The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience

The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience

Kelton Reid studies the habits, habitats, and brains of a wide spectrum of renowned writers to learn their secrets of productivity and creativity. Tune in each week to learn how great writers keep the ink flowing, the cursor moving, and avoid block. Explore our archives at writerfiles.fm to find interviews with notable guests that include bestselling authors John Scalzi (Old Mans War), Greg Iles (Natchez Burning), Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City), Kevin Kelly (founder of WIRED magazine), Emma Donoghue (Oscar Nominee for Room), Maria Konnikova (The Confidence Game), Andy Weir (The Martian), Dan Buettner (The Blue Zones), Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist), Daniel Pink (When), and serial guest hosts: neuroscientist Michael Grybko, journalist Adam Skolnick, and short story writer Robert Bruce.

Episodes

August 5, 2022 36 min

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New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author, Sarah Pearse, spoke to me about Agatha Christie's legacy, how to write plausible police procedurals, and the place that inspired her latest, "The Retreat."

Sarah Pearse is the author of The Sanatorium, a stunning crime fiction debut, instant New York Times and international bestseller, as well as a Reese’s Book Club selection and critical success...

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Addendum:

Hey just a quick addendum on this week's redux, I am out of town this week and enjoying the sweatiest summer of all time with my kids, but I wanted to revisit a fantastic episode with now National Book Award Winner, Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction Winner, Pushcart Prize nominee, NAACP Image Award nominee, and Carnegie Medals For Excellence Longlist nominee Jason Mott. Congrats! Enjoy, I’ll cat...

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#1 New York Times bestselling author, Emily Henry, spoke to me about her past life as a YA mid-lister, the Romance Renaissance, writing your way out of darkness, and her latest "Book Lovers."

Emily Henry is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read, and has sold over a million copies of her novels.

Her latest, Book Lovers, was an instant #1 New York Times bestse...

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New York Times bestselling author, Ashley Poston, spoke to me about her pivot away from YA, the importance of fan fiction, and her paranormal romance debut "The Dead Romantics."

Ashley Poston’s bestselling YA novels have been featured by Teen Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, and more.

Her highly-anticipated pivot to romance is The Dead Romantics, a story about a millennial ghostwriter who believes r...

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New York Times bestselling author, Eleanor Brown, spoke to me about the difference between writers and authors, why adoptive families are just like any other family, and her latest novel "Any Other Family."

Eleanor Brown's critically acclaimed debut novel, The Weird Sisters, was a New York Times and #1 international bestseller with over half a million copies sold. The novel earned excellent reviews f...

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New York Times bestselling author, and screenwriter-producer, Dennis Lehane, spoke to me about what he learned from Clint Eastwood, working on "Mr. Mercedes" with David E. Kelley, and his new Apple TV+ show "Black Bird."

Dennis Lehane is the bestselling author of 13 novels including four adapted into films of the same name: 2003's Academy Award-winning film Mystic River, directed by Clint...

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New York Times bestselling thriller writer Riley Sager, spoke to me about why he publishes under a pen name, how to write Hitchcockian suspense, and his latest "The House Across the Lake."

Riley Sager is the bestselling author of six novels, most recently Home Before Dark and Survive the Night. His award-winning first novel, Final Girls, was a national and international bestseller that has been published...

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Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Geraldine Brooks, spoke to me about why "truth is stranger than fiction," letting story drive narrative, and the overheard conversation that led to her latest, "Horse."

Geraldine Brooks is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel March and the international bestsellers The Secret Chord, Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders (...

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Seven-time Emmy nominee and co-creator of the hit TV series "How I Met Your Mother," Carter Bays, spoke to me about working with David Letterman, being a recovering TV writer, and his debut novel "The Mutual Friend." 

Carter Bays is best known as the co-creator of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother which ran on CBS for nine seasons. A companion series, How I Met Your Father, starring Hilary Duff, p...

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New York Times bestselling author, Clare Pooley, spoke to me about rising from the ashes, writing as therapy, her nostalgia for the bygone commute, and her latest "Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting."

Clare's blog-to-memoir deal, The Sober Diaries, was published in 2017 to critical acclaim. Her debut novel - The Authenticity Project – was a New York Times bestseller. Inspired by her own experiences, ...

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Mexican-American writer and historian, Isabel Cañas, spoke to me about how to binge-write a novel, her fear of the dark, and swinging for the fences with her gothic debut "The Hacienda."

Isabel is a speculative fiction writer, and world traveler – currently working on her Ph.D. dissertation in medieval Islamic literature – who writes fiction inspired by her research and heritage.

Her debut novel is the hi...

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New York Times bestselling author, Emma Straub, spoke to me about why everything in life is timing, how to write a book for yourself, time travel, and her latest "This Time Tomorrow."

Emma is the bestselling author of five novels — including All Adults Here, The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures — the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been publis...

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Award-winning author and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Hernan Diaz, spoke to me about rejection, his unusual path to literary stardom, subverting reader expectations, and his latest novel "Trust."

Hernan was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award. His first novel, "In the Distance," won the Saroyan International Prize, the Cabell Award, the Prix Page America, and the ...

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Award-winning author and broadcaster, Elizabeth Day, talked to me candidly about How to Fail, hanging out with Gloria Steinem, genre equality, and how she wrote her compeller, "Magpie."

Elizabeth is a novelist, lauded journalist, and host of the chart-topping podcast, How To Fail, which has featured guests including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Gloria Steinem, and Brene Brown.

Her latest novel, Magpie, was publi...

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Critically acclaimed and award-winning author, Michelle Huneven, talked to me about her former life as an LA food critic, how to write self-referential fiction, and the spiritual detective work behind her latest novel "Search."

Michelle's books have been New York Times Notables and finalists for the LA Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is the recipient of a Whiting Awar...

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Emmy-nominated screenwriter and author, Sascha Rothchild, spoke to me about her humble beginnings in LA, working with Marc Maron on GLOW, and how to write a "bingeable" thriller like her debut, "Blood Sugar."

Sascha has written and produced lauded TV shows including GLOW (2017), The Bold Type (2017), and The Carrie Diaries (2013), and was named Variety's “10 TV Writers to Watch” 2015.

Her long...

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Andrew Lipstein reads excerpts from "Last Resort," backed by an original Storybound remix with sound design and arrangement by Jude Brewer.

Andrew Lipstein is a writer based in Brooklyn. His debut novel "Last Resort" is out now from Farrar, Straus & Giroux in the US, and Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK. His second novel will be published in 2023, also by FSG and W&N.

He also works on the product design tea...

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The bestselling author and educator, Jennifer Close, spoke with me about writing her first book on unemployment, how to write a novel in 12 weeks, and her latest, "Marrying the Ketchups."  

Jennifer is the bestselling author of Girls in White Dresses, The Smart One, and The Hopefuls.

Her latest is Marrying the Ketchups (available from Knopf | April 26, 2022), described as a "comedy of manners about th...

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Award-winning international journalist, author, and serial pundit, Adam Skolnick, returned for a mostly uncensored chat about assholes, mind-altering substances, the craft of writing, and the meaning of Jack Kerouac's 100th birthday.  

Adam is an award-winning independent journalist and author covering adventure sports, environmental issues, and civil rights for outlets such as The New York Times, Outside, E...

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Internationally bestselling and award-winning Danish novelist, Sara Blaedel, spoke to me about overcoming a learning disorder, how to write Nordic Noir, and her latest novel, "A Harmless Lie."

Sara has been dubbed Denmark’s “Queen of Crime,” and is the author of the globally bestselling Detective Louise Rick series. Over 3 million copies of Blaedel’s books have sold in Denmark alone, and the author is pu...

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