Category

Writers on Writing

Children's Fiction, Fiction, Social Issues, Writers on Writing

Jan 24: Award Winning Author Veera Hiranandani with Amil & The After

Companion novel to Newbery Honor winning The Night Diary

Following the phenomenal success of The Night Diary, Veera Hiranandani returns to Conversations Live to discuss the much anticipated sequel, Amil and The After.

We discuss how Veera’s upbringing influences the kind of stories and subjects she chooses, and the multidimensional characters she writes about. She shares how she incorporates social issues like the partition of India, refugee life, loss of a parent, feelings of not belonging and seeking connection, relationships, and love into her storytelling. And we learn how she approaches the writing of such difficult topics to keep them accessible and entertaining for young readers. (8 – 12 years old)

Amil and the After with author Veera Hiranandani

About Veera Hiranandani

Veera Hiranandani is the award-winning author of several books for young people. Her most recent middle-grade novel, How to Find What You’re Not Looking For, received the 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award, the 2022 Jane Addams Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2022 National Jewish Book Award. It was also named a Best Children’s Book of the Year by AmazonKirkus Reviews, Bank Street College, and Brightly. Veera’s Newbery Honor winning, The Night Diary, also received the 2019 Walter Dean Myers Honor Award, the 2018 Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature, and several other honors and state reading list awards. The Night Diary was chosen as a 2018 Best Children’s Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, Amazon, School Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews.

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Essays, History, Non Fiction, Writers on Writing

Jan 10: Mystery Superfan & Foodie Turns Author

Recipes for Murder, 66 Dishes Celebrating Agatha Christie

Recipes for Murder with author Karen Pierce

Karen Pierce knew when she turned author that her book would somehow include food and mystery. She came up with the perfect solution in Recipes for Murder: 66 Dishes that Celebrate the Mysteries of Agatha Christie.

Karen shares what sparked the idea for her debut nonfiction book, sharing a peek into the life of Agatha Christie and the times she lived in. For example, did you know that when Christie went to cocktail parties, she only drank cream? And what about the burning question that many consider an unanswered mystery: What really happened when Christie herself mysteriously disappeared?

Superfan Karen Pierce did intense research for Recipes for Murder, and shares her insight on that and more today.

About Karen Pierce

Karen Pierce is a detective-fiction doyenne, food lover, and Agatha Christie Superfan. She’s made pilgrimages to Torquay and Greenway House, Christie’s hometown and home. Karen Pierce also attended and volunteered at several Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Conventions. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

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Fiction, Writers on Writing

Dec 13: Lesley Crewe with Recipe for a Good Life

A story of loneliness & belonging. A love letter to the women who’ve kept kettles warm & neighbors fed in rural Cape Breton.

Recipe for a Good Life with author Lesley Crewe

National bestselling, award winning author Lesley Crewe says if she hadn’t moved to a remote island off Novia Scotia she may never have become a writer. Today, Lesley joins us to to talk about her 15th book – Recipe for a Good Life.

We discuss how Lesley adapts ordinary moments and celebrates everyday things. How she develops her characters and who inspires them. What island life is really like, including community, connection, belonging, humor, and how Cape Breton features in her storytelling. And, of course, we share Lesley’s point of view on writing and what it means to be a writer.

About Lesley Crewe

Lesley Crewe is the Globe and Mail–bestselling author of 13 novels, including Nosy Parker, named one of Indigo’s Top 100 Books of 2022; The Spoon Stealer, longlisted for Canada Reads 2022; and Relative Happiness, which was adapted into an award-winning feature film. She has also published two collections of essays, the Leacock-longisted Are You Kidding Me?! and I Kid You Not! Lesley lives in Homeville, Nova Scotia. Recipe for a Good Life is Indigo Book’s 2023 Award Winning Book of the Year.

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Fiction, Short Stories, Writers on Writing

Nov 29: Kelly Sather Award Winning Author of Small in Real Life

Winner of 2023 Drue Heinz Literature Prize – Short Story Debut Author

Small In Real Life with author Kelly Sather

Some say short-story formats are impossible to publish. Kelly Sather proves that wrong with her first book: A beautiful collection of nine stories – and winner of the 2023 Drue Heinz Literature PrizeSmall In Real Life.

Kelly Sather’s characters face desire, regret, betrayal. They make false choices. Look for love and belonging with the wrong people. And ultimately face the consequences of the unsavory business of being human.

Kelly discusses her work, compiling the stories for this collection, and the challenges involved in the writer’s life.

About Kelly Sather

Kelly Sather is a writer, former entertainment lawyer, and screenwriter. Her stories and reviews have appeared in Santa Monica ReviewJ JournalPembroke MagazinePANKZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. She grew up in Los Angeles and lives in Northern California. 

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Essays, Memoir, Non Fiction, Writers on Writing

Books, Stories, Poems, Writers, & Life with Best American Short Stories Author, Peter Orner

Still No Word from You: Notes in the Margin

Podcast with author Peter Orner

Peter Orner is a storyteller. He’s a writer’s writer … a novelist, short story master, and prolific essayist. What he really wants to accomplish with his writing, is to connect — especially with readers who can’t not read.

In Peter’s seventh book, Still No Word from You: Notes in the Margin, he shares intimate stories from a life of living and reading. We discover how Peter’s stories are often built around small moments that may otherwise seem insignificant. We discuss how he identifies moments that will make a great story. What it means to live the writer’s life, and the challenges that presents.

About Peter Orner

The author of two novels and several story collections, Peter Orner‘s work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and more. His previous essay collection, Am I Alone Here? Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. Peter Orner is a 3-time recipient of the Pushcart Prize and has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fulbright in Namibia. He is currently the director of creative writing at Dartmouth College.

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Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Writers on Writing

PJ McIlvaine Introduces The Good Man

New Psychological Mystery Thriller – He Wants to Remember, He’ll Wish He Could Forget

A Good Man with author PJ McIlvaine

PJ McIlvaine has successfully jumped genres more than once — from screenplay to children’s books, young adult, and now her debut thriller A Good Man.

How did this author do what many say you can’t or shouldn’t? Today we discuss her writing journey and PJ’s publishing experiences. She also shares personal details of how her brother’s death helped inspire her protagonist.

We discuss character development, some of PJ’s research. The types of scenes that thrill and challenge her as a writer. And how PJ juggles multiple projects, since she just had two books published within two months!

About PJ McIlvaine

PJ McILVAINE is the author of A GOOD MAN and THE CONUNDRUM OF CHARLEMAGNE CROSSE. Her Showtime original movie My Horrible Year was nominated for a Daytime Emmy. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Newsday, and elsewhere. She lives on Eastern Long Island with her family and Luna, a pampered French Bulldog. Find PJ online at pjmacwriter.com.

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Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Writers on Writing

Best Selling Author Robert Dugoni: Her Deadly Game

Her Deadly Game with Author Robert Dugoni

Seattle Author Introduces New Protagonist, Prosecutor Keera Duggan

Robert Dugoni’s new character, Keera Duggan, worked hard to build an impressive reputation as Seattle prosecutor. When she makes a major life change, she gets more than she bargained for, and is immediately thrown into the middle of mayhem.

We discuss why and how Robert developed a host of new characters for Her Deadly Game. What the author did to ensure realism in his tense courtroom drama, and how he uses dialogue to develop the story. Robert also shares his favorite type of scenes to write, and why he keeps sex scenes to a minimum. Robert also shares his elixir for managing stress and keeping life balanced in these crazy times.

About Robert Dugoni

Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 8 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, the David Sloane legal thriller series, and several stand-alone novels. Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest.

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Fiction, Writers on Writing

Aug 23: Joel Johnson with Never

Debut Novelist at age 68 Tells Coming of Age Story in the Segregated South

Podcast – Never with author Joel F. Johnson

It took Joel Johnson seven years to write his first novel, Never, and he couldn’t have done it a day sooner he says.

Today we discuss why, despite growing up in Georgia, Joel created a fictional town for Never. He shares some of the research he used to weave historical events into his story, narrated by a young boy named Little. We look at how Joel – a white middle-class, professional male – approached the challenge of writing about the life of a black maid called Bit, working on the white side of Jim Crow’s South. And why Bit quickly became his favorite character.

About Joel F. Johnson

A graduate of Harvard, Joel made stops in Alta, Utah, Boulder, and Manhattan before settling in Concord, MA. His collection of poems Where Inches Seem Miles, was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best independent books of 2014. Never is Joel F. Johnson’s first novel.

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Fiction, Thriller, Writers on Writing

Aug 16: Ryan Steck On His Latest Matt Red Thriller, Lethal Range

“A terrific sense of place in Big Sky country and a hero to root for in Matthew Redd” – #1 NYT bestselling author C J Box

Podcast Lethal Range with author Ryan Steck

Lethal Range is the second novel in Ryan Steck‘s Matt Redd thriller series. Today he shares why he broke away from the stereotypical thriller protagonist by making Redd a family man who has to balance every day life with his former marine raider instincts.

We explore how Ryan – a busy father of six – made time to build a successful career as editor and author. How he learned to work with dyslexia. And, what Ryan learned from switching roles as editor-in-chief helping others write their books, to becoming an author himself.

About Ryan Steck

Ryan Steck is an editor, author, and founder and editor-in-chief of The Real Book Spy. Ryan has been named an “Online Influencer” by Amazon and is a regular columnist at CrimeReads. More about Ryan Steck at the TheRealBookSpy.com.

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Arts, Creativity, Non Fiction, Writers on Writing

Aug 09: A Creative Guide to Stir Inspiration in Any Creator

Ruta Sepetys Seeker of Lost Stories

Podcast: You the Story with author Ruta Sepetys

Do you know the number one question that writers, musicians, artists, and designers are asked?

Where does your inspiration come from?

In her powerful how-to book, You The Story: A Writer’s Guide to Craft Through Memory, Ruta Sepetys shares tools and resources that any artist can adapt to reach a higher level of creativity.

Ruta knows from extensive research – and her own experience writing five award-winning historical novels – that the secret to strong creative writing can be found in your own life experiences … no matter how boring you think your life may be.

We discuss ways to tap into your emotions and leverage humor. Why finding rhythm is key. Why biographical references matter. Why so many artists struggle to find their voice, and why discovering vision may be even more important. And how to draw on your own roots, memories, and creativity to spark inspiration.

About Ruta Sepetys

An internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over 60 countries and 40 languages, Ruta Sepetys is also the winner of the Carnegie Medal. Her books have won or been shortlisted for over 40 awards, are included on over 30 state reading lists, and are currently in development for film and television. You The Story: A Writer’s Guide to Craft Through Memory is her first nonfiction book.

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