Jul 31, 2020 • 43M

Episode 222 #HomagetoJane: Talking Jane Austen with Sonali Dev

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

Hey campers—I hate reading you all a canned intro to our authors every time, so I’m winging it with our guest, Sonali Dev. I’m a fan of hers, so I feel like I know all the things. She’s the author of four straight-up romances, but her last-book-but one is the start of a series written in homage to Jane Austen, as is her latest, both set among the members of a politically ambitious Indian family in California. Why Jane Austen? Because, as Sonali says, “those were the first books I read about women wanting things and getting them. Instead of ending up crazy or dead.”

We talk the pros and cons of writing from such revered material, whether readers are “looking for Lydia,” the need to make your heroine “likeable” (pro tip: the female Darcy is hard sledding) and supplying recipes for hungry readers.

Links from the pod:

Sonali Dev on IG

Newsletter with a recipe booklet, recommendations, and a really bad joke.


Sonali: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan

KJ: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

Perfect Happiness by Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Sarina: Pale Rider by Laura Spinney

The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

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KJ Dell'Antonia 0:00

Hello fellow writers, we have an interview for you with Sonali Dev whose Bollywood romances have always reflected her love of all things Jane Austen, and whose latest books are all in on that passion. If you're all in with books, reading, and writing, you might want to check out the latest book from Jennie Nash at our sponsor, Author Accelerator - Read Books All Day and Get Paid For It: The Business of Book Coaching. You can find that and more at authoraccelerator.com. Is it recording?

Jess Lahey 0:30

Now it's recording.

KJ Dell'Antonia 0:33

This is the part where I stare blankly at the microphone and try to remember what I'm supposed to be doing.

Jess Lahey 0:37

Alright, let's start over.

KJ Dell'Antonia 0:38

Awkward pause. I'm gonna rustle some papers. Okay, now one, two, three. Hey, I'm KJ Dell'Antonia and this is #AmWriting the weekly podcast about writing all the things, fiction, nonfiction, short pieces, long pieces, proposals, pitches, you are allowed to start to write things that do not start with P, although I may not list them here. And in short, we are the podcast about sitting down and getting your work done.

Sarina Bowen 1:14

I'm Sarina Bowen, I am trying to get the work done this week on romance novel number 36. And you can find more about me at sarinabowen.com.

KJ Dell'Antonia 1:25

And I am KJ Dell'Antonia. I'm the author of the novel The Chicken Sisters, and you heard it here first, I don't know when it's coming out. We've just delayed that puppy from this summer into the future. Not the indefinite future, but I don't know what kind of future. So everybody's talking me off the ledge because I'm not super happy about it, but it is what it is and when it comes out, it's gonna be great. It really is. I'm also the author of How to Be a Happier Parent, which did come out in paperback this summer. I'm a former editor of The Motherlode blog at the New York Times and still sometimes a contributor there. And you'll find me bookstagramming on Instagram at kjda. And we have a guest today that I'm really excited about. So I hate reading everybody the canned intro to the authors all the time, where I sort of just suck pieces off of their websites. So I'm sorry, guest Sonali Dev, I'm revealing your identity. I'm just gonna riff, because I am a fan and I feel like I know all the things without having to write them down. So Sonali Dev is our guest today. She is the author of four straight up Bollywood style romances, but her last book (but before this one) was a take on Pride and Prejudice. And this one, the current book, which is called Recipe for Persuasion follows the arc of the Jane Austen book Persuasion. And we're gonna talk about that and all kinds of things. And Sonali, I'm so excited that you're here.

Somali Dev 3:14

Thank you so much for having me. And I think what I like to call it is an homage to not even an homage to the novel, but an homage to what I learned personally from the novel as a young girl growing up. So it's inspired by, and it's an homage to, her work.

KJ Dell'Antonia 3:33

That completely works and I have not yet finished Persuasion, although I am deep, deep, deep into it. And I absolutely gobbled Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors. And I think you're not someone that sticks tightly to what's been done before in any way and that's what makes them so good.

Somali Dev 3:51

Yeah, not even close. I mean, that's not even my intent ever. You know, these are completely my stories. There's no doubt and like I said, what they are to me is not even really so much about the story, but what I learned from that story, and what it made me, and what it makes me want to say. And so they're absolutely my stories, but it very much is paying homage to her original stories.

Sarina Bowen 4:22

And how did you decide to do that? Like it's a big, difficult task to nod at this work that you already love so much. So what was the deciding factor for you that this would be your next big series of projects?

Somali Dev 4:38

So, it's really strange because you know how we have those childhood dreams that are grand, like the Oscar speeches we give in front of mirrors and things like that. You know, where you dream you're going to do something and Jane Austen was one of my earliest favorites. She was, I think, a very strong influence on me as a young girl, because what I saw in her books was aligned very closely with who I was on the inside, but who I was not being reinforced by the stories in my world. I grew up in India, and the stories we were hearing rarely were about women wanting things and getting them. And so that in Jane Austen's work spoke to me, because you know, her heroines at a time when there was nothing in their world telling them they were worthy of anything considered themselves worthy of getting love, and they didn't end up either crazy or dead, like all the other classics. So from a very early age, and I also dreamed of being a "big fancy author" sitting in my big fancy cottage by the beach and writing, you know, that was my faraway dream as a little girl. And so very early - like I couldn't even tell you where the genesis of that idea was - but very early I knew I wanted to tell her stories my way and then as I started to take the publishing journey seriously and I became a published author, it was always very front and center in my mind. And as that idea had taken taken shape and become real I knew that I wanted to take these four novels, which are my favorite four novels, and tell them under one story umbrella. And I also wanted them to be entirely my stories, while still being very much nods to her. And so all of that was just always in my head. And I think in 2013, I sold my first book and had my first agent. And at the time we had sold the first two Bollywood books and you know how agents and authors who want a career, kind of want to stay a few steps ahead. And when we were having that conversation, I told her about this idea. And her reaction in a very casually dismissive way was that Austen doesn't sell, so we're not going to do that. And even for a second that didn't dissuade me, which kind of tells you how much a part of me this was. So, you know, it was always something I was going to do, no matter who else was on that train or not. So it was just somehow (and I think that has to do with how much of an influence she was for me as a woman and as a person growing up). So I always knew I was going to do this.

KJ Dell'Antonia 8:01

Wow. If we read your first four books really carefully knowing this now, would we see hint? I think you see hints of Darcy, for example, in something that I'm writing now. And I'm aware of it. And it's not an homage, it's not anything, it's just some of the ways that he interacted with Elizabeth are reflected in what I'm working in. So would we find them? Would we find little clues?

Somali Dev 8:29

I think you would be hard pressed not to find some influence of her in any romance novel. So definitely. In fact, I think when I was selling Bollywood Bride, my hook was (of all things) Wuthering Heights meets Monsoon Wedding. I think the things that we read as children... The other day I was talking to someone and when this person read Bollywood Bride they got a Jane Eyre sense and I think that has to do with the fact that there is a crazy lady in the attic. Like you can't write a bad arrogant, bad proposal without invoking Jane Austen, there's just no way to do it. You can't write an arrogant man without invoking Darcy. And so, yeah for sure, I think you see that in those books. I think how you see it more is in the voice. And there's a little bit of cynicism in all my writing. This need to laugh at the world we live in was something I think again was reinforced by Jane Austen and by PG Woodhouse. And you know, those authors that I read as a child like we live in this world and it's flippin ridiculous and that it's okay to live in it and yet find it completely ridiculous was something (again) that felt okay because I read these books young. And I think if you looked you would find in a lot of the inner dialogue and the narrative of all of my books is the fact that all is not well with our world and it's kind of ridiculous.

Sarina Bowen 10:40

Can I ask a question - you just made such a terrific case for the fun and the backbone that you get by writing an homage to something you love, and I just want to think about the risks for a second. Because that's something we do on the podcast a lot is just to think about the pros and cons of various paths. So I read a book a few years ago called The Flight of Gemma Hardy, a novel by Margot Livesey. And it's a Jane Eyre take, which is super fun. And I went to see this author at my local bookstore and she started to talk about why she wrote this book and my jaw kind of hit the floor because she had a life that began a little bit like a Jane Eyre. So she was just primed to write this thing. So I took this wonderful book, and I read it and I enjoyed every minute of it. But in the back of my head, I was always like, What is she going to do with the crazy woman in the attic? So to me that announced itself as a risk that readers would be looking for certain plot cues to happen. So how do you subvert that?

Somali Dev 12:01

So what you're saying is that if you pick up a book that is titled Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors you're going to be looking for...

KJ Dell'Antonia 12:12

You're looking for Lydia...

Somali Dev 12:14

and you're looking for a story that's kicked off by a misunderstanding and egos being hurt. You're looking for the bad proposal. So again, I think (and this happened fairly naturally, and this might just be a nature and personality thing) is that I really only cared for what I wanted to say. And I really only cared for the story I wanted to tell. And so if at any point I had thought (I never, for a moment and this is with all my books) I rarely think about what it is people want to hear. I feel like I'm doing a disservice to writing, and not to sound obnoxious, but I feel like this in the way I live in everything, if you say things that you think people want to hear, then you have zero credibility. And there's really no authenticity in living like that. And so I try to kind of transfer that to how I write. And so just naturally I don't worry about it. And that explains a lot, possibly about my career.

KJ Dell'Antonia 13:28

So you're just kind of like, well, the Lydia is coming and that's okay. Like, if people maybe know that the Lydia is coming (I'm just using Lydia because that's a pretty easy one), but I'm good with that. Like, I'm rolling along and by God, the Lydia train is about to crash into my story.

Somali Dev 13:46

No, not even that. I'm thinking if Lydia is not important to the story I'm telling, then she doesn't have to be there. Like I want this story to be about two people who start off on the wrong foot because of how they see the world and themselves, and that's what I want. Only in that much is what I want to do with Pride and Prejudice. You know, I want to explore how when you meet someone who is completely different from you, how you process yourself and the world. And so that is what I want to do. And so that's what I'm going to do. I'm not thinking about people looking for Wickham or for Lydia or any of that. So it's only in that much, that I want to retell that story. Now, if that kickoff point where there is the misunderstanding, comes naturally to my story, and if that proposal comes naturally to my story, only then it has a place in my book. So like with Persuasion, at least with Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors, there are some plottish consistencies, but with Persuasion, you'd be hard pressed to find anything more than a thematic connection.

KJ Dell'Antonia 15:23

So Persuasion is my least favorite Jane Austen book, and I want to get to that...

Somali Dev 15:28

I want to talk about that because I've been hearing so many people say that.

KJ Dell'Antonia 15:34

But I'm watching for who the other girl is, and maybe I'm wrong, maybe she's not even coming. So, but don't tell me, don't tell we're not spoiling in any way. I had guessed, I was like, oh, I'll bet this is the girl who falls off the wall. I forget her name. Yes, Louisa Musgrove. Thank you.

Somali Dev 16:00

So I think that for me again, the way I think about the story is that Louisa Musgrove isn't Louisa Musgrove in the story, she is the thing or the device that keeps Ann and Wentworth misunderstandings reinforced. So what she is is them not growing enough to put their past behind them. So, what you will find is other things that keep them from doing that. You might be able to take a character and say, okay, she's kind of Louisa Musgrove, but what she really is, is just that thing standing in their way, which is really in terms of story to me, what I'm trying to get them over.

KJ Dell'Antonia 16:52

Right. Oh, you need that, because otherwise it's boring.

Somali Dev 16:56

And that's the story, the story is about getting over mistakes. But not by magic, but by growing. So that's the story I'm trying to tell - the story that no mistake is absolute. I'm not trying to tell the story of Captain Wentworth per se, I'm trying to tell the story of this warrior-like man who goes off and makes lemonade when life gives him lemons, but has not let go of his past, and how he's going to process a second chance and this girl who has to grow a spine and you know, was never spineless.

KJ Dell'Antonia 17:35

That's why Persuasion is my least favorite Jane Austen. Because I have trouble with the spineless heroine. But yours I can tell has a spine, she's just put it in the closet somewhere.

Somali Dev 17:53

Again, with both of them... Now, I don't see Ann as spineless, I see Ann as very much a product of her time. But if she were truly spineless she would have just gone off and married the next Joe who comes along. So Ann is just someone who feels differently from how the world around her feels, and she has to make that journey of being okay with it. I think this is a very universal journey and we all make it. It's just less overt in our day to day, because the world will tell us being x is really what makes you cool or all of that. And if you naturally don't feel x, then you have to make the journey of that being okay. And I think that's her journey. So it's not spinelessness. She never is okay with what doesn't feel okay to her. She just has to find a way to find that power to let that become.

KJ Dell'Antonia 18:48

That's probably why Persuasion does work. Even though like you said, you're hearing a lot of people say that they have frustration with the heroine. There's a lot of pleasure in seeing her find a way to be okay with it. And also I think you're right, we all know that we're in that and that it's a really common journey. Maybe it's just one we don't like to think that hard about.

Somali Dev 19:13

Yeah. And we don't live in a world with overt taboos or overt divisions in society, but they're all still there, it's just become more silent and it's become less easy to find. But I feel we still relate to those journeys, because it's very much there. And it's our daily struggle, I don't think there is a person in the world who feels completely comfortable in their skin from the day that they were born. Which is why this whole woman against her world or woman against expectations story works for us even today. Now, I will say that if you've watched the films, I think both portrayals of the two BBC films that are most commonly watched, the portrayals of Ann Elliot are terrible, terrible. Yeah, so maybe those filmmakers saw her as that, or those actresses did. But it's terrible, like that's not how I saw Ann Elliot and I found it very violating to have actresses play them like spineless wimps because she's not.

KJ Dell'Antonia 20:33

I wanted to ask you if you find that setting the Jane Austen stories - this is probably more true of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors which you actually set in India. Recipe for Persuasion is set in the United States.

Somali Dev 20:49

No, they're both set in the United States. They're are an Indian American family. It's the story of a politically ambitious Indian American family. And Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors is set in the San Francisco Bay area where the older son is running for California Governor. So it's very much set in America.

KJ Dell'Antonia 21:08

Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors has got him running for governor?

Somali Dev 21:12

So the overall arc for these four novels when I imagined them was that, it was this politically ambitious Indian American family in the Bay Area. And their oldest son is running for California Governor and the stories kick off with the announcement that he's running, and then they will end when the election results happen.

KJ Dell'Antonia 21:33

Right. So that's gonna be all four books?

Somali Dev 21:35

That's all four books.

KJ Dell'Antonia 21:36

I think (and it's been obviously a little while since I read Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors) that the flair of India and the feel must have just sort of soaked into me a little too thoroughly. But what I wanted to ask was, do you think that using your Indian heritage and working within that culture you kind of get the advantage of some of the more strict expectations that Jane Austen's heroines faced? Like it might be harder for people to buy feeling huge pressure from your family from some suburban Chicago kid, whereas if you're looking at a tiger mom or at an Indian parent who has expectations about marrying within the Indian... I don't even know what the words are that I'm looking for. Anyway, do you think that sort of helps to heighten the Austen feeling, is what I really wanted to ask?

Somali Dev 22:40

Okay, so first, Trisha (who is the protagonist of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors) who is a female Mr. Darcy, because the story is gender flipped. She's a neurosurgeon at Stanford. So you know, very much an American story. But I think you're right, and it isn't that simple. Because I think family expectations are pretty ubiquitous and universal. Having said that, Indian families have peculiarities and lack of boundaries, or at least mine does. I was having this conversation with someone else who is not Indian and she said, 'Are their families where they believe in boundaries?' And I don't know families that believe in boundaries. So I think it's naturally a part of being a family, but then as an author always world building. So this could be a white family, they could be a Korean family, they could be a black family, as long as I as an author can make you believe that that's how their relationships and their bonds are. That's all I really need to do. And for me, being an Indian American girl, there is authenticity to my understanding of how Indian families interact. I do feel like it's not that unique, but that just might be because that is my life. And so it is easy for me. I don't know if it's easier for the reader to process. Again, you know, Jane Austen was about family, but I think that it was really more about society. So how rigid the society you lived in was and again in these books, it is very much the modern world, so it's not like rules have suddenly appeared. It's that rules exist in our world, they're just more subtle than they were 200 years ago.

KJ Dell'Antonia 25:26

I just wonder if the rules feel easier for a white reader to stomach because they can sort of be like, Oh yes, Indian families are like that, but yet the reason that they're in there and identifying is that all families are like that exactly like you said. It's an interesting way of just thinking about how readers let things into their minds and where they go with it.

Somali Dev 25:58

And again, I come across all sorts of readers. I come across the reader who will come to me and say with great amounts of disbelief that they could actually relate to my characters. Like they think they're saying something nice to me and they're like, my gosh, I could totally relate to Milly, who you know has a child. And my reaction to that is always, you can relate to vampires so why are you surprised that you can relate to an Indian girl?

KJ Dell'Antonia 26:32

You can relate to Jane Austen's heroines. They're as far from us as anything.

Somali Dev 26:38

Exactly. And then there are people who have read one book, and it's a checkmark. Oh, I read an Indian book and now I know everything about the Indian culture, and I'm done with my little walk. And there are readers who inhale all of my books and see them as a story and reading and processing them like they would read and process any story. So I think that there is a good spectrum of readers. And again, I'm essentially writing it as a story. And my hope is that everybody will in the end, we will be a world where everybody will read it as a story, not an Indian story.

KJ Dell'Antonia 27:20

It is very much a story, except for the part where it makes you hungry for Indian food.

Sarina Bowen 27:49

I just wanted to point out that at the beginning of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, chapter one actually begins in India with the heroine's childhood. This beautiful rich memory of her visit to a family estate and what happens there. And I just love the way that you get this glimpse of her as a young child and then you snap your fingers and you're in this hospital in Northern California. So I felt like I was being dunked into her sort of mythical past before shown the harsh hospital lighting and that just helped color it that way for me as a reader, that she was just more interesting than if I had seen her in a lab coat for the first moment.

Somali Dev 28:41

As writers, all three of us, I'm sure have had to make this struggle. And that is the likability of your female protagonist. So just by virtue of writing a female Darcy, and that was one of the reasons that I wrote this book and also one of the reasons why writing this book was a very personally transformative experience for me. Because I set out to see if arrogance and owning your own power and privilege and your own brilliance and all of that would still be easily palatable. I mean, would be easily palatable in 2019 in a woman as it was in a man 200 years ago, in 1813. And so, it turns out that it isn't, it turns out that it took a lot of iterations to make Trisha consumable. And it was work because a woman being arrogant, and a woman being impatient, and a woman being lacking in empathy is not seen the same way as a man being all those things. And one of those things, I think one of the reasons that I had to show you right up front where she's coming from, it instantly softens her, which is kind of sad that she needed that instant softening and if I was showing you a man in that same situation I may not have had to soften him. You know, we would all have been much more accepting of his arrogance and trusted that he'll come around. Because men are expected to be jerks in fiction and especially romantic fiction when we start out.

Sarina Bowen 30:42

That's so true. And you know, if Pride and Prejudice had begun with little Darcy in knee pants like snuggling a swarm of puppies I don't know if I could summon the same outrage during that awful proposal. And I think that we should take a pause right here with Darcy in knee pants with the puppies, before we talk about what we've been reading.

KJ Dell'Antonia 31:07

Excellent plan. Writers before we get to what we've been reading, let's talk about what you've been writing or rather, where you've been writing. If you've got a pile of colored index cards that represent scenes, and plot lines, and characters, and keep getting shuffled around on the floor while your dog walks on them, a notebook full of pages with half an outline here and a list of things that belong in another scene there. I get you. And I want to encourage you to take a look at Dabble, the writing software that works the way our writing minds work, or maybe the way we wish they'd work. Capture all those little details and big plot lines in a system designed to help you keep track of where you are and where you're going. We love Dabble and we hope you will, too. Get a free trial at dabblewriter.com and please head over to our Facebook group and tell us what you think. Now it is time, let's talk about what we've been reading that did not involve Darcy and with a swarm of puppies?

Somali Dev 32:22

I so now want to read Darcy with a swarm of puppies. And boy shorts.

KJ Dell'Antonia 32:29

Alright, so what are we reading?

Sarina Bowen 32:55

My books are easy.

KJ Dell'Antonia 32:56

Okay. Then you go first, Sarina, while Sonali and I gather our thoughts.

Sarina Bowen 33:02

My book club has picked Pale Rider by Laura Spinney, which is a book about the Spanish Flu of 1918. And the structure of Pale Rider is frustrating me, so I have turned to The Great Influenza by John Barry to compare the two and I will let you know.

Somali Dev 33:23

Can I just say I have so much respect for anyone reading those books right now like in this moment in time.

KJ Dell'Antonia 33:40

Alright, Sonali, I'm gonna turn to you because I am looking up a title on Kindle.

Somali Dev 33:48

It seems to be a really good time for rom-coms. And just in terms of what's being published, like every book being published is a rom com, but it's also a really good time for some fun and romance. So there's one that comes out in July, it is called Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall who is one of my favorite, favorite romance authors.

Sarina Bowen 34:20

I cannot wait to get my hands on that book.

Somali Dev 34:22

I have been saying that this is possibly the best rom-com I have ever read. Like it's in that realm, it's that good. So it is this fake relationship, but through the whole book the fake relationship is in quotation marks. Like as you're reading it, these big virtual quotation marks because it is this complete cup of a boy who is the son of a fallen rock star. So he is a papparazzi darling. He's always in the news for the wrong reasons. He's a mess. And to regain his reputation at work, he needs a good solid boyfriend. And so he finds this man who is a human rights lawyer and incredibly straight laced and all the things and it is just delightful. It is laugh out loud funny. I mean, there were times when I was guffawing like a hyena. Don't drink hot beverages - you will choke and you will spit them all over the place. Hilarious, incredibly poignant. Just so connected, it's just a gorgeous book. I mean, it will just leave you so happy. And it's one of those books that also makes you turn a mirror on yourself. So it's all those things and it's just amazing. So that comes out at the end of July, I think.

I'm so jealous that you have the arc. Alexis Hall is so talented.

Incredibly, I think is one of the greatest talents of the romance genre right now. Glitter Land is also an absolute masterpiece, I think. I didn't think I would love one more than that, but it's just delightful. It's everything a British rom-com should be or can be. So I have also recently discovered Kennedy Ryan and think that her writing is almost like startlingly beautiful. And she wrote The Kingmaker I think that came out in December last year, and it was what she calls a duet, so Kingmaker is the first. I think the second book is called Rebel King, but it has this giant emotional impact of like old style romance. But all of the subject matter is so current and contemporary. So she kind of juxtaposes those two things so well, very emotionally, it's an old style romance, but with all the regressive parts gone and it's this fresh and very contemporary, very socially conscious take. And of course, I'm not a huge fan of the whole alpha label. And Max, her protagonist, is as alpha as they come and so even with a hero, who is someone I would run 10 miles from in real life, I just completely bought it and she just makes it beautiful.

KJ Dell'Antonia 37:45

That sounds really good. And I have just written Boyfriend Material down on my list of books to order and I want to check out Kingmaker. I have been reading The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory, and I am only partway into it. And I don't usually talk about books until the author sticks the landing, but she's probably going to and it is really good. And she has a new book coming out this summer too, which is definitely not just on my list of 99% sure, I already ordered it. So there was that and I also read and enjoyed very much Perfect Happiness by Kristyn Kusek Lewis, that one's not rom-com, that's definitely women's fiction. It's woman who is already married, struggling with all kinds of things to do with being already married. And it's pretty fun because she's a happiness expert who is unhappy so that was clearly the hook and it was very hard to put down. So that's fun. And that is what we've been reading because Sarina already told us and we immediately dismissed those because we didn't want to read them.

Sarina Bowen 39:19

Sonali, thank you so much for joining us today.

Somali Dev 39:22

Thank you so much for having me. That went fast and it was so fun. Thank you.

KJ Dell'Antonia 39:28

Should we tell people where to find you, Sonali? Besides sonalidev.com? What's your favorite social media? Where should people follow you?

Somali Dev 39:37

I am on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And I'm fairly active on (more active than I should be) on all three. And I do also have a newsletter which I was really bad with but I'm now trying to send out once a month so it's a very low incidence newsletter but what I do that people might have fun with is I do a recipe, a recommendation, and a really bad joke, because my family sends me the most terrible jokes on group chat. And I feel like I shouldn't be suffering alone. And if you sign up for the newsletter, I have a free recipe booklet that you get. And of course, I'm told over and over again that the books make people hungry. And these are recipes that are related to the books. So you get that.

KJ Dell'Antonia 41:51

Well, this was super fun. I echo Sarina in saying thank you for coming. And Sarina, do you want to take us out?

Sarina Bowen 42:16

Yes ma'am. Until next week, keep your butt in the chair and your head in the game.

Jess Lahey 42:29

This episode of #AmWriting with Jess and KJ was produced by Andrew Parilla. Our music, aptly titled unemployed Monday was written and performed by Max Cohen. Andrew and Max were paid for their services because everyone, even creatives should be paid.