Episodes

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Jeff Alessandrelli interviews Michael Wheaton.

    Michael Wheaton is the author of the essay Home Movies (Bunny Presse, 2024). His writing has appeared in Essay Daily, DIAGRAM, Burrow Press Review, Rejection Letters, HAD, and other online journals. He publishes Autofocus Books and produces this podcast.

    Jeff Alessandrelli is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Fur Not Light. His novel And Yet is being reissued this year by Future Tense Books. He is also the director and co-editor of the small presses Fonograf Editions and Bunny Presse.

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    FULL INTERVIEW topics include:

    -- what in retrospect is quite obviously a mid-life crisis

    -- experiences with literary community before Autofocus

    -- early life and reading and television and the arts

    -- pursuing music for a little while a long while ago

    -- writing fiction before, through, and after an MFA

    -- the move to writing more autobiographically

    -- becoming a parent and ways it changed the art

    -- deciding to become a publisher

    -- seeing yourself as more than one thing

    -- HOME MOVIES and its earlier versions

    -- discovering a writing process through the attempts

    -- the "Office Hours" part of the book about a planned community in Florida

    -- new and old media's effects and the difficulty of seeing them

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    Podcast theme music by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex and Culdesac. Here's his music project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Kaycie Hall interviews Lauren Elkin.

    Kaycie Hall is the lead editor of our online journal Autofocus. She's also a writer and literary translator, whose work has appeared in Peach Mag, Neutral Spaces, Triangle House Review, and other journals.

    Lauren Elkin is a writer and translator of many books, most recently the author of Art Monsters: Unruly Bodies in Feminist Art and the UK translator of Simone de Beauvoir's previously unpublished novel The Inseparables. UK and US versions of her novel Scaffolding are coming out later this year.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- winding down publication publicity

    -- growing up focused on the performing arts

    -- Lauren's previous book Flâneuse

    -- Lauren's new book Art Monsters

    -- intervening in the conversation around feminism

    -- the temptation to make the book about one person

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- pregnancy shifting the shape of the book

    -- the pandemic contributing to the shifting

    -- Lauren's translation work

    -- managing reading hours (or not)

    -- a forthcoming novel

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    Podcast theme music by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex and Culdesac. Here's his music project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

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  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Erin Slaughter interviews Chin-Sun Lee.

    Chin-Sun Lee is the author of the debut novel Upcountry (Unnamed Press 2023), listed among Publishers Weekly’s Big Indie Books of Fall 2023, and is one of Poets & Writers’5 Over 50 for 2023. She’s also a contributor to Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing 2023) and the New York Times bestselling anthology Women in Clothes (Blue Rider Press/Penguin 2014). Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Electric Literature, Literary Hub, The Georgia Review, The Rumpus, Joyland, and The Believer Logger, among other publications. More at www.chinsunlee.com.

    Erin Slaughter is the author of the short story collection A Manual for How to Love Us and the poetry collections The Sorrow Festival, and I Will Tell This Story to the Sun Until You Realize That You Are the Sun. She is the managing editor of Autofocus and was formerly the editor/co-founder of literary journal and chapbook press The Hunger. Her writing has appeared in Lit Hub, Electric Literature, CRAFT, The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, Split Lip Magazine, and elsewhere

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- finishing a first book tour

    -- seeing a first novel go into the world

    --previous work in the fashion industry

    -- life in LA after movie young from Korea

    -- arts and writing growing up

    --publishing a debut novel in your 50's

    - pressure and expectations on following-up a novel

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- Chin-Sun's debut novel Upcountry

    -- balancing three voices

    -- process changing from short stories to the novel

    -- process changing from completed book to WIP

    -- cults

    -- class

    -- the unknown

    -- penance

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- place as character

    -- writing about 2009/10

    -- the possibility of writing something into being by accident

    -- living in New Orleans

    -- the next novel

    --Erin's WIP

    --the beauty and cosmetic industry

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    Podcast theme music by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex and Culdesac. Here's his music project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Jeff Alessandrelli interviews Trey Moody.

    Trey Moody is the author of the poetry collection Autoblivion, which is out now from Conduit Books, and Thought That Nature (Sarabande Books, 2014). He's been the recipient of numerous awards including the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, and his poems have appeared in The Atlantic, The Believer, and New England Review.

    Jeff Alessandrelli is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Fur Not Light. His novel And Yet is being reissued this year by Future Tense Books. He is also the director and co-editor of the small presses Fonograf Editions and Bunny Presse.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- growing up in San Antonio

    -- early moments that led to writing

    -- getting into guitar

    -- early creative writing experiences

    -- overcoming 19 MFA app rejections

    -- formative mentors and editing a journal

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- the decision to get a PhD

    -- moving to Nebraska

    -- the path to Trey's first book Thought That Nature

    -- poetic interests early on vs. now

    -- the optimistic nihilist

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- life in the nine years between books

    -- the new book Autoblivion

    -- a thin line between speaker/author

    -- putting a book together while not a student

    -- publishing and stubbornness

    -- writing about a daughter

    -- writing about life in the Anthropocene

    -- time and Agnes Martin

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    Podcast theme music by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex and Culdesac. Here's his music project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Lena Crown interviews Jehanne Dubrow.

    Jehanne Dubrow is the author of nine books of poems, including most recently, Wild Kingdom (Louisiana State University Press, 2021), and three books of creative nonfiction, throughsmoke: an essay in notes (New Rivers Press, 2019), Taste: A Book of Small Bites (Columbia University Press, 2022), and Exhibitions: Essays on Art & Atrocity (University of New Mexico Press, 2023).

    Lena Crown is a book editor for us at Autofocus Books. Her essays are published or forthcoming in The Rumpus, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Narratively, North American Review, The Offing, and elsewhere, and her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, The Boiler, Poet Lore, No Contact, and Variant Lit.

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    Full conversation topics include:

    -- writing routines and book juggling

    -- switching modes of writing/thinking

    -- teaching trauma writing

    -- starting as an encouraged visual artist

    -- Rothko

    -- writing young

    -- working on Taste: A Book of Small Bites and then Exhibitions: Essays on Art and Atrocity

    -- the research process for a braided essay

    -- rendering place and many different countries

    -- the "snapshots" and "galleries" in the book

    -- ekphrasis

    -- using the body and becoming a surface

    -- finding (and using) different forms

    -- the problem of beauty

    -- possession and dispossession

    -- discomfort

    -- fact and pathos

    -- organization and ordering

    -- flash/prose poem form

    -- her next book Civilians

    -- frivolity

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    Podcast theme music by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex and Culdesac. Here's his music project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton, author of Home Movies.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Jeff Alessandrelli interviews LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs.

    LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is a poet and sound artist. She is the author of the poetry collections, Village (Coffee House Press, 2023) and TwERK (Belladonna, 2013), in addition to three chapbooks. Her interdisciplinary work has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Walker Art Center.

    Jeff Alessandrelli is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Fur Not Light. His novel And Yet is being reissued this year by Future Tense Books. He is also the director and co-editor of the small presses Fonograf Editions and Bunny Presse.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- growing up and still living in Harlem

    -- living in the Bay Area and other places too

    -- freelance music writing for a time, then going to school

    -- first developing with play

    -- early life as a poet

    --trying out different things while going to writing programs

    -- getting an MFA but finding buddies in Cave Canem

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- the success of her first full-length poetry collection TwERK

    -- the uncertain path to the first collection

    -- residencies

    -- the new poetry book VILLAGE, out last year with Coffee House

    -- a decade between books

    -- the complexity and modes of VILLAGE

    -- giving time

    -- a webinar series related to the book

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    Podcast theme music by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex and Culdesac. Here's his music project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Aaron Burch interviews Lindsay Hunter.

    Lindsay Hunter is the author most recently of the novel Hot Springs Drive (Roxane Gay Books, 2023). She's also the author of two story collections, Daddy's and Don't Kiss Me, and the novels Ugly Girls and Eat Only When You're Hungry. She hosts the literary podcast I'm A Writer, But.

    Aaron Burch is the author of the essay collection A Kind of In-Between and editor of How to Write a Novel: An Anthology of 20 Craft Essays About Writing, None of Which Ever Mention Writing, both from Autofocus Books. He's also the author of several other books, including the novel, Year of the Buffalo. He is currently the editor of Short Story, Long and the co-editor of WAS (Words & Sports) and HAD.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- Lindsay's love of Halloween

    -- Lindsay at 16

    -- the prospect of sex as teen with a Christian upbringing

    -- first wanting to be an actress but always writing

    -- Lindsay's history hosting Quickies! and performing readings

    -- writing that's fun to write

    -- her book DADDY'S coming out of the reading series

    -- truly seeing in your writing

    -- working with Zach Dodson of Featherproof Books

    -- co-starting the podcast I'M A WRITER BUT

    -- recently experiencing burnout

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    --a reading of the beginning of HOT SPRINGS DRIVE

    -- working with Roxane Gay on the novel for her new imprint

    -- figuring out the structure of the new novel

    -- trusting the plot and pushing herself

    -- leveling up

    -- writing about sex and food and the body

    -- point of view in the novel

    -- accidentally writing a mystery

    -- new works in progress

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    Podcast theme music by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex and Culdesac. Here's his music project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Kevin Maloney interviews Mike Nagel.

    Mike Nagel is the author of Duplex (Autofocus Books, 2022) and now the author of Culdesac (Autofocus Books, 2024). He also wrote the music for this podcast and a column called The Unintentionalist for the literary magazine Little Engines.

    Kevin Maloney is the author of The Red-Headed Pilgrim (Two Dollar Radio, 2023), Horse Girl Fever (CLASH Books, 2024), and Cult of Loretta (Lazy Fascist, 2015).

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    Full conversation topics include:

    -- a new temporary living situation

    -- writing junk mail for a living

    -- Vonnegut

    -- writing the Unintentionalist column for Little Engines

    -- starting in music early and writing later

    -- early influential books

    -- Mike's surprise breakout hit DUPLEX

    -- quitting drinking after publishing the book

    -- the new book CULDESAC, a sequel of sorts to DUPLEX

    -- the troubling titling the new book

    -- following up a first book that gets some attention

    -- writing as a way to bring meaning to mundanity

    -- thinking about health in mid-life and in the new book

    -- the comedy in Mike's work

    -- revising and not knowing if something is working

    -- seamless drifting and losing the point

    -- unintentionalism

    -- Jamba Juice as character

    -- the high stakes of the every day

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    Podcast theme music also provided by Mike Nagel. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

  • Autofocus Books authors Aaron Burch, Kristine Langley Mahler, Danny Caine, and Holly Pelesky read selections from their books and interview each other briefly about the work they've read.

    Aaron Burch is the author of the essay collection A Kind of In-Between and editor of How to Write a Novel: An Anthology of 20 Craft Essays About Writing, None of Which Ever Mention Writing, both from Autofocus Books. He's also the author of several other books, including the novel, Year of the Buffalo. He is currently the editor of Short Story, Long and the co-editor of WAS (Words & Sports) and HAD.

    Kristine Langley Mahler is the author of two nonfiction books: A Calendar Is a Snakeskin (Autofocus Books, 2023) and Curing Season: Artifacts (West Virginia University Press, 2022). She directs Split Lip Press.

    Danny Caine is the author of the poetry collections Picture Window, Continental Breakfast, El Dorado Freddy's, and Flavortown, as well as the books How to Resist Amazon and Why and How to Protect Bookstores and Why. He's a co-owner of the Raven Book Store, Publishers Weekly's 2022 bookstore of the year.

    Holly Pelesky is the author of the essay collection, Cleave, from Autofocus Books. She also writes fiction and poetry and co-edits Vast Chasm literary magazine.

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton. He publishes Autofocus Books and produces The Lives of Writers. His essay Home Movies will be out from Bunny Presse in Feb 2024.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Michael Wheaton interviews Lexi Kent-Monning.

    Lexi Kent-Monning is the author of the novel, The Burden of Joy, which is out now from Rejection Letters Press. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in XRAY, Joyland, Tilted House Review, Neutral Spaces, Little Engines, and elsewhere.

    An excerpt from The Burden of Joy, titled "The Nurse's Lament", was published previously in Autofocus.

    Michael Wheaton is the publisher of Autofocus Books and producer of The Lives of Writers. His essay Home Movies will be out from Bunny Presse in Feb 2024.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- working customer service for a tech company

    -- previous work doing indie music publicity

    -- previous work as an assistant to actresses & celebs

    -- growing up near Big Sur and the CA/NY push-pull

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- Lexi's first novel The Burden of Joy

    -- fragments turning into a memoir turning into a novel

    -- doppelganger characters and therapy as a writing tool

    -- specific and vital writing about sex and intoxication

    -- admitting hard things to yourself for the writing

    -- heartbreak and childhood repercussions

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- hindsight and the epilogue

    -- the pull toward personal writing

    -- the person you are when you write vs publish the book

    -- promoting a first book

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Mike Nagel interviews Parker Young.

    Parker Young is the author of the the short story collection Cheap Therapist Says You're Insane (Future Tense Books) . His stories have appeared in X-R-A-Y, HAD, Juked, and elsewhere.

    A story from Parker's collection, "On the Toilet," was originally published in Autofocus.

    Mike Nagel is the author of Duplex (Autofocus Books, 2022). He lives in Plano, Texas. He also wrote the music for this podcast.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- living in the same building as family

    -- maintaining relationships as an adult

    -- writing spaces and getting into a creative state

    -- the stoics and blaming

    -- favorite childhood books

    -- being inspired by unexplainable writing

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- not being into screenwriting

    -- tension rather than plot

    -- Parker's story collection CHEAP THERAPIST SAYS YOU'RE INSANE

    -- getting a story started and variations in getting it done

    -- writing and revising and collecting stories over a long period of time

    -- sequencing a book that can be sequenced many ways

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    --last minute changes to the book

    -- working with small presses in general and Future Tense in particular

    -- putting out a first book

    -- what to do after a first book

    -- Thomas Bernhard

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Joshua James Amberson interviews Russell Brakefield.

    Russell Brakefield is the author the poetry book My Modest Blindness, which is out now from us at Autofocus Books. He's also the author of Field Recordings and the forthcoming Irregular Heartbeats at the Park West (Wayne State University Press). His writing has appeared in the Indiana Review, New Orleans Review, The Common, Rattle, and elsewhere.

    Joshua James Amberson is the author of Staring Contest: Essays About Eyes (Perfect Day Publishing), How to Forget Almost Everything: A Novel (Korza Books), a series of chapbooks on Two Plum Press, as well as the long-running Basic Paper Airplane zine series. He lives in Portland, Oregon where he runs the Antiquated Future online variety store and record label.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- writing routines

    -- making a life of writing

    -- wonder and mystery

    -- writing as a job or identity

    -- Russ's first book Field Recordings

    -- the concern of audience in art

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- Russ's new book My Modest Blindness

    -- keratoconus, and Russ's experience with it

    -- lamenting and celebrating the vanishing

    -- the thing we want to write vs the one that needs to be written

    -- how the need to write influences style and voice

    -- writing in connection with Borges's On Blindness

    -- sectioning the poetry book on subject and threading them

    -- paper and vision as metaphors

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- Russ's forthcoming book Irregular Heartbeats at the Park West

    -- trying to continue writing while promoting two books

    -- working on short stories and a novel

    -- prose vs poetry writing

    -- the addictiveness of narrative

    -- music in Russ's life and work

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Episode and show artwork by Amy Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Aaron Burch interviews Austin Ross.

    Austin Ross is the author of the novel Gloria Patri and is a senior editor with HarperCollins, where he acquires and develops a wide variety of nonfiction titles. His fiction and essays have been featured in Publishers Weekly, Literary Hub, and elsewhere.

    Aaron Burch is the author of the essay collection A Kind of In-Between and editor of How to Write a Novel: An Anthology of 20 Craft Essays About Writing, None of Which Ever Mention Writing, both from Autofocus Books. He's also the author of several other books, including the novel, Year of the Buffalo. He is currently the editor of Short Story, Long and the co-editor of WAS (Words & Sports) and HAD.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- promoting a small press novel

    -- becoming an editor at Harper Collins

    -- the day-to-day of remote editing

    -- the Sci-Fi -> literary genre pipeline

    -- moving into your own territory as a writer

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- Austin's first novel, Gloria Patri, a thriller about religious extremism/terror

    -- writing versions of the book across 20 years

    -- the year of really writing the book

    -- writing novels vs stories

    -- finding the structure of the novel

    -- putting experience as a kid in an isolationist home church into the novel

    -- researching about militia groups for the novel

    -- rotating point of view

    -- placing the novel where he didn't/doesn't live

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- influential books and reading while working on the novel

    -- finding publication with Malarkey Books

    -- having the first book out

    -- birds

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Sara Rauch interviews Hilary Leichter.

    Hilary Leichter is the author of the novels Terrace House, which came out from Ecco early this fall, and Temporary, which came out, to much acclaim, from Coffee House Press in 2020. Hilary’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, n+1, The New York Times, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. Her work in Harper’s Magazine won the 2021 National Magazine Award in Fiction.

    Sara Rauch is the author of the book-length essay XO, from us at Autofocus Books. She’s also the author of the story collection, What Shines from it, from Alternating Current Press. Her book reviews and author interviews have been featured in the LA Review of Books, Newcity Lit, Lambda Literary, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- boredom and daydreaming

    -- the internal/external nature of writing

    -- teaching undergrad at Columbia after doing their MFA

    -- screenwriting and starting as a playwright

    -- writing her first novel Temporary

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- drafting novels in a month

    -- writing her new novel Terrace Story

    -- book length and access

    -- indicating space in fiction

    -- an unspoiled emotional experience

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- space and limited space

    -- short stories turning into novels

    -- the unintentional and intentional parts of writing

    -- loneliness and aloneness

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Michael Wheaton interviews Tyler Dempsey.

    Tyler Dempsey is the author of Newspaper Drumsticks, Time as a Sort of Enemy, Consumption & Other Vices, and Will We All Still See Each Other Afterward. He hosts Another Fucking Writing Podcast.

    Michael Wheaton is the publisher of Autofocus Books and producer of The Lives of Writers.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- working for the Bureau of Land Management

    -- search and rescue volunteer work

    -- starting his Another Fucking Writing Podcast

    -- the monologue development process for his show

    -- influential podcasts for inspiring and evolving Tyler's and Michael's

    -- Tyler finding sobriety after living in rural Alaska for many years and wanting to die

    -- Michael's own issues around similar but different shit

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- more about Tyler's time in Alaska

    -- his brother's arrest and his relationship with him before and after

    -- his book of poems from his brother letters, Newspaper Drumsticks

    -- the story of his novel Consumption and Other Vices finding publication

    -- a propelling voice and dreamlike-ness

    -- a new autofiction novel based around his dark time in Alaska

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Jeff Alessandrelli interviews Kazim Ali.

    Kazim Ali is a poet, novelist, and essayist. His most recent book is Sukun: New and Selected Poems, which draws from his six previous full-length collections, and includes 35 new poems. He's also published novels, translations, anthologies, and a memoir. He was a founding editor of Nightboat Books.

    Jeff Alessandrelli is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Fur Not Light. He is also the director and co-editor of the small presses Fonograf Editions and Bunny Presse.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    --the Kinkos era of indie publishing

    -- looking back at 25 years of work for SUKUN: New & Selected Poems

    -- finding the echoes in a body of work

    -- the LP as poetic book form

    -- also putting out a New & Selected with Harper Collins India

    -- revising early poems and Dickenson's alternate wordings

    -- the new book within the new book

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- starting out as a reader and writing

    -- varying Englishes and language that crosses borders

    -- working as an organizer for student organizations

    -- the many genres in Kazim's body of work

    -- not changing just to achieve a marker of success

    -- founding Nightboat Books or small presses in general

    -- always working on something creative

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- the beginnings and evolution of Nightboat Books

    -- the small press experimental writing landscape then and now

    -- spirituality and faith

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Kaycie Hall interviews Heidi Julavits.

    Kaycie Hall is the lead editor of our online journal Autofocus. She's also a writer and literary translator, whose work has appeared in Peach Mag, Neutral Spaces, Triangle House Review, and other journals.

    Heidi Julavits is the author of the new book Directions to Myself: A Memoir of Four Years, The Folded Clock: A Diary, and four novels, including the PEN Award-winning The Vanishers. She is an associate professor at Columbia University and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in New York City and Maine.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- psychic boundaries

    -- living and writing part of the year in Maine

    -- Narnia and Enid Blyton books

    -- writing young for the fun of it

    -- the life of The Believer

    -- writing novels and then writing The Folded Clock (memoir)

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- a book Heidi sold and was supposed to write

    -- that book becoming Directions to Myself: A Memoir of Four Years

    -- thinking about how to mother a boy / mother blaming

    -- treatment of the same behaviors across gender

    -- writing about your own children

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- Heidi's book tour on a boat

    -- getting into video editing

    -- the cutting involved in a current project

    -- a dead French actress' estate

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Don't forget to check out Autofocus Books.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Michael Wheaton interviews Benjamin Niespodziany.

    Benjamin Niespodziany is the author of the poetry collection No Farther Than the End of the Street (Okay Donkey Press), the novella in one act plays Cardboard Clouds (X-R-A-Y), and two chapbooks. His work has been featured in Fence, Crazyhorse, Fairy Tale Review, Salt Hill, and other journals. He also runs the record label and blog Neon Pajamas.

    Michael Wheaton is the publisher of Autofocus Books and producer of this podcast.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- music and music marketing in Chicago

    -- his instrumental label Neon Pajamas

    -- writing about music in the Sound Cloud era

    -- growing up as a listener and a reader

    -- a special interest in concept albums

    -- moving from journalism to poetry and flash

    -- working at a library after time in the Peace Corps

    -- starting to write more and publish poetry and flash

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- the novella in one-act-plays Cardboard Clouds

    -- language as performance and boxing yourself in

    -- influential books for the stage play format

    -- a circus-like aesthetic

    -- sound being everything

    -- his first poetry collection No Farther Than the End of the Street

    -- writing autobiographically without writing autobiographically

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    PART THREE , topics include:

    -- writing from first and second vs third person

    -- books as concept albums

    -- publishing his books with presses associated with favorite journals

    -- accumulating writing after finding obsessions

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Lucas Mann interviews Jill Talbot.

    Lucas Mann is the author of three books, Captive Audience: On Love and Reality TV, Lord Fear: A Memoir, and Class A: Baseball in Middle of Everywhere. His fourth book, Attachments: Essays On Fatherhood and Other Performances is forthcoming around the spring of 2024. He is also the new co-owner Riffraff Bookstore and Bar in Providence, RI.

    Jill Talbot is the author of The Last Year: Essays. She’s also the author of The Way We Weren’t: A Memoir and Loaded: Women and Addiction, the co-editor of The Art of Friction: Where (Non)Fictions Come Together, and the editor of Metawritings: Toward a Theory of Nonfiction. Her craft book, The Essay Form(s), will be published in 2024.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- the longstanding conversation between Jill and Lucas

    -- the old writing table and a new writing table

    -- writing and teaching as the same project

    -- being the daughter of a football coach and granddaughter of a minister

    -- cheerleading as early identity and coming to non-fiction

    -- Jill's first book, LOADED

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- the process of writing THE WAY THEY WEREN'T

    -- turning the Paris Review Daily column THE LAST YEAR into a book

    -- writing from the precipice

    -- the challenge of writing about parenthood

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- navigating the intention of writing about a child

    -- writing habits changing after her child leaving the house

    -- the pandemic happening during the writing of the original column

    -- stories that are and aren't yours to tell

    -- life after the end of THE LAST YEAR

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.

    Don't forget to check out Autofocus Books.

  • On today's episode of The Lives of Writers, Sara Rauch interviews John Milas.

    John Milas is the author of the gothic horror novel The Militia House, which came out this year from MacMillan. He served on active duty in the Martine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.

    Sara Rauch is the author of the book-length essay XO, from us at Autofocus Books. She’s also the author of the story collection, What Shines from it, from Alternating Current Press. Her book reviews and author interviews have been featured in the LA Review of Books, Newcity Lit, Lambda Literary, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

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    PART ONE, topics include:

    -- the office ceiling collapsing

    -- a job you don't take home

    -- writing habits changing

    -- the first draft of his novel THE MILITIA HOUSE

    -- getting away with watching Alien as a sheltered kid

    -- enlisting in the marines

    -- a valuable poetry workshop

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    PART TWO, topics include:

    -- serving as a marine from 2008 - 2012

    -- returning to school after the military

    -- the parts of deployment that became parts of the novel

    -- the haunted house at the center of the novel

    -- scaring yourself to scare readers

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    PART THREE, topics include:

    -- porcupine quills as a motif in the novel

    -- unfamiliarity

    -- repetition as escalation rather than duplication

    -- narrative devices related to writing

    -- the question of PTSD in Act 3

    -- the style of the narrator vs the writer

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    Podcast theme music provided by Mike Nagel, author of Duplex. Here's more of his project: Yeah Yeah Cool Cool.

    The Lives of Writers is edited and produced by Michael Wheaton.