Dec. 16, 2020

Discovering Magic with Helene Wecker

Discovering Magic with Helene Wecker

NYT best-selling author, Helene Wecker, shares her thoughts on busting down barriers, discovering magic, and having an outrageous partner. Learn more about her perspective as we discuss:

  • writing her first novel
  • the importance of staying "loose" as a writer 
  • capturing her family's Jewish and Arab American stories
  • her outrageous washi tape advice

Guest Biography
Helene Wecker’s first novel, The Golem and the Jinni, was awarded the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature, the VCU Cabell Award for First Novel, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, and was nominated for a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award. Her second novel, The Hidden Palace: A Tale of the Golem and the Jinni will be published in June 2021 by HarperCollins. A Midwest native, she holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in literary journals such as Joyland and Catamaran, as well as the fantasy anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and children.

Connect with Helene:

Episode References

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Lady Grey is an award-winning international entertainer and educator. She has been at the helm of numerous performing arts organizations and has performed everywhere from Broadway to the Sydney Olympics. She currently serves as Artistic Director of Lady Grey's Lovelies and continues to work as a mentor and empowerment coach.

Connect with Lady Grey

Transcript

Helene:

That moment of deciding that this was something that I needed for myself and that I valued enough and that it was worth putting a little uncertainty a little scariness factor into our lives to do it was because it was going to make me a happier and better person overall.

Lady Grey:

Hello, you lovely humans. Welcome to the live outrageously with Lady grey podcast. I'm your hostess lady grey. And I have had the great honor to interview a number of super inspiring world changers about how they live outrageously. So we're going to share about how they push boundaries. They fight for change, and how they seriously shake up the status quo. Friends, I am so excited to introduce you to New York Times bestselling author Helene wakker. Her first novel, the Golem and the genie was awarded the mythopoeic Award for adult literature, the VCU cable award for first novel and the Herald you rebello Prize and was nominated for a Nebula Award and world fantasy award. Her second novel The hidden palace, a tale of the Golan in the genie will be published in June 2021 by Harper Collins, a Midwest native and a fellow Libertyville High School alum. She holds a BA in English from Carleton College and an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in literary journals such as joy land, and catamaran as well as the fantasy anthology the gin falls in love and other stories. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and her children. Welcome, welcome. Welcome, Helene. I am so excited to have you on the program today. Well,

Helene:

Sara, thank you so much for having me.

Lady Grey:

It has been quite a few years and a few. We I think our friendship goes back to what 1980 something

Helene:

like that something very, very early. I have I have photos of you somewhere in a box that, you know, from when my parents sent me all the stuff that I still had at the house. I think I have some elementary school photos of you looking incredibly cute.

Lady Grey:

Oh, sure that that's debatable. So for those of you that might not know our friendship was very tightly based around the fact that we both love Star Trek.

Helene:

Yes.

Lady Grey:

And not just the end Star Trek The Next Generation. Yes. Yes. Are we still fighting about who's sexier Picard or Riker? Is that still a thing?

Helene:

Who was going for what you were

Lady Grey:

100%? Jonathan frakes. Yes.

Helene:

And I was probably Picard in that. God just like the charisma of the man. Picard really is the sexiest man in the Star Trek universe.

Lady Grey:

So we're maybe not fighting about it.

Helene:

We're okay.

Lady Grey:

Okay, so I think I've matured a little more to the point where we could both acknowledge Patrick Stewart's genius. Yes, yes. and move on. Alright, so. Okay, I just needed to get that out of the way. Because this is not a podcast about Star Trek. But about living outrageously.

Helene:

Hmm.

Lady Grey:

Let's segue, I would love for you to share with us what you feel like the biggest moments in your life have been the most important to you?

Helene:

Oh, gosh, you know, it's you immediately want to jump to my wedding, or when my kids were born. And those are certainly big gun important moments. When I decided to actually cut back my hours in my the job that I was working in 2003. I think at that point, I was living in Seattle working in communications at a public TV station. And I had over the previous year started writing again, I'd started taking writing classes. It was sort of the point in my life where I had been miserable for a very long time doing marketing and communications, and writing about other people's work. I was not fulfilled in my job at all. And this process of getting back into writing was me sort of admitting that to myself and admitting that my my career wasn't going where I wanted it to, basically because I didn't care enough about it, and that I had to do something that I cared about more and I do I always wanted to be a writer, but thought that I couldn't. And this was admitting to myself, okay, I can do this, it would be an, an immense amount of work and uncertainty. And there's one thing I hate more than anything else, it's uncertainty. My husband, he was a grad student at the time. And I was, you know, I'm working a public TV, we're not exactly, you know, rolling in the dough. I said, Look, I really want to ask the station if I can go part time so that I can devote more time to writing and actually trying to make a living name, whatever for myself as a writer, and he said, Yes, absolutely. This is something that you need to do. I think, that moment of deciding that this was something that I needed for myself, and that I valued enough and that it was worth putting a little uncertainty a little scariness factor into our lives to do it was because it was going to make me a happier and better person overall, and a better partner to him too. What was pretty hilarious was that I we flew back from Illinois, that Sunday night, and then Monday morning, I found out that I've been laid off the week before. So it was sort of like the universe saying, okay, we're gonna do you one better. It was a pretty amazingly serendipitous thing. I was sort of like, Okay, well, if I'm going to do this, I decided I want to apply to MFA programs, I want to go back to school. And so that moment, you know, it was like a series of small moments, small decisions, that all added up to like a large change in trajectory. That was very important. In my life, Korean, my husband, he had to go to New Mexico to do like the actual research for his PhD. And he knew he was going to be there for like, nine months. He's looking at that, as I am looking at going to Colombia, at this point we've been together for I want to say, like 11 years. And so I proposed to him, he accepted. And then we split up and each moved across the country to a different place. So So I ended up in, you know, Manhattan, and he ended up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, which was sort of hilarious. Also, partnering, if you're going to partner and have a creative career, make sure you partner with the right person. Kareem has been absolutely astonishingly amazing about giving me the space and time and being a full co parent, we are in this together. And you have kids, too. How did that impact your writing? I want to say that I learned how to do it. But the truth is I didn't it's this constant renegotiation, am I working so much that I'm not paying enough attention to my kids? Am I being so focused on my kids, that the people in my head are drying up and blowing away? When the first book was published, my daughter, Maya was a year old. So the vast majority of my writing career up until that point, I did not know what it was like to write and be a parent at the same time. And that was what I had to learn trial by fire with this second book. And, yeah, and I'm not sure I'm honestly not sure how much of it just has to do with my own creative process, the way that I seem to go after very big problems and very large stories, that I have to get my whole brain around before I feel like I can write them with any confidence to do that takes a lot of hard solo, deep work alone in a room where I lock myself away and immerse myself in something and become a terrible person for everyone else to live with. Which isn't the best when you've also got kids. So it's learning to be okay with just not being in balance sometimes. Right?

Lady Grey:

This magnificent work, which has been a huge part of my life and my love story with my own husband, a Golem in the genie. I feel like that book is this beautifully outrageous work. And yes, I'm biased because I know the author. But I also am really intrigued by a couple different things that relate to it, the one being that it does not fit in any one genre. It has completely like busted through this idea of Oh, this book has to be in a certain category. And then the other thing is that there's a great story Behind you're writing this, from what I understand. So I know all of that, but I know that people listening don't know, and I would love for you to share with them that process and you know how you came up with this brilliant idea.

Helene:

When you get to a masters of Fine Arts fiction program like Columbia, it's a master's and you have a thesis but the thesis of his creative work, they let you know, basically from the second you get there, okay, you have a certain number of years here, by the end of them, you need to have your thesis your your, your body of work written. And this is usually either like short stories, or a part of a novel, something that you are planning on making into your first hopefully published work, you know, this is what you're going to shop around. When I got there, I had it in my head that my first book was going to be a collection of links, short stories that were based on family stories from my family and from Karim's family, my husband's family, because I'm, you know, Jewish American, he's Arab American. One of the things that that continually struck me over, you know, however many years now, is how similar our family stories are in issues of immigration, and to America and languages and cultural difference. And then, you know, being the child of an immigrant or the, you know, having that passed down to you as sort of a legacy and how it affects the way you view the light the world around you, and how it always makes you feel a little bit like an outsider, even when possibly that isn't warranted. I was like, Okay, I've got all this material in all these stories I've heard from my family, from his family, all these years, I'm going to write these stories, and they're going to sort of follow this, you know, Jewish girl and this Arab American boy as they sort of learn more about each other's families. And so I started writing these stories. The problem that I very quickly started running into was that they weren't good. The story's just more not good. I was doing a pretty poor job of it. I knew it, you know, yeah, I know, when I'm not writing something interesting. They just sort of arrived flat on the page and didn't have much energy to them. Looking back on it, I'm pretty sure that it's because I knew everything I was going to write. And so there was no discovery in it for me. I wasn't intrigued by them. I was just sort of reporting. I, you know, got to your to and I'm getting these very tepid responses out of my my workshop, you know, you don't pay all that money for them to be nice to you. They're going to tell you what, what they think I was having this conversation with a friend of mine, Amanda, who was in my workshop with me, she gave me probably the biggest the best tough love conversation I've had in my life. She said, Helene, can I ask you a question? She said, Helene, why are you writing like this? So what do you what do you mean? Why am I writing like what? She said, okay, you're doing these very, like Raymond Carver, very realist short stories, you know, very MFA model, but that's not who you are. I've been to your apartment. I've seen your bookshelves. I know what a nerd you are. And you are always talking in class about injecting the genre into literature and busting down the barriers and bringing the magic into stories. And that's what you groove on. So why aren't you not doing that? I honestly had never thought of that. And she just sort of it was like, she taken my head and whipped it around to where I needed to be looking at the you know, I'm still like, but that's not these stories don't with the mat. No. And she said, Okay, look, the next thing I see from you in workshop, I want it to be about your families, but I want it to be magical. I was like, Okay, I just, you know, it was like okay, well, that's that's my marching orders. I'm going to do what she said, I'm going to, you know, I went home and I just sort of sat and thought about it. It was literally I think two hours later, I had the rough outline for what would be the Golem and the genie. I was like, Okay, what if I take the this this Jewish girl and this Arab American boy, and what if I turn them into something a little more? Neil Gaiman esque. A little more fantasy a little like these would have these are The emblematic folklore creatures of each culture What if I turn them into like a girl Golem, and a boy Genie, I could pretty immediately see these two. And they were there. The woman was like this tall, like prim looking woman who looked a little shy and awkward and unsure of herself. And the boy was this also tall, sort of devilishly charismatic looking Genie, who look okay, might be a bit of a bad boy. And I was like, Ooh, okay, what, what am I going to do with the two of you? And then it was just from there a process of discovery and trial and error and being like, okay, where would these two meet? Where they would meet here in New York? Where else are they going to meet? It's it's like, you know, the all the world's cultures coming together? Well, when would that be? Well, how about the heyday of immigration? What about like the late 18, early 1900s, when everyone's coming through Ellis Island, you know, all shoved together, I sort of worked with my curiosity out front, to figure out who these people were, what their story was, and how I was going to make it work instead of having everything fed to me by another source. And that made it interesting to me. And I think that is, in turn sort of what made it interesting on the page. So I wrote a good, I don't know, 15-20 pages, and I brought them to workshop, my next turn. And everyone read it and got back to me and said, this is better than what you've been doing. So you know, good on you. But you're wrong about something. And they said, No, this isn't a short story. This is a novel, and you've got a big novel here. And you really need to figure that out. And I did not believe them. I said, you know, this is not a novel, this is this is a thing that I am doing for fun. And then I'm going to get back to the real stuff, then the story just kept getting longer and longer and longer. And it would not end it was like I was chasing the horizon. And finally, I had to admit that they were right, and that I had bid off something huge. And now I had to figure out how to chew it. And that process took a number of years, I had to research everything from scratch. Because I knew nothing. I knew nothing about life in New York in the late 19th century and write the basics of how people lived and and, and so on. And so everything was research. And and it was a long and grueling process. Before I had anything that looked remotely like a saleable book. And by the time I did, I'd left New York, I finished my program, and we moved back out here. And, you know, we had gotten married in the meantime, and I just kept plugging away at this thing. And eventually, there was enough and it became a book.

Lady Grey:

Yeah, well, we are very, very grateful to your workshop before. No. But I love you, as you talked about the magic and inserting the magic and then finding a setting and the setting happens to be historical. So there's it's historical fiction. And at the same time, it's also this love story. And it has, it has all these beautiful components to it that I recommend it to everyone. It is just a fantastic read. I am really, really looking forward to the next book. All right, yeah. Tell us because I know this has been a long time coming. Yes, this has been sort of a labor of love maybe the second, the sequel,

Helene:

The sequel, I should say, first off is called the hidden palace. And it and it's coming out in June of next year. And for a very long time. Thank you for a very long time, I thought it was not going to happen. This is the book that I've been beating my head against for years. Now. I got the contract for it. The week I turned 40. And that was five over five years ago now. And I thought it was going to be done in about two years. I'm like, I know this thing. I know how to be a writer. Now. I know how to write a book. And they tell you not to do that. They tell you every book kills you over, you know, and he puts you right back in the beginner spot. For two years in grad school. I listen to writers say that over and over again. And there's always that part of your brain is like Yeah, but not me. Of course for them, but not me. I honestly don't think it's arrogance. It's the brain just protecting itself so that you will actually do the thing when when you have to The book ended up taking a lot longer than I wanted it to. I have incredibly patient people that I work with. I have an agent who is just I couldn't ask for anyone better to represent me who has to listen to me on my phones sort of on the phone beat myself up over, you know, as far along as they want to be. That's okay. Helene. That's okay. And then an editor at HarperCollins, who basically, at one point just sort of gave me an extra year and said, okay, you know, I read where things are, and they're, it's good, but let's give you another year to really nail this thing down. And I was like, Oh, thank God, you know, this is this, this is the stuff that not every writer gets. And, yes, I have, I have some talent, there are a lot of people out there with talent who do not get, you know, slack cut for them, by the people around them. And so I am feeling very, very grateful about that.

Lady Grey:

I think it's a testimony to how wonderful the first book was, and what happened when you were given the time and space to really develop your dream of this story. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm curious, I have tried my hand at writing, I've gotten two or three projects started outlined, you know, ready to go. And like you said, they, they just lay flat on the page. You know, I'm sure that there are people out there listening to this right now who have beautiful stories to tell. And they have this incredible message to share with the world, whatever that might be. But, you know, staying motivated when the when the writing just doesn't flow? is I think it's one of the hardest things. Oh, yeah, I'd love to hear I'd love to hear your thoughts on like, how you sort of Jerry rigged the motivation, like how, what happens when you just have to write

Helene:

that, oh, it's the worst, it is the worst, because it's like you just every word starts to feel like a stone, like just plod, plod plod. I think part of what I try to do when that happens is to get curious about why what if I try writing it from someone else's perspective? What if I go back and see if you know, maybe I veered off course, you know, a chapter ago that that happens to me Actually, fairly often. If I feel like something just is not working on the page, it's not the fault of whatever is happening, then I screwed up somewhere. But somewhere behind me is the wrong turn. So I you know, go back and try to figure out where that was, is in a can start to feel like the games where you put a ball in the top and it sort of goes down and sits like a logic puzzle. And it can go any number of directions. And there's like 15 slots in the bottom where the ball can end up. One of those is where you want the ball to be. But you don't necessarily know which one. And the only way you can figure out is you get the ball on the bottom and you're like, Oh, no, I don't like it there. That's the wrong one. Well back it up a bit. Where can What if I back it up to here and then do something different? Can it go there? It's this combination of learning the story as you go along, and trying to figure out what shape the narrative needs to take. That results in all of these tiny little decisions. And sometimes what it takes is just letting a character do something completely bizarre to just see what everyone else does. Okay, and that can help you figure out the characters that can help you figure out maybe where the back of your mind really does want the story to go. There's a woman named Erin Morgenstern. She is a writer who wrote incredibly popular book called The Night Circus that I love. Isn't isn't it? Great? And it's it's like one of the books that if you do the Venn diagram of writers, you know, if you like this book, you'll like that book, we are books sort of sometimes end up in the same pile. And she she wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, years and years ago, she was writing about it on Twitter, and she said, often, the Night Circus gets called out for, you know, being written during NaNoWriMo. And she said, what you need to know is that, in that first draft, the draft was going so poorly. And the characters to me were so boring, that I got desperate and sent them to a circus. And that is how the book began. That is, that was like when the book really began. And so I think sometimes, you have to just do that. You have to just say, Okay, look, this is obviously not happening the way I want it to. Maybe there's another way. And you know, even if it's just the, you know, you send them to a circus and then three pages later, you're like, Okay, well, that was fun. And now they're back from the circus. At least you gotten that little bit of a break, to maybe let the back of your brain non something and spit out an answer?

Lady Grey:

Yeah. So I'm curious how you turn on, like the magical, outrageous flow of creativity in that moment, how do you get your imagination to reflect back magically on the page?

Helene:

I honestly think some of it is cutting yourself some slack. And we are so hard on ourselves, especially for those of us, you know, when we are writing in our precious free moments, and the words aren't coming, and it just makes it that much worse, because of it, that we're like, this is the hour that I carved out for myself and blood, sweat, and tears. And now I'm sitting here and I am hating everything that I'm writing. And then you're just like, it's, it's just not gonna go anywhere at that point. Honestly, just back to basics, write some silly stuff, do the three page brain dump, you know, just writing words without stopping, even if it's your thing, elephant over and over again, for three paragraphs or whatever it is, just let yourself let something go. Because otherwise, we're just wound so tightly, there has to be a certain looseness, put the two things together that weren't necessarily supposed to be together, you have to allow space for that to happen. And I say that the least loose person in the world, very tightly wound. But at the same time, it's it's, there is a certain amount of that in the process. It's the most confounding part. But it's also like where a lot of the magic happens.

Lady Grey:

Well, and it sounds very familiar to me, in my creative process with with dance or whatever it is that I'm creating. I have a lot of, you know, improvisation that I do, right? And you check it because it's just garbage, right, whatever. But you just keep going until you land on an idea. Sometimes I even have to go looking for inspiration.

Helene:

No, I think I have a hard time picking books to read while I'm writing. Because I don't want to pick something that is going to bring me far enough out of my mindset that it's going to sort of end up dragging the book along with it. So I end up reading a lot of books that have a really strong sense of place, with characters that notice details, books that are complete worlds that someone has created. There's a writer named NK Jemisin, who wrote a trilogy where all three books, won Hugo's, and she was the first person to ever do that three times in a row. And the first book is called Fifth Season. And it's this world that she created, where every so often every number of years, there's a major geological event, and the entire society comes crumbling down, and they have to restart again. It's a story about slavery and inequality and making the world right and what it takes like that the pain and sacrifice that it takes to make things right, and how damaging it can be to a person. And it's this insanely good trilogy. There's so many trilogies that you read, and I say this as a person who has written one book has now written a sequel, and people are asking me if they're going to be a third. And there's so many trilogies you read where it's like, well, you had a really good idea for a book, didn't you? You had a really good idea for one book, and then they made you write two more. This trilogy is not that it just kept getting bigger and better and Wilder, and you're seeing the world getting filled in and everything just taking on so much more emotional resonance, the ending was just spectacular. I sat back from it, I was like, how in the world? Did she write this? How did she write this? Without going off and living in a monastery for a decade to do it? How is she a person in the world like using social media and having relationships with her friends? And not you know, off like Jimi Hendrix and his guitar, like just, you know, immersing herself in this thing? What kind of a mind does that take? There's a certain amount of professional jealousy in there too, of course. But it's also like, show me how you did that. It's like magicians who want to learn each other's tricks. I'm like, you put those words together in that particular order. And no one has ever done that before. And how did you come up on that? That's what keeps me going in my writing as sort of inspiration to to match that to do something to write a sentence or a story or a paragraph that is going to make a person feel Something resonant. That to me, I think, is how I get my inspiration because he get to a certain point where like, it's all just words. It's all words, people have been writing words for like, years, hasn't someone written the sentence before? My god, this is boring. And then you have to like, go and find something that fills fills the well back up is like, nope, nope, nope, writing still matters. This is still awesome stuff that I get to do. And I just have to keep at it.

Lady Grey:

So I feel this deep in my bones when you're talking about, I feel like it's just lovely to, you know, hear how other people stay motivated. Like you have a deadline, right? And I'm right now I have no deadlines, because nobody's performing live. But if you have a deadline, you know, there are some real kind of tricks that you have to almost resort to, to get yourself back into that place where you're like, yeah, I've got I've got gold, I've got something I really have to get on the page. I would love to hear and this is maybe, maybe you're not ready to answer this question. You've got this beautiful second volume. Uh huh. That you have written. And obviously, that's still kind of in the works. And you you've your brain has not left that your hearts still in the thick of that. Yep. But let's say that you had all of the time in the world. And all of the energy and the unlimited resources, I would love to know, if you have one passion project, or outrageous dream or some other thing on the horizon, that maybe we get a sneak peek from you,

Helene:

you know, there's a few that have been in the back of my mind of what I'm going to do when this is all over. So part of this five year process with writing the hidden palace was writing many books that I thought were this book, but we're not, I have a lot of material that was cut entire subplots and characters and things that like I spent weeks researching that then just disappeared from the book, it's all still in a file, you know, it's all still on my computer, I would love to write back to a book of short stories that are basically everything else that was going on. In these other characters lives, people who don't even show up on the page. But while this book is going on, here is also what was going on, like a universe expansion. It feels like a passion project. And not just like the next book I'm writing because I did put a lot of myself into the stuff that ended up getting taken off the page completely. I really want so much of that was some of the best stuff. I just want it to be out in the world. I want it and maybe that's egotistical, but it's like no, I put a lot into this, I kind of want people to see it. Also, I would love to do a graphic novel, sometime. I have no art ability. I can't draw a stick figure even. But it's such a different medium to just have words and pictures just just to have dialogue and pictures on a page. And I don't even know what the story would be I don't know if it would be, you know, something in this universe that I'm working in. Or if it would be something completely different. I would love to do that with some artists somewhere. Other than that, I think my passion project has been getting this book done for so long. That that it's you know, anything looking beyond that. It's I'm just starting to do that. Now.

Lady Grey:

That makes perfect sense to me. Just because it has been such a huge project. I mean, it really, and probably all Yeah, having a lot of ways. So now I want to segue a little bit. We're gonna call it Helene's outrageous advice. Okay. You gave some great advice earlier to people who are writing Uh huh. Do you have any outrageous advice for people in general that might not be writers but are things that you do either to keep yourself creative or juggle your being a mom or maybe it is simply how you stock your bar and that's outrageous. Does something come to mind? That's outrageous that you would encourage other people to try.

Helene:

You know, it's funny, you warned me in advance that this was coming and and i i put some hard thought into it, because probably has come across that I'm pretty much a 45 year old mom and that's I rageous isn't something I think of myself as but

Lady Grey:

I am And I totally think you're not only outrageous, but magical. Okay, okay, welcome to the tribe

Helene:

good, I have probably out of whack ideas about what that actually means. But I think everyone should have something they do some hobby, or pastime or collection or something that has no redeeming value whatsoever except for the fact that it makes you happy. Just going back to this idea of how precious Our time is and how over planned we get and how we especially those of us will kids, it's like every moment has to be occupied with something purposeful and enriching. And hopefully multitasking, and a value add and we've all got our side hustles and we we get hung up on this like productivity stuff, I honestly feel we need outlets that are completely on enriching mine right now is fountain pens and stationery. So you know, I was I was, I've always been like an office supply girl. But you know, now I'm an adult with a credit card. And, and an internet connection. And, um, and so, you know, I will just go to Etsy and buy stickers. Like, like, I'm a kid in a candy shop, I actually have a sticker subscription that I get every month, I get my happy mail that's got cute stickers in it. But you know, this is this is cheating just a bit because I have a planner. It's like a paper planner. It's called a hobo Nietzsche that's made by a Japanese company. And the paper in it is astonishing. It is a planner. So like I am using it to sort of like plan my days. And in that sense, it's it is enriching, or productive or whatever. But it's all an excuse to use my pens, and my stickers and my washi tape. I write two paragraphs about the day. That's basically like what I ate for dinner. And the rest is just like, Okay, what color stickers Should I put on here and what should accessorize that with? And it just makes me so stupidly happy. for no other reason that I'm using my fancy pen in my fancy planner with my fancy stickers. It's the stupidest thing ever. But it just makes me so happy.

Lady Grey:

You know, I'm just gonna go out on a limb and say there might have been a reason. such good friends. Yeah. For younger. I have a similar habits. I'll call it. I don't think it's a hobby for me.

Helene:

Is it a hoarding situation? Because that's what it is starting to turn into over here.

Lady Grey:

So it's a running joke in our household? Uh huh. How many notebooks?

Helene:

Oh, yeah.

Lady Grey:

You recall, we had a very dear friend in high school Jenny, who used to carry around a pencil pouch with all of Yep, colored pens in it. About six months ago, I got myself a little 1930s style one because I have so many Evans, that it got to that point. And I thought I was inspired by Jenny. So Jenny, yep, you know, you are speaking of shoutouts while we're on that, so I always like to ask people if they have an outrageous fan or somebody that they really just want to recognize and say hey to and thanks for being such an amazing supporter. guy.

Helene:

I think what I have to say is thank you, to the moms of all of my friends. My friends, moms, are the ones who like, Helene, I am so happy for you that you put this book out, this is what my book club is reading and they don't know it yet. They are aggressively hand selling my book to their friends. You know, I'm like, thank God for you, I love you all, you know, they turn up at readings and it's just so wonderful. There's also a guy who read my book when it came out in 2013. And has read it every year since I think it was either that year or soon after he had a baby girl and he read it to her aloud. And then he like did the same the following year and and then he had to stop reading it to her because she was getting older and understanding words and it's not a book for kids. But but he still he still sort of pings me every year I just read your book again and I'm looking forward to when you know when my daughter is old enough to read it herself and it's just so sweet. And it's so wonderful to like have that connection and you know people that I sort of see going on and you know as time passes and they're still you know fans and and the I can't let them down this book has to you know, the next books got to be decent. And so that was also a good bit of the motivation behind not just dropping the second book into the garbage. But no, he's a real sweetheart and and I love I love all of my readers.

Lady Grey:

So let's assume that you're going to have some news. readers, that would be great. That would be wonderful. So obviously, they can read your first book The Golem and the Jinni, but then we're looking for the Hidden Palace in 2021. But in the meantime, is there any way that they can kind of keep track of what you're doing? Or what you're up to? Should they find you on like Goodreads? Or do you have a website or, or

Helene:

my website, my website is woefully

Lady Grey:

out of date, though

Helene:

I for now, hold off on the website. You know, if you're hearing this, like in March of next year or so go give Helenewecker.com a try before then it's just going to be here is what I was doing in 2016. Until then, the best place to find me is on Twitter, @Helenewecker. I am also on Instagram, I think the same handle or you can just type me into the search bar. Those two places I post sporadically. It's where I also like respond to mail or requests or DMS or stuff like that.

Lady Grey:

And I will drop the links to all these things. So we talked about a bunch of books and websites and authors and all kinds of stuff. So all of that will be in the show notes.

Helene:

Thank you.

Lady Grey:

Well, it has been a huge pleasure. It's so great to reconnect with you all.

Helene:

Thank you very, very much. This has been this has been awesome.

Lady Grey:

Well, you are always welcome. Anytime you want to come back on the show. Thank you so much. And thank you for teaching us to live a little more outrageousl Well, outrageous friends. It has been my honor and my pleasure to have you here today. I hope that you took away some outrageous ideas for your own life. If you enjoyed yourself, make sure that you are subscribed to live outrageously with Lady gray on whatever your podcast app is. You can also connect with me personally on facebook facebook.com/outra eousladygrey or on Instagr m at lady.grey. Also be sure to heck out our podcast website at ww.liveoutrageously.com Once again, this is Lady Grey encouraging you to go out and live outrageously.

Helene Wecker

NYT Best-selling Author

Helene Wecker’s first novel, The Golem and the Jinni, was awarded the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature, the VCU Cabell Award for First Novel, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, and was nominated for a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award. Her second novel, The Hidden Palace: A Tale of the Golem and the Jinni will be published in June 2021 by HarperCollins. A Midwest native, she holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in literary journals such as Joyland and Catamaran, as well as the fantasy anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and children.