The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience

Kelton Reid

“Learn how acclaimed writers keep the ink flowing, the cursor moving, and avoid writer’s block.” Each week, host Kelton Reid chats with guests like Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, on life after becoming a laureate; #1 New York Times bestselling author, Emily Henry on her past life as a YA mid-lister; Celebrated author, Walter Mosley, on his conflicted feelings after winning a National Book Award; NY Times bestselling author, Lisa Scottoline, on what she learned from literary lion Philip Roth; #1 NY Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane on what he borrowed from Clint Eastwood; and bestselling author, Matt Haig, on the process behind his novel, The Midnight Library, and serial guest hosts: neuroscientist Michael Grybko, journalist Adam Skolnick, and short story writer Robert Bruce. read less

Our Editor's Take

The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience is a show for aspiring authors. The podcast is the creation of Kelton Reid, the author of Peace for the Wicked.

Every week, Reid sits down with a writer for a 30-minute conversation. The guest discusses their process in detail. The authors Reid interviews are prominent figures in the world of literature. They are New York Times bestselling authors and Pulitzer Prize winners. They are memoirists, YA authors, journalists, and TV writers.

As any author can confirm, the writing process is nebulous. Everyone's approach is unique. Some choose to write only when inspiration strikes. Others toil at it as they would any other day job. Developing a process that works is an essential part of becoming an author. It's no surprise that writers are curious about how to do it. So, The Writer Files allows listeners to discover how successful authors write.

Listeners learn, for example, that Bonnie Garmus reads her work out loud to make sure it flows. Juan Pablo Villalobos explains how he overcame imposter syndrome. Peter Heller always writes at least 1,000 words a day. He stops in the middle of a sentence so that starting is easier the next day. Tana French needs time to process the psychological implications of an event before she can write about it. Matt Haig admits that he doesn't have a routine. He spends many weeks thinking about writing without producing anything.

Aspiring writers will find some concrete resources in The Writer Files. Some of the episodes address common obstacles for authors. These include writer's block and ways to get unstuck. Reid talks to literary agents who have advice for getting published. Neuroscientist Michael Grybko records a couple of episodes with Reid. Together, they discuss the sometimes uneasy relationship between productivity and creativity.

It is sometimes difficult for aspiring authors to believe they'll ever be successful. Writing is hard and sometimes lonely. The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience may help such writers. The podcast gives those listeners the motivation to keep trying. New episodes of the podcast come out weekly.

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Episodes

How Bestselling Author Adelle Waldman Writes
2d ago
How Bestselling Author Adelle Waldman Writes
Bestselling author, Adelle Waldman, spoke with me about her former life as a journalist, writerly wish fulfillment, and going undercover for her latest workplace novel, Help Wanted. Adelle Waldman is a journalist and the bestselling author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., which was named a best book of the year by The New Yorker, Economist, NPR, The New Republic, Slate, Bookforum, The Guardian and many others. Her latest novel, Help Wanted, is from W.W. Norton in March of 2024, and described as a “funny, eye-opening tale of work in contemporary America.” It has been named one of New York Magazine's "23 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2024," VOGUE’s Best Books of the Year So Far, ELLE’s Best (and Most Anticipated) Fiction of 2024, Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2024, and one of Kirkus’s Most Anticipated Books of 2024. A starred Kirkus Review called the book, "The workplace dramedy of the year." Publishers Weekly said of the book, "A bracing and worthwhile glimpse of the high stakes faced by low-wage workers." Adelle attended Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, among others. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Adelle Waldman and I discussed: Why she turned to journalism as a day job Writing a hard-to-like protagonist The breakout success of her first novel How co-workers and friends at a Big Box store inspired her latest Found comedy, unfortunate nerds, unrealistic dreams And a lot more! Show Notes: adellewaldman.com Help Wanted: A Novel by Adelle Waldman (Amazon) Adelle Waldman Amazon Author Page Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How Acclaimed Newbery Honor-Winning Author Veera Hiranandani Writes
Feb 16 2024
How Acclaimed Newbery Honor-Winning Author Veera Hiranandani Writes
Newbery Honor-winning children’s author, Veera Hiranandani, spoke with me about her former life in publishing, why no word is ever wasted, and her anticipated middle-grade novel Amil and The After. Veera Hiranandani is an award-winning author of several books for young people, and a faculty member with the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at The Vermont College of Fine Arts. Amil and The After is her latest work of children’s fiction, a stand-alone sequel to her Newbery Honor winner, The Night Diary. It was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month (January 2024). A starred Kirkus Reviews called the book, “…a masterpiece of nuance, vulnerability, and emotional complexity. A quietly brilliant, deeply insightful story of living in uncertain times.” Veera earned her MFA in fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and was a former book editor at Simon & Schuster. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Veera Hiranandani and I discussed: Why writing is like slow cooking How to write historical fiction if you’re not good at history Why you need to follow your writerly instincts The importance of accountability partners, learning from your mistakes And a lot more! Show Notes: VeeraHiranandani.com Amil and the After By Veera Hiranandani (Bookshop.org) Veera Hiranandani Amazon Author Page Veera Hiranandani on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How NY Times Bestselling Author Emma Straub Writes: Redux
Feb 2 2024
How NY Times Bestselling Author Emma Straub Writes: Redux
NOTE: This is an updated replay of my amazing chat with Emma Straub, the New York Times bestselling author of six books for adults, including her novel This Time Tomorrow … She is also the author of three picture books, the first of which, Very Good Hats, was published in January 2023. Congrats Emma! Enjoy … New York Times bestselling author, Emma Straub, spoke to me about why everything in life is timing, how to write a book for yourself, time travel, and her latest This Time Tomorrow. Emma is the bestselling author of six novels — including All Adults Here, The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures — the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been published in 20 countries.  Her latest, This Time Tomorrow, has been named One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2022 by Vogue, Oprah, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Reader’s Digest, Today, Parade, Thrillist, Pop Sugar, Lithub and more. Described as "...a moving father-daughter story and a playful twist on the idea of time travel," author Michael Chabon called the book "...a beautifully made, elegant music box of a novel that sets in motion its clever clockwork of delight—then breaks your heart with its bittersweet, lingering song.” Emma and her husband also own Books Are Magic, a popular independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Emma Straub and I discussed: Why getting an MFA helped her slow down her writing How she met everyone in publishing at an indie bookshop  The unique perspective of Xennials How to find confidence and pages while being off-balance  Why she'd drink less Olde English if she could go back  And a lot more! Stay calm and write on ... emmastraub.net This Time Tomorrow a Novel by Emma Straub 'This Time Tomorrow' is the time travel book millennials need - USA Today Emma Straub on Facebook Emma Straub on Instagram Emma Straub on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How to Land a Book Deal with Agent & Author Lucinda Halpern: Part Two
Jan 26 2024
How to Land a Book Deal with Agent & Author Lucinda Halpern: Part Two
President of Manhattan-based literary agency Lucinda Literary turned author, Lucinda Halpern, returns to chat with me about how to crack the code of publishing, the four types of writers who get book deals, and her latest book Get Signed: Find an Agent, Land a Book Deal, and Become a Published Author. Lucinda Halpern is a literary agent with over 15 years of experience securing book deals with Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, and now the author of Get Signed: Find an Agent, Land a Book Deal, and Become a Published Author. (available for preorder now and landing 2/6/2024, Hay House - wherever fine books are sold) “Packed with interviews from best-selling authors and leading book editors Get Signed is the indispensable roadmap you need … to get noticed and become a published author.” #1 New York Times best-selling author Adam Grant said of the book, “Lucinda Halpern has written the definitive guide to attracting an agent and laying the groundwork for a book well worth publishing.” She represents a range of New York Times and internationally bestselling authors in the categories of business, health, lifestyle, popular science, narrative nonfiction, memoir, and upmarket fiction. Her classes and coaching programs have been taught to hundreds of writers worldwide. Stay tuned until the end of our interview for Lucinda’s special gift for listeners. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Lucinda Halpern and I discussed: How her full-circle journey to becoming a published author has made her a better agent Why having a book editor is like lying naked on the table at the doctor's office The best way to diagnose what's wrong with your book How she is still myth-busting publishing Why a book for everyone is a book for no one And a lot more! Show Notes: GetSignedBook.com Download Lucinda’s free author training lucindaliterary.com Get Signed: Find an Agent, Land a Book Deal, and Become a Published Author By Lucinda Halpern (Amazon) Myth-Busting Book Publishing with Agent Lucinda Halpern: Part One Lucinda Halpern on Twitter Lucinda Halpern on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How NY Times Bestselling Author Ann Napolitano Writes
Jan 19 2024
How NY Times Bestselling Author Ann Napolitano Writes
New York Times bestselling author, Ann Napolitano, spoke with me about overcoming rejection early on, how grief transformed her writing process, and getting that fateful call from Oprah about Hello Beautiful. Ann Napolitano is the New York Times bestselling author of Hello Beautiful which was selected as Oprah’s 100th Book Club pick; Dear Edward, an instant New York Times bestseller, a Read with Jenna selection, and an Apple TV+ series; A Good Hard Look, and Within Arm’s Reach. Hello Beautiful has been called a “powerfully affecting” (People) family story that asks: Can love make a broken person whole? The Washington Post said of the book, “Another tender tearjerker . . . Napolitano chronicles life’s highs and lows with aching precision.” It was named Chicago Public Library’s Ten Best Books of the Year and a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Washington Post, Time, Vogue, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, New York Post, She Reads, and Bookreporter. Ann was the associate editor of the literary magazine One Story for seven years, and she received an MFA from New York University. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Ann Napolitano and I discussed: Her long and rocky road to success How an illness early in life helped her realize she was a writer Why her first published book felt like a proving ground The nine-month approach to planning your next novel How to write the truest sentence possible Why you need to string together as many Xs as you can And a lot more! Show Notes: AnnNapolitano.com Hello Beautiful (Oprah's Book Club): A NOVEL By Ann Napolitano (Amazon) Ann Napolitano Amazon Author Page Ann Napolitano on Twitter Ann Napolitano on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How NY Times Bestselling Author Jami Attenberg Writes
Jan 12 2024
How NY Times Bestselling Author Jami Attenberg Writes
New York Times bestselling author, Jami Attenberg, spoke with me about documenting the process of being a writer online and off, building a global literary movement, and her latest, 1000 Words: A Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All-Year Round. Jami Attenberg is the New York Times bestselling author of seven books of fiction, including The Middlesteins, All Grown Up, and her recent memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You. Her work has been published in 16 languages, she is the founder of the annual #1000WordsofSummer project and maintains the popular Craft Talk newsletter. Jami Attenberg’s latest is 1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round. “Inspired by [her] wildly popular literary movement #1000WordsofSummer, this writer’s guide features encouraging essays on creativity, productivity, and writing from [over 50] acclaimed authors including Roxane Gay, Lauren Groff, Celeste Ng, Meg Wolitzer, and Carmen Maria Machado.” Lit Hub said of the book, “It will be the new Bird by Bird, you heard it here first.” A Booklist, Starred Review called it “A fantastic set of essays… Readers of this collection will feel surrounded and bolstered by like-minded people who have been in the trenches.” [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Jami Attenberg and I discussed: The blessing and the curse of knowing you’re a writer  How she built an online writing community into a literary movement Her tongue-in-cheek approach to the craft The reason she uses the seasons as a metaphor for writers How to harness the power of write-alongs And a lot more! Show Notes: JamiAttenberg.com 1000wordsofsummer.substack.com 1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round by Jami Attenberg (Amazon) Jami Attenberg Amazon Author Page Jami Attenberg on Twitter Jami Attenberg on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Best of 2023 - Hot Takes and Shootin’ the Breeze with Adam Skolnick: Part Two
Jan 5 2024
Best of 2023 - Hot Takes and Shootin’ the Breeze with Adam Skolnick: Part Two
This is the second part of a year-end retrospective with award-winning indie journalist and author, Adam Skolnick, who returns to rap with me about show highlights from the last half of 2023, hot takes, and shootin’ the breeze. Adam Skolnick is an award-winning independent journalist and author covering adventure sports, environmental issues, and civil rights for outlets such as The New York Times, Outside, ESPN, BBC, and Men’s Health, among others.  Adam is co-author of Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within, the follow-up to David Goggins’ smash hit memoir Can’t Hurt Me. Adam is also the author of One Breath, has narrated David Goggins’ bestselling audiobooks, and co-hosted The Rich Roll Podcast, on the "Roll On" edition. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Adam Skolnick and I discussed: How Literary Critic & Publishing Insider Bethanne Patrick Writes: Part Two: The sui generis of the Colleen Hoover effect How Award-Winning Climate Journalist Amy Westervelt Writes: Why more writers need to set their stories in the real world How Booker Prize-Winning Author Anne Enright Writes: The moment of burnout that changed her career How National Book Award Winner & Bestselling Author James McBride Writes: Why  some writers find no joy in being well-known How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Emily Henry Writes: Part Two: What it feels like to live inside a lightning strike Show Notes: Best of 2023 - Hot Takes and Shootin’ the Breeze with Adam Skolnick: Part One AdamSkolnick.com Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within – by David Goggins (Amazon) Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – by David Goggins (Amazon) Adam Skolnick on Instagram A Mostly Uncensored Chat with Award-Winning Journo Adam Skolnick 21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers: Part One 21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers: Part Two Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Best of 2023 - Hot Takes and Shootin’ the Breeze with Adam Skolnick: Part One
Dec 29 2023
Best of 2023 - Hot Takes and Shootin’ the Breeze with Adam Skolnick: Part One
This is the first part of a year-end retrospective with award-winning indie journalist and author, Adam Skolnick, who returns to rap with me about show highlights from the last half of 2023, hot takes, and shootin’ the breeze. Adam Skolnick is an award-winning independent journalist and author covering adventure sports, environmental issues, and civil rights for outlets such as The New York Times, Outside, ESPN, BBC, and Men’s Health, among others.  Adam is co-author of Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within, the follow-up to David Goggins’ smash hit memoir Can’t Hurt Me. Adam is also the author of One Breath, has narrated David Goggins’ bestselling audiobooks, and co-hosted The Rich Roll Podcast, on the "Roll On" edition.\ This is the last episode of the year but we’ll be back soon with more inspiration from your favorite authors. Happy Holidays! [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Adam Skolnick and I discussed: How Literary Critic & Publishing Insider Bethanne Patrick Writes: Part Two: The sui generis of the Colleen Hoover effect How Award-Winning Climate Journalist Amy Westervelt Writes: Why more writers need to set their stories in the real world How Booker Prize-Winning Author Anne Enright Writes: The moment of burnout that changed her career How National Book Award Winner & Bestselling Author James McBride Writes: Why  some writers find no joy in being well-known How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Emily Henry Writes: Part Two: What it feels like to live inside a lightning strike Show Notes: Best of 2023 - Hot Takes and Shootin’ the Breeze with Adam Skolnick: Part Two AdamSkolnick.com Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within – by David Goggins (Amazon) Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – by David Goggins (Amazon) Adam Skolnick on Instagram A Mostly Uncensored Chat with Award-Winning Journo Adam Skolnick 21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers: Part One 21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers: Part Two Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Myth-Busting Book Publishing with Agent Lucinda Halpern: Redux
Dec 22 2023
Myth-Busting Book Publishing with Agent Lucinda Halpern: Redux
NOTE: This is an updated replay of an amazing chat I had with Lucinda Halpern, Founder and President of Manhattan-based literary agency Lucinda Literary LLC turned author. Lucinda’s new book, Get Signed: Find an Agent, Land a Book Deal, and Become a Published Author (2/6/2024, Hay House) “... lets readers in on the secrets to writing a book agents will battle over.” Congrats Lucinda! President and Founder of Manhattan-based agency Lucinda Literary, Lucinda Halpern, gave me an insider’s take on why literary agents can't just be deal-makers anymore. Lucinda Halpern is a literary, lecture, and PR agent with over 15 years of experience on both the corporate and agency sides of publishing. Specializing in "books that change the way people work, behave, and live," she represents authors writing in the categories of business, health, lifestyle, popular science, narrative nonfiction, memoir, and upmarket fiction. Her agency, Lucinda Literary, boasts a roster of authors including New York Times bestselling authors Susan Peirce Thompson (Bright Line Eating), Chris Bailey (The Productivity Project; Hyperfocus), Cait Flanders (The Year of Less), Paul Jarvis (Company of One), the new work of Nicola Kraus (The Nanny Diaries) and Jake Wood (Once a Warrior). She also shares publishing insights and motivation for writers and hosts both live and online programs for aspiring authors. Stay calm and write on ... [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Lucinda Halpern and I discussed: Her mission statement, ethos, and the future of publishing How good agents build lifelong marriages with their authors Why you don't have to be famous to get published Counterintuitive tips about the industry The old-fashioned art of crafting a book And more! Show Notes: Ready to get your book noticed? Get Lucinda's essential guide for writers: The 6 Things Every Book Pitch Needs – Click here to receive your guide: lucindaliterary.com/subscribe Lucinda Literary on Medium Lucinda Literary on Facebook Lucinda Literary on Instagram Lucinda Literary on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How Acclaimed Debut Novelist Jo Segura Writes
Dec 15 2023
How Acclaimed Debut Novelist Jo Segura Writes
Acclaimed debut novelist, Jo Segura, spoke with me about her love of the romance writing community, why natural history and archaeology are her jam, and her debut romcom RAIDERS OF THE LOST HEART. Jo Segura’s debut, Raiders of the Lost Heart, is described as an adventure romance about “Rival archaeologists [who] must team up on a secret Aztec expedition, [that] could leave their careers—and hearts—in ruins. Entertainment Weekly called it, “Romancing the Stone meets Indiana Jones in this thrilling adventure romance.” And Publishers Weekly said of the book, “Segura’s rip-roaring debut is sure to put her on the map." The book was named a LibraryReads Pick and Indie Next pick for December, Entertainment Weekly’s 41 New Fall Books We're Most Excited To Read, and Book Riot’s 8 Of The Best Romance Books With Action. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Jo Segura and I discussed: Why she dedicated a whole year to getting published How she turned to escapist fare during the Pandemic Writing her debut novel for NaNoWriMo The reason she named her main character after her great-aunt Why writers have to find their people  And a lot more! Show Notes: Josegura.com Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura [Amazon] Jo Segura on Twitter Jo Segura on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Art and Craft of TV Drama with Aaron Tracy: Part Two
Dec 8 2023
The Art and Craft of TV Drama with Aaron Tracy: Part Two
Yale educator and TV writer/producer, Aaron Tracy, returns to chat with me about surviving the WGA writer’s strike, finally teaching the podcast at Yale, and his latest audio thriller on Audible, Nowhere Man, starring Lee Pace and Zosia Mamet. Aaron Tracy also teaches “The Art and Craft of Television Drama” at Yale University, and his TV credits include Law & Order: SVU, Fairly Legal, The Tap, and Sequestered, a serialized thriller that ran two seasons, for which he was Creator and Executive Producer.  He is also a Creator, Director,  and Exec. Producer of scripted audio dramas for iHeartRadio, Audible, and Spotify, with various production partners including: Supreme: The Battle For Roe, his 9-part audio drama starring Eva Longoria (feat. Maya Hawke and William H. Macy); Murder in Bermuda (feat. Mary-Louise Parker); and many others. His most recent is Nowhere Man, a noir political thriller Executive Produced by and starring Lee Pace, with co-stars Zosia Mamet, and Chazz Palminteri. “Set in the mid-1980s, Nowhere Man is a dark, paranoid thriller about temptation and obsession through the prism of a profession most people don’t even know exists.” Aaron’s debut audio drama, The Coldest Case, a detective thriller starring Aaron Paul, Krysten Ritter, and Alexis Bledel, premiered as the #1 download on Audible in 2021, and has since become the most downloaded show in Audible Plus history. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Aaron Tracy and I discussed: Why he loves the ‘80s period pieces How his directing experience has shaped his writing Why he teaches the narrative podcast the same way he teaches Television Drama The two greatest innovations of the modern TV art form  What aspiring TV writers should be reading And a lot more! Show Notes: How to Write a Bestselling Audio Drama with Writer/Producer Aaron Tracy: Part One Yale University – Aaron Tracy Aaron Tracy Audible Page Amazon Author Page for William Goldman Story by Robert McKee [Amazon] Save the Cat by Blake Snyder [Amazon] Aaron Tracy on IMdB Aaron Tracy on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How National Book Award Winner & Bestselling Author James McBride Writes: Redux
Dec 1 2023
How National Book Award Winner & Bestselling Author James McBride Writes: Redux
NOTE: This is an updated replay of an amazing chat I had with New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award winner, James McBride. His latest novel, THE HEAVEN & EARTH GROCERY STORE, was named Amazon’s #1 Book of the Year Pick, and Barnes & Noble's Book of the Year, among many other accolades for 2023. Congrats James! New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award winner, James McBride, spoke to me about eschewing literary fame, his friendship with Spike Lee, and his latest novel THE HEAVEN & EARTH GROCERY STORE. James McBride is a musician, screenwriter, and award-winning author of New York Times bestselling Oprah’s Book Club selection Deacon King Kong, the National Book Award–winner The Good Lord Bird (now a Showtime limited series starring Ethan Hawke), and the American classic The Color of Water. His debut novel, Miracle at St. Anna, was turned into a 2008 film by Oscar-winning writer and director Spike Lee, with a script written by McBride.  The author’s latest novel, The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, was an Instant New York Times Bestseller and Named a Must Read for the Summer by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Time, Town & Country, and others. Described as “... a novel about small-town secrets and the people who keep them,” it begins in 1972 when workers in Pottstown, PA, find a skeleton at the bottom of a well. The New York Times Book Review called the book, “A murder mystery locked inside a Great American Novel.” James McBride received a National Humanities Medal from President Obama, “... for humanizing the complexities of discussing race in America.” He is a distinguished writer in residence at New York University. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file James McBride and I discussed:  Why he finds no joy in being well-known How The Color of Water changed his career The lessons he learned from Michael Jackson The hyperbole of the literary world and standing on the shoulders of giants How we’re all more alike than we are different Why writers must seek out their mentors And a lot more! Show Notes: jamesmcbride.com The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store: A Novel by James McBride (Amazon)  James McBride on Facebook James McBride on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How Publishing Legend Charles Scribner III Writes
Nov 22 2023
How Publishing Legend Charles Scribner III Writes
Publishing legend, art historian, and author, Charles Scribner III, spoke with me about growing up surrounded by publishing, Hemingway’s Three Rules to Life, and his memoir/family history SCRIBNERS: FIVE GENERATIONS IN PUBLISHING. Charles Scribner III is an art historian, author, editor, and lecturer, who received his BA, MFA, and PhD from Princeton University in art and archaeology.  He worked in publishing for nearly thirty years and is a prominent authority on Caravaggio, Bernini, Rubens, and other artists. He has written biographies on Rubens and Bernini; articles for Vanity Fair, Art & Antiques, among other publications; and has lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery, the Smithsonian, Christie’s, and various universities.  His forthcoming family history, Scribners: Five Generations in Publishing, is about the inside story of 5 generations – over 150 years – at the legendary publishing house of Charles Scribner's Sons. “The author, the fifth of the Charleses to work at that house of celebrated authors, provides … an inside view – ‘between the covers’ of illustrious and notorious books – of the family members, editors, and authors of this colorful literary history.” Kirkus Reviews called it "A charming memoir of a life in books," and Publishers Weekly called it “... a lively and refreshing must-read for those interested in the history of book publishing.” Charles remained at Scribners through three changes in ownership (Macmillan, Maxwell, and Viacom), overseeing the publication of its literary classics. He was also a commentator for TV documentaries on Edith Wharton (BBC/PBS), Fitzgerald and Hemingway (A&E Biography). [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file, Charles Scribner III and I discussed:  How manuscripts and galleys symbolized the world he grew up in  Why he chose now to share the stories of the literary lions his father worked with Some of the greatest editors of the 20th Century How to write a book in two months Why loyalty is the most important thing in publishing The secret behind Hemingway’s will And a lot more! Show Notes: charlesscribner.com Scribners: Five Generations in Publishing by Charles Scribner III (Amazon) Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Jim Butcher Writes
Nov 17 2023
How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Jim Butcher Writes
#1 New York Times bestselling author, Jim Butcher, spoke with me about how he outlined a hit 20-novel series (years before he had an agent), why all steampunks wear goggles, and the second book in his Cinder Spires series, THE OLYMPIAN AFFAIR. Jim Butcher is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and the Cinder Spires novels. The long-anticipated second novel in his Cinder Spires series is The Olympian Affair, described by the author as “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets Sherlock meets Hornblower,” in a series “... about noble families, magic-wielding warriors, and airship battles.” Library Journal called it “... an exciting epic fantasy, set in the sky and filled with airships, magic, and the connections of blood and found family." And New York Times bestselling author David Weber said of the book, “It’s steampunk meets magic with a dose of sci-fi for seasoning.” [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file, Jim Butcher and I discussed:  Why “breaking into print is an arduous and discouraging process” The Genre Fiction Novel class that changed his writing for good Keeping your writing time sacred When your fans become your boss How to write a “steam opera” His most important legacy as a writer And a lot more! Show Notes: jim-butcher.com The Olympian Affair (The Cinder Spires Book 2) by Jim Butcher (Amazon)  Jim Butcher Amazon Author Page Jim Butcher on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Susan Wiggs Writes: Part Two
Nov 10 2023
How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Susan Wiggs Writes: Part Two
#1 New York Times bestselling author, Susan Wiggs, returns to chat with me about her island writing hideout, rescuing two puppies at the same time, holiday genre tropes, and her latest Christmas book THE TWELVE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS. Susan Wiggs is the award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of over 50 published novels, with over 25 million copies in print, published in 30 countries, and translated into over 20 languages. Her latest, The Twelve Dogs of Christmas: A Novel, is described as, “The ultimate holiday gift from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs: a delightful novel about a Christmas transport of rescue puppies that’s guaranteed to warm readers’ hearts.” #1 New York Times bestselling author of Must Love Flowers, Debbie Macomber, said of the book, "Don't miss this charming Christmas tale of thawing hearts, escaping dogs, and finding home. I couldn't help digging into this book with both paws." [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file, Susan Wiggs and I discussed:  Writing on planes, trains, and automobiles Her love of classic Christmas stories How the latest ties into her Lakeshore Chronicles series Why one of the easiest things in the world to do is “not write” Getting snowed in with Toni Morrison And a lot more! Show Notes: How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Susan Wiggs Writes: Part One Susanwiggs.com The Twelve Dogs of Christmas: A Novel by Susan Wiggs (Amazon)  Susan Wiggs Amazon Author Page Susan Wiggs on Instagram Susan Wiggs on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How Literary Critic & Publishing Insider Bethanne Patrick Writes: Part Two
Nov 3 2023
How Literary Critic & Publishing Insider Bethanne Patrick Writes: Part Two
Longtime literary critic and publishing insider, Bethanne Patrick, is back to chat with me about the return of her hit podcast Missing Pages, her front-row seat to the sea change in publishing, and her life-affirming first memoir LIFE B. Bethanne Patrick is a world-renowned literary critic, author, and host of the chart-topping and Signal Award-winning podcast Missing Pages. Her work appears frequently in the Los Angeles Times as well as in The Washington Post, NPR Books, and Literary Hub. Missing Pages is back – the Webby Award-nominated podcast named a “must-listen” by The Washington Post and The Guardian – has a second season on deck that features authors, experts, publishing insiders, and a circus of NYC media elites. Host Bethanne Patrick sits down with notable guests to set the record straight on the secretive world of book publishing again. From the rise of Colleen Hoover and book bans across America to the idea of who owns what in fan fiction, Missing Pages investigates it all.  Bethanne also recently published her first memoir, Life B, “A bracing and fresh look at a lifelong struggle with depression and mental illness,” described by NY Times bestselling author Lori Gottlieb as, “Insightful, honest, [and] ultimately life-affirming …” [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Bethanne Patrick and I discussed: What it was like to have her podcast nominated for a Webby Award The sui generis of the Colleen Hoover effect What the ambitious second season of Missing Pages plans to tackle The origins and evolution of the novel  How she wrote her first memoir And a lot more! Show Notes: Missing Pages on Apple Podcasts Missing Pages on Twitter How Literary Critic & Publishing Insider Bethanne Patrick (AKA TheBookMaven) Writes: Part One bethannepatrick.com Life B By Bethanne Patrick [Amazon] Bethanne Patrick on Instagram Bethanne Patrick on Facebook Bethanne Patrick on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Andrew Child Writes
Oct 27 2023
How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Andrew Child Writes
#1 NY Times bestselling author, Andrew Child, spoke to me about his lifelong obsession with storytelling, working with Jack Reacher co-author and brother Lee Child, and their latest in the series THE SECRET. In addition to four Reacher novels, Andrew Child – the pen name of author Andrew Grant – has also written his own hit thriller series including RUN, False Positive, False Friend, False Witness, Invisible, and Too Close to Home.  His brother Lee Child is the creator of the international bestselling, award-winning, 28-book series of Jack Reacher novels, and winner of Author of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards. NPR said of the books, “The Reacher novels are easily the best thriller series going,” and James Patterson said of the brother’s collaboration, “Two Childs are better than one.” [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Andrew Child and I discussed: His past lives in theater and the corporate world The two saddest words in the English language What it was like being a Beta reader for Lee’s early Reacher novels The evolution of the Child brother’s low-tech writing process How to outwrite self-doubt  And a lot more! Show Notes: jackreacher.com The Secret: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child and Andrew Child [Amazon] Andrew Grant Amazon Author Page Jack Reacher on Facebook Jack Reacher on Instagram Jack Reacher on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How Acclaimed Debut Novelist Molly McGhee Writes
Oct 20 2023
How Acclaimed Debut Novelist Molly McGhee Writes
Critically acclaimed debut novelist, Molly McGhee, spoke with me about the best day of her life, her part in The Great Publishing Resignation, losing a parent, and her first book JONATHAN ABERNATHY YOU ARE KIND. Molly McGhee writes fiction and essays and taught in the undergraduate creative writing department at Columbia University where she also graduated with an MFA in fiction. Her debut novel is Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind, described by The New York Times as a story about, “... debt-laden citizens [who] are recruited to ‘audit’ others’ dreams — all in the name of productivity.” In a starred review Booklist said of the book, “… a superlative state-of-the-nation novel like no other. Full of astoundingly resonant and eminently quotable points about labor, capital, and depression, this wondrous literary creation brilliantly captures the excessive demands of contemporary work.” Molly has worked in the editorial departments of McSweeney’s, The Believer, NOON, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and helped launch a horror imprint at Tor. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, LitHub, and others. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Molly McGhee and I discussed:  Her past life as a NY Times bestselling editor Using writing as a coping mechanism for grief The nightmare that became a book Why she thinks of herself as a reader first Learning how to give yourself grace The importance of authenticity and vulnerability in your writing And a lot more! Show Notes: mollymcghee.com Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind: A Novel By Molly McGhee [Amazon] This Science Fiction Novel Scrapes the Work Force of Human Suffering The "Great Publishing Resignation" Exposes the Failings of the Industry Men Who Don’t Know Women: On Unlearning the Lessons of “Dick Lit” - Molly McGhee for LitHub Molly McGhee on Instagram Molly McGhee on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How Award-Winning Climate Journalist Amy Westervelt Writes
Oct 18 2023
How Award-Winning Climate Journalist Amy Westervelt Writes
Bonus Episode – Climate Edition: Award-winning investigative journalist and Executive Podcast Producer, Amy Westervelt, spoke to me about her accidental career in climate accountability, the greatest threat to free speech, and her deep dive into the origins of climate denial. Amy Westervelt is an independent investigative climate journalist who has been on the climate beat for more than 20 years, reporting for a wide range of outlets over the years, including Inside Climate News, The Guardian, The Nation, The Intercept, NPR, and many others. She is the Executive Producer of the independent podcast production company Critical Frequency, and in 2021, she helped produce This Land S2—an investigative podcast revealing the forces behind efforts to unravel tribal sovereignty in the U.S.— nominated for a Peabody Award in April 2022. In 2020 she produced Unfinished: Short Creek with Stitcher which was named a best podcast of the year by The New Yorker and The Atlantic She also hosted her award-winning climate podcast Drilled, a Critical Frequency original, and was most recently awarded Covering Climate Now's Journalist of the Year Award 2023, a global journalism collaboration co-founded by Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, and others. [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Amy Westervelt and I discussed: Why journalists and protesters are being jailed for speaking out How the early days of climate denialism set the tone for our current dilemma  How to record a hit podcast in your car while your kids sleep Why we need climate fiction storytellers now more than ever And a lot more! Show Notes: Drilled.media Amy Westervelt on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How Acclaimed Debut Novelist Isa Arsén Writes
Oct 13 2023
How Acclaimed Debut Novelist Isa Arsén Writes
Critically acclaimed debut novelist, Isa Arsén, spoke with me about humanizing machines and the creative process, how to write soft sci-fi, and her genre-bending, “timey-wimey” literary debut SHOOT THE MOON. Isa Arsén is an author and audio engineer based in South Texas and has published several short stories and pieces of experimental interactive media. Shoot the Moon is Arsén’s debut novel, inspired by her own childhood in New Mexico. Named a BookBub Best Book of Fall and Shondaland Best Book for October 2023 among others, it has been described as “...a puzzle box time travel story,” about an “... [intelligent] but lonely NASA secretary and her relentless drive to live a big life in a world that would keep her small.” Publishers Weekly called it an, "Innovative . . . [novel that] navigates the back-and-forth of the story’s time-travel events, threading them into the highlights of women’s scientific achievements." [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm] [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen] In this file Isa Arsén and I discussed:  Studying music composition and blending the organic and machine Why “music is how we decorate time” Her unique blend of interests, including Dr. Who What it means to write in the age of genre-benders Why storytelling is a quirk of evolution And a lot more! Show Notes: inarsen.com Shoot the Moon by Isa Arsén [Amazon] Isa Arsén on Instagram Kelton Reid on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices