Listen in as author Linda Sivertsen (aka Book Mama) brings together the world’s most beloved bestselling authors to chat about writing, publishing, deal-making, spirituality, activism, and the art of romancing creativity. Now streaming on American Airlines, these up-close conversations are a fan favorite, downloaded millions of times, and frequently profiled on “Best Podcast” lists (i.e., The Motley Fool’s “10 Best Podcasts for Women”) while gracing the "Popular Podcasts, Books" (formerly Literature) page of iTunes/Apple Podcasts nearly every day since the show's launch in 2015. Join Linda (herself an award-winning, bestselling author, writing coach, and ex-ghostwriter + magazine editor) and her celebrity co-hosts for deep, funny interviews w/ top authors on breakout success to staying power. Heart-centered encouragement, street-smart advice, and insider success (and failure!) stories for every writer and creative type. Biggest mistakes, best shortcuts, behind-the-scenes agent, press, and publishing stories help you gain the courage to get your book, blog, ballad, or biz birthed into the world. Guests include Jenny Lawson, Martha Beck, Elizabeth Gilbert, Marie Forleo, Van Jones, Cheryl Strayed, Nia Vardalos, Terry McMillan, Joel Stein, Deepak Chopra, Tom Hanks, Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, Candice Bergen, Meg Wolitzer, Austin Channing Brown, Dean Koontz, Ann Patchett, Maria Shriver, Steven Pressfield, Anita Moorjani, Tosca Lee, Brené Brown, Lee Child, Anne Lamott, Rob Bell, Dani Shapiro, Gabby Bernstein, Seth Godin, Danielle LaPorte, Marianne Williamson, Arianna Huffington, Mary Karr, Gretchen Rubin, #1 NYT Fantasy Authors (and besties) Tomi Adeyemi & Sabaa Tahir, US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, and former WME super-agent Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. If you’ve ever wished you could sit down with your favorite writers over coffee to ask them how they do it, year after year, book after book, consider this your new, not-so-guilty pleasure. Take your dreams from idea to done with us. The Beautiful Writers Podcast. Where inspiration is constant, and swearing, optional (although highly appreciated). Find out more: https://www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com
Patricia Cornwell & Tosca Lee: Thrilled to Death & Destiny
Spooky smart. Miraculously mystical. Devilishly delightful. Listen in as two prolific bestselling thriller authors, Patricia Cornwell (over 100 million copies sold) and Tosca Lee (award-winning NYT bestseller), sweeten up our Halloween with this perfectly low-cal, high magic treat. And I'm not just throwing the M-word around. The true tales shared here are nothing short of supernatural and will help you BELIEVE in a universe that wants what you want. One that can't help but clear the path when you keep showing up.
I had full-body goosebumps several times during this conversation. With NO idea when I imagined matchmaking for this episode that Patricia and Tosca would have such outrageously mysterious stories BEHIND their stories or that they’d have shared such unbelievable synchronicities, I'm still in a bit of a daze.
Patricia joins us at the start of her tour for Autopsy, the 25th novel in her #1 bestselling Scarpetta series. Forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta has returned to Virginia as the chief medical examiner to hunt an ingenious killer who's mastered cutting-edge science for the most nefarious ends. Patricia, who in real life has been described as a female James Bond—and you'll soon hear why—tells us how to use our fear as fuel, and I'm all ears. The woman who admits to being scared all the time has somehow made me feel twenty kinds of courage in our hour together.
I asked Tosca which of her novels (A Single Light, The Legend of Sheba, Iscariot, Demon, the Book of Mortal series...) would be a good fit with Autopsy. We decided onThe Progeny and its sequel, Firstborn, about the descendants of the real-life Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary, the most prolific female serial killer in history—which may or may not have been a conspiracy.
We've got a lot to cover. Craft. Passion. Destiny. Rejection. Locations. Training. And ghosts, as in real ones who write through us. Does that make them ghostwriters? Hmmm.
Boo! I'm frightfully happy you're here. xo
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Jenny Lawson & Martha Beck: Seriously Funny + Broken (in the best possible way)
Today's a very good day! This Book Mama is giddyhappy. Since meeting Jenny Lawson over five years ago, I've ached to have her on the Beautiful Writers Podcast, and it's finally happened on this, my post-book-delivery return to the show. After taking months off, I couldn't be more excited to be back with this literary lovefest! Jenny, who's on tour for her latest #1 NYT bestseller, Broken, and I are joined by the great Martha Beck, whose recent immediate NYT bestseller, The Way of Integrity, is my new bible. I didn't know how well they'd hit it off ahead of time, but the pairing is pure beauty.
We cover so much here! Mothering and writing and life-ing with depression and OCD and all the crappy things that make mothering and writing and life-ing so much more complicated (but with odd benefits). We cover truth-telling and how it makes for all kinds of mayhem and magic. (Of course, I had to ask how that works precisely with telling an unbelievable story on the page.) We talk about energy and how ours goes freaking haywire with electronics. Plus, what about editing and idea-ing and mustering up the courage to show our chapters to other humans? I don't know about you, but handing those babies off is scary AF, even for the pros, it turns out.
Jenny, who's talked about taking half a year to work on ONE chapter—maybe you know the feeling—calls herself a notoriously slow writer. But perhaps that's what it takes to be this masterful? You may remember a blog post this award-winning humorist wrote in 2011 that went viral, about Beyonce, the giant metal chicken. Check it out. The behind-the-scenes story of what was really going on at home with her husband, Victor, that you're about to hear around that silliness is too good.
I feel like the luckiest girl who's ever had a dream and a microphone. Listen in, share, and leave a comment. I cannot wait.
PS. To get on my Book Mama mailing list and never miss an episode—and receive my free 45-min audio of my favorite + fast writing & publishing tips—go to bookmama.com/gift.
Elizabeth Gilbert & Marie Forleo: Behind the Bestsellers
"I'm glad I'm not competitive," Elizabeth Gilbert said when listing her dear friend Marie Forleo's assets and calling her a "quintuple threat" before adding how incredibly loyal, decent, and giant-hearted she is. It's with that kind of feel-good sisterhood that we kick off this first episode of the Beautiful Writers Podcast for 2021. Two #1 New York Times bestselling authors, celebrating their healing from the same major surgery, their recent paperback releases (Marie's Everything is Figureoutable and Liz's City of Girls), jaw-dropping manifestation tips, warp-speed book proposal-wrangling, and a chopping-block editorial practice that Marie's book and Glennon Doyle’s Untamed benefited from that may leave you sprinting for your delete key. You mean there are secrets to opening your page-turner? Holy smokes. But don’t take my word for it. “Auntie Liz” is layin’ it down and you'll want to take notes.
Also to be had? A whole lot of laughter, good-natured swear words, and light-hearted wisdom. Because it's a new year, and isn't it high time for lightness and brightness as you communicate with “the soul of your book”? I thought so, too. Amen, and happy 2021!
Linda (aka Book Mama) xo
For more info, go to BeautifulWritersPodcast.com
“Best-Of” Part 4 Episode
It's here—our 4th annual Beautiful Writers Podcast "Best-Of" episode! Just in time to save your creativity in the New Year from all that binge-watching and doomscrolling. It's been a year—2020 (hence why this Summer episode's dropping in Winter). I don't have to tell you what kind of havoc the pandemic has unleashed on our best-laid writing plans and schedules. Fortunately, my interviewees dish all about their time and focus challenges and share their best workarounds. Okay, not Deepak Chopra. He meditates practically all day and has penned ninety books, so whatevs. But the rest of us mere mortals could use a Writer's Survival Guide.
We've got mega-bestsellers, often paired with their dear friends, even besties. Cheryl Strayed & Nia Vardalos. Terry McMillan & Laura Munson. Humorist Joel Stein. Dr. Jane Goodall & Keely Shaye Brosnan. Dani Shapiro & Gabby Bernstein. Sue Monk Kidd & Ann Patchett. Anita Moorjani & Kelly Noonan Gores. Poet Laureate of the U.S., Joy Harjo. Deepak Chopra & his former book publicist, author Arielle Ford. And Random House publisher Chris Jackson, and one of his "superhero" authors, Valarie Kaur.
Just because we're living in urgent times doesn't mean we let go of our dreams. No! They're more critical than ever. For that reason, I've broken the show up into three parts—Time, Habits, and Vision—to help you get your head on straight and move through this upcoming year living like you mean it (I'm quoting Terry McMillan here).
This episode is a big one, clocking in at two hours (it's been a while, and I've missed you). But it may just be my favorite one yet. These authors are too good to cut; you can only imagine how long this episode was ten edits ago! Take your time. Listen in sections. Savor them. A whole lot of love went into making this for you. I can't wait to see the beauty you create.
Tomi Adeyemi & Sabaa Tahir: YA Superstars on Living & Writing Heroically
Two of the top-selling YA Fantasy authors of ALL TIME give us a master class on earning, output, and living as epic a life as the stories they’re writing. On this fifth birthday of the Beautiful Writers Podcast, these #1 New York Times bestselling novelists—Nigerian-American Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone and Children of Virtue and Vengeance) and her dear friend and mentor, Pakistani-American Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes series)—astound with their frank, nothing-is-sacred admissions. Still only in their twenties and thirties respectively, these women have nevertheless learned to stay disciplined and committed to a story long after it’s lost its spark, faced brutal rejections and failed deal-making, and even stared down the “evil eye,” giving them fierce determination. Homeschooling during a pandemic while on deadline? No problem. Who says you can’t write a battle scene while setting the table and yelling at the kids to wash their hands?
TIME Magazine’s list of “100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time” includes two books apiece by Tomi and Sabaa. Imagine that! Keeping company with titles that go back as far as the ninth century (The Arabian Nights) and include classics like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, The Fellowship of the Ring, A Wrinkle in Time, and several of the Harry Potters, our guests, with their black and brown heroic characters—created long before the Black Panther movie electrified audiences—have written stories that will stand the test of time.
Tomi and Sabaa tell us what it’s like to write a series where girls in their ancestral countries finally feel seen; how they feel deserving of making seven figures, and what it takes to embody the courage to walk away from major publishers or movie studios if the soul of their stories is compromised. They reveal whose music pumps through their veins on the regular to enable them to wake up every day and be their own heroes.
However, that doesn’t mean that Tomi and Sabaa don’t have to rest up and HEAL from all their epic world-creation. Or that dating is easy when you feel the need to hide what you do from strangers. Or that being black or brown at this time in history doesn’t bring radical weight and urgency. World-changing is never uncomplicated. But when film companies like Paramount (which first optioned Sabaa’s books—she’s since changed course in a “secret,” exciting development), and Disney/Lucasfilm (which are developing a franchise from Tomi’s books—only the third one after Star Wars and Indiana Jones), it’s the little things that keep them grounded: the puppies, chocolate, the welcome interruption of UPS deliveries. Of course, kids, siblings, and parents pulling focus and busting their chops always remind them of what matters—and that even characters fleeing a maniacal king or empire still need to eat and sleep and will laugh, have crushes, fall in love, and be annoyed with the person they love.
This is an episode I’ll go back to again and again when I need a shot of confidence. This is the show I’ll share with my grandkids. “Oh, you think you can’t do that thing you want more than anything? Listen to this!”
Valarie Kaur & Chris Jackson: A World-Changer and Her Superhero Publisher
Chris Jackson, legendary publisher and Editor-in-Chief of One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House, is here with Valarie Kaur, one of his star authors—or, as he prefers to see his writers, who include Trevor Noah, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jay-Z, and Mira Jacob, “superheroes.” After all, changing the country is not for the faint of heart, and Chris looks for formidable fighters. Kaur’s unique superpowers as a civil rights activist, lawyer, filmmaker, and author—with degrees from Stanford, Harvard, and Yale—have helped her win policy changes on the multiple fronts of hate crimes and racial profiling, immigration detention and deportation, solitary confinement, surveillance and Internet freedom, and more. But it was her speech in Washington DC at the Metropolitan AME Church in the wake of the divisive 2016 election—a speech where she invited us all to midwife a new nation waiting to be born from the darkness—that catapulted her into the spotlight. It garnered 40 million views and led to this stunning new book, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love.
What an incredible read! Van Jones calls it “a miracle, a blessing, a new paradigm.” Elizabeth Gilbert says: “In a world stricken with fear and turmoil, Valarie Kaur shows us how to summon our deepest wisdom.” I couldn't agree more and couldn’t put it down.
Chris Jackson’s list at One World includes some of the most talented writers, humanitarians and activists in the world, including numerous National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winners. His mission is to bring to the forefront novelists, memoirists, journalists, poets, and artists whose fresh voices challenge or even subvert the status quo and help us reframe how we see our rapidly transforming world. Chris's own writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Callalloo, The Atlantic(.com), and other outlets.
You could call Chris and Valarie literary soulmates. Their story, which you’re about to hear, will be a soothing balm for any writer feeling alone and unseen—wondering if and when the rest of their superhero team will ever hear the call. In fact, Valarie had been writing this book for nearly two decades before meeting Chris and had a truckload of journals to prove it. As you’ll see, it was worth the wait!
This episode is all about love: Love of ideas. Love for our histories and education—even when interrupted. Love for the systems that support us. And the ones that need to change. It’s also about taking action, even when we’re deeply afraid. Even when all we can do at the moment is love ourselves. Valarie now leads the Revolutionary Love Project, whose aim is to reclaim love as a force for justice in America. I can’t wait for you to get to know her and Chris. My guess is you’ll feel the love.
PS. To close out this episode, a big thank you, Ani DiFranco and Righteous Babe Records, for allowing us to use a song they produced for this book and the Revolutionary Love movement, coming this fall. It’s aptly called See No Stranger and features Ani DiFranco, Justin Tranter, Ivan Neville, Milck, Raye Zaragoza, Zoe Boekbinder, Princess Shaw, and Gracie and Rachel.
PSS. For more information & episodes, go to beautifulwriterspodcast.com. xo
I am new to listening to podcasts as of summer’19. I found several that caught my interest, enough to listen to and search for more. Then I discover BWP! I am in love. I have found my other half in Linda, the cohosts, and the guests. The content, quality, personalities all zap me right in my soul and now that I’m caught up I am not so patiently awaiting the next episode. My goal for 2021 is to attend Carmel Writers Retreat. Until then I will listen, learn, laugh, write, and be inspired! Thank you Linda! 🙂🙏🏻✍️
I love this podcast so much! So Touching and laugh out loud funny. Sometimes I feel like I am right there with them so much, I’ll say something and forget they can’t hear me! As an aspiring writer, I appreciate all of Linda’s practical questions and the way these writers are all so authentic and imperfectly human, making me feel all of our similarities rather than differences!! Thank you Linda!
Writers, if you listen to only one podcast, let it be this one!
LOVE this show!! I have no doubt The Beautiful Writers Podcast has helped more people in more ways than host Linda Sivertsen will ever know. Myself included. Every writer — and anyone with a desire to write — should do themselves a favor and listen. This show will teach you how to be a better writer, motivate you when you're feeling stuck, and offer you solace by showing you that you're not alone. I've listened to many of the episodes more than once, learning from and being inspired by these writers over and over again. Thank you, Linda!