KUCI Fund Drive

Monday, June 27, 2022

Novelist Erica Ferencik, Girl in Ice

Erica Ferencik, author of Girl in Ice, talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about her new novel, creatures that can freeze and thaw out alive, why she's a plotter, writing the book she wished existed, and more. 

Erica Ferencik is an award-winning novelist who writes adventure novels featuring women who brave not only internal struggles but face extreme challenges in their environment: remote forests, steaming jungles, and desolated ice scapes. To research GIRL IN ICE, (Scout Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster), she explored the desolate iceberg-packed fjords of Greenland.


(Recorded in June 2022) 

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett 

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com 
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com 
Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Visit our Patreon page at www.patreon.com/writersonwriting

Monday, June 20, 2022

Alexis Schaitkin, author of "Elsewhere"

Alexis Schaitkin joins Marrie Stone to talk about her latest novel, Elsewhere (to be published by Celadon on June 28, 2022).

 The speculative fiction story explores the perils and pleasures of motherhood, how mothers judge one another, how women can often disappear into motherhood — and into aging — and how sometimes they can find themselves again. The setting is evocative and the issues are profound.

Schaitkin shares several backstories behind the novel, including the inspiration for this hauting fictional village, her many attempts to find her way into the story, how she let go of her expectations for the novel, and how she once again managed a large cast of characters. For novelists, there's mounds of advice for character development and structure. For speculative fiction writers, there are insights for creating effective rules for your world. For Schaitkin's fans, there's fun backstories on how she constructs her novels and the themes she remains interested in exploring. 

Schaitkin's first novel, Saint X, was a NYT Notable Book of 2020 and is being adapted into a miniseries by Hulu. 

Download audio.  (Recorded on June 9, 2022)

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com
Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, June 13, 2022

Novelist, Steve Almond, All the Secrets of the World

Steve Almond, author of All the Secrets of the World (Zando, 2022) joins Barbara DeMarco-Barrett to discuss his new novel and why he wanted to write a social novel, how it took him five tries to get it right, and much more on the process of writing. Steve is the author of twelve books of fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His recent books include William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life, which is about reading and writing and the struggle to pay attention to our lives, and Bad Stories, a literary investigation of the 2016 election. For four years, Steve hosted the New York Times Dear Sugars podcast with Cheryl Strayed. His short stories have been anthologized widely, in the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Erotica, and Best American Mysteries series. His new book is a novel called All the Secrets of the World. 


Download audio


(Recorded on May 27, 2022, via Zoom audio) 


Music and sound design by Travis Barrett 

Check out his typewriter compositions at Just My Type on Spotify


Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com 


Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com 


Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com


Find us on Patreon.com/writersonwriting

Monday, June 06, 2022

Jess Walter, author of collection "The Angel of Rome"

Novelist and short story writer Jess Walter joins Marrie Stone to talk about his latest collection, The Angel of Rome. Jess is the author of seven novels (including The Cold Millions and Beautiful Ruins), two collections of short stories, and a non-fiction book. He is the recipient of the Edgar Allan Poe Award (Citizen Vance), and was a finalist for the National Book Award (The Zero).

Walter talks about assembling the collection, choosing these 12 thematic stories out of 40 or 50 choices. He discusses effective humor, the difference between sentiment and sentimentality, and how to avoid cliches and stereotypes. He also talks about his ability to access elderly characters, writing a Gen X collection while not identifying completely with Gen X, and so much more.

For more information about Jess Walter, upcoming events, and more visit his website here

We also invite you to check out our new Patreon page, where we offer weekly writing tips and prompts, as well as other goodies for our loyal listeners. This week's tip was inspired by this conversation.

Thanks for listening!

Download audio.  

(Recorded on June 2, 2022)

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett 


Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com
Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, May 30, 2022

Novelist Jeffrey Fleishman

Jeffrey Fleishman, author of the brand new novel, Good Night, Forever (Blackstone), and Barbara DeMarco-Barrett talk about setting your book where you live, side characters, crime fiction and social issues, and so much more. 


Jeff Fleishman is foreign and national editor at the Los Angeles Times. Previously, he was a senior writer on film, art and culture. A 2002 Nieman fellow at Harvard University, Fleishman was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in feature writing. A longtime foreign correspondent, he served as bureau chief for The Times in Cairo and Berlin, and was previously based in Rome for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has been a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and a finalist for the Center for Public Integrity’s Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting. He is the author of three novels: “My Detective,” “Shadow Man” and “Promised Virgins: A Novel of Jihad.”

 (Recorded on April 27, 2022.) 

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett 


 Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com 
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com 
Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, May 23, 2022

A.J. Jacobs, author of "The Puzzler"

Immersion journalist A.J. Jacobs returns to the show to talk with Marrie Stone about his latest book, The Puzzler: One Man's Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life. Along the way he shares mounds of writing advice, including the importance of approaching your work with a curious mindset, how finding a toehold in your writing can help you expand, how constraints lead to creativity and so much more. 

A.J. also shares why, after all his many books, the writing process is still difficult and how he overcomes his resistance. Check out this essay for a sneak peek into that conversation. 

Beyond the great writing advice, A.J. also shares his infectious love for puzzles and the many wonderful backstories and interviews behind the writing of this book. Geeks, puzzlers, and writers alike will take much away from this conversation.

Download audio

(Recorded on May 4, 2022) 

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com
Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, May 16, 2022

Gary Phillips, One-Shot Harry

Gary Phillips, author of One-Shot Harry, is my guest. Gary has been a community activist, labor organizer and has published various novels, comics, short stories as well as editing several anthologies including Orange County Noir (which is how we met; I have a story in the Akashic anthology) and the award-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy NoirViolent Spring, first published in 1994 was named in 2020 one of the essential crime novels of Los Angeles. He was a senior story editor on FX’s Snowfall, about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central where he grew up. His newest novel is One-Shot Harry, which has been receiving quite a bit of love from the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. On the show we discuss why he set his novel in the early 60s, loglines, creating a photographer protagonist, and so much more. 


(Recorded on May 5, 2022) 

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett 


Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com 
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com 
Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Find Writers on Writing on Patreon and become a Patron!

Monday, May 09, 2022

Robert Kerbeck, author of Ruse: Lying the American Dream from Hollywood to Wall Street

Robert Kerbeck joins Marrie Stone to talk about his memoir, Ruse: Lying the American Dream from Hollywood to Wall Street. From corporate espionage to uncomfortable encounters with O.J. Simpson, Kevin Spacey and others, Kerbeck weaves an incredible tale of deception and redemption, peppered with Forrest Gump-like brushes with fame. 

Kerbeck shares both his incredible story, as well as mounds of writing advice and publishing wisdom—from the benefits of reading plays to insights on how to market your book after publication. Memoir writers will take away insights on how to treat chapters as short stories, the benefits of writing short and tight, how writing groups can help your career, the critical role of networking and more.

Download audio

(Recorded on March 11, 2022)
(Podcast on May 9, 2022)

Visit our Patreon page here for additional benefits. 

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com
Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, May 02, 2022

Poet Kim Dower, I Wore This Dress for You, Mom (Red Hen Press)

Kim Dower, West Hollywood poet laureate, instructor at UCLA Extension and Antioch LA, and book publicist, talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about her latest volume, I Wore This Dress for You, Mom (Red Hen Press). They talk about inspiration, on not getting an MFA, what to do when you hit a wall, and more.


(Recorded in April 2022) 

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett 

Visit our Patreon page at www.patreon.com/writersonwriting

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com 

Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com 

Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, April 25, 2022

Annie Hartnett, author of "Unlikely Animals"

Annie Hartnett, author of the 2017 novel Rabbit Cake, returns with what The Millions calls "One of the most anticipated books of 2022." Part mystical, part mystery, Unlikely Animals is filled with quirky characters, problematic animals, and chatty ghosts. 

Hartnett joins Marrie Stone to talk about the importance of following your obsessions and establishing a strong writing routine, as well as good tips on how to do it. (Hint: check out this article by Aimee Bender.) Hartnett also talks about mistakes she made in finding an agent and how to avoid them. Perhaps best of all, she shares some insightful tips for how to approach the revision process. 

Download audio.  

(Recorded on April 7, 2022)
(Broadcast on April 24, 2022)

Writers on Writing is now available on Patreon. Check out our fun perks and special offers for members. For the first ten patrons who join, we're offering the benefits of the next highest tier for one month.

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett 

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com 

Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com 

Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Thursday, April 21, 2022

T. Jefferson Parker, A Thousand Steps

T. Jefferson Parker, author of the new novel, A Thousand Steps (Forge) talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about the book he's wanted to write for years, finding his voice, rituals, and more. 

This interview was originally recorded as a Sisters in Crime Zoom event (which was Zoom-bombed, but that's another story). If you'd like to view the interview (minus the Zoom-bomb), visit YouTube and search out the Sisters in Crime Orange County channel.


We are now on Patreon. If you're a loyal listener and would like to show your appreciation, any amount helps. Visit Patreon.

(Recorded in March and April, 2022) 

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett 


Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com
 
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com 

Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, April 11, 2022

Poet and "Slow Journalist" Tom Sleigh on Writers on Writing

In 2007, Tom Sleigh was invited to the Middle East by Munir Akash — who translated works of the famous Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish — to tell a more nuanced and emotional story of the Palestinian and Syrian refugees. Shortly after his arrival, war broke out again in Lebanon and Sleigh's time quickly turned from an archivist poet to an eye-witness journalist. 

Sleigh has written eleven collections of poetry, as well as essays and prose on his experiences in war-torn countries, his own lifelong battle with a deadly disease, and other topics. Sleigh is a Distinguished Professor in the MFA program at Hunter College.

He joins Marrie Stone to talk about his latest collection, The King's Touch, published by Graywolf Press. He talks about the current crisis in Ukraine, finding the authority to tell stories about refugees, how most poems take 80 or 90 drafts, how the personal can be married to the political and more.

Download audio

(Recorded on March 13, 2022)
Music and sound design by Travis Barrett
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com
Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, April 04, 2022

Francine Prose, author of the novel, The Vixen

Novelist Francine Prose talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about her novel, The Vixen. They also talk about writing about writers, writing during Covid, using McCarthyism as an allegory for Trumpism, and more. 


(Recorded in February 2022) 

Music and sound design by Travis Barrett 


Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com 

Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com 

Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, March 28, 2022

Charlotte McConaghy, Migrations and Once There Were Wolves

Charlotte McConaghy, author of the novels, Migrations and Once There Were Wolves, talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about wolves' role in bringing the forests back to life, writing in the close first person, and defying categories. 



(Recorded on Feb. 17, 2022)


Music and sound design by Travis Barrett

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett: www.penonfire.com
Marrie Stone: www.marriestone.com
Travis Barrett: https://travisbarrett.mykajabi.com

Monday, March 21, 2022

Lee Cole discusses his debut novel, Groundskeeping

Lee Cole grew up in Kentucky and set his debut novel, Groundskeeping, in his childhood home. He joins Marrie Stone to talk about establishing a strong sense of place within the novel, tackling dialect, and the physical and psychological distance required to write about home. 

As a graduate of the University of Iowa's MFA program, Cole talks about the lessons he learned there, including the importance of staying in scene, establishing a strong sense of interiority in his characters, and more. 

Download audio

Record date: February 22, 2022
Broadcast date: March 28, 2022

Monday, March 14, 2022

Lee Kravetz discusses Sylvia Plath on Writers on Writing

Lee Kravetz—author of Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success and Strange Contagion: Inside the Surprising Science of Infectious Behaviors and Viral Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves—takes on the life and legacy of Sylvia Plath in his debut novel, The Last Confessions of Sylvia P.

Kravetz joins Marrie Stone for a deep dive into the enduring influence of Sylvia Plath and her work, and how she—along with Anne Sexton—pioneered the genre of confessional poetry, leading in part to punk rock and the memoir as we know it today. The Last Confessions of Sylvia P. is at once a compelling mystery, a psychological study, a slice of historical literary fiction, and an homage to some of the greatest poets of the mid-20th century.

Kravetz spent years in the publishing industry. He decided on an advanced degree in psychology instead of an MFA. And he opted to leave nonfiction behind in favor of fiction. He shares all the insights and wisdom he's gained along the way, as well as mounds of writing advice. Listeners will learn the importance of putting on their shoes, and how a dog determined Kravetz next project, among many other great stories.

Download audio.  

Record date: February 28, 2022
Broadcast date: March 14, 2022

Monday, March 07, 2022

Coolest American Stories 2022 w/Mark Wish, Mary Taugher & David Ebenbach

This show was especially fun for me because I got to talk with Mark Wish, editor of Coolest American Stories 2022, an anthology that includes my story, "Blue Martini," along with stories I loved by two other writers in the book, Mary Taugher and David Ebenbach.

More than 125 of Mark Wish's short stories have appeared in print venues such as Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review, Triquarterly, Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize 2000. His three novels, published by two small presses and Putnam, have been praised by the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Mary Taugher’s short stories have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Narrative Magazine, Santa Monica Review, Epiphany, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Redivider. She has worked as a journalist in Ohio and Southern California, and as a writer and editor for public relations, political consulting, and fundraising agencies. She lives in San Francisco, where she is working on a collection of short stories. 

David Ebenbach is the author of nine books of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, including his recent novel How to Mars. He lives with his family in Washington, DC, where he teaches at the Center for Jewish Civilization and promotes student centered teaching through the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship. More at davidebenbach.com.

 More about show host B. DeMarco-Barrett at www.penonfire.com.

Learn more about COOLEST AMERICAN STORIES 2022 at www.coolestamericanstories.com The anthology is considering stories for the 2023 edition.



(Recorded: Feb 11, 2022)

Music and sound editing by Travis Barrett

Monday, February 28, 2022

Chigozie Obioma on "Writers on Writing"

Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma was twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize for his novels The Fishermen (2015) and An Orchestra of Minorities (2019). With fluidity in several languages, and immersion in disparate cultures and literature, Obioma brings his unique voice to the page. He also tackles challenging points of view, from a madman in The Fishermen to the chi—the Igbo personal life force or guardian angel—in An Orchestra of Minorities

Obioma teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and brings the strength of his experience in teaching and writing, as well as the wisdom he's gained in straddling different cultures and languages to the conversation. He joins Marrie Stone to talk about his childhood in Nigeria, how his native language impacts his work, choosing challenging points of view, and the remarkable way he sold his first novel. 

Download audio.  

(Broadcast date: February 28, 2022)

Monday, February 21, 2022

Sara Gran, The Book of the Most Precious Substance

Sara Gran, author of The Book of the Most Precious Substance (Dreamland Books) talks with B. DeMarco-Barrett about her new erotic thriller, revising, the book within the book and why she chose to start a publishing company to publish the novel rather than going through an agent and traditional publisher. 



 (Broadcast date: Feb. 21, 2022)

Monday, February 14, 2022

Weike Wang, author of "Joan is Okay," on Writers on Writing

Weike Wang planned to pursue a career in medicine. She obtained a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a doctorate in public health, both from Harvard University. But she also earned an MFA from Boston University and it changed the trajectory of her career. Joan is Okay is her second novel. Her debut novel, Chemistry, won the Pen/Hemingway Award in Fiction and a Whiting Award in 2018. 

Joan is Okay tackles issues of race, culture, gender, family and economics, all set against the backdrop of the pandemic. Wang joined Marrie Stone to talk about unlearning how to write like an academic, finding the voice for an elusive character, how writing in the collage structure paid unexpected dividends, and more.

Download audio.  

(Record date: January 27, 2022
Broadcast date: February 14, 2022)

Monday, February 07, 2022

Benjamin Percy, The Unfamiliar Garden

Benjamin Percy, author of The Unfamiliar Garden, talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about his new book and the writing life. 


(Recorded on January 28, 2022)

Music and sound editing by Travis Barrett

Monday, January 31, 2022

Tessa Hadley, author of "Free Love," on Writers on Writing

In the spirit of The Lost Daughter, Tessa Hadley's latest novel explores one of the biggest taboos of western culture—women who leave. The British author has penned eight novels and three collections of short stories. She's known in the industry as "a writer's writer," admired by contemporaries like Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Hilary Mantel and Anne Enright.

Hadley joins Marrie Stone to talk about Free Love. She discusses some of the enduring themes in her fiction, the freedom of setting a novel in the 1960s, how she tackles her sex scenes, and why this novel came easily to her when others mostly don't. 

Hadley came late to publishing, her first novel making its debut when the author was 46. She discusses the advantages of publishing later in life, and how she approaches her different roles as novelist versus short story writer. 

Download audio.  

(Record date: January 13, 2022)
(Broadcast date: January 31, 2022)

Monday, January 24, 2022

Debut novelist April Davila with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

Debut novelist, April Dávila, author of 142 Ostriches, published by Kensington, talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about taking your time writing your book, how a seed of experience turns into a story, and writing setting and place.


(Recorded on January 4, 2022)

Music and sound editing by Travis Barrett

Monday, January 17, 2022

New Yorker Staff Writer Kathryn Schultz, author of "Lost and Found"

Kathryn Schulz lost her father in 2016, only a year after falling in love with fellow New Yorker staff writer Casey Cep, whom she would marry in 2018. The confluence of tragedy and discovery moved her to write the memoir, Lost and Found, a book full of personal accounts of loss, discovery and the mystery of what conjoins them. It leads the reader not only through Schulz's experiences, but the more universal experience of loss and revelation by using philosophy, science, poetry and other disciplines. The result is a beautiful meditation on the ordinary experiences of everyday life, as well as the profound mysteries of love and loss.

Schulz joins Marrie Stone to talk about the memoir, how she settled on its structure, how she's built the deep well of scientific, philosophical, spiritual and literary knowledge she drew from, and more.

Schultz is a staff writer for the New Yorker Magazine. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2015 article, "The Really Big One." She's also the author of the 2010 book, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error.

Download audio. (Broadcast date: January 17, 2022)

Monday, January 10, 2022

T. Jefferson Parker, A Thousand Steps

T. Jefferson Parker, author of A Thousand Steps (Forge), released on Jan. 11, 2022, talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about his new novel, why he wanted to write a novel based in 1968, point of view and tense, merging fact with fiction, and so much more.  




 (Recorded via Zoom on Jan. 6, 2022)

Music and sound editing by Travis Barrett