Stephanie Clifford

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This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had a wonderful conversation with an award-winning investigative journalist and a best-selling novelist, Stephanie Clifford. In this episode, they dive deep into the world of her latest novel, “The Farewell Tour,” inspired by the American West. It is a story about Lilian Waters, a strong-willed woman navigating her way through 1920s Washington State and stepping into the music industry in the ’50s. Listen in to hear more of Stephanie’s journey about how writing this novel has been a labor of love filled with challenges and discoveries along the way.

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In This Episode:

  • Consider keeping your initial ideas for a project private to allow creativity to flow without outside interference.
  • Research the historical context of your story’s setting and time, as this can provide unique plot points and deepen the storyline.
  • Draw inspiration from unexpected sources, such as obituaries or historical documents.
  • Accurately portray significant figures in your work to respect their influence and impact on history.
  • Reflect on how societal norms have changed, particularly regarding gender roles within specific industries like music.
  • Incorporate personal growth and development into character arcs, showing that they learn valuable lessons throughout their journey.
  • Persist with developing skills even when faced with setbacks or discouragement due to societal expectations.
  • Recognize the emotional intensity that can be conveyed through voice.
  • Be open to changes in industry standards over time.
  • Respect fans’ support because it’s essential for success; never insult them under any circumstance
  • Remain true to yourself despite what industry pressures might push you towards; authenticity is key to maintaining integrity both professionally and personally.


“Struggles with alcohol and struggles with pills. I think that’s what happens when people don’t deal with this when they’re not allowed to talk about it, face it, or acknowledge it. And I think you saw that in a lot of people from that generation where, as you said, the idea was like, Nope, don’t talk about it, move on. But your body knows what happened. Your brain knows what happened, and it holds onto that and it comes out in some way.” ~ Stephanie Clifford

“You’ve got to respect all those musicians who are out there touring, like, their little hearts out.” ~ Stephanie Clifford

“ I don’t like to have endings that are so cut and dry. I want to leave a little bit of room for the reader to come. It’s almost like looking at a piece of art and they’re going to bring their perspective and their thoughts on what it should be.” ~ Stephanie Clifford

Guest’s Bio:

Stephanie Clifford is an award-winning investigative journalist and a bestselling novelist. As a New York Times reporter for almost a decade, she covered law and business. She now writes long-form investigations about criminal justice and business for the Times, The New Yorker, The Economist, The Atlantic, Wired, Elle, Marie Claire, Bloomberg Businessweek, and other publications. Her accolades include the Loeb Award in investigative reporting; the Deborah Howell Award for Writing Excellence from the News Leaders Association; the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in explanatory reporting; the Deadline Club Award in Magazine Profiles; and others. Her magazine articles are frequently adapted for film, TV, and streaming, including for Netflix, Lifetime, and other media companies. “Everybody Rise”, her first book, was a New York Times bestseller and New York Times Book Review editors’ choice. She grew up in Seattle and lives in Brooklyn with her family.

In March 2023, Stephanie Clifford released her latest novel, “The Farewell Tour,” published by Harper. This novel has received critical acclaim, with the New York Times calling it “Breathtaking” and describing it as a “shimmering paean to the deeply flawed American West.”

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