Kelton Reid studies the habits, habitats, and brains of a wide spectrum of renowned writers to learn their secrets of productivity and creativity. Tune in each week to learn how great writers keep the ink flowing, the cursor moving, and avoid block. Explore our archives at writerfiles.fm to find interviews with notable guests that include bestselling authors John Scalzi (Old Mans War), Greg Iles (Natchez Burning), Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City), Kevin Kelly (founder of WIRED magazine), Emma Donoghue (Oscar Nominee for Room), Maria Konnikova (The Confidence Game), Andy Weir (The Martian), Dan Buettner (The Blue Zones), Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist), Daniel Pink (When), and serial guest hosts: neuroscientist Michael Grybko, journalist Adam Skolnick, and short story writer Robert Bruce.
How NY Times Bestselling Memoirist Dani Shapiro Writes
Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Dani Shapiro, chatted with me about the Groundhog's Day effect of the pandemic, the transition from fiction to memoir, and the hidden power of Family Secrets.
"There's no check the boxes kind of 'career development,' or anything like that, that exists in the creative life. People think that there is, and that they're not doing it right. And there's no right." — Dani Shapiro
Dani is the author of 10 books including the instant New York Times bestselling memoir, Inheritance, which was published in 2019. Her other books include the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History.
Inheritance won the 2019 National Jewish Book Award, was named one of Wired’s top Science books of 2019 and a best book of 2019 by Vanity Fair. It was also a book club pick for Now Read This, the PBS NewsHour’s book club with The New York Times.
“A meditation on what it means to live in a time when secrecy, anonymity, and mystery are vanishing.” — The New Yorker
Dani has taught at Columbia and New York University, is the co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy, and teaches writing workshops around the world.
In early 2019, Dani launched an original podcast, Family Secrets, in collaboration with iHeartMedia. An iTunes Top 10 podcast, the series features "...stories from guests who — like Dani — have uncovered life-altering and long-hidden secrets from their families’ past."
Stay tuned for a special offer from this week's sponsor Neuro.
NOTE: Our apologies for any audio issues with our podcast guest interview. We hope it doesn't distract from the important message of this episode. Thank you!
If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Dani Shapiro and I discussed: How to change the rhythm of your day to spark creativity Her mentors and awakening to her writing voice Learning to write in public (and find an agent the right way) On throwing out hundreds of pages The power of storytelling in the aftermath of family trauma And much more! Show Notes: DaniShapiro.com Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro [Amazon] Family Secrets on Apple Podcasts William Faulkner's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech C.1950 The Essay on Self Reliance - Ralph Waldo Emerson Dani Shapiro on Instagram Dani Shapiro on Facebook Dani Shapiro on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
How NY Times Bestselling Author Craig Johnson Writes
The award-winning mystery writer and popular crime novelist, Craig Johnson, spoke with me about his long-running Longmire series, shotgun self-realization, and how to write good books.
"How am I ever gonna get seen? Write good books." — Craig Johnson
Craig is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the bedrock of the hit Netflix series of the same name.
His latest novel is the 16th Sheriff Walt Longmire murder mystery, Next to Last Stand, a story that centers around Custer’s Last Fight, one of the most viewed paintings in American history.
"Custer's Last Fight was copied and distributed by Anheuser-Busch at a rate of over two million copies a year and destroyed in a fire at the 7th Cavalry Headquarters in Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1946 . . . Or was it?"
In a starred review, Library Journal said of the book, "... Johnson lightens the atmosphere in this complex, thought-provoking mystery that highlights art and Western history, emphasizing the contrast between Native accounts and white history."
Craig is also the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountain & Plains Independent Booksellers Association's Reading the West Book Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar.
If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Craig Johnson and I discussed: Why he chose to feature veterans in his latest book The wisdom behind "Choose a job you love..." How to host a virtual book tour event His special relationship with the cast and crew of the Longmire TV series And more! Show Notes: CraigAllenJohnson.com Next to Last Stand: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson [Amazon] Craig Johnson Amazon author page Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira by Lou Diamond Phillips [Amazon] Craig Johnson on FaceBook Craig Johnson on Instagram Craig Johnson on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
How International Bestselling Novelist Emily Schultz Writes
The internationally bestselling thriller writer, Emily Schultz, spoke with me about recollections of coming of age as a Gen-Xer, her creative process in multiple mediums, and how to funnel emotion onto the page.
"You have to be able to take your own emotions and experiences and translate them into a fictional story. If you can pull on the truths that you know, you can bring them to the reader." — Emily Schultz
Emily is the co-founder of the literary magazine Joyland and is the author of The Blondes, an international bestseller named a Best Book of 2015 by NPR, BookPage, and Kirkus Reviews.
Her latest novel is Little Threats, described as a "...taut whodunit and a haunting snapshot of the effects of a violent crime [that] tells the story of a woman who served 15 years in prison for murder ... and now it's time to find out if she's guilty." The book was named an Apple Books Best of November 2020 pick.
Booklist said of the book, "Fans of Tana French, Kimberly Belle, and Orange is the New Black will fall under this book's spell. . . Terse and tense, Little Threats investigates righteous anger, teenage angst, and the enormity of setting the record straight."
Emily’s writing has appeared in Elle, Slate, Vice, Hazlitt, Prairie Schooner, and many others. She is also a producer at the indie media company Heroic Collective where she recently released a complimentary podcast adaptation of The Blondes.
Stay tuned for a clip from the Little Threats audiobook at the break, “... excerpted courtesy [of] Penguin Random House Audio ... read by Dylan Moore and Ariadne Meyers.”
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Emily Schultz and I discussed: The influential literary magazine she helped co-found How to get an "accidental" blurb from Stephen King The pandemic's effect on her creative process How to pull on the truths you know and bring them to your readers And what to do when you don't have access to resources as a writer Show Notes: EmilySchultz.com Little Threats by Emily Schultz - [Amazon] Emily Schultz Amazon page Joyland literary magazine Emily Schultz on FaceBook Emily Schultz on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
The State of Publishing 2020 with Hybrid Publisher Jesse Krieger
Internationally bestselling author, publisher, and founder of Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press, Jesse Krieger, took time to chat with me about disruptions to the publishing industry, the intersection of creativity and commerce, and marketing and promotion strategies for self-published authors.
"Learn what you need to know, to do what you love to do, so you can be the person you want to be" — Jesse Krieger
Jesse has signed publishing deals on two different continents and navigated the path of becoming a bestselling author twice. He has been featured on over 50 media outlets for his bestselling book Lifestyle Entrepreneur.
He has also published 100+ books during his six-year tenure as founder and publisher of Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press, a boutique, hybrid model publishing house.
“Their mission is to deliver a world-class publishing experience for authors – which they accomplish through their done-for-you publishing service – focused primarily on personal development, entrepreneurship, self-help, and healthy lifestyles.”
Through their unique distribution and sales models, and a focus on helping authors on each phase of the publishing journey, they strive to provide both higher quality work and resultant royalties.
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Jesse Krieger and I discussed: How books get published: traditional vs. hybrid publishing Why he doesn't recommend starting a publishing company Best practices for non-fiction authors thinking of writing a book The most common mistakes he sees authors make How to write a great book that will stand the test of time Why you can't anticipate where your audience will find you And much more! Show Notes: Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press Lifestyle Entrepreneur: Live Your Dreams, Ignite Your Passions and Run Your Business From Anywhere in The World by Jesse Krieger [Amazon] Publishizer.com Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press on Facebook Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press on Instagram Jesse Krieger on LinkedIn Jesse Krieger on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
How to Design Your Book Cover with Designer & Author Erin Tyler
Celebrated designer, Creative Director of Scribe Media, and author, Erin Tyler, spoke with me about how she overcame childhood trauma to become one of the industry's best book cover designers, why this is such an important time in publishing, and book cover fails to avoid.
"My relationship with writing is a private one. It's just something that I do every day. It's almost religious for me. Some people meditate or do yoga. I write." — Erin Tyler
Over her 20-year career, Erin has designed book covers for multiple New York Times bestselling authors including James Altucher, Ryan Holiday, David Goggins, and Tucker Max.
As Creative Director of Scribe Media she helps manage and support "...the best book cover designers in the game ... to create unforgettable covers for authors."
Erin recently illustrated and published her own memoir – The Bad One: A Memoir About Growing Up a Goat (short for scapegoat) – the story of her traumatic childhood.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-8255
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Erin Tyler and I discussed: Her cathartic journey from designer to author The glut of creative tools now available to authors Why competitive title research is so crucial to the look of your book The "visual math and emotional haiku" that go into a great cover Recent industry trends that get under her skin And why you should feel free to overcommunicate (but not micromanage) with your book cover designer Show Notes: ErinTylerdesign.com The Bad One: A Memoir About Growing Up a Goat by Erin Tyler [Amazon] ScribeMedia.com Erin Tyler on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
How Award-Winning Debut Novelist Bryan Washington Writes
New York Times Notable author, Bryan Washington, dropped by to chat about how his short stories garnered so much acclaim, what cuisine tells us about the larger narrative around sharing a meal, and why writers need to ignore the publishing marketplace.
"A reading itself can feel more akin to a set list. You adjust your set list based on the context in which you're performing. I think of the reading ... as being interconnected with the text, but its own singular entity." — Bryan Washington
The author published the award-winning story collection Lot in 2019 which garnered him – to name only a few – a National Book Award 5 Under 35 honor, the Dylan Thomas Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, numerous best-of-the-year lists, and one of President Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2019.
His debut novel is Memorial, and it too earned a NY Times notable spot, a Good Morning America Book Club Pick, and was named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, TIME, O, the Oprah Magazine, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, and others.
It's described as "A funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you're supposed to be, and the limits of love."
The author described Memorial as a "gay slacker dramedy." NPR called it, “A masterpiece,” and The Washington Post said of the book “No other novel this year captures so gracefully the full palette of America.”
A24 has already purchased the rights to Memorial, with Washington writing the adaptation for television.
Bryan has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Buzzfeed, Vulture, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appetit, GQ, The Awl, and Catapult.
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Bryan Washington and I discussed: Trying to pin down the intangible definition of "home" How the author irons out the creases in his prose Why writers are like stand-up comedians His involvement with the adaptation of his novel for the small screen And why you need to just sit down and start writing Show Notes: BryWashing.com Memorial: A Novel by Bryan Washington [Amazon] Bryan Washington on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
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For masculine vocal fry.
Great free resource for any writer
I found this while browsing on Spotify podcasts, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite podcasts. Kelton interviews bestselling and well known writers across both fiction and non-fiction. The content offers very useful advice.
I found this podcast looking for something to put on as background noise. I love it and always listen when I work on my writing. Hearing the experiences of other writers and authors is very interesting and sometimes inspiring. I also really enjoy hearing about their writing process and the process successful writers use to make their work.