open, matching it to the to the content of the book. It wasreally wonderful. And it's fascinating to see how that grew out of your doorwelty out of your own life. So, and how that quote talks about what fictiondoes for us. So that leads me straight into how I believe that writing a book,the characters come to teach us things. Oh, absolutely. I believe that ourcharacters show up to show us who we are or who we might need to become orwhere we have blank spots or where our heart is closed any of those things. So,did any of the characters in this book do that for you? Well, a lot of themdid. It's really hard to pick a favorite one, john probably pick themup on john's as strong as you know, he grew up in a all black neighborhoodMemphis. His father coached football and his older brother went to an allblack college on a football scholarship. So john was expected to do all of thatand instead he loved books. You know, he was kind of a nerd and so, and hewanted to go to Ole Miss and he wanted to become a lawyer, a civil rightslawyer and a judge in Memphis so that he could make a difference in that wayand he perseveres in that way. So he's kind of a hero of the book to me and Ihave a black son in law who is a huge hero in my, to me and my family. So Iwas thinking of him somewhat as I was writing about john and my daughter isfrom south Korea and so I have mixed race granddaughters and I've dedicatedthe book to them to my granddaughter is hoping the world will be a better placefor them, but I loved all the characters, but I have to say john isthe hero in a lot of ways in the book. Yes, I agree with you. What do youthink he taught you? What do you think john taught you while while he wasgrowing on the page? But as he grew into who he was becoming, what do youthink he had to teach you? I think I think he taught me about love becausehe didn't fight back in a violent way. I mean he does go to Memphis whenmartin Luther King is there at one point in the book and joins anonviolent protest, but over and over, no matter how he's treated the way hewas treated Ole miss his relationship with mary Margaret at every stage ofhis life. He responds with love and acceptance, but also with a strength.So that's part of my message with the book, because it's about love andperseverance and that love is going to win the day, not violence, That'swonderful. What are you hoping that your readers take away from thecharacter of john? We talked about you as a writer, but let's see what thereaders, what you hope the readers take away again. I think, I think it's stillabout love and also about hope, because he could have given up at any pointalong the way, he could have given up when when things didn't work with maryMargaret. Initially he could have given up when he was bullied, you know,starting as a child in Memphis, when he went to the White Library instead ofthe negro library because they had more books there. You know, he could havequit at any point. And so his perseverance for his coal is a greattakeaway about anything. It doesn't have to be about race issues. It can beabout whatever is going on in our lives is to persevere, not react with anger.That hope and love are gonna win the day. I love it. So perseverance. Inlove with john, what do you think as as we tap back to origin? What do youthink mary Margaret is here to show us? To show you and to show us? Yeah, Ithink she's there to show us that you...

...can overcome your origins. Her parentswere blinded to a lot of things about race and and she overcame that you knowand it was hard she had some friends not understand her. She had a roommatewhose great grandfather was a slave owner in the Mississippi Delta, youknow her friends and her sorority didn't understand her, her motherdidn't understand her, but eventually I'm just not giving away too much. Sheends up teaching at the Hutchison school in Memphis which is a veryprominent girls high school all the way K through 12 and she ends up leading adiversity club there that the girls participate in. So I love how shecontinued what she had been learning from Eudora Welty when she was 14, fromjohn it'll miss brought it into her life as an adult and as a teacher at aprominent girls school in Memphis Susan. It has been so fascinating hearingabout kind of this rich soil of your past growing up in the Jim Crow South,you know, adopting Children of other colors and races even though you grewup in this world that didn't allow you to even see that. This is anextraordinary book. Thank you for joining us and tell our listeners wherethey can find you and find the book. Thank you. Well, my website is prettyeasy, www dot Susan fishman dot com. You can find the book anywhere. Booksare sold, go to your independent booksellers please. Or if you can't getthere you can go online and you can buy it anywhere. Thanks so much patty andRon and to everyone that's listening, I hope you'll read the book and love it.It's been an honor Susan, thank you. It's been such an enrichingconversation. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, now let's welcome lisa Patton,the best selling novelist of Whistling Dixie and and Northeaster Yankee doodleDixie and the ceiba bestseller Southern as a second language which I love thatbook so much. Now. Her novel Rush is set in a fictional sorority house onthe old Miss campus. It provides us not only a gaze inside one of the mostexclusive sorority recruitment in the country but also the relationshipsbetween the sisters and the house staff lisa is the proud mother of two sonsand she lives with her husband in Nashville. Tennessee. Adriana Trianasaid this novel is magnificent. One minute you'll laugh out loud the nextyou'll grab a tissue, sit back and fall in love with Rush. Well we already haveoh we so have welcome lisa. Before we dive into the origins of the novel. Canyou just tell us a little bit about the story? It's setting in modern dayOxford Mississippi and also on the Old Miss Campus. It's about women from bothends of the social ladder who are discovering their voices and theirempowerment. Yes, it most definitely is Rush is a universal thing that happensevery fall all over the country. However, in the south it is, I don'tknow, I patties was in a sorority in the south. So, as I would say that inthe south sorority and fraternity life is takes on a life of its own. So, sothe I decided to set my novel on the Ole Miss Campus, although I went toAlabama and I've had many people say, why did you do that? Well, I don't know,I just think Oxford is so charming and you know, writers have to think aboutthat like the setting and what's going on. And I've been there many times.It's an sec school and that's, I knew that I wanted to set an sec school, butit's the story of three different...

...people. One is Pearl or Miss Pearl asthe girls collar. She's been the housekeeper at the fictional AlphaDelta sorority house for a very long time and they love her very much. Alsoit's the story of willed a she's an alum to the Alpha Delta Omegas and herdaughter Ellie is going through rush. It's also the story of Cali who is asmall town girl who's always dreamed of being in a sorority, but she doesn'thave the family pedigree or the money necessary. So this story starts rushweek and amidst all the craziness, the hustle bustle and here we are. We were,we started moving day at the dorm and also the story house modern day Likeyou said, patty. So that's kind of the basic story. Yes, well, said, well,thank you. If anybody hadn't read it, you just hook them. Uh well, thanks. So,we were working on books together at this time, part of a great collectiveof Nashville writers and Palace who kept each other accountable. But I wantto hear the rest of what was the ember that started this story at the timethat you started this? My daughter was in college and I remember us talkingabout the extreme sport of decorating dorm rooms. I think extreme sports is agreat, great adjective for it. It is. And I was preparing my daughter forrush. So what was it that made you say, I must write this novel? What was thekind of seed or ember that made you say, I'm going to sit down and write thisnovel? Well, I was intrigued by all of it. Having been in a sorority and thenall these years later looking into it and see what's changed and what hasn'tchanged changed. But I was here's the ember. I was at the opening of the newour new sorority house at the University of Alabama when I mean allthe girls were invited. I was there when I noticed the housekeeper pushingher long dust mop down the marbled hall. And all the girls that would come inwould stop to hug her and tell her they loved her. And I thought, okay, that'snot changed and what? So I immediately was drawn to her. We I bet we spent twohours talking the girls that I was with. They went on to the s a house to the tothe band parties, They went on to the game Alabama, U. T. Games and I satthere and talked to her because I had this question in my mind all theseyears later, do you like working here? You know there's so much opulencearound you. Do you like it? Because she had genuinely seemed like she lovedthese girls and I was so intrigued by that and that opened up a bigconversation and I learned that she not only loved being there, But when I dugdeep and found out what was really going on, I realized she was stillbarely above minimum wage after 20 something years and had no benefits andit broke my heart. It really did. I thought Oh wow, you know, um I mightneed to, how am I supposed to be involved in this? Because I didn't wantthis to come across as me opening up this curtain and look at all that'sgoing on. But I felt like somebody had to do that. Somebody had to attemptchange in hopes that because their fraternity and sorority houseseverywhere is the same story. And I started interviewing all kinds ofpeople that worked in the houses and house mothers and learned that waspretty much the story everywhere. So that was the real member that made mewant to write the story was that is how...

...the staff were treated after twodecades of work, three decades of work. And I have to say, y'all probably heardabout a couple of months ago, the new york times and the National News did astory set in L. S. U. About these fraternity guys who got together andpaid off their cooks mortgage. Did you all hear about that? Well, I'm notsaying they're sisters or mothers read rush. I'm not going to just be sopresumptuous to say that I was so happy when I saw that story, genuinely, Ithought, okay, now something's happening, you know? Yes, that was sucha great story about a nice pairing with your book too. I think they probablyall bought the book and read them Ron. I like to think so, but I'm not holdingmy breath on that one. I think we're pretty sure about this. Thank you. Soanyway, this novel came out before the racial injustice explosion last year inour country. And then did you feel it brewing as you were writing the book?And from what you just told us, it really seems to dovetail right into it.This this question, did you see it in the archaic rules of the sorority house? I did. I've always had a sensitivity tothis probably because quite honestly, my father was a racist and I say thatin the book, in my author's note, I admit that I admit growing up in thatworld where that was the case, you know, so I knew that was brewin. I mean, thathad always brewed in me injustice has always brooding me. In fact, I sent myson to a school, an elementary school that was for half white, half blackkids. So he would be raised and always raised them to not feel like they don'tknow, you know, we're in such a different political political climatenow, but I always thought I don't want them to be prejudiced or see color. Idon't know if I'm saying that right, but that was always my heart and I evensent him to the school that would make that part of their world. However, yeah,right. I knew that was brewing, but what I wasn't prepared for and Pattyknows all about this because she lived through it with me. I wasn't preparedfor the political, what do you call it, the cultural appropriation climate thatwe have now. That criticized me for writing from the point of view of anafrican american woman because my heart was absolutely in the right place and Iwanted to show, not white savior is. Um, I just wanted to show what it reallywas like and that there could be change. That change was possible with a feweasy tweaks. But Patty knows I wasn't prepared for that for a backlash likethat. I got in just in time. I don't think the book would be published today.I've been told that. So that's incredible. It's fascinating because wedid, we talked about it a lot and I have it in surviving savannah. You know,we meet the nurse made on the 18 38 ship and, and there's there's thisstruggle to show it without appropriating it, which we would neverever do. But you were setting forth an example of change and how to makechange and that's part of the origin and that's part of your soft andbeautiful heart. So sweetie, thank you so much. That's, that's really sweetsweet patty. Thank you. I knew, I mean, you knew above anybody that my heartwas in the right place for that book and it's always in the right place. Yes.Anyways, I don't know, I don't know.

Far as I know. So Russia explores alsoalong with this, this kind of archaic rules of the sorority house that stillexist and the fraternity houses. It explores the complex relationshipsbetween a mother and daughter as well as the relationship with the woman whowork in the sorority houses. In a lot of ways, lisa there's an echo there. Iwant you to talk to us about that. Did you see that going in or did it show upas a theme that kind of arose from the magic of writing, You know, this ideathat the theme ends up showing up in more than one place. So the girls inthe sorority house with the woman who works there and the mothers anddaughters and the struggle that's going on with the dorm rooms and thedecorating and the money. Did you see that that combined theme? Or was thaton purpose? Well, I saw part of it going in, especially the dichotomybetween two worlds. It wasn't just the staff and the sisters, but also the thethe whole idea that you had to come from money and pedigree to join. So uhthat's why I had one of these little girls be a wonderful person. Justdidn't you know had some family secrets. She was shamed over you know and so Iknew about that that I wanted to bring the feet that theme out. But you'reright. The mothers and daughters theme and relationships that the girls tookon Miss Pearl in a motherhood role when they got there that developed like yousaid through the magic of writing and it just you know how it surprises you.Oh my gosh, thank you God you've got it all right there and it's just comingout so that that bloomed better the more I got into the story but you'reright. Yes it did. There's a lot there when it comes to girlfriends and momsand daughters and oh my gosh and rush, gosh, that's the other thing I wantedto bring out was just the pettiness sometimes of it, you know? But I alsowanted to bring out, let me just say this right now the great things andthere are many that come out of sorority life but I wanted to talkabout it all. In fact I said I'm not gonna do this unless I do it right andspend my time researching and paint both sides the good, the bad, theeverything it was important to me that I could do all that. I hope I did. Idon't know. I hope I did. I think you did it and part of it is what I loveabout book sometimes that they give me a glimpse into a world that I wouldn'thave experienced myself. Obviously I've never, I've never been through asorority rush imagine that. So I'd like to know a little bit more. You justbrought it up a bit, Talk to us about Russian general and some of thebenefits and the challenges and what you think is best preserved and whatparts might be reconsidered as the greek system kind of moves towards thefuture. Well, great crisp question. Ron I believe that they should reconsiderif they're going to continue to employ their own employees and not source thatout that they would revamp the whole benefit system. Of course, we alreadytalked about that to me is a, a definite that they need to do becauserush invokes a family and when you're there for four years sisters, they callthem sisters for a reason. You know, they become sisters and that's a family.So I think that treating each other as such is key and the cornerstone of whatthey need to do as far as Russia is concerned. You know there's resumes, Imean it'll miss Alabama all over the SCC that really go all out and they themom spend a fortune on wardrobes and...

...the resumes and and the dorm roomdecorating. Oh my gosh I truly, I talked to a dorm room decorator, theleading one in Mississippi and Alabama. She told me that that note $10,000apiece on a dorm room happened all the time. And I what what? What? Yes thereis actually a job a dorm room decorator. That's one of wilderness on my leadcharacter's lines in the book. Ron. She says I know I do dorm room decoratorsactually existed buddy. No sir. No sir I didn't have to make up much for thisbook to be honest. But but you know it's also I think that I've heard thatsororities are really revamping especially in light of the lbgt Qcommunity and they're having to certainly be more inclusive and theyhave to be and and not just that, but across racial barriers. I mean,sororities are flipping that that old adage of we're just gonna all lookhomogeneous is just not the case anymore. And I know through my ownsorority, through the emails I get from national that they are changing, theyare becoming more inclusive, which is great. I mean, we have to be so that'sthat's that's happening good, That's how they survive. Yes, that's how oneof them. So we touched on this just for a second in the opening, but you didn'tattend old Miss, You attended the University of Alabama and I attendedAuburn and we're still rivals, A bigger rival. Yes, we are kidding. But we bothwent through Rush. I came from south florida when I went through Russia andit was completely naive and oblivious. So I love the way you portrayed thatthe naivety of what rush was for a student showing up. But I wanted totalk a little bit more beyond the charming of why you chose Ole missinstead of the campus. You knew so well. Okay, well that's a great question. Andthere were several reasons for that and I'm gonna get my mind back there, pattyand try to remember. But so at the time, eli Manning had just been nominated forthe walter Payton Man of the Year award and that fit really well in my story.You know, I could write about him since he's a public figure and since he wasthe quarterback I did. So that felt that just worked better in the story.And also the Alabama. I mean, tuscaloosa is one of the prettiesttowns I've ever seen. But they didn't have the charming town square thatOxford has and all that's going on down on that square that I just love so much.That was another reason. Getting my head back there, hang on, there was athird and a big reason why, but it's scraping me right now. But I don't know.I felt, oh wilder is from Memphis. I always set my story somehow in Memphisand the reason I set them there over Nashville is because I'm always sayingMemphis needs the pr over Nashville. So, Memphis is my hometown is where myheart still lives. So, Memphis is much closer to Oxford. That was anotherreason. And she could get down there since, well that became a rush advisor.She could get there really quickly where she couldn't get to Tuscaloosatake her four hours. So, those were a few reasons. And you know, maybe thefact that there's a little store called square Books that might be willing tosell that book that may have had a little something to do with it. I don'tknow. I don't know. That's awesome.

That's awesome. It is wonderful. And Ido love them by the way. Square books. Oh my gosh, do I love square books?Yeah, yeah. We all do their amazing. Yes, we do. We do. So you set the stagein the novel by opening with a quote from martin Luther King. Life's mostpersistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others? I know ourcharacters teach us things. But what did your characters teach you? Mycharacters taught me. Which is why I knew that was the appropriate quote isnot to be Rush can be something where you're just thinking about your owndestiny. What's going to happen to me? Where am I going to go? And we forgetabout the girls who get cut the girls who who aren't having a good rushexperience. And that's it's devastating some girls quit college over it. Butit's not only those girls, but it's the ladies, the people that work in thehouse, the people that work anywhere, really. And to me life is about thetrue central question is not about what can I do for me, but how can I makesomebody else's life better? And that's what that quote top said to me, youknow, so powerful. Well, I mean, think about it and it through it's true andand it's it's on every page of this book and every time we forget that andevery time we start to think it's only about us. That's when misery comesright. It's true. The more we start to look and focus only on what we can dofor ourselves. So I feel like taking that quote, life's most persistent andurgent question is what are you doing for others? And putting it on mybulletin board, it's sweet. But I think we all need to because, you know, theysay that the best way to get out of your own misery and your own pain is todo something for somebody else. And it's so true you can for you justsomehow it has a way of making you forget your own problems. You know, andI know I need a daily reminder of that every day, so I'm so glad you broughtthat quote up, because we do need to have it right on our bulletin boardsand say yes, that's the true key to depression, right? This past yearreally has shown us really the good of people. It's one of the wonderfulsilver linings that came out of the pandemic because all of these thingsthat we're seeing people do for other people, and it's just so heartwarmingand so true to that quote. It is, it is and I'm so glad we can all talk aboutit here today, because it's a good thing. It's a really good thing. Yes.Well, lisa thank you so much for sharing your origin stories of Rush andwhere it came from, out of your heart. Like this seed of generosity. It feelslike sweetie. It's such a great book and it's now out in paperback, right?It's out in paperback and kindle and audio and the audio version haswonderful narrators. It really does. It's a great experience. So, next timeyou know, I'm finishing my book this week guys. So, I mean, I know I will befinished patty this week. So I want to come back on I want I want to telleverybody what it's about because it's I'm so jelly of it, it seems. But I'llbe hush hush until it's fun. But before you go, can you tell our listenerswhere to find you and your novels? You're so kind to ask. Um they're gonnathink, when is that woman gonna put out another book when Patty puts out to ayear? Uh so slow. I am so slow. You can find me at W W. W dot lisa patent dotcom. And then that takes you everywhere.

You can find me on amazon you find meon at most the indie bookstores, if they don't care anymore, they'll orderit because we're big supporters of indie bookstores. Really. So yeah,that's how you can find me and hold on with me until I get this book finishedthis week, this week. Plus I'm playing in my son's wedding. So that's why I'vegot so much going on. But thank you guys and you moved last year and Ihaven't even seen my new house patty stayed here. Your guest room is gettingkind of crusty back there. So thank you so much lisa for joining us today. Ithas been such a pleasure and gave me great insight into your book that Ialready treasured. So I really do appreciate that Ron I'm honored. Thankyou. Well, thank you for tuning into Friends and fiction writer's block onbehalf of Patty and the friends and fiction authors. We hope you've enjoyedthese interviews. Please tell a friend and be sure to rate and review on yourfavorite podcast platform. Don't forget, tune in every friday for anotherspecial episode. Thank you for tuning in, Join us everyweek on Facebook or YouTube, where our live show airs every Wednesday night atseven p.m. eastern time. And please subscribe to our podcast and follow uson instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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