Latest entries from the Pen on Fire blog:

Fiction Writers Arna Bontemps Hemenway and Patricia Engel on Writers on Writing

Arna Bontemps Hemenway, author of the short story collection Elegy on Kinderklavier, joins co-host Nicole Nelson to discuss writing about loss, inhabiting his characters emotionally, overcoming a challenging period in his own writing life post-MFA, and how the most important thing you can make a story isn’t clever or topical, or anything else besides making it meaningful to you.

In the second half, Patricia Engel, author of The Veins of the Ocean, talks about the origins of this novel as a short story, her strategy for handling plot, doing research as needed, using dialogue sparingly, letting her life by the ocean influence the story, and more.

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[Note: Audio begins immediately with the interview with Arna, without a show introduction, due to technical difficulties.]

(Broadcast date: May 18, 2016)

Chitra Divakaruni & Boris Fishman on Writers on Writing

Bestselling novelist Chitra Divakaruni joins Marrie Stone to talk about her latest novel in stories, Before We Visit the Goddess  She talks about the importance of writers’ groups, the revision process, the distance necessary to write about place, the immigrant experience, how her characters have grown with her, and what subjects retain her focus and interest.

In the second half, Boris Fishman joins to talk about his novel, Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo.  He shares his rules for writing authentic sex scenes, writing from a woman’s point of view, the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone as a writer, how Montana has captured his heart, and more.

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(Broadcast date: April 27, 2016)

Ayelet Tsabari & Markus Zusak on Writers on Writing

Israeli author Ayelet Tsabari joins Marrie Stone to talk about her short story collection, The Best Place on Earth. She talks about writing in her second language, creating a compelling setting, the unique Israeli perspective on the world and how it impacts her writing, and much more.

In the second half, international bestselling author Markus Zusak talks about the re-release of his highly acclaimed novel, The Book Thief.  He shares many insights into his writing process, his writing notebooks, how he arrived at the novel’s unique point of view, his favorite characters, and more.

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(Broadcast date: April 13, 2016)

Jarett Kobek and John D’Agata on Writers on Writing

Jarett Kobek, author of I Hate the Internetjoins Nicole Nelson to talk about developing a POV that was influenced by Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, his attempt to try to mirror the jagged way information comes at you on the internet, and his advice to writers: learn to enjoy suffering.

Then John D’Agata, editor of The Making of the American Essay talks about his twenty years working on this three-volume series of anthologies on essays that concludes with this work. He also shares thoughts on what makes an essay a challenging form to write, but one that when done right has the potential to capture and share a piece of humanity.

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(Broadcast date: April 20, 2016)


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