Episode 75: Virgie Tovar on Activist Writing

Don’t miss this one! For the first time, BQ goes solo as host — and she’s talking with influential author and body-image activist Virgie Tovar, who is dropping the truth bombs. Tovar talks writing honestly and writing to empower, fat discrimination and celebration, and how to leverage social media for good. Tovar started the viral hashtag campaign #LoseHateNotWeight, pens the weekly column Take the Cake, and edited the ground-breaking anthology Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion. Whew. Listen in, then check out her forthcoming book, You Have the Right to Remain Fat, now available for pre-order.→ READ MORE

Episode 74: Beth Winegarner On Self-Publishing

This week, BQ and Larry are joined by high-quality, low-maintenance, independent writer and editor (and GrottoPod producer) Beth Winegarner for a podcast that tracks Beth’s career as a writer, reporter, editor and student. In our conversation, we touch on themes of self-publishing, marketing, sexism and racism in heavy metal, community journalism, and chronicling the lives of underrepresented populations. We also learn why metal singers sometimes look like they are clutching invisible oranges. Check out her new book, Tenacity: Heavy Metal in the Middle East and Africa, and don’t miss her at Writers With Drinks this Saturday, July 14, in San Francisco.READ MORE

Episode 73: Katherine Reynolds Lewis On Writing That Changes Minds

Listen up! This week we’re joined in the ‘Pod by fresh-off-the-plane-from-the-East-Coast author and widely sought speaker Katherine Reynolds Lewis. Her new book about contemporary childhood and its discontents, The Good News About Bad Behavior, is taking the parenting and education worlds by storm. Find out how Lewis went from Harvard physics grad to longtime journo, how her 2015 story for Mother Jones magazine about school discipline went viral — becoming the site’s most-ever viewed piece — and how she went from that magazine story to an influential book.

Episode 72: Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen’s Delicious Writing Life

Things have never been livelier in the GrottoPod. This week, longtime Bay Area book author, editor and journalist Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen enters the ‘Pod bearing Pisco Punch (plus Meyer lemonade for BQ) and things unfold rather pleasantly from there. We talk writing, love — including how to get your wedding featured in the New York Times — and all things SF food, especially her newest book. A Little Taste of San Francisco is brimming with local recipes (and stories) from cioppino to carnitas, avocado toast to ballpark garlic fries. You’ll be hungry for more. Follow Stephanie on Twitter @LittleTasteOfSF.

Episode 71: Aja Gabel On Music and Writing

This week, acclaimed first-time novelist Aja Gabel takes a break from her hectic book tour to join the GrottoPod. In an hour between bookstore appearances, Gabel settles in to discuss how being a musician inspired her new book, The Ensemble, why she chose to get a PhD. in writing, her writing process (and the best music to listen to while writing) and why a writer “must be porous.” Don’t miss her upcoming readings in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and Healdsburg, California.

Episode 70: Vanessa Hua’s Favorite Book — Live!

For this week’s episode, Vanessa Hua, author of the upcoming novel A River of Stars, takes the stage at the San Francisco Public Library with GrottoPod hosts Larry Rosen and Bridget Quinn to talk about her favorite book. In this case, it’s books, plural — the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Find out what these books meant to the young Hua growing up, what they taught her as a fledgling writer and what they continue to teach her as a mother, woman and author. You can also watch the whole event in this video.

Episode 69: Gordon Jack On Juggling Writing and Teaching

Some writers have day jobs; some teachers write “on the side.” Gordon Jack does both — and neither. On the one hand, he spent more than a decade as a classroom teacher, has taught teachers and is now a high school librarian. On the other, his upcoming second YA novel, Your Own Worst Enemy, is garnering the same kind of rave reviews as his first, 2016’s The Boomerang Effect. This week, Jack joins the GrottoPod to talk about juggling two careers and explores high school, teenagers, controversial subject matter, his writing process (hint: it includes trains) and his home’s proximity to that of a certain GrottoPod host.→ READ MORE

Episode 68: Rachel Levin On Making it “Big”

Let’s say you’re on a summer hike and a grizzly crosses your path. Would you know what to do? Rachel Levin does. (Which is not to say she wants to encounter a bear!) Her new book, Look Big: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters, offers helpful advice in a humorous tone, as well as information and anecdotes about wildlife, ranging from mountain lions to moose to mice, all the way down to teeny-tiny mosquitos. This week, the effervescent Levin joins the GrottoPod to discuss her book as well as the ins and outs of reviewing restaurants in San Francisco, how she got a story in The New Yorker, and how to turn a philosophy major into a multi-faceted journalism career.→ READ MORE

Episode 67: Paul Drexler On Turning Crime Into Creativity

Crime may not pay, but Paul Drexler has discovered that becoming an expert on crime does. Introduced to true crime when his uncle’s car was used in a New Jersey mob killing, Drexler is now a writer, video game developer, founder of the Crooks Tour of San Francisco and arguably San Francisco’s primary authority on the city’s colorful underworld history. This week, Drexler joins GrottoPod host Larry Rosen to talk about his upcoming book, tentatively titled San Francisco Notorious: True Tales of  Passion, Crime and Murder. He also talks about CrimeCon, his lifelong fascination with outlaws, and shares some of his favorite San Francisco crime stories.→ READ MORE

Episode 66: Caroline Paul’s Mighty Adventures

What hasn’t Caroline Paul done? A one-time collegiate rower and Olympic-caliber luger, Paul has published non-fiction and historic fiction, books about stalking her cat, a memoir about being one of the first women to join the San Francisco Fire Department, and illustrated books that call for “bravery, perseverance and breaking the tyranny of perfection.” Her latest, You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World, is an inspiring call to action for today’s middle-grade kids. This week, on publication day for You Are Mighty, Paul joins the GrottoPod for a wide-ranging conversation about her adventurous life, overcoming her fears, the power of perseverance, her siblings, experimental airplanes and the world record she once almost held.→ READ MORE