September 16, 2020 | Issue #7
Five Facts From Our Friend, Signe Pike
The one thing you can’t live without in quarantine:
A shower. If I have a shower at the end of the day, no matter what happened, I feel like I can start the next day anew.

Your perfect day:
Morning walk, coffee and breakfast on the screen porch, plans with friends to look forward to.

Your favorite independent bookstore:
This is like asking a mother who her favorite child is! Tie for Blue Bicycle and Buxton Books in Charleston, SC. But then there's FoxTale Book Shoppe, Litchfield Books and M. Judson, all are little heavens upon earth. Do you see my dilemma 

The last book you raved about:
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane.

Your next book in ten words or less:
The final novel in The Lost Queen trilogy.
Bookseller of the Week
This week's featured bookseller is BLUE BICYCLE BOOKS in Charleston, SC! Founded in 1995 as Boomer’s Books by Lee and Jim Breeden, the store was renamed Blue Bicycle Books in April 2007 when local writer and longtime employee Jonathan Sanchez bought the store. They are the founders and home of YALLFest, the world's largest young adult book festival, and host the popular Write of Summer camp for kids, as well as an author luncheon series and many other events. They are offering all of you 10% off books by the 5 F&F hosts & our guest, Signe Pike with the code FRIENDS.
Debut Spotlight
In this gorgeously envisioned debut, set as the emergence of electricity and women’s desire for political, cultural, and sexual power electrified the country, a young woman’s rise to Vaudeville fame exposes secrets of her family’s past—and the keys to her own future. Released last year in hardcover, THE MAGNETIC GIRL by Jessica Handler just came out in trade paperback on September 8th. Met with rave reviews and named winner of the 2020 Southern Book Prize, The Magnetic Girl was also an Indie Next Pick, one of the Atlanta Journal Constitution's "South's 10 best books of 2019," a finalist for the Townsend Prize, a Wall Street Journal Spring Pick, and an Okra Pick from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.
Up Close with Patti Callahan Henry
I just hit SEND on my page proof changes and I started thinking a lot about how many times we here at Friends and Fiction celebrate “finishing” a novel, or novella, or short story. We celebrate when we finish the rough draft. Then the first read, then the second and third (and sometimes on and on), and then the copy edits, and then, as I’m doing now, the page proofs. And yet each of those (until printed book) isn’t “finished." Each of those stages is a “the end” that isn’t really “the end.”

We are always telling you amazing readers and watchers out there about our small celebrations of endings. But in truth, each little “the end” until the big “The End” is a beginning: the beginning of the next part of editing or reading or finishing or freaking out.

We think we are done, and then we find another mistake or another chapter we need to add, or another page of dialogue that isn’t in the right place. Or if you’re like most of us here on Friends and Fiction, we discover our timeline is a bit (or a lot) off. So we aren’t quite as close to “the end” as we’d assumed.

These past two weeks, I’ve been reading out loud through my page proofs for Surviving Savannah (coming March 9th, 2021). I’ve been reading them to myself (no one else needs to hear me read this out loud – trust me on this) and I’ve been catching errors like gnats on a summer night coming for the lantern light. I kept thinking – Aghh, just when I thought I was finished, I am NOT finished.

 “Oh, I should add that,” and “Ooooh, I should delete that.” I read an article and want to add a chapter. I talk to an expert and realize I messed up the dive scene. It goes on and on. Only love could keep one doing such a thing as this – going back again and again to an end that seems to never be the end.

But it’s the same as anything else in our lives, I think, the end is rarely the end. It’s finished “for now” until the next thing pops up like a life of whack a mole. This Pandemic, it never seems to end, but it will, right? But even when it ends, we will be altered and changed forever by it. Our books, too. They will be finished and bound and out into the world. There is a due date and a printing date and a pub date.

Then, even then, it won’t be finished, because at publication it belongs to you. It becomes, as Madeleine L’Engle says, a bridge between reader and writer.

And then…I’ll begin another book so I can find “the end” to begin again.

Life, exactly.
We're Now a Podcast!

We're so excited to announce that Friends & Fiction is officially available as a podcast!

Never fear! Our weekly web show on Facebook Live is not going anywhere! But we have been working hard to produce our episodes in audio-only format. So, the episodes we've recorded will be up on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and all other major podcasting platforms.

Not in front of the computer? Pop in your ear buds and listen in. Have a road trip planned? Take Friends & Fiction along for the ride!

News from the F&F Official Book Club
This past Monday night, FRIENDS AND FICTION Official Book Club hosted Mary Alice Monroe to discuss her new novel, On Ocean Boulevard, the book club's September pick. If you missed the discussion live, you can watch it on their Facebook page HERE.

Next month's pick will be Patti's BECOMING MRS. LEWIS. The Facebook Live meeting featuring Patti will be held on Monday, Oct. 19, so you have plenty of time to read the book!