June 2, 2021 | Issue #44
Five Facts from Our Friend, Mary Bly
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without during the pandemic:
Your perfect day:
My perfect day takes place on the island of Elba with my entire family. We spend the day at the beach, swimming, reading, and collecting sea glass; in the evening, we sit down in the courtyard of a tiny, weather-beaten restaurant. We eat home-made pasta, watching the chef as French pop songs spill from the kitchen window. We talk... but the words slip away in a haze of Elba wine and happiness. 
Your favorite independent bookstore:
Book Culture in New York City
The last book you raved about: 
Your next book in ten words or less: 
 A historical romance called How to Be a Wallflower (written as Eloisa James).
Five Facts from Our Friend, Sonali Dev
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without during the pandemic:
My husband? (Cheesy answer alert!) We celebrated 25 years of being married during the pandemic but he's travelled for work every week through our entire marriage. Until the pandemic, I used to love to joke that our marriage works so well because we're only in the same place on weekends and vacations. I've been happy to learn that wasn't true.

Your perfect day:
Writing on a beach all by myself and then being joined by family and friends for a meal after.
Your favorite independent bookstore:
Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL.
The last book you raved about:
The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
Your next book in ten words or less:
The West Wing Meets Jane Austen with an Indian American twist.
Bookseller of the Week
Our featured independent bookseller of the week is Book Culture. With three locations in New York City, Book Culture is many things to many people—a hub for Columbia University, a community bookstore, and a meeting place, featuring new and classic fiction and nonfiction and a whimsical children's reading room. Get 10% off at Book Culture with the code FF21 on LIZZIE AND DANTE (in stores June 1!) by Mary Bly (aka Eloisa James), and on the pre-order for INCENSE AND SENSIBILITY (coming July 6th) by Sonali Dev—as well as on other new and recent titles from our guests and the Fab Five. Visit the specially curated F&F page on the Book Culture website to SHOP NOW!
Meet Our New Partner!
Beginning NOW we are kicking off “The Summer of Storypoint” on Friends & Fiction! Each week, the after-show will be called “Sip & Stay with Storypoint” and will be sponsored by Storypoint Wines. This distinctive collection of flavorful wines—Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay—from California’s best growing regions, seeks to champion stories that inspire. After all, many great stories and ideas unfold over a shared bottle of wine. The experience of a wine—like that of a good book—should tell you something, invite you to discover new things, and surprise you. So, stick around after the show each week all summer long where we will indulge in stories, sips, and surprises!

Become a Storypoint Insider. Subscribe to their Newsletter. Follow Storypoint on Facebook & Instagram. (Must be 21 to follow)
Latest News From "The Fab Five"

KRISTIN HARMEL is thrilled and honored to share that THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES, which debuted in paperback last week, is Costco’s Buyer’s Pick (the chain’s book of the month) for June! Look for it in Costco stores (and everywhere books are sold) nationwide! 

MARY ALICE MONROE was thrilled to be interviewed with the renowned Walter Edgar on SC Public Radio program "Walter Edgar's Journal" for an in-depth discussion called A Year Like No Other and The Summer of Lost and Found. Listen here. She was also the featured podcast guest on "Get 2 Know", a podcast hosted by WCBD News 2’s Chief Meteorologist Rob Fowler, which features interviews with people in the Charleston, SC community. Listen here. Our F&F friend NYT bestselling author Caroline Leavitt interviewed MAM on A Mighty Blaze for their 'Friday Frontliner' conversation. Watch here. F&F friend NYT Bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan & Hannah Mary McKinnon hosted a live reading of THE SUMMER OF LOST AND FOUND on First Chapter Fun. Check it out on their FB Group Page here

MARY KAY ANDREWS finally achieved Southern Street Cred with Southern Living’s inclusion of The Newcomer in the magazine’s June “Best of Summer”issue. The book was featured in the magazine’s Grapevine section under “6 Beach Reads That Feel Like an Escape.” She and Mr. MKA finished the restoration and furnishing of Coquina Cottage, the latest addition to their vacation rental MKA Cottage Collection. You can watch a tour of the restored 1935 cottage on her Instagram page, and find all the rental details HERE
KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY is so thrilled that UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY is one of Off The Shelf’s Emotional Beach Reads “Shore” to Tug at Your Heart Strings--and is hoping to read a few of the other books on the list while doing a little beach reading of her own!

PATTI CALLAHAN will be shooting a secret TV-show spot for Surviving Savannah at the Ships of the Sea Museum -- more news coming so watch out! And did you know about the podcast for Surviving Savannah -- if you want to take a deeper dive into the true women of history and how they survived the surviving then give it a listen! Patti was also featured in the June issue of Nantucket Magazine with Surviving Savannah listed as one of the must read books of summer! The Augusta Chronicle penned a beautiful piece about Reunion Beach as ‘ beach perfect prose”. 
An Original Essay by

Each week, the Friends & Fiction authors take turns
writing an essay for, the online home of Parade magazine.This week, Kristin Harmel shares a column on lessons about kindness learned from the pandemic.

Last summer, my husband, Jason, and I agonized over whether we should send our son, Noah, then 4, back to school. The pandemic was raging and case numbers didn’t look great where we live in Florida, but it was to be his last year at his beloved preschool before kindergarten.

There were no right choices. Sending him wouldn’t have been wrong. Keeping him home wouldn’t have been wrong. Around the world, parents like us found themselves in entirely new territory, making decisions we never expected to make, decisions we probably weren’t really equipped to make. But Jason and I weighed the options and decided to take a wait-and-see approach. We would register Noah for school, but we’d keep him home for the time being, until the numbers got significantly better.

And then they never did. Sure, they improved a bit, then got worse again. They never came down to levels we felt comfortable with. And meanwhile, the weeks, and then the months, kept ticking by.
The guilt kept me up at night. I was trying to make the decision I felt was best for my child, and I understood how lucky I was that I had the ability to choose; since I work from home, my hours were flexible enough to accommodate change. I know that many others had different situations and no choice but to send their kids back, even if they didn’t feel entirely comfortable. But by keeping Noah home, what was I taking away from him? I felt like I could handle the academic side of things through creating a curriculum we could work on together—his school didn’t offer a virtual option. But what about the social lessons that come with being around other kids? What about the learning of increased autonomy and responsibilities in the classroom? What about the pure fun of being with a bunch of 4- and 5-year-olds?

None of those were things I could give him. Was I robbing him of a developmentally important childhood experience? Was I stripping him of an opportunity for joy?

To continue reading Kristin’s essay on, click HERE.
Listen to the F&F Podcast!

Coming soon! Out this Friday, June 4th!
S1E14—Mary Alice celebrates June is Audiobooks Month with Penguin Random House audiobook producer Dan Zitt and award-winning audiobook narrator, Cassandra Campbell.

Out Now! S1E13—Patti & Mary Alice interview authors Signe Pike and Rebecca Bruff about writing fiction based on real people.

Out Now! S1E12—Kristin interviews two different pairs of authors who both write as a team. Meet Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb (authors of Three Words for Goodbye) and Christina Lauren, author of The Soulmate Equation.

BIG PODCAST NEWS! Starting Friday, June 11th, not-so-new kid on the F&F block, librarian extraordinaire, Ron Block starts up with our newly freshened-up, NOW WEEKLY podcast which we are re-naming the Friends & Fiction Writers' Block Podcast with Ron Block! Look for new episodes every single Friday from now on!

Listen, download, subscribe, rate, review & share wherever you get your podcasts!
News from the F&F Official Book Club
We are excited to announce our monthly book club schedule through January 2022! Can't wait to discuss the selections below with our fabulous authors & book club members! All sessions are at 7 pm ET.
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
Sept 20: The Bookshop at Water's End with Patti Callahan Henry
Oct 18: Second Star to the Right with Mary Alice Monroe
Nov 15: Once Upon a Wardrobe with Patti Callahan Henry
Dec 6: The Santa Suit with Mary Kay Andrews
Dec 20: Christmas in Peachtree Bluff with Kristy Woodson Harvey
Jan 17, 2022: The Sweetness of Forgetting with Kristin Harmel
If you missed our hilarious book club discussion of Under The Southern Sky with Kristy Woodson Harvey, click HERE to see it!
And Now a Word from our Partners
We are so pleased to partner with Mama Geraldine's Bodacious Foods! Not only is Mama Geraldine's the maker of the world's most delicious (and this country's bestselling!) cheese straw, they're also a woman-owned business. And we can really get behind that! Try their six flavors of cheese straws and their oh-so-delicious cookies. Get 20% off your online order at with the code FABFIVE. SHOP NOW!

Follow Mama Geraldine's on Facebook & Instagram!
Friends & Fiction Merchandise
Our merch is here!

Cozy cotton with a flattering v-neck and our signature Friends & Fiction logo, these comfy
t-shirts are the perfect way to show your
Friends & Fiction pride! ORDER T-SHIRTS HERE
Friends & Fiction wine sippies are available for preorder and will be shipping soon from Oxford Exchange! ORDER WINE TUMBLERS HERE.

But that’s not all! We also have F&F 20oz travel tumblers for on-the-go coffee of drinks! ORDER TRAVEL TUMBLERS HERE.
We can’t wait to see you model your merch!