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On Writing

Author: Joshua Pomare

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Join us every month as we speak with recently published or well established authors, gleaning insights and real tips from writers following their process from beginning to write, editing and proof reading, to finding an agent and publisher and finally finding an audience. Past guests include Joyce Carol-Oates, E.L James, John Safran, and Charlotte Wood.Twitter @_on_writing
39 Episodes
The guest is Ceridwen Dovey. The book is Life After Truth. Ceridwen is an author, essayist and academic. She attended Harvard University on a scholarship where she met Jared Kushner and Natalie Portman. Her brilliant latest novel, Life After Truth, is inspired by her experience of attending the 15 year reunion of her class at Harvard. We talk about tech, machine learning, politics, how people change, an ill fated meeting with George Lucas and about raising children among many other things. This was one of my favourite interviews and Ceridwen is an author everyone should read.
Chris Hammer is the guest. The book is Trust, the third novel in the Martin Scarsden series. We talk about writing break out debuts, why setting is so important and how Chris manages to find new compelling stories for the same characters. We also talk about writing and setting novels in the time of Covid.
The guest is Robbie Arnott. The book is The Rain Heron. Robbie's debut Flames  was shortlisted for and won a number of major literary prizes. His second novel is just as good. He writes compelling, inventive stories about our relationship with and dominion over the natural world. We talk about writing second novels, finding inspiration and our writing process. Robbie is also the first guest to feature on the show twice.
Mirandi Riwoe is the guest. She is the author of a number of books, most recently the historical fiction novel Stone Sky Gold Mountain, set in 1870s in a gold rush town in Queensland. Mirandi is an enormously generous writer, providing deep insights into her process and the ways she created authentic migrant characters and brought to life a town which no longer exists.
The guest is Liam Pieper, author of a number of books including his most recent novel Sweetness and Light. Liam has an intriguing story and he talks to us about how his time abroad inspired much of the story and how to write with authenticity and accuracy about cities and countries you don't live in. Sweetness and Light is a beautiful novel full of heart and life, sitting snugly in that magic cross section between literary depth and commercial pace.
The book is Shirl, an eclectic collection of short stories that will surprise and dazzle but beneath it all, there is a beating heart and real insight into what it means to be a man in small town Australia. Wayne writes with a surrealist bent in the vein of George Saunders and Shirl draws to mind other ground breaking collections like Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's Friday Black. Wayne also has a touching story about why he started to write this collection and how it came to be published.
The guest is Gary Disher, the author of a number of novels over a career spanning decades. Gary's latest novel Peace is a beautifully wrought rural crime novel that starts off quietly and builds as the story progresses. Gary is a master of the craft and shares many of the insights he's gathered over a long and prolific career.
The guest is Alice Bishop, author of the short story collection A Constant Hum. Alice lost her family home in the Black Saturday bush fires in Australia and the stories of Hum are all linked to those fires in which 173 people died. Alice writes with sensitivity, capturing the details so perfectly to show the lives and experiences of those affected. In this interview she speaks with emotional honesty about the process of writing and researching Hum, and what we learnt, or perhaps didn't learn from the last catastrophic bush fires. Given the scale and devastation of the 2019/2020 fires it's a book everyone should read.
The guest is Bram Presser, multi-award winning author, lawyer, and punk rocker. His book is The Book of Dirt which we talk a lot about. We also talk a lot about writing to preserve family histories, the fallibility of memory and how it influences story telling, the 'Museum of the Extinct Race', pop novelists hijacking narratives around the Holocaust, and many other things.
The guest is Susan Hurley debut author of the medical thriller Eight Lives. Eight Lives is the story of David Tran and the drug he discovered which ultimately kills him in a failed medical trial. The novel maps all the cause leading to and the effects of his death. Susan speaks candidly about the struggles of getting this book published and her extensive experience in both the medical world and academic worlds.
The guest is Rob McDonald debut author of The Nancys. Rob is a fellow Kiwi and The Nancys is a riotous crime/coming-of-age story about Tippy Chan and her uncle and his boyfriend who, inspired by Nancy Drew, set out to solve a crime in a small town in South Island, New Zealand. We talk about 'breaking through,' writing small town real life settings and how to write a first novel.
Mark Brandi is the guest. His second novel The Rip explores many contemporary themes including homelessness and drug addiction. Like his debut Wimmera, The Rip is set in a place Mark knows well, Melbourne City. He talks us through his process and the ways real life inspires his stories. For years Mark worked in policy and has close ties to law enforcement.
Laura Elizabeth Woollett is the guest. The novel is Beautiful Revolutionary, a retelling of the events that led up to the mass suicide at The Peoples Temple. We talk about the appeal of cults, method writing, breaking through as a young writer and research. Laura's writing is crisp and evocative, and Beautiful Revolutionary was one of my favourite books of 2018.
The guest is Dervla McTiernan, author of the international bestseller The Ruin. Dervla talks brain cancer, Scrivener, being ambitious and how fantasy novels have shaped her approach as a crime fiction writer. We also talk about her outstanding second novel The Scholar.
The guest is Stuart Turton author of the Costa prize winning novel The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. Stuart talks about his development as a writer and the challenges of writing whilst helping to raise a young family. We also talk about reviews, Agatha Christie and deliberately getting lost in a forest.
Sarah Bailey is the guest. In this bumper episode I talk about some of my favourite books of the year before speaking with the author of two Gemma Woodstock crime novels, Into the Night and The Dark Lake. We also talk about the feeling of flow, flawed characters and high expectations. 
The guest is journalist and novelist Trent Dalton whose debut, Boy Swallows Universe, has become an instant Australian classic that is publishing into markets around the world. The story draws heavily on events in Trent's life and we speak about fictionalising biographical elements of novels, writing highly personal narratives and about Slim, a real life prison escape artist who happened to baby sit Trent.
AJ Finn aka Daniel Mallory is the guest. We talk about big book advances, meeting Amy Adams, book trends, and moving from publishing into writing books.
Robert Lukins, author of The Everlasting Sunday, speaks with Stephanie Bishop for the Booklovers festival. Robert and Stephanie talk about Stephanie's brilliant and enigmatic literary novel, Man out of Time.
A very special episode from the Booklovers Festival in Melbourne brings Sarah Schmidt and Sarah Krasnostein together for a live conversation. Sarah & Sarah talk about writing dark themes, their first written work, writing about death and dying, and take questions from the audience.
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