The Porchlight is brought to you by Bethany Hegedus, Creative Director at The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas. (thewritingbarn.com) Join us as we chat with authors, illustrators and other creatives in and outside of the kid-lit field.
Courage to Create Episode 64 with Laura Sibson
Our last episode before break! Bethany Hegedus welcomes young adult author Laura Sibson whose debut novel, THE ART OF BREAKING THINGS, has been compared to Sara Zarr's STORY OF A GIRL and Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK. Laura has an undergraduate degree in counseling and an MFA in writing for children and teens from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two sons, and when she's not writing, she can be found running or hiking. For ten or more years prior to publishing, Laura wrote and loved creating her first novel. Her third novel, however, is the one that finally landed her an agent on query number forty-seven. She and Bethany discuss perseverance and the subjectivity of agents and editors plus what inspired Laura to write THE ART OF BREAKING THINGS after working on two other novels. They delve into the craft challenges of things like flashbacks, pacing, and revision as well as discussing the joy Laura finds in collaboration with editors. Laura also explains how she works with writing partners and community and how that accountability keeps her motivated and moving forward on projects. Listen today for more craft advice, book suggestions, and insight from Laura Sibson and be sure to check out her website at www.laurasibson.com.
Courage to Create Episode 63 with Christina Soontornvat
Bethany interviews friend, Writing Barn student and teacher, and prolific author Christina Soontornvat in this episode of Courage to Create. Christina is the author of THE CHANGELINGS and IN A DARK LAND, the chapter book series DIARY OF AN ICE PRINCESS, three forthcoming picture books, the upcoming middle grade novel A WISH IN THE DARK, and the highly anticipated ALL THIRTEEN: THE INCREDIBLE CAVE RESCUE OF THE THAI BOYS' SOCCER TEAM. Together, Bethany and Christina discuss all of these titles plus the importance of diversity in children's literature. As a first-generation Thai American, Christina is thrilled to be writing books with children that look like her and her family on the covers. In the spirit of the We Need Diverse Books movement, Christina strives to create stories that are mirrors and windows for children and that show readers the "white by default" mentality is inadequate in literature. She and Bethany also discuss the long time involved in publishing books and picture books in particular. The kid lit industry involves so little that writers can control, and Christina talks about how finding joy in the work and the craft are crucial because those are about the only elements of the business creatives can control. They also chat about freeing yourself from your own inner editor and getting out of your own way so that you can enjoy your work and your literary life. Tune in today for this inspiring episode of Courage to Create and find out more about Christina at https://soontornvat.com/
Courage to Create Episode 62: Creative A Team
During this episode, host Bethany Hegedus tackles the topic of critique groups, including what they are, how you find one or start one, how you keep one going, how you disband one when it's not working or leave one that isn't working for you. She also goes over reasons to join a group such as accountability and companionship. How should you structure the group meetings, and how can a group best function to include all members equally? You can be in any stage of your career and benefit from a critique group, and guess what? You don't have to take every critique you're given to heart. Learn how to best participate in a critique group to enhance your work and your community in this episode of Courage to Create.
Courage to Create Episode 61: Write. Submit. Support. Segment 2
In segment two of the special Courage to Create episode Bethany recorded live during her Write. Submit. Support. class’s summer retreat, the group of writers delve into what drives their literary lives at the moment and what, if anything they’d like to change about that. How can community help our work? Why is it so important to balance craft techniques like pace and structure with the emotion of the story? How do we unblock ourselves when we’re creatively stuck? The writers explore all these topics as they continue on with writing exercises meant to unlock and investigate these areas of the literary life. Bethany also gives a shout out to middle grade author Ann Braden, who was a Courage to Create guest on episode 52, and her heartfelt debut, THE BENEFITS OF BEING AN OCTOPUS, and how much Ann overcame to get that book out into the world. The group discusses the importance of sharing your struggles with your writing community as a way to lessen their impact. Listen also to part one if you haven’t already, and be sure to find out more about The Writing Barn’s online Write. Submit. Support. programming at http://www.thewritingbarn.com/upcoming-classes/#online
Courage to Create Episode 60: Write. Submit. Support. Segment 1
In this special first segment of a two part Courage to Create, Bethany leads the group of writers from her pilot program of Write. Submit. Support. during their most recent retreat. This group of writers has worked together for three years now, and they continue to retreat together twice yearly at The Writing Barn. The theme of this retreat was “Reclaiming Your Brave,” and during this episode, listeners will hear Bethany and the ten retreat participants discuss various aspects of how they are doing that in their creative lives and how they plan to add more bravery to their work. Listeners can also engage in the various writing exercises Bethany led the group in over the course of their afternoon workshop. Participants were asked to use elements of their childhood selves that they wanted to reclaim and embrace anew in themselves and their characters. The group discusses the challenges and the importance of trying new things as well as looking honestly not just at your weaknesses as a writer but also at your strengths. “Having a want can be scary because it means for a time we’re going to go unfulfilled,” Bethany tells the class who then expounds on how to cope with this knowledge and not let it stop you from starting or continuing your work. Tune in next week for part two of this episode, and meanwhile, check out The Writing Barn’s online Write. Submit. Support. programming at http://www.thewritingbarn.com/upcoming-classes/#online
Courage to Create Episode 59 with Nancy Churnin
Nancy Churnin is the author of eight picture book biographies, including her newest release, MARTIN & ANNE: THE KINDRED SPIRITS OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND ANNE FRANK. Nancy is a native New Yorker who now lives in Texas. She is a graduate of Harvard University with a master's from Columbia University, and she is a former theater critic for The Dallas Morning News. During their conversation on Courage to Create, Bethany and Nancy discuss how they both write about people who have made a positive difference in the world and who inspire them personally. When Nancy realized Anne Frank and Dr. King were both born in 1929, she started to see the other parallels between them and how both responded with love and hope even in the face of hate. Their hearts beat with the same dreams and desire for justice. Nancy and Bethany believe there is now, and always will be, a need for books about what has happened in our world and how people have dealt with it. Nancy wants to teach children that all their dreams are valued and that we can embrace our anger but use it to act and be change makers like Anne Frank and Dr. King were. Nancy is also teaching two upcoming online classes at The Writing Barn. For information on those, please go to www.thewritingbarn.com/upcoming-classes. For more information about Nancy, her books, and her school visits, go to www.nancychurnin.com.
A needed peek behind the curtain
What a great podcast! Being able to get an intimate view of a writer’s process is so needed. Writing can be a lonely pursuit and knowing that even published writers have their struggles is encouraging.
Great way to learn on the road!
The Porchlight has made many long drives productive and inspiring. While it’s often hard to make time to “sharpen the saw” amidst the demands of modern life, the Porchlight podcast is a fun way to hear from other authors and illustrators and learn new perspectives ... all while traveling from place to place! Thanks for the ongoing inspiration. I hope to see you at The Writing Barn soon!
Inspiring and Educational
I love listening to Bethany's podcasts. They inspire me through all the ups and downs of the writer's journey.