50 episodes

All writers, when they set pen to paper or post pixel to page, are shaping a world: their own private world, created from their own thoughts and imagination, joys and sorrows, hopes and heartbreaks, triumphs and fears. It may mimic the real world, or it may be as different from the real world as, say, the world of Middle Earth is from the world of Blade Runner, but it is still a shaped world–a sub-creation, to use J.R.R. Tolkien’s formulation. It is not a real world, it does not have the depth or complexity of a real world, it is but an illusion…and yet, these fictional worlds, these illusions, though shaped by humans, not gods, can sometimes touch our minds and expand our spirits in ways nothing else can.



It is a kind of miracle, and very writer performs it in his or her own way. In The Worldshapers, Edward Willett, himself an award-winning writer of science fiction and fantasy, delves into the creative process with science fiction and fantasy writers of every kind, seeking to better understand this magical, mystical skill…the skill of worldshaping.

The Worldshapers Edward Willett

    • Books
    • 4.8, 6 Ratings

All writers, when they set pen to paper or post pixel to page, are shaping a world: their own private world, created from their own thoughts and imagination, joys and sorrows, hopes and heartbreaks, triumphs and fears. It may mimic the real world, or it may be as different from the real world as, say, the world of Middle Earth is from the world of Blade Runner, but it is still a shaped world–a sub-creation, to use J.R.R. Tolkien’s formulation. It is not a real world, it does not have the depth or complexity of a real world, it is but an illusion…and yet, these fictional worlds, these illusions, though shaped by humans, not gods, can sometimes touch our minds and expand our spirits in ways nothing else can.



It is a kind of miracle, and very writer performs it in his or her own way. In The Worldshapers, Edward Willett, himself an award-winning writer of science fiction and fantasy, delves into the creative process with science fiction and fantasy writers of every kind, seeking to better understand this magical, mystical skill…the skill of worldshaping.

    Episode 58: Faith Hunter

    Episode 58: Faith Hunter

    An hour-long conversation with award-winning New York Times– and USA Today-bestselling author Faith Hunter, author of the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series, the Junkyard Cats novella series, and the Rogue Mage series, as well as thrillers under the pen names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter.







    Websitewww.faithhunter.net







    Facebook@Official.Faith.Hunter







    Twitter@HunterFaith







    Faith Hunter’s Amazon Page







    The Introduction







    Photo by Kim Hunter.







    Faith Hunter is the award-winning New York Times– and USA Today-bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series and the Soulwood series. She also wrote and sold the first of the Junkyard Cats novella series as an Audible Original. Junkyard Cats was the number-one selling book at Audible when released. She also has written three Rogue Mage series novels, two anthologies in that series, and coauthored a role-playing game.







    She is the coauthor and author of sixteen thrillers under pen names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. Altogether, she has forty-plus books and dozens of short stories in print ,and is juggling multiple projects. She sold her first book in 1989 and hasn’t stopped writing since.







    Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunderstorms, and writes. She likes to cook soup, bake bread, garden, and kayak Class III whitewater rivers. She edits the occasional anthology and drinks a lot of tea.







    The (Lightly Edited) Transcript







    So welcome to The Worldshapers.







    Thank you for having me. This is so much fun.







    Thanks so much for being on. We made the connection because we’re both with Penguin Random House, and I mentioned to my publicist that, you know, I had this podcast and I could talk to authors, and next thing I knew, there you were. So . . . 







    I am just absolutely thrilled to be here. This is wonderful.







    So, we’ll start with my usual sort of taking you back into the mists of time–someday I’m going to put reverb on that, THE MISTS OF TIME, and also at the end when I do the big philosophical questions.







    Well, you’ve got a big voice. You can pull it off without the reverb. It’s very impressive.







    Yeah, I echo in my own head. But, going back into the mists of time, how did you get interested in . . . most of us, it starts with books . . . reading and writing and particularly the kind of, you know, fantastical stuff that you write. How did that all come about for you?







    First book in the Dragonridersof Pern, original cover.







    I started out as, like a lot of writers,

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Episode 57: Edward Savio

    Episode 57: Edward Savio

    An hour-long conversation with successful screenwriter and novelist Edward Savio, author of Alexander X, Book 1 in the Battle for Forever series, the audiobook version of which, narrated by Wil Wheaton, was a number-one overall bestseller on Audible.







    Websiteedwardsavio.com







    Twitter@EdwardSavio







    Instagram@EdwardSavio







    Edward Savio’s Amazon page







    The Introduction























    Edward Savio grew up in the bucolic bedroom community of Berlin, Connecticut. After Howard University, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting, where he became a ten-year overnight success, selling the first of a half-dozen scripts a decade after arriving in Hollywood.







    Savio’s first long-form novel, Idiots in the Machine, was his anti-screenplay, giving him the freedom to explore and develop deeper characters, multiple narratives, and play with language. He wrote Idiots with the certain belief that no one could make it into a movie, not even him, and then Sony Pictures optioned Idiots for the Academy Award-winning producers of Forrest Gump for seven figures.







    After three more six-figure deals with Sony and Disney, Savio moved to San Francisco to start a family. And after years of commuting between homes in SF and LA, he chose to shift the focus of his writing towards novels so he could spend more time with his children. He lives and writes in the home where Danielle Steel wrote her first two breakout novels.







    The (Lightly Edited) Transcript







    So, Edward, welcome to The Worldshapers.







    Hey, how are you? Good to have this time with you today.







    I like your first name. You’re the first Edward. I’ve done it on the podcast.







    So are you…see, I’m an Edward. Are you an Ed or an Edward?







    I write under Edward. That’s my byline. But people that know me call me Ed. Unless they knew me in high school. Then I’m Eddie. So it’s one easy way to tell when somebody knew me, is by what they call me.







    See, I used to be Ed in high school, but then when I got to college, people, you know, across the campus would be yelling, “Ehh!”, like, any noise, and I just kept turning around. So finally, I was like, “Okay, can we just be Edward?” And it just worked out that way. But yeah, I mean, I know. And of course, my mother, when she’s upset with me, would call me Eddie. So I have those three personalities as well.







    Yeah, I was always Eddie right up until I started working for a newspaper. And then I decided my byline as Eddie Willett…I was only twenty when I graduated from university and started working as a newspaper reporter, and I decided I needed to seem older than I was. So I went from Eddie to Edward at that point. And it’s been my proper byline ever since.







    Smart.







    So, we’re gonna talk about your series, which started with Alexander X, but before we get to that–and, of course, the real focus of this podcast is on your creative process. We’ll use that as an example of your creative process–but before we do that,

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Episode 56: Kelley Armstrong

    Episode 56: Kelley Armstrong

    An hour-long conversation with New York Times-bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, author of numerous fantasy, mystery, and thriller novels in multiple series for adults, including the thirteen-book Otherworld series, which began with her first novel, Bitten, and other series and standalone novels for young adults and middle-grade readers.







    Websitekelleyarmstrong.com







    Twitter@KelleyArmstrong







    Facebook@KelleyArmstrongAuthor







    Kelley Armstrong’s Amazon Page







    The Introduction







    Photo by Kathryn Hollinrake







    Kelley Armstrong is the bestselling author of numerous fantasy novels, mysteries, and thrillers, for adults, young adults, and middle-grade readers, both standalones and in multiple series.







    Born in Sudbury, Ontario, she grew up in London, Ontario. She went to the University of Western Ontario to study psychology, with plans to become a clinical psychologist, but on the brink of grad school, realizing such a career would limit her writing time for many years, switched paths and went to Fanshawe College in London, studying computer programming.







    While getting her education, she married and had first child, a daughter, then took a full-time job programming for a bank while continuing writing. She sold her first novel, Bitten, in 1999, and had two more children, sons, before it was released in 2001, at which point she quit her job to write full-time, which she’s been doing ever since.







    Among her series: Otherworld, Cainsville, Rockton, Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising, Age of Legends, and the Nadia Stafford crime trilogy. She has also written several serial novellas and short stories for the Otherworld series. Starting in 2014, a Canadian television series based on Otherworld, called Bitten, aired for three seasons on Space and SyFy. Kelley lives in rural Ontario.







    The (Lightly Edited) Transcript







    So, Kelly, welcome to The Worldshapers.







    Thank you.







    Now we’re both authors in Canada, but I don’t know that we’ve ever actually met each other in person anywhere at any conventions or anything like that. I can’t think of a time.







    I don’t think so. We’ve probably passed somewhere at some convention because it’s a, you know, relatively restricted literary landscape. But, yeah, I don’t know. I don’t recall.







    Yeah, it’s a small literary landscape, but it’s a very, very large physical landscape. And Saskatchewan and…you’re in Ontario?







    I am.







    Yeah, they’re actually a long way away from each other.







    They are.







    When we moved up here from Texas when I was eight years old, it was the year of Expo ’67.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Episode 55: Adria Laycraft

    Episode 55: Adria Laycraft

    An hour-long conversation with Adria Laycraft, author of Jumpship Hope (Tyche Books), freelance editor, and wood artisan, an Odyssey Writers Workshop alumna whose short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, both online and in print.







    Websiteadrialaycraft.com







    Facebook@adria.laycraft







    YouTubeCarving the Cottonwood Girl Gone to Ground







    The Introduction















    Adria Laycraft is an author, freelance editor of fiction, and wood artisan who earned honours in journalism in 1992 and has always worked with words and visual arts. She coedited The Urban Green Man Anthology in 2013, which was nominated for an Aurora Award, and launched her debut novel, Jumpship Hope,, in 2019. Her short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, both online and in print. Adria is a grateful member of Calgary’s Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, and a proud survivor of the Odyssey Writers Workshop. She also has two YouTube channels, Carving the Cottonwood and Girl Gone to Ground.







    The (Lightly Edited) Transcript







    Adria, welcome to The Worldshapers.







    Thank you, Ed. It’s wonderful to be here.







    Now, I say I feel like I’m kind of an honorary member of the IFWA, because we’ve known each other for a long time through conventions in Calgary, and so, although I’ve never, you know, really been a member of the organization, I’ve been part of the Writers at the Improv that that group does every year, for many, many years now.







    That is so much fun, Writers at the Improv.







    I’ve done it a couple of times as a program. In fact, I did it when I was writer-in-residence at the Regina Public Library, and I did it again this year at the Saskatoon Public Library. Except I didn’t really have anybody show…it was just before everything closed down and I think people were a little iffy. All I had was an English As a Second Language class, and none of them wanted to compete. So what I did was, I just took words from them…because for those…I guess I should explain…Writers at the Improv is like any improv, you get words in the audience and you write a story using those words. I wrote a story on the words that they gave me. So that was kind of fun for me. It wasn’t quite the usual kind of a process, though. But anyway, enough about me. You’re actually here to talk about you. So, we have known each other a long time and you’ve been a writer all that time that I’ve known you. So, let’s take you back into the mists of time, as I like to say. How did you get interested…well, first of all, in science fiction and fantasy…and in writing? Which came first, or how did those two things come together for you?







    Well, I can…of course, that’s why my phone rings…I have definitely been a re...

    • 55 min
    Episode 54: Lisa Foiles

    Episode 54: Lisa Foiles

    An hour-long chat with actress, singer-songwriter, dancer, voice-over artist and writer Lisa Foiles, former cast member of Nickelodeon’s All That, author of the new middle-grade novel Ash Ridley and the Phoenix.







    Websitelisafoiles.com







    Twitter@LisaFoiles







    Instagram@LisaFoiles







    Facebook@LisaFoilesOfficial







    Lisa Foile’s Amazon Page







    The Introduction







    Lisa Foiles







    Lisa Foiles is best known as a four-year series regular on the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show All That. Other TV appearances include Fox’s Malcolm in the Middle, Disney’s Even Steven, TNT’s Leverage and Nickelodeon’s Game Shakers. Lisa is the host of UFC.com’s UFC Minute and Screw Attack’s Desk of Death Battle. Her voiceover credits include multiple national radio campaigns, as well as the lead voice in the X Box One videogame Lococycle.







    Lisa is also an accomplished singer, as well as tap, jazz, and ballet dancer, with more than twenty years of professional training, and now she is the author of the middle-grade fantasy novel Ash Ridley and the Phoenix (Permuted Press).







    The (Lightly Edited) Transcript







    Welcome to The Worldshapers, Lisa.







    Hi, Edward. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.







    It’s my pleasure. I was watching the video about your book, and it just looks like a lot of fun. So I’m really happy that your publicist got in touch and asked if I wanted to talk to you, because it looks like this should be a fun conversation.







    Yeah, it’s…you know, it’s kind of a new venture for me. I definitely didn’t start out as an author. I’ve gone in many different career paths, and somehow I’ve ended up here and I’m having a great time.







    Well, let’s talk about that a little bit. I always start by taking my guests…it’s become a cliché on here, “back into the mists of time”—I wish I had reverb I could add in at that point—to find out…well, first of all, I know from your video that you have on your Web site talking about the book, that you were a big reader as a kid, even if you weren’t thinking of writing at the time. So, is that kind of where this writing all started, was reading as a kid? And when did the acting come into it?







    Yes, a big reader, but very specific reader. I pretty much only picked up books that were fantasy, that were middle-grade works of fantasy about kids with dragons and going on grand adventures in vast countries and, you know, fictional worlds. That’s really what I loved. You know, I was good at school, but I didn’t really enjoy it, and reading any other type of book was really a chore. And even to this day, I’m the longest reader of all time. It takes me so long to read anything. So, I like really have to pick and choose what I’m going to read. “All right. This is what I’m going to be writing for the next year.” But, yeah, when I was a kid, I would just sit in the bookstore, and they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but 14-year-olds don’t understand that, you know, 12-year-olds don’t care. And I was very young, and I would just pick out books based on the cove...

    • 58 min
    Interview with Bryan Thomas Schmidt

    Interview with Bryan Thomas Schmidt

    An hour-long conversation with Bryan Thomas Schmidt, national bestselling author and Hugo-nominated editor of adult and children's speculative fiction whose debut novel, The Worker Prince, received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club's Year's Best Science Fiction Releases and whose short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies and online. Among other accomplishments, Bryan was the first editor of Andy Weir's bestselling novel The Martian.

    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

E.L. Thomas ,

Great podcast

Incredible resource for writers and readers alike. Interesting and inspiring conversations about the science fiction and fantasy genres, the writing process and creative acts. My to-read list grows with every interview. Please keep going!

Garethhvj ,

Excellent interviews!

Ed’s interviews are great because they are in depth. He gets into why writers write, not just what the latest book is. It’s nice to have a writer interview a writer, seeing the similarities and differences between their experiences.

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