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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: March, 2018
Mar 29, 2018

Kit De Waal didn't start writing until she was 40.

I love a hot debut novel from a bright young thing as much as the next person, but there is something I love even more about a late-to-writing career trajectory. Now that I'm on the other side of 40, I feel particularly fired up whenever I read books by those who didn't start as writers the moment they finished school.
 
If you feel like it's too late for you to write what you want to, it's not. If you feel like you aren't like the authors you see on the shelves, don't let that stop you. And I expect that listening to Kit De Waal discuss overcoming the obstacles writers face will help you stay focused on writing and publishing your book. This episode is magic.
Mar 22, 2018
This week, we dive into the mysterious lure of Sweden and its literature.
 
As a lover of languages, I have long been fascinated with the art of translation. I am delighted to have Henning Koch on this week, who has translated Fredik Backman's work including A Man Called Ove as well as the acclaimed Every Moment We Are Still Alive. In addition to working as a translator, he's also a writer himself and has published two books. We explore Henning's beginnings in translation, the relationship it gives him with language, and why he can't possibly write and translate at the same time. We also touched on something that has become a phenomenon recently: the worldwide obsession with Swedish crime fiction.
 
In order to explore the topic of Swedish crime further, this week's episode continues with the couple that writes together under the pseudonym Lars Kepler: Alexandra Coehlo Ahndoril and Alexadner Ahndoril. Their book, The Sandman kept me up at night for days, furiously turning pages. We discussed how they came to write together as a couple, what they believe makes Sweden uniquely capable of writing dark crime stories, and their incredible method of writing together.
 
I love these two conversations as a pair, because both of them center on finding connection with others through language and the love of books. If you've ever dreamed of seeing your work appear in another language or considered collaborating, this episode is for you.
Mar 15, 2018

Elaine Weiss found the locus of action for her book deep in the library archives.

I love this image because it is the stuff writing fantasies are made of: a writer, buried in the depths of newspapers that had been cataloged on microfilm. It was there that she discovered that a member of each of the critical political parties in her book arrived the very same night in Nashville, TN to fight the final battle around the 19th amendment in the US.
 
Elaine and I talked about the politics of the 19th amendment and how she has managed to write a book that had me on the edge of my seat, even though I knew while reading it that the amendment would ultimately pass - I know I have voted in every election I've been able to since I was 18. But even so, the gift of a good writer is someone who is able to capture the suspense that those experiencing this historical period in real time in the present must have felt.
 
History doesn't have to be dry or dull. In fact, I was as glued to The Woman's Hour as I have been to any suspense novel I've read. I hope you enjoy listening to us discuss how it came together just as much as I enjoyed diving into its creative backstory. Happy listening!
 
Show notes with links | This Episode Sponsored by The NWBA forthcoming book, Women in the Literary Landscape
Mar 8, 2018

Chad Murphy is the genius behind Lord Birthday.

He wasn't always out as Lord Birthday- in fact, he decided to start as an anonymous creator and kept up that goal even when he saw that his own sister was a fan and regularly sharing his posts. One of my favorite parts of this episode is the story of Chad having to tell his sister that he was Lord Birthday.
 
Just a few years after starting Lord Birthday, Chad's little project has over 180,000 followers (!!!!) and a book in the pipeline. It could be easy to dismiss this as blind luck, but talking with Chad meant I got to learn all the behind-the-scenes story. Chad started out wanting to write fiction, and struggled along in that pursuit for years before a lucky trip to an art show convinced him it might be a good idea to try something new and see what happened.
 
For anyone who has ever want to take a big leap, anyone who has laughed so hard they cried when reading the brilliance of Lord Birthday, and for anyone who has a dream of telling stories in a way that doesn't match up with the way things have always been done, I give you Lord Birthday. I promise you'll be smiling ear to ear after this episode, just like I was when we recorded it.
Mar 1, 2018

Ben Percy began Writing With a Love of (Fictional) Wooly Underpants

I knew I had to have Ben Percy on the show because I kept mentioning his book, Thrill Me, and it's argument that genre fiction and literary fiction have a lot to learn from each other. Ben and I talk about how he began to study writing with a great love of fantasy and science fiction only to be told he wasn't allowed to write either in his degree program. As he studied literary fiction, he fell in love with character development and wanted more from the people he read about in books.

But he still wanted to read about adventures and exciting things happening in his stories. So a thought began to grow: what if the best parts of genre fiction – the wooly underpants and the chases and the racing plot– were combined with the best parts of literary fiction – the love of language and the deeply developed characters? Ben has spent his writing life since trying to find out how to write from the best parts of all fiction. This conversation was equal parts hilarious and inspiring, an ideal combination in my mind. Also, Ben has one of the greatest voices for podcasting I have yet encountered. It's a true shame that he didn't enjoy recording the audio version of one of his books... enjoy this voice on this show - you may not get it anywhere else... happy listening.

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