April 14, 2021 | Issue #37
Five Facts from Our Friend, Jodi Picoult
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without during the pandemic:
My hikes. I have asthma and haven’t been to a grocery store or anywhere else since last March, but I take socially distanced eight mile hikes every day with friends in the hills behind my house. 
Your perfect day:
Starts with a mile-long swim in an Olympic sized pool where no one else is in my lap lane. Then I do the NYT Crossword on a beach in Turks and Caicos with my son Kyle, and we are joined by my husband and the rest of my kids and their partners. And I get to read an excellent book.
Your favorite independent bookstore:
I have so many! But I’ll have to say The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich VT, and Still North Books in Hanover, NH, because they’re my hometown indies.
The last book you raved about:
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams. It’s not out yet, but when it is, you need to read it immediately. 
Your next book in ten words or less:
(Spoiler alert, it’s not a book. It’s a musical that will be streamed in May, called BREATHE) Five different couples experience COVID, as chronicled by five songwriting teams.
Bookseller of the Week
Our featured independent bookseller of the week is Still North Books & Bar in downtown Hanover, New Hampshire. Located just two blocks from Dartmouth’s campus, Still North features a curated book selection, a diverse craft beer and wine list, the best coffee in town, and a light bite menu of local, seasonal foods made entirely in-house. Get 10% off this week on featured titles with the CODE FF0421. Discounted books include new and recent titles from our guest Jodi Picoult, as well as those from the Fab Five. Visit the specially curated F&F page on Still North's website to SHOP NOW! 
Enter to Win!
It's Friends & Fiction's first birthday, but we want YOU to have the cake—and coffee—too! Enter to win a signature cake of your choice from Caroline's Cakes and a gift box from Charleston Coffee Roasters containing a 12oz bag of Mary Alice Monroe's Beach House Blend and a mug—PLUS we will throw in any book by the Fab Five of the winner's choice. Enter by midnight ET on Sun 4/18. One lucky winner will be chosen at random and contacted on Monday April 19, 2021. When the winner is contacted, they'll have the opportunity to choose which book they'd like to receive with their cake & coffee. GOOD LUCK! ENTER HERE!
Then stay tuned for a new giveaway each week all month long!
An Original Essay by Kristin Harmel

Each week, the Friends & Fiction authors take turns writing an essay for, the online home of Parade magazine.This week, Kristin shares a column on

When VaLinda Miller opened Turning Page Bookshop in Goose Creek, S.C., in June 2019, she was still paying off the debt she’d accrued from owning another bookstore, The Booksmith, more than 200 miles away in Seneca, S.C. It was a leap back into a world she loved, but a leap that felt worthwhile to the Washington, D.C., native.

“I’m trying to give people back the gift of reading,” Miller says. “I’m trying to get kids and parents to realize they’ve got to go back to holding a book.”

What she didn’t count on was a worldwide pandemic forcing her to close the doors to her brand-new business just nine months later, throwing all her plans into disarray.

Miller is not alone. Across the country, thousands of independent bookstores—and millions of other locally owned businesses—have struggled enormously over the past year. Yes, there were grants and loans available—Miller, for example, received an $800 grant from author James Patterson, $1,000 from local organization Lowcountry Local First, and $3,000 from payment processing company Square, plus a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan—but it hasn’t been enough.

On April 24, the United States will celebrate Independent Bookstore Day...

To continue reading Kristin’s essay on, click HERE.
Latest News From "The Fab Five"

KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY is SO EXCITED that her next novel, UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY releases next Tuesday, April 20. She is on her way to Palmetto Bluff for her first event with one Ms. Patti Callahan Henry—and would love to see you in real life or virtually! For all tour dates visit her website. And make sure you don’t miss her launch episode of Friends & Fiction next week, live at 7, with fun giveaways and special guests! In the meantime, take her “Which UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY Character Are You?” Quiz, so you’ll be ready!

MARY KAY ANDREWS is thrilled and relieved that the book tour for THE NEWCOMER is finally all planned out. Check her website, Facebook & Instagram for all the virtual and in-person event details. The countdown to pub day is on! Just a few more weeks!

MARY ALICE MONROE is thrilled that her Beach House Blend coffee launched yesterday with Charleston Coffee Roasters. You can now purchase the coffee alone or as part of all manner of gift sets including with a mug and/or with copies of her Beach House series of novels. She is also gearing up for her book tour for THE SUMMER OF LOST & FOUND. Check out her website for all the details.
KRISTIN HARMEL is giving The Forest of Vanishing Stars one last look this week before it's sent to be printed, and she's looking forward to celebrating Kristy's launch of Under the Southern Sky next week! Kristy and Kristin worked hard on the script for Kristy's launch episode, and they have a few fun surprises in store, so be sure to join Friends & Fiction next Wednesday, April 21, at 7pm to be a part of the fun!

PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY Patti is so thrilled that for the fourth week in a row Surviving Savannah is a SIBA Bestseller — thank you Independent Bookstores and you! And Patti came home from visiting her daughter to not only our one year birthday cake — which you’ll see tonight — but the advance reader copies for Once Upon a Wardrobe. To say she was excited is a bit of an understatement. She can’t wait to share it with all of you! 
Listen to the F&F Podcast!

In our latest episode, Kristy and Patti sit down with Jessica Strawser, author of A Million Reasons Why.
Coming soon to the podcast:
Mary Kay & Mary Alice interview Zibby Owens
Kristy interviews Anna North
Patti & Mary Kay interview Jen Hart from Book Club Girl
Listen, download, subscribe, rate, review & share wherever you get your podcasts.
News from the F&F Official Book Club
Mark your calendars for these upcoming book club discussions. All events below take place at 7pm ET unless listed otherwise. 
April 19: Surviving Savannah with Patti Callahan Henry
April 20: 6pm ET: Pub day celebration with Kristy Woodson Harvey
April 30: 7:30pm ET: Virtual Happy Hour with Ron Block! We announce our schedule for the rest of the year, discuss our summer book picks and we have a few never know who will join us for a drink🍹
May 7: Happy Hour Luau with Mary Alice Monroe celebrating the release of The Summer of Lost and Found 
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
And Now a Word from our Partners

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Kristin recommends Little Pieces of Me by Alison Hammer (who has been a Friends & Fiction guest). While we usually use this spot to tell you about a debut, Alison's first novel (You and Me and Us) came out last year, just two weeks into the pandemic shutdown, which meant that her whole tour was canceled, it was too early for bookstores to be pivoting to virtual events, and she essentially missed the whole debut experience. And then, Alison did the virtually impossible; she wrote a second novel that was every bit as good and tear-inducing as the first. Though not a debut, this will be Alison's first real experience touring (virtually, anyhow!) with a book, and Kristin hopes you'll consider tuning in to one of her events of picking the novel up. In a starred review, Library Journal says, "Hammer’s second novel (after You and Me and Us) explores the true meaning of family in a timely, thought-provoking story of identity and self-discovery." Kristin agrees entirely; she read the book in a day, gulping down the beautiful storyline and falling in love with the complex, compelling characters. As the book opens, Paige Meyer, who is still grieving the death of her beloved father, gets an email from a DNA testing testing site announcing that, in fact, her father is a man she has never heard of. As she begins digging into her mother's past (which unfolds fascinatingly in a separate narrative), she finds things she didn't expect--and she must come to terms with secrets kept for years, and the fact that perhaps her life isn't as straightforward as she thinks. You won't want to miss this one!