The Secret Library Podcast

The truth about writing books. By speaking to authors and other book lovers, I'm diving into the mystery that is the book world today. From writing to editing to publishing and all that goes into the creation of a book – all of it is open for discussion on the show.
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Now displaying: September, 2016
Sep 29, 2016

Natashia Deón is a wonder.

When Julia Callahan gave her incredible ability to build networks and community back in Episode 10, I was impressed. But in reading her book, Grace, and speaking with her, I am now in love. Natashia is a novelist, criminal defense lawyer, law professor, and a mom. How does she do all these things? Even she doesn't know. If you've ever wondered how it feels to "make it" in writing- to publish a book, win a prestigious fellowship, and get a glowing New York Times Review, this conversation is for you.

From the writing process to community to fears around writing and what it feels like to get your published book in your hands for the first time, we covered it all. I just know you'll love her as much as I do.


Show Notes for Episode 17 with Natashia Deón:

  • Finding time to write (2:00)
  • Mythbusting the writing retreat (3:45)
  • The structure of Grace (4:45)
  • Getting into criminal defense (7:15)
  • Pen Emerging Voices Fellowship (9:45)
  • The MFA (10:45)
  • How long it took to write a book (11:45)
  • Dirty Laundry Lit (12:30)
  • Curating Dirty Laundry (15:45)
  • Building literary community and giving back (16:00) 
  • How writing benefits everyone (18:20) 
  • When do I get to say I'm a writer? (19:15) 
  • Why are we so hard on ourselves as creatives? (21:00)
  • Going from writer to "author" (22:30)
  • Never get the galley in public (23:15)
  • On writing a tough subject (25:30)
  • Taking real life work into fiction (26:45) 
  • Writing about history so it feels alive in the present (29:30)
  • The impact of slavery on our current reality (30:00)
  • How we can look at contemporary issues as related to history (32:00)
  • The importance of language in our society (33:30)
  • International viewpoints on freedom and where we're trapped (34:45)
  • How the nation is losing its voice and the two party system (37:30)
  • The difficulty of "we" (38:45)
  • Can I be a writer like this? (39:00)
  • The next project & being open (41:30)
  • The New York Times Review experience (42:00)
  • On the critical self and perpetually moving the bar (44:00)
  • Deserving vs. begin grateful (45:30)
  • What Natashia is reading now (47:45) 

Sponsored by Muse Monthly

Sep 27, 2016

Oh girl. This episode is close to my heart. This week's letter comes from Megan, who has just finished reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. 

Here's how to take care of yourself after you finish this amazing book. 

Show notes with links to book suggestions | Sponsored by Pretty By Post

Sep 22, 2016

Art Books are a category that we haven't explored on the show until now. Krysta Williams is a photographer and book maker and today we discuss the book as object, creating beautiful books, how photography collections get sequenced and how we feel about the future of physical books. (it's a positive discussion, don't worry)

In addition, we nerd out about photography, journals, and planners. Learn one of the coolest ways to modify a journal to make it your own that I have seen so far.

Show notes for episode 16 with Krysta Williams:

  • Books as objects (2:30)
  • Sadness over the demise of the darkroom (3:30)
  • How Krysta began making books (4:00)
  • The narrative of images (4:45)
  • Elements of book design (6:15)
  • Medium hopping (7:15)
  • Interacting with photographs inside of books (8:00)
  • Going from photo collection to book (9:15)
  • Printing photographs digitally (11:20)
  • The difference between digital files and printed images (14:30)
  • The subjectivity of photography and TRUTH in media (16:15) Mentioned:
  • Making books of other people's photography (19:45)
  • Laying out pages for a book (22:30)
  • Reasons to make a photography book (23:15)
  • Preserving photographs as memories (27:00)
  • Books as a way to make things official (28:00)
  • Talking about The Bridge on BBC (28:45)
  • Why you can't count on social media to preserve your images (30:00)
  • Millennials and book buying (31:30)
  • Beauty in one of a kind objects and analog (32:00) 
  • Journals and planner madness (34:00) 
  • Compulsive childhood bookmaking (36:00) 
  • Breaking in a new journal (37:00) 
  • Journal mods (38:15) Mentioned: modified cover- see above
  • The naughtiness of modifying books (40:00)
  • Marginalia and marking in books (42:00)
  • Turning corners down (43:15) 
  • Paper altars in journals (48:30)

Full show notes with links | Sponsored by Muse Monthly

Sep 20, 2016

How can I get back to me? This is a big question from this week's letter. 

Sheryl has gotten all of her kids off to school and suddenly has her time back to herself and doesn't even remember what hobbies she wants to pursue herself. 

Listen up to learn how Sheryl can take care of herself and to get a jump on taking care of YOU.

Show Notes for this Episode | Sponsored by Pretty by Post


Sep 15, 2016

Editing is one of the more mysterious parts of the book creation process. We all know that editing is necessary, but many of us resist doing it. Sending your manuscript to an editor can be terrifying- it might be the first time someone other than your closest confidants has seen it- if anyone at all has seen your book so far. 

Lindsay is both an editor and a writer, so she's able to talk about the process from both sides. Learn about the little errors that can give away a lack of editing, the difference between developmental editing and copyediting, and how to connect with the editor that's right for your work. 

Show Notes For Episode 16 with Lindsay Smith:

  • Editing for yourself versus someone else (3:00)
  • The things you miss in your own writing (3:45)
  • Standing out in the indie market (4:45)
  • Developmental vs. copyediting & common errors that writers make (6:00)
  •  The distraction of edits that aren't made (11:00)
  • The author-editor tension (13:45)
  • How to find an editor and pricing (17:00)
  • Lindsay's first experience with an editor (21:00)
  • Finding typos in books (23:00)
  • There's an editor who's a match for every writer (24:30)
  • Draft by draft- Lindsay's novel from first draft to publication (26:00)
  • The writing schedule (27:00)
  • Critique partners vs. beta readers (28:15)
  • Reading the whole book out loud (29:45)
  • Cover design (30:15) 
  • Timeline for indie publishing vs. traditional publishing (31:00) 
  • Finding your rhythm and season as a writer (32:30)
  • Getting somewhere with ideas to finish the book (35:00)
  • Writer's Block (36:00)
  • Shitty first drafts (36:45)
  • Getting to the final draft (39:45)
  • The danger of too many drafts or too many opinions (42:00)
  • The vulnerability of putting your work out there and why it's worth it. (45:30)

Full show notes with links here | This episode sponsored by Muse Monthly

Sep 13, 2016

Time Management. (Don't we all have issues with this?) This week, Mara writes in asking for help with her challenges in this area. 

Listen up for 2 book suggestions and a blog that will get you on track with time. 


Show notes for this episode | Sponsored by Pretty by Post

Sep 8, 2016

Have you ever wondered about the story you're living?

This week, I chat with Jannelle Hardy, who spends a lot of time thinking about the stories we live out in everyday life. This is a topic that fascinates me. We don't just read and write stories and then walk away from them. They stay with us. And I often wonder about where the stories we write come from and why we have favorite books?

Have you ever taken a deep dive inside the story you're running in your life?

Jannelle and I really look at this topic and examine how story is one of the most impactful forces going. In the vein of talking about where story comes from, this one will help you get inside your own writing head. Can't wait for you to hear it!

Show Notes For Episode 15 with Jannelle Hardy:(Full Notes with links at

  • Connecting to personal story and myth and cultural messages (2:30)
  • Getting trapped in the story you tell about yourself (3:40) 
  • Starting with the body to get to story (4:30)
  • How to work with stories come from anxiety (6:15)
  • What happens when you get into the creative process (7:45)
  • The itty bitty shitty committee (8:15)
  • Working with sensitivity and past comments (9:00)
  • On skipping the brain and why language is physical (9:30)
  • Oral storytelling tradition (10:15)
  • What happens when you get into the body (10:45)
  • Character armor and how the creative spark gets trapped (11:15)
  • Working with the critic (13:00) 
  • Expanding on what you think is possible (15:00) 
  • The head vs. the body in our culture (15:30)
  • The personal myth process and looking at your own story (17:15)
  • Looping in your personal myth and getting stuck (18:00)
  • What if your myth had something to teach you? (19:00)
  • Being an outsider (21:30)
  • Reading as medicine (22:45) Mentioned: Clarissa Pinkola Estes Women Who Run With the Wolves & Theater of the Imagination
  • Celebrity as the barometer of cultural stories (24:00)
  • Getting out of a creative straightjacket & the Big Rescue (25:00)
  • The lottery as Prince Charming (26:30)
  • The magical gift of talent and questioning the story (27:45)
  • Reading and traveling to open up to new stories (29:00)
  • NaNoWriMo (32:00)
  • Possibility that comes from breaking old stories (33:00) 
  • Fear in starting a new story (34:00)
  • Grief and pain in creativity (36:00)
  • The silent meditation retreat (39:45)
  • Making a choice with the body's guidance (41:00)
  • Tuning into stories for growth (43:30)
  • Tarot as myth (45:30)
  • Working with dark stories (47:00)
  • Looking at "write what you know" (48:30)
  • Getting curious at the key (50:00)
  • What's coming up from Jannelle (51:30)
Sep 7, 2016

Book Prescriptions are back. When I first launched the Book Dr. site, I responded to people's letters asking for books to help them with their life situations and any conundrums they were facing. 

As the site has grown and the podcast has been added to the content, I decided I missed these book letters, so here they are again in audio form!

This week's letter comes to us from Arthur, who's had a book idea for a long time and is having a lot of trouble getting started...


Listen up on iTunes | Show Notes Here | This episode sponsored by Pretty by Post

Sep 1, 2016

Book deals. Who among us hasn't dreamed of getting one, if we're totally honest. April Peveteaux has gotten not one, but THREE books published based on the brilliant brand of her blog, Gluten is My B*tch. 

April and I share a profound disappointment in our inability to digest gluten as well as a powerful hunger for the baked goods and fried foods we can no longer eat. We talk about the need for humor around health issues, talk about the danger of bake sales, and how she made that enviable leap from blog to books. 

Show Notes For Episode 14 with April Peveteaux:

  • GIMB as an audiobook? (3:00)
  • YouTube name calling (4:15)
  • The Unicorn- Blogger to Book Deal (4:30)
  • Those journalism degrees (5:00)
  • Starting the blog & finding the agent (6:00)
  • Where agents come from (7:15)
  • The book deal or eating gluten? (9:30)
  • The need for humor with food allergies (10:45)
  • The holy grail of the GF croissant (12:15) 
  • Bake it or buy it? (13:20)
  • Organizing a family kitchen with a food allergy (14:00)
  • The irritation of typing fiancé (17:45)
  • Getting your partner on your team (19:00) 
  • Forbidden foods (20:00) 
  • Family food issues (22:15) 
  • Writing about personal experience and food (25:00)
  • Bake Sales Are My Bitch- the new book (27:00)
  • The 8 main food allergens (28:30)
  • Dinner party disaster for the gluten-free (29:45)
  • Recipes that set you up to win (30:45)
  • Creating recipes for a book (31:30)
  • Vegan and Gluten-free can be friends (33:00)
  • World Peace through dessert (33:45)
  • Gluten-Free pizza in LA (35:00)
  • Top 3 cities for GF Eating (actually 5) (36:00)
  • The favorite recipe (37:45)
  • Eating steak medicinally (38:30)
  • Adding the book arsenal to the blog arsenal (40:45)
  • The original book concept (42:00)
  • On April's Nightstand: You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein (44:00)
  • Powell's Bookstore (47:30)
  • #vegantwinkies (48:30)

For full show notes with links, please visit