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DIY MFA Radio

Updated about 15 hours ago

Arts
Education
Books
Self-Improvement
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Take your writing from average to awesome, and learn tools of the trade from bestselling authors, master writing teachers, and publishing industry insiders. This podcast will give you tools and techniques to help you get those words on the page and your stories out into the world. Past guests include: Delia Ephron, John Sandford, Steve Berry, Jojo Moyes, Tana French, Guy Kawasaki, and more.

Read more

Take your writing from average to awesome, and learn tools of the trade from bestselling authors, master writing teachers, and publishing industry insiders. This podcast will give you tools and techniques to help you get those words on the page and your stories out into the world. Past guests include: Delia Ephron, John Sandford, Steve Berry, Jojo Moyes, Tana French, Guy Kawasaki, and more.

iTunes Ratings

51 Ratings
Average Ratings
44
2
1
3
1

Please “like” less

By Writer Roni - Mar 29 2019
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This is an interesting and informative podcast. The host is knowledgeable and asks insightful questions, and the guests seem happy to participate and open to providing substantive answers. Unfortunately the host’s overuse of “like” detracts from her side of the conversation.

Teamwork!

By #NaNoWriMo 2018 - Mar 27 2019
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Thanks for another great episode Gabriela! Listened to it (ep 245) on the way home from work today and then secured my copy of the book. Lots of great info on positive collaboration between a writer-agent-editor team that connects well. Especially enjoyed the discussion on first person narrator. Keep it coming!

iTunes Ratings

51 Ratings
Average Ratings
44
2
1
3
1

Please “like” less

By Writer Roni - Mar 29 2019
Read more
This is an interesting and informative podcast. The host is knowledgeable and asks insightful questions, and the guests seem happy to participate and open to providing substantive answers. Unfortunately the host’s overuse of “like” detracts from her side of the conversation.

Teamwork!

By #NaNoWriMo 2018 - Mar 27 2019
Read more
Thanks for another great episode Gabriela! Listened to it (ep 245) on the way home from work today and then secured my copy of the book. Lots of great info on positive collaboration between a writer-agent-editor team that connects well. Especially enjoyed the discussion on first person narrator. Keep it coming!
Cover image of DIY MFA Radio

DIY MFA Radio

Latest release on Jan 22, 2020

Read more

Take your writing from average to awesome, and learn tools of the trade from bestselling authors, master writing teachers, and publishing industry insiders. This podcast will give you tools and techniques to help you get those words on the page and your stories out into the world. Past guests include: Delia Ephron, John Sandford, Steve Berry, Jojo Moyes, Tana French, Guy Kawasaki, and more.

Rank #1: 208: A Character's Heart and Soul - Interview with Gail Honeyman

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Gail Honeyman on the show!

Gail is the author of the novel Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, which hit shelves in May of last year and made a huge splash with readers. Gail’s debut novel was the star book at the Frankfurt Book Fair and was selected as an Indie Next Pick by booksellers across the country.

It soon became one of the most beloved novels of 2017, catching the attention of readers worldwide, including Reese Witherspoon, who made it one of her book club picks and bought the film rights.

The love for this book has not let up since its release, and it has been heralded as a must-read for summer by The New York Times, People, and TheSkimm. Independent booksellers were so excited about the book that many of them even participated in an “Eleanor Oliphant Day,” touting this quirky, funny, and heartbreaking novel to their customers both in their stores and across social media.

So listen in as Gail and I unpack this quirky, sometimes difficult, but always lovable character of Eleanor Oliphant, and how to craft a story that really puts readers directly into the heart and soul of a character.

In this episode Gail and I discuss:
  • Crafting a voice driven novel that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.
  • The learning curve of your first book.
  • Creating empathy for an unlikable character through close first person narration.
  • How to “feel” your way through writing and editing your novel.
  • Building a compelling character with multiple layers.

Plus Gail's #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/208

Jul 11 2018

38mins

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Rank #2: 216: Perfect Your Plot Twists - Interview with Steven James

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I am so excited to have Steven James on the show!

Steve is the bestselling, critically acclaimed author of sixteen novels. Best known for his psychological thrillers, he has received more than a dozen honors and awards for his books, including 3 Christy Awards and being nominated as a finalist for an International Thriller Award.He is also the author of the groundbreaking book on the craft of fiction, Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules, which won a 2015 Storytelling World Award. He also hosts the podcast "The Story Blender," where he interviews great storytellers from the world of cinema, oral performance, and writing about the craft of great storytelling (and where I’ve had the honor of being a guest!).

Steve’s most recent novel, Every Wicked Man, is another exhilarating installment of the Bowers Files featuring his iconic character FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers. I have to admit, this book kind of scared the living daylights out of me and had me frantically turning the virtual pages on my Kindle.

Listen in as we chat about this awesome suspense-filled story, and how to craft a novel that will keep your readers guessing until the very end.

In this episode Steven and I discuss:
  • How to craft a dynamic relationship over the course of a series.
  • Four questions to ask yourself to help shape your story.
  • Why you shouldn’t plan out surprising twists before hand.
  • Breaking down the four elements of the perfect plot twist.
  • How to pivot your story to give readers what they want or something even better.
Plus, Steven’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/216

Sep 05 2018

46mins

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Rank #3: 234: A Master Class on Character - Interview with David Corbett

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting David Corbett on the show!

I know David as a highly sought-after instructor at ITW’s Master CraftFest and CraftFest, and it’s easy to see why as he is the award-winning author of six novels, the story collection Thirteen Confessions, and the writing guide The Art of Character which has been called “A writer’s bible.”

His short fiction has been selected twice for Best American Mystery Stories, and his non-fiction has appeared in several places including Writer’s Digest magazine where he is a contributing editor.

David’s latest novel The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday (OMG best alliterative title EVER!) about the possible discovery of the most notorious love letters in American history was released in 2018.

So listen in as David and I discuss this awesome book and how to ratchet up the realness of your story’s world through its characters.

In this episode David and I discuss:

  • Choosing the right details to include that will pull your readers in.
  • How to inject verisimilitude into your story.
  • Why you should use real people as the basis for character creation.
  • Crafting deeply flawed and relatable characters.
  • Weaknesses, wounds and flaws, what they are and how to use them right.
Plus, David’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA/com/234

Jan 09 2019

52mins

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Rank #4: 220: Just Keep Writing and Other Motivational Mantras - Interview with Laurie Petrou

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I am so excited to have Laurie Petrou on the show!

Laurie is an author, maker, educator, tea drinker, and avid reader… so basically she’s my kind of people. She is an Associate Professor at Ryerson's RTA School of Media, where she is also the Director of the Masters of Media Production program, and has given TEDx talks in the past.  

Laurie’s first novel (second book), Sister of Mine, won the International Half the World Global Literati Award. This novel is a fascinating thriller about two sisters bound together by a series of secrets.

Listen in as Laurie and I chat about this awesome book, how to craft gripping suspense, and how to always keep yourself writing.

In this episode Laurie and I discuss:
  • The unreliable narrator and how to do it right.
  • Using supporting characters to throw a wrench into your protagonist’s world.
  • Techniques to breathe life into your setting.
  • Pacing a thriller over several decades.
  • How to handle the waiting periods in between writing and publishing.
Plus, Laurie’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/220

Oct 03 2018

38mins

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Rank #5: 213: Writing Strong Female Protagonists - Interview with Lisa Gardner, Jon Land, and Karin Slaughter LIVE from ThrillerFest 2018

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Hey there word nerds!

In today’s episode I bring you again live to ThrillerFest 2018! This time I’ve assembled a panel of bestselling thriller authors who all know how to write powerhouse female protagonists.I am so excited to be speaking with Lisa Gardner, Jon Land, and Karin Slaughter, and sharing our panel discussion on the show!

As you’ll soon hear, not only do all these awesome authors craft strong female protagonists, but they know how to bring that strength to life on the page. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and I am so glad to be able to share these authors’ amazing insights with you.

So listen in as we chat about how to craft strong female protagonists that will bring readers back to your books again and again.

In this episode Lisa, Jon, Karin and I discuss:
  • The problem with writing strong female characters, and how to deal with it.
  • Crafting the interplay between your character’s internal strength and the external conflict.
  • Why growing with your character makes you a better writer.
  • The different ways of defining strength, and how to show them in your characters.
  • How our writing ripples out beyond the page.
Plus, all of these amazing authors’ #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/213

Aug 15 2018

55mins

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Rank #6: 202: Crafting Powerful and Authentic Characters - Interview with NoNieqa Ramos

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I am so excited to be speaking with NoNieqa Ramos on the show!

NoNieqa is an award-winning educator, literary activist, and writer of “intense” young adult literature. She is also a passionate supporter of the #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices movements.

Her debut novel The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary has gotten stunning reception including a  Booklist starred review that called her “a voice to watch” with “exceptional writing and compassionate realism.”

NoNieqa is currently joining us live from the school where she teaches (and where her book is set). Listen in as we chat about her amazing debut and how to create strong characters that elicits an emotional response from readers.

Also, just a quick heads up, for the first time ever on DIY MFA Radio we have a teeny bit of explicit language towards the end of the interview. Due to the nature of the discussion I decided not to bleep anything out, but I wanted to let you know in case you have small children in the room or you, yourself, are not comfortable with explicit language.

Now let’s dive into the interview!

In this episode NoNieqa and I discuss:
  • Tips for getting inside your character’s mind.
  • Why you should make the reader work to piece the story together.
  • The art of writing a realistically flawed character.
  • Using language to show a character’s true voice without losing your reader.
  • The importance of knowing what you are not willing to surrender in your writing.
Plus, NoNieqa’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/202

May 30 2018

45mins

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Rank #7: 257: Doubling Down on Your Dream - Interview with Kelsey Ramsden

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Hey there word nerds! Today I have the pleasure of hosting Kelsey Ramsden on the show.

I have long admired Kelsey’s work as she moves the earth, literally and figuratively. She has been named Canada’s top female entrepreneur by PROFIT, not once but twice. And Forbes calls her a “master builder of ideas, businesses and sky’s the limit futures.”

She has received numerous awards for her businesses in civil construction and real estate where she builds highways, airports and communities.

Her latest project is the internationally bestselling book Success Hangover: Ignite your next act. Screw your status quo. Feel alive again. and it is available now.

So listen in as Kelsey and I chat about this amazing book and how to commit to your dreams even when the world pushes back.

In this episode Kelsey and I discuss:

  • The many ways a success hangover can manifest in your life.
  • How to know when you’re stuck in the “mediocre zone”.
  • The difference between love and lust for your career.
  • Turning a sense of discomfort into a sense of discovery.
  • Why so many people fail at their goals, and the steps to take so you succeed.
Plus, Kelsey’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/257

Jun 19 2019

46mins

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Rank #8: 277: How to Make Your Setting Come to Life - Interview with Brenda Jackson

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Brenda Jackson.

Brenda Jackson is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over 100 novels and novellas, including two that have been turned into films—One Special Moment and Truly Everlasting.

Brenda is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award and an NAACP Image Award nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her book, A Silken Thread. She is an advocate for diversity in romance and was the first African American author to make both the USA TODAY and New York Times bestseller lists in series/category romance genre.

Today we’ll be talking about her Catalina Cove series, and its third book Finding Home Again is out now.

In this episode Brenda and I discuss:
  • Structuring a series around a setting
  • Starting with plot instead of character
  • Building a world that comes alive for readers
  • Keeping track of an evolving fictional world
  • How to make a tried and true romance plot feel fresh
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/277

Oct 30 2019

52mins

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Rank #9: 246: Writing Magic: Character-Centered World Building in a Fantasy Series - Interview with Rowenna Miller

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Rowenna Miller on the show!

Rowenna is a midwestern born and raised fantasy author and has a Master's in English Film and Literature because she can't shut up about stories.

She is also a historical reenactor and seamstress, specializing in the late eighteenth century, and writes fantasy shamelessly inspired by her love of history, especially the history of ordinary people.

Her debut novel, Torn, released in March 2018, is the first in her The Unraveled Kingdom series, and the second book, Fray, will be available in June 2019.

So listen in as Rowenna and I chat about this amazing series and constructing an intricate history inspired fantasy world.

In this episode Rowenna and I discuss:

  • Character centric world building.
  • Different ways to play with magic in fantasy.
  • How to layer aspects of your world naturally into the story.
  • Pitfalls to avoid when crafting your magical system.
  • Intertwining politics, history, and magic when building your fantasy world.
Plus, Rowenna’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/246

Apr 03 2019

42mins

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Rank #10: 271: Write by Instinct and Break the Rules - Interview with RJ Barker

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing RJ Barker.

Now, according to the bio that either he or his publicist submitted when we set up this interview, RJ Barker is a softly-spoken Yorkshireman with flowing locks. He lives in the frozen north with his wife and son, and divides his time between writing and looking after his son.

According to the about page on his blog, RJ Barker is (and I quote) “Probably more ridiculous than you already believe.”

RJ is the author of The Wounded Kingdom series, which comprises Age of Assassins, Blood of Assassins, & King of Assassins and his newest book is The Bone Ships which is the first in The Tide Child series.

In this episode RJ and I discuss:
  • The story behind The Bone Ships
  • Hearing and creating the voice of a fantasy world
  • Working with a copyeditor while breaking the writing rules
  • Deciding when and how to break writing rules
  • Creating an awesome opening line
  • Balancing immersing a reader and explaining a world
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: DIYMFA.com/271

Sep 18 2019

52mins

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Rank #11: 243: Crafting Rich Settings - Interview with Heather Graham

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the absolute pleasure of hosting New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Heather Graham on the show!

A theater arts major at the University of South Florida, Heather began her career with several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals and bartending. After the birth of her third child, she decided to stay home and that’s when she began to write.

Since then, she has written over two hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, sci-fi, young adult, and Christmas family fare. She has been published in twenty-five languages with about 60 million books in print and has been honored with just about every major writing award under the sun, including the  prestigious Thriller Master Award, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romance Writers of America.

Heather has also been featured in several media outlets including People and USA Today, as well as on newscasts such as Today and Entertainment Tonight.

Her newest book, A Lethal Legacy, is a chilling thriller which I read cover-to-cover because I could not put it down!

So listen in as Heather and I chat about this amazing book, and how to craft a fictitious setting that feels real.

In this episode Heather and I discuss:

  • Building your world’s lore and mythology.
  • How to use your setting to create impending peril and suspense in your plot.
  • Why you need to make your readers care about the supporting cast.
  • Crafting your villain’s motivations so they ring true for readers.
  • Using alternating point of view characters to give a broader view of your story.
Plus, Heather’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/243.

Mar 13 2019

42mins

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Rank #12: 253: Turning Characters into People - Interview with Jodi Thomas

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Jodi Thomas on the show!

Jodi is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 50 novels and countless short story collections.

With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Jodi has proven her skill as a master storyteller, and in July 2006, was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame.

Her latest novel The Little Tea Shop on Main, while still focusing on love, diverts slightly from the romance genre into women’s fiction.

So listen in as Jodi and I chat about this amazing book and how to get so deep into your characters that both you and your readers feel that they are real people.

In this episode Jodi and I discuss:

  • Giving each viewpoint character a distinct voice.
  • How to craft three equally weighted protagonists in one story.
  • Creating characters that extend beyond the page for your readers.
  • How to use supporting characters for more than just a plot twist.
  • Painting a realistic picture on the page by “walking the land” of your story.
Plus, Jodi’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/253

May 22 2019

46mins

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Rank #13: 237: Embracing the Fear of Writing - Interview with Kevin Brooks

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Kevin Brooks on the show!

Kevin is a critically acclaimed young adult novelist whose first book, Martyn Pig, was named a Publishers Weekly “Flying Start” selection. Kevin has written many books since then including Black Rabbit Summer, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal, and The Bunker Diary, which won the Carnegie Medal in 2014.

His most recent novel, Born Scared, is a terrifying thriller about a 13-year-old boy named Elliot confined to his home by incapacitating fear. But then on Christmas Eve, a mixup at the pharmacy leaves him with not enough pills. His mother must go out into the snowstorm to get more, and when she doesn’t come back Elliot has to venture out after her on his own.

This book really resonated with me on so many levels and I’m sure it will resonate with many of you as well.

So listen in as Kevin and I talk about this amazing book, and learning how to embrace the fear of writing not just on the page but as writers.

In this episode Kevin and I discuss:

  • Tackling the deeply, dark reality of mental illness on the page.
  • How to deal with “analysis paralysis” and keep writing.
  • Creating drama and suspense when your character is in a very confined space.
  • The technique of shifting between 1st and 3rd person POV, and how to do it right.
  • How to use the design aspects of writing to enhance your story.
Plus, Kevin’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/237

Jan 30 2019

49mins

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Rank #14: 272: How to Research and Write a Detective Series - Interview with Archer Mayor

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Archer Mayor.

Archer is the author of the highly acclaimed Vermont-based series featuring detective Joe Gunther, which the Chicago Tribune describes as “the best police procedurals being written in America.”

He has won the New England Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Fiction — which is the first time a crime fiction author has received this honor — and in 2011, his 22nd Joe Gunther novel, Tag Man, earned a place on The New York Times bestseller list.

Before trying his hand at fiction, Archer wrote history books. His most well-known is Southern Timberman: The Legacy of William Buchanan, which is all the lumber and oil business in Louisiana from the 1870s to the 1970s.

When he’s not writing, Archer is a death investigator for Vermont’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Over the past thirty years, he has also been a detective for the Windham County Sheriff’s Office, a volunteer firefighter/EMT, the publisher of his own backlist, and a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers.

In this episode Archer and I discuss:
  • Using practical experience for writing research
  • Using curiosity and questions for story inspiration
  • The historical origins of the title Bomber’s Moon
  • Keeping a character and world fresh over thirty books
  • The power of treating the reader as a co-storyteller
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: diymfa.com/272

Sep 25 2019

52mins

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Rank #15: 261: Writing and Publishing the Indie Way - Interview with Aileen Erin

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Hey there word nerds! Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Aileen Erin on the show.

Aileen is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd. From Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek, she has a severe fascination with the speculative and supernatural. 

This fascination led her into writing, but after Twilight, Aileen was told that nobody wanted to read another vampire or werewolf story. She didn't agree and wrote one anyway. She proved her critics wrong as her independently published Alpha Girl series, has sold over 1.5 million copies.

She earned a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and went on to earn her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She has since founded an independent boutique publishing house Ink Monster.

Aileen’s latest novel, Lunar Court, is the eighth installment of her USA Today bestselling series Alpha Girl, and is available now.

So listen in as Aileen and I chat about this awesome fantasy series and how to successfully write and publish your books through indie publishing.

In this episode Aileen and I discuss:

  • Using reader input to help you decide what story to write next.
  • How to change the point of view character throughout a series the right way.
  • Planning your world organically.
  • The series strategy in indie publishing, and why it works.
  • Producing a book as an indie boutique publisher from beginning to end.
Plus, Aileen’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/261

Jul 17 2019

47mins

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Rank #16: 279: The Seventh Level for Writers - Interview with Amanda Slavin

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing my friend and fellow New Yorker, Amanda Slavin.

Amanda is the founder and CEO of the award-winning brand consulting firm CatalystCreativ, the author of The Seventh Level book, and the creator of the Seventh Level Engagement Framework. She uses this framework to guide brands like Coca-Cola, Google, and HubSpot to connect more meaningfully with their customers and improve their bottom lines.

So you may be wondering, “How does this apply to us writers?” Amanda and I were chatting over coffee some time ago, and as she described the 7th Level framework, I started to see connections between this marketing framework and how we as writers create books as an experience for our readers.

Amanda has spoken at events like SXSW, TED, and INBOUND about the Seventh Level and her writing has been featured in places like Inc., Forbes, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and Time. She lives in New York City with her husband and her cockapoo.

In this episode Amanda and I discuss:

  • How the “Seventh Level” framework applies to writers
  • The origins of the Seventh Level
  • How a Seventh Level statement applies to literary themes
  • Using levels 1-3 keep your target readers engaged
  • Using character change to inspire and connect with readers

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/279

Nov 13 2019

53mins

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Rank #17: 245: The Author-Agent-Editor Collaboration - Interview with Samantha Downing, Barbara Poelle, and Jen Monroe

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Hey there word nerds!

Today’s episode is extra-awesome because I’m speaking with not one, not two, but three fabulous ladies, who have had hand in bringing a truly buzz-worthy novel to life, on the show!

First we have author Samantha Downing, whose debut novel My Lovely Wife has been getting a lot of attention. When she was a kid, Samantha’s mom brought her to the library every two weeks, where she would check out a stack of new books that she couldn’t put it down. She walked around with a book in front of her face, often walking into walls and stubbing her toes because she never watched where she was going. In her adult life she decided she wanted to be the one telling stories that would make people walk into walls and My Lovely Wife, is one such book.

Next we have Samantha’s agent Barbara Poelle who began her publishing career as a freelance copywriter and editor before joining the Irene Goodman Literary Agency in 2007. Barbara also did a brief stint as a standup comic in Los Angeles and if you’ve ever bumped into her at a conference or literary event, you know she is hilarious. Barbara has found success placing thrillers, suspense, young adult and upmarket fiction, She is actively seeking her next great client in those genres, but is passionate about anything with a unique voice.

Jen Monroe is the editor behind this fabulous book. She joined Berkley in November 2016 and edits psychological suspense, upmarket fiction, speculative fiction, and narrative nonfiction. Previously, Jen spent two years at HarperAudio where she handled all editorial needs, and produced the in-house podcast HarperAudio Presents. Jen also pursued journalism interning for places including The New York Times and The San Francisco Examiner.

So listen as Samantha, Barbara, Jen and I chat about the amazing novel MY LOVELY WIFE, and the teamwork involved between an author, agent, editor to bring a book into the world.

In this episode Samantha, Barbara, Jen and I discuss:

  • The matchmaking experience of publishing.
  • Why communication is vital to a successful author-agent-editor relationship.
  • Crafting an unreliable narrator while still maintaining your readers’ trust.
  • Advice to help navigate disagreements in the editorial process.
  • The most important thing querying writers need to know.
Plus, each of these lovely ladies’ #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/245

Mar 27 2019

38mins

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Rank #18: 252: The Emotional Weight of Storytelling - Interview with Sam Sykes

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Sam Sykes on the show!

Sam is the author of multiple books of fantasy, including the Bring Down Heaven trilogy, the Affinity for Steel trilogy and comics such as Brave Chef Brianna.

He currently lives in the United States with his two hounds and, at any given time, is probably yelling at something inanimate. Sam looks forward to being one of the sole providers of fantasy entertainment. Assuming no other authors are actually discovered in the next forty years.

His latest book, Seven Blades in Black, is the start of his new fantasy series The Grave of Empires and is now available.

No one can verify where he was on the night of October 17th, 2003.

So on that ominous note, listen in as Sam and I chat about his awesome new book and the secrets to getting your audience emotionally invested in your story.

In this episode Sam and I discuss:

  • How to build a world that fits and impacts your characters.
  • Leaving certain things in your world unexplained, or “The Kessel Run Principle” by Sam Sykes.
  • The importance of creating a diversity of attitudes among your characters.
  • Why escalation in your story is more important than balance.
  • Trusting your readers to draw their own conclusions from your writing.
Plus, Sam’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/252

May 15 2019

40mins

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Rank #19: 249: Thrillers, Cozies, and Everything in Between - Interview with Jon Land

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the absolute pleasure of hosting Jon Land on the show!

You may remember Jon from a previous episode where he took part in a round table interview  live from last year’s ThrillerFest along with two other bestselling thriller authors: Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter. Today though he’s here solo to let me pick his brain and give you his own nuggets of writing wisdom.

Jon is the USA Today bestselling author of over 44 books, including the critically acclaimed and award-winning Caitlin Strong series, whose ninth installment, Strong to the Bone, won the 2017 American Book Fest Award for Mystery/Suspense.

Also in the mystery genre, Jon took over writing the Murder She Wrote series in 2018 with A Date with Murder as his first entry.

His latest novel, the most recent installment of his Caitlin Strong series, Strong as Steel, is available now, and his next entry in the beloved Murder She Wrote series, Murder in Red, will be released in May of 2019.

So listen in as Jon and I chat about these two amazing books and the ways in which cozies and thrillers converge.

In this episode Jon and I discuss:

  • How to juggle writing two very different series at the same time.
  • The structural elements of the thriller vs. the cozy mystery.
  • How the scope of your world supports the character’s quest.
  • The mechanisms used to craft a cozy thriller.
  • Being genuine and honest with your readers.
Plus, Jon’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/249

Apr 24 2019

48mins

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Rank #20: 204: Bringing Sound to Life on the Page - Interview with Michael Zadoorian

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Hey there word nerds!

Today I am so excited to have Michael Zadoorian on the show!

Michael is an author and recipient of numerous awards such as the Michigan Notable Book award, and the Kresge Artist Fellowship. His writing has appeared in several prestigious journals including The Literary Review and American Short Fiction, as well as in multiple anthologies including Detroit Noir.

He is the author of The Leisure Seeker—which was recently made into a film starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherlandas well as the novel Second Hand and the story collection The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit.

His latest novel, Beautiful Music, is a coming of age story set against the backdrop of his hometown of Detroit in the 1970’s and is available now.

Listen in as we talk about this amazing book, and how to enrich your story with sensory writing.

In this episode Michael and I discuss:
  • How to determine the genre label for your story by finding your audience.
  • Conveying sound through your characters’ emotions.
  • Engaging all five senses of your reader.
  • The role of parents in a literary coming of age story.
  • Creating a strong sense of place in your writing.
Plus, Michael’s #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/204

Jun 13 2018

59mins

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289: Stitching Together Multiple Timelines - Interview with Constance Sayers

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Constance Sayers talking about her debut novel, A Witch in Time, which is forthcoming in February.

A finalist for Alternating Current’s 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Prose, her short stories have appeared in Souvenir and Amazing Graces: Yet Another Collection of Fiction by Washington Area Women as well as The Sky is a Free Country.

Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She received her master of arts in English from George Mason University and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She attended The Bread Loaf Writers Conference where she studied with Charles Baxter and Lauren Groff. Currently, she is a media executive at Atlantic Media (publisher of The Atlantic). 

She lives in Maryland and is the co-founder of the Thoughtful Dog literary magazine. 

In this episode Constance and I discuss:
  • How a painting inspired A Witch in Time
  • Blending together multiple storylines into a cohesive narrative
  • Managing pacing with different storylines
  • Balancing writing and researching
  • Novel-writing lessons from writing short stories

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/289

Jan 22 2020

43mins

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288: Find Your Community - Interview with Janae Marks

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Hey there word nerds! 

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Janae Marks!

Janae is an award-winning children's book author living in Connecticut. She has an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Writing for Children and Young Adults from The New School, and is an active member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her debut is the middle grade novel,  From the Desk of Zoe Washington, which we’ll be discussing today.

Janae also happens to be one of my dearest writing besties. She’s known me since before DIY MFA was even a twinkle in my eye, like back when it was still just a “crazy idea” I was kicking around on my personal blog. She and I were also in the same thesis critique group so she has seen my writing in all its many forms: from the good, to the bad, to the… what the heck were you thinking, Gabriela?

One of my favorite things—one of the things that brings true joy to my heart—is when I get to introduce my favorite people to the word nerd community. I’ve known Janae for a long time; I know how much of her heart and soul she’s poured into this book and I am so excited for the world to discover Zoe Washington and this sweet, heart-felt middle grade novel.

Without further ado, welcome Janae! It’s so great to have you here.

In this episode Janae and I discuss:
  • How Serial and Making a Murderer inspired From the Desk of Zoe Washington
  • Aging a character down from YA to middle grade
  • Weaving serious, real-world issues into a middle grade story
  • Balancing parenting and writing
  • Different types of writing friends and communities
  • Finding a community-focused writing conference
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/288

Jan 15 2020

48mins

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287: Character Dynamics in an In-Depth Scene Analysis — Interview with Kiley Reid

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Kiley Reid!

An Arizona native, Kiley Reid is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her short stories have been featured and are forthcoming in Ploughshares, December, New South, and Lumina. With the latter publication, her short story won first place in the 2017 Flash Prose Contest.

In Summer 2018, Kiley attended the Cuttyhunk Island Residency as the recipient of the Paul Cuffee Scholarship. Such a Fun Age is her debut novel, and the film and TV rights have already been acquired.

In this episode Kiley and I discuss:
  • How the idea of awkwardness and ownership inspired Such a Fun Age
  • Using the imbalance of three characters to create a charged scene
  • Creating complex and multi-faceted protagonists
  • An in-depth analysis of a pivotal scene
  • Using external and internal wants to deepen characterization
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/287

Jan 08 2020

46mins

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286: An Inside Look at a Romantic Suspense Series - Interview with Marie Force

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Marie Force.

Marie is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than seventy contemporary romances, including the Fatal Series. Thirty of her books have been New York Times bestsellers, and she has sold more than nine million books worldwide.

Today we’ll be discussing book #15 in the Fatal series—Fatal Accusation—and the craft of putting together a romantic suspense series.

In this episode Marie and I discuss:
  • How a news story inspired the Fatal series
  • Building a romance series around one couple
  • The difference between romance with suspense and romantic suspense
  • Managing writing multiple series at once
  • Balancing indie and traditional publishing
Plus, her #1 tip for writers

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/286

Jan 01 2020

51mins

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285: Character-Driven Holiday Romance - Interview with Sarah Morgan

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Morgan. A USA Today bestselling author Sarah writes lively, sexy contemporary stories for Harlequin.

Romantic Times has described her as “a magician with words” and nominated her books for their Reviewer's Choice Awards and their “Top Pick” slot. In 2012 Sarah received the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America. Today we’ll be discussing the art and craft behind her latest novel A Wedding in December.

In this episode, Sarah and I discuss:
  • How one character inspired A Wedding in December
  • What makes holiday romances so popular
  • Navigating writing a story where “happily ever after” is guaranteed
  • Developing an authentic setting
  • Balancing family secrets in a multi-pov story

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/285

Dec 24 2019

46mins

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284: Adapting Legends While Staying True to the Story - Interview with Virginia Loh-Hagan

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan.

Virginia Loh-Hagan is an educator and author. She is the 2016 recipient of California Reading Association’s Marcus Foster Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in reading. Currently, she is directing the Liberal Studies program at San Diego State University. She has a B.A. in English and a Masters in Elementary Education (K-8) and Special Education, specializing in Learning Disabilities (K-12), from the University of Virginia.

She earned her Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Literacy and her dissertation was a qualitative study on the cultural authenticity of Asian-American children's literature. She serves on various book award committees and is the Cover Editor and Book Nook columnist for "The California Reader," the premier professional journal for the California Reading Association.

She has published over 300 children's books and academic publications. She especially likes to write about her Chinese-American heritage. After all, she was born on Flag Day in the Year of the Dragon. She's also interested in writing fun facts about monsters, weird bodily noises, urban legends, hot dogs, and anything else that’s strange and awesome.

In this episode Virginia and I discuss:
  • The inspiration behind Nian the Chinese New Year Dragon
  • How a career in teaching informed Dr. Loh-Hagan’s writing
  • Reading for comprehension versus reading for craft
  • Using the rule of three in a picture book
  • Staying true to the world you create
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/284

Dec 18 2019

1hr 1min

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283: Art, Magic, and Robots - Interview with Carolyn Crimi and Corinna Luyken

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Carolyn Crimi and Corinna Luyken, the author and illustrator behind the buzz-worthy middle grade novel Weird Little Robots.

Carolyn Crimi is the author of several books for children, including Where’s My Mummy?, Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates, and There Might Be Lobsters. Weird Little Robots is her first novel and she lives in Illinois.

Corinna Luyken is the author-illustrator of the NY Times Bestseller, My Heart; as well as The Book of Mistakes, which received four starred reviews and has been praised by Entertainment Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and more.  

She is the illustrator for Weird Little Robots, written by Carolyn Crimi and Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse, written by Marcy Campbell. She lives in Olympia, WA with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

In this episode Carolyn, Corinna and I discuss:
  • The inspiration behind Weird Little Robots
  • Shifting from writing picture books to full length novels
  • How to maintain creative momentum
  • Building characters that feel alive and real
  • How throwing away eighty pages of work inspired a stronger story and characters
Plus, their #1 tips for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/283

Dec 11 2019

55mins

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282: The Themed Anthology - Interview with Sam Hooker and Seven Jane

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Sam Hooker and Seven Jane. 

Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy novels about things like tyrannical despots and the masked scoundrels who tickle them without mercy. He knows all the best swear words, though he refuses to repeat them because he doesn't want to attract goblins. 

Seven Jane is an author of dark fantasy and speculative fiction. Seven is a member of The Author's Guild and Women's Fiction Writing Association. She also writes a column for The Women's Fiction Association and is a contributor to The Nerd Daily.​

They are both authors of stories included in the anthology A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, six stories of not-so-merry yuletide whimsy, from Blackspot Books.

In this episode Sam, Seven and I discuss:
  • Writing a short story when you usually write novels
  • Adjusting your writing process to fit a new category
  • Creating suspense in an insular, character-driven story
  • Using winter as the inspiration for a short story
Plus, their #1 tips for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/282

Dec 04 2019

47mins

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281: The Art of the Space Odyssey — Interview with Kristyn Merbeth

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Kristyn Merbeth.

Kristyn is an author who’s obsessed with SFF, food, video games, and her dog. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and her book Fortuna launches a new space opera trilogy that will hook you from the first crash landing.

In this episode Kristyn and I discuss:
  • How a NASA discovery and a TV show inspired the world and story of Fortuna
  • Techniques for building multiple worlds
  • Creating complex family and cultural dynamics
  • Using dual perspectives to create balance and expand world-building
  • How to grapple with real-world issues in a speculative story
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/281

Nov 27 2019

39mins

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280: Writing and Illustrating a Picture Book Series - Interview with Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam, author and illustrator of the I Need My Monster picture book series.

Amanda Noll was born and raised in Canberra, Australia and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. After marrying her college sweetheart, she began working in the purchasing division of a private university (which is ironic, since she despises shopping).

She left the business world to attend to the business of raising children and concentrate on her writing. As her kids grew up, she completed a Master’s degree in Education and became an Elementary School Librarian.  Amanda blames her fundamentally twisted sense of humor on either genetics or being raised on a steady stream of Australian humor and sci-fi. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children.

Howard McWilliam left his career as a U.K. financial magazine editor and journalist in 2005 to concentrate on illustrating. He is cover artist for The Week in the U.S. and U.K. and has illustrated dozens of children’s novels, puzzles, and picture books, including the bestselling I Need My Monster series. He lives in Cheltenham, England, with his wife Rebecca and three young sons.

In this episode, Amanda, Howard and I discuss:

  • The inspiration behind the My Monster series
  • How one book turned into a series 
  • How the author-illustrator relationship works
  • Navigating the line between safe and scary for kids
  • Making picture books accessible for boy and girl readers

Plus, their #1 tips for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/280

Nov 20 2019

39mins

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279: The Seventh Level for Writers - Interview with Amanda Slavin

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing my friend and fellow New Yorker, Amanda Slavin.

Amanda is the founder and CEO of the award-winning brand consulting firm CatalystCreativ, the author of The Seventh Level book, and the creator of the Seventh Level Engagement Framework. She uses this framework to guide brands like Coca-Cola, Google, and HubSpot to connect more meaningfully with their customers and improve their bottom lines.

So you may be wondering, “How does this apply to us writers?” Amanda and I were chatting over coffee some time ago, and as she described the 7th Level framework, I started to see connections between this marketing framework and how we as writers create books as an experience for our readers.

Amanda has spoken at events like SXSW, TED, and INBOUND about the Seventh Level and her writing has been featured in places like Inc., Forbes, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and Time. She lives in New York City with her husband and her cockapoo.

In this episode Amanda and I discuss:

  • How the “Seventh Level” framework applies to writers
  • The origins of the Seventh Level
  • How a Seventh Level statement applies to literary themes
  • Using levels 1-3 keep your target readers engaged
  • Using character change to inspire and connect with readers

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/279

Nov 13 2019

53mins

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278: Writing for Newly-Independent Readers - Interview with Megan McDonald

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Megan McDonald, the author behind the popular Judy Moody series.

Megan grew up the youngest of five sisters, so knows a thing or two about speaking up for herself. Before she became a writer, she worked in museums, libraries, and bookstores; she has also made a living as a storyteller and a park ranger. In addition to the best-selling Judy Moody and Stink series, she is the author of three Sisters Club stories, two books about Ant and Honey Bee, and many other books for children. Today we’ll be talking about the latest Judy Moody book, #15 Judy Moody, Book Quiz Whiz.

In this episode Megan and I discuss:

  • The personal origins of the Judy Moody books
  • The question from kid readers that helped inspire the series
  • Tailoring vocabulary for an early reader
  • How to keep a story super focused
  • Keeping a series fresh, new and exciting for readers

Plus her #1 Tip for Writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/278

Nov 06 2019

1hr 1min

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277: How to Make Your Setting Come to Life - Interview with Brenda Jackson

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Brenda Jackson.

Brenda Jackson is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over 100 novels and novellas, including two that have been turned into films—One Special Moment and Truly Everlasting.

Brenda is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award and an NAACP Image Award nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her book, A Silken Thread. She is an advocate for diversity in romance and was the first African American author to make both the USA TODAY and New York Times bestseller lists in series/category romance genre.

Today we’ll be talking about her Catalina Cove series, and its third book Finding Home Again is out now.

In this episode Brenda and I discuss:
  • Structuring a series around a setting
  • Starting with plot instead of character
  • Building a world that comes alive for readers
  • Keeping track of an evolving fictional world
  • How to make a tried and true romance plot feel fresh
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/277

Oct 30 2019

52mins

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276: A Stitch in Time: Pacing, World Building, and Time Travel - Interview with Nicole Valentine

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Hey there word nerds! 

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Valentine.

Nicole Valentine earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches the Brain Trust Workshop at the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale, PA.

Before shifting to writing, she used to work at CNN.com in NYC where she helped build the first web publishing tool for a newsroom, so science and innovation have been a huge prat of her career from the get-go. She is also the former chief technology officer at Figment.com (now called GetUnderlined.com) and Space.com.

But her talents don’t stop there. A fellow crafter, when she was placed on bedrest pregnant with her daughter, she designed a line of literary needlework samplers that got picked up by a national distributor and became very popular for a number of years.

Nicole loves science and as a writer enjoys pondering the times when science falls short of explanation and magic has room to sneak in. She’s the founder of steaMG.org, The Middle-Grade Sci-fi Authors Alliance. A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity is her debut novel.

When not engaged in fictional world-building, Nicole can often be found with a hawk on her arm. She lives in Pennsylvania with her human family, two giant dogs named Merlin and Arthur, and two small cats named Tink and Pickwick.

In this episode Nicole and I discuss:
  • The origins of A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity 
  • Using “real life anchors” to create a realistic magical worlds
  • Using adults in middle grade fiction
  • Time travel as a metaphor for grief
  • Carving a place for upper middle grade
  • Bringing real science to time travel
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/276

Oct 23 2019

48mins

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275: Exploring Family Relationships - Interview with Kristan Higgins

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Kristan Higgins.

Kristan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Her books have received many awards and accolades, and she is a six-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for best work of fiction. Today we’ll be discussing her new novel Life and Other Inconveniences.

In this episode Kristan and I discuss:
  • Exploring forgiveness, loss and complicated families in writing
  • Balancing dual protagonists
  • Using a compressed timeline
  • How to handle heavy topics in a lighter book
  • The power of asking, “Why?” for character development
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: diymfa.com/275

Oct 16 2019

39mins

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274: Speculating from Reality and Building a Dystopia - Interview with Rob Hart

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Rob Hart about his latest book The Warehouse. When I heard Rob’s editor talk about this book at the BookExpo Editors’ Buzz Panel, I knew I had to have Rob on the show.

Now, if you guys don’t know about Book Expo, it’s a big literary trade show that happens every May in New York City. They have these panels where they feature a selection of books that are getting a ton of buzz. There’s a panel all about books for adults, and another featuring YA and Middle Grade. Now, when I used to go to Book Expo, I’d get very overwhelmed with all the books! But these days, after many Book Expos, I’m a little more measured, and it takes a bit more for a book to grab my attention. The Warehouse was one of the books that really made me sit up and take notice. 

But first, a little bit about our guest.

Rob Hart is the author of the Ash McKenna series, as well as the short story collection Take-Out, and the novella Scott Free, which he co-wrote with James Patterson. His latest book, The Warehouse, has sold in more than 20 countries and has been optioned for film by Ron Howard. A fellow New Yorker, Rob lives in Staten Island, NY, with his wife and daughter.

 

In this episode Rob and I discuss:
  • The inspiration behind The Warehouse
  • How adding a third point of view strengthened the story
  • Crafting an immersive world without info-dumping
  • Under-writing instead of over-writing a draft
  • Using a map to plan a world
  • Moving from outlining and research to writing
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: diymfa.com/274

Oct 09 2019

50mins

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273: Words, Pictures, and How Story Brings Them Together - Interview with Aaron Becker

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Aaron Becker.

Born in Baltimore, Aaron moved to California to attend Pomona College where he scored his first illustration job designing t-shirts for his water polo team. Since then, he's traveled around the world, from Kenya to Japan, Sweden to Tahiti, looking for good things to eat and feeding his imagination. He now lives with his family in Amherst, MA where he's busy at work on his next book project. You can find out more about what he's been up to lately at storybreathing.com.

Aaron and I will be talking about his wordless picture book trilogy, Journey, Quest, and Return, as well as his picture book A Stone for Sascha and his newest picture book, You Are Light.

In this episode Aaron and I discuss:
  • The story behind the Journey, Quest, Return trilogy
  • Navigating second book syndrome
  • How different age groups approach wordless picture books
  • Changing tones for a second story arc
  • Crafting a picture book inspired by stained glass
  • Using different mediums to craft picture books
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: diymfa.com/273

Oct 02 2019

47mins

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272: How to Research and Write a Detective Series - Interview with Archer Mayor

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Archer Mayor.

Archer is the author of the highly acclaimed Vermont-based series featuring detective Joe Gunther, which the Chicago Tribune describes as “the best police procedurals being written in America.”

He has won the New England Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Fiction — which is the first time a crime fiction author has received this honor — and in 2011, his 22nd Joe Gunther novel, Tag Man, earned a place on The New York Times bestseller list.

Before trying his hand at fiction, Archer wrote history books. His most well-known is Southern Timberman: The Legacy of William Buchanan, which is all the lumber and oil business in Louisiana from the 1870s to the 1970s.

When he’s not writing, Archer is a death investigator for Vermont’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Over the past thirty years, he has also been a detective for the Windham County Sheriff’s Office, a volunteer firefighter/EMT, the publisher of his own backlist, and a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers.

In this episode Archer and I discuss:
  • Using practical experience for writing research
  • Using curiosity and questions for story inspiration
  • The historical origins of the title Bomber’s Moon
  • Keeping a character and world fresh over thirty books
  • The power of treating the reader as a co-storyteller
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: diymfa.com/272

Sep 25 2019

52mins

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271: Write by Instinct and Break the Rules - Interview with RJ Barker

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Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing RJ Barker.

Now, according to the bio that either he or his publicist submitted when we set up this interview, RJ Barker is a softly-spoken Yorkshireman with flowing locks. He lives in the frozen north with his wife and son, and divides his time between writing and looking after his son.

According to the about page on his blog, RJ Barker is (and I quote) “Probably more ridiculous than you already believe.”

RJ is the author of The Wounded Kingdom series, which comprises Age of Assassins, Blood of Assassins, & King of Assassins and his newest book is The Bone Ships which is the first in The Tide Child series.

In this episode RJ and I discuss:
  • The story behind The Bone Ships
  • Hearing and creating the voice of a fantasy world
  • Working with a copyeditor while breaking the writing rules
  • Deciding when and how to break writing rules
  • Creating an awesome opening line
  • Balancing immersing a reader and explaining a world
Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: DIYMFA.com/271

Sep 18 2019

52mins

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270: Grappling with the Uncomfortable Truth - Interview with NoNieqa Ramos

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Hey there word nerds!

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing NoNieqa Ramos.

Now if you’re a die-hard word nerd and fan of the show, you probably remember NoNieqa from her previous interview with us (Episode 202). I had such a blast talking with her that when I heard she had a new book coming out, I knew I had to have her back on the show. I mean, how often do I get to geek out about the literary merits of the F-bomb with a fellow writer? NoNieqa and I are definitely birds of a feather.

NoNieqa is an educator and literary activist. She’s the author of the YA novel The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary, which was named a 2018 New York Public Library Best Book for Teens, and a 2019 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection. She believes Halloween is a lifestyle, not a holiday (which I totally agree with by the way).

Today, we’ll be discussing her latest book, The Truth Is…, as well as the important (but often difficult-to-talk-about themes) that come up in this story.

In this episode NoNieqa and I discuss:
  • The power of forgiveness and empathy
  • Writing inclusive narratives
  • The writer’s responsibility to write three-dimensional characters
  • Writing invisible as well as visible marginalizations
  • The power of a respectful question
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and shownotes: diymfa.com/270

Sep 11 2019

46mins

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iTunes Ratings

51 Ratings
Average Ratings
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Please “like” less

By Writer Roni - Mar 29 2019
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This is an interesting and informative podcast. The host is knowledgeable and asks insightful questions, and the guests seem happy to participate and open to providing substantive answers. Unfortunately the host’s overuse of “like” detracts from her side of the conversation.

Teamwork!

By #NaNoWriMo 2018 - Mar 27 2019
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Thanks for another great episode Gabriela! Listened to it (ep 245) on the way home from work today and then secured my copy of the book. Lots of great info on positive collaboration between a writer-agent-editor team that connects well. Especially enjoyed the discussion on first person narrator. Keep it coming!