The Subject Matter Expert Podcast, hosted by Dr. Shannon Valenzuela, Ph.D., features interviews with scientists, thought leaders, and authors designed to fuel the creativity of science fiction writers and to engage fans of the genre.
If you need story inspiration, help with building believable worlds, or answers to your research questions, or just want to learn more about the research process behind your favorite science fiction stories, join Dr. Valenzuela and her guests every two weeks. Also covers the responsibilities of science fiction writers to engage with the cutting-edge innovations of our time and the idea exchange between science and science fiction.
Writing Historical Science Fiction with Screenwriter and Novelist Shanee Edwards
On this episode of the podcast, I interview Shanee Edwards, an award-winning actress, screenwriter, and novelist, about her work on the story of Ada Lovelace, the mother of modern computing. We discuss some of the fascinating aspects of Ada's life, the advantages and challenges of working in different storytelling mediums, and her experience researching historical science fiction. A must-listen for anyone with interest in writing cross-genre or cross-medium projects.
Writing Technothrillers with Engineer and USA Today Bestselling Author M.A. Rothman
In this episode, engineer and USA Today bestselling sci-fi author M.A. Rothman and I discuss the challenges of writing technothrillers. He shares his research process as he distinguishes science fantasy (science Fiction) from hard sci-fi and technothrillers (Science fiction). If you aren't sure how much research you need to do for your hard sci-fi or technothriller project, or if you struggle with the best way to incorporate your research into your fiction, this episode is a must-listen!
Decade in Review (Bonus Episode)
In this episode, I discuss my own decade in review (2009-2019) for my creative writing business, what 4 practices and strategies have given me the most explosive growth, and how I am setting myself up for success in the 2020s. I also reveal my "word of the year" for 2020 and what's coming for the podcast as emerging technologies continue to compress the gap between science and science fiction.
Solving Impossible Problems and Creative Collaboration with Dr. Spiros Michalakis
In this week's episode, I discuss the process for solving impossible problems and the benefits of developing a "math mind" with mathematical physicist Dr. Spiros Michalakis. We also discuss his collaboration with Hollywood in creating the Quantum Realm for the Marvel superhero film Ant-Man. He has excellent advice for writers seeking to work with scientists on their story research, and you'll get to hear me model this type of creative collaboration at the end of the episode. (Mild Language)
Building Flawed Characters: Exploring Anxiety and Empathy with Dr. Stephanie Swales
In this week's episode, I explore the roots of anxiety and empathy with psychotherapist Dr. Stephanie Swales as I work on designing a compelling and complex character for one of my current WIPs. We explore the perspective of Lacanian psychoanalysis in particular as we consider anxiety as the "universal affect" and the different modes of empathy (hint: it's not just feeling or reading feelings).
Wonder, Integrative Knowledge, and Experience as Research with Dr. Omar Lopez-Cruz
Astronomer Dr. Lopez-Cruz and I discuss the intersections between branches of science and between science and philosophy and history as we explore the value of wonder in scientific inquiry. We also discuss the importance of understanding our place in the cosmos and the value of experience for creating grounded science fiction.