Episodes

Historical Fiction

Interview with Dolen Perkins-Valdez - TAKE MY HAND

In this interview, Dolen and I discuss Take My Hand, the inspiration for this book, her research, how she selected Civil's name, creating the court transcript, the hardest part about writing the book, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Interview with Christine Simon - THE PATRON SAINT OF SECOND CHANCES

In this interview, Christine and I discuss The Patron Saint of Second Chances, her inspiration for this story, when she knew she wanted to be a writer, her unusual publishing journey, creating a tremendous sense of community in her book and why that is so important, and much more.

General

Kelly Hooker - Best Books of 2022 (so far)

In this episode, Kelly and I chat about the best books of 2022 publishing in January through March.

Contemporary Fiction

Interview with Ashley Winstead - FOOL ME ONCE

Ashley and I discuss Fool Me Once, how second-chance romance is her favorite trope, writing books in several genres, her fabulous cover, setting a book in the world of politics, weaving pop culture and humor into this novel, rom-com character expectations, how much more latitude there is when writing thrillers versus rom-coms, and much more.

Nonfiction

Interview with Mary Laura Philpott - BOMB SHELTER

Mary Laura and I discuss Bomb Shelter, her life changing moment, focusing on why loving someone is not enough to keep them safe, grappling with growing older and letting go, embracing the little feel-good things to keep anxiety at bay, incorporating musical theatre into this memoir, the importance of practicing kindness, and much more.

Behind The Scenes

Interview with Fareeda Bullert - Senior Marketing Manager, Berkley

In this interview, Fareeda provides an inside look at marketing in the publishing world and discusses how she got started in marketing, her favorite part and least favorite part of her job, finding the right audience for each book, measuring the success of her efforts, and much more.

Nonfiction

Interview with Tiffany and Leon Chen - IT'S NOT JUST COOKIES

In this interview, Tiffany, Leon, and I discuss It's Not Just Cookies, the fact that this is the first time that they are publishing any of their recipes, telling their story and sharing about the business and how much it has grown, why they decided to write the book now, sone of their favorite "Warm Moments" in the book, and much more.

Mystery/Thriller

Interview with Landis Wade - DEADLY DECLARATIONS

In this interview, Landis and I discuss Deadly Declarations, the Mecklenberg Declaration of Independence, setting the series in a retirement community, his Charlotte Readers Podcast, using letters written between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, crafting an Author's Note, and much more.

Historical Fiction

Interview with Bonnie Garmus - LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY

In this interview, Bonnie and I discuss Lessons in Chemistry, the event that inspired the story, why Elizabeth Zott is resonating with everyone, how the title came about, her amazing publishing journey, having Brie Larson star in the screen adaptation, creating the Spotify playlist for the book, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Kathleen West - HOME OR AWAY

For this special episode, Carol Ann Tack of Top Shelf at Merrick Library and I interview Kathleen West together. We talk about her new book Home or Away, the intensity of youth sports, the book's title, writing about #metoo, and so much more.

Historical Fiction

Tony Birch - THE WHITE GIRL

Tony and I discuss The White Girl, crafting strong female characters, the two sections of the book that were the hardest for him to write, why he created the fictional town of Deane, the strong sense of place in his writing, the importance of the bath tub on the cover, and much more.

Nonfiction

Azar Nafisi - READ DANGEROUSLY

Azar and I discuss Read Dangerously, how she selected the authors to include in this book, the reemergence of book banning, coming up with the format she used for the book, how curiosity leads to empathy, the importance of fiction in our lives, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Interview with Rosie Walsh - THE LOVE OF MY LIFE

Rosie and I discuss The Love of My Life, having her book selected as a GMA Book Club pick, the obituary writing business, the tortuous process she went through when writing this book, how book covers are selected and the way covers vary by country, and much more.

Nonfiction

Interview with David Sipress - WHAT'S SO FUNNY?

David and I discuss What's So Funny? A Cartoonist's Memoir, how he started creating cartoons for The New Yorker, using cartoons to process his emotions, how writing this book was cathartic and helped him better understand his parents, trying to connect to people through feelings, creating the cover, and much more.

Mystery/Thriller

Simone St. James - THE BOOK OF COLD CASES

Simone and I discuss The Book of Cold Cases, creating an accused female serial killer, how swapping the gender roles changes every aspect of the story, the true crime phenomenon, the recent discovery by a reader of the actual motel sign used for The Sun Down Motel cover, and much more.

Mystery/Thriller Speculative Fiction

Peng Shepherd - THE CARTOGRAPHERS

Peng and I discuss The Cartographers, the true story about an event with a gas station map in the early 1900s that inspired a portion of this story, phantom settlements and how they have fallen out of favor now that people have moved to relying on electronic maps, how the use of maps changed once online maps became popular, why writing a mystery differs from writing other fiction, the hardest part of writing the book for her, and much more.

Mystery/Thriller

Peter Swanson - NINE LIVES

Peter and I discuss Nine Lives, writing his take on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, why Agatha Christie has stayed so popular and relevant, his writing process, pacing in thrillers, and much more.

Historical Fiction

Libbie Grant - THE PROPHET'S WIFE

Libbie and I discuss The Prophet's Wife, working with two publishers simultaneously, basing her book on the true events surrounding the creation and early years of the Mormon church, the Broadway musical "The Book of Mormon", the difficulty in creating a cover for this book, and much more.

Historical Fiction

Elise Hooper - ANGELS OF THE PACIFIC

Elise and I discuss Angels of the Pacific, writing about the Pacific arena during World War 2, her research trip and snorkeling around a World War 2 war ship, how different the war in the Pacific was from what was happening in Europe, restoring her great-grandmother's dollhouse, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Rebecca Serle - ONE ITALIAN SUMMER

Rebecca and I discuss One Italian Summer, exploring the dialogue between fate and free will, including a bit of magical realism in her stories, how the inspiration for her stories comes from what she is personally working through at the time, the hardest character for her to write in One Italian Summer, and much more.

Behind The Scenes

Caroline Hewitt - Audiobook Narrator

Caroline and I discuss her role as an audiobook narrator, how she got started, the process for getting hired to narrate a particular book, the way she prepares to record, the biggest challenges she faces as a narrator, protecting her voice, AI narrators, and much more.

Historical Fiction

Erika Robuck - SISTERS OF NIGHT AND FOG

Erika and I discuss Sisters of Night and Fog, how one of her characters appeared in her dreams asking for Erika to tell her story, creating a poll so readers could help select the book's title, her Author's Note, writing about Ravensbruck, grief, and much more.

Mystery/Thriller

Louise Candlish - THE HEIGHTS

Louise and I discuss The Heights, including her own phobia in the novel, how she created the format for this one including writing a book within a book, building a story based on the lengths parents will go to for their children, which character she voiced in the audiobook, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Jennifer E. Smith - THE UNSINKABLE GRETA JAMES

Jennifer and I discuss The Unsinkable Greta James, writing a love story about Greta and her music, exploring what it is like to live a creative life, the effects of living in such a connected and public world, how working in the publishing industry impacts her work, and much more.