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DIY MFA Radio

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.

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298: Character-Driven YA and Middle Grade — Interview with Brandy Colbert

Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Brandy Colbert, the critically acclaimed author of several YA and Middle Grade novels. Her books include Pointe, Stonewall Award winner Little & Lion, Finding Yvonne, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, and her 2020 releases, The Only Black Girls in Town, and The Voting Booth. Her short fiction and essays have also been published in several critically acclaimed anthologies for young people. Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, Brandy spent a few years living in Chicago before relocating permanently to Los Angeles. She is very active on social media and also works as a copy editor for magazines and books. She is also on faculty at Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children. In this episode Brandy and I discuss: The inspiration behind The Revolution of Birdie Randolph Exploring black friendships and experience in The Only Black Girls in Town How books can functions as both mirrors and windows Exploring the theme of family over multiple books Grappling with race in the context of a contemporary story Moving into middle grade after writing YA Plus, her #1 tip for writers. For more info and shownotes: www.diymfa.com/298

46mins

25 Mar 2020

Rank #1

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

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

52mins

9 Jan 2019

Rank #2

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145: Writing the Epic Quest Novel - Interview with Katherine Neville

Hey there word nerds! Today I’m pleased to have Katherine Neville on the show. Katherine’s colorful, swashbuckling adventure novels, in the epic “Quest” tradition, have graced the bestseller lists in forty languages. In fact, her works—including The Eight which we discuss in the interview—have “paved the way” for books like the The Da Vinci Code and others in that genre. In our interview, Katherine and I dive into her book The Eight and the craft elements she used in writing the expansive quest novel. This episode is brought to you buy our amazing word nerd fans and supporters on Patreon. If you’d like to help support this show, hop over to patreon.com/DIYMFA. Embed Episode Here In this episode Katherine and I discuss: How influences as varied as The Odyssey, the French Revolution, and chess inspired The Eight’s intricate plot and kept readers turning pages. What defines a quest novel, and how Katherine adapted this structure in her writing. Katherine’s unexpected strategy for introducing the main protagonist in chapter two, and why draws readers into the story. How to hook readers and build tension with a subtle but powerful opening line. Plus, Katherine’s #1 tip for writers. About the Author Katherine Neville’s swashbuckling adventure novels have graced the bestseller lists in forty languages. In fact Publisher’s Weekly described Katherine’s works, such as her book The Eight which we discuss in the interview, as having “paved the way” for books like the Da Vinci Code. Neville herself has been dubbed “the female” Umberto  Eco, Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, and Stephen Spielberg. Her work has been reviewed and has received awards in categories as diverse as Mystery, Thriller, Historical, Romance, Science Fiction as well as classical literature. Despite writing across many genres and categories, Neville’s books remain hard to pigeonhole. Katherine Neville has been an invited speaker at many universities and other venues around the world, including the Today show, National Public Radio, and the Library of Congress. In a national poll by the noted Spanish journal, El Pais, her novel, The Eight, was voted one of the top ten books of all time.She is the co-creator of several awards and grants, including most recently: Art in Literature: the Mary Lynn Kotz Award presented by the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Grant presented by the Smithsonian Libraries. Neville resides in Washington DC and Virginia, where she is restoring a fabled Japanese house from the 1960s while writing her new novel set in the art world of the 1600s. To learn more about and connect with Katherine Neville check out her website here:www.katherineneville.com The Eight New York City, 1972—A dabbler in mathematics and chess, Catherine Velis is also a computer expert for a Big Eight accounting firm. Before heading off to a new assignment in Algeria, Cat has her palm read by a fortune-teller. The woman warns Cat of danger. Then an antiques dealer approaches Cat with a mysterious offer: He has an anonymous client who is trying to collect the pieces of an ancient chess service, purported to be in Algeria. If Cat can bring the pieces back, there will be a generous reward. The South of France, 1790—Mireille de Remy and her cousin Valentine are young novices at the fortress like Montglane Abbey. With France aflame in revolution, the two girls burn to rebel against constricted convent life—and their means of escape is at hand. Buried deep within the abbey are pieces of the Montglane Chess Service, once owned by Charlemagne. Whoever reassembles the pieces can play a game of unlimited power. But to keep the Game a secret from those who would abuse it, the two young women must scatter the pieces throughout the world. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/145

1hr 4mins

3 May 2017

Rank #3

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260: Reading and Re-Reading Like a Writer - Interview with Mark Mayer

Hey there word nerds! Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Mark Mayer to the show. Mark is an author and has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Michener-Copernicus Fellow, and holds a PhD from the University of Denver. He was also the Robert P. Dana Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Cornell College’s Center for the Literary Arts from 2012-2014. His stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Kenyon Review, Guernica, Colorado Review, and Mid-American Review. Mark’s debut is a short story collection titled Aerialists, in which classic circus figures become ordinary misfits seeking grandeur in a lonely world. In this collection, Mark examines familiar tropes—like the strongman, the elephant keeper, the clowns—and reinterprets these myths by placing them in everyday contemporary life. So listen in as Mark and I chat about this amazing book and how to gain a deeper understanding of a story by falling into its world over and over again.  In this episode Mark and I discuss: The intimacy of a short story. Creating a unique reading experience in your writing. How to use the theme of your book as a marketing tool the right way. Advice on how to approach short stories of literary fiction as a reader. How to use language and imagery to anchor readers in your story. Plus, Mark’s #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/260

47mins

10 Jul 2019

Rank #4

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

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

52mins

30 Oct 2019

Rank #5

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216: Perfect Your Plot Twists - Interview with Steven James

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

46mins

5 Sep 2018

Rank #6

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181: Getting to Know Your Characters - Interview with Joan Dempsey

Hey there word nerds! Today I am delighted to have award-winning author Joan Dempsey on the show!   Joan’s writing has been published in numerous places including The Adirondack Review and  Alligator Juniper, and she is the author of This is How it Begins. For this fascinating novel, that is a mix of literary fiction and mystery, she received a significant research grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation which took her to Warsaw for a month (no, she doesn't speak Polish), and to Washington, D.C. for ten days, to study in the archives at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Listen in as we discuss the multiple layers of This is How is Begins, and get some of Joan’s best writing techniques for juggling plot and characters. In this episode Joan and I discuss: Avoiding the caricature, finding your way into every character’s head. Using omniscient POV in contemporary fiction the right way. Staying neutral, how to keep from steering your readers to any one opinion. Balancing the interplay between characters and plot. Method writing, and other craft techniques from Joan to get to the heart of your story.   Plus, Joan’s #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/181

47mins

10 Jan 2018

Rank #7

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201: Revising Your Book, and Getting It Right - Interview with Kimmery Martin

Hey there word nerds! Today I am so excited to have debut author Kimmery Martin on the show! Kimmery is an emergency medical doctor and, like me, a life-long literary nerd. On top of being a doctor, an author, and a mom, she writes book reviews and volunteers with the library foundation in her home of Charlotte, North Carolina. Her debut novel, The Queen of Hearts, has been named one of the most anticipated books of 2018 by Southern Living, Elite Daily, and Writer’s Digest. Set against the backdrop of hospital rounds, Kimmery’s medical knowledge and quirky sense of humor makes the story pop right off the page. Listen in as we chat about this amazing debut novel, and get an inside look at Kimmery’s revision process. In this episode Kimmery and I discuss: Translating your real life experience to a fictional world. Tips to bring your minor characters to life. Why you need to find the revision process that works for you. Finding the right voice for your novel. How to restructure your life to prioritize (not find) writing time. Plus, Kimmery’s #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/201

41mins

23 May 2018

Rank #8

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169: Boost Your Creative Mojo - Interview with Grant Faulkner

Hey there word nerds! Today I am delighted to have executive director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and cofounder of 100 Word Story, Grant Faulkner, on the show! His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, like Tin House and The Southwest Review, plus his essays on creativity have been published in places like the New York Times and Writer’s Digest. Grant’s latest collection of essays, Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo, is now available and none too soon with NaNoWriMo just around the corner. Listen in as we discuss Grant’s book and get some tips on how to push through your blocks to reach your writing goals using the NaNoWriMo philosophy. In this episode Grant and I discuss: NaNoWriMo: what it is, why you should take part, and how to rise to the challenge. Why you should adopt a “beginner” mindset no matter the stage of your writing career. Failing better, and how to bounce back when you stumble and fall. Why you need to avoid perfection to discover your creative process. What three of the biggest creative blocks are, and how to smash through them. Plus, Grant’s #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/169

36mins

18 Oct 2017

Rank #9

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

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

49mins

30 Jan 2019

Rank #10

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

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

46mins

19 Jun 2019

Rank #11

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

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

38mins

11 Jul 2018

Rank #12

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154: Writing from Your Heart and Soul - Interview with Sarah Dessen

Hey there word nerds! Today I am so excited to have bestselling author of contemporary YA, Sarah Dessen on the show! Sarah has twelve previous novels to her name, and discusses with us here her latest teen read, Once And For All. Listen in as we chat about the ins and outs of Sarah's writing process, and how she keeps her momentum going to create characters and stories that resonate with teens. In this episode Sarah and I discuss: How to craft a story with a balance of light and dark scenes. What challenges arise after you've published multiple books, and why some books are more challenging to write than others. How to use a "skeleton" of your story to draft a manuscript, and how this technique can let you know a book is not working. How to craft realistic and engaging stories that keep teens coming back for more. How to push through the bad writing times and forge ahead. Plus Sarah's #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/154

38mins

5 Jul 2017

Rank #13

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209: The Internal Process of Writing - Interview with Maxine Rosaler

Hey there word nerds! Today I have the pleasure of hosting Maxine Rosaler on the show! Maxine has had fiction and nonfiction published in some pretty prestigious markets including (but not limited to) The Southern Review, Glimmer Train, and The Baltimore Review. Her stories have also been cited in editions of Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays, and  she is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for Fiction. Her first published long form work, Queen for a Day, has been called both a short story collection and a novel in stories, and is available now. Listen in as Maxine and I chat about finding the story at your core, and how to meld your unconscious and conscious minds to enhance your writing. In this episode Maxine and I discuss: A novel in stories vs. a short story collection. Tricks to tap into your unconscious during the writing process. Why quality is more important than quantity in what you read. Discovering the right names for your characters. The responsibility of a writer to turn the world’s ugliness into art. Plus, Maxine’s #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/209

56mins

18 Jul 2018

Rank #14

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

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

46mins

8 Jan 2020

Rank #15

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221: Empower Yourself and Your Writing - Interview with Jennie Nash

Hey there word nerds! Today I have the pleasure of having Jennie Nash on the show! Jennie is the founder of Author Accelerator, a book coaching service that has helped hundreds of writers complete their book projects by giving them the sustained editorial support they need. She has spent 30 years on all sides of the publishing industry and is the author of four novels, three memoirs, and one self-help book for writers, titled The Writer’s Guide to Agony and Defeat. Listen in as we chat about working through the agony of writing to create a book you’re proud of, and how to make your writing a priority in life no matter how hectic things get. In this episode Jennie and I discuss: Making the right mindset shift needed to write a book. How to get through the pain points of the writing process. Fear of failure vs. fear of success. Why hard work is more important than raw talent to succeed as a writer. An inside look at Jennie’s book coaching process. Plus, Jennie’s #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/221

53mins

10 Oct 2018

Rank #16

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156: Irony and Satire - Interview with Courtney Maum

Hey there word nerds! Today I am so excited to have Courtney Maum on the show! Courtney is the author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, and pieces of short fiction an essays that have appeared in places such as New York Times. Her latest novel, Touch, is the satirical story of Sloane Jacobson a trend forecaster who sees a move against electronics and toward in-person interaction ahead. Listen in as we discuss the strange yet believable world of Touch, an dhow limiting our electronic usage can be beneficial to our creativity. In this episode Courtney and I discuss: Why a huge emphasis on electronics is damaging to your writer's intuition and creativity. How to craft a "blind spot" for a character who's job it is to know everything, thus giving readers a reason to read on. How to best research and craft a story of speculative fiction. Why it is important to find friends outside the writing community. How learning to write copy can help you in other writing endeavors. Plus Courtney's #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/156

39mins

17 Jul 2017

Rank #17

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140: Writing Multiple POV Suspense - Interview with Jessica Strawser

Hey there word nerds! Today I’m absolutely thrilled to introduce you to Jessica Strawser, the editorial director of Writer’s Digest magazine, and author of the stunning debut novel Almost Missed You. As editor of Writer’s Digest magazine, she has interviewed luminaries like David Sedaris and Alice Walker and her debut novel—released yesterday from St. Martin’s Press—has already garnered early accolades from a humbling list of bestselling authors like, Garth Stein, Adriana Trigiani, and Jacquelyn Mitchard. Her second novel is slated for release in Spring 2018. In this episode Jessica and I discuss: Strategies for setting up your first chapter. Jessica and I unpack ways to craft your first chapter for maximum effect. Shifting POV between multiple main characters. Picking which elements of the characters’ stories you want to show, and which you want to keep hidden. Tapping your personal perspective, emotions, and experiences to help illustrate character experiences in your novel. Balancing work, writing, and family in such a way that sets you up to be successful, and helps you channel the strongest emotions possible to your characters. Knowing and being clear about your priorities to meet your goals. Plus, her #1 tip for writers. About the Author Jessica Strawser is the editorial director of Writer’s Digest magazine, North America’s leading publication for aspiring and working writers since 1920, where she counts her cover interviews with such luminaries as David Sedaris and Alice Walker among her career highlights. Her debut novel, Almost Missed You, is forthcoming in March 2017 from St. Martin’s Press and has garnered early accolades from a humbling list of bestsellers, including Chris Bohjalian, Garth Stein, Adriana Trigiani, Lisa Scottoline and Jacquelyn Mitchard, and a second novel is slated for a Spring 2018 release. Her diverse career in the publishing industry spans more than 15 years and includes stints in book editing, marketing and public relations, and freelance writing and editing (with work published in The New York Times and other fine publications). She blogs at WritersDigest.com and elsewhere, tweets @jessicastrawser and enjoys connecting at Facebook.com/jessicastrawserauthor. Learn more at jessicastrawser.com. Almost Missed You Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good. So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all. Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice. Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, ALMOST MISSED YOU is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/140

47mins

29 Mar 2017

Rank #18

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193: The Aesthetics of Writing - Interview with Michael Imperioli

Hey there word nerds! Today I have the distinct pleasure of having acclaimed writer and actor Michael Imperioli on the show! Though Michael is best known for playing Christopher Moltisanti in the The Sopranos, a role that earned him an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor, he is also an accomplished screenwriter. He wrote five episodes of The Sopranos and was co-screenwriter for the film Summer of Sam which was directed by Spike Lee. While still acting and writing for film and TV, with several upcoming projects in the works, Michael has also turned his artistic talent to novel writing with his debut The Perfume Burned His Eyes. Listen in as we chat about this amazing book, and how to know when you’ve found the story to take all the way to the end.   In this episode Michael and I discuss: Finding your story and taking it to the finish line. Adding layers to your story with a unique narrative framework. When to use an epilogue and how to do it right. The advantages of novel writing vs. screenwriting. The fine art of book covers and why you need the right one. Plus, Michael’s #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/193

36mins

4 Apr 2018

Rank #19

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176: YA or Adult, Choosing Your Audience - Interview with Danya Kukafka

Hey there word nerds! Today I have the pleasure of chatting with author Danya Kukafka on the show! Danya’s stunning debut novel, Girl in Snow, received rave reviews right out of the gate from masters of the thriller genre like Paula Hawkins and Lee Child. This achievement is made even more remarkable when you consider that Danya is only 25 years old! After reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Virgin Suicides, Danya became fascinated by unstable teens in voyeuristic communities. She set out to explore the idea of what would happen if you had a teenage boy who truly doesn’t know if he’s killed someone. How could the reader find empathy for him? Listen in as we tackle this question and the even bigger question of deciding where the line between YA and adult lies as we discuss Girl in Snow. In this episode Danya and I discuss: Adult or YA? Deciding which way is right for your story. Writing teenage characters that feel real. Knowing when to choose a multiple point of view and how to do it right. Dealing with the publishing world as an editor and an author. How to win the comparison game by sticking to your own writing path. Plus, Danya’s #1 tip for writers. For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/176

42mins

6 Dec 2017

Rank #20