Write-minded Podcast

By Brooke Warner and Grant Faulkner

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Weekly Inspiration for Writers

Episode Date
The Persistence Payoff, featuring Nancy Davis Kho
This week’s episode is a celebration of persistence, with author Nancy Davis Kho sharing her long journey to publication, how she grew and cultivated her author platform, and her process of writing and shopping work along the way. This episode is for all the authors out there who are feeling the slog toward publication. It’s hard work, but the payoff is worth it. We hope this week’s show and theme will support you to honor and celebrate your own persistence. Write on!
Feb 17, 2020
Writing without Judgment, featuring Jeannette Walls
To write with dispassion, without judgment, or with distance is something many writers struggle with. In this week’s episode, Jeannette Walls, author of the best-selling memoir, The Glass Castle, shares how she was able to detach herself from judgment and tell a true story of her outrageous upbringing. In this intimate interview, Jeannette’s humility and humanity shine through—and we witness the resilient and generous spirit of that little girl in The Glass Castle who grew up to create a life on her own terms.
Feb 10, 2020
Writer as Entrepreneur: Project Jumping, Project Juggling, featuring Joanna Penn
Popular author, blogger, and podcaster Joanna Penn joins Grant and Brooke to discuss some of her tips and best practices for staying productive and juggling multiple projects at once. To truly succeed as an authorprenuer takes a lot of discipline, and having more than a few plates spinning at once. With a good dose of her signature good humor and humility, Joanna shares how she gets it all done.
Feb 03, 2020
Mining the Emotional Complexity, featuring Adrienne Brodeur
This week’s guest wrestled with her memoir for forty years, and wrote it in two. In this generous interview, Adrienne Brodeur shares about the many variations this book took over the years, about finding her north star in Vivian Gornick’s words, “For the drama to deepen, we must see the loneliness of the monster and the cunning of the innocent,” and how, by following this advice, her mother became more nuanced and sympathetic. This is an honest and heartfelt conversation about the power of truth and the emotional complexity of coming clean on the page.
Jan 27, 2020
Writing What Sustains You, featuring Meg Wolitzer
This week’s show asks writers to think about what sustains them, to consider whether they’re steady and whether they stay the course when it comes to their writing. Our guest, Meg Wolitzer, is one such steady writer, a “schleper” (which we’re defining as a very positive quality when it comes to writing) and an author who’s admirable for her steadfastness. Join us today to listen in to what she has to say about writing, staying the course, and how she thinks about her own rising star.
Jan 20, 2020
What Every Author Needs to Know about Cover Design, featuring Julie Metz
This week’s episode is a journey into the world of book cover design with Creative Director of She Writes Press, Julie Metz. Brooke and Grant share some of their personal experiences with covers—what’s worked and what hasn’t—and Brooke shares some common places where (in her experience) authors get in their own way. Understanding book design will help any aspiring author breeze through this endeavor more easily, and getting a glimpse into the care and hard work that goes into creating covers is a point of interest for readers as well.
Jan 13, 2020
The Art of Fairy Tales, featuring Marissa Meyer
Write-Minded is delving into this new decade with an exploration of fan fiction and a fun and insightful interview with the amazing and prolific Marissa Meyer. Grant and Brooke look back to some of their favorite fairy tales from childhood, and Marissa speaks about her inspiration, her stockpile of story ideas, and how she once wrote 150,000 in the month of November for NaNoWriMo—which may well be a record (for which Grant offers extra credit).
Jan 06, 2020
Recharge! featuring Brooke and Grant
This week’s episode is a short foray into resolutions present and past. Brooke and Grant offer their best solutions for recharging, share a couple of their goals for the new decade, and look back to where they were ten years ago with as the ’10s were just coming into view. Happy New Year, Happy New Decade!
Dec 30, 2019
Making Ends Meet as a Modern Writer, featuring Caroline Leavitt
In today’s episode, Brooke and Grant tackle the side hustle—why all writers do it, how to make peace with it, and how and why now is the best time ever for writers to actually have a writerly side hustle (as opposed to a 9-to-5 job). Guest Caroline Leavitt shares how she pieces together her worklife, multitasking and creating and making ends meet, and gives both encouragement and a dose of the reality of “making it” as a modern writer/author.
Dec 16, 2019
Finding an Agent, featuring Nathan Bransford
At Write-Minded, our hope is that our listeners will write a book they love—and then get it published, in whatever way that might manifest. Traditional publishing is the dream of many authors, so this week’s episode is a hands-on and helpful conversation about the best way to go about finding an agent, as well as do’s and don’ts, from one of the most prolific bloggers around, agent-turned-author Nathan Bransford.
Dec 09, 2019
The Unreliable Narrator: Writing What You Don’t or Can’t Remember, featuring Andi Buchanan
Unreliability in fiction and nonfiction has a long history, and can be something to embrace, depending on your story. This week, Brooke and Grant interview Andi Buchanan, who opens her newest book, The Beginning of Everything, with these words: “I am an unreliable narrator.” Hear the story about why this is the case, and how this ties into memory. As always, this episode is about permission—to write what you’re called to write, embracing unreliability, or imperfect or lost memory, and seeing where the story goes.
Dec 02, 2019
Going All In, featuring Jami Attenberg
In this week’s episode we talk about the peaks and valleys of the writing journey, the fact that it’s never a straight line, and how to weather the challenges as much as you celebrate the successes. Guest Jami Attenberg talks with Grant and Brooke about how she pulled herself up after being dropped by her publisher, and what it was like for her to “go all in” when there was nothing to guarantee that she could make it doing her art. This is an inspiring episode about hard work and resilience in an industry where there are never any guarantees.
Nov 25, 2019
Creating Intimacy with and Through Your Fiction, featuring Carolina De Robertis
Nov 18, 2019
Feeling the Fear and Doing It Anyway, featuring Jennifer Pastiloff
In this week’s inspiring episode, Brooke and Grant are joined by Jen Pastiloff, author of On Being Human, who shares the story of her leap of faith that was more like a push, the reason why “I got you” and “It’s gonna be okay” are her two favorite sets of words, and why she never wants to be seen as a guru. Join us for a conversation about listening, showing up for other people, and pursuing your dreams even when it’s terrifying and you’re not sure where you’re going to land.
Nov 11, 2019
Creating and Sustaining a Movement Around Your Writing, featuring Hope Edelman
Publishers love authors who generate bigger conversations, which sometimes grow into movements. While many authors will stumble into movements, others are consciously creating, or at least dreaming, into the possibility of a movement they might create. Join Brooke and Grant this week as they talk to guest Hope Edelman about starting a movement, having cohesion across your books, and being the kind of author that publishers have a hard time saying no to.
Nov 04, 2019
Block Doubt’s Phone Calls and Keep Writing! Featuring Kami Garcia
In this week’s episode, Grant and Brooke focus on that pesky little thing called doubt—ways to confront it, to work around it and with it, and to write through it. Guest Kami Garcia shares how she doubts almost everything about her process, and about her stories, especially initially. She shares ways to slay doubts, and to be prepared for doubt, including how writing partners and accountability and community can get you through the rough patches. Take a little inspiration from the idea that you are not alone if you doubt. We all do. And don’t forget that NaNoWriMo starts on Friday. We hope you’ll be writing with us!
Oct 28, 2019
The Secrets to Delighting in Your Work, featuring Jane Smiley
This week’s episode features the great American novelist Jane Smiley, who speaks with Brooke and Grant about enjoying her work, the fickle nature of critical acclaim, and how she’s able to write so ambitiously. As the author of more than 20 books, Jane has deep wisdom to impart about the role the novel plays in our lives, and how, more than ever, fiction is a pressing mirror for our times.
Oct 21, 2019
Finding Your Story in Another’s Story, featuring Danielle Paige
In this week’s episode Grant and Brooke talk fan fiction—finding inspiration in well-known stories or the stories of others and why reimagining old stories is such a thriving, and more important, fun(!), genre of fiction writing. Guest Danielle Paige launched her writing career with a reimagining of The Wizard of Oz in her Dorothy Must Die trilogy, and her most recent graphic novel, Mera, is a reimagining as well. Here she shares about getting her start, her writing process, and what the payoff is when you rise to your BIG idea.
Oct 14, 2019
Rigorous Research and Its Payoff for Readers, featuring Lisa See
Brooke and Grant talk research with one of the most preeminent novelists of our time, Lisa See, who’s known for the in-depth research she’s done for her many best-selling books, most of which are set in China. Listen in as Lisa shares secrets and best practices about the research process and writing in general, and her thoughts about what it’s like to have a book (in her case Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) truly “break out” (and why she’s happy it didn’t happen to her with her debut effort).
Oct 07, 2019
Celebrating NaNoWriMo’s 20th Anniversary, featuring NaNoWriMo Founder Chris Baty
It’s NaNoWriMo prep season—and its 20th anniversary, so this week’s episode celebrates some of the organization’s achievements and milestones, and Brooke and Grant talk about word counts, community, and what keeps them writing. We’re reairing last year’s fabulous interview with NaNoWriMo’s founder, Chris Baty, which is sure to inspire anyone thinking about doing NaNoWriMo to jump in with both feet this November. We hope you will.
Sep 30, 2019
The Art of Writing Lost Stories, featuring Rachel Kadish
Today’s episode celebrates what guest Rachel Kadish calls the work of “repair”—which refers to a repairing of a history that so often showcases the exploits and successes and stories of men. Writers are increasingly taking on histories that deserve deeper consideration, or historical figures who were overlooked by the history books. With that comes research and also a responsibility to portray things as they might have happened, thus repairing the record and honoring histories both lost and forgotten.
Sep 23, 2019
Why Fantasy Is Important, featuring Victoria “V.E.” Schwab
Escapist, other-worldly, and mind-expanding. These are just a few of the things that describe what fantasy is to its readers. In this week’s episode, Grant and Brooke talk with Victoria Schwab about creating fantasy that pushes the boundaries of our known power structures and why it matters to her to write accessible fantasy. Plus, we discuss how important fantasy literature is to children, and how and why The Harry Potter series is the most influential and important series of an entire generation.
Sep 16, 2019
Writerly Hang-ups, Obsessions, and Distractions—and Ways to Course Correct, featuring R.O. Kwon
In today’s episode, debut novelist R.O. Kwon, author of the acclaimed novel, The Incendiaries, talks about the book that took her ten years to write, her obsession with language and how she learned to sideline those obsessions in order to finish the book. She talks about her inspirations, the dead-end of following a bad metaphor, and strategies for finishing a book that went through some 50+ versions.
Sep 09, 2019
The Magic of Memoir, featuring Linda Joy Myers
Join Grant and Brooke for today’s episode, a celebration of memoir and an exploration of what makes this genre so magical. This week’s guest is Linda Joy Myers, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers, who shares about the genre she loves, what draws people to memoir, why it’s important, and why people should write their stories. And, Brooke and Linda Joy are teaching some memoir classes this fall that we invite listeners to check out at: www.magicofmemoir.com.
Sep 02, 2019
Brooke’s new book: Write On, Sisters! featuring co-hosts Brooke & Grant
We’re celebrating the publication of Brooke’s new book, Write On, Sisters! and in today’s episode Grant interviews Brooke on a wide range of topics that highlight many of the most important and provocative points of this new book—how women writers don’t champion other women authors as much as they need to, how women hold themselves back, how the world at large doesn’t value women’s stories the way they do men’s, and how women are still fighting not just to be published and read, but to be valued as equal to their male counterparts, and sometimes even to be believed. And then there’s how women writers can counter all this—through community, through championing other women writers, through recognizing how they stand in their own way and curbing those behaviors. We hope you enjoy and share!
Aug 26, 2019
We’re One! Write-Minded Anniversary Episode
Brooke and Grant extend a giant thank you to their listeners for making the first year of Write-Minded so much fun and such a success. In this week’s episode, to celebrate a year of shows, they answer four prompts as a way to remember some of their favorite guests from Year One: 1) something that changed their writing; 2) something they learned; 3) something they passed onto others; and 4) something that inspired them.
Aug 19, 2019
Best of: Following Your Own Genius: Kwame Alexander and Abigail Thomas
It’s our final week of summer mash-ups and Grant is flying solo today, but not for long. Brooke and Grant will both be back next week with a new format and a celebration of completing a year of podcast episodes. Today take a moment to enjoy Kwame Alexander and Abigail Thomas, two authors who don’t listen to what the industry says is best. There’s lots of wisdom and inspiration in today’s short episode.
Aug 12, 2019
Best of: Ignoring the Critics and Doing You: Jessica Valenti & Daniel José Older
It’s Week 2 of our summer mash-ups and Brooke takes off for Jordan this week. Grant and Brooke are choosing to highlight two activist-educator authors with Jessica Valenti and Daniel José Older. These are two writers who will make you think, whose passion on the page translates into passion in the real world, and they’re changing lives with their words and their books.
Aug 05, 2019
Best of: Be a Smarter Writer: Mignon Fogarty & Jane Friedman
In this summer episode, Brooke is packing for her trip to Jordan, so Brooke and Grant hatch a plan to share with you a few of their favorite episodes. First up are Mignon Fogarty (aka, Grammar Girl) and Jane Friedman, two powerhouse women who know their stuff when it comes to grammar and publishing. If you missed these original episodes, we encourage you to go back in your queue and listen to the entire thing.
Jul 29, 2019
Apology and Taking Ownership Over Your Freedom, featuring of Eve Ensler
Today’s episode is an on-stage interview of Eve Ensler by Write-Minded host Brooke Warner. This interview explores Eve’s newest book, The Apology, in which Eve envisions the apology she wishes her father would have given her before he died for all the abuse and violence he perpetrated upon her when she was young. This interview touches upon how apology can set free survivors of abuse, as well as the impact of real apology on the perpetrator—and we delve into a bit of politics too.
Jul 22, 2019
What Every Writer and Author Needs to Know about Ingram, featuring Robin Cutler
Ingram and Amazon are arguably the two most important companies when it comes to how the book industry functions—and while Amazon gets a lot of visibility and media attention, Ingram tends to be a bit more amorphous for authors. This episode breaks down what’s what at Ingram—helping authors break down the many branches of Ingram and why it all matters. Guest Robin Cutler of IngramSpark gives an insider perspective about this all-important player in the book publishing space.
Jul 15, 2019
How to Make Your Hard Work Work for You, featuring John August
For anyone who’s ever thought that artists are simply divinely inspired and you’ve either got it or you don’t, this week’s episode about hard work, putting in the hours, and how to be productive in a sane and relatively healthy way should inspire some thinking about the nature of busyness. Grant and Brooke talk with John August, one of the busiest artists they know, about screenwriting, choosing the best medium for a new project, and work ethic.
Jul 08, 2019
The Radical Author: “The Dystopia Is Now,” featuring Cory Doctorow
Today’s dystopian fiction seems to be closer to reality than the dystopian fiction of the past. Brooke and Grant explore this new reality with Cory Doctorow, whose socially conscientious science fiction novels delve into topics of political consequence. From the ways in which anxieties fuel science fiction writers to how fiction has the power to change the way we think and operate in the world, today’s episode emphasizes the importance of dystopian fiction for its capacity to shed light on what is true, and what might happen, ideally, as Cory suggests, so that we might fix things before it’s too late.
Jul 01, 2019
On Creating New Forms in Fiction and Following What’s True, featuring Rachel Cusk
This week’s special episode is an interview between Write-Minded host Brooke Warner and the writer Rachel Cusk, who’s been hailed for “reinventing” the novel. Brooke asks Rachel about form, and how she approached this reinvention, whether she could have done it without the insights she had through writing her memoir, and what it means to call oneself—or be called—a feminist, or “post-feminist,” writer. In this clear-eyed and thought-provoking interview, Rachel gives insight into why she thought the novel needed to be re-thought in the first place, and why the pursuit of truth lies at the heart of everything she writes.
Jun 24, 2019
Cultivating Stillness, featuring Pico Iyer
In this week’s episode, Brooke and Grant meander through the topic of stillness with Pico Iyer, “arguably the world’s greatest living travel writer,” according to Outside. In an “on-demand” world that demands productivity, especially from writers, Iyer suggests ways to steal little moments, even just pockets of time, to help writers stay fresher, more centered, more intimate. Join us for this treat of an episode to see how you might bring even just a little more stillness into your mind and into your writing.
Jun 17, 2019
Giving Voice to Secrets, featuring Dani Shapiro
In today’s episode, guest Dani Shapiro talks about her recent New York Times best-selling memoir, Inheritance, and how she’s been circling around family secrets for her entire life. She reveals how the secret she never knew, until recently—that the father who raised her was not her biological father—is likely the thing that made her a writer. In this deep conversation with co-hosts Brooke and Grant, Dani delves into the “unthought known,” the impact of those things we withhold, and how the particular family secret of parents not revealing a child’s identity to them is nearly an obsolete idea due to genetic testing sites like 23andMe.
Jun 10, 2019
Writing Advice from a Writing Advice Guru, featuring James Scott Bell
Do you remember the first writing advice book you ever read? Or the writing advice book that moved you and made you rethink your writing life? In this episode, James Scott Bell, author of more than 20 writing advice books, talks about his circuitous path to becoming a writer—and shares best and worst writing advice, blunders writers should avoid, tips for becoming a more prolific writer, and so much more. Tune in to hear Brooke and Grant’s best and worst writing advice, as well as the first writing advice books that moved them and why.
Jun 03, 2019
Telling on Yourself with Your Fiction, featuring Tayari Jones
This week’s episode features an onstage interview with Tayari Jones, author of the New York Times best-seller, An American Marriage. Brooke and Tayari sat down at the Bay Area Book Festival in early May—and we’re thrilled to be able to share what transpired on Write-Minded. Tayari is forthcoming and funny. We gain insight into her motivations to write, her perseverance as a novelist, and how, in her words, novelists tend to tell on themselves through their fiction. What we learn about Tayari and her worldview through this telling is a gift—so enjoy!
May 27, 2019
Taking Leaps of Faith, featuring Bobi Gentry Goodwin
In today’s episode Brooke Warner interviews Bobi Gentry Goodwin, author of the novel, Revelation, which is forthcoming on the She Writes Press list this November. Bobi is the winner of the She Writes Equality in Publishing scholarship. We’re excited to introduce you to Bobi and her novel, and also to hear about what led her to take this leap of faith, to submit her work—and what it’s mean to her to win. She Writes Press and SparkPress currently have submissions open for this year’s STEP contest. Submissions are due by July 1st, so spread the word, and/or take your own leap of faith!
May 20, 2019
The Artist and the Destroyer, featuring Brooke Axtell
In today’s episode Brooke and Grant unpack with Brooke Axtell, author of the recently released Beautiful Justice, the ways in which writing can be a salve, an instrument for change, a way to give voice to that which seems unspoken. Brooke Axtell talks about her journey from poetry to prose, her work around gender-based violence, and how writing saved her. A powerful episode to share with anyone who’s looking for the courage to share, to speak up, to be heard.
May 13, 2019
Breaking the Rules to Serve Your Story, featuring Abigail Thomas
May 06, 2019
How to Be a Responsible Creator, featuring Daniel José Older
In today’s episode, Grant and Brooke talk with Daniel José Older about why writing “the other” comes with great responsibility, and how we’re likely to “jack it up,” and also why it’s both simple and not simple. This is an important and nuanced topic in the world of book publishing, with layers of power and privilege that all writers would do well to understand. Older is an eloquent messenger, and he shares with us a few of his favorite fundamentals on writing “the other.”
Apr 29, 2019
Favorite Writing Books, featuring Grant Faulkner & Brooke Warner
Today’s episode is a Grant and Brooke exclusive. Join the co-hosts of Write-Minded as they share the books about writing that have most inspired them and why. They’ve chosen classics: Annie Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life; popular books by giants in their genres: On Writing, by Stephen King and The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr; and a couple of their personal favorites: Booklife, by Jeff Vandermeer and The Art of Recklessness, by Dean Young. Tune in for an episode dedicated specifically to the power of books that support writing and the writing life. We’d love to hear from you what your own favorites are and why. Send a tweet to Grant and Brooke @grantfaulkner and @brooke_warner.
Apr 22, 2019
The Power of Owning Your Niche, featuring Ryka Aoki
The idea of narrowing the scope of one’s readership can strike fear into the hearts of writers who fantasize about broad readerships, and their writing being for everyone. But there are amazing rewards that come with understanding your niche, and writing to a specific audience. Brooke and Grant speak with their guest Ryka Aoki about niche writing, micro and small presses, and discovering and carving out a path to a defined readership that’s both supportive and career-propelling.
Apr 15, 2019
How to Pursue a Traditional Book Deal, featuring Meredith May
Most authors dream of getting traditionally published, but in today’s publishing climate it’s becoming increasingly difficult for authors to get those deals. In today’s episode Brooke and Grant discuss traditional publishing, The Dream, and rejection. Meredith May, a journalist and sixth-generation beekeeper who has a brand-new memoir out, shares her long journey toward traditional publication—including the many drafts, writing the book proposal, and her eventual meeting of hearts and minds with her publisher. And don’t miss this episode for what you’ll learn from Meredith about bees.
Apr 08, 2019
The Art of Writing a Series, featuring Darynda Jones
Join Grant and Brooke as they revisit their New Year’s Resolutions (Grant is on track with posting to Medium once a week and Brooke did indeed finish her book, but otherwise anything else promised has long since been forgotten). This is a springboard to a conversation about series—because writing series is all about buckling down, big time! Best-selling author Darynda Jones, who’s just finished Book 13 in her popular Charley Davidson series and has a new series underway, is the perfect guest to talk about how to even approach a series, not to mention how rewarding—and challenging—they are to write.
Apr 01, 2019
How to Carve Your Own Creative Path, featuring Leigh Stein
In this week’s episode, Brooke and Grant tackle one of the problematic effects of building an author platform, which is what happens when you start to feel artistically limited, or creatively hemmed in. Many authors can feel like they’re supposed to be the “poster child” for the stories they want to share. Others experience success in a single genre and discover how difficult it is to try to make the leap into another. With her early success and having forged her way through poetry, memoir, and fiction, Leigh Stein, author and co-founder of BinderCon, is the perfect guest to unpack these topics and more.
Mar 25, 2019
Young Adult Fiction and Writing the Book You Would Have Wanted to Read, featuring Lilliam Rivera
In today’s episode, Brooke and Grant speak with YA author Lilliam Rivera about writing contemporary YA, the power of finding your own experience in literature, and why you might be drawn to writing the stories you wish had been available to you when you were young. YA as a genre is exploding, and Rivera discusses why she doesn’t hold back when it comes to what she’s willing to explore in fiction—race, family dynamics, violence, and more. Rivera’s drive and passion will inspire any writer who’s felt drawn to write to share a worldview that’s been historically underrepresented.
Mar 18, 2019
Finding Your Readers: From NaNoWriMo to Wattpad to Best-selling Author, featuring Taran Matharu
If you’re curious about—or maybe even terrified by—the idea of getting advance readers for your work-in-progress, you’ll want to hear from today’s guest Taran Matharu and listen to his success story. Taran shared his work on WattPad and garnered 3 million reads in less than six months. He shares his story on today’s episode, as well as lots of concrete tips for all you writers out there about how to gain more exposure for your work.
Mar 11, 2019
Developing the DIY Mindset Necessary to Self-Publish Well, featuring Sarra Cannon
Whether you’re already an indie author, or thinking about becoming one, this week’s episode is chock-full of encouragement and concrete advice from Sarra Cannon, career author of 25 books. Hear what Sarra thinks are the pros and cons of self-publishing, find out why publishing DIY is so invigorating, and get some insight into the various paths to publishing available to today’s aspiring authors.
Mar 04, 2019