Interview with Zibby Owens - BOOKENDS

Interview with Zibby Owens - BOOKENDS

In this interview, Zibby and I discuss Bookends, how her podcast influences her writing, writing to process the events in her life, how important it is to find your passion, how she decided which book would open each chapter, and much more.

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In this interview, Zibby and I discuss Bookends, how her podcast influences her writing, writing to process the events in her life, how important it is to find your passion, how she decided which book would open each chapter, and much more.

Zibby's recommended reads are:

  1. The Perfect Other: A Memoir of My Sister by Kyleigh Leddy
  2. Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Support the podcast by becoming a Page Turner on Patreon.  Other ways to support the podcast can be found here.    

If you enjoyed this episode and want to listen to more episodes, try Julie Metz, Adam Stern, Ly Tran, Cate Doty, or Mary Laura Philpott

Bookends can be purchased at my Bookshop storefront.      

Bookclubs is the premier organizational tool for new and existing book clubs and also provides great resources for individual readers to discover new reads or find a book club to join. Check them out!

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[00:11] Cindy:You are listening to the Thoughts from a Page podcast, which is a member of the Evergreen Podcasts Network. My name is Cindy Burnett and I love to talk about books with anyone and everyone. While listening to my podcast, you will hear author interview, behind the scenes conversations about various aspects of the publishing world, theme discussions with other book lovers and more. For more book recommendations and a complete list of all of my interviews, check out my website and follow me on Facebook and Instagram at Thoughts from a Page. Before we dive into today's episode, I wanted to let you know that I'm going to be taking a break starting August 5 through Friday, August 26, when I will return with an interview with Chris Candor, author of A Gracious Neighbor. This is a great time to get caught up on any past episodes that you haven't had time to listen to yet, and if there's one that you particularly enjoy, please share it on social media. It really helps me find new listeners when that happens, so thank you in advance. In addition, if you're caught up on all of my episodes, I would love for you to join my Patreon group. If you're looking for more fun book conversations, I have all sorts of bonus episodes there, plus a newsletter and a Facebook group. I'd love to have you. Today I am chatting with Zibby Owens about her new memoir Bookends. Zibby is an author, podcaster publisher, CEO and mother of four. She is the founder of Zibby Owens Media, a privately held media company designed to help busy people live their best lives by connecting to books and each other. The three divisions include Zibby Books, a publishing house for fiction and memoir Acast, a podcast network powered by a cast including Zibby's Award-winning podcast moms Don't Have Time to Read Books and Moms Don't Have Time To, a new content and community site, including Zibby's Virtual Book Club. She lives in New York with her husband, Kyle Owens of Morning Moon Productions, and her four children. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

[02:05] Cindy:Welcome Zibby. How are you today?

[02:07] Zibby:I'm great. How are you Cindy?

[02:08] Cindy:I am great and I'm so glad you're back on the show and this time to talk about your memoir Bookends. I cannot wait to talk about it.

[02:15] Zibby:Yay.

[02:17] Cindy:Well, first, congratulations. You must be thrilled to pieces it's out in the world and having such a wonderful response. That has to be such a nice feeling.

[02:25] Zibby:It is. It's really wonderful, especially after all this time.

[02:29] Cindy:Absolutely. Well, why don't you start out with telling me a little bit about Bookends for those that won't have read it yet.

[02:35] Zibby:Sure. Bookends is my deeply personal story about some of the bigger plot twists that happened in my own life. And as I tell my story, I weave in the books that I was reading at all the different times of my life and then at the end I include a little reading list but it covers grief, loss, food issues, friend issues, marriage, divorce, motherhood, careers, falling in love again at 40, and at the very end starting my new business and publishing this very book. So it's sweeping but it goes quickly. A lot of people have been saying they read it in a day or two. It's like sitting down and chatting with a friend for coffee because they just basically tell you my story and it also is inspiring. The intention was to inspire and that's been what I've been hearing too, in that life is short and we can all pursue our own paths and it's never too late. And my life is sort of an example of that and that's booking and.

[03:46] Cindy:Never too late on several fronts on your personal front, relationship wise and also business wise, deciding what you're going to do and what your career path is going to be not immediately out of college or business school, but later.

[03:58] Zibby:Yeah, I've tried so many jobs over the years. I always knew I wanted to be a writer but the path to being a writer is often a circuitous one and I tried many jobs, I stayed home with my kids for eleven years and then I eventually started this whole enterprise later. But I've been through a lot of iterations, as I'm sure many people have.

[04:22] Cindy:Well and I think the thing about finding what you love a little bit later in life is that you have gone through so many other things so it looks very different probably when you launch it now than if you had launched it right out of school.

[04:35] Zibby:Oh, for sure. I mean, I know who I am now. I know what I love, what I'm good at, what I'm not good at. It's this feeling of like a gear clicking into place when things suddenly feel like you're doing exactly what you're meant to be doing. And work doesn't feel like work. I mean, sometimes it does because it's overwhelming, but the content of what I do every day is something that I absolutely love and it's very different than when I sat in a cubicle and abided by somebody else's schedule and did tasks that I wasn't as excited about or I didn't believe in the mission as much. Now this is a very mission driven business and it's consuming me because it's so much fun.

[05:18] Cindy:But I think what you said about it being a passion and loving it, I don't think you would totally get that or appreciate that, or at least I know I wouldn't have when I was a lawyer for a long time, then I was home with my kids. Now I'm like, okay, I'm doing something that I absolutely love and I don't know that I would have appreciated that if I had done that first thing.

[05:37] Zibby:That's true.

[05:37] Cindy:I think people don't always end up doing things that they love and so once you do, you're like, wow, I am very lucky, and it makes it so much easier to do that job. So let's talk about writing a memoir. Writing a memoir involves your story, but it also wraps in others as well. How did you handle that?

[05:54] Zibby:It varied depending on the person. My immediate family, I shared everything with them and they gave me some corrections when I needed it, and some of them had different thoughts. I mean, my brother really did not want to be in the book at all. I only put in a couple of scenes with him and made sure he approved. I didn't really mention my kids and tried to keep some areas out of the book. And for my good friends, I showed a bunch of people to book in various stages. Not every single person, but enough that I had no worries by the time it came out. There should be no surprises.

[06:29] Cindy:I've always wondered about that when people are writing memoir, because most of the book is your story. However, you do have to wrap in other people unless you've lived a completely solitary life. So how you do that and how you handle it and how people respond is always completely fascinating to me.

[06:44] Zibby:It is. I always wonder this about other people when they write memoir, too.

[06:48] Cindy:Absolutely.

[06:49] Zibby:I guess in my case. Especially. Being mindful of what other people have gone through and how they've answered my question about this very same thing. I made sure to reach out to people. But also even in the writing. In one draft. I wrote a lot. Knowing that I was going to take some out. But I had to get it all down and then I could whittle it out. I cut about 30,000 words very close to publication, just a little surgical extraction, and that's fine. It's better to just get it down and cut it out, I think, than edit in your head as you go.

[07:24] Cindy:That was actually one of my later questions for you, was whether anything had come out eventually that had started out in the book.

[07:32] Zibby:Oh, yeah, lots has come out. I mean, there's so much. So much has come out.

[07:37] Cindy:Yeah, you're like and that's all I'm going to say.

[07:40] Zibby:That's all I'm going to say.

[07:42] Cindy:That's why it came out, right?

[07:45] Zibby:Exactly.

[07:46] Cindy:I love that a book title opens each chapter. Was it really hard to decide which book would open which chapter, and how did you decide on that concept at all?

[07:54] Zibby:No, it wasn't hard to decide at all, and that wasn't even my initial idea. First I just wrote the whole book, and then once I was closer to publication, is when I started doing all these what I consider more bells and whistles of it and structure tweaks. Once I got the chapters down, first I just had numbers, and then I thought, oh, wouldn't it be cool if I titled each one a different book. And then I even kept rearranging chapters until almost the very end. And so one of the last things I did was the chapter titles. And it just seemed pretty obvious to me which ones I should do because I don't know why for each chapter, it just kind of jumped out at me which book I should use as the title. And then the very last thing I did after that well, not the very last. The next thing I did after I got all the chapter titles was I realized that I had exactly as many parts of the book as were letters in the word Bookends. And so I decided to title each part B-O-O-K-E-N-D-S. Which I thought was really cool because I love things like that. And then my very last thing after those was to go through each chapter and make sure that I loved the beginning and ending sentence of each chapter. And I often rewrote them because I think those beginning and endings are extremely important in hooking people and keeping them reading and are just super important. But that was, like, the last thing.

[09:25] Cindy:I did that's so interesting that that's the last thing that you did. And I completely agree with you, especially on the intro sentence to a new chapter. You really do want it to hook everybody.

[09:35] Zibby:Yeah.

[09:36] Cindy:So it sounds like it was a little bit hard to decide how to organize it.

[09:40] Zibby:It wasn't hard to decide how to organize it. It was organized. It just didn't have headings and chapters. But the chapters themselves were not hard to organize because I mostly organize them by scenes when I started writing. That's what made this project seem more accomplishable, shall we say, than just the idea of hundreds of empty pages spooled out, waiting for my words to arrive. Instead, I thought about it, like, which scenes do I definitely need in this book? And then I wrote those scenes, and most of those scenes turned into chapters.

[10:14] Cindy:I've always thought it would be so difficult to sit down with just an empty white page. It sounds like that's a problem for many authors. I mean, that's something I hear a lot on my podcast, and I know you hear the same on yours. So organizing it into smaller chunks is probably a great way to address some of that.

[10:30] Zibby:Yes. And when I started, I had to put in big letters in like 70.5. No one will read this but me because I felt so initially paralyzed at the thought that I've been writing my whole life. But knowing it would be turned into something that people would read was much more frightening than toiling in obscurity and hoping that eventually, someday, someone would read it.

[10:55] Cindy:And I also think sometimes just getting words down, regardless of whether they're good or bad initially, is half the battle. Because then you can edit and edit and edit. So you just have to have something to edit to begin with.

[11:06] Zibby:Yes, you're absolutely right.

[11:08] Cindy:So you have an amazing recollection for what you were reading. When do you keep a record of your reading or do you just have an absolutely amazing memory?

[11:17] Zibby:So many times I do remember what I was reading in a certain situation and that's how I associated in my mind, but there were many others that I couldn't remember what I was reading at first. And so I had to go back and either look all over in my library and my parents library and figure out what I could possibly have been reading. And sometimes I just had to Google the year and like, what were the top 1000 books that came out that year? And then I could look at the title and be like, oh right, that's when I was reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I remember exactly where I was when I read that. So sometimes it works backwards.

[11:53] Cindy:I wondered because I love to read, obviously, and read a lot, but I don't think I could reconstruct my life around what I had read when but doing what you did would be a great way to do it. OK, what came out? What year? Oh, yes, I did read that book, and I do remember where I was when I read it, because if not, I can't even imagine trying to reconstruct that.

[12:11] Zibby:Yeah, I did my best. I mean, these are pretty much a lot of them, though I really did remember, but not all. I definitely had to go back and see what I might have been reading and then I remembered.

[12:22] Cindy:Yeah, fill in the gaps.

[12:23] Zibby:Fill in the gaps. Yes.

[12:25] Cindy:You've had more than your fair share of loss. Was writing the book cathartic? Did you feel like it helped you cope and come to terms with some of that, which obviously some of the losses were a while ago, so you had already been dealing with them. But did the book help?

[12:38] Zibby:Yes, the book helps to every time I write about loss, particularly the loss of my best friend Stacey, every time I write about it, it helps. It's like this compulsion, almost like the more I write to understand the most understandable thing that we have on Earth. Right. I write to process how someone can disappear from the face of the planet and how nothing is actually permanent despite what we think it feels. So my writing about that helps me every time. And for the other losses, it was interesting to me to write. I've been writing them since they happened, but now, at age 45, to think of how young I was. I didn't feel that young at the time. I felt so grown up that I was off in business school. I was 25, but I have a new understanding of myself then. Now that I have 15 year old twins. Like 25 is not so far off in a way, and thinking about if this had happened to my kids anyway, I had a new understanding. It's sort of a new level of compassion for myself. And an awareness is like, well, yeah, it's at your life on a new path, and, yeah, this all makes sense, so it can help.

[13:55] Cindy:Well, I think you're referencing how you felt old at the time that you now realize you really weren't, is something we deal with our entire lives. Like, at 25, you feel like, I'm so old and I know what's going on, and at 35, I'm so old and I know what's going on, and it just continues. And then you look back and think, wow, I've lived double that now.

[14:14] Zibby:Yes, it is crazy.

[14:16] Cindy:And adding kids in even completely furthers, that because I feel like my oldest, who's 21, seems so old now, but when she was six, when she was ten, when she was 14, every age I thought, oh, she's so old. And I look back now and think, she was so young. So it's just one of those perspectives as you age.

[14:34] Zibby:It's true.

[14:36] Cindy:So one of the things that I was so curious about as I was reading your book was that you mentioned consulting mediums several times. Is that something you do regularly, and do you believe that they really are able to talk with people who've passed?

[14:51] Zibby:I do believe that. I didn't used to, but because of these sessions and by the way, it was not a plan. I didn't go seek out a medium. What happened is that I was at a dinner with Kyle and his mom, actually, before she passed away, and this woman, Vicky Emanuel, was at the dinner, and I happened to sit next to her. And it wasn't a session then, it was just a meeting. And she could tell me everything about even my kids, what foods they should be eating, my dogs, like, my dog, rather. The things that she could intuit from me without my telling to her, which couldn't have been researched anywhere, blew my mind. And I was like, I need to have a session with you. Like, we have to do this for real. We can't just chitchat at dinner. So I booked a session with her, and it was my first session ever with a medium. I guess that's not 100% true. In college, during one of our Spring Fling fairs or something, outside, they had, like, a psychic sitting there. And I remember going, that psychic. It's free. Everybody just popped in and out. I was like, Will I ever meet a guy? Like, will I ever meet the love of my life? Or something like that? And she said, you'll meet him at a sporting event.

[16:11] Cindy:Oh, wow. Yeah.

[16:13] Zibby:So I kept that in my mind for a long time. And then I actually met an old boyfriend of mine at a lacrosse game. We were watching our younger brothers play lacrosse. So when I met him that way, I was like, oh, my gosh, that's what she meant, this lacrosse game. But then I actually met Kyle on the tennis court, so I was like, Maybe she meant that. But anyway, so that was the first time. And then I had the session with the medium where she told me all these things about my friend Page, who passed away, and it just blew my mind. I did a podcast, actually, with Laura Lynn Jackson, who wrote a book called Signs. And, yeah, I just totally buy into it now. I totally buy into it. And it's actually a comfort. It's a huge comfort. When I was younger, I was like, I wish I believed in all this stuff. That would be nice. But I don't. But now I actually do. I think there are signs all around us. I think that the universe is sort of involved. I'm sounding a little woo woo here, I realize, but I think there is something bigger than us at play here.

[17:16] Cindy:I completely agree on the signs, and I've always felt that way. And I feel like sometimes also things happen for a reason, or things show up when they're supposed to. But I've never thought about consulting a medium. And as I was reading your book and then you were talking about the podcast interview, I thought, I wonder if that's something, as I've had lost in recent years that are very important people to me. Maybe I should try that.

[17:40] Zibby:Yes, you should. It's really worthwhile. And the people don't always come out when you want them to. When I saw one medium, I really wanted to talk to my friend Avery, and she's like, no, Avery is not available right now.

[17:53] Cindy:You're like. Where is she?

[17:56] Zibby:She's like, but is Kyle there right behind you? Because his grandfather's coming in right now. I'm like, okay, I'll go get Kyle. So it's sort of a more fluid communication system. It's not perfection.

[18:10] Cindy:Yeah, it's not going to be what I expect as a type A person. Like, here we are. This is who I want to talk to. Make them show up now.

[18:17] Zibby:Exactly. It was pretty close, though. But not totally.

[18:20] Cindy:That's fascinating. I'm really going to have to think about it, and then how do you go about finding a medium who is actually not a fraud?

[18:27] Zibby:Yes. Well, I recommend this woman, Vicki Emanuel, who I saw. Kyle saw her. Kyle's mom had seen her, Kyle's sister. I mean, she's good. Anyway. Her name is Vicki Emanuel. So I would check her out.

[18:40] Cindy:I definitely will. Thank you. So you have interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of authors. Do you feel like that influenced your writing of this memoir? And does it influence your other writing as well?

[18:51] Zibby:100%, yes. Not only the interviews themselves, but the books. And reading all those books, even if I've only skimmed some of the books or not read every single word or whatever, analyzing the structure and being in all of those books in some way, shape or form, and then hearing the author's thoughts about process and structure and format and outlining and everything, it all helped. I've definitely become a better writer since reading so much. And I used to read a ton to begin with, but reading in this much more active way has really helped. And this is also going to sound crazy, but I write on Instagram every single day, pretty much every day. And sometimes I write these long things and go to the caption limit length, and sometimes they're shorter. But I've made writing something I do literally every day, whereas I used to just write articles every so often. And I think all of it has helped. I think reading great writing, analyzing what I like and what I don't like. It helped a lot. It really did.

[19:52] Cindy:And analyzing what you think works and doesn't work.

[19:55] Zibby:Yes. And now I can really tell, like, oh, this should have been cut out, or we didn't really need this here, or what a shame they did this, or I would have done this this way. Sort of more on the editorial side of things. So, yeah, I'm very attuned to what works and what doesn't work. So as soon as I write it, I can't do it as I'm writing. I know some authors do that, and I do send you a tiny bit, but I basically refine and keep going. Almost like a runner tying their shoes. You just tie them quickly and keep going. That's how I write. But then I go back and do a lot of surgical work.

[20:35] Cindy:I like that analogy of the runner and tying the shoes.

[20:38] Zibby:Thank you. I just came up with that.

[20:41] Cindy:Well, good. Very spur.

[20:42] Zibby:The men.

[20:44] Cindy:I love it. Well, you have struggled with anxiety and depression for a lot of your life, it sounded like from the book. Do you have advice for others who struggle with the same?

[20:54] Zibby:My advice is to get some help. Get some treatment, find a therapist you like. Also, my advice is to write. I really find writing to be a therapeutic tool. I know you had asked about the memoir in general, but even the everyday of writing helps. Not just for public consumption, but for myself. I am a fan of medication. I think that can help. I think it can take a while to find the right one for you. And there should be no shame in taking something that you need and that makes your life better. Reading helps. All of it helps. Finding the things, exercise, regular exercise, and just being aware and knowing that there's nothing wrong with it. Right? This is just the way everybody is born with some stuff. Until recently, I had perfect vision. But do I worry every minute? Do I fast forward to my imminent death, like every day? I do. I don't know why I should stop. Do I change my plans incessantly? Because I'm always trying to come up with some better way and do my thoughts spin a lot? They do. But as I'm trying to see the benefits of that and the awareness of it, I think really helps. As opposed to having any kind of shame about it.

[22:14] Cindy:Well, I think the awareness on two levels. One, just being aware that you are struggling with anxiety or depression or whatever the issue is and then also realizing that there is no shame in it, addressing it and then our naming it and then addressing it and then realizing almost everyone is struggling with something like that right now. I mean, in the past many people were, but I think the last several years have been so brutal that we're all struggling with that kind of stuff now.

[22:40] Zibby:Yeah, I agree.

[22:41] Cindy:I think there's been a destigmatization of mental health issues and that people understand that just because you can't see them, like you could have cast on a leg or a scratch on an arm or whatever, doesn't mean they're no less involved and no less hurtful to the person experiencing them. I agree.

[22:59] Zibby:I'm actually on the board of the Child Mind Institute and part of their mission is reducing the stigma behind childhood mental illness and they have a whole younger self campaign every May and it's all these famous people being like, you know what, I have anxiety, I have depression, I have dyslexia, I have whatever. And just being able to talk about it, which I think really helps.

[23:22] Cindy:I think so too. And with the way social media just completely has taken over everyone's lives, especially teenagers, and tweens for those people who are more prominent, to get out there and say those things and talk about it on platforms where the kids are going to see them has to be so incredibly helpful. Yes, absolutely. You use the term book messenger in your memoir and I loved that term that you do so many wonderful things for the book world. Do you have a favorite?

[23:48] Zibby:I love all of it, but I really love my podcast. I love reading the books and talking to the authors. I just did wear that, but I love it all. Just that connection over books and the intimate conversations that I get to have every week. I love it.

[24:06] Cindy:I just love it and developing those relationships. That's one of the things that I've loved so much about it is just talking to so many different authors, finding so many books I would not have read but for the podcast, but also, just like you said, having intimate conversations.

[24:20] Zibby:It's like the only thing I do where I don't allow in any other distractions. When I'm doing a podcast, I have to focus so hard on the conversation. I can't miss a minute, I can't miss a beat. I am always like in it. And so I'm not worrying about anything else. I'm not worrying about the emails or the phone or I'm not taking a minute to check something else. Like I rarely even have a sip of coffee. It takes my full focus. And there's something very liberating about that, that you know, it's like how it used to be able to go on an airplane when you couldn't be distracted. Right. There's something very comforting about that space and time and knowing that I have those minutes carved out on my calendar, even though it's not about me, it's the conversation for me that is almost like my self care.

[25:11] Cindy:I always say that about the movie theater as well. And I feel like we've been robbed of some of that with so many of these shows and movies now coming out streaming. Because you go to the movie theater and you put your phone on Do Not Disturb and you just for 2 hours blank everything else out. And I love that. And the podcast is the same way, but those times are so nice because you really can't be distracted by another thing.

[25:33] Zibby:Yes. It's hard today's world. There's so much competing for our attention at every second. And it's hard to do one thing. I am often doing ten different things at once. So the things that free us from that possibility yes. Planes, movie theaters, theater, like Broadway. I don't know, maybe it used to be like Temple, but I cannot take my phone out of here. This is terrible. Yeah, those things are they're liberating in their structure?

[26:11] Cindy:Absolutely. Allow you to just focus on one thing and let your brain rest.

[26:15] Zibby:Yes.

[26:16] Cindy:Well, let's talk about the title and the cover. Those are things I'm always so curious about. Did you start out with Bookends as the title or did that develop over time and then tell me about the cover.

[26:26] Zibby:Actually, the title used to be The Book Messenger, so I'm glad you flagged that. But my publisher felt like that sounded too much like a novel, the Book Messenger. So we scrapped that and it took forever to figure out the next title. I had so many ideas. I talked to everybody I knew. I had like, just so many emails about it and what about this and what about that and what about this subtitle? And what about that subtitle? Around and around and around for weeks. And then one day I was like, oh, Bookends. And then that was it.

[27:03] Cindy:I love it. I think it's the perfect title. And that's why I was curious if you'd had it from the very beginning or if it was something that over time came about. But I think it works so well.

[27:12] Zibby:Thank you.

[27:13] Cindy:And what about the cover?

[27:15] Zibby:The cover was also a little bit of a journey. The first version I got was illustrated. I really wanted a photograph. I felt struggling about. It's so funny because now as a publisher, I'm like, I. Cannot believe that I was so demanding as an author, but I had this very strong vision of what I thought the book should look like. And the first iterations were not at all that in terms of feel, look, and feel and even the colors of it. And my publisher was really nice, and I got to talk to them. I even talked directly to the art director because I was like, let me just explain it. If I could just use my words. I just know if I explain it the right way, then it'll look better. So this is probably the fourth round of designs I got shown, and then I was like, yes, this is perfect.

[28:04] Cindy:I love the blue. Is that your idea as well?

[28:07] Zibby:Yes, I love blue. I love blue of all shades, and I really was hoping it would be blue.

[28:15] Cindy:I think you're in a unique position, though, as a podcaster and all of the other bookings that you do to have an idea of what your coverage should look like. I think it's such an interesting question because I get such a spectrum of answers. Some authors are like, oh, authors have no say in the cover. And others are like, you are like, oh, I had an exact idea what I wanted. And I just kind of kept pushing until I got at least close enough to what I wanted or I got there. That's interesting all the way around. But I also think because of what you do, you would have a very I don't know what the right word is. You would have a very distinct idea or a set idea of what you wanted, and that they would be happy to listen to you about that.

[28:54] Zibby:Yeah. Again, as a publisher with working with different designers, I don't want to show the authors unless it's something that we really love. So, yeah, it's a process. It's not easy.

[29:07] Cindy:No, it's not. And then there are trends, and things change, and talking about an illustrated cover, and I just think there are different trends, and it's hard to know, like, are you in the middle of the trend, or am I going to be at the tail end of the trend? Where am I in that?

[29:21] Zibby:Exactly?

[29:22] Cindy:And that was my next question, actually, was talking about trends. So you're usually kind of a step ahead of trends, launching your own publishing company, the podcast. How do you do that?

[29:35] Zibby:Sorry, I didn't mean to laugh out loud enough.

[29:37] Cindy:Your sextok. I think there's a lot of things that you're the first one out there doing what you're doing.

[29:44] Zibby:I don't know. I just have all these ideas all the time, and I often just do them. It can get me into trouble, that's for sure. But I'm like, oh, that sounds like fun, or, oh, we should do that, or, oh, this needs to be done. I just see it very clearly, and then I just do it sometimes. I don't really. I mean, this publishing company is so much work. It's just unbelievable how much work it is. And I was like, I'll just figure it out. That's sort of my thing. Like, yes, I'll do this and then I will figure it out. But I've realized there is a limit to that. And I don't know that I'm ahead of trends. All I do is see what I think comes next, and then I'm not afraid to try it.

[30:24] Cindy:And as I was reading your book, I was thinking a lot about that because I've thought of that about you in the past, that you really seem to get ahead of whatever it is and sort of even launch the trend, I guess. But with the business school background, that probably really helps because you have, as you talk several times in the book, a way of sitting down, okay, here's an idea. How are we actually going to tackle it versus, oh, here's an idea. That'd be fun and then having no plan to put in place, but instead you've got a methodical way of looking at it. Okay, these are the steps we need to do. We need to think through all aspects of these things. And the business school background probably really helps with that.

[30:57] Zibby:I like to think it does.

[30:59] Cindy:You like all the time I spent there?

[31:02] Zibby:I hope so.

[31:04] Cindy:Well, now for the toughest question of all. What have you read recently and loved?

[31:10] Zibby:You know, I just read this book called The Perfect Other by Kayleigh Leddy. L-E-D-D-Y. It is so good. Hold on. The subtitle is called The Perfect Other: a Memoir of My Sister by Kyleigh Leddy. And it's beautifully written. It's about a woman. She's 23 when she writes the book, and it's about her older sister who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and ended up dying by suicide. But it's gorgeous. It's really about sisterhood growing up, what happens when one person in the family is having some issues health wise, mental health wise, how that throws off the family dynamic. It's her search for herself. It's her recovery from that and from the threat of violence from her sister, who she loves so much. It's fascinating. She weaves in a little medical stuff. I'm so impressed with this author.

[32:02] Cindy:That sounds really interesting and very sad.

[32:05] Zibby:It is sad. But I love stories about people getting through things, and this is about her getting through this, and we're, like, in it with her. So it's actually quite inspiring and compelling, it sounds like. And compelling. And she happens to be a beautiful writer. Very lyrical. She's a beautiful writer. I suspect this writer will go on to achieve many interesting things over the years if I had to put money on it.

[32:35] Cindy:Well, anything else?

[32:36] Zibby:Anything else? What else? I finished. I keep recommending Nora Goes off Script because I really loved it so much. But that's probably my favorite summer read. A love story written by the narrator is just super smart and funny and I loved that book about a divorced mom who gets into a new relationship, perhaps because I am a divorced mom who got into a new relationship. But anyway, I loved that book too.

[33:02] Cindy:I did too. I thought it was such a fun read and I've been telling everyone I know to read it this summer.

[33:07] Zibby:Awesome.

[33:09] Cindy:Well, Zibby, thank you so much for taking the time to come on the Thoughts From a Page podcast and congrats again on your new book.

[33:15] Zibby:Thank you so much for having me.

[33:19] Cindy:Thank you so much for tuning in today. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to my podcast. I want to quickly share about this wonderful company I am now partnering with. I am always looking for entities that promote and highlight books and recently came across Bookclubs, a company who provides all sorts of resources for established and new book clubs as well as individual readers. My own personal book club recently signed up on Bookclubs and the group has been impressed with all of the great tools the site and app provide. The Bookclub's website is linked in my show notes, and I hope you will check them out soon. Also, if you like my show, I would be so grateful if you would tell everyone you know about it and rate it on whichever platform you listen on. It truly makes a huge difference and really helps the show grow. The book discussed in this episode can be purchased at my bookshop storefront and, that link is also in the Show Notes. hope you will check out some other thoughts from a Page episode and have a great day.

Zibby OwensProfile Photo

Zibby Owens


Zibby Owens is an author, podcaster, publisher, CEO, and mother of four.

Zibby is the founder of Zibby Owens Media, a privately-held media company designed to help busy people live their best lives by connecting to books and each other. The three divisions include Zibby Books, a publishing house for fiction and memoir, Zcast, a podcast network powered by Acast including Zibby’s award-winning podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books, and Moms Don’t Have Time To, a new content and community site including Zibby’s Virtual Book Club, events, and the former Moms Don’t Have Time to Write.

She is a regular columnist for Good Morning America and a frequent guest on morning news shows recommending books.

Editor of two anthologies (Moms Don’t Have Time to Have Kids and Moms Don’t Have Time To: A Quarantine Anthology), a children’s book Princess Charming, and now a memoir Bookends: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Literature, Zibby loves to write. She regularly pens personal essays, starting with her first one in Seventeen magazine in 1992.

Zibby lives in New York with her husband, Kyle Owens of Morning Moon Productions, and her four children. Follow her on Instagram @zibbyowens.