160 episodes

A podcast for readers who want to know the stories behind the pages 📖 Join Caitlin and Michelle, two book nerds who bring you in-depth conversations about writing and publishing from those on the inside. Grab a cuppa and get ready to chat books.

Better Words Michelle Gately & Caitlin Toohey

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 19 Ratings

A podcast for readers who want to know the stories behind the pages 📖 Join Caitlin and Michelle, two book nerds who bring you in-depth conversations about writing and publishing from those on the inside. Grab a cuppa and get ready to chat books.

    The Re-Read: Our 2022 favourites

    The Re-Read: Our 2022 favourites

    It's our favourite episode of the year – our favourite books, films, TV and audio of the year. Thank you for joining us in 2022 and supporting our wonderful authors.
    We've started a Substack for Better Words to give you extra mini recommendations each month outside of our podcast episodes. Come join us!
    You can also find us Storygraph: Michelle and Caitlin.
    Season 10 (can you BELIEVE?!) will be in your ears in a few months.
    We're keeping recommendations brief. If we've featured or discussed the book before, we'll link to the episode.
    We'll mark any PR/review copies with *
    Adult fiction
    Caitlin:
    Babel by R.F. Kuang*All My Mothers by Joanna Glen* (original rec)The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding by Holly Ringland*
    Michelle:
    Girl Friends by Holly Bourne Cat Lady by Dawn O'PorterYinka, Where is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn* (interview)
    Young Adult
    Caitlin:
    Libby Lawrence is Good at Pretending by Jodi McAlister* (interview)The Cult of Romance by Sarah Ayoub* (interview)August and Jones by Pip Harry* (interview)
    Michelle:
    Unnecessary Drama by Nina Kenwood* (interview)Blood to Poison by Mary Watson* (interview)Sugar by Carly Nugent* (interview)
    Non-fiction
    Caitlin:
    How to Be Perfect by Mike Schur Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew PerryI'm Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy
    Michelle:
    Why Did You Stay? by Rebecca Humphries (read my Substack review)Redhanded: An Exploration of Criminals, Cannibals, Cults, and What Makes a Killer Tick by Suruthi Bala and Hannah McGuireParsnips, Buttered by Joe Lycett
    Favourite cover
    Caitlin: Tiny Uncertain Miracles by Michelle Johnston
    Michelle: The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
    The hype read
    Caitlin: Book Lovers by Emily Henry
    Michelle: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
    The book we recommend to each other
    Caitlin: I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy
    Michelle: All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donohue
    The new release we want to read
    Caitlin: Love & Autism by Kay Kerr
    Michelle: The Vintage Shop of Second Chances by Libby Page
    (We also both have Spare on reserve at the...

    • 1 hr 19 min
    The Re-Read: Gabrielle Tozer and Rhiannon Wilde

    The Re-Read: Gabrielle Tozer and Rhiannon Wilde

    We're switching things up for Season 9: Welcome to The Re-Read. In this mini-season, we check in with a selection of past guests to find out what they've been working on. Expect lots of books, some babies and plenty of chat.
    This season works a little differently, without book recommendations from us at the start of each episode. But we promise you'll still get plenty of books added to your TBR!
    Interview 1: Gabrielle Tozer
    Gabrielle Tozer was one of the first guests on the podcast, so she's been very busy since we last spoke. She joins us to discuss her children’s book Melody Trumpet, and another Young Adult novel, Can’t Say it Went to Plan.
    You can follow Gabrielle on Instagram @gabrielletozer
    In this interview, we chat about:
    How motherhood has changed Gabrielle's writing career and what styles she wants to writeWhy every book needs a different writing processGab's latest YA novel, Can't Say It Went to Plan, and choosing how to portray Schoolies experiences
    Can't Say It Went to Plan is available in Australia now. Remind Me How It Ends is now available in the US.
    Interview 2: Rhiannon Wilde
    Rhiannon Wilde joined us in 2021 to chat about her debut YA novel, Henry Hamlet's Heart. We were itching to discuss her second novel, Where You Left Us, which was released in September. 
    Listen to our previous chat with Rhiannon here.
    You can follow Rhiannon on Instagram @rhiannon_wilde
    In this interview, we chat about:
    Writing about anxiety while dealing with it as a creative personSecond book nerves, perfectionism and confronting your own ambition as a writerGoing from writing in isolation to finally visiting writer's festivalsWhat Rhiannon is working on next
    Where You Left Us is available now in Australia. Henry Hamlet's Heart is out now in the US.
    Books and other things mentioned:
    Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging (film)Before the Beginning by Anna MorganSophie Gonzales' publishing journey (listen to our chat here)Folklore, Evermore and Midnights by Taylor SwiftGirl Friend by Holly Bourne
    Connect with us on Instagram: @betterwordspod

    • 1 hr 19 min
    The Re-Read: Pip Harry and Ellie Marney

    The Re-Read: Pip Harry and Ellie Marney

    We're switching things up for Season 9: Welcome to The Re-Read. In this mini-season, we check in with a selection of past guests to find out what they've been working on. Expect lots of books, some babies and plenty of chat.
    This season works a little differently, without book recommendations from us at the start of each episode. But we promise you'll still get plenty of books added to your TBR!
    Interview 1: Pip Harry
    After we spoke to Pip Harry about her 2017 YA novel, Because of You, she moved to Singapore for several years and has only recently returned to Australia. She’s also been busy on the publishing front...
    She published a verse novel for young teens, Are You There Budda?, in 2021. But Pip has also moved into middle grade fiction, including the 2020 CBCA children’s book of the year for younger readers - The Little Wave, which was published in 2019 - and her latest book, August and Jones, published in June this year.
    You can follow Pip on Instagram @piphaz
    In this interview, we chat about:
    How Pip went from writing YA to writing verse novels for middle-grade audiencesThe gorgeous real-life friendship that inspired Pip's latest book, August and JonesMaking disability visible through storytelling and working
    August and Jones is available now. Thank you to UQP for sending us copies of the book in preparation for the interview.
    Interview 2: Ellie Marney
    Ellie Marney is the bestselling and award winning author of the Every series, and she’s been very busy since we spoke to her about self publishing No Limits back in 2017. With White Night in 2018, The Circus Hearts series, None Shall Sleep in 2020, The Killing Code in 2022 and Some Shall Break coming in 2023.
    You can follow @elliemarney on Instagram
    In this interview, we chat about:
    What Ellie's been up to since she first spoke to us five years agoThe evolution of the #LoveOzYA movementWriting 'a YA Silence of the Lambs' and how that helped Ellie crack the US marketEllie's 2022 book The Killing Code and codebreaking in WWIIInside the wild world of Washington in WWII
    The Killing Code is available now. Some Shall Break will be available in June.
    Books and other things mentioned:
    The Weight of Water by Sarah CrossanUnnecessary Drama by Nina Kenwood (listen to our chat with Nina here)The Book Thief by Marcus ZusakYou Can't Ask That (TV series)Fighting Words by Kimberley Brubaker-Bradley (listen to our chat here)Silence of the Lambs (film)Mindhunter (TV series)Mindhunter by John DouglasThe Imitation Game (film)The Bletchley Circle (TV series)Code Girls by Liza MundyThe Flatshare by Beth O'LearyRedhanded (podcast)Real Crime Profile (podcast)
    Connect with us on Instagram: @betterwordspod

    • 1 hr 23 min
    The Re-Read: Laura Kay and Danielle Wood (Minnie Darke)

    The Re-Read: Laura Kay and Danielle Wood (Minnie Darke)

    Laura Kay and Danielle Wood (aka Minnie Darke) return to tell us about their latest novels and what they've been working on recently. Plus, we discuss the joy of releasing books post-lockdown.

    • 56 min
    The Re-Read: Tobias Madden and Nina Kenwood

    The Re-Read: Tobias Madden and Nina Kenwood

    Aussie YA authors Tobias Madden and Nina Kenwood join us to catch up on the releases of their new novels. We discuss Take a Bow, Noah Mitchell and Unnecessary Drama, as well as what it's like to go viral, choosing to include covid in their books, and writing about the post-school years.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    The Re-Read: Michelle's wedding and what we read on our UK trip

    The Re-Read: Michelle's wedding and what we read on our UK trip

    We're switching things up for Season 9: Welcome to The Re-Read. In this mini-season, we check in with a selection of past guests to find out what they've been working on. Expect lots of books, some babies and plenty of chat.
    This season works a little differently, without book recommendations from us at the start of each episode. But we promise you'll still get plenty of books added to your TBR!
    We're kicking things off with a wrap-up of our travels, including some of the wonderful books we read along the way. Plus, a few other bookish adventures.
    And, if you'll allow us to be a little self-indulgent, we're sharing all the details of Michelle's Edinburgh elopement. You can see shots from the day here and here.
    Wanna skip to the book recommendations? We get into that at
    We'll mark any PR/review copies with *
    Books recommended:
    Caitlin:
    Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton*Babel by RF Kuang*Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton
    Michelle:
    Unnecessary Drama by Nina Kenwood (stay tuned for a Re-Read chat)The Bullet that Missed by Richard Oseman (Thursday Murder Club #3)Girl Friends by Holly BourneCat Lady by Dawn O'PorterWhy Did You Stay? by Rebecca HumphriesTell Me Everything by Laura Kay (stay tuned for a Re-Read chat)
    Bookshops visited:
    Rare Birds, EdinburghGolden Hare Bookshop, EdinburghToppings and Company, Edinburgh (check out our AMAZING wedding pics in the store)Toppings and Company, BathWaterstones, EdinburghThe Stripey Badger, GrassingtonDaunt Books, LondonGay's the Word, LondonJuno Books, Sheffield
    Books and other things mentioned:
    Our reception venue, The Sheep Heid, and its skittles alleyCheck out Caitlin's bookshop visits on InstagramThe Satsuma Complex by Bob MortimerMatilda (Film, Netflix)The Jane Austen Centre, BathMurder Before Evensong by Reverend Richard ColeHow Do You Like Me Now by Holly BournePretending by Holly BourneMichelle's going back to occasional book reviews at The Unfinished Bookshelf on Substack Pride! (film)The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    Musicals:
    Come From AwayLes MiserablesBack to the Future Matilda
    Connect with

    • 1 hr 21 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

Misscackle ,

Excellent podcast

Such a fabulous podcast. So glad I stumbled upon it.

Jojomac44pins ,

Don’t listen to the start

I listened because I love Sara Tasker and other people interviewed .
There is soooo much rubbish talk at the start that I almost gave up .
Why do podcasters do this ?
If your podcast is about writing I don’t mind pre-chat but it needs to be on brand .

✌Good game ✌ ,

Well done!

Entertaining and informative. I can’t wait to listen to all of these.

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