Candice Bergen: Memoirs & CollaborationBeautiful Writers Podcast add
Oscar-nominated and 5-time Emmy-winning star of Murphy Brown turned bestselling memoirist (twice!), Candice Bergen is in the house! And she is every bit as irreverent and funny and whip-smart as you’d hope. Joining us in today's guest co-host chair is someone we both adore, the legendary book editor Betsy Rapoport, who edited Candie’s second memoir, A Fine Romance, and who I’ve been lucky enough to call my mentor for the past eighteen years.
Despite being the highest paid actor on television for years, Candice is exceptionally humble. But Betsy and I manage to get her to share gold about her creative process. From her erratic work ethic; what it was like being the first female to wear the 5-timer jacket hosting for Saturday Night Live; and how she’s embraced Instagram, nearly “breaking the Internet” posing for an eclipse photo with her Book Club cast-mates Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, and Mary Steenburgen. Unlike many of our guests who became household names before the advent of social media, Candice relishes posting pics and scripting funny captions for her feed.
I don’t know if it’s easier or harder not to take yourself so seriously when you were born into Hollywood royalty. Some speculate that Candice’s humility is a byproduct of being the daughter of Edgar Bergen, a famous Vaudeville ventriloquist whose dummy, Charlie McCarthy, was beloved by millions and had a bigger room than Candice did in their home. Her first memoir, Knock Wood, is a candid portrayal of a little girl trying to earn a father’s love.
Candice has always been a writer—starting with magazine work for Esquire following her first movie at nineteen. We cover so much in this chat, including what makes a good book title (poetic, evocative, counter-intuitive), and why sometimes the publisher decides to forgo all that to bank on clarity. We talk about how bloody hard it can be making the audio version of your book—but how it’s a good excuse to order comfort food. Candice shares the anxiety she feels when writing memoir, and the role of an editor (in this case, Betsy) to help her go deeper. Although Candie’s latest book is a love letter to her daughter, Chloe Malle (a writer for Vogue), her first husband—the late director, Louis Malle—and her current husband, Marshall, I hope you’ll find this conversation a bit of a love letter to the collaborative process. That and showfolk, dogs in costume, and smoking sage bowls.
Tosca Lee: Writing the Perfect ThrillerBeautiful Writers Podcast add
Bestselling thriller author of ten novels, including The Progeny, Firstborn, The Legend of Sheba, Iscariot, and the Books of Mortals trilogy (with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker), Tosca Lee is in the house! She’s representing this genre proud with The Line Between, a dystopian page-turner already optioned for television by Edward Burns and his Marlboro Road Gang Productions, in partnership with Radar Pictures (#cantwait). As you’ll hear, the female protagonist could be the little sister of one of my favorite Dean Koontz characters (Dean’s a former guest of this show)—bad-guy killing heroine, Jane Hawk.
I’ve put the notorious night-owl Tosca together with my guest co-host today, Hayli Baez, because I adore them both. And, for the unique things they have in common—namely a past with pageantry, as in beauty, which has helped both of their current careers; an obsession with world-travel, fed in part by those pageants; and get this—late-night video-game playing! (Admission, I’ve never played a video game in my life, so I’m dying to know the allure of shooting fake people.) You might be wondering how a busy author like Tosca has time for such an indulgence but says it helps her come up with some of her best characters and storylines. And, I’m guessing her three boys think she’s the coolest.
Speaking of cool, Hayli has THE dream job according to my son (and probably yours, too). She actually gets PAID to livestream herself playing video games on Twitch. Yes, that’s really a thing. She also happens to have written excellent fan fiction as a teen and still gives me the best book recommendations of anyone. And, she’s family. I can’t take any credit for her beauty or brains, as she’s my fiancé’s daughter, thus not blood-related. But, as soon as I learned she’d read the entire Harry Potter series more than anyone I’d ever met (or heard of!), I was deeply proud. Lol.
I’m excited to share this chat, with its many pearls, including how Tosca plots her suspense and thinks about each character’s arc within the three-act structure (and her two invaluable book recommendations on the subject). There’s her refreshing take on the thriller genre and how she recruits top experts for her research to make her work bulletproof (and how you can too!).
I am also fascinated by her thoughts on how travel helps the writing mind play and wander; her description of dealing with the twin demons of fear and procrastination, and why letting someone see your writing before it’s ready is like allowing them to see your cellulite! We talk balancing writing time with platform building (social media); how her hot farmer husband handles her 20-hour writing days (and bakes cookies); what to do when an author friend writes a book you just don’t like; and how when her friends are mad at their mates, they'll ask her help in devising the perfect murder plot.
If you love action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, you’re going to adore this high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness (and its sequel, out in September). And, you’ll be taken with the sanity and sweetness of this killer author and her deep gratitude for her craft and her readers. I left this conversation more in love with books and writing them and know it will likewise inspire your reading and writing life.
Taylor Dayne: Tellin' It From Her HeartBeautiful Writers Podcast add
75 million albums sold. 18 top ten hits recorded. Named in 2018 by Billboard as one of the top 60 female artists of all time (#35)! I’m guessing you are or have been, a Taylor Dayne fan (soundtrack of your life stuff, right here). I feel blessed to call Taylor a dear friend and can attest that she’s everything you’d hope a superstar to be—which you’ll soon experience as she opens up her heart and memories about the coolest details. Like what it was really like to open for Michael Jackson in a stadium of 60,000 people for his RAD tour. Or, what happened when Prince brought her on stage early in her career in a scene that will have you thinking, “Wait! Didn’t I just see Bradley Cooper do that with Lady Gaga in A Star is Born?!”
Taylor’s memoir, Tell It To My Heart (named after one of her most popular ballads) pubs on Valentine’s Day and goes deep and vulnerable about topics you’d never guess by watching her career, starting with her tragic childhood in which her voice gave her the fire and inspiration to stay alive.
Popular podcaster/TED producer/ media communications coach, Bronwyn Saglimbeni, is today’s guest co-host. I love this woman! She, like Taylor, is also a busy mom and business owner who happens to have a rockin’ rock band side hustle. Can you stand it? I’m such a singing wanna-be!
Thank you for joining me for this magical conversation, punctuated by snippets of several of Taylor’s biggest hits. We’re going to talk about so much, not the least of which includes healing, the music industry, what it’s like to write brutal truths about family members who are still standing, why standing on that TED or TEDWomen stage is as scary (or scarier!) than singing in a stadium, and learning to trust yourself—a challenge for us all. There’s no holding back here, and a whole heap of heart.
We're so glad you’re here.
Lee Child: Writing & Righting WrongsBeautiful Writers Podcast add
Jack Reacher’s back at #1! But that’s no surprise to the millions of “Reacher’s Creatures” who anxiously await each installment of this thriller series—23 at present count. With PAST TENSE (Delacorte Press), author Lee Child once again puts us on the edge of our seats and leaves us there, ensuring that our journey with this ex-military policeman turned drifter continues to live up to the Forbes magazine label as the "strongest brand in publishing.”
It’s not every day I get to talk shop with a writer who’s sold over 100 million books. But what makes today’s interview especially THRILLING for me was getting to share the mic with my guest co-host, Tom Bergeron. Lucky for me, Tom’s day job with Dancing with the Stars just wrapped for the year and he had time. Time to brainstorm his dream literary guest with me and then make the intro. #BestJobEver. The result is one of my favorite conversations to date, and I hope yours too!
Lee and Tom have cult followings the world over, but for very different personas. Lee and Jack Reacher (don’t even think of making me separate the two here) are formidable—towering, intimidating figures. Tom, on the other hand, is adored for his light, comedic personality and jokes that at least he’s taller than Tom Cruise (the star of several Reacher films). Of course, as you’ll see, Child is a blast to interview and Bergeron has a dark side (as is revealed via his recent turn to dramatic acting).
But what most interested me here was talking with two icons at the top of their game. Few authors have the kind of rock-star financial or creative freedom Lee has created for himself. And, having formerly hosted both America’s Funniest Home Videos and Hollywood Squares (for which he won an Emmy), Tom has been part of three of the most popular TV shows of all time. For a girl who’s lived many years of her life within eyeshot of the Hollywood sign, that holds all kinds of gifts for me.
Speaking of gifts! HAPPIEST and MERRIEST of holidays to you and yours, you guys. I can’t believe another year has flown by. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my time than here, with you, on this show. Thank you for listening. I feel so blessed.
Until the New Year … Write On!
Seth Godin: This Is Marketing!Beautiful Writers Podcast add
After 18 international bestsellers, Seth Godin has released perhaps his most important book. His new title: This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See (Portfolio) just hit #1 on The Wall Street Journal list and was an immediate New York Times bestseller. But Seth could care less. What this master teacher knows (and wants us to know) is the joy of serving the smallest viable audience. The satisfaction that comes from making things better by making better things. "The best-selling book in America this year will not be purchased by 99% of the population,” Seth tells me and my guest co-host Samantha Bennett. But that’s good news for us writers because “smallest is easy for us.” It’s this mindset, as you’ll hear, that keeps the infinite resource of creativity from shrinking away.
Seth and Sam (bestselling author of Get It Done and Start Right Where You Are) are big admirers of each other’s work, and nothing thrills me more than being a literary matchmaker by putting people together on this show. Like when Glennon Doyle came on to guest co-host with her idol, Anne Lamott (who she’d never met). Or, how Terry McMillan and Dani Shapiro, both great novelists and teachers, swapped outrageous stories and laughs. Or the time Robert McKee guest co-hosted with one of his literary favorites, Dean Koontz. To hear Sam and Seth talk shop left me mostly speechless. (Not my norm, as you may know. I think I said fewer words in this entire episode than in my usual intros!)
I feel so blessed to be here. Seth has taught and inspired millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, leaders, readers (and me!) via his daily blog (one of the most popular in the world), and through his online courses, lectures, and bestselling books. He’s the inventor of countless ideas that have made their way into mainstream business lingo (from the book blurb! and Permission Marketing to Purple Cow, Tribes, and The Dip). But marketing—telling our stories to people who need them—is in crisis. For thirty years Seth has seen this revolution coming, describing it to us, and mapping it out for us. And it's being taken away by bottom fishers and scammers. Thankfully we have Seth to guide us through meaningfully connecting with people who want what we’ve got.
You’re also about to hear why he stopped napping (this is pure gold!); his thoughts on debt (which could help you keep more of your gold); what it takes to reach the masses (and how to avoid making average stuff for average people); getting into the practice of picking yourself; Godin’s First Law of Book Signings, and, brace yourself, the future of bookstores.
And, for those of you who don’t yet know Sam, you’re in for a major treat. Warning, though: She’s addictive, and you’ll have one more person to follow after this episode. Sam’s the owner of the Organized Artist Company and one of the most brilliant and delightful people I’ve ever known (which is why I'm the luckiest that she’s my copilot over in the Beautiful Writers Group).
Okay! There’s so much to cover. I’m so happy you’re here.
Ann Patchett: UnpluggedBeautiful Writers Podcast add
This award-winning, bestselling American (and Nashvillian!) treasure is laying it down with straight talk about her charmed writing and publishing career. Instead of learning from our authors' struggles, as we often do on this show, today’s episode is about ABUNDANCE. Ann’s story is a unique one—published at twenty in The Paris Review, followed by one extraordinary success after another—where we get a rare glimpse of the writer’s dream life come true.
"I didn't get into any trouble,” Ann tells us. "I didn't stray from the path. I didn't become a drug addict. I didn't become an alcoholic. There was just too much positive reinforcement for writing.” But that hasn’t kept her from acquiring a deep understanding of the human condition—and a fearless writing style for which she’s beloved. Bestsellers like Bel Canto, based on the Japanese hostage crisis (which won the Orange Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was recently made into a film), Truth and Beauty (a tender, brutal book about loving a person she could not save), and Commonwealth (a novel that begins with an illicit kiss that leads to an affair that destroys two marriages and follows six children whose lives were disrupted) are just a few examples of how Ann isn’t afraid to dive deep into life’s complexities.
In this 90-minute chat (edited down from over two hours!), I was pinching myself to get to talk with this icon as if we were old friends. From books to film (and opera!); landing the right agent; getting PAID for your work; how not to suck at love or marriage as you try and balance a near-obsessive love of craft, and stories behind her new photographic book on Nashville, I hated to see this conversation end. And, bonus! Ann shares where her best ideas come from (which wasn’t what I expected)—including her take on the story of how she and Liz Gilbert shared a novel through the ethers. I couldn’t take notes fast enough.
PS: Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. (And, for more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com)
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Steven Pressfield & Tim Grahl: Slaying Creative DragonsBeautiful Writers Podcast add
There is an enemy. You are the enemy. Resistance will kill you. If you’re a Steven Pressfield or "The War of Art" fan (who isn’t?!), you already know that. You also know that you are not alone, and resistance can be beaten.
But, good God, doesn’t it feel a little harder these days with the world seemingly going off the rails?
I wasn’t sure Steven could ever write something as masterful as The War of Art. Despite selling millions of copies of books in both fiction and non-fiction—that book was tops in my eyes. But he’s done it again, with "The Artist’s Journey: The Wake of the Hero’s Journey and the Lifelong Pursuit of Meaning."
If you’re wrestling with trying not to fall into the time suck of 24-hour news, you’re going to love this chat. Joining us is book marketing superstar Tim Grahl, who you may know from his past books, "Your First 1,000 Copies," and "Book Launch Blueprint." But today he’s here with Steve for "Running Down a Dream: Your Roadmap to Winning Creative Battles." Steve’s publishing company, Black Irish Books, published the two books in tandem and I can see why. They’re both page turners and pack an even more powerful punch when digested together.
On today’s show we talk about how we lie to ourselves about how busy we are (and how little time we actually need to get our art completed). We discuss the odd phenomenon that the writer often rejects first book ideas, and Steve gets playfully ribbed and respectfully praised for his obsessive research habits. Tim shares top book picks, and Steven explains why he turns away from his gorgeous Malibu ocean view to face the wall when he writes.
We also cover the fundamentals of the Hero’s Journey and the subsequent Artist’s Journey, and how once you get on this train, there’s no getting off.
In what Steve calls a bit of an “OCD convention,” we dive into the nitty-gritty about setting up one's office and life to avoid distractions. Tim shares how he practices being vulnerable with small pieces before he puts out something truly scary for him (like this new book), and the three of us laugh about professional jealousies and the crazy-making reality of competing with (or being held back by) your friends and family.
Listen up, too, for fave tech hacks, book launch tips, schedule simplifying strategies, and this most important message: YOU have important work to do on this planet. So, let’s go!
I’m so glad you’re here.
PS: Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. (And, for more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com)
PPS: If you love the show and want to help spread the word, please take a sec to give us your thoughts and/or a 5-star rating on iTunes. apple.co/2sbpC1J
New! Bday Mix: Expert Top TipsBeautiful Writers Podcast add
On this annual birthday episode of the Beautiful Writers Podcast, my wish is to give the gift of conversations you haven’t heard before. Fresh and (hopefully) profoundly helpful content to uplevel your writing experience.
Today’s show makes my heart happy. It’s a collection of excerpts from industry superstars conducted over several years for the Beautiful Writers Group (my membership community, where this podcast was born and writers get all sorts of support for $25 a month). I’m elated to finally share some of my most cherished snippets of advice from our expert series interviews, today, free of charge.
We start this birthday party off with the author of "Get It Done" and "Start Right Where You Are," Samantha Bennett (who now joins me every month to answer questions in our monthly Q & A calls). Sam is a creative genius with an enviable bedside manner. Meaning, she gives our members soulful, tear-jerking, butt-kicking advice they can’t get enough of. I have no doubt she will get you motivated and EXCITED about what you can and will achieve—in as little as 15 minutes a day.
Next, Harrison Scott Key—winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor for his memoir "The World's Largest Man"—will make you laugh (and blush) with his insane stories. Nothing and no one in his life are off limits. Harrison's nearly unbelievable work ethic will either scare the hell out of you or renew your faith in scaling any publishing mountain. Warning: get earplugs for the kids! (Smiley.)
The bestselling author of "Paris Letters" and "A Paris Year," Janice MacLeod, helps us say YES to our writing life over everything that doesn’t matter. She shares how she scripted every writer’s dream life by ditching the day job to travel the world—in do-able steps. Plus, I can almost guarantee you’ve never heard what she learned about the power bookstores have over your book covers. (Say, what?!)
Arielle Ford, author of ten books (including her international bestseller "The Soulmate Secret") has the unique mindset of having been a literary agent and top book publicist (with 12, #1 NYT bestselling placements). Though grounded and practical, Arielle bleeds mystical. For this show, she shares her Secret Sauce for connecting with the Unified Field, where everything you want—in publishing and in everyday life—is already waiting for you.
Tim Grahl, book marketing rockstar, is the author of "Your First 1000 Copies" and the recent, "Running Down a Dream" and helped five of his author clients hit the NYT bestseller’s list in the same week! In this conversation, Tim talks about how to put your best foot forward on Amazon.com (where 40-65% of books are sold)—which includes details of ramping up your author page and how to get those pesky 1-star reviews removed.
Author Rhonda Britten, who has one of the most painful childhood stories imaginable, created a program to keep from taking her own life. Fearless Living has healed her and countless others and led to four books and an Emmy-winning role as a life coach for TV's "Starting Over." Rhonda is always coming up with new tricks and the one she shares here—a touching exercise for connecting deeply with your book—is one of the coolest tips I’ve ever heard.
And finally, acclaimed YA novelist, Aditi Khorana--who was my guest co-host here last month with best-selling novelist Rosie Walsh--shares how her 1,000-word a day diet helps her be so prolific. Among other things in this excerpt, we talk about how to train your beautiful muse to show up and play full out.
I wish I had time to share all of our BWG expert interviews with you here! But you can get immediate access to our full library (and other benefits of membership)at beautifulwritersgroup.com
Welcome. I'm so happy you're here! xo
Rosie Walsh: Ghosted. A Publishing PhenomenonBeautiful Writers Podcast add
Auctions. Bidding wars. Squealing agents and champagne toasts. To some, this is the stuff writerly dreams are made of. Novelist Rosie Walsh is here from her home in Britain to humbly share details of her magic carpet ride as the author of one of the most anticipated global publications this year.
GHOSTED, Rosie’s debut book in America, celebrated its birthday the day we taped this episode. Pub day in the states! For a book that has sold in thirty-one countries and topped several bestseller lists already, I feel like the luckiest girl at the dance here to have had so much time—over an hour!—with this very busy new mother and author.
I had to ask Rosie the age-old question: what makes a page-turner? How do you write a story people, and that includes publishers, can’t put down? Because, cover to cover, I was swept away by this book. As an example, check out this marketing hook right on the back: "Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.” Aren’t you dying to know the secret? I was, and I’ll tell you this: I never saw it coming.
Nor did my dear friend and one of my favorite writers, Aditi Khorana, our guest co-host for this episode. Aditi and Rosie are both critically acclaimed Penguin novelists, and I think you’ll love hearing them compare notes on how to outline their books and craft their exciting plot lines. Their publishing wins will inspire you and their stories on editing and ditching hard-won prose are a dose of realism. In fact, Rosie’s honesty—about what she was willing to do, make that what she had to do to get her words worthy of the heights they’re currently hitting—is astonishing. (Hint, you don’t get published by legendary editor Pamela Dorman through her own Viking/Penguin imprint—with past titles like Bridget Jones's Diary, The Secret Life of Bees, Queen Sugar, Me Before You, etc. in her line up—unless your storytelling is world-class.)
And, yes, in this chat you’ll also here three girls talking about boys. And love. And longing. And the odd yet universal phenomenon of being ghosted.
I'm so glad you're here.
P.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. (For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com)
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Austin Channing Brown: Racial Justice & the Power of the PenBeautiful Writers Podcast add
Memoirist and racial justice leader, Austin Channing Brown, is here to chat about her celebrated debut: I’M STILL HERE: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. From the book’s first line—“White people can be exhausting,” she had my undivided attention as I—like countless white women—am exasperated by white privilege and feel a great urgency to cease being exhausting. But where do we start? There is so much to learn! Thankfully, Austin is wise and patient, huge-hearted and playful. As she masterfully lays out what we need to know, we can’t help but hang on her every written word. Because it’s time. Time to know better. Be better. Do better.
My prediction is that upon hearing Austin read an excerpt from her chapter, “Why I love being a black girl” you'll instantly understand why Brené Brown, Glennon Doyle, and Jen Hatmaker are fans. By the close, when she shares part of a letter she wrote to her then unborn son, you will be too.
Our guest co-host on this episode, Daniel Mallory Ortberg, is a dear friend of Austin’s and their easy laughter is contagious. Daniel is the author of the New York Times bestseller TEXTS FROM JANE EYRE: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters, and the recent, THE MERRY SPINSTER: Tales of Everyday Horror—a collection of short stories based on fairy-tales. He is also the Slate advice columnist, Dear Prudence, syndicated in over 200 newspapers. But you’d never know any of that by his humble nature and hilarious newbie stories.
Listen in as we delight in talking shop together. Other topics include: life-changing tech programs we use to organize our writing; favorite writing books on craft that have been career game changers; details of landing agents and book deals; how we've utilized groups and beta readers for up-leveling our work pre-publication; persevering through early rejections, and how sometimes life indeed conspires to make your dreams come true.
Nell Scovell: Just the Funny Parts & Then Some...Beautiful Writers Podcast add
A veteran comedy writer for TV, film, and books, Nell Scovell (who also produces and directs!), is here to chat about her new memoir, JUST THE FUNNY PARTS… And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club. Who is Nell Scovell? You may not know the name, but if you’ve ever watched The Simpsons, NCIS, Murphy Brown, The Muppets, Newhart, Charmed, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Late Night with David Letterman, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, or Sabrina the Teenage Witch—which she created—you’ve no doubt laughed at something Nell has written.
And, if you're a fan of the monster bestselling book LEAN IN, by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg (that Nell co-authored), you’ve already spent hours inside her head--which is a fun, heartfelt, intelligent place to hang out! I’m crazy about her and this book—a memoir VOGUE magazine calls: “The new Bossypants meets Lean In.” If you’re someone who writes, can you imagine a dreamier blurb?
Listen in as Nell and I talk about navigating writing collaborations; writing ideas that never pan out, and how to see feedback as constructive, not critical. We discuss pitch meetings—including a word-for-word hilarity she gave to Larry David; accessing creative flow; how not to let men or politics derail your writing, and why she says fearing the blank page is like fearing an empty dog dish.
This no-nonsense Harvard grad (cum laude—sheesh, right?!) will leave you inspired to COMPLETE—and then shamelessly SHARE your work with the world—while standing up for your rights to be seen, heard, and PAID. Nell is an outspoken, longtime advocate for diversity and gender equality in Hollywood; so much so that years before the #metoo movement was on everyone’s lips, she risked everything to go wildly public about the sexist culture, hostile work environment, and lack of female writers in late-night TV. Thankfully, for us, when she gambled it all, her bravery was rewarded, and Nell’s voice was not only not extinguished to a whimper but roared to make it safer for everyone else.
God willing, may Nell Scovell continue to use her voice for the funny parts--and far more--for decades to come.
P.S. Remember to get your copy of JUST THE FUNNY PARTS. And, while you’re at it; prep for next month’s show with Austin Channing Brown’s hit debut: I’M STILL HERE: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. Austin, a powerful voice for racial justice and a stunning memoirist, is also so much fun—as you’ll see. #Icanteven #bestjobanywhere
P.S.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. (For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com)
P.S.S.S. If you love the show, please take a sec to give us a 5-star rating on iTunes, which helps spread the word! https://apple.co/2sbpC1J
"Best Of" Part 2 EpisodeBeautiful Writers Podcast add
Welcome to Part 2 of our “Best Of” episode! Notice the “quotes” here; it’s not remotely possible to pick favorites amongst favorites. "Best Of" is just easier than typing, “a-sampling-of-some-of-my-beloved-booky-conversations-of-many-such-favorite-convos” on an album cover. (Did that even make sense?)
Back in August of last year, when I put together Part 1 of this show, I couldn’t foresee the celeb authors who would soon join me and my guest co-hosts on air. Tom Hanks. Maria Shriver. Van Jones. Gabby Bernstein. Dean Koontz. Gretchen Rubin. Rob Bell. Danielle LaPorte. And more. They called into our conference line and met Glennon Doyle, Martha Beck, Dani Shapiro, Robert McKee, Leeza Gibbons... and me in the virtual green room for an hour+ of writerly love. Both my list of guests and guest co-hosts boggles the mind—at least my mind. Because outside of dominating the sock-out tournament on my third-grade school’s blacktop at recess, nothing has ever flowed more seamlessly or been more fun for me.
These writers make me so happy. They're funny and smart and so ALIVE—as you can tell by their quick repartee. And, like me, they’re obsessed with words, paper, binding, fonts, black tea, blacker coffee, and butt-in-chair-finger-moving strategies as they attempt to heal themselves and the world. Every one of them feels lucky to make a living pulling words from the ether and onto the page, and thus doesn’t take their position or platform lightly. They relish sharing their creative wealth with our soulful, brilliant listenership—YOU!—which is why so many of them come back again and again to guest co-host.
So. Sit back. Speakers up. Earmuffs on the kids (yep, swearing is a thing these days... especially on this episode!). And have notepads ready, unless you want to wait for the book. Odds are, the words, phrases, and ideas you love will be there for easy access for all eternity. Or until paper stops growing on trees—which might actually be a good thing—but don't tell anyone I said that. #conflictedtreehugger
Here we go, beautiful.
P.S. Subscribe here and be the first to know when a new episode airs. Of course, you can find all our interviews below and over at www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Geneen Roth: Messy & MagnificentBeautiful Writers Podcast add
Martha Beck guest co-hosts in this radical conversation with legendary author Geneen Roth, which aired on Easter Sunday, 2018. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, imagine this. Chocolate eggs. Jelly Beans. Ham. A little Hawaiian bread with your butter. Or, a LOT of Hawaiian bread with your butter… plus gravy. I mean you’ve tried that, right? Gravybutter? Good God.
My point: do you ever wish you could finally attain peace over your weight and what you eat? This episode won’t be sending the food police to your door—no worries!—but it may bring some much-prayed-for relief. I know it has for me, as you’ll hear.
These women—Geneen and Martha—are walking, talking, living proof of the magic of transformation, in a wildly abundant and crazy fun kind of way. The three of us have what just might be the radical conversation you’ve been wanting. Because let’s face it; everything you thought was going to fix things hasn’t so far.
Perfect timing, I figured, for a holiday about mercy and freedom and rising and angels. Ya?
I heard of Geneen’s work years ago, back when book angel Oprah Winfrey shared her awe of this woman’s writing with the world. Geneen was one of the first to link compulsive eating and perpetual dieting with deeply personal and spiritual issues that go far beyond food, weight, and body image. And Lord, can she write. Her words are poetic. Hypnotic. Delicious, all on their own. Food for thought and the soul. As the author of TEN titles, including the just-released THIS MESSY MAGNIFICENT LIFE (Scribner), and The New York Times bestsellers When Food Is Love; Women Food and God, and Lost and Found (about losing all of her money to Bernie Madoff)—Geneen is PROLIFIC. With lots to say about healthy ways to get our books completed, and how to live peacefully as a writer, teacher, and sane citizen in an insane world.
Bestselling author Martha—who is in her 17th year as an O, The Oprah Magazine columnist (can you imagine making all those deadlines?!)—is pretty smart about that stuff, too. Can I get an Amen?
I know you’re going to love Geneen as much as I do. One of her superpowers, for the past 30+ years, is helping people find freedom at her weight, food, and money retreats and seminars. Rather than pushing away the “crazy” things we do, Geneen’s work proceeds with the conviction that our actions and beliefs make exquisite sense. The way to transform our relationship with food, our body, and so much more, is to be open, curious and kind with ourselves—instead of punishing, impatient and harsh.
Ahhhh. Told ya. Church. Even when you find yourself eye to eye with that chocolate bunny with the big ears. Especially so.
P.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com
Maria Shriver: I've Been ThinkingBeautiful Writers Podcast add
You’ve watched Maria Shriver on TV for decades. Read her many bestsellers. Cheered as she and her family founded and championed some of humanity's greatest causes. Now’s your chance to get to know her more intimately than perhaps ever before. Maria’s here, on for the first day of her new book tour! In this playful, deep interview for I’VE BEEN THINKING: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life (Pamela Dorman Books/Penguin Random House), Leeza Gibbons and I talk with this New York Times bestselling author of six (surely now seven!) titles. We muse about family, friendship, parenting, and divorce. On the struggle to believe we’re doing enough; the different ways we three get our writing done; Time Debt and what’s truly important, and the steps we should all be taking to safeguard our precious brains from Alzheimer’s and other dementia. Guys. This episode is epic for me. It’s hard to put into words what it means to host the show with someone who’s touched my life so beautifully for so long (Leeza). But to then have another idol of mine for nearly twenty years (Maria) as our guest?!—Good God. Life can be so surreal. And, as Maria points out, it can also be incredibly complicated. For everyone. Doesn’t just knowing that make it easier already?Imagine this. Your uncle promises the country that he’ll land us on the moon—uttering some of the most famous words in the history of our world. Your parents start the Peace Corps, Head Start, Jobs Corps, and the Special Olympics—all organizations still uplifting the masses. How the heck, against this backdrop, do you find your words, your voice? And yet, as you’ll hear, it was Maria’s words, Maria’s voice that truly changed the course of my life and in part gave me the freedom I have now. I’m extra excited to share this conversation with you—one in which Leeza stumps Maria during our rapid-fire Q & A with the hardest—and I’m guessing funniest—question she’s ever been asked. (Hint: It may have to do with hair and coffee, although not hairy coffee.) Then, as Maria tells us she’s NEVER before been asked our next question, and I hear these long-time besties laugh—I’m now thinking: How in the world did I get so lucky? Here’s a woman who worked her way up from writer to producer to anchor at both CBS News and NBC news, and traveled the world interviewing presidents, kings, activists and more—and has been interviewed countless times herself. Did we really just hit the back-to-back question jackpot here? (Smiley.) Surreal indeed. I’m so glad you’re here. Welcome!P.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com
Debbie Ford's New BookBeautiful Writers Podcast add
The late Debbie Ford is here today, via her sister, Arielle Ford! In a kind of tribute to sisters, joining us as my guest co-host is my sister, Carol Allen. The four of us—Debbie, Arielle, Carol, and I—have a long friendship, so I’ve been looking forward to this sweet, informal convo. We cover so much beyond the book, including Debbie as a spiritual leader and bossy little sister; writing and the whacky world of dealmaking; magical beginnings with Deepak Chopra; muses + guides that wake us up at 3:00 a.m.; the healing power of guttural crying, and soulmate secrets you may never have considered before.And! Wait until you hear how this book—YOUR HOLINESS: Discover the Light Within (that drops March 6th, HarperOne)—came about! This is seriously mystical stuff. You probably know Debbie as the author of ten books including The Dark Side of the Light Chasers; Spiritual Divorce; Why Good People Do Bad Things, and The Best Year Of Your Life. With a foreword by Marianne Williamson, this prayer and inspiration masterpiece is being called Debbie’s most powerful book.Arielle, who is giving us her first interview for Your Holiness, is also the author of many bestsellers, including The Soulmate Secret, Wabi Sabi Love, and Turn Your Mate Into Your Soulmate. As for Carol, I’m as excited to share my kid sis with you as I was when I took her to my kindergarten class for Show & Tell back when we were kids. Carolita helps me make sense of this world more than anyone else and is not only one of the most popular astrologers and love experts in the country, but a storytelling force of her own with a massive fan base for her newsy and hilarious writing.Thank you for spending your time with us as we endeavor to bring down a bit of fairy dust ala Angel Debbie. At a time when so much in our world feels uncertain, and suffering is so prevalent, Debbie’s voice is more essential than ever. Happy listening. Write on!LindaP.S. Catch us next month, where my guest is the Architect of Change herself, Maria Shriver, with my beloved Leeza Gibbons as our guest co-host. P.S.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when our new episodes air. For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com
Gabby Bernstein: On Judgment & BestsellersBeautiful Writers Podcast add
I LOVE this soul sister. Gabby Bernstein makes me laugh. Her honesty is refreshing. Sometimes I look at her and think I’m witnessing an honest-to-goodness, real-life angel. But when this #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK, and five other bestsellers sent me her latest book, JUDGEMENT DETOX (dropping Jan. 2nd from North Star Way), I didn’t think I could do it. I figured I had zero chance of embracing, much less TALKING about a subject I could barely stomach. Detoxing my judgment? Are you kidding me?
When it comes to eating, I’m all about detoxing. Give me a juice fast any day of the week, and I’ll pucker up and chug the slimiest of swamp grass. But emotionally, I’m in activist-mode, #metoo-ing and marching with chin held high. Additionally, I live in a part of the world—Los Angeles—that’s experiencing its worst fire season ever, in December, mind you; at a time when our administration’s rolling back environmental protections with the speed and ferocity of our Santa Ana winds. Not judge? Not interested.
Except, I know better. Anger and judgment provide an energy boost, but the pump is temporary—certainly no long-term strategy for wholeness or happiness. What if Gabby has come up with a way to be nonjudgmental AND outspoken? More peaceful while more vocal (and effective)? A girl could hope. I had to give her a fair shot.
Not to mention, I knew we’d have one hell of a writing and publishing convo. Because girlfriends can talk shop! And we’re mad crazy in LOVE with this industry. Gabby does not disappoint. Her candor—about her writing insecurities and internal and external fixes—will not only make you laugh and surprise you, but will help you better create, receive, and navigate your own publishing prowess.
It is my great honor to welcome you into one of my favorite chats yet. As I reflect on the blessings of the past twelve months, this show leaves me shaking my head. Tom Hanks? Van Jones? Glennon Doyle? Dean Koontz? And Gabby? I’m not entirely sure how I got here or where we’re going, but my heart overflows with each interview and download.
Thank YOU for sharing your time and love and curiosity with me month after month. I wish you and yours the Happiest of Holidays and a coming New Year that will somehow surpass even your brightest and most beautiful hopes and dreams.
P.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com
Dean Koontz: Master of SuspenseBeautiful Writers Podcast add
500 million books sold. 38 languages. 14 #1 New York Times bestsellers. How is that possible? My guest co-host, Robert McKee, and I couldn’t wait to get the inside scoop on a bestselling career that has spanned fifty years and been compared to the Beatles. Welcome to the epic world of Dean Koontz, who is totally delightful and slightly worrisome, in a crawl inside your brain and lays eggs kind of way. (Wait. Don't repeat that! In reality, what struck me as most odd is that he's not at all creepy.)Dean's new thriller, THE WHISPERING ROOM, drops TODAY and will leave you breathless. You might have to sleep with the lights on for a while, but you’ll beg for the next book in this series just the same because our protagonist, Jane Hawk, is that addictive.
She's my shero. A rogue FBI agent on a mission to save her son, Jane is intuitive and fearless and perfectly on time with the times—putting the fear of God into abusive men everywhere. If only we could bring her to flesh-and-blood life. And then clone her on every street corner.
In this episode, you’ll learn the difference between suspense and mystery; how to "let the character be the character"; how to make the fictional world more real—to the point of being swept away by it; what readers are looking for in the first two paragraphs of a book to make them buy; the three things setting (or nature) must accomplish; why reaction is more important than action; how worrying about paying the rent discourages a lot of artists + and the mindset you must have to break through. Of course, there’s so much more—including a civilized disagreement about the existence of the muse and a little Hollywood bashing.
I feel so blessed the legendary Robert McKee is back on the show. Imagine, these two experts talking shop about Setting and Suspense and Opening Hooks and Dialogue and so much more. Speaking of dialogue, Robert’s latest book, DIALOGUE: The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage, and Screen will floor you with how much there is to know about the act of talking. Who knew?! Fortunately, McKee does. The details are so detailed I thought about quitting writing to find a day job until I remembered I’m too old for that and took wild amounts of notes instead.
The show, as they say, must go on. So take a listen. You’ll see why the writers of Pixar (creators of TOY STORY and FINDING NEMO), consider McKee’s STORY seminar a rite of passage. And how alumni of his courses have earned 200 Oscar nominations (with 60 wins) and 1,000 Emmy noms (with 200 wins).
As for Dean and this thriller genre. If you’re tempted to think it’s not for you because you hightail it out of the room when the 10 o’clock news starts as if a quake just hit, and watch Abraham Hicks videos on replay in a desperate attempt to trust in a benevolent Universe, I feel ya. Same, same.
But with Koontz and McKee as our guides, we just might find a whole lotta heart and sanity in the story. Even after the sun goes down.
I’m so glad you’re here.
Next up for our Holiday show, join me as I interview Gabrielle Bernstein about her #1 NYT bestselling career + her upcoming book JUDGMENT DETOX. Not that I'm judgemental or anything, but if I were, I'm thinking this would be the time of year to work on it. (Smiley.) Subscribe here so you're the first to know when it posts. For more info, go to: www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Tom Hanks: Uncommon TypeBeautiful Writers Podcast add
The one and only Mr. Tom Hanks is here, and he’s caffeinated and ready to rock this podcast—with melodic typing accompaniment, no less. I couldn’t have chosen a better guest host than Danielle LaPorte to join me in perhaps our most enjoyable conversation yet. From the first seconds of Tom's hilarious/unorthodox entrance, we do our best to keep up with one of the world’s most creative minds. But as he soon learns, we ladies have several psychological tricks up our sleeve, and even get him to gut laugh a few times (go, D!).
The 17 fictional stories in Tom’s book, Uncommon Type: Some Stories (Knopf), are whimsical, satirical, surprising, funny, and deeply touching. The characters and worlds he creates stay with you. Change you. Cause you to see things, you’d never thought of before.
According to Kirkus: “While these stories have the all-American sweetness, humor, and heart we associate with his screen roles, Hanks writes like a writer, not a movie star.” Steve Martin says: “It turns out that Tom Hanks is also a wise and hilarious writer with an endlessly surprising mind. Damn it.” Just what you’d hope to find from this Oscar-winning (2x) actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and musician Renaissance man who has previously published pieces in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, but for whom this is his first collection of fiction. We can only hope it won’t be his last.
Pull up a chair and sit a spell as we mix up our usual format a tad and experience the interviewing time of our lives. And P.S.—We just might get Tom to comment on our fantasy of he & Oprah running for office.
God, I love this gig. I’m so happy you’re here. xx
Next month: I interview novelist Dean Koontz (500 million books sold) about his new thriller, The Whispering Room, from the NYT bestselling Jane Hawk series. The legendary screenwriter/story + dialogue coach, Robert McKee will be back, this time in the co-host chair. Subscribe here so you'll know the minute it posts. For more info, go to: www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Van Jones: Beyond the Messy TruthBeautiful Writers Podcast add
CNN political correspondent and New York Times bestselling author Van Jones (THE GREEN COLLAR ECONOMY, REBUILD THE DREAM) is in the house! Just in time, too, to get our stinking thinking turned around before next month's Thanksgiving feasts (because didn’t we have enough food fights post-election last year to give us indigestion 'til 2050?). Van’s new book, BEYOND THE MESSY TRUTH: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together (Ballantine), soothes the ache. Reading it brings instant relief. Points our way back to love.
If you’re sick of crazy, if you’ve had ENOUGH, this is the episode for you! I’m elated to share this conversation with #1 New York Times bestselling author Glennon Doyle (LOVE WARRIOR), who is back as our guest host. She and I are longtime fans of this environmental and human rights hero, but even more so now, having spent nearly an hour and a half with him. And boy do we talk writing—including rejection, how hard it can be, and tools to help you get it DONE.
You probably know Van as the level-headed TV personality with dear friends on both sides of the political aisle. But the quiet child who grew up in the south going to church and loving school would grow to be agitated. It was at Yale Law School where Van became hip to just how not free America can be. Being arrested at a peace rally and watching the Rodney King beating go unpunished were just a few of the reality checks that lit a fire in Van to become a fighter against injustice. And at times, a loud-mouthed revolutionary. A self-described bomb thrower turned bridge builder.
Van was Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House under Obama and despite relentless attacks from conservative media, he had a major impact. He’s such a big thinker and so effective that many people hope he'll run for president. But we’re not going to go there today because he’s focused on serving in other ways. Like writing. This new book, BEYOND THE MESSY TRUTH, is the map to get us back. Jolt us out of the bi-polar, divisive, arrogant insanity we now find ourselves. Calm the crazy in us all. Deep breath. I feel better already.
Thank you for listening. I am humbled and honored to be in conversation with these two love warriors. Welcome.
Next up, I interview Tom Hanks about his upcoming book of short stories, UNCOMMON TYPE: Some Stories. The incomparable White Hot Truth author, Danielle LaPorte, will guest-host. Subscribe here so you're the first to know when it posts. For more info, go to: www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
"Best Of" Episode, Part 1Beautiful Writers Podcast add
Want to be a writer? A career author? In case you haven’t heard, the blank page can be a real A-hole, and the book industry no less intimidating. If you’ve ever wished you could sit down and ask your favorite authors how they do it—how they REALLY pull it off day after day, year after year, book after book—you're going to love this show.
Today’s a Celebration Day here at the Beautiful Writers Podcast, our first-ever "Best Of” episode. I’m Linda Sivertsen, your host, and these snippets make up Part I of more to come. Basically, it was IMPOSSIBLE to choose the “best” snippets from 22 hours of audio with the most lovable, talented storytellers in the world (bestsellers like Elizabeth Gilbert, Glennon Doyle Melton, Seth Godin, Brené Brown, Martha Beck, Anne Lamott, Steven Pressfield, and so many others), where all topics were fair game. If you’re already a fan of the show, I think you’ll love reliving these hilarious, wicked smart moments. If you’re new here, we’ll hopefully leave you wanting more.
Every episode we’ve done, from the show’s inception with Danielle LaPorte and me to the past 14 months where I’ve brought on different monthly celebrity guest hosts, they’ve all been dear to me. Most of our interviewees are on a book tour at the time of our chats, and with combined book sales in the hundreds of millions, they know just what to say to bring INSTANT relief and ah-has! no matter where a person is in their life or creative process. I’m still starstruck by every interviewee. I think you may be, too, as evidenced by the fact your 400,000 listens/downloads so far have put us in the top 5% of all podcasts of all categories! GRATEFUL doesn’t even begin to cover it.
In closing, I can’t tell you how tempting it was to turn this into a 3-hour episode by including every one of our 26 interviewees. All are survivors. Thrivers. Proselytizers. And their religion is kindness. They’ve faced incredible hardship and more rejection than a family of rats in a restaurant. Yet, they’re still standing. Still laughing. Still giving. Still writing. Rather than short change them (and you!) with snippets too short to get inside of, I’ve broken them up into Part I and II (coming soon).
Until then, subscribe here so you never miss an episode. And, of course, you can find all of our interviews in their entirety below and at www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Write on, my friend. I’m so very happy you’re here. xo