The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer

Guest: Robyn Schneider

June 09, 2020 Marissa Meyer Season 2020 Episode 18
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Robyn Schneider
Chapters
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Robyn Schneider
Jun 09, 2020 Season 2020 Episode 18
Marissa Meyer
Transcript
Speaker 1:

Yeah,

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Speaker 3:

hello and welcome to the happy writer. This is a podcast that aims to bring readers, more books to enjoy and to help authors find more joy in their writing. I am your host, Marissa Meyer. Thanks so much for joining me today. Uh, I'm going to be honest guys. This has been a bad week, um, and I hate to start out an episode with that statement. Um, given that happy is right in my title. Um, but, but it is the truth. Um, I am recording this, uh, about a week after the murder of George Floyd. Uh, yet one more instance of police brutality against an unarmed black man in our country. Um, and usually this is the part of the podcast where I like to take a moment and talk about one little thing that's been making me happy. Um, and usually that is so easy to do.

Speaker 3:

Like on most days I could just rattle off a whole slew of things that are making me happy. But, uh, today in preparing for this episode, um, nothing felt right. It all felt very, um, kind of forced in an authentic. So instead, um, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight an organization that, you know, well, maybe not making me happy, um, wouldn't necessarily use that word. Uh, they have at least helped me feel like, you know, what, okay, here's something that I can do. Um, here are some steps that I can take to try to be a part of the dialogue and the solution. Um, the organization is called campaign zero, um, and they are a nonprofit, one of many nonprofit organizations, um, that is, uh, working to try to end racism and racial injustice in our country. Um, what I particularly like about campaign zero is that they, um, their focus is on like finding truly actionable steps, um, to change, uh, policies, um, make changes to, uh, police training methods, um, and to make changes to our actual justice system. Um, and these are things that clearly need to happen, uh, and that had been neglected for far too long. Um, so if you would like to learn more about campaign zero and help support them and their initiatives, you can check them out at join campaign, zero.org. Um, and I really hope that you will do so. Okay. Robin, do you have anything to add? Um, I know this has been a tough launch week for you also.

Speaker 1:

Sure. I mean, I'm just considering that this is not my launch week. This is a week where all of us are coming together, uh, in the face of injustice and taking action and using our voices and doing things like donating to campaigns zero, which I'm so glad you shared. Um, so yeah, I just, I think it's a great organization. I'm really happy that you shouted them out. And, um, they were definitely on my list, I think earlier this week when I was sharing places to contribute. And since you put it in my head, um, now that it's like receipts Wednesday and we are supposed to be sharing how we're giving back today. Um, I think I'm going to make that my, uh, my organization that I donate to you after we get off this podcast recording. So thank you for that. I had not heard of receipts Wednesday. I might have the title wrong, but it's essentially that today you are supposed to share, um, where you have made donations to, um, online so that other people feel motivated to donate to sort of, when you see other people doing an action, it reminds you that it's not just a vague thing. It's something that like your friends are doing and the people that you admire and follow a line are doing. So it's sort of like an encouragement, um, like an encouragement campaign.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no, that's so great. I love that idea. Um, I, now that I know about it, I will go do that also. Um, thanks for telling me about that. Um, okay, so you guys have now already met today's fabulous guests, but let me give a proper introduction. Uh, she is the bestselling author of the novels, the beginning of everything extraordinary means and invisible ghost and her new, why a contemporary, you don't live here. Just came out on June 2nd, please. Welcome Robin Schneider.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. I'm so excited to be on this podcast. I was saying earlier that I've listened to maybe half of the episodes so far and I am such a fan.

Speaker 3:

Well, thank you. I'm really glad that you're enjoying it. I am trying, um, to make it a really positive and uplifting thing that we can listen to, um, which, you know, easier said than done sometimes, but I am glad to hear that you've been enjoying it. Thank you. So the first question I have for you, it's a big question. What is ye Olde Cheshire cheese?

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh. I was so afraid of this question that it was going to have so many like nuances and demands of like, Oh God, my like narrative structure by books or anything. I will happily tell you it isn't one of the oldest existing pubs in London, Samuel Johnson wrote, I think the first English language dictionary there, um, Charles Dickens used to go there. It is essentially this very old pub with a very long literary history. And, um, it's right near st. Paul's cathedral in London. And I found myself, unfortunately, having traveled there on a research trip for another book series and not having finished my edits on you, don't live here and being forced to finish writing this very poppy sun drenched, Southern California narrative in a gloomy pub. That was hundreds of years old in London, where I was supposed to be writing a piece of historical fiction instead of, so I feel like you got that out of my acknowledgements and that is what happened.

Speaker 1:

Please, please picture me writing it like a table where Charles Dickens, once sat, except instead of writing anything dramatic to that experience, I was writing you don't live here. I am picturing that. And I am so jealous. I want to know immediately it was a dream of mine. Like I I'm, I used to live in London and while I was living there, I was writing, um, about sort of my research, my research specialty era, which was the 19th century. And then I was working on something that was set in the 16th century. So I just obviously had to go back because I had missed everything from that era. Um, so, you know, I went and it was amazing.

Speaker 3:

That is amazing. I there's a pub restaurant in New York. Um, that's like the Oscar Wilde bar. Um, and I have no idea if they have any actual connection to Oscar Wilde. Um, but there's like a sculpture of him out in front. Um, and I was on tour in New York. Um, and I want to say it was when I was finishing up arch enemies, um, and found this Oscar well bar and actually like finished the manuscript and sent it to my editor from there. And I felt like so connected to the great writers,

Speaker 1:

love that I felt like I was dancing on their grieves and mocking them as I wrote about, you know, feminism and queer girls falling in love. I'm in this place. That was like the hallowed halls of like the straight white male author of England. So funny how, how far the literary world has come seriously. I mean, in a great way, but yes, that, that would not have been my first choice, but I'm sure Oscar Wilde would just be cheering you on.

Speaker 3:

I love like he was a delight. Yes. Everything about him. He has the best quotes.

Speaker 1:

All of his quotes just sounds sarcastic and ridiculous. And, Oh my God, I, I remember him being maybe one of the first authors that, um, I was learning about in school where I actually found myself laughing and realizing that old stories had a sense of humor that translated forward in time. Cause you know, everyone always told me that Shakespeare was supposed to be funny, but when you're 13 or 14, the language is so dense and intimidating that you just don't get the jokes a lot.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, no it's total mistranslation. Exactly. Yeah. It's funny with Oscar Wilde, actually my favorite quote, not just from him, but pretty much my favorite quote period. Um, let's see if I can remember it off the top of my head. Um, it goes with freedom, flowers, books and the moon who could not be happy. Um, and I love that quote and I actually just had like postcards made up for promoting this podcast, um, with that quote on them. And there's like an irony because I don't really think that Oscar Wilde was that happy. I mean, I,

Speaker 1:

I think he had a hard life, but honestly like that is, I was, when you said that quote, I was going to say can not be the unofficial tagline for your podcast. And then you told me you printed up the postcards and of course you did.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, of course. Yeah, no I do. I love that quote. It's so perfectly encapsulates what I'm trying to accomplish this podcast. Um, okay. So we've talked about Dickens, we've talked about Oscar Wilde. Tell me about you don't live here, right?

Speaker 1:

Sure. Um, so this book is essentially my queer love letter to the shows that I just adored to pieces in my teenage years, uh, primarily Gilmore girls and the OSI. So you'll find a lot of references to those throughout, but the story is about a girl named Sasha, who is living in Southern California when a terrible fictional earthquake hits. And, um, her mom dies and she has to move in with her as strange conservative grandparents in this wealthy town that she, you know, feels like such an outsider in and her grandparents have a lot of ideas about how they want her to be successful in life, who they want her to be, who they want her to be with. And a lot of those ideas don't match up with how she's feeling in our hearts. Um, and also the girl that she is starting to develop a crush on. So it's a story about identity. It's a story about family. It's a story about loss. And I think like most of my books, it's a story about being a smart outsider, um, trying to find your place in the world and show the world who you truly are.

Speaker 3:

I love a good, smart outsider story. It's like that. Then the hints of the underdog that you just like, like, yes, I, I was that awkward kid and I'm so like in support of you and finding yourself and having happiness.

Speaker 1:

Yes. Oh my gosh. Whenever anyone talks about the outsider trope, I just remember my freshman year of college, I had this assigned roommate and she was just such a bully. She was so mean. And um, I remember we went to as part of like a freshman initiative and we saw wicked on Broadway and in the scene where like Golinda and alphabet are roommates. She turns to me and I was, I was identifying so hard alphabet and she goes, that's us, you're the Linda. And I was like, what the, how do you go Linda? And it's because I'm blonde and own shoes. And that was the surface level of what she was getting out of it. But my mind, because I was like, you are the bully. You were the mean girl, I am the outsider. And it made me realize that everyone does see a little of themselves in an outsider, even if, you know, they aren't that character at all. And if people can identify so strongly with characters like that, then I should absolutely be writing stories like that.

Speaker 3:

No, that's a great story. And a great example of, yeah. This idea that like, even when, like you maybe think that you're in the CRA the in crowd, um, I think that a part of us still is like, but do I really belong here? And you know, kind of this, this, especially when you're a teenager, just trying to figure out like who you are in the world and constantly questioning, um, do these people really like me and my having to prove myself and all of those things that we all experience

Speaker 1:

completely. I mean, I think also when you're a teenager, you're trying on so many different pieces of your identity, that it can be so scary to think if there's a piece of myself that I discover that I really, really want to lean into. Is that going to be a piece that other people maybe condemn me for or aren't as excited about, and is it going to change like how I'm perceived and who my friends are and who wants to be friends with me and who likes me? And it's, it's so interesting, you know, you grow up so much from 14 to 18 and yet you're largely stuck in that experience with the same people. And it can be, it can be so hard to look at people and imagine like what their pain is and what their complexity is. Especially if they're intimidating or you have a history together. And yeah, I think, um, I think popularity and being an outsider and identity are all just like themes that I try and write about because I'm so fascinated by them.

Speaker 3:

No, and it really comes out. And that was one of the things that I really loved is that you, in your characters, um, you, you don't, you don't go for any stereotypes. Like every single one of them was so complex and often not what they appear to be. Um, and in, in the reading of it, as I was nearing the end of the book, you know, I was kind of starting to notice that there were a number of different kind of transformations over the course of the story. Um, not just in Sasha of course she's the main character and the one that's most pronounced. Um, but even sometimes in these characters who had done awful things or said awful things, or maybe believed things that you know, you or I may not agree with. Um, and yet they, and let you still gave each one of them. Um, so much more than that really kind of showed how they were able to, to change and to grow over the course of the story. And it all felt very real and very human.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Um, I suspect you're talking a lot about Cole who was really one of my favorite characters to write because he was such a challenge for me. Um, I think I was so interested to write about a tarnished golden boy learning how to be an ally and learning how to apologize for doing something wrong. Because a lot of the time when you're really young and you don't know any better, you can do things that hurt people, but it doesn't need to be who you are forever. And I think giving him a chance to grow and educate himself and make better choices, felt like an important part of the story for me, because otherwise it just felt very, very black and white. Um, and I, I really was attached to him as a character. I felt he was so complex. And so sympathetic, the more you learn, but of course you were very much in Sasha's head.

Speaker 1:

So you weren't seeing like his entire sort of coming of age arc play out in the background because it wasn't always relevant to her. Um, so I kind of wanted to give a lot of the characters, even the characters that did bad things like the girls in the popular friend group. Um, I wanted to give them all their own emotional journeys that maybe we weren't seeing much more than a sliver of, but they were also growing and changing because you know, they're growing up and they're experiencing the world too. And I think it's really unfair to just have one protagonist in a story, learn and grow and change while the world doesn't do that, because that doesn't really seem representative of what it's like to be a teenager.

Speaker 3:

No, absolutely. And I, you know, even with Cole, like, and I also loved him and he became one of my favorite characters, like you started out one of my favorite characters and then he plummeted to the bottom and then, but, and, and, and I, as a writer, like I can recognize how easy it would have been to just write him off and like, Nope, he, this is who he is. And he did this horrible thing and there no justification and we're leaving it there. Um, and I really admire that. You didn't take that easy way out. Like you've still built in so much more complexity and empathy for him, um, in a lot of ways.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Yeah. I think it's, it's really hard to write complexly about characters, whose actions we don't always agree with. And I really wanted to challenge myself to do that in this book. And I also just felt like, you know, my very first novel beginning of everything, um, had a male narrator and I haven't written a book with like a full like male narrator since, and I've always been interested in going back and trying that. And there was just something in the back of my head while I was writing this book where I was like, if I were less brave about telling the story, or if this were not my fourth novel, but maybe my first, I might have written Cole as the protagonist or as the only love interest. And so I wanted to challenge myself and I also just wanted to, um, I wanted to write a character arc that I hadn't seen a lot of in contemporary way, and I hope I accomplished it. We will find out,

Speaker 3:

I think the readers will judge. Um, but I, I loved it. Um, I really, really enjoyed reading it and, uh, in a lot of, for a lot of different reasons, um, and the characters are one, I also loved that there's this kind of ongoing theme of like what, who we really are on the inside versus what we are showing to the world. Um, and, and you, and again, here, you see that in Cole, you see that in Sasha, you see it in Lilly. Um, like I even feel like you see it a lot in, uh, Sasha's grandparents, um, and kind of this, this veil that they have of their life, um, which isn't always accurate to the truth. Um, and, and I thought it was just really exceptionally done when you were writing it. And I want it, I'm really curious about that, that theme of, you know, what's on the inside versus what we're portraying to the world. Was that something that you kind of had in your mind from the beginning of writing this story, or was it something that kind of emerged as you were getting to know these characters?

Speaker 1:

Oh, I really love that question. Um, it is definitely one of my core themes that I always write about, I think whether, I mean to, or not. And in this book, I absolutely meant to, um, I think for me as, as a queer woman, whose partner is a straight man, um, I think a lot of the time the world sees me and sees one thing and doesn't, you know, it doesn't know what, what else is going on in my head or what else has gone on in my life. And I felt like that is something that I was also going through very much when I was in high school. Um, I was always a kid who was very passionate about math and science and the arts, and it couldn't ever be both at the same time. I had to focus on one and sort of give it my whole heart and my whole attention.

Speaker 1:

And then I would just feel like, Oh, I can't wait until I can get back to my other passion, my other things. So I've always had this duality, I think to myself and I never really knew what that was or found stories that talked about it when I was growing up. So I really wanted to write a book that focused on the idea that if the world sees you as one thing and you know, in your heart that you're something else that's fine. And that's honest and true, and you should live your truth. You shouldn't just keep doing what other people say is best for you because they don't know you and they don't know your heart.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I feel like it's so timely right now. Um, in the, especially in the age of social media, uh, and I'm, I'm fascinated by social media and how it is changing and affecting our society. Um, and this, you know, this kind of Instagram life that we have, this is not always accurate of what our actual life looks like. Um, and I am 100% guilty of that. Um, and kind of like having my quote unquote brand that I put out in the world and knowing that it's not the full picture. Um, and so I loved reading about these various characters. Um, and, and especially at the, and I don't, I don't want of course spoil anything, but there's an art installation at the end of the book that like so beautifully encapsulates this idea, um, of, of, you know, truth and identity and, uh, what, we're, what we hide versus what we show. Um, and I just thought it was all really well done. And I loved reading about it.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much. Yeah. I, um, I feel like I learned the phrase for what it is that we all do on Instagram recently, and it, it felt so right. It's called highlights only. And it's the idea of like, do you have a highlights only social media account, meaning do you only share the good and not share, you know, the negative or the difficult? And once I heard that phrase, I really recognized that that was something that I was unconsciously like doing. I think the phrase is subconsciously. I was definitely not unconscious. Yes. I was subconscious.

Speaker 3:

I sleep,

Speaker 1:

you know, like that would explain a lot. And also I would have so much more free time to write books if I just post it on social media, in my sleep, I wish. Um, but yeah, I kind of made a conscious decision to stop doing that and to share the bad as well. And it's felt very freeing. And I think the author who is the most honest and candid who really paved the way in doing that for me and showed me how, like how just sort of honest and good it is and how well people respond is Victoria Schwab. Like social media is just so candid and

Speaker 3:

it

Speaker 1:

it's really smart. Like, I, I love her example and I just kind of want to try myself to, um, to stop posting only beautifully curated photos and a little bit more of the messiness behind the scenes of being a writer, because it is very messy.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. No, and it's so easy to just talk about like, Oh, I turned in my draft today or, Oh, I hit my word count today, or, Oh, look how cute and tidy my desk looks today and just ignore all of the other days in which I didn't hit my word goal. And the writing is not going well. And my office is a mess. Um, yeah, increasingly a matter of fact, Victoria happened to be a guest on this podcast in a previous episode

Speaker 1:

already listened to that one. Like you highly underestimate my level of nerd and level of like excitement over this podcast. I am telling you,

Speaker 3:

yeah, she was so great. And I am with you. I love just how open she is, um, about, about writing life and about mental health and like, just so many things she's really, um, like you say, paving the way. Um, and yeah, and I, I often like on a personal level feel like, okay, Marissa, this is you're going to start like being more open and showing the bad days and I am, but then I'm like, but what do I say? How, how do I go about doing that? So I don't know, maybe it's something I should start thinking about a little bit more seriously, mostly

Speaker 1:

Irene. I hope you try it. Like, as, as I've done it more, it has felt really freeing because I feel like it humanizes you. And so often, you know, what people who are following authors on social media are following is, you know, the person who created a story that they identify with so much. And the themes that we put into our stories are often based on the hard things that have happened to us in our lives. So by sharing those hard things in a way, like it's a deeper level of connection with these, um, with these readers. So I just try and remind myself.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no. So true. Um, I also feel like as a parent, um, there's this expectation to like always be the perfect parent and like, look at this wonderful craft thing that I did with my children today and look how cute they are and these adorable outfits that don't have holes and grass stains on them. And it's like, so often not the reality, like we just happened to be having a really good day that day. And we're just gloss over all of the tantrums and you know, all of the other things,

Speaker 1:

well, I think it can be hard when other people are involved also. Like I don't have any kids, so a lot of the time, you know, if, if there's something hard that's going on in my life, it's not something that puts someone else on blast. So maybe it's easier to share in that context. Or maybe it's just easier to share when you're not a mom.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Yeah. We've taken a tangent, but it was fun talking. I actually am feeling inspired. I'm going to, I'm going to start reconsidering my approach to social media, um, based on your suggestions. So thanks Robin. This has been a nice chat. Um, so I want to talk about, um, how you don't live here is an own voices book, um, hashtag own voices. Um, so just for starters, for readers who maybe aren't familiar with that hashtag, um, and the own voices movement, um, it's a way of kind of promoting and talking about and highlighting books that feature, uh, diversity and of diversity comes in many different forms. Um, but specifically books that are written by authors from that diversity group. Um, so in this case you are a bisexual author and have written a story of a bisexual girl. Um, what does the own voices movement mean to you personally?

Speaker 1:

I think it's amazing. I am so excited, especially I'm seeing stories in queer spaces these days that aren't just about queer pain or coming out, but that are stories about queer joy, or just have characters in them who happen to identify as LGBTQ. And the story is about going to prom or being magical or saving the world. And I never had stories like that growing up. And I know that for, um, for people of color or people of like, like a different disability groups, um, people of like different religions, seeing themselves reflected in a story written by someone who has lived that experience is this amazing thing that we haven't had a lot of, uh, in past years in Yia. And it's, it's happening more and more these days. And it's, it's really special. Like I love it so much and I love how many voices are getting uplifted and how many, like new authors whose books wouldn't really have sold to publishers in a big way, even like five years ago are hitting the New York times bestseller list and really, you know, making huge waves in the book section.

Speaker 1:

It's, it's really great. Like, I, I love the own voices movement and just in a completely weird twist, um, this book, uh, you don't live here. I sold so many years ago that it was before, um, the, we need diverse books hashtag and, um, nonprofit and all of that started. It was just sort of something that I felt I needed to write. And I think a lot of other people were feeling that same way at the same time, based on how many books are coming out now. Um, but this was something that I actually decided to do before any of that. So it's been lovely to see it sort of grow up around me as I've been working on this book.

Speaker 3:

I agree. It is such an exciting time to be writing Yia right now. Um, and I like, I am just so delighted to see the surplus of, of diversity that has started to come up on our shelves and even like reading the deal section of publishers weekly and how eight years ago it would have been all, you know, white street, character, white, straight character. Um, and now there's such a mix, um, of, of different stories being told. Um, and it's, it's nice that not only did people start this movement, but the publishers listened and readers have responded in such a wonderful, positive way

Speaker 1:

completely. I mean, it just shows how very needed it was and how very needed all of these diverse own voices books, um, were, and I love that. I love that so much. And I'm finding so many great stories now. Like I think this really is the Renaissance era of Yia and, you know, I, I thought maybe five or 10 years ago that that was the Renaissance era, but you know, maybe five years from now, I'll be saying, no, it's this, I think it's just getting better.

Speaker 3:

And I love it so much. Yeah, no, and it's been so much fun for me in doing this podcast and it's introduced me to books and authors that I wasn't previously familiar with. Um, and, and yeah, I, I agree. I've never heard that phrase before the reticence of why fiction, but it does. It feels like this is just a really special moment and I hope it just continues. I do too. Um, okay. So I have to say that I felt like this book, you don't live here. It was very educational for me on a number of levels. Um, for one I learned what shot and Freud means, Oh, you're saying that perfectly. I say it perfectly. Thank you. I was worried.

Speaker 1:

I like, like I speak German. I don't speak German. I, um, I really love, uh, German compound nouns. And I made a YouTube video about this many years ago that went horrifically and accidentally viral in Germany. So millions of German teenagers took to YouTube to make fun of my pronunciation of a lot of German words. I don't think I've ever fully recovered my dignity from that experience or your books available in Germany. Yes, they are actually hopefully turn into a good publisher. Maybe I'm just a joke over there. And I don't know.

Speaker 3:

Um, I also learned that you can order chopped chiles on, in and out burgers. Is that a true thing? I would never make that up. Oh my gosh. I'm so excited for the next time I go to California and get to try that

Speaker 1:

it's a real thing. I was, um, I was watching like some of these like really deep dive foodie videos, and I think it was Seth Rogan and, um, Oh my gosh. I cannot remember who else. And yeah, they were going through all of the secret secret menu, maybe David Chang, but they were going through this like secret secret menu of in and out. And I was like, I lived in California for so long. I have only known about the secret menu, you know, the grilled cheeses, the Neapolitan shakes, all of that. And I was like, blow my mind guys. I haven't tried it yet. So if it's terrible, I don't know. But in the video I was watching Seth Rogan seem to love it. Yeah. How could it be terrible? I just don't exactly. I don't think so. But you have to try it and report back to me. This is your, I will,

Speaker 3:

well, maybe like when the, the, you know, stay at home, order is up in life, goes back to normal. Maybe I can come down to California and we will go try it together. That would be amazing to date. Um, what else? Oh, and then the spaghetti thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's true. Um, copy editing kept flagging me, like, is this real? I'm like the only thing I made up was an earthquake and you think I'm a gigantic liar.

Speaker 3:

So, yeah. So if, for people who had no idea, which was myself spaghetti never breaks in two pieces, it always breaks in three or four pieces. And of course, when I read this, I immediately ran to my pantry to test it. Um, and my pantry, we only had like weird, like red lentil spaghetti. And so I thought, Oh, maybe it won't be effective if it's not like traditional wheat based spaghetti, but no, it worked. It was true.

Speaker 1:

I'm so glad it worked on the lentil spaghetti. See, it's, it's a thing I don't lie except about, you know, enormous tragedies just that I need for fictional vehicles and my stories, but everything else, the chopped chilies, the, uh, the German words and the spaghetti. It's all true.

Speaker 3:

Oh, sure. Um, so, so this makes me feel like you might be one of those people that just has like an encyclopedia of weird information in your head. Like maybe as you're writing your books, like, you're just trying to find ways to include these totally random details. Would that be an authentic description?

Speaker 1:

Um, it's kind of right. Uh, so I think when I was a teenager, I read looking for Alaska and I was so impressed by John Green and he was writing for this magazine mental floss. And then he started making YouTube videos. And I feel like I was, I was there day one watching the vlog brothers. I was such a fan. And I was like, Oh, wow. I think everyone who is smart and writes white books must know all of this absurd trivia. So I decided that I just needed to know it, like it was, it was a deep failing within myself as, you know, as a 19 year old, but I didn't know all of this like quirky, weird trivia. So I started studying it. Um, and you know, obviously I, many years later that is not something that I do with my time. I have, you know, Netflix has been invented.

Speaker 1:

Um, and so, you know, in Instagram and things like that, but I still have all of these weird facts rattling around in my brain. And in high school, I did debate where you had to just wholesale know quotes from like all of these, um, like all of these poems and stories. And then you had to know like very, um, like specific political factoids. So I think I have always just been someone who gathers a lot of data. Um, and it just organically falls into the stories because it's in my head, I'll have characters who are just talking about, you know, normal things. And then the weird things fall out. Um, I think when people meet me and they talk to me, they're like, Oh my, you sound exactly like you. Right. And that's, I was not expecting that. And I feel like that's hopefully a compliment, but I am also very good at Google.

Speaker 1:

And I'm very good at Googling like lists of weird facts if I need something that I don't know. But, um, I think I have now writing an entire history trilogy because I went down a rabbit hole about almond milk. Fascinating. But, um, I will, I will spare you the almond milk story, but if you want to know about people in like Renaissance, England being obsessed with it, just Google it's a thing. Oh yeah. I totally assumed it was like a new age, you know, millennial thing. Me too. Okay. Well now we just have to talk about almond milk for it. So they didn't have refrigeration, um, obviously until what 19th century. So what happened was almond milk and nut milks were shelf stable. So a lot of the recipes, um, at like court and, um, like in England at like very like sort of biggest States use dairy free milk, they used like almond milk.

Speaker 1:

And so, um, a lot of the lower classes realized that the upper classes were having almond milk. So they decided that it must just have medicinal healing properties. So a lot of the time, and this is like in the 15 and 16 hundreds, when people fell ill, um, doctors would prescribe them Allmond milk. Um, just as like the medicine for whatever was wrong with them plague or something. And, um, and they were like, well, it must work because like the, you know, like the landed Gentry or just all about almond milk. So the fact that like, it's become a yuppie thing once again, blows my mind because it's actually cyclical. That is fascinating. I know it's so weird. I hope I got all of these facts, right. This is definitely something that I Googled years ago. So, you know, definitely write about the chopped chilies it in and out 90% sure.

Speaker 1:

I'm right about this almond milk thing. Well, someone can fact check you if they really check me, I feel like I've learned so much I'm so, yeah. And it never would've occurred to me just like to Google totally random, bizarre facts and sprinkle those throughout my books. And I love that as a writing technique, I'm going to steal that you are welcome to it. I do warn you that my writing process is so horrible. I would never wish it on anyone else. What is your writing process? Oh God. Um, Cliff's notes version. The cliffs notes version is that I am an extreme, clean drafter. So everyday when I'm writing, I sit down and I read the book from page one, chapter one, and I line at it up until I get to where I've left off for the day. Even if I've written like 80 pages, the book, every time I sit down to write, I go back to page one.

Speaker 1:

That is so nothing like my breasts. I told you it was pants. And that's why I'm slow as a writer. And usually like when I get to page like 250, like I'll just go to the act breaks, I'll go to page a hundred or 150 or something. But yeah, I write completely linear and I cannot move on. Like I cannot just write like a messy first draft. I need to know the emotional arc of every scene leading up to it because I write and type first person. Um, and I read all of the dialogue aloud multiple times while I'm writing.

Speaker 3:

This is so fascinating. I love hearing that. It's a, I mean, I love hearing about writers who have very different processes for me, because it's always just like, it shines light on this fact that like, there is no right or right or wrong way.

Speaker 1:

I'm pretty sure I'm closer to wrong than right.

Speaker 3:

No, I don't think so. If it works for you, it works. And clearly it's working because this book was beautiful. Thank you. Um, okay. We are going to wrap this up with our happy actually, no pause. Um, because you actually mentioned something that I wanted to ask about before we do that. Uh, what is next? What is this next book that you're working on? If you can tell us anything?

Speaker 1:

I think I can. I hope I can. Um, let's just go and see if I can. So I'm writing a historical fantasy trilogy and it's clear and it's feminist, and I don't think I can talk much about the plot, but it's one of these things that has my contemporary voice, but it's just set in the past. So there's like medieval lab partners and swords that cure hangovers and all of that good stuff. Um, so it's for the first time, not going to be a contemporary realistic story for me. And I'm super excited about that because I always feel like I have kept my heart in one genre and my bones and the other. And I'm so glad that I can sort of like merge together, like what I love so much and try something new. I mean, I feel like you're trying something new as well. Like you have a contemporary coming out.

Speaker 3:

They do. Yes. My first contemporary I'm so excited about it.

Speaker 1:

It's so wild. Like we absolutely should chat sometime about switching genres and, you know, bringing your voice and what makes you, you as a writer, um, across genre lines and seeing like how it works. Like, I'm just so fascinated by what I've discovered about myself as a writer and for the first time with this new thing. Cause it isn't third person. Um, I have not quite had the agony of extreme, clean drafting that I've had in the past. And I'm like, Oh, was that limited to writing in first person? Oh, interesting. So unclear I'll report back when I've finished the draft of this 20, 22. So look out

Speaker 3:

well, great. Well, I'm so excited and um, I love it when authors change genres. Um, because they're so often where there's an author that I love their work and then being able to see, um, you know, the, see them shifted gears and like try to do something totally different still often

Speaker 1:

has those same qualities that drew me to their work in the first place. I don't know, as an author, I just think that's really refreshing to see yeah. For me as well. Like I'm always so interested to see authors grow in terms of the stories that they want to tell. But so bringing with them, like the core of the themes that they write about yeah. 100%. Okay.

Speaker 3:

Now we're going to wrap up with our happy writer, lightning round. First question.

Speaker 1:

What book makes you happy? Um, a discovery of witches by Deborah Harkness. Have you read this? I have not. Oh my God. It's so good. It's like a witch and a vampire and they both have PhDs and it starts out at Oxford and it's romance and it's steamy, but it's academic and there's science in there. It's so good. There's three of them and there's a TV series sold

Speaker 3:

so many high notes. Uh, what do you do to celebrate an accomplishment?

Speaker 1:

I think I usually have a really nice dinner and then I buy some books or I buy a pair of shoes, um, guilty pleasure issues, and I get really excited about it and tell my friends. I think I'm an optimist. Like if something seems like it's just about to happen, that's great. I pre celebrate, which, you know, just in case it doesn't happen. At least I celebrated my own happiness with the thought that it would. And I feel like this is very specific to Hollywood things.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's funny. I love that. Knowing the Hollywood things are, you got to celebrate them as they come because those little joyful moments are so few and far between,

Speaker 1:

Oh my God, exactly.

Speaker 3:

How many? Um, so this is your fourth book. How many have been options?

Speaker 1:

Um, this is actually my eighth book. I had a secret, very failed writing career before the beginning of everything. Um, so how many of my books have been optioned? I think maybe six of them. Oh wow. I honestly, I can't remember it at this point. Um, it's usually most of them have been, sometimes it was just a free option. Sometimes the option has lapsed, um, and beginning of everything and you don't live here right now are the two that are still ongoing. Okay. Yeah. So six options, but no movies yet. No movies yet. Although I did get hired to write the screenplay for the beginning of everything, which was my childhood dream, but I should have been more specific that my childhood dream was to write the adaptation of my own book and then have the movie actually get made.

Speaker 3:

Well, you're, you know, you're on the road, you're on the right path.

Speaker 1:

No, we're on the road. It's been a long, I think three and a half or four years of working on this, but we keep getting closer and I, you know, you've just got to have hope.

Speaker 3:

Yes. That's so true. Having that hope is, is paramount. Um, so I'll keep my crossed for you. I hope it happens. Thank you. I hope so too. Uh, let's see. What advice would you give to help someone become a happier writer?

Speaker 1:

I would say find friends who are also writers find your people so that even if you're having a really rough time with something in publishing, you at least can talk to other people about it and maybe they've gone through it too, or maybe it's normal or it's not a big deal. And I think so much of my early writing was done just in isolation. Like I studied medicine, I didn't know a lot of people who wanted to be writers and it felt like a lot of my problems and my fears. Weren't things that I could share with a lot of the people that I was close to. And once I found friends in the writing community, all of the worst things felt a little bit better and all of the better things felt even better because I had people to celebrate them with and I could celebrate their good things. So find your people is my advice. It'll make you happy.

Speaker 3:

Lastly, where can people find you?

Speaker 1:

I pretty much live on the internet. Like it is so bad. I think it's even in my bio, it says I live in Los Angeles, but also on the internet, it should be the other way round. It should say I live on the internet, but also in Los Angeles, I'm on Instagram a lot. It's just my name, Robin Schneider. I'm on Twitter a lot. I used to be on YouTube. We don't go there anymore. Um, but if you wanted to dig up an archive of horribly embarrassing videos and be like, Oh, she does talk exactly the way she writes, uh, go to it. Um, so yeah, so that's, that's where I am online and I just, I just joined tech talk. I'm not sure about it. I think it might go horribly wrong and I don't quite understand what I'm supposed to do there. This is like me being 34 showing really hard, but I might at some point do some TechTalk

Speaker 3:

okay. Yeah. I'm still not entirely sure what tick talk is and yeah, 35. Like, I feel like that ship has sailed for me.

Speaker 1:

I thought it had sailed for me too. I was like, Oh my God. And I couldn't even get my username. I was like, that's how I know I'm late to the party when I can't even get Robin Schneider on TechTalk whoever has it. Um, can I please have it back?

Speaker 3:

I hope that plea works. I doubt it. Well. Yeah. Alright. Thank you so much for joining me Robin. It was such a pleasure to talk to you today. This was so much fun that thank you, readers. Definitely check out. You don't live here, which is in bookstores now. Um, of course we always encourage you to support your local independent bookstore if you can. Um, and as Robin pointed out to me before we started this recording, um, there has also been going around on Twitter, a list of black owned bookstores around the country. So I'm going to try to, uh, see if I can dig that up. Um, and I'll post it either in the show notes of this episode or on my social media. Um, if you want to help support one of those bookstores as well, uh, please subscribe to this podcast and if you're enjoying it, I hope that you will help spread the word by telling other readers and writers. You can find me on Instagram at Marissa Meyer author and happy writer podcast until next time stay healthy and cozy out there and your bunkers and despite everything that is going on in the world, I do hope that now you're feeling a little bit

Speaker 2:

[inaudible].