First Draft with Sarah Enni (Literature)

Meagan Spooner, author of LARK ASCENDING (out Oct. 1!), the final installment of the Skylark Trilogy, and is co-author of the Starbound Trilogy with Amie Kaufman. Meagan is bright, cheery and welcoming, with the self-assuredness of a girl who has crossed the globe more than once. We talk about her roots in the theater, how fairy tales are the OG fanfic, and that one time her house burned down.

Meagan Spooner Show Notes


CONTACT by Carl Sagan

THE GIVER by Lois Lowry


Odyssey writing workshops

Claire Legrand (listen to her podcast interview here!)

Shel Silverstein


IN A DARK, DARK ROOM by Alvin Schwartz and Dirk Zimmer

Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner

The Tolkien quote about the "leaf-mould of the mind"

Sarah Maas, Susan Dennard, Amie KaufmanErin Bowman

Direct download: Meagan_Spooner_3.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 11:21am PST

Rachel Fershleiser Show Notes

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in NY

Eat Your Feelings: Stories of Food, Jews & Your Mom, with Jami Attenberg and friends

BooksmithBook People, and Tattered Cover (bookstores)

Stock Tips zine Kickstarter

Tumblr's Reblog Book Club

ELEANOR AND PARK and FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

Gingerhaze on Tumblr (Noelle Stevenson)

Simini Blocker on Tumblr

Ampersand from YadyKates on Etsy

YA Highway on Tumblr

WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign


I, Too, Am Harvard

Planned Parenthood Saved Me

Emily Schultz, author of JOYLANDSpending Stephen King’s Money

Maureen JohnsonCoverflip

 SO MUCH PRETTY by Cara Hoffman

President Obama Tumblr Q&A

YA author Leigh Bardugo

Hot Key Books Young Writers competition, previous winner Katie Coyle


Last Night’s Reading

Emily Books

Emily Hughes, who runs Random House’s Tumblr

Veronica Roth

THE MAN OF MY DREAMS by Curtis Sittenfeld

Nick Harkaway

Jennifer Close

Tana FrenchGillian FlynnMegan AbbottLaura Lippman

THE UNKNOWNS by Gabriel Roth

CALIFORNIA by Edan Lepucki



Emily Gould, author and co-owner of Emily Books

Celeste Ng, author

Direct download: Rachel_Fershleiser_2.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 6:34am PST

Gretchen McNeil, author of YA books POSSESSTEN3:59, and GET EVEN (out this week, from Baltzer + Bray!) welcomed me to her home in L.A. for a great conversation about the pros and cons of fast drafting, grassroots marketing, and how to balance being a writer and an extrovert. And her adorable puppy Wolfgang makes an appearance, too!

Gretchen McNeil Show Notes

The 24 Italian Opera songs

TITHE by Holly Black

WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr

Stanislavski acting questions


Boris Karloff

Amy Lukavics

T.S. Ferguson (Amy's editor at Harlequin TEEN)

Stephanie Perkins

Leigh Bardugo

RT = Romantic Times Book Lover's Convention

ALA = American Library Association

Cindy Pon

Diane Setterfield, THE THIRTEENTH TALE

Direct download: Gretchen_McNeil_2.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 9:55am PST

Heidi Schulz Show Notes


Australorp breed of chickens

J.M. Barrie, author of PETER PAN and PETER PAN AND WENDY

Peter Pan (2003 film)

Brooks Sherman, Heidi’s agent

John Hendrix, illustrator for HOOK’S REVENGE

Heidi’s drawing of a sad robot being launched into space 

Claire Legrand, MG author

Emma Trevayne, MG author

KidLit authors Beverly ClearyDiana Wynne Jones, and Judy Blume


Authors of creeptastic things, Stephen King and V. C. Andrews

Direct download: Heidi_Schulz_2.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 8:33pm PST

Michelle Schusterman, author of the I HEART BAND series and the forthcoming THE KAT SINCLAIR FILES and MAUDEVILLE, is the kind of girl whose conversation feels more like a hug than a handshake. She’s so open-hearted, curious, and kind, it’s no wonder she’s always worked with middle and high school students, across the globe. 

Michelle Schusterman Show Notes

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Michelle’s agent Sarah Davies

Jordan Hamessly, Michelle’s editor


The Coffeehouse Mystery books by Cleo Coyle

Direct download: Michelle_Schusterman.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 8:04am PST

My good friend and YA author Kirsten Hubbard takes the mic to ask me a few questions for this mini-episode Q&A! We talk about why the podcast got started, why it's been so irregular to date, where it's going in the future, and a discussion of writing while traveling.

Direct download: Minisode-_QA.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:21pm PST

Kara Taylor (soon to be Thomas) has a quick wit and an infectious laugh. In addition to being smart, sharp and funny, she’s a gifted and ambitious writer, crafting YA novels by day (the PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL series and a forthcoming book in 2016 from Random House) and TV shows by night. I caught up with Kara at her home in Long Island, and she gave me the rundown of her almost accidental television writing gig, how having a chip on her shoulder helps get words on the page, and why city life just isn’t for her.

Kara Taylor Show Notes

Clip from Jon Stewart bit about Long Island wanting to secede

Janet Evanovich

Article on how much money California is losing because TV and movie productions are locating in other cities.

Article on the writer of Lethal Weapon

Direct download: Kara_Taylor.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 1:03pm PST

Claire Legrand has a sweet heart and a dark imagination - a combination that has made for two magical middle grade novels (THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS and THE YEAR OF SHADOWS), and a forthcoming YA, WINTERSPELL, due out September 30 from Simon & Schuster. We met at her home in Princeton, New Jersey to talk scary stories for kids, earning honor badges in life, and finding time amidst the "author" madness to actually write.


Claire LeGrand Show Notes

Claire LeGrand’s agent Diana Fox

Claire’s blog post about leaving New York

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

Lucy Ruth Cummins with S&S

Sarah Watts, artist for covers with S&S

Karl Kwasny, artist for Year of Shadows with S&S

E.T.A. Hoffmann's original Nutcracker

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Story by Robert McKee

Direct download: Claire_LeGrand_2.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 9:25am PST


Ellen Oh has been called a force of nature, and it’s true - the woman can get things done. But she’s also a fierce friend and loving mom, whose nearly decade-long quest to publication with debut novel PROPHECY was started because she couldn’t find books that reflected her story, or the Korean history she found so fascinating. Ellen can be series, sure (I mean, she _was_ a lawyer), but her laugh is infectious and she’s a laser-focused ball of energy when it comes to talking about history, how her kids are her toughest critique partners, and of course, spearheading the We Need Diverse Books campaign.

Direct download: Ellen_Oh_2.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 9:51am PST


The lovely Cristin Terrill invited me over to discuss theater, Sir Ian McKellen buying tea, and her recent decision to admit a planned sequel to her debut novel, All Our Yesterdays, was not a workable project. Cristin is funny and quick, and her kindhearted vibe may have something to do with the fact that she knows she has a safety net: dog grooming school.

Direct download: Cristin_Terrill.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 9:47am PST

Petite and a bit quiet, Lindsay Smith has a bit of a mysterious vibe. And once she starts talking, it only gets more interesting! YA's John le Carré, Lindsay is a history buff who is fluent in Russian, and her debut novel, SEKRET, and its follow-up, SKANDAL (due in April 2015 from Roaring Brook Press) explore what would happen if Russia were hiding paranormally-enhanced super-humans behind the iron curtain during the Cold War. Pretty awesome stuff. Lindsay invited me over to talk 20th century politics, the round-the-clock nature of D.C.'s creative types, and the sheer terror of trying to write for adults.

Direct download: Lindsay_Smith_2.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 7:44am PST


Caroline Tung Richmond is a smiling, stylin’ ball of endless positive energy, and with her debut novel set to come out in September (THE ONLY THING TO FEAR, 9/30/14 from Scholastic) I was jazzed to meet up with her in Rockville, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. Caroline is full of incredible advice for writers in the trenches, and gives us a perspective on how being a new mother is hurting and, in some ways, helping her writing process. Also, she schools me on awesome sci-fi references — though Stark Trek fans should be warned that Caroline admits her memory of Deanna Troi’s fate may be a bit hazy. (But we won’t hold that against her - she has mad TNG cred.)

Direct download: Caroline_Richmond_copy.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 11:36am PST

Direct download: Robin_Talley.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 7:49am PST

The inaugural First Draft podcast! A discussion with the lovely Sumayyah Daud, 24-year old author of the forthcoming BEGIN AGAIN, about radical happiness, Bill Shakespeare’s butt jokes, and #WeNeedDiverseBooks.


Direct download: Sumayyah_Daud_Podcast_copy.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 7:56pm PST