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: December, 2016
Dec 29, 2016

Kim Krans comes from the Wild Unknown. 

This is how she introduced herself when I met her a couple of months ago. She was touring for the Wild Unknown tarot, the title that just minted her a New York Times Bestselling-author. (yes!) I wasn't sure what I thought I would learn in the yoga studio where the workshop was happening that Friday night, I just knew I wanted to hear what the creator of that incredible deck had to say. 

What followed was a conversation about where the creative impulse comes from, how to stay clear when using tarot as part of your personal growth, and why being an artist matters so much in this crazy time we live in. 

I was transfixed. And I knew I wanted to have her on the show. 

While you may know her beautiful deck, what you might not know is this: Kim started out wanting to be a writer. She wanted to go to an entirely different school with creative writing as her focus. So she has a lot to say about getting around writer's block, getting words down on paper, and how to get out of your own way. 

I can't think of a better note to leave you all on at the end of 2016. This episode is my holiday gift to all of you. 

Full Show Notes | Sponsored by Muse Monthly & Story Arcana

Dec 22, 2016

Sarah Selecky is back! It's time to get into revision...

I must admit, I was a little nervous to have this conversation with Sarah Selecky. As a NaNoWriMo winner five times over who then went on to leave each of those novels untouched in drawers and on hard drives, I am not a great champion of revision as an easy process. Sarah is back, having finished her own first novel draft and into the revision process herself.

It was a total joy to discuss how she approaches revision. It felt so much lighter and more enjoyable than how I've felt about re-writing in the past. If you have revision fears or think you'll never write something that's really worth revising, this will be a conversation that will light you up as it did for me. May we all move on to second drafts together...

Full Show Notes | Sponsored by Muse Monthly

Dec 15, 2016

Susannah Conway knows how books get made.

Having authored two and co-authored a third, Susannah has seen the process through, from proposal to publication, three times. She shares about the creation of proposals, how the book evolves from idea to finished manuscript, and how different it is working on a written book versus one that is primarily about the images. I left this conversation so inspired, particularly having learned how much leeway there is to let the idea evolve once you get a book deal. You'll learn how the idea for Londontown and for This I Know changed from what she first envisioned to what finally got published, and how her publishers supported these changes. We talk about writing from the middle, the way books change us, and how to give a project space when you still have the rest of your life happening alongside writing.

And for all you journalers out there, Susannah is a huge champion of journaling as the foundation of her writing life, so get a peek inside her relationship to her magical moleskines as she creates books. If you've ever dreamed of a book proposal and wondered what it's like once you've got the deal, this will shed the light you've been looking for.

Show Notes for Episode 29 with Susannah Conway:

  • On writing different types of books - collaborations and alone (1:48)
  • Beginning Londontown and the philosophy behind it (3:00)
  • The trouble with covers & inside working with a sales team (4:30)
  • Photographing London and how locals see the city (5:15)
  • The evolution from proposal to finished book (6:00)
  • Working with a publisher that trusts your vision & the role of the book creator (8:30)
  • Seeing London through Susannah's camera (9:15)
  • Falling in love with Londoners (9:55)
  • Ethics of street photography (10:40)
  • The "real" city vs. the tourist city (11:30)
  • Go beyond Leicester square! How to get a feel for the city (12:15)
  • Making NYC her own and learning to blend in (13:40)
  • The book as an FAQ for the question "Where shall I go?" to cut down on e-mail (14:45)
  • The contrast of This I Know, a book that was primarily written (15:15)
  • The pressure of a book deal and getting the words down (15:30)
  • Writing as a job and work as a commitment (15:55)
  • A book deal from a blog post (16:40)
  • Writing a proposal & figuring out what the book was going to be (17:55)
  • Figuring out chapters, structure and writing (18:30)
  • The challenge of non-fiction and book deals (16:40)
  • Holding the details lightly (19:15)
  • Writing from the middle (19:45)
  • The joy of writing with Scrivener & the pain of tracked changes in Word (20:15)
  • Balancing a whole life outside of writing with a book project (22:40)
  • Editing down photographs for a book (24:15)
  • How much time a project deserves (24:15)
  • Journaling's relationship to writing a book (24:55)
  • Tarot's relationship to creative process & emotional support (27:00)
  • Fiction and tarot's potential guidance (27:15)
  • On writing from personal experience vs. fiction writing (28:00)
  • Choosing to go with strengths in writing & where her writing comes from (29:00)
  • Non-fiction and the desire to feel less alone (30:15)
  • How blogging changed her world and built community (30:45)
  • The vulnerability of books versus blogging (31:40)
  • Being critical of our own work (33:45)
  • Done vs. perfect (34:00)
  • Judging a book by its cover (34:30)
  • Hint on Susannah's next course (35:50)
  • Fantasy reading escapes (36:25)
  • No wireless! (37:45)
  • Book & Ink window (38:30)
  • Books as drugs (39:30)
  • Current gorgeous covers (41:20)
  • Kindle vs physical books (42:00)
  • Forthcoming books (42:25)
  • Self-publishing vs. going with a press (42:45)
  • Working with an agent (44:55)
  • Yearning for a written book (45:55)
  • The platform & what publishers want (46:50)

Show Notes with Links | Sponsored by Muse Monthly

Dec 8, 2016

Gary Wilson has been writing fiction for decades.

He was the first person I thought of speaking to when people started asking me to talk about structure on the show. He's the author of two novels and has also taught fiction at the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University. Gary is one of my favorite people and I was thrilled to have the excuse to chat books and writing with him. We go through how it is to structure a book, letting the idea inform how you write it, what it's like to have one book interrupted by another story, revision, and his writing routine & the importance of "ass time" in writing.

For all of you who've had ideas but haven't shaped them into books yet, this will be a great conversation to give you the lay of the land that's coming. Think of this as a map- complete with some pitfalls you'll be able to look out for along the way. I'm so thrilled that people asked for this conversation since I learned a lot from having it! Keep asking for topics in the comments and I'll do my best to find the right guest to address them. Happy listening!

Show Notes for Episode 28 with Gary Wilson:

  • Structuring a novel with autobiographical elements (2:15)
  • The interaction between memory and imagination (4:45)
  • The unreliable narrator (6:15)
  • Differing story arc structures (8:30)
  • Different types and roles of narrators (9:30)
  • Narrative voice in a novel (10:15)
  • Finding the voice when writing a novel (10:45)
  • When an image takes hold and won't let go (12:00) 
  • The evolution of the novel and blatant structure choices (14:00)
  • Conscious vs. unconscious choices in writing (15:00)
  • Writing from personal experience in fiction and the transformation that takes place (16:00)
  • The line between fiction and memoir (17:45)
  • Artistic and emotional components to writing (19:45)
  • Teaching memoir and fiction together (20:30)
  • Where it's possible to get lost when writing fiction & staying true to the story (22:15)
  • The process of revision and the creative & critical hats (27:00)
  • The current project & tricky points (31:45)
  • The daily routine, discipline & saving a marriage (32:15)
  • Making progress (38:00)
  • On knowing the ending when beginning a novel (40:30)
  • Comedy or tragedy (41:30)
  • Finding subliminal themes once the book is written (41:45)

Show Notes with Links | Sponsored by Muse Monthly

Dec 1, 2016

Lucy Bellwood writes seafaring comics.

When I saw Lucy speak at XOXO this past September, I was absolutely smitten. Not only has she turned her love of tall ships into two crowdfunded comics, she is also incredibly honest about what it takes to live the life of a creative person. She spoke about finances, dreams, and how having a big year can mean recognition and happiness, but that money still plays into the conversation. It was an incredible speech. I knew I had to have her on the show.

Thankfully, Lucy is a great sport and was absolutely game to chat. She shared about what it took to do two Kickstarter campaigns, how she is able to create with the support of Patreon, and she's also an inspiration when it comes to building community around the arts. I could have talked to her all day, but I know episodes over an hour are a little scary to commit to. I know you're not going to want to miss any of this conversation. I give you the delightful Lucy Bellwood...

Show Notes for Episode 27 with Lucy Bellwood:

  • Making a dream into a book (2:30)
  • How much the public persona has on the private persona (3:00)
  • The first time on a tall ship (5:00)
  • The resurgence of sail-powered vessels (6:00)
  • Becoming a cartoonist (8:00)
  • The emergence of web comics (12:00)
  • Growing up as an artist (14:30)
  • The camps of people who succeed as artists (16:00)
  • What training you need to be an artist (17:00) 
  • Having a drawing group and meeting your creative needs (19:00) 
  • Talking about the work vs. making the work and Kickstarter (21:15) 
  • Creative work and analytic work don't play well together (23:15)
  • Financial aid, day jobs, & the creator club (23:30)
  • Doing a Kickstarter right before graduation (25:45)
  • Making the Kickstarter video (28:00) 
  • The outcome of the Kickstarter (29:00)
  • Building community and the importance of connection (32:00)
  • Creating knowing people are watching (34:30)
  • Working for non-profits & life expenses as an artist (37:45)
  • Learning to trust support & being vulnerable (40:15)
  • Having a public persona as an artist (42:15)
  • Social media for artists & the addictive process of sharing vs. making (43:00) The business of commercial art (44:30)
  • Creative seasons (45:15)
  • The luxury of uninterrupted time (47:00)
  • The discipline of promotion vs. creation (48:30)
  • The nasty critic and never doing enough (49:45)
  • Creativity through the generations (50:45)
  • Looking forward at a career in the arts (52:00)

Full Show Notes with Links | Sponsored by Muse Monthly