February 10, 2021 | Issue #28
Five Facts from Our Friend, Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without during the pandemic:
A good Zoom light. #vanity

Your perfect day:
Bundling up for an early morning beach walk followed by my disgustingly healthy breakfast. (Emphasis on disgusting.) A lovely cup of black tea while I Facetime with one of my kids or grandkids. Maybe few hours of writing, but only if it’s going well, followed by nagging Mr. Bill about whatever is on my mind, just to entertain myself. Another few hours of uninterrupted reading, followed by a disgustingly healthy dinner. (Ideally, I wouldn’t have cooked it, but this being a pandemic, I definitely have cooked it.). Doing the NYT crossword with Mr. Bill if he’s still speaking to me, a little Netflix, early to bed. Yep, I’m a real party girl.

Your favorite independent bookstore:
Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Illinois. A great store!

The last book you raved about:
Only one? I’m not playing your sadistic game. Kristin Harmel’s The Book of Lost Names; Megan Chance’s A Splendid Ruin; Jayne Ann Krentz’s All the Colors of the Night; Soniah Kamal’s Unmarriageable. As for a book I didn’t love—Nevermind.

Your next book in ten words or less:
When Stars Collide—The Diva Meets the Quarterback. Chicago Star Rom Com! (12 words. You guys are tough.)
Bookseller of the Week
Our featured independent bookseller of the week is BookTowne. Located on the bustling Main Street of Manasquan, NJ, BookTowne is the Jersey Shore’s hometown bookstore known for their wide selection, great gifts, and fun events—including those with the Brielle Library. With a motto like “Good Friends Meet Good Books,” they’re the perfect partner for F&F! Get 10% off with the code FRIENDS this week on our guest Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s forthcoming WHEN STARS COLLIDE and her current paperback DANCE AWAY WITH ME as well as on recent and upcoming books by the Fab Five! SHOP NOW!   
Up Close and Personal with Mary Kay Andrews

Each week, the Friends & Fiction authors will take turns writing an essay for, the online home of Parade magazine. This week, Mary Kay Andrews kicks us off with a column about how—back in April 2020—five authors you know well decided to take the pandemic’s lemons and make lemonade....
Late last winter, when news of the pandemic struck and the world was thrown into lockdown mode, my author pals and I were first panic-stricken, and then crushed. All five of us—Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Patti Callahan Henry, Mary Alice Monroe and I—had spring and summer books about to be released, and our long-planned book tours were unceremoniously canceled.
Of course, like the rest of the world, we were terrified of this virus that was spreading death, despair and economic hardship across the globe. We were terrified for ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. And yes, we were anxious about the fate of the books we’d spent months or years birthing, and about independent booksellers, whom we knew would soon struggle to survive.
Out of desperation, we got on a Friday afternoon happy hour Zoom call—to commiserate, yes, but more importantly, to try to tap into our collective knowledge of the book publishing world. After all, with more than 90 books between us, we had to believe we could come up with something. Right?... 
To continue reading Mary Kay Andrews’s essay on, click HERE.
And Now a Word from our Partners

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Latest News From "The Fab Five"

MARY KAY ANDREWS, who is working on her novel for summer 2022, about a woman who uncovers a mystery while restoring a crumbling beach cottage on Tybee Island, actually uncovered a real-life mystery while renovating her newest old beach cottage on Tybee. Savannah’s local CBS affiliate WTOC came out and covered the story for local TV. You can see the news clip about The Mystery of The Wallet in The Wall HERE. Spoiler alert: No actual body was found.

On tonight’s show, PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY will be premiering the book trailer for Surviving Savannah! She’s been busy signing hundreds of finished copies for bookstores (including for our Oxford Exchange F&F Firsts subscribers!). And she’s putting the finishing touches on her virtual book tour. Stay tuned for news and updates! 

KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY is reveling in the glow of her very first starred review from Publishers Weekly for her forthcoming Under the Southern Sky (April 20, 2021.) PW said, "Fans of women’s fiction will devour this.” Thanks for those of you who were on the after show last week, cheering her on as she got the news. Also! Under the Southern Sky and MKA’s The Newcomer were both named to Country Living’s list of “20 New Books You Don’t Want to Miss This Spring.”

KRISTIN HARMEL—who grew up in Tampa Bay—will be busy this week reveling in the Bucs' Super Bowl win. When she's not gushing about Brady and the Bucs, she'll be working on her Parade magazine essay for next Wednesday, which includes a little peek behind the scenes at one of the interviews she conducted for The Forest of Vanishing Stars. (Did she mention.... "Go Bucs!")

MARY ALICE MONROE was featured in Charleston Style and Design Magazine where she talks about her long career.
News from the F&F Official Book Club
Mark your calendars for these upcoming book club discussions!

Feb. 15: The Winemaker's Wife with Kristin Harmel, plus a guest appearance by Patti Callahan Henry to preview Surviving Savannah
Feb. 19: Join Brenda & Lisa for a Happy Hour with Ron Block🍸. Details to come on the book club page...
March 15: The Book Club with Mary Alice Monroe, plus a guest appearance by Kristy Woodson Harvey to preview Under the Southern Sky
April 19: Surviving Savannah with Patti Callahan Henry
May 17: Under the Southern Sky with Kristy Woodson Harvey
June 21: The Newcomer with Mary Kay Andrews
July 19: The Summer of Lost and Found with Mary Alice Monroe
Aug. 16: The Forest of Vanishing Stars with Kristin Harmel

We kicked off our first 2021 book club discussion on Monday January 18th with Mary Kay Andrews discussing of Ladies Night. Click HERE to see the replay.

We are so excited that our book club has reached 4,000 members! Click here to join The F&F Official Book Club!  We would love to have you!
Listen to the F&F Podcast!

In a brand new episode of the F&F podcast just posted Friday, Mary Kay and Mary Alice interview author Marie Benedict about her new novel, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie.

LISTEN to our latest episode here:
or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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