Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 2 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. Fivebest selling authors and the stories. Novelists mary Kay andrews, ChristineHarmel, Christie Woodson harvey patty Callahan, Henry and mary Alice Munroare five longtime friends with more than 80 published books to their creditIn 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviewsand fascinating insider. Talk about publishing and writing and to highlightindependent bookstores. These friends discuss the books, they've written thebooks they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books andyou're curious about the writing world you're in the right place. Yeah, hi everyone it is Wednesday night thatmeans 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 forwardto tonight. Our first event live from a bookstore. Not us obviously work athome but our guest is live from a bookstore. I am patty Callahan, Henryand I'm mary Kay andrews, I'm Christine Harmel and I'm Kristie Whitson Harveyand this is Friends and fiction, new york times, bestselling authors,endless stories to support indie bookstores. Tonight you have theprivilege of meeting widely clash and we'll talk about his new book whenGhosts come home which released yesterday we'll find out about whatinspired your smiley and much more and something really special for a specialguest Wiley is live in a bookstore in charlotte north Carolina, Park roadbooks So we will even be taking live questions and tonight we encourage youto buy Wylie's book from Park Road books where he is waiting for us, isthere alive. But first I want to talk about this week's Friends and FictionParade magazine essay in their online magazine, which was written by Patty asshe reflected on how we survived the surviving. You can find it links on ourfacebook page and on our instagram bio. Meanwhile Patty, can you tell us alittle 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'twrite about very much. Um I wrote a bit about surviving something I wentthrough and as we're getting closer to october which we all know is breastcancer awareness month. I recalled this moment when the doctor said to me inreal life, not in a fiction book, it is cancer. And I said, not the real kindright? As if there was any other kind. And I write a little bit about comingout on the other side of that after some years and realizing that I willnever be exactly the same. And so I ask, how do we make meaning out of that? AndI'd like to know have you all had something you've gone through that mostpeople consider to be over. But you know, it changed you. Yeah, you know, Ihad to think really hard about that and I feel like I've lived such a blessedlife and the most um earth shattering thing that happened was I lost mymother, my father, my older sister and my younger brother um in the space ofabout six years and um each of the deaths was sudden and unexpected and Iguess the way I survived it was, I was...

...surrounded by dear friends because Iremember being in a fog, but my oldest dearest friends, uh all the funeralswere back in ST pete where I grew up and where my closest oldest dearestfriends are and I think I leaned on them and they helped me up and that'sall that's the perspective I have is that I got through that ball becauseand for, and family, but them sort of steering me And saying you just put oneft 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'thave any choice. So I just put one ft in front of the other. I mean this is not super personal, butI feel like just the past couple of years have changed all of us and inways that um I don't even think that will really even know until later, youknow, my mom and I were actually talking about this about um you knowhaving like my grandparents and people who survived the great depression andhow their lives are forever altered from that and like, you know will and Iwere talking about the other day, like, are we ever gonna feel safe if we justhave six rolls of toilet papers. I mean, I'm kidding, That's obviously reallytrite. But um you know, there I think we're all gonna just um I think we'llall be different. But also maybe in some good ways too, because I thinkwe've all really learned, I know all of us on this screen how um kind ofeverything we know can sort of implode and we can figure out what to do nextand 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 theother 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 weget it in time and change. Yeah, that's a good point. You know, I was thinkingabout 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 atthe time and um they called one day in I think it was October early october orlate september so we can't use um freelancers again for the remainder ofthe year and that was the bulk of my income at the time, I was writingnovels, but my my main income came from people. Um and so it was at a time whenthe 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 Iwas facing, you know, I was I was single, it was just me and I was facingthe possibility of losing my house, which had been, I've been so proud ofmyself as a single woman for purchasing this thing. Um and I made it throughthat time period. It was really hard, I was really scary. Um but I think justlike you said in the essay patty, I think it's kind of um it's thosemoments that we have to survive, and this was nothing compared to what youhad to survive of course, but it's those difficult times that teach uswhat we're made of um and and that show us a way forward, and that teachesnever to take the things we used to take for granted for granted again, youknow? Um that taught me a lot, and it's kind of changed the way I live in theway I look at my career in the way I look at my life, and it's this, youknow, it's the phrase we've talked about a lot on here, how did we survivesurviving? And yeah, I know that I really want to hear from Wiley toobecause I know that bound changes in his life found their way into thispowerful book. So now let's talk about Wiley. Yeah. So Wiley Hashes the newyork Times best selling author of several novels, including a Land MoreKind Than Home and this Dark Road to Mercy. He is an extraordinary authorand 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 anopportunity to meet in person soon. But I think he's pretty impressive. He wasa fellow at Yaddo and the Macdowell Colony. He also won the Conroy LegacyAward and the Ceiba Book Award. Siva is the Southeastern IndependentBooksellers Award. For those of you not in the know whose appointments for alittle something called the pen robert W Bingham Prize and the Edgar Allan Poeaward for best novel. I think that's I see, Edgar is nominated is awarded bymystery 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 teachesliterature 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 takehis class. Maybe I could do some sort of uh what do you call it when you getto take something and that's what I was thinking. I was gonna say lateralinterest. 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 oppositeof freeload or charge. Alright. What Wiley also serves as the alumni authorand residents and lives in north Carolina with his wife, photographerMallory Cash and their daughters. His new book when ghosts come home wasreleased earlier this month and centers around a small north Carolina townwhich is thrown into turmoil when Sheriff Winston Brown discovers acrashed plane and a dead body. I dare you not to pick it up after hearingthat 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 andeven more powerful than the plot is these full richly nuanced characterswhose lives unfold. And Wiley. We're going to ask him about this because Idon'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 aboutwelcome. I haven't gotten to be in bookstores and so long that I was justcatching up on some reading. I've always you write that if that's trueand it is. I just learned it. Not indeed everyone. Oh, welcome. Wiley.Universal truth. While the woman is fraught with hard truth truth. It'strue. We are so excited. you're here and spending your public Wednesday withus. And you know, I've told you how much I love this book and how much of aheart punch it was and yet somehow also miraculously beautiful and healing. Itwas quite a tight rope to balance. So before we dive into its origins and thedeep end of the family story, will you just give us a nugget of what? Forthose who don't know what it's about? Tell us. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thank youpatty and thank all of you for having me. I'm here at park wrote books as yousaid. I'm in front of uh they're back at my back is to them, but a live mastaudience here in charlotte north Carolina. It's great to be back inbookstores. Um, my book came out yesterday. So this is my Kind of mysecond event and I am so thrilled to be spending it with all of you. I've beenfollowing the 8th since its inception. You all are like Destiny's child butall 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 allabout mary Kay secret internet boyfriends. I'm hoping one day benominated. You know if mary Alice were here, I would toast her with thisdelicious cup of coffee. Perfect Blend. Um, to get onto the book. Thank you forthe kind words about it patty. So uh the setup is it's the fall of 1984. Uhthere's a middle aged sheriff named Winston Barnes. He is facing a tough reelection battle. And in the middle of the night he has awakened by the roarof a low flying aircraft that's passing over his house off the coast ofBrunswick 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 thegrass runway and so he gets dressed, gets out of bed dress, drives out tothe airport and what he finds their changes not only his life but the lifeof this small town forever. He finds an abandoned D. C. Three. It's a World wartwo era cargo plane. It's an enormous aircraft and it's too large for thissmall runway and it's coming and it's crash landed and the landing gear isbroken. The planes completely abandoned later. They will not even be able torecover any fingerprints from inside the aircraft. And most mysterious isthe body of a local man who's been shot dead and left beside the runway. SoWhen the book opens 20 pages in, we've got two mysteries on our hands. Why isthis aircraft here and who flew it and what if any role did this dead man playand this plane sudden appearance. I love that. So fascinating again, wedare you not to read it up. No. Right. Yeah. Well Wiley, we love to dive intoorigin stories here. And so we want to talk about that. So, you like me arefrom north Carolina. You live in north Carolina and this novel is reallydrenched in north Carolina. I live on a different part of the coast, but um, Icould sort of feel that air in the scent of oak island and um, see thosehouses in that police station and you brought it alive so evocatively. Couldyou 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 daughterswho were now six and five. Uh, they were both born in Wilmington and I wasnot, I was born and I was raised in the Western part of the state and we moveddown to Wilmington in 2013. And as I said, we started a family there. AndI've come to terms with the fact that at some point, my experience, mychildhood experience playing in the woods in gastonia north Carolina. It'sgoing to be very different from my daughters experience of going to thebeach, being on boats and being in the wetlands. I had this very egocentricfear of the predictable moment in the future when our lives are going todiverge in a strange way. And what is it going to be about the regions thatwere 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 tohow they're going to know it, I was going to have to write about it andreally 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. Andum, so that was, that was one reason I really turned my eyes to eastern northCarolina. But the other reason was I heard this rumor of a plane that crashlanded at the Oak Island airport in the late seventies and the plane was toolarge and they had to hire a stunt pilot to come fly the plane away And Idon't know if that's true or not. I never looked into it because I didn'twant to contaminate my, my idea. But that just kind of got me thinking aboutWhat would happen if that happened in...

...1984, that political cultural momentwith, you know, the drug, the dare programs and the drugs being flown intothe 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 arural part part of Georgia kept hearing planes landing at the dairy farm nextto 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 theywere running drugs and law enforcement was involved. But that's another story.But Wiley. So this story really resonates with me. And you know, thisis not your first mystery. And speaking as a mystery writer myself, clearly notyour first rodeo. And yet you've won awards for mystery writing includingthe Egger, which is, you know, the the speaker for mystery. Um, would youclear up the confusion and talk to us about mystery versus books not marketed as amystery. Gosh, I am. I don't know if I'm thebest spokesperson for the genre. You know, I I feel like this is my, my mosttraditional mystery because in this novel, the reader doesn't have all ofthe information until literally the last page. And when I think ofmysteries, I think of really smart writers who are able to kind ofstructure and narrative with all the necessary traps and springs andtrampolines, but also the requisite kind of blindfolds. The reader has tohave draped over their eyes to kind of move quickly past the things thatreveal just enough to tease you that not enough to stop you. And I've neverbeen able to be that kind of writer my my first two novels were wereclassified as mysteries but they were in my mind they were mysteries. Becausethe thrill of those novels was we're waiting to see when the characterswould know all of the information that the reader knows and that's where thesuspense comes from. But in this novel when ghosts come home I was able and Ithink it was honestly through good fortune and blind lock and lots offalse endings that I just kind of fell into a more traditional mystery. Andwhen it happened mary Kay I felt so smart. I I thought this is what it'slike to feel smart when you write this is what it's like to to maybe thinkthat a reader is going to be think like oh my gosh I never saw that coming youknow instead of just the character is being like wait I've got to die now youknow? Um so that was really exciting for me and it's something that I don'tknow I could do again. But it's something that I think I did this timehopefully because this is I didn't see coming. Yeah when you started writingwhen goes come home did you think to yourself clearly I'm writing who doneit? No. Um I didn't think that necessarily I had in the back of mymind I knew I wanted the reader to be surprised at the end. I didn't knowwhat the surprise was gonna be. I knew I wanted there to be some kind of turnand to be honest with you, I knew what I wanted the closing emotional note ofthe novel to be. And I there were two things I that I wrote toward in thenovel. One was an uncomfortable situation that the sheriff has with thesecretary I wrote toward that moment. And then I wrote toward the finalemotional tone. And I didn't know what the scaffolding was gonna be to getthere. And a couple of days ago, I didn't, I did a I did a podcast. Uh andI was talking about how I was the whole time, I was reaching for that for thatemotional closing tone and I was just building these really jang ki scaffoldsto get their laps. I would get up there and I'll be reaching for it and thewind 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 fabricatethe steps to get to the to that emotional ending that I wanted wantedto end with. But but in terms of like what makes a mystery novel versussuspense or versus a thriller, I think a mystery just has these elements ofsurprise where something is revealed at the end and you don't feel tricked, youfeel surprised. And so then you want to go back and look for all the thingsthat you should have seen and and that's part of the deliciousness oflife really. Like why didn't I see this coming? All the clues were there? And Ithink we could say the same thing about our books. Awesome. Yeah, I think we'reall, all of us want to surprise our readers by the end. I think if you Ithink for me, if I start out saying to myself, well they've alreadytelegraphed the ending when I started out disappointed. But I think if youkeep the reader wondering and keep turning those pages and to me you'vesucceeded. Obviously you have Yeah, obviously mary text us and she will sayI still don't know who did it. Yeah, I know about her own book will say, wellI 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 survivinghow how these things in your life that you go through kind of seep into everyaspect of your life after that and kind of change you forever. So, and I thinkthose are the things that kind of show us what we're made of. So I'm wonderingI know you mentioned you have two kids who are five and six. So in the lastseveral years you become a father. Um and I also know that you lost yourfather within the last several years. Um do you think that either of thosehuge momentous changes in your life or any of the other changes you've gonethrough? Like we were talking about changes earlier have made their wayinto your writing either directly in terms of um you know, becoming thingsyou address head on or indirectly in terms of the way you think about thingsor 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 thatyou all were sharing and it was bringing up a lot of Experiences thatI've had and one of them is losing my dad, we lost my dad in May of 2016. Andliterally uh thank you a month before he passed away, our our youngestdaughter was born. And so that's great joy and then this great tragedy and youknow, the whiplash of those two things and trying to hold both of those inyour mind at once. And that's also something that I've really beeninterested in um psychically lately is trying to hold two conflicting ideas inyour mind once. And I think both of those and my wife is really good atthat with our girls. They were at the bookstore to visit my book yesterdayand they got your book. Yeah. And my wife was like, girls maybe this is theone 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 itreally loud, hoping somebody would here to offer to buy shoes or the book. Butnobody did. But between those girls to tell people to go up to strangers andsay, I wrote a book. I know and I need to I need food. Uh, but my our fiveyear old, you got to meet your book. But our five year old also wanted thislittle 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 mywife because she's brilliant and much more patient than me. She said, Iunderstand that you're excited that you've got a book. And I know you'resad that you didn't get that fox and that's okay. And you can sit with bothof those in honor both of the same time. And when when I lost my dad and mydaughter was born, I tried to hold both of those side by side. And and that'swhat I did in writing this novel. And that's what I do every time I wrote anovel about the south. You know, I'm looking at the south with an eye toursome of the bumps and bruises and the warts and the cuts and things. But Ialso love the south I'm incredibly proud of from north Carolina. I'mincredibly proud to be Southern writer or whatever that means anymore. But Ican also say honestly that The staff needs to look at itself, you know, uhcritically and openly and honestly, and so that's what I'm trying to do in thisbook. I'm writing about the beautiful things, but I'm also writing about thethings that are uncomfortable. And I'm doing that in the relationships of thebook as well with the sheriff and his daughter who's 25 years old and fleeshome 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 thesame time. So, first I have to say that wasexcellent answer. That was like so deep and introspective seconds. I would beremiss if I didn't say at some point in this broadcast, Wiley Cash is the bestauthor 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 reallylong confusing titles because at least for I really got my name, I wish I was whenI waited tables. It was a terrible name because I would go up and I wasn't avery good waiter And I would say evening my name's Wiley. I'll be takingcare of you tonight. Can I start you out with some drinks and be like Wileylike Wile E. Coyote. And I'm like, yeah, yes, drinks because I've just beentriple set. Can I get you drinks? What's your last name? It's cash. Can Iget you some? Yes. Like johnny, can I get you drinks? Are you still lookingat the menu? Um, so for a writer, it's, it's like the only good, I just said myname is johnson jingleheimer smith. Can I take yourorder? Why they have been like, yeah, I'llhave the, oh my gosh, Okay. But getting back to what you were saying aboutwriting about north Carolina. I'm so interested in this. It was interestingto hear you talk about balancing both things when you're writing about thesouth. When you first started writing novels. Did you intentionally rightabout north Carolina with that in mind or was it just that north Carolina issuch a part of you that you couldn't imagine writing about anything else. Ithink 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 eatingEminem's in the virtual green room. Uh, only the red ones. Thank you. Friendsin fiction for uh, please, please don't take my class. I will loseall credibility If you take my class, it would be like, I don't have tolisten to you anymore so easily here. Um, but north Carolina is a great placeto 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 ofnorth Carolina where a swing state, we have regional tension between themountains and the Piedmont and the coastal plain. We have like, barbecuetension. We have to drop it all. And we got it all right. So, those thoselittle tensions, historical, political, cultural, regional, that's a deliciousplace. Just to look at your state honestly and to write from thatperspective. 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 thisplace. Um you know, my first novel Land more kind than Home was my attempt tounderstand something about The culture in which I was raised in the 1980s,which was a very conservative baptist culture set against the backdrop of therise and fall of the evangelical movement with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakkerand Jimmy Swaggered. And so writing this novel about a preacher that sweepsinto a church and causes great upheaval. Um is exactly what exactly what washappening around me when I was nine years old in 1986. And so the maincharacter in my first novel is a nine year old in 1986. Witnessing all ofthis stuff happened. That's awesome. Okay. Oh Wiley, we have a millionquestions, but we have this very patient live audience behind you. Soyou can't see them making faces at you. So you want to see if one of them has aquestion 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 writingprocess is like, most of my writing process, Debbie is driven by financialdesperation. Um you get driven by Children's shoes. That is charlestoncoffee, Beach House pool is what desk every morning. I actually, I actuallydo drink charleston coffee. It's delicious. It's amazing. The organiclong and I love it. Um but uh my process with ghosts come home. I beganwriting it as a short story and I typed it. I had always typed all of my bookson the laptop that were streaming from right now and I quickly learned that Ican type faster than my brain can process what I want to put down, I wasstaring at the blinking cursor and as a writer that's like death. Yeah. So whenI went back to really re imagine this book I hand wrote and I wrote it withinsulin 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'swhat 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, Itry to lock in about three hours of just writing and then the busy work ofemail and you all know how that is with marketing, whatever, whatever it isthat 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 tostop mid sentence and just get up from the desk when the age feels warm andhot because when I come back to it, it's going to feel that way. And I lovethat 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 theday in a spot that feels urgent and um and a lot, I'm always afraid. I'llforget if I, if I stop in mid sentence, I draft returns because you're like, Ididn't know where I was going. Yeah, sometimes I leave myself a note. I havea lot of in my drafts that'll say, don't forget my friend um Jason Mottwho just made the long list for the national book award that he is abrilliant writer. But he keeps he has his file where his novel is. And thenhe keeps, like, a like a running file of just images, sayings, ideas that heknows he wants to go into that book.

And just occasionally he'll open thatfile and say like, remember that piece of dialogue I heard I'm going to movethat to the scene and I thought that's such a great idea, It's a great idea. Ileave myself, I leave myself, don't forget, at the bottom of the okay, sowe 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, butit's only for your students, right? Like there's no yeah, I'm the alumniauthor and residents at my alma mater, which is UnC Asheville and I teach inperson uh fiction writing workshop every fall. Um But I do often times dosome online writing workshops and I have some videos that folks candownload on my website while the cash dot com. Um But I do some virtualworkshops from time to time. So I hope that uh she can jump on one of those ifI ever do that. Well, that's great. That's fantastic. Do you want to takeanother one from the people behind you? Anybody have? Yeah, no Bridget, I'm afraid. Right, Right. Fighting for anybody else, you get to pick andchoose? Mr Russian Bridget asked, is it is it different writing or creatingduring the pandemic and yeah, absolutely. It was it was it was verydifferent from from the experience of writing my other books because theworld my world became so narrow and so compressed and and and in many waysclaustrophobic. And if if readers read the opening scene of when ghosts comehome, there's a scene where our our sheriff Winston Barnes is driving outto the airport in the middle of the night and I wanted to give the readerthe impression of a tunnel that he's driving down this the main road of theisland and there there are trees around him, the moon is out. And I wanted thereader to feel like they were inside of the tunnel along with him. And thatwould kind of be the entree to the to the novel and that's how my life mylife 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'rereading for pleasure currently. Although as we've all been on book tour,you're probably reading nothing, drinking everybody working in a veryarguing a lot. And so I'm listening to the love songs of W. E. B. Du voice. Uhit's one of those looks like you're like it's not gonna be as good aseverybody says it is and then it's better. It's just amazing. It's someit's such an intimate portrait of a family on a granular level. And I'm ahuge fan of thomas Wolfe's novel novel, Look Homeward Angel. And this feelsthat that epic of a scope of getting to really know, like there's so manyscenes where I'm just cringing at conversations people are having or theway characters will treat one another badly or love one another and I'mdriving and I'm like, oh please don't say that, please take that back. Youknow, I'm rooting for them, where I'm mad at them. And then just yesterday Iwas in Nashville and I was heading out to do something. And I heard Andersoncooper with all his charm on NPR talking about his new book about theVanderbilt. So I went right now. The promise at all, Anderson cooper's bookon his launch day. So I'm sure that Anderson bought my book on my launchday. I'm sure Nash cooper, I call him Andy, but Iwant embarrassing but I hope he bought my book. Uh and I think somebody youhad a question. Yes, ma'am, mm mhm Sure, I just so thank you. Sheasked about my second novel, this Dark...

Road to Mercy, which is set in myhometown of Gastonia. And then at the closing uh scenes are in ST louis. Andshe asked if I went to ST louis to research and I did not before writingthe book. But I went on book tour in ST louis for that book. And part of it wasset in ST louis. I wrote about the ST louis Cardinals. I did daytime tv withjoe buck's sister. I was radio. I was like, today's event, Tonight's event atthe store is gonna be insane. And I went and I had two people, one of themwas there when the events started and just like sit down awkwardly because hedidn't know what else to do. And so I had the tour credit card and I said youare going to go get dinner. I've got $150 a per diem credit card. You knowwhat, what is this? The only writer in America who's allowed to have one ofthose. It actually says Rupert Murdoch on it because I'm with harper card. Iused to have a harper credit card when I was at harper. I'm this one, I waspretty sweet, I don't have one now, it's got my own name on it, which is sodisappointing. We just went next door and had dinner and drinks and it wasone of my favorite events of the entire time, like lemonade from Lemons. That'sawesome. 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 announcethat 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 haveto 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 andasleep by the bell marathon and you know how that goes and it looks like itmight ring. But that's just one of the best they say, this never happens. Thisnever happened. Yeah. This never happened. Like great. You like so muchword sharing with me. I don't have that one time and uh it wasn't very wellattended. I don't even remember where it was and the first person to come upto get their books signed. Said I just wanted to tell you that I love serenaoh round rash rash, rash, rash sounds like around were like how what's hegonna do here? And I said well I'll be honest with you, I think it's the bestbook I'm probably ever gonna write. And while it has, we went on with that is amazing. Allright, so so violent. We know you teach at UnC Asheville and I have to say thatthe beginning of this book is so masterful. I mean we've been talkingabout it, but we meet and know exactly who we need to meet. No. And yet younever tell us anything. It's just the way you unroll. It showing us is justso well done. So we all know you're a great writer and of course every weekon our show, we ask our guests for a writing tip, Would you be so kind as togive us one tonight? Sure, yeah. You know, the opening scene, I'm trying toset the expectations, the reader's expectations as soon as I can. And Iargue 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 thewhat are the rules of the Unities in the Stream or this book? I'm trying tonail all those things down as soon as possible. So, you know, immediatelythat this was a married couple, you know, immediately that one of them issick, You know that they are middle aged because they're freaking andstretching and all the stuff, you know what time it is, there's an alarm clockright there. They remark on, you know,...

...he's a sheriff. Immediately he gets inthe car and he turns on the radio and they're talking about the election whenMondale is challenging Reagan. So, you know, it's 1984 and I'm not telling youa middle aged man and woman are married on Oak Island in this 1984 in themiddle of the night. I'm just kind of walking you through this scene givingyou information so that when you're entering the dream that I'm trying tocreate for you and keep you inside of because I never want you to consciouslyask those questions. I'm trying to give you all that information before you askfor it, wow. Yeah, I'm getting in that class. I mean, I know we're already Andare you thinking about, I mean might have to pull some strings. It'shappening. You together. I'll swing up and pick you up. We'll head up backthere from there. You might be in the same state. But I know I was thinkingabout that. I mean, you could not be further apart from yeah, you're instate 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 ofyou out there, hang on. Because our co founder mary Alice is about to pop inand join us. Yes, you heard me right, so don't go anywhere but Wiley, thankyou so much for being with us. This was so fascinating. Thank you for being sohonest about how your life is part of this story, about your love for northCarolina and I know you have an audience that has been looking at yourback probably like for you to turn around. So I know there's lots ofquestions we didn't get to if you have time, maybe you can stop by the friendsand fiction page, but we are honored that you shared your public with us andI know that all our viewers have been thrilled that you showed up for us thisweek. Well, I sincerely want to thank all of you and you all are providingsuch a wonderful service to writers like me who are not quite having thebook tours that we all envision wanting to have. So thank you for bringing meon and let me talk to your readers. You're just providing such a greatservice, such great literary citizens and and leaders and it means a lot thatyou are hosting me. You are so much fun, you're sorry and I will definitely do that. He's a bigpatty 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 canfind him on instagram facebook. He travels the country doing comedy. He isbrilliantly funny, he's brilliantly funny and when I first met him, we wereat Southern Voices in Birmingham Alabama and he was with he was Wiley'sguest and he was trying to decide whether to be brave enough to go dostand up. Yeah. And I laughed so hard at his jokes. He was the head of theweekend. 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 fromGod. She's easy to be nice to. Alright, Wiley, take care. Thanks Wiley. So take care of Okay, everybody beforemary Alice joins us. We want to remind all of you out there mary Kay take itaway. What am I reminding? What am I doing?Oh I know I'm gonna talk to you about the Writer's Block podcast. We arealways gonna, don't forget to check out our friends and fiction writer's Blockpodcast which is completely, we're gonna always post the links underannouncements each time a new one drops you like how I said drops like I knowthis lingo, that's, that's podcast lingo. I've been watching um OnlyMurder 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 totallydifferent from this show. So if you like us hanging out with us here weknow you're gonna love being with us there on the writer's block everyfriday this past week, Ron and Patty talked to nat Philbrick about his booktravels with George about how Nathaniel with his wife and dog retrace GeorgeWashington's inaugural US trip. It was in this week and we, we want to give ashout out to that our buddy because he we're so happy for now we areincredible boat travels with a great, a great human being and a fascinatinghistorian and this week, Ron talks to hank Phillippi Ryan about writingthrillers. 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 seethat I'm like so happy, I love you. But I love thepodcast just in this moment of pure joy every episode. All right, It's a badheart. 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 ifyou are not hanging out with us yet and the Friends and fiction official bookClub, you are missing out the group which is separate from us and run byour 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 endand it was recorded and it's still available. So if you weren't able to bethere. But if you're interested in learning a little bit more about thestory behind that book. Head on over. And this thursday as in tomorrow ourown mary Kay andrews well, join the club at seven p.m. For a precelebration of the santa suit, which I'm so excited about. And on fridayoctober 1st, our rock star librarian Ron block will join them for happyhours. You guys, they have a lot going on as if that is not enough. Our bookclub has announced debut novel the orphan, which by page Crutcher who yousaw on our debut episode a few weeks ago That is going to be their book clubpick for spooky October so they will be discussing that book just in time forHalloween on October 25. And don't forget to join us for a special bonusepisode this sunday at five p.m. As we sit down with novelist and former CIAanalyst Karen Cleveland, who also just so happens to be Kristen Hormel'slittle sister. And next Wednesday join us right here at seven p.m. As wewelcome 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 storefor you with MK You never, never know. And in two weeks join us to meetNewbery Award winner Kwamie alexander. So I know that so many of you have beenasking about mary Alice since she took her sabbatical back in early july to doresearch in far flung places without internet. But guess what she is here totalk to us. Alan, can you bring on mary Alice. Hi girls. Oh, oh for you. I amwell 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 andfiction tonight. It really is. And to see all your faces. And um as you knowis Patty just said, I've been on a leave of absence these last two monthsand I've done a lot of research and I've started some exciting new projectsand in light of all these developments,...

I've had to make the most difficultdecision and that is to no longer continue on Friends and fiction as aweekly host. I started Friends and fiction with myFriends here during the pandemic. And it really has been the greatest joy tobe 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 connectwith all of you out there, all the readers, it's been my privilege. Ittruly has and I'm not going away completely. The good news is I'll bereturning from time to time as a guest host and I'll be back to share with thegirls any good news I have with my new books coming out and I hope you'llvisit me on my insta page and facebook and wherever to keep up with myupcoming news And speaking of exciting news, it is fun to close with this. Thefab 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 Ihope to see you there. But until then for now. Thank you all so much. I loveyou and farewell. We'll tell us a little bit about your research. Likehow 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 alldone. Uh, so that will be out next summer.But the next book is a, is a generational novel and it's set in theAce Basin and it's pretty intense and very heavy research and I'm justenjoying being able to squirrel away and to write. And it's uh, the pandemicbeing together with the show was fabulous is what I needed. And I thinkthe 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. Soit's hard when you're in odd parts of the world to hook up every Wednesdaynight. But I do look forward. We will be together. I'll see you as a guesthost 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 uswho 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 grabWiley's novel when goes come home from Parco books. That will be a link in theannouncements, mary Alice. It is so wonderful to see your face and hearabout your work. You know that you are out there, you know, doing yourresearch and that you will be back to visit us. Everyone has missed you and Ilove you all and all. Everyone out there. It's not good by itself laterand it's been a great, great joy to be part of Friends of fiction and I stillam. Yes, you are. Well, we'll miss you...

...and we're but we're glad for you inthis next chapter and uh we'll always have our turtle hats Mario. I know Ihave mine right here. I still like, I wish I would have thought in the drawerbehind me that I'm not pulling out is this nana hat for next week, but I needto find my turtle hat because I never clean my office. Sorry, that was notlike hilarious. You can tell when I'm stuck writing because I clean out myoffice hilarious, raise your hand if you do that, right. It's like theprocrastination. Yeah, I definitely need to start filing some things inother words. I alright, all of you out there, we will see you at the aftershow and come back next week. Same time. Same place as we welcome DebbieMacomber and celebrate mary Kay Andrews and that santa suit. So thanks, y'allGoodnight goodnight one. Hi guys. So that was interesting doingit 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 thenwe had kind of a bittersweet. We had to say bye to hearing Ellis by, by. Butyeah, see you later. Yeah, absolutely. I'm sure that was a hard decision tocome to you and you know, it sounds like what she needs right now andthat's good. I'm glad, you know, that's a good thing to come to a moment inyour life where you're able to say this is what I need and I don't know ifpeople really know, I mean, you know what really goes into the behind thescenes of putting together something like this and I think it probably sortof 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 definitelysometimes 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 itwas 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 justgonna, 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 forher completely. What on? She talked a little bit about being gone because ofresearch and it's been making me think about some of our immersive research. Iwant I want you all to talk about that. I always think, I think your storiesare so interesting from the police detectives to paris to north. Tell me alittle bit Vanderbilt talk to me about it. Mhm. Um Well, he's talking any ofus kristen you go you were starting you were you were on it. Um for me there's really something to besaid for being able to, I think it's probably for all of us being able toactually immerse yourself for at least a small period of time in the worldyou're writing about and, you know, kind of going back to what Wiley saidabout how the way he starts his novels is like establishing the framework fora 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 theworld to me that's why the research is so important because it's not it's notthe big things, it's not the dialogue, it's not the character, it's not all ofthat that immerses you in the novel at...

...the beginning. Those are the thingsthat drive the novel, but you need to frame that world and it's, to me it'sthe research that frames that world. So, um, so yeah, it's really important. Andand you know, I just have to say I'm pretty smart that I write books set inparis because that's what I mean to do genius. She has that sneeze and she'sso smart, so annoying. And the drums to yes, and write songs. Yeah, musicals. Iknow I'm just a one trick pony doing with my life. You guys, I know I'm justone trick pony. All I, all I do is grind out a book here. How about one ofyour immersive um research things because I know you have some great ones. Well, when I was writing, I lovedhearing while they talk about, you know, the difference between writing amystery and something he thought was not a mystery. Um when I was writingmystery, I did a lot of crazy research things like once I got myself, I didn'town a cadillac, but for the scene and the mystery I was working on, I hadsomebody needed to go into a gated subdivision and so I needed her, I cameup with the idea that she would steal a domino's pizza clamp on sign and put iton top of her car and she and her associate would go in to this gatedcommunity and then she rode in the trunk, but I needed to know communicatewith the driver from the trunk of a cadillac. So I called a friend whoactually owned a cadillac, went over there, climbed in the trunk like I loveit and talk to her. Yeah. I got myselfbooked into jail in Savannah when I was writing savannah blues. So I knew whatit was like to get booked into jail and to be issued an orange jumpsuit andworse than the orange jumpsuit is being issued rubber thongs that other peoplehave 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 justreally, uh, no, I thought it was really interesting. You know Wiley was talkingabout how he um always read about the mountains and this time he read aboutthe coast and I'm sort of the opposite. I've always written about the coast andnow I'm writing about the mountains and I actually grew up about, gosh, like 20minutes from where while he grew up, we both grew up kind of like in thepiedmont of the state. So I actually was a lot closer to the mountains andthe beach growing up. So it was an area I was really familiar with, but writingthe wedding veil, you know, did feel a little bit different because I waswriting about a place that was so geographically different and um writingabout the Vanderbilts and um you know, all of those things. And I had thisidea about how um actually just wrote about this, but I had an idea of how Iwas going to write this book about biltmore in the Vanderbilts and I wasgoing to have this year round passed and I was gonna go to Asheville like amillion 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 umunfortunately, you know, I mean, even when I did get to go, it was crazy. Imean, it was um it felt really weird to like be in this place, all these peoplethat everyone's masked. And unfortunately I was the places that Iwas writing about interestingly enough are largely not the places that you seeon the tour. Um so that was actually kind of good because I could sort ofsneak around in these like, back...

...hallways and uh passageways and thingsthat you wouldn't necessarily see otherwise. Um but it was a differentexperience than I thought I was going to have, and but I think what was evenmore gratifying, I mean, obviously had been to build more a lot growing up andthen I had been um right before I started writing this book, which waswhat kind of sparked the idea for the story. And so it wasn't like, a placeI'd never been before, I couldn't visualize. But there was somethingreally cool about diving so deeply into this research with, you know,librarians and historians and all these people for so long, and then going tothe house and seeing it in this completely different way. Um and reallybeing able to imagine the way that people actually live their lives, theirversus, 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, forme, there's there's things that we research in every single book that weright, But you know, that being my first, like, my first time writingabout a real historical place with you people who actually were alive andlived, it was a vastly different experience for me. I don't know how youguys do it all the time. It's very hard. Um and I think what makes it evenharder is that especially with people like the Vanderbilts there so much. I'mtalking too long, I'm sorry, I'm saying this, but there's they were written so muchabout in like, gossip columns and things like that, that it's really hardto separate fact from fiction because a lot of times, these huge stories wouldbe in these papers about them and they aren't marked just like, gossip columnsor something that isn't necessarily real. And so, um a lot of times, Ifound myself just having to kind of like make my best guess or choose theversion of the story that my book the very best because, you know, I wouldjust get these vastly different things and, and you know, it's like anythingelse. I mean biltmore has a narrative that um, that they have woven obviouslybecause they're this huge tourist attraction and um, so it's just, it wasreally interesting just to kind of see all the different things that come intoplay when you're trying to research people who, um, you know, are no longerhere. The, the deep research that we all doin different ways mary Alice is doing it with, you know, nature, but we'veall hunkered down visited the places. And I feel like almost every time youdo that, you just, every time I do that and I know you feel the same way everytime you do that we discovered like this little nugget, whether it's aplastic shoes or notice how such, so you find this little nugget thatcompletely shifts the story. Yeah, that's what brings it alive. You'retotally right. It's those little nuggets of detail that you can onlyexperience firsthand. That's how you experienced that writing survivingsavannah, God. Oh gosh, yes, I mean, so, and mrs lewis, I mean like Boots on theground. So, Boots on the ground. So everybody out there. It has been anincredible night. I'm and also sad and also, um, moving, its then all thethings 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 saylong after you want us to be we'll still be here doing this like God, arethere any other authors for them to interview? We're gonna we're gonnastart having to interview. Yeah, I'm not going to say that. So yeah, we areimpressive. I see you've written for your first grade class, would you liketo talk about? So my little grandchild, Bridget tell us about that story youjust made up. So what our tagline says...

...endless stories, right? And the storiesare endless. There's so much to talk about. It will never run out of booksto read. Will never run out of stories to tell in books to love and authors totalk to and we will always be here. We I mean yeah, we're here when you wefeel 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 weshould mention that um coming up soon, we're going to have the best sellingauthor of everybody poops. I we have to find out who that author is. We'll beproviding that author with rubber songs just a so right is just or this headsinto 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. Ilove you. I love you too. Goodnight. You guys not, y'all like, thank you for tuning in, Join us everyweek on Facebook or YouTube where our live show airs every Wednesday night atseven p.m. eastern time and please subscribe to our podcast and follow uson instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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