Celebrating Best Friends
We all have that go-to someone or people in our life. Our authors out some of their best friends and we invite YOU to do the same with YOURS.
Heidi Rice - Road Trips & Fan-Girling
I have two really essential mates….
One is my best friend since university. Catri is my total soul mate. We first got talking over our shared love of James Dean in the Warwick University library age 19 and decided to go on a US road trip together after finishing college, even though we didn’t really know each other that well at uni…
That first trip was a make or break experience, three months on a Trailways bus safari which included four days on a bus from San Francisco to Georgia, an overnight stay in Albuquerque bus station, a night in the swamp in Georgia and a couple of days working on a movie catering van in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (I got to stand next to Robert Redford while serving fajitas, so I was happy).
But best of all I discovered that me and Catri were perfect road trip buddies and we’ve been Thelma and Louis-ing it together every couple of years since. Despite her moving to Ireland, and us both having kids and husbands … We still love Jimmy Dean, she’s been there for me through all the important moments in my life – births, deaths and even my spur-of-the-moment wedding in NYC!
Since that first road trip we’ve explored Monument Valley, the Great Smokey Mountains, the Chesapeake Bay, the Texas Hill Country, the New York High Line and the Natchez Trace in Mississippi and pretty much everywhere in between together! Our last trip was in October last year, ten days driving from Austin to Marfa in West Texas – during which we brainstormed my first Sheikh romance—Carrying the Sheikh’s Baby (out in January 2019). In the last few years we’ve also discovered a love of camper-vanning and wild swimming together, and have added tours of—Catri’s homeland … Our next US road trip (we hope) is gonna be the Pacific Northwest in 2020! And I can’t frigging wait... We’re already doing tons of internet research, because a lot of the fun is in the planning!
My other essential mate is my best writing buddy Daisy Cummins (aka Abby Green). We first met at the San Francisco RWA conference in 2008 at the start of my writing career and bonded over margaritas, me not winning a RITA, a kilt-lifting moment at the Harlequin Party (we are both entirely innocent btw) and a fabulous trip to see one of her mother’s old friends who lived in the city. It was a wonderful evening – very bohemian, in this little clapboard house with a porch on a hilly street. As luck would have it, Daisy is Irish, and so I love to stop off and visit her in Dublin whenever I’m making a trip to visit Catri in Kildare… How cool is that? I also feel a real affinity with her because we’re both Presents writers and we both come from mixed Irish/English roots!
Daisy is my wing-woman, my sounding board, my brainstorming partner and my absolute go-to person whenever I have a crisis of confidence in my career (which is often!) or a major plot hole that I have to sort out. She’s generous, and cool, she loves prosecco and gossip and most importantly of all she’s a really good laugh (we definitely have the same snarky sense of humour). I love rooming with her at RWA conferences. Most of all I love how spontaneous she can be. The best fun we ever had was after going to a Nora Roberts talk in Ashford Castle… It had been a fun event and we met Nora etc, but high on the buzz we hatched a mad plan on the three hour drive back to Dublin to go to Inverness the following weekend and see Diana Gabaldon give a talk about our favourite book, Outlander. It was totally nuts of course, but once we saw that there were tickets for DG’s talk left, and it wouldn’t be that expensive to book flights to Edinburgh from Dublin and London we couldn’t resist.
By the time we got back to Dublin we realised we could not be trusted alone in a car together for three hours with a phone with 3G! That trip was magical; meeting up at Edinburgh airport, feeling like a couple of kids playing hookie from school, the dramatic drive through the Highlands to Inverness, a night spent absorbing the fervour of the city—which was in the throes of the Independence Referendum and a hotbed of Yes voters—DG’s wonderfully witty talk and an old railway hotel with tartan carpet (I kid you not!). We stopped off at Culloden on the way back and the site of some ancient standing stones… It was an Outlander Odyssey I will never forget, feeding my mega crush on my number one book boyfriend, Jamie Fraser! And I could not have done it with anyone but Daisy (not least because she introduced me to Jamie!!). I’m counting on there being tons more adventures like that in our future…
Jill Kemerer - Support Crews & Family Ties
At around eight-thirty every weekday morning, I sip coffee and check in with one of my best friends, author Jessica Patch. We’ve been friends for almost a decade. We share the same agent as well as the same editor at Harlequin. In this industry, it probably would have been easy to be rivals, but we’ve always cheered each other on and supported each other through the ups and downs.
Jessica and I have only met in person twice, but she’s been an enormous influence on my life. Our friendship has always transcended writing. We have kids of similar ages, the same sense of humor, similar goals, and a strong faith in God. She gets my struggles, and I get hers. And, hey, who else could I spend an entire day laughing with back and forth on the Voxer app with outrageous ideas for a novella collection we decided to launch together?
I’m blessed with a handful of other close writer friends—Wendy Paine Miller has been a huge presence in my life and a wonderful friend for years—as well as Mindy, Dani, Becky, Susan, Kristi and Constance. We check in with each other often, sharing progress, hopes and worries. Only one of these writers lives near enough where I can see her often. Coffee with Constance Phillips is one of the outings I look forward to the most each month!
My sister has always been my best friend, and she lives several states away. We get together for holidays and whenever we can squeeze in a weekend. Our kids have a blast together—sometimes I think our two oldest daughters are sisters separated at birth—and our husbands are very close. I love that my sister knows my history and I know hers. We have memories going back to the beginning of our lives—how cool is that?
Making time for my friends is important to me, whether they are local or not. Voxer and texting keep me up to date with my long-distance friends. I do wish we could hang out together, but we’re too far apart.
I need women in my life. My husband doesn’t want to hear all of my gripes, but my girlfriends never mind. Personally, I believe strong female friendships preserve my marriage! There’s nothing better than giggling over silly stuff, complaining about a minor incident or sharing the details of a good sale. And when life gets rough, it’s the best feeling in the world to know I’ve got people who truly care about me and vice versa.
Now I want to hug each and every one of my friends and tell them how awesome they are!
Ali Williams - Long Distance Besties
I'm the kind of person for whom friendships are insanely important. The fact that you have some one to turn to, no matter what, who's seen you at your best and at your worst, is pretty much a gift in my opinion.
I have too many friends to pick just one, so I'm going to talk about long distance friendship. The kind of friends I only see once in a blue moon, but who know me so well that whenever we do see each other, it's like we just saw each other the day before.
There are two types of long distance friendship really.
The first is the insanely busy, speak once in a while, long distant friend. For me, that's one of my best friends from school, Sarah. We navigated our teen years together, through heartbreak and her patience with my various nerdy obsessions, and really only meet up once a year since she now lives in Germany.
But the perfect example of our friendship, is the surprise I got for my 30th birthday, when a beautiful print arrived out of the blue. It made me cry, because the quote, the inclusion of Winnie the Pooh, and even the fact that the print was on the page of a book, reminded me of all of the things I loved about her. She is the Diana to my Anne (of Green Gables).
And then there's Cat. We've known each other pretty much from birth, and have spent the last twenty years navigating communications through letters, floppy disks and thousands of WhatsApp messages. She moved to Canada a couple of months ago, and despite this, we still talk pretty much every day - whether that's on the phone, via tweets and texts, or over the internet so we can record our podcast Into the Stacks: The Bookcast.
We both nerd out over the same things: primarily, fanon!Draco (there was a lot of fanfiction writing in our teen years); anything speculative fiction related (hence the podcast); and being retweeted by Neil Gaiman (which happened yesterday and we are still shook). But like my friendship with Sarah, it again comes down to the fact that we know each other so damn well.
And I think that that's what matters in friendship. Knowing each other. Being able to talk openly and honestly about the things that hurt and the things that makes us smile. I couldn't be more grateful for all my friends. <3
Ali Williams is a romance editor, academic and writer, and one of the hosts of Into the Stacks: The Bookcast, a podcast about speculative fiction. For more information about Ali and her projects, check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
How do you keep in touch with your besties? Do you have any long-distance friends? What’s your secret to keeping the love alive with them? Tell us in the comments below or hit us up on social media with hashtag #MyBFF . Go ahead. Out your best friend. You know you want to!