Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 10 months ago

Friends & Fiction with Wiley Cash

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Meet New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash who joins us live from Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC to discuss his new book WHEN GHOSTS COME HOME. We chat with him about how his North Carolina roots find their way into his writing, what it means to be a Southern writer, how his writing helped him navigate loss and big life upheavals, and we learn a bit about this craft, process, and work as a college writing professor. https://www.wileycash.com/ 

Welcome to Friends and fiction. Five best selling authors and the stories. Novelists 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 In 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews and fascinating insider. Talk about publishing and writing and to highlight independent bookstores. These friends discuss the books, they've written the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world you're in the right place. Yeah, hi everyone it is Wednesday night that means it is time for the happiest hour and dare I say most fun our of the week. Friends and fiction. Welcome to our show. We have so much to look forward to tonight. Our first event live from a bookstore. Not us obviously work at home but our guest is live from a bookstore. I am patty Callahan, Henry and I'm mary Kay andrews, I'm Christine Harmel and I'm Kristie Whitson Harvey and this is Friends and fiction, new york times, bestselling authors, endless stories to support indie bookstores. Tonight you have the privilege of meeting widely clash and we'll talk about his new book when Ghosts come home which released yesterday we'll find out about what inspired your smiley and much more and something really special for a special guest Wiley is live in a bookstore in charlotte north Carolina, Park road books So we will even be taking live questions and tonight we encourage you to buy Wylie's book from Park Road books where he is waiting for us, is there alive. But first I want to talk about this week's Friends and Fiction Parade magazine essay in their online magazine, which was written by Patty as she reflected on how we survived the surviving. You can find it links on our facebook page and on our instagram bio. Meanwhile Patty, can you tell us a little bit about it? Oh, we're not gonna talk for a long time about this. But I finally wrote about something I don't talk about very much and I don't write about very much. Um I wrote a bit about surviving something I went through and as we're getting closer to october which we all know is breast cancer awareness month. I recalled this moment when the doctor said to me in real life, not in a fiction book, it is cancer. And I said, not the real kind right? As if there was any other kind. And I write a little bit about coming out on the other side of that after some years and realizing that I will never be exactly the same. And so I ask, how do we make meaning out of that? And I'd like to know have you all had something you've gone through that most people consider to be over. But you know, it changed you. Yeah, you know, I had to think really hard about that and I feel like I've lived such a blessed life and the most um earth shattering thing that happened was I lost my mother, my father, my older sister and my younger brother um in the space of about six years and um each of the deaths was sudden and unexpected and I guess the way I survived it was, I was...

...surrounded by dear friends because I remember being in a fog, but my oldest dearest friends, uh all the funerals were back in ST pete where I grew up and where my closest oldest dearest friends are and I think I leaned on them and they helped me up and that's all that's the perspective I have is that I got through that ball because and for, and family, but them sort of steering me And saying you just put one ft in front of the other. Yeah. So not, I don't have any deep lessons about it. I just, I didn't have, no, that's pretty, that's deep. Yes. Yes, I didn't have any choice. So I just put one ft in front of the other. I mean this is not super personal, but I feel like just the past couple of years have changed all of us and in ways that um I don't even think that will really even know until later, you know, my mom and I were actually talking about this about um you know having like my grandparents and people who survived the great depression and how their lives are forever altered from that and like, you know will and I were talking about the other day, like, are we ever gonna feel safe if we just have six rolls of toilet papers. I mean, I'm kidding, That's obviously really trite. But um you know, there I think we're all gonna just um I think we'll all be different. But also maybe in some good ways too, because I think we've all really learned, I know all of us on this screen how um kind of everything we know can sort of implode and we can figure out what to do next and you know, we have that ability and that power to do it. So, you know, hopefully something good will come out of it. I don't feel like we're on the other side of it enough to really even be able to say or two in it, you know? But but I think it's gonna be really interesting to see, you know, Um how we get it in time and change. Yeah, that's a good point. You know, I was thinking about back in 2008 or 2009 when the economy just completely bottomed out. You guys remember that? Like everything. So I was writing for people magazine at the time and um they called one day in I think it was October early october or late september so we can't use um freelancers again for the remainder of the year and that was the bulk of my income at the time, I was writing novels, but my my main income came from people. Um and so it was at a time when the work had been drying up anyhow. Um and I hit a point a few months later, where where I almost wasn't able to make my mortgage payment and where I was facing, you know, I was I was single, it was just me and I was facing the possibility of losing my house, which had been, I've been so proud of myself as a single woman for purchasing this thing. Um and I made it through that time period. It was really hard, I was really scary. Um but I think just like you said in the essay patty, I think it's kind of um it's those moments that we have to survive, and this was nothing compared to what you had to survive of course, but it's those difficult times that teach us what we're made of um and and that show us a way forward, and that teaches never to take the things we used to take for granted for granted again, you know? Um that taught me a lot, and it's kind of changed the way I live in the way I look at my career in the way I look at my life, and it's this, you know, it's the phrase we've talked about a lot on here, how did we survive surviving? And yeah, I know that I really want to hear from Wiley too because I know that bound changes in his life found their way into this powerful book. So now let's talk about Wiley. Yeah. So Wiley Hashes the new york Times best selling author of several novels, including a Land More Kind Than Home and this Dark Road to Mercy. He is an extraordinary author and more importantly an extraordinary and very kind person. That's awesome. And I'm just meeting Wiley tonight. So...

I can't, I I hope we'll have an opportunity to meet in person soon. But I think he's pretty impressive. He was a fellow at Yaddo and the Macdowell Colony. He also won the Conroy Legacy Award and the Ceiba Book Award. Siva is the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Award. For those of you not in the know whose appointments for a little something called the pen robert W Bingham Prize and the Edgar Allan Poe award for best novel. I think that's I see, Edgar is nominated is awarded by mystery writers of America an organization I belong to. Yeah, wow. Well that's a lot of great things. But in addition to all of that, he teaches literature and fiction writing at the University of north Carolina Asheville, which is related to my car hell to you and see. And I think I need to go take his class. Maybe I could do some sort of uh what do you call it when you get to take something and that's what I was thinking. I was gonna say lateral interest. It's not. Yeah, I think it's really it's code for free load. Yeah. You have to pay right? You just don't get graded. Oh that's like the opposite of freeload or charge. Alright. What Wiley also serves as the alumni author and residents and lives in north Carolina with his wife, photographer Mallory Cash and their daughters. His new book when ghosts come home was released earlier this month and centers around a small north Carolina town which is thrown into turmoil when Sheriff Winston Brown discovers a crashed plane and a dead body. I dare you not to pick it up after hearing that gorgeous cover that is just cut the episode Now that's it. That's it. By the total covering this novel is subtle, page turning plot and even more powerful than the plot is these full richly nuanced characters whose lives unfold. And Wiley. We're going to ask him about this because I don't know how he did it. He balances three points of view so masterfully. But alan why don't you bring Wiley on so we can talk to him instead of about welcome. I haven't gotten to be in bookstores and so long that I was just catching up on some reading. I've always you write that if that's true and it is. I just learned it. Not indeed everyone. Oh, welcome. Wiley. Universal truth. While the woman is fraught with hard truth truth. It's true. We are so excited. you're here and spending your public Wednesday with us. And you know, I've told you how much I love this book and how much of a heart punch it was and yet somehow also miraculously beautiful and healing. It was quite a tight rope to balance. So before we dive into its origins and the deep end of the family story, will you just give us a nugget of what? For those who don't know what it's about? Tell us. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thank you patty and thank all of you for having me. I'm here at park wrote books as you said. I'm in front of uh they're back at my back is to them, but a live mast audience here in charlotte north Carolina. It's great to be back in bookstores. Um, my book came out yesterday. So this is my Kind of my second event and I am so thrilled to be spending it with all of you. I've been following the 8th since its inception. You all are like Destiny's child but all of you are Beyonce favorite. Yes. So what about you guys? Yeah, let's give him a score and I...

...follow you online to like, I know all about mary Kay secret internet boyfriends. I'm hoping one day be nominated. You know if mary Alice were here, I would toast her with this delicious cup of coffee. Perfect Blend. Um, to get onto the book. Thank you for the kind words about it patty. So uh the setup is it's the fall of 1984. Uh there's a middle aged sheriff named Winston Barnes. He is facing a tough re election battle. And in the middle of the night he has awakened by the roar of a low flying aircraft that's passing over his house off the coast of Brunswick County on this little island called Oak Island. And Winston wakes up. He knows there is no good reason for a plane to be landing this late at night. Certainly not a plane of this size. He lives near a municipal airport with the grass runway and so he gets dressed, gets out of bed dress, drives out to the airport and what he finds their changes not only his life but the life of this small town forever. He finds an abandoned D. C. Three. It's a World war two era cargo plane. It's an enormous aircraft and it's too large for this small runway and it's coming and it's crash landed and the landing gear is broken. The planes completely abandoned later. They will not even be able to recover any fingerprints from inside the aircraft. And most mysterious is the body of a local man who's been shot dead and left beside the runway. So When the book opens 20 pages in, we've got two mysteries on our hands. Why is this aircraft here and who flew it and what if any role did this dead man play and this plane sudden appearance. I love that. So fascinating again, we dare you not to read it up. No. Right. Yeah. Well Wiley, we love to dive into origin stories here. And so we want to talk about that. So, you like me are from north Carolina. You live in north Carolina and this novel is really drenched in north Carolina. I live on a different part of the coast, but um, I could sort of feel that air in the scent of oak island and um, see those houses in that police station and you brought it alive so evocatively. Could you tell us where the germ of this idea began? Yeah. So it happened, you know, My wife, uh, was, was raised in Wilmington and both of our daughters who were now six and five. Uh, they were both born in Wilmington and I was not, I was born and I was raised in the Western part of the state and we moved down to Wilmington in 2013. And as I said, we started a family there. And I've come to terms with the fact that at some point, my experience, my childhood experience playing in the woods in gastonia north Carolina. It's going to be very different from my daughters experience of going to the beach, being on boats and being in the wetlands. I had this very egocentric fear of the predictable moment in the future when our lives are going to diverge in a strange way. And what is it going to be about the regions that were from that causes us to not be and step on whatever it may be, taste, uh, artistic preferences, cultural identities, whatever the case may be. And I knew that if I was ever gonna know this place to any degree close to how they're going to know it, I was going to have to write about it and really involve myself in the history and the geography and the culture and, and look at it with the, I that, that all of you bring to your own work. And um, so that was, that was one reason I really turned my eyes to eastern north Carolina. But the other reason was I heard this rumor of a plane that crash landed at the Oak Island airport in the late seventies and the plane was too large and they had to hire a stunt pilot to come fly the plane away And I don't know if that's true or not. I never looked into it because I didn't want to contaminate my, my idea. But that just kind of got me thinking about What would happen if that happened in...

...1984, that political cultural moment with, you know, the drug, the dare programs and the drugs being flown into the country and it just seemed like a good time to write about for sure. Yeah. You know, I covered a story like that when I was a newspaper reporter. Um, string for the Atlanta Journal constitution and a dairy farmer in a rural part part of Georgia kept hearing planes landing at the dairy farm next to theirs. And they're like, why airplanes? Why do these deer farm, dairy farmers have an airstrip on their, on their farm? Of course, because they were running drugs and law enforcement was involved. But that's another story. But Wiley. So this story really resonates with me. And you know, this is not your first mystery. And speaking as a mystery writer myself, clearly not your first rodeo. And yet you've won awards for mystery writing including the Egger, which is, you know, the the speaker for mystery. Um, would you clear up the confusion and talk to us about mystery versus books not marketed as a mystery. Gosh, I am. I don't know if I'm the best spokesperson for the genre. You know, I I feel like this is my, my most traditional mystery because in this novel, the reader doesn't have all of the information until literally the last page. And when I think of mysteries, I think of really smart writers who are able to kind of structure and narrative with all the necessary traps and springs and trampolines, but also the requisite kind of blindfolds. The reader has to have draped over their eyes to kind of move quickly past the things that reveal just enough to tease you that not enough to stop you. And I've never been able to be that kind of writer my my first two novels were were classified as mysteries but they were in my mind they were mysteries. Because the thrill of those novels was we're waiting to see when the characters would know all of the information that the reader knows and that's where the suspense comes from. But in this novel when ghosts come home I was able and I think it was honestly through good fortune and blind lock and lots of false endings that I just kind of fell into a more traditional mystery. And when it happened mary Kay I felt so smart. I I thought this is what it's like to feel smart when you write this is what it's like to to maybe think that a reader is going to be think like oh my gosh I never saw that coming you know instead of just the character is being like wait I've got to die now you know? Um so that was really exciting for me and it's something that I don't know I could do again. But it's something that I think I did this time hopefully because this is I didn't see coming. Yeah when you started writing when goes come home did you think to yourself clearly I'm writing who done it? No. Um I didn't think that necessarily I had in the back of my mind I knew I wanted the reader to be surprised at the end. I didn't know what the surprise was gonna be. I knew I wanted there to be some kind of turn and to be honest with you, I knew what I wanted the closing emotional note of the novel to be. And I there were two things I that I wrote toward in the novel. One was an uncomfortable situation that the sheriff has with the secretary I wrote toward that moment. And then I wrote toward the final emotional tone. And I didn't know what the scaffolding was gonna be to get there. And a couple of days ago, I didn't, I did a I did a podcast. Uh and I was talking about how I was the whole time, I was reaching for that for that emotional closing tone and I was just building these really jang ki scaffolds to get their laps. I would get up there and I'll be reaching for it and the wind will be blowing and I'd be like, I gotta get down, this isn't gonna work, you know? So it was a lot of, a lot of...

...like bad endings, trying to fabricate the steps to get to the to that emotional ending that I wanted wanted to end with. But but in terms of like what makes a mystery novel versus suspense or versus a thriller, I think a mystery just has these elements of surprise where something is revealed at the end and you don't feel tricked, you feel surprised. And so then you want to go back and look for all the things that you should have seen and and that's part of the deliciousness of life really. Like why didn't I see this coming? All the clues were there? And I think we could say the same thing about our books. Awesome. Yeah, I think we're all, all of us want to surprise our readers by the end. I think if you I think for me, if I start out saying to myself, well they've already telegraphed the ending when I started out disappointed. But I think if you keep the reader wondering and keep turning those pages and to me you've succeeded. Obviously you have Yeah, obviously mary text us and she will say I still don't know who did it. Yeah, I know about her own book will say, well I can say that you know, even if I didn't do it, at least the books done. Yeah, your reviews, you did it, you did it. So so Wiley. You know earlier, right before you came on, we were talking about surviving the surviving how how these things in your life that you go through kind of seep into every aspect of your life after that and kind of change you forever. So, and I think those are the things that kind of show us what we're made of. So I'm wondering I know you mentioned you have two kids who are five and six. So in the last several years you become a father. Um and I also know that you lost your father within the last several years. Um do you think that either of those huge momentous changes in your life or any of the other changes you've gone through? Like we were talking about changes earlier have made their way into your writing either directly in terms of um you know, becoming things you address head on or indirectly in terms of the way you think about things or think about relationships. Yeah, that's a great question. And you know, I was listening in uh when Patty was talking about and and the stories that you all were sharing and it was bringing up a lot of Experiences that I've had and one of them is losing my dad, we lost my dad in May of 2016. And literally uh thank you a month before he passed away, our our youngest daughter was born. And so that's great joy and then this great tragedy and you know, the whiplash of those two things and trying to hold both of those in your mind at once. And that's also something that I've really been interested in um psychically lately is trying to hold two conflicting ideas in your mind once. And I think both of those and my wife is really good at that with our girls. They were at the bookstore to visit my book yesterday and they got your book. Yeah. And my wife was like, girls maybe this is the one that will sell well enough where you can get some shoes. They were like, you know, it's gonna be cold eventually in Wilmington mom. And she said it really loud, hoping somebody would here to offer to buy shoes or the book. But nobody did. But between those girls to tell people to go up to strangers and say, I wrote a book. I know and I need to I need food. Uh, but my our five year old, you got to meet your book. But our five year old also wanted this little fox and she was really sad about not getting the fox. And as a parent, my inclination is to say, you should be...

...happy you got a book. But instead of my wife because she's brilliant and much more patient than me. She said, I understand that you're excited that you've got a book. And I know you're sad that you didn't get that fox and that's okay. And you can sit with both of those in honor both of the same time. And when when I lost my dad and my daughter was born, I tried to hold both of those side by side. And and that's what I did in writing this novel. And that's what I do every time I wrote a novel about the south. You know, I'm looking at the south with an eye tour some of the bumps and bruises and the warts and the cuts and things. But I also love the south I'm incredibly proud of from north Carolina. I'm incredibly proud to be Southern writer or whatever that means anymore. But I can also say honestly that The staff needs to look at itself, you know, uh critically and openly and honestly, and so that's what I'm trying to do in this book. I'm writing about the beautiful things, but I'm also writing about the things that are uncomfortable. And I'm doing that in the relationships of the book as well with the sheriff and his daughter who's 25 years old and flees home fleeing a struggling marriage and this heartbreak and he's sad for her. But he's frustrated by it and he's got all these conflicting emotions at the same time. So, first I have to say that was excellent answer. That was like so deep and introspective seconds. I would be remiss if I didn't say at some point in this broadcast, Wiley Cash is the best author name ever. I mean I know that's your name, but how great of a name because because my editor was like, great, you have a memorable name. That means all of your books can have really long confusing titles because at least for I really got my name, I wish I was when I waited tables. It was a terrible name because I would go up and I wasn't a very good waiter And I would say evening my name's Wiley. I'll be taking care of you tonight. Can I start you out with some drinks and be like Wiley like Wile E. Coyote. And I'm like, yeah, yes, drinks because I've just been triple set. Can I get you drinks? What's your last name? It's cash. Can I get you some? Yes. Like johnny, can I get you drinks? Are you still looking at the menu? Um, so for a writer, it's, it's like the only good, I just said my name is johnson jingleheimer smith. Can I take your order? Why they have been like, yeah, I'll have the, oh my gosh, Okay. But getting back to what you were saying about writing about north Carolina. I'm so interested in this. It was interesting to hear you talk about balancing both things when you're writing about the south. When you first started writing novels. Did you intentionally right about north Carolina with that in mind or was it just that north Carolina is such a part of you that you couldn't imagine writing about anything else. I think both of those, You know, I think that north Carolina and you know, Christie might might back me up on this. And I heard her when I was eating Eminem's in the virtual green room. Uh, only the red ones. Thank you. Friends in fiction for uh, please, please don't take my class. I will lose all credibility If you take my class, it would be like, I don't have to listen to you anymore so easily here. Um, but north Carolina is a great place to be from as a writer because, you know, I think that hopefully y'all, y'all might agree that the good stories come from tension and there's a lot of north Carolina where a swing state, we have regional tension between the mountains and the Piedmont and the coastal plain. We have like, barbecue tension. We have to drop it all. And we got it all right. So, those those little tensions, historical, political, cultural, regional, that's a delicious place. Just to look at your state honestly and to write from that perspective. But north Carolina is also...

...a place that I love and I know it well, and I'll never tire of writing stories that are set here that look at this place. Um you know, my first novel Land more kind than Home was my attempt to understand something about The culture in which I was raised in the 1980s, which was a very conservative baptist culture set against the backdrop of the rise and fall of the evangelical movement with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and Jimmy Swaggered. And so writing this novel about a preacher that sweeps into a church and causes great upheaval. Um is exactly what exactly what was happening around me when I was nine years old in 1986. And so the main character in my first novel is a nine year old in 1986. Witnessing all of this stuff happened. That's awesome. Okay. Oh Wiley, we have a million questions, but we have this very patient live audience behind you. So you can't see them making faces at you. So you want to see if one of them has a question before we does anybody. Um books don't be shy just because your online, we would love to hear your questions. Yeah. Um Debbie Debbie asked what my writing process is like, most of my writing process, Debbie is driven by financial desperation. Um you get driven by Children's shoes. That is charleston coffee, Beach House pool is what desk every morning. I actually, I actually do drink charleston coffee. It's delicious. It's amazing. The organic long and I love it. Um but uh my process with ghosts come home. I began writing it as a short story and I typed it. I had always typed all of my books on the laptop that were streaming from right now and I quickly learned that I can type faster than my brain can process what I want to put down, I was staring at the blinking cursor and as a writer that's like death. Yeah. So when I went back to really re imagine this book I hand wrote and I wrote it with insulin paper and yeah, and my hand cannot move as quickly as my mind can. And I was aware that I always had something to put down and so that's what I do. I did that for the whole book, I hand wrote the entire thing. And yeah, and if I can do on a good writing day, if I'm in the office, I try to lock in about three hours of just writing and then the busy work of email and you all know how that is with marketing, whatever, whatever it is that you're working on. Um but if I can do to notebook pages front and back, that is an incredible writing day. And one of my favorite things to do is to stop mid sentence and just get up from the desk when the age feels warm and hot because when I come back to it, it's going to feel that way. And I love that feeling. If the page is cold when I come back to it, it's gonna feel cold. And that's like looking at that blinking cursor. So I try to end the day in a spot that feels urgent and um and a lot, I'm always afraid. I'll forget if I, if I stop in mid sentence, I draft returns because you're like, I didn't know where I was going. Yeah, sometimes I leave myself a note. I have a lot of in my drafts that'll say, don't forget my friend um Jason Mott who just made the long list for the national book award that he is a brilliant writer. But he keeps he has his file where his novel is. And then he keeps, like, a like a running file of just images, sayings, ideas that he knows he wants to go into that book.

And just occasionally he'll open that file and say like, remember that piece of dialogue I heard I'm going to move that to the scene and I thought that's such a great idea, It's a great idea. I leave myself, I leave myself, don't forget, at the bottom of the okay, so we have a question from facebook Denise smith wonders, is your class virtual. So I can take it and I do know people want to know about your teaching, but it's only for your students, right? Like there's no yeah, I'm the alumni author and residents at my alma mater, which is UnC Asheville and I teach in person uh fiction writing workshop every fall. Um But I do often times do some online writing workshops and I have some videos that folks can download on my website while the cash dot com. Um But I do some virtual workshops from time to time. So I hope that uh she can jump on one of those if I ever do that. Well, that's great. That's fantastic. Do you want to take another one from the people behind you? Anybody have? Yeah, no Bridget, I'm afraid. Right, Right. Fighting for anybody else, you get to pick and choose? Mr Russian Bridget asked, is it is it different writing or creating during the pandemic and yeah, absolutely. It was it was it was very different from from the experience of writing my other books because the world my world became so narrow and so compressed and and and in many ways claustrophobic. And if if readers read the opening scene of when ghosts come home, there's a scene where our our sheriff Winston Barnes is driving out to the airport in the middle of the night and I wanted to give the reader the impression of a tunnel that he's driving down this the main road of the island and there there are trees around him, the moon is out. And I wanted the reader to feel like they were inside of the tunnel along with him. And that would kind of be the entree to the to the novel and that's how my life my life very much felt that way then. Oh, that's fascinating how it worked. Yeah. Tracy shuping this is I want to know this too and wants to know what you're reading for pleasure currently. Although as we've all been on book tour, you're probably reading nothing, drinking everybody working in a very arguing a lot. And so I'm listening to the love songs of W. E. B. Du voice. Uh it's one of those looks like you're like it's not gonna be as good as everybody says it is and then it's better. It's just amazing. It's some it's such an intimate portrait of a family on a granular level. And I'm a huge fan of thomas Wolfe's novel novel, Look Homeward Angel. And this feels that that epic of a scope of getting to really know, like there's so many scenes where I'm just cringing at conversations people are having or the way characters will treat one another badly or love one another and I'm driving and I'm like, oh please don't say that, please take that back. You know, I'm rooting for them, where I'm mad at them. And then just yesterday I was in Nashville and I was heading out to do something. And I heard Anderson cooper with all his charm on NPR talking about his new book about the Vanderbilt. So I went right now. The promise at all, Anderson cooper's book on his launch day. So I'm sure that Anderson bought my book on my launch day. I'm sure Nash cooper, I call him Andy, but I want embarrassing but I hope he bought my book. Uh and I think somebody you had a question. Yes, ma'am, mm mhm Sure, I just so thank you. She asked about my second novel, this Dark...

Road to Mercy, which is set in my hometown of Gastonia. And then at the closing uh scenes are in ST louis. And she asked if I went to ST louis to research and I did not before writing the book. But I went on book tour in ST louis for that book. And part of it was set in ST louis. I wrote about the ST louis Cardinals. I did daytime tv with joe buck's sister. I was radio. I was like, today's event, Tonight's event at the store is gonna be insane. And I went and I had two people, one of them was there when the events started and just like sit down awkwardly because he didn't know what else to do. And so I had the tour credit card and I said you are going to go get dinner. I've got $150 a per diem credit card. You know what, what is this? The only writer in America who's allowed to have one of those. It actually says Rupert Murdoch on it because I'm with harper card. I used to have a harper credit card when I was at harper. I'm this one, I was pretty sweet, I don't have one now, it's got my own name on it, which is so disappointing. We just went next door and had dinner and drinks and it was one of my favorite events of the entire time, like lemonade from Lemons. That's awesome. Yeah. And we've all had that signing that last week. You guys Henry, I mean, it even happens to Emily Henry. So you just you just have to announce that Kristin Hannah's there and then right, that's the key to success, people believe, but some people are too embarrassed to leave. Yeah, they have to listen to you always feel bad for the booksellers and they're like yeah, fingers crossed for a crowd. But there's a P. T. A. Meeting tonight and asleep by the bell marathon and you know how that goes and it looks like it might ring. But that's just one of the best they say, this never happens. This never happened. Yeah. This never happened. Like great. You like so much word sharing with me. I don't have that one time and uh it wasn't very well attended. I don't even remember where it was and the first person to come up to get their books signed. Said I just wanted to tell you that I love serena oh round rash rash, rash, rash sounds like around were like how what's he gonna do here? And I said well I'll be honest with you, I think it's the best book I'm probably ever gonna write. And while it has, we went on with that is amazing. All right, so so violent. We know you teach at UnC Asheville and I have to say that the beginning of this book is so masterful. I mean we've been talking about it, but we meet and know exactly who we need to meet. No. And yet you never tell us anything. It's just the way you unroll. It showing us is just so well done. So we all know you're a great writer and of course every week on our show, we ask our guests for a writing tip, Would you be so kind as to give us one tonight? Sure, yeah. You know, the opening scene, I'm trying to set the expectations, the reader's expectations as soon as I can. And I argue that we enter a piece of fiction the same way we enter a dream we stay. Where am I? Who are these people? What are the rules of time? What are the what are the rules of the Unities in the Stream or this book? I'm trying to nail all those things down as soon as possible. So, you know, immediately that this was a married couple, you know, immediately that one of them is sick, You know that they are middle aged because they're freaking and stretching and all the stuff, you know what time it is, there's an alarm clock right there. They remark on, you know,...

...he's a sheriff. Immediately he gets in the car and he turns on the radio and they're talking about the election when Mondale is challenging Reagan. So, you know, it's 1984 and I'm not telling you a middle aged man and woman are married on Oak Island in this 1984 in the middle of the night. I'm just kind of walking you through this scene giving you information so that when you're entering the dream that I'm trying to create for you and keep you inside of because I never want you to consciously ask those questions. I'm trying to give you all that information before you ask for it, wow. Yeah, I'm getting in that class. I mean, I know we're already And are you thinking about, I mean might have to pull some strings. It's happening. You together. I'll swing up and pick you up. We'll head up back there from there. You might be in the same state. But I know I was thinking about that. I mean, you could not be further apart from yeah, you're in state but your problem closely drive to me than to Christie right now. Yeah, you guys are like, I'm this far end. Okay, Wylie, that was amazing all of you out there, hang on. Because our co founder mary Alice is about to pop in and join us. Yes, you heard me right, so don't go anywhere but Wiley, thank you so much for being with us. This was so fascinating. Thank you for being so honest about how your life is part of this story, about your love for north Carolina and I know you have an audience that has been looking at your back probably like for you to turn around. So I know there's lots of questions we didn't get to if you have time, maybe you can stop by the friends and fiction page, but we are honored that you shared your public with us and I know that all our viewers have been thrilled that you showed up for us this week. Well, I sincerely want to thank all of you and you all are providing such a wonderful service to writers like me who are not quite having the book tours that we all envision wanting to have. So thank you for bringing me on and let me talk to your readers. You're just providing such a great service, such great literary citizens and and leaders and it means a lot that you are hosting me. You are so much fun, you're sorry and I will definitely do that. He's a big patty fan. Let me tell you for other in place. Let's give them a shout out, Tell them about your brother real quick stand up comedian. Cliff Cash. You can find him on instagram facebook. He travels the country doing comedy. He is brilliantly funny, he's brilliantly funny and when I first met him, we were at Southern Voices in Birmingham Alabama and he was with he was Wiley's guest and he was trying to decide whether to be brave enough to go do stand up. Yeah. And I laughed so hard at his jokes. He was the head of the weekend. He is awesome And he did, he did it, he went out there and he did it. So he thinks the world of you patty. So thank you for being so nice to him from God. She's easy to be nice to. Alright, Wiley, take care. Thanks Wiley. So take care of Okay, everybody before mary Alice joins us. We want to remind all of you out there mary Kay take it away. What am I reminding? What am I doing? Oh I know I'm gonna talk to you about the Writer's Block podcast. We are always gonna, don't forget to check out our friends and fiction writer's Block podcast which is completely, we're gonna always post the links under announcements each time a new one drops you like how I said drops like I know this lingo, that's, that's podcast lingo. I've been watching um Only Murder in the building so I know my...

...podcast and go now it's not so good. Yeah, but not as good as writer's block so we are a lot of fun is totally different from this show. So if you like us hanging out with us here we know you're gonna love being with us there on the writer's block every friday this past week, Ron and Patty talked to nat Philbrick about his book travels with George about how Nathaniel with his wife and dog retrace George Washington's inaugural US trip. It was in this week and we, we want to give a shout out to that our buddy because he we're so happy for now we are incredible boat travels with a great, a great human being and a fascinating historian and this week, Ron talks to hank Phillippi Ryan about writing thrillers. That's awesome. I can't, it's awesome. It's funny when they, when we just flash that graphic of Ron every single episode every time I see that I'm like so happy, I love you. But I love the podcast just in this moment of pure joy every episode. All right, It's a bad heart. I know, but I know. Noah, noah showed me today, mom, this is a heart. I'm like, no, I was saying mine was bad. Not yours, no, no, mine is bad. So if you are not hanging out with us yet and the Friends and fiction official book Club, you are missing out the group which is separate from us and run by our friends lisa Harrison and Brenda Gartner is now more than 9000 strong. So patty was there earlier this week to talk about the bookshop Atwater's end and it was recorded and it's still available. So if you weren't able to be there. But if you're interested in learning a little bit more about the story behind that book. Head on over. And this thursday as in tomorrow our own mary Kay andrews well, join the club at seven p.m. For a pre celebration of the santa suit, which I'm so excited about. And on friday october 1st, our rock star librarian Ron block will join them for happy hours. You guys, they have a lot going on as if that is not enough. Our book club has announced debut novel the orphan, which by page Crutcher who you saw on our debut episode a few weeks ago That is going to be their book club pick for spooky October so they will be discussing that book just in time for Halloween on October 25. And don't forget to join us for a special bonus episode this sunday at five p.m. As we sit down with novelist and former CIA analyst Karen Cleveland, who also just so happens to be Kristen Hormel's little sister. And next Wednesday join us right here at seven p.m. As we welcome best selling novelist Debbie McCumber and celebrate the launch of M. K. S. The santa suit you of course will not want to miss what we have in store for you with MK You never, never know. And in two weeks join us to meet Newbery Award winner Kwamie alexander. So I know that so many of you have been asking about mary Alice since she took her sabbatical back in early july to do research in far flung places without internet. But guess what she is here to talk to us. Alan, can you bring on mary Alice. Hi girls. Oh, oh for you. I am well thank you and everyone looks good. You're looking keeping up the good work. I see. Well, I it's really a great pleasure to be here on Friends and fiction tonight. It really is. And to see all your faces. And um as you know is Patty just said, I've been on a leave of absence these last two months and I've done a lot of research and I've started some exciting new projects and in light of all these developments,...

I've had to make the most difficult decision and that is to no longer continue on Friends and fiction as a weekly host. I started Friends and fiction with my Friends here during the pandemic. And it really has been the greatest joy to be here to talk with my friends and so many wonderful authors like Wiley Cash. Hey Wiley, if you're still listening, love to you and most of all to connect with all of you out there, all the readers, it's been my privilege. It truly has and I'm not going away completely. The good news is I'll be returning from time to time as a guest host and I'll be back to share with the girls any good news I have with my new books coming out and I hope you'll visit me on my insta page and facebook and wherever to keep up with my upcoming news And speaking of exciting news, it is fun to close with this. The fab five is coming to join us live and in person together At Wild Dunes, January 16 and we'll put all the news up but we're gonna have a blast and I hope to see you there. But until then for now. Thank you all so much. I love you and farewell. We'll tell us a little bit about your research. Like how glad did it go? Well, yes. Well, I have a couple of projects going and um, one is the middle grade, which the next one is Search for Treasure and it's all done. Uh, so that will be out next summer. But the next book is a, is a generational novel and it's set in the Ace Basin and it's pretty intense and very heavy research and I'm just enjoying being able to squirrel away and to write. And it's uh, the pandemic being together with the show was fabulous is what I needed. And I think the last two months made it clear to me that I just need the time to just right. And to be quiet. Plus I'm researching whales and I'm sorry. That's far away. Remember when I was in Mexico trying to connect with the last. Gosh, yeah. So it's hard when you're in odd parts of the world to hook up every Wednesday night. But I do look forward. We will be together. I'll see you as a guest host whenever you all want to break. I'll be here for you and it'll be um, it's not goodbye. It's just um, arrivederci. I'll see you next time. Yeah. So what is that song they used to sing on Lawrence. Well, for those of us who are old and it was like, uh, oh, uh, every language before. That's right. That's right. That's right. To all of you out there. We encourage you to grab Wiley's novel when goes come home from Parco books. That will be a link in the announcements, mary Alice. It is so wonderful to see your face and hear about your work. You know that you are out there, you know, doing your research and that you will be back to visit us. Everyone has missed you and I love you all and all. Everyone out there. It's not good by itself later and it's been a great, great joy to be part of Friends of fiction and I still am. Yes, you are. Well, we'll miss you...

...and we're but we're glad for you in this next chapter and uh we'll always have our turtle hats Mario. I know I have mine right here. I still like, I wish I would have thought in the drawer behind me that I'm not pulling out is this nana hat for next week, but I need to find my turtle hat because I never clean my office. Sorry, that was not like hilarious. You can tell when I'm stuck writing because I clean out my office hilarious, raise your hand if you do that, right. It's like the procrastination. Yeah, I definitely need to start filing some things in other words. I alright, all of you out there, we will see you at the after show and come back next week. Same time. Same place as we welcome Debbie Macomber and celebrate mary Kay Andrews and that santa suit. So thanks, y'all Goodnight goodnight one. Hi guys. So that was interesting doing it from a live book story, kind of like the energy of that. It's cool to that, to consider for the future. And we had to wait. We had a live store and then we had kind of a bittersweet. We had to say bye to hearing Ellis by, by. But yeah, see you later. Yeah, absolutely. I'm sure that was a hard decision to come to you and you know, it sounds like what she needs right now and that's good. I'm glad, you know, that's a good thing to come to a moment in your life where you're able to say this is what I need and I don't know if people really know, I mean, you know what really goes into the behind the scenes of putting together something like this and I think it probably sort of looks like we pop up here for an hour and a half on Wednesday nights, but we all know that is not the case. Um and you know, it is, it's definitely sometimes a struggle to maintain the balance of all those things and um, it's a pleasure and a gift and so wonderful. But um, I agree. I'm sure it was a really hard decision because you know, we felt something so amazing. Yeah, sorry, that was a sneeze on the left. It was chinese when I squeeze, you know, like I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna say christening and we didn't hear it, it doesn't count, but she would have that sneeze. I'm so annoyed. Move on. I know, skipper for her completely. What on? She talked a little bit about being gone because of research and it's been making me think about some of our immersive research. I want I want you all to talk about that. I always think, I think your stories are so interesting from the police detectives to paris to north. Tell me a little bit Vanderbilt talk to me about it. Mhm. Um Well, he's talking any of us kristen you go you were starting you were you were on it. Um for me there's really something to be said for being able to, I think it's probably for all of us being able to actually immerse yourself for at least a small period of time in the world you're writing about and, you know, kind of going back to what Wiley said about how the way he starts his novels is like establishing the framework for a dream by giving you all of those that was amazing feelings. It was amazing. So, it's giving you all those feelings minute little details that build the world to me that's why the research is so important because it's not it's not the big things, it's not the dialogue, it's not the character, it's not all of that that immerses you in the novel at...

...the beginning. Those are the things that drive the novel, but you need to frame that world and it's, to me it's the research that frames that world. So, um, so yeah, it's really important. And and you know, I just have to say I'm pretty smart that I write books set in paris because that's what I mean to do genius. She has that sneeze and she's so smart, so annoying. And the drums to yes, and write songs. Yeah, musicals. I know I'm just a one trick pony doing with my life. You guys, I know I'm just one trick pony. All I, all I do is grind out a book here. How about one of your immersive um research things because I know you have some great ones. Well, when I was writing, I loved hearing while they talk about, you know, the difference between writing a mystery and something he thought was not a mystery. Um when I was writing mystery, I did a lot of crazy research things like once I got myself, I didn't own a cadillac, but for the scene and the mystery I was working on, I had somebody needed to go into a gated subdivision and so I needed her, I came up with the idea that she would steal a domino's pizza clamp on sign and put it on top of her car and she and her associate would go in to this gated community and then she rode in the trunk, but I needed to know communicate with the driver from the trunk of a cadillac. So I called a friend who actually owned a cadillac, went over there, climbed in the trunk like I love it and talk to her. Yeah. I got myself booked into jail in Savannah when I was writing savannah blues. So I knew what it was like to get booked into jail and to be issued an orange jumpsuit and worse than the orange jumpsuit is being issued rubber thongs that other people have worn means sandals. Right? Yes. No. Yes. Stockers, rubber shower shoes, rubber shower shoes. I'm just clarifying. She went there, didn't she? I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I haven't even had any wine yet tonight and I'm just really, uh, no, I thought it was really interesting. You know Wiley was talking about how he um always read about the mountains and this time he read about the coast and I'm sort of the opposite. I've always written about the coast and now I'm writing about the mountains and I actually grew up about, gosh, like 20 minutes from where while he grew up, we both grew up kind of like in the piedmont of the state. So I actually was a lot closer to the mountains and the beach growing up. So it was an area I was really familiar with, but writing the wedding veil, you know, did feel a little bit different because I was writing about a place that was so geographically different and um writing about the Vanderbilts and um you know, all of those things. And I had this idea about how um actually just wrote about this, but I had an idea of how I was going to write this book about biltmore in the Vanderbilts and I was going to have this year round passed and I was gonna go to Asheville like a million times to research this novel and then of course, the pandemic Hits. So it was a very different experience and I thought it was gonna be um unfortunately, you know, I mean, even when I did get to go, it was crazy. I mean, it was um it felt really weird to like be in this place, all these people that everyone's masked. And unfortunately I was the places that I was writing about interestingly enough are largely not the places that you see on the tour. Um so that was actually kind of good because I could sort of sneak around in these like, back...

...hallways and uh passageways and things that you wouldn't necessarily see otherwise. Um but it was a different experience than I thought I was going to have, and but I think what was even more gratifying, I mean, obviously had been to build more a lot growing up and then I had been um right before I started writing this book, which was what kind of sparked the idea for the story. And so it wasn't like, a place I'd never been before, I couldn't visualize. But there was something really cool about diving so deeply into this research with, you know, librarians and historians and all these people for so long, and then going to the house and seeing it in this completely different way. Um and really being able to imagine the way that people actually live their lives, their versus, you know, walking through and being like, wow, this place is huge. You know, it's just a really different kind of experience. Um and I mean, for me, there's there's things that we research in every single book that we right, But you know, that being my first, like, my first time writing about a real historical place with you people who actually were alive and lived, it was a vastly different experience for me. I don't know how you guys do it all the time. It's very hard. Um and I think what makes it even harder is that especially with people like the Vanderbilts there so much. I'm talking too long, I'm sorry, I'm saying this, but there's they were written so much about in like, gossip columns and things like that, that it's really hard to separate fact from fiction because a lot of times, these huge stories would be in these papers about them and they aren't marked just like, gossip columns or something that isn't necessarily real. And so, um a lot of times, I found myself just having to kind of like make my best guess or choose the version of the story that my book the very best because, you know, I would just get these vastly different things and, and you know, it's like anything else. I mean biltmore has a narrative that um, that they have woven obviously because they're this huge tourist attraction and um, so it's just, it was really interesting just to kind of see all the different things that come into play when you're trying to research people who, um, you know, are no longer here. The, the deep research that we all do in different ways mary Alice is doing it with, you know, nature, but we've all hunkered down visited the places. And I feel like almost every time you do that, you just, every time I do that and I know you feel the same way every time you do that we discovered like this little nugget, whether it's a plastic shoes or notice how such, so you find this little nugget that completely shifts the story. Yeah, that's what brings it alive. You're totally right. It's those little nuggets of detail that you can only experience firsthand. That's how you experienced that writing surviving savannah, God. Oh gosh, yes, I mean, so, and mrs lewis, I mean like Boots on the ground. So, Boots on the ground. So everybody out there. It has been an incredible night. I'm and also sad and also, um, moving, its then all the things tonight. We need you to know that none of us are going anywhere. We're here for the long here yet you are stuck with us. It was going to say long after you want us to be we'll still be here doing this like God, are there any other authors for them to interview? We're gonna we're gonna start having to interview. Yeah, I'm not going to say that. So yeah, we are impressive. I see you've written for your first grade class, would you like to talk about? So my little grandchild, Bridget tell us about that story you just made up. So what our tagline says...

...endless stories, right? And the stories are endless. There's so much to talk about. It will never run out of books to read. Will never run out of stories to tell in books to love and authors to talk to and we will always be here. We I mean yeah, we're here when you we feel as if this is a never ending opportunity to wear with you and y'all. You have built this community with us. We're not going anywhere and I think we should mention that um coming up soon, we're going to have the best selling author of everybody poops. I we have to find out who that author is. We'll be providing that author with rubber songs just a so right is just or this heads into a downward spot you get like the water down a toilet. You mean? Yeah, after you poop like that. This is like the ship metaphors. Like they're just, they're so many. Thank you. Wylie. Thank you for that. So, All right. I love you. I love you too. Goodnight. You guys not, y'all like, thank you for tuning in, Join us every week on Facebook or YouTube where our live show airs every Wednesday night at seven p.m. eastern time and please subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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