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This Creative Life with Sara Zarr

Author Sara Zarr in conversation with other writers and creators. We talk about process, psychology, career stuff, distractions, relationships with audience and social media, art meeting commerce, office supplies, snacks, technology, fear, shame, faith, doubt, and our moms.
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This Creative Life with Sara Zarr
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Dec 28, 2015

"Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world's deep need." Frederick Buechner said that, and it's a quote I thought of when prepping to talk to Angela Tucker, the subject of the documentary Closure and the woman behind The Adopted Life, a blog and forthcoming episodes/mini-documentaries for that blog. A self-described private person and introvert, Angela has made her story public and herself vulnerable in the interest of educating people about transracial adoption and building community for transracial adoptees like her.

For more, including show notes and additional resources, visit the episodes page at sarazarr.com

Theme music by Dave Connis

Dec 15, 2015

50! Episode 50! I'm so happy to celebrate this milestone with my guest Daniel Kraus, whose most recent book, The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, was named one of Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Books for 2015 shortly after we recorded this conversation. It's a meaty one, this conversation, from what it means to finish a project twenty years in the making, to the desire to divorce yourself from the reception of your work--if that's even possible--to building a career as a weekend novelist. We also talked about Daniel's filmmaking career, defying genre labels, going "off-brand", and the strange relationship between readers and writers on social media.

For show notes and additional resources, visit the episodes page at sarazarr.com

Theme music by Dave Connis

Dec 3, 2015

Jeanne Murray Walker is a poet, playwright, memoirist, and teacher. Most recently, she co-edited with Luci Shaw a book of essays on the topic of ambition by members of the Chrysostom Society. We talked about her experience as an ambitious young woman in the era of the "mythical character" of Betty Crocker, ambition and motherhood, and the problems of ambition without direction or models of what to do with it. My own relationship with ambition is quite fraught in ways that might warrant a sequel to this, and this conversation gave me a ton to think about--I hope you find it equally thought-provoking!

For show notes and additional resources, visit the episodes page at sarazarr.com

Theme music by Dave Connis

 

Nov 19, 2015

In this Very Special Episode of This Creative Life, Corey Ann Haydu and I talk about being adult children of alcoholics and how that can play out in both the creative and business sides of our careers, in positive and negative ways. As we mention in the conversation, the symptoms or traits we go over can also come from growing up in environments without substance abuse--for example families that are very rigid, perfectionistic, dealing with mental health issues, homes with raging/anger, families that have alcoholism in the family tree (though a particular generation may not actually drink), or homes where feelings are not expressed at all. 

We also talk about Corey's life as an actor before she came to writing, the particular challenges of being judged almost wholly by appearance in that field, and how acting and writing share a similar skill set.

For show notes and additional resources, visit the episodes page at sarazarr.com

Theme music by Dave Connis

Nov 11, 2015

Have you ever thought about co-writing some books with your mom? No? Well, if your experience could be anything like Brendan Reichs', maybe you should. Brendan is the co-author with Kathy Reichs of the Virals series--five books and a collection of novellas. What started as a way out of a horrible job became a career in something he's good at and enjoys, and he's now transitioning into solo novels. In this episode, we talk about collaboration, outlining, optimal placement of dry-erase boards, stress, and that one time in his lawyer life when he was admonished from the bench for being immature. And, of course, the pressures of proving himself now that he's writing on his own.

For show notes and related links, visit the episode's post at sarazarr.com

Theme music by Dave Connis

 

Nov 1, 2015

Justine Larbalestier is the author of half a dozen books for young adults in addition to her broader body of work writing and editing. Her most recent novel is RAZORHURST. In this episode we talk about how she got from academia to YA publishing, the pros and cons of the globalization of literature, repetitive stress injury and ergonomics, diversity in publishing (see: the lack thereof), and how her husband's optimism helped her make the leap to full-time writing. 

I give a big swearing warning in the intro and then Justine hardly swears at all! Disappointing.

For show notes and related links, visit the episode's post at sarazarr.com

Theme music by Dave Connis

Sep 4, 2015
    Charlie Kaufman and Sufjan Stevens, inspiration vs. discipline, being “Corey” vs. being “author John Corey Whaley”, the upside of being a process-hacker, the difference between normal jobs and writing, imposter syndrome, movies, identity crises, and why we write and the fear of losing it. Yes, John Corey Whaley and I covered it all [&hellip
Aug 21, 2015
At long last, it’s the end of summer hiatus! We kick off this new batch of episodes with Alex Sanchez, award-winning author of numerous books for young adults, including Rainbow Boys and its sequels, Bait, So Hard to Say, The God Box, and Boyfriends with Girlfriends. Alex has been in this biz for fifteen years [&hellip
Jun 8, 2015
  Another podcast already? What? It’s true! I wanted to get one more episode in the can before I took off for some travel, and though I considered making it a scheduled post in a week or so I thought–why withhold? We all like instant gratification, so in that spirit I offer this conversation with Jennifer [&hellip
Jun 4, 2015
    Varian Johnson and I go back to the era of listservs, LiveJournal, and Nokia flip phones. He’s the author of four novels for young readers–most recently The Great Greene Heist–and one on the way. In this conversation we talk about Varian’s ten years as a published author and how he has weathered the disappointments [&hellip
May 20, 2015
Coe Booth was one of the first YA writers I met when I started mingling with authors as a soon-to-be-published newbie. (I believe our first conversation was about Estelle Getty being alive or dead–she was alive, at the time.) After we met I read her debut novel, TYRELL, and absolutely loved it. Since then, she’s [&hellip
May 11, 2015
I’ve known Michael Bourret (that’s pronounced with a hard T, by the way) for over a decade now, yet even I learned some new things about him in this episode. For example, that I’m not the only one who thought you could only break into publishing if you had a trust fund, and that the book [&hellip
Apr 23, 2015
Gayle Forman is the author of seven novels, a book-length work of nonfiction, and many many magazine pieces. I knew that the day she and I could finally work out our schedules to get her on the podcast would be a good one. Here, you’ll find some real talk about writing and wanting, the importance [&hellip
Mar 26, 2015
We’re back, and with a vengeance! In this first TCL episode of 2015 (a wee bit late, I admit), I had the great pleasure of talking to Malinda Lo, author of young adult novels and co-founder of the Diversity in YA project. We covered a lot of ground here, including some of Malinda’s fascinating family [&hellip
Dec 8, 2014
Wow, you guys really came through with some great questions! Thank you so much, and my apologies that we couldn’t get to them all. We did cover a fair amount of ground, though, including book production timelines, revision, how not to be awkward at parties, and how to stay sane (always a crucial topic). Special thanks [&hellip
Sep 13, 2014
E. Lockhart is the author of nine–nine!–novels for young adults, a host of other books under the name Emily Jenkins, and short and collaborative projects. Her 2008 release–The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks–was given a National Book Award Finalist medal and a Printz Honor. She chaired the Young People’s Lit National Book Award judging committee [&hellip
Aug 1, 2014
Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of books for young adults and younger readers, and an all-around cool lady. In our conversation we covered work habits, the relationship with readers, her collaborations with Siobhan Vivian, and–if you know Jenny this is not a surprise–Leo DiCaprio. A fun fact that got edited out [&hellip
Jul 14, 2014
“When I was writing The Walls Around Us, I decided to be simply and only myself. … I wasn’t writing for recognition. I wasn’t writing for commercial success, or should I say ‘success’ because the idea of that changes with every new hoop I jump through.” So writes Nova Ren Suma on the blog post [&hellip
Jul 1, 2014
Not that I’ll ever tire of talking to novelists, but it was a nice change-up for this episode to have a chat with Alissa Wilkinson–critic and lover of pop culture; and editor and writer of film reviews, Mad Men recaps, and essays about art and art-making. What Alissa may not know is how much I [&hellip
Jun 16, 2014
After a six-month hiatus from doing the podcast, I am happy to be back! Thanks for your enthusiasm and support. I’m very pleased to have Stephanie Kuehn as my first guest in 2014. Stephanie is the author of the 2014 Morris Award winning Charm & Strange (now in paperback), and the forthcoming Complicit (June 24), [&hellip
Dec 19, 2013
It’s a This Creative Life first! My guests are two authors who are still a year out or more from the publication of their first books. I’ve been eager to do a show like this to remind us all that working writers don’t spring up overnight from nowhere. Not that you thought that, but it’s [&hellip
Dec 5, 2013
David McGlynn is the author of the Utah Book Award winning story collection The End of the Straight and Narrow; the riveting memoir about faith and swimming and loss, A Door in the Ocean; and numerous stories and essays published in places like Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, and Shenandoah, and work selected for Best American [&hellip
Nov 18, 2013
In this episode, the lovely and talented Jo Knowles talks with me about emotional truth vs. “what really happened,” The Chocolate War, when we will start to feel like real authors, and the tragic decline and fall of roller discos. Jo is the author of five novels, her most recent being Living with Jackie Chan, [&hellip
Nov 1, 2013
Steve Brezenoff started his career with dozens of writer-for-hire chapter books, and never though he’d wind up writing young adult realism. He says he “did it all wrong,” and YA just seemed to be what was in him wanting to come out. In this episode, Steve takes us through his scene-based process for the forthcoming [&hellip
Oct 15, 2013
Does she really need an introduction? Okay, just in case: Sarah Dessen is a Good Morning America superfan, tweeter extraordinaire, deviled egg aficionado and, oh yeah, the author of eleven bestselling novels. She and I recently met on the cybernets to talk about her writing life and career. We discussed how publishing has changed since [&hellip
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