Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 3 months ago

WB-S2E17 Women, Science & Fiction

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

WRITERS' BLOCK Ron Block explores Women, Science and Fiction with two exceptional new releases, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, and Atomic Anna with Rachel Barenbaum.

This show is brought to you by our presenting sponsor, Charleston Coffee Roasters. Charleston coffee roasters painstakingly searches the world over for the highest quality coffee beans. They bring them home to Charleston, South Carolina, where slow roasting coaxes out their unique flavor. Along with their promise of great coffee, Charleston Coffee Roasters also pledges to help our planet and local communities. Globally, they support sustainable farming practices. Locally, they partner with the South Carolina seed Turtle Rescue Program Visit Their website, Charleston Coffee Roasterscom, and use the code coffee with friends, all lowercase, all one word, to get twenty percent off on all bagged coffees. It's about a woman named Alisba Zat. She's a chemist in the late s early s in southern California and she's fired from a research job for kind of success reasons, but also because she was pregnant. As time goes by, she has to make money, so she reluctantly takes a job as a TV cooking show host. But what she doesn't do is really teach cooking. What she does do instead is teach chemistry, because chemistry is cooking, and cooking this chemistry. But in doing so she ends up revolutionizing the idea of what women should be doing in the home and she creates quite a stir in the industry and the nation will never be the same. I love to read books about strong women. I don't think there are enough of them with women in science and math. So I guess I was just really look to examples of women that I come across while I'm doing research to say, you know, who could Anna be? who was a you know, who was one of the engineers, the architects of Chernobyl, who was building the bomb for the Soviets for the first time, and who could I make her and what was it like to be a woman living then? Welcome to the friends and Fiction Writers Block podcast For New York Times Best Selling Authors, one rock star Librarian and endless stories. Join Mary K Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Christy Woodson Harvey and Patty Callahan Henry, along with Ron Block as novelists. We are for longtime friends with seventy books between us, and I am Ron Block. Please join us for fascinating author interviews and inside or talk about publishing and writing. If you love books and are curious about the writing world, you are in the right place. Welcome to this week's episode of the friends and Fiction Writers Block podcast. I am Ron Block and today I am joined by two authors whose work is not only fascinating and thought provoking, but also hugely entertaining and compelling in their views of fiction featuring women in science. Both are stellar examples of how novels can illuminate their characters and settings and bring joy to the reader. My first guest is Bonnie Garmis, author of the recently released lessons in chemistry, which has received stellar praise, including a start review from Kirkis, which is usually very hard to get. They're very selective. But but when I review, like reviews and thoughts and accolades, this one really stood out for me. So this is from the amazing Maggie shipstead, who said lessons in chemistry is a page turning and highly satisfying tale zippy, Zesti and Zadi. I love that to the book has been sold in thirty...

...five territory so far. It's being made into an apple TV plus series by none other than Brie Larson. Plus it has the distinction of being the number one library reads pick for April. Bonnie is a copywriter and creative director who has worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine and education. She's an open air swimmer, a rower and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Born in California and most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, ninety nine. Welcome, Bonnie, is so great to see you again. Oh Ron, it's great to be here. Thanks for having me. Like I cannot wait for people to get their hands on lessons and chemistry and told you from the very beginning how much I love everything about this book and it's just gonna it's good and thraw all everybody. Thank you. Yes, before we get going, why don't you just give us the overview the elevator pitch of what lessons in chemistry is about? All right, well, it's a it's about a woman named Elisabeth Zatchoos. She's a chemist in the late s early s in southern California and she's fired from a research job for kind of sexist reasons, that also because she was pregnant. As time goes by, she has to make money so she reluctantly takes a job as a TV cooking show host, but what she doesn't do is really teach cooking. What she does do instead is teach chemistry, because chemistry is cooking and cooking this chemistry. But in doing so she ends up revolutionizing the idea of what women should be doing in the home and she creates quite a stir in the industry and the nation will never be the same. That's great. Will never end. You right, they will never be the same. We kind of wish we really had an Elizabeth thought in our history. Right. Yeah, I kind of do. Yes, so Elizabeth has a very determined approach to everything in her life, if not just science. But what was the the basis for her? Where's the origin of the story? Where did it all come from? Well, Elisabeth thought had been a minor character in a book that I'd started in shelved years before, but and she was very minor in that book. But in this particular book she made a comeback and that was because I had been in a meeting and there's been some sort of just sort of average sexism in that meeting, but it was really blatant and for some reason that day. I couldn't let it go and when I got back to my desk, instead of working, I wrote the first chapter of lessons in chemistry. She based on people that you knew? Or is she just kind of this what you wish people were? Yeah, exactly, I she is my role model. She is a woman of integrity and determination. She bases everything on on fact and not fiction. You know, she's very, very to me. She's very interesting, very rational, very logical, so very different from me. But yeah, she's not based on anyone. That's awesome though. She's just she's such a memorable character and I mentioned in that Brie Larson is bringing it to apple TV plus. Now my good is I can outwait. Yeah, me too, if there's a lot to once you read the book out there, you'll know just what I'm talking about. What about for you personally? What was your road to publication, because I know you have ever done some work in the past and this is actually your debut novel. Boll yes, it is. It's my debut novel. I had started one novel and shelved that. Then I did write another novel, but it didn't go anywhere. It was a little it was a little overweight. Let's say it was about seven hundred pages, and it got rejected ninety eight times. No one wanted to read seven hundred pages from an unknown author. So I took some advice from an agent who did read the first five thousand pages and told me she really loved it, but she wasn't about to spend time with an author who didn't realize that she shouldn't be writing a...

...seven hundred page novel. So I decided, yeah, it was rough getting that at life after seven hundred pages, but I sat down and I on that day when I was so angry, and I wrote the first chapter of lessons in chemistry, because I felt like Elizabeth Zatt was sitting there with me at that time and she said, you know what, I want you to tell my story, and so that's what I did. Yeah, it's been a long time coming. The book took me about five or six years to write and then, of course, you know, it goes through agents, editors, etc. But here it is. It's finally it's finally here. So I'm thrilled, as you should be. As you should be. Why do you think that it was at this point in your life? It was a right time to have this book about. Well, I think, you know, actually any time would have been great for me, but I'll take this time because it allowed me to I think, you know, part of it is age for me, because I can kind of use a lot of ideas and and experiences that I've had in my life and bring them in with the other characters. Not that they're based on me, but they're based on things that, you know, I've seen in meetings or that people have have kind of had these personalities. And you know, again, no one, no one in the book is real, but I think having kind of a broad knowledge of how people react in different situations was really helpful. Yeah, and as a reader it was great too, because I thought a lot about your observations and of the the nuances of the characters had to be on at least things you've seen in the world. Yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean they're all really fun to write and I I think the most important thing to have for each character, even the bad ones, the evil ones, is some empathy, and so it's really interesting to explore all these people and you know, again, you know, they're not based on anyone. Boy Get in trouble if they were he'd be able to tell who they were, probably, but it's really fun to try to write from the book has ten points of view and try to write from each of these points of view and make them very distinct as they encounter Elizabeth's off and that is, I think, one of the just the genius parts of the book is how you chose these minor characters, and maybe some not so minor, to actually give a viewpoint of Elizabeth from a different angle, to especially thirty, the dog. You talked about your characters and how you construct did their ability to tell Elizabeth Story from their viewpoint. Well, you know, each one came to me fairly organically. When I sat down to ride, I only knew Elizabeth, I didn't know anyone else, and they slowly just dropped in, to be honest, and they presented themselves, you know, as if, well, Hey, I know her too, but here's how I see her, and so that was really interesting. Thirty, however, is the only character in the book who is actually based on a real life being. That was my dog, Friday. Friday was very, very smart and she had had a tragic history. She'd been badly abused and so when we got her we thought that she was going to be a problem dog, but she wasn't at all. She was a very smart dog. She doesn't she didn't know as many words as thirty, but but I you know, she knew a lot. So yeah, and mad is Elizabeth's daughter and she's she adds a lot and she seems to be the more down to earth character here who kind of keeps everything level. Yes, she is. She cannot lie. Mad is always very honest and she says things that can be that you know that, even heard her mother. She's just says things that are true, and so she became sort of the truth teller in the story. But you know, she has a very special relationship with thirty and I think personally the way the...

...dog and she communicate, which is not anything that you would actually witness. They don't they don't talk to each other, but they communicate and I like to think that she gets her wisdom from him. If they take really good care of each other, those they really look out for. I love it. This is it's again it's like it comes across as Quirky, but when you think about it, it's just so, so honest and real their relationships. So it's just so such a good part of the story. Also the other one. And then the neighbor, and I've her name is, Oh, the neighbor, Harriet, Harriet's truet. Yes, yes, Harriet. Can you talk about Harriet and where that came from? Well, yeah, I'm not sure where she came from. I just felt like in the book, you know, it starts out Elizabeth doesn't have any friends. She's she's a real social misfit and so for her to have a friend is a really big deal. But when she becomes very needy for the first time really in her life and she doesn't like to need anyone or anything, she needs somebody because she's a single mother with a baby, and Harriet Sloan shows up. They are they are diametrically opposed, they are complete opposites, but their relationship grows into a very deep one and they find that they need each other very much so and they end up dependent on each other. It's just like a beautiful friendship in the end. I want to go back to talk about Elizabeth a little bit, because her she comes across as kind of no nonsense, kind of but she's also very logical and she doesn't let a lot in and she says things how they are. So whenever she comes up against her employers or people who, well, for lack of a better term, were anti women in the workplace at Anti Women in science, she just says things that are just so logical and makes sense. It make me think, why weren't we always in a world like that? Well, I know, I feel so awful for what people have gone through for years and they didn't need to. Well, it's really true, you know, I think, and even today they're still quite a bit of sexism in the workplace. It's definitely gotten better, but I think, you know, there is quite a bit still and women still are held back quite a bit. For instance, there are only thirty percent of stem jobs are held by women. That's not fifty percent, it's thirty percent, and so there are these this is just true across the world that women are still taking a back seat and some of the most lucrative careers in the world, and so that's something that we all need to, I think, pay attention to. But Elizabeth does always just say what she thinks and I think that's why people find her refreshing because, you know, we would all like everyone, I think we're all kind of tired of fake news and things like that. It's just kind of Nice to have someone actually say things that are based in fact right, and she's just so up front about it and just so clear in what she says that they can't do anything but either accept it or shut her down like there's no because she's just a truth teller and just it's looking back. So looking back at developing her character and things. Are The things that you learned? Well, you know, it's really interesting. I don't I didn't plot this novel. I don't plan things out. I never have a work either, which I know gave some of my employers, you know, fits over the years. But for me it's really important to allow the piece to kind of open up and I don't really close off any kind of avenues. But Elizabeth taught me a lot of things. You know that. Sometimes when I was writing her, I'd say, wow, do you really want to stay that? And then she'd say why wouldn't I say that? It's true, and I thought, Oh, I loved having her in my head, I loved having conversations with her. Not all of our conversations made it to the page, but I think what she taught me. What she really seemed to bring to the table every time was be yourself, and that is not only enough, that is more...

...than enough, especially if you show up as an honest person. Just be yourself and you will be just fine. That's excellent advice. Excellent advice. What a great thing to learn. So there's a lot in this. Like Elizabeth really has to kind of convey a lot. Like you had to have done a ton of research. I can't imagine, like no construction, science. And can you talk about some of other the things that you had to research and how you did that? Sure, I think you know I'm not a chemist. I'm not a scientist. If so, I'm not a single mom. So I had to research chemistry, but I had to research it from the nineteen fifty s. So I bought a s textbook off of Ebay and I taught myself very basic chemistry. You know, as a copywriter, I'm used to always learning new things. So you know that that addage right what you know? I haven't ever written what I know for thirty years. So doing research and figuring out new things, learning new things, is actually something that I enjoy. So I did the research on chemistry. I learned Basic Chemistry and then I ran into a huge problem because when you write from a check book of that age and you're trying to make metaphors out of chemical interactions and you mentioned this, this and this and you find out that one of those interactions wasn't discovered until nineteen sixty nine, you have to throw it away. It's really depressing. But yeah, I had to do the chemistry and you know it's a little bit hard. They're hard going at first, but I made it through. Yes, Oh yes, you did. So talk to me about where the idea for adding the cooking show came in. What a great vehicle for Elizabeth to use her background and inspire women. Well, you know, it occurred to me I really, really you wanted to put her on TV because I just knew if there was damage to be done on TV, she would be the one to do it. And it seemed obvious to me if she was a chemist, the only thing that she could teach would be cooking, because cooking really is chemistry. But I love the idea right away that she would have the show and just not, you know, she would just teach chemistry with in terms of cooking but it would be very complicated, you know. And she would challenge these women who were dismissed and overlooked, these average housewives that the late s and early s. She would challenge them to learn chemistry and in that and that way she taught them that they were very capable people, they were smart people, and that started revolution and I think that for me that was probably some of the most enjoyable writing, was her talking to the women directly into the camera from the show and telling them this is what chemistry is and these interactions are really important. But these interactions happen in your body every day, they happen around the world every day. Change is a constant and if you're not changing, if you feel like you're stuck, you're not. That's so it'suppire. I really wish there had been a show like so on me too, to go back and look at so another part of the book that just entice people for the there's a quite a love story. HMM, there's quite a love story in there and she but it's unconventional, unconventional. Could you tell me about where that came from? Well, you know, I really wanted to have her enter into some sort of love relationship which was based not on, you know, the the first attraction was her mind. You know, she's I made her beautiful and purpose one because I wanted her to resemble her father, someone she didn't like. So she has this this burden of beauty which it comes from...

...someone she very much disrespects. But I really like the idea of having someone like Calvin Evans recognize her as equal to him. And he is this really important scientist in the world. Everybody knows who Calvin Evans says, and he looks at Elizabeth and he realizes she may be a little bit brighter than he is and he accepts it and he accepts her. But that's the first thing you notice, is about her, and that's that's really what I want to bring out with that relationship. Yeah, it really is, and just their whole dynamics is just so interesting and again, unconventional, but it really worked. It really works. Thank you. It's really such a great thing to read. I also kind of bring it to now there's the book has been getting so much attention and so many accolades. How does that feel like? I did you in your wildest dreams of expect that? Oh No, no, not at all. This is this whole thing has been a complete shock. And you know, occasionally the rights people will call, like, I think a couple weeks ago, they said, Oh, you're up to thirty seven, ten territories now, and wow, I mean I didn't even, I didn't know, I didn't know. And you know today, even today, there's a mention in the New York Times and the Telegraph is running a review. It's it's shocking it has not come home to roost folly yet, because it doesn't feel like it's possible that everybody likes this book. I just how is that possible? I don't know, but I'm thrilled. I'm thrilled. I'm worried I'm going to wake up soon and discover I dreamed at all, but in the meantime I'm having a great dream. Good, yes, and it's so deserved. What is next for you? What are you working on now? Well, I'm working on a new novel which I'm going to probably punt to not talk about too much because there's I'm I have trouble describing it. I have enough trouble describing lessons in chemistry, so I kind of backup describing this one, but I'm excited about it. I'm really excited about it and I'm really enjoying being in these new heads and listening to what listening to the arguments people are having. Yes, all I needed to hear was that you were actually working on something new, because I think you bring a fresh voice to fiction. I think you bring a fresh voice to women in fiction and I think that it's really is a less in chemistry. Yeah, so thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you so much for being here and for joining me. I you know, I love the book and I think it's going to be huge and I can't wait to hear what people think about it. Oh, thank you so much, Onn I'm such, so happy when you called so our you know, got the email. Really wanted to be on this podcast. I really appreciate it. Yes, I could do this for days, but congratulations. I'm all the success. Thank you so much. Next up, I have the honor to be speaking with Rachel Baronbaum, whose most recent release, Atomic Anna, has been seeing universal acclaim. It's gotten start reviews in both publishers weekly and Kurgis reviews, which is a tough one to get, and they said in Barrenbaum's skillful hands, a complex concept and structure work beautifully. The book is an incredible achievement with a heartfelt human theme as ambitious as a Greek tragedy and just as lyrical and unflinching. And I'm just going to add that this book is going to Hook you on the very first page. It'll grab you and you won't let go. But first a little bit about my guest today. Rachel's debut, abandon the stars, was named New York Times summer reading selection and a barnes and noble discover great new writers selection. was also a Boston Globe best seller. Rachel's a prolific writer and reviewer and her work has appeared in the La Review of books, the Tel Aviv review of books and Dead Darlings. She's...

...an honorary research associate at the Hadassa Brandeis institute at Brandeis University and a graduate of grub streets novel incubator. She's also the founder of Dave abut spotlight and the debut editor at a mighty blaze, which I adore, and I were going to talk about that a little bit in a minute. In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and it's Spin instructor. She has degrees from Harvard and business in literature and philosophy. What have you not done, Rachel? This is crazy. Thank you so muesome having me. Thank you, so happy to have you here. Welcome to the PODCAST. Thank you. I'm just so excited to be here. Thank you. It's just the best. Right we get to talk books and yes to mccanna. Yes, I've been looking forward to this to very much. It's such a wonderful achievement and at the book really challenges readers on very, very many levels. So are you ready? I'm ready. Oh, okay. So the Tagline for the book, which I love, is simple. Three brilliant women to life changing mistakes, one chance to reset the future. But we want to hear from you. Tell us what the book is about. So the book is about three generations of women. Right, I'm sticking to those three women. They are right grandmother, mother, daughter, and they work together to build a time machine that they used to stop churnoball. But also it's really about saving their family and there's some science thrown in, but it's about love and some big moral questions. Just because we can doesn't mean we should exactly right. Well said. Well is it? Where did the original idea for this come from? Because it's so original, it's just so out of nowhere, almost as kind of like wait, I wouldn't have ever thought that I wanted to read this, but I did. Well, thank you. I mean it really ideas like this come. At least for me, they come over time. You know, no pun intended with the time travel, but uh, I mean Chernobyl was a massive event that I remember so well in my childhood. I mean I remember that moment that I sat down, I was in school and my science teacher said something horrible has happened today, and just learning about it, it was like, you know, until then I had thought accidents, where are you skin your knee, you poke an eye out, you hurt your brother or sister? Right, but actually no, an accident can kill millions of people and this was a grown up accident and I had just always been sort of, I'm not going to say obsessed with it, but just it's been there in my consciousness that we could build something so big, right and so powerful that we could just kill millions of people in the blank of an eye by accident. And so I had always known that I wanted to write something about that. Wow, that's quite a bigger end. scarily, it has relevance to the what's going on in the world today. Yeah, yeah, it does. I mean, you know this is it goes back to the main question in the book, which is a question that I have struggled with for years and years. Just because we can build it, does it mean we should do it right? And this is not a simple, easy question. There's no easy answer to it, but I've actually been talking to a lot of scientists and philosophers about this for a while. You know, maybe we should be starting science in ethics and with these questions. Just because we can build a satellite right that we can use to look out to galaxies far, far away, doesn't mean we should, because the same person who controls it might turn it around in order to spy on us, right and citizens in their home. So should we be building that kind of equipment? Yeah, there's there's so much in the book about right and wrong. I just think it's starting with that. Foix would beautiful, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it be great? So talk to me about the research that you had to do, because I pretty sure you were not helping to build Chernobyl? Yeah, no, I definitely was not there. Right. So the book actually spans about a hundred years. So it starts with Chernobyl, but then I go back in time and you see Anna, the main character, where her life starts and she spends time in Berlin right before World...

War II, you know, and then she comes back to the Soviet Union. She sends her daughter and her best friend to America. We see America and the rights and the comic era. Molly falls into comics and she is a comic book artist and she uses her comic books to communicate with her mother Anna and her daughter Raisa and jumping through time and then we see her daughter Raisa, who's a math prodigy, moving into the S and S in America. So it spans this huge swath of time, as you know, as family saga's do, and so the research was Super Fun. I mean I got to dig into, you know, what was it like to be Trina Robins, who's this, you know, massive comic book figure, right? What was it like to be her? And, you know, also, what was it like to be a math prodigy in the s with boys telling you you can't do math, but raises really pushing forward and some of it was hard, looking into what happened in the Soviet Union and Berlin and Chernobyl. But you know, I enjoy the digging in to all of that and I get to speak to a lot of really cool, smart people, you know, and read some amazing things. So I love the research aspect. It's amazing, and that it reads like you knew what you were talking about the whole time and that you didn't have to go anywhere for the answers. But even, I think, even a greater achievement for this book in particular, as you think about all the different timelines of different characters, is how you put it together. The construction of this book is again brilliant. I think each chapter heading is is is in a different time, but they're all focusing towards the end of the book. And how did you how did you do that? What's the process for you? Yeah, I mean so every chapter handing it's it right. Is definitely not a spoiler to say it's, you know, x number of days or years until molly dies on Mount ragots. So we know that's going to happen right from page one. Right. Anna accidentally travels back in time and finds her daughter dying, you know, on this mountaintop, and so she comes back and she says I'm going to stop it, I'm going to build the time machine to save my daughter, to stop Chernobyl. So you know that's going to happen. And I guess I always loved the idea of literally a ticking clock in any story. Right, how close are we? Where are we going? So that had been there, in there for since the very first draft. But keeping track of where everybody was and how close we were to that end date was an enormous task to be I yeah, I mean I had so many versions of spreadsheets because I grew up in excel, so I, you know, still use excel and just all these versions of you know, because if you shift one thing by one day you could miss this or that and then I have to change the date of the chapter. So you know, it was a task. So thank you for recognizing that. Oh, a couple of things. Well, I pictured that there were these no cards on walls everywhere and with strings attached to that, you'd have to move in things in and as a big reader, I always kind of go in and I look. Okay, did we miss anything? How's the timeline here? What's the thing? Nothing, it's real, it's perfect. Thank you. There's not one thing in there that I that didn't think total sense. Who Thank you. Great thing about the chapter titles and even the chapters itself, the way it was constructed, and I don't know if this was intentional or not, but it just built tension, tension, tension, and all of this. It's like you can't put it down because you've got to know what happens. So yeah, thank you. So you know, I had an early writing class. So I've always wanted to be a writer. I want to to be a writer in college and I took all the right a creative writing classes that I could. I just couldn't afford writing full time when I got out of college, which is how I went into write business and the hedge fun world, so glamorous and just easy. Oh my God, right, it's writers. Yes, you cannot. It's very hard to write full time. So you know, I had taken this class and this professor said once you can still create tension even if your readers know what's going to happen, and I that's sort...

...of always stuck with me. Right. So, from page one you know Molly's going to die, but but you can still build that tension. So that's always been the challenge that I've had in the back of my head. You know, you don't need to keep secrets from the reader to still make it an exciting book. Correct, absolutely. And and speaking of the characters, now that we get to know them really intimately, I think and we the three tit generations and I don't think that they were based on anybody specifically, but talk to me about where their essence came from. Did where did you pull that and to be able to bring it into the book? You know, I always love strong women. I love to read books about strong women. I don't think there are enough of them, with women in science and math, and so I guess I was just really look to examples of women that I come across while I'm doing research to say, you know, who could Anna Be, who was a you know, who was one of the engineers, the architects of Chernobyl, who was building the bomb for the Soviets for the first time, and who could I make her and what was it like to be a woman living man or for Raisa write, this math prodigy, even for her living in the S and S in Philadelphia. What was it like to walk into a math competition and be the only woman? You know, and I'm not I was never the first woman to do something, which I'm so grateful for, but even when I went to business school, my class, my Harvard Business School Class, was still only twenty five or thirty percent women. You know, we weren't even close to fifty percent. So, you know, I definitely am used to being one of the only women in the room and just think that's an experience that I want people I want to call out and I want people to know and I want other girls who are growing up to know you can still do this right, you can still kick but even if you're the only one, let's show them what girls can do. That's awesome. That's awesome. So one of the other things that I think is another aspect of kind of not very many women in the field is the comic books. Yeah, talk about weaving the comic books through. Yes, so comic books are really a big key in the book right. Literally they are used to communicate between generations and drop off messages and I'm I've been fascinated with Trina robins and this era because feminism right the s. You see, the heart of Shirley Chi is alm and you know glorious steinem write the women's movement, the second wave. That is the heart of it and a lot of women were expressing their feelings in comics and the women's comments comics movement. But it was very fringe and underground and it hasn't gotten much attention and I just found this beautiful way, I thought a beautiful way of bringing it up right up close and we could finally see it. And it was gritty and dark and people thought that comics were for kids or we're going to be a dying art at that point, right. And yet here were people like Trina or my character molly, pushing comics and strong women forward. So it was Super Fun and actually, after I finished the book I was able to connect with Kelly Sue deaconic and her visible women project and find some new women comic artist today to help me bring some of that art to life. So, you know, for my own fun and putting it out there, I had some I have some amazing artists who are drawing Atomic Anna, which is the name of the comic book in the novel called Atomic Anna and, you know, started bringing my characters to life. I had been following on social media and I've seen some of those renditions and they're so cool. Made me think, is there possibly the other publication coming featuring these during the comics? I would love it. I would love it. We'll see. It's not something that I planned, which is crazy. It's just sort of happened organically because it's such a natural part of the book and I just was thinking, why are why is it still hard to find women drawing comics? I mean there are lots of amazing women that are artists and I know they're drawing comics. Why can't I find them and read them more, you...

...know, more easily? And as I started digging in, it just sort of happened and so we'll see. It's not a planned route at this point, but it doesn't mean it won't happen. Well, fingers crossed, because I think it would be a very popular series. Thank you. Yes, so let's turn our talk a little bit to your work with a mighty blaze. How did you get involved with them? Is Caroline and Jenna are really good friends of mine so I love them. So I love I'm a huge mighty blaze. Yes, I love them too. It's an amazing team. So my first book came out in two thousand and nineteen, bend in the stars, and then the paperback came out in two thousand and twenty. And, you know, right around when everything was closing down and all of my you know, events that were supposed to be in person were pulled online and I was in the heart of the debut community at that point and all of these new friends I had, you know, they were crushed. Right they'd spent ten years writing a book, or five years of their life, blood, sweat and tears onto a book, and now they were going to have ten people show up to watch a zoom as they launched it, and my heart just broke. And I love I love authors, I love reading new books. I'd already been interviewing authors a lot for the La Review of books. I do those a lot, and I just thought what if I put it online and just start interviewing them in person instead? I could do more. And then I connected with Jenna, who I had already known, and she said, well, why do you bring it into mighty blaze? And I'll help you get it out there into the world, and I just said perfect, let's do it. And it's really grown. Turns out people like to hear from debut authors. Yes, they do, yes they do. You mentioned La Review of books. Can you tell me more about your work with them? Sure, so. For Stra Leex, the editor, and I met him because he wrote this incredible book one thousand nine hundred and seventeen, Russia and the revolution, and I went to see him speak up at Dartmouth once actually, and I just completely fangirled him, like your jog was amazing. You're brilliant. I love your publication. La Review of books is pretty new. Back then I was like, can I do anything with you? You know I love books, and so I started pitt he's like sure, pitch me. You know what, who is this crazy lady? But he was so kind and sweet and you know, he just kept encouraging me to keep pitching and then he started taking my pitches and publishing them. So La Review Books, Larb, is an incredible publication. If you haven't read it, go out and start reading it. No, it's really wonderful. It's a great publication. You're right, you're right, so what is next for you? That's the big question, right. So I'm working on my next book. I've a whole bunch of personal essays that are coming out around the publication and working on these comics, but novel number three, hopefully, will be in the wings. And I was actually down at eleven, down right on maiden lane head an office there for a start up. You know, it was Acom era when that happened and I was right in the middle of it and had raised a lot of money and had my own company and decided it's time to write that story. Not as a memoir, not I'm not a memoirst, but I'm writing fiction. Okay, okay, look forward to that and Atomic Anna. Sometimes a book will come along and you you can just imagine it being told in another format. So I wondering if there's any movie or TV interest in it that you can talk about. Is I know people can't always, but yes, thank you so much for asking. It's amazing how many people have been saying that to me. I'm so like flattered, I don't know, flabbergasted. I saw this book very much. Everything I write, I see is like a movie in my head. Characters I see the room right, I can talk about that chair over there because it's real to me. I think right, characters are real, so I write it that way. So people have been saying it feels cinematic. So I do have two film agents out of Wo me, William Morrison, ever, and it's going around. So if you know anybody, if anyone out there is interested, let me know. Oh my God, it would be. It would be brilliant and what a great role for women who can't find...

...roles in Hollywood. There's these are just some some really deep characters that could they could really bring a lot to so, yeah, we have an awesome female cast. Yes, we all set. So where can people find you? Social Media and the web. Yes, so you can find atomiccanna anywhere books are sold. You can find it audiobook, anything like that. I am easy to find. I'm at Rachel Baron boumbcom. Am Very crazy, yes, that you can follow any of my links. You can listen to my podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts or on my youtube channel. Find all those links and all my social media at Rachel Baron Bombcom. Easy peasy there. Yes, that's good anyway, Rachel, thank you so much for joining the podcast. I could really talk about Anna for weeks. Trust me, all Rod, thank you so much. I can't tell you what enjoy it is to have someone other than, you know, my mom, reading the book and talking about it. So thank you. It's so good and congratulations on all the praise. I just know that it's going to be big and people are going to eat it up. It's it seems original. You know, I love that people get to read about women in science, even though there's so, so much more to it than that. But there's it's just a nice little role model and while they say some novels build empathy, some build inspiration for others too, and you could wrap that up in fiction really tightly. So congratulations on all that. I know the readers are going to be eating this up. Thank you, thank you so much. This is such a blast. Thank you all for joining the podcast today. On behalf of the four Mary K, Patti, Kristen and Christie. We love that you chose to listen into this. Please share with a friend. Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Charleston Coffee Roasters, for their generous support. Show our sponsors some love by following them on facebook. And instagram and subscribing to their email newsletter. We member to use the code coffee with friends for twenty percent off bagged coffees at Charleston Coffee roasters. Thank you for tuning in to the friends and fiction writers block podcast. Please be sure to subscribe, rate and review on your favorite podcast platform. Tune in every Friday for another episode, and you can also join us every week on facebook for Youtube, where our live friends and fiction show airs at seven PM Eastern Standard Time. We are so glad you're here.

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