Episode 43: Jennifer March Soloway: All About Agents

Jennifer March Soloway

Jennifer March Soloway

How do agents spend their time? This week, Jennifer March Soloway, associate agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, joins her old running buddy BQ and Larry in the GrottoPod to clear up some of the mysteries surrounding the agent-writer relationship. She also talks query strategy, revisions, “the prologue question,” why some query letters receive “radio silence,” how agents work as advocates for their clients — and how an ex-amateur boxer found her bliss by becoming a literary agent.

Episode 42: Cristina Garcia, From Cuba to Berlin

Cristina Garcia

Cristina Garcia

This week, seven-time novelist Cristina Garcia joins the GrottoPod to discuss the evolution of both her best-selling debut novel Dreaming in Cuban (1992) and herself, tracking her path from Havana to the Bay Area (with stops in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Frankfurt), from would-be Pampers marketer to Time magazine bureau chief to best-selling author to playwright. Along the way, she discusses stories that cannot be told through journalism; what brought her to Berlin for her latest book, Here in Berlin; how good timing helped make Dreaming in Cuban a literary sensation; Fidel Castro’s basketball obsession and what happens when your mother insists you get your hair done for the national book awards ceremony.

Episode 41: Larry & BQ At The NaNoWriMo Halfway Point

NaNoWriMo logoHow’s your NaNoWriMo coming? This week, Larry and BQ pause at the annual novel-writing sprint’s halfway point to reflect on their experiences keeping up a 1,700-words-per-day pace, and to discuss the ins and outs of speed-dating your latest writing project. Then, having analyzed the heck out of their respective triumphs and challenges, they dive into the hidden controversies surrounding book blurbs. And don’t miss our recent interview with the man who started it all: the impeccably named Grant Faulkner, who offers some pep talks to get you through the halfway slump.

Episode 40: Kitty Stryker On Activism, Consent and Juggalos

Kitty Stryker

Kitty Stryker

Activist, sex worker, lecturer, Juggalo, editor and writer Kitty Stryker has no shortage of interests and no trouble staying busy. Already a widely-published journalist and essayist, her new book Ask: Building Consent Culture, shows that she’s also no stranger to excellent timing. The anthology features work from other activist writers, including Carol Queen and Virgie Tovar. Kitty brings her effervescent personality to the GrottoPod this week to discuss her unique life and outlook — and equally unique approach to a book tour.

Episode 39: Kaitlin Solimine’s Glimpse Into China

Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine thought her future would be in international business — until a high-school Mandarin class changed the course of her life. Two decades later, this former exchange student, East Asian Studies major, Harvard-Yenching scholar and U.S. Department of State Fulbright Creative Arts Fellow considers China her “second home.” Her first novel, Empire of Glass, is the culmination of this lifelong interest and has been shortlisted for the 2017 Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. This week, Kaitlin joins the GrottoPod this week to discuss the genesis of her novel, her brush with the C.I.A. and the challenges of taking a toddler on book tour.

Episode 38: Grant Faulkner’s Pep Talks For Writers

Grant Faulkner

Grant Faulkner

Sometimes writers just need a pep talk. Fortunately, Grant Faulkner’s new book provides 52 of them. Faulkner, the author of Pep Talks: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo and Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month joins the GrottoPod this week — on the eve of NaNoWriMo — to discuss the process of writing a novel in one month, his hopes for his new book, his role in the rising popularity of flash fiction and his own writing. If you’d like to try your hand at writing a novel in 30 days during the month of November, check out the official NaNoWriMo website.

Episode 37: John Roderick On How to Make Agents Want You

John Roderick

John Roderick

The Long Winters frontman John Roderick joins us on the GrottoPod this week and talks about how making a splash — anywhere — can lead to a book deal. Roderick, who formed the long-running Seattle band with fellow ex-Harvey Danger member Sean Nelson, also hosts two podcasts (Roderick on the Line, with writer and 43 Folders founder Merlin Mann, and Road Work, with 5by5 founder Dan Benjamin), has hosted live cabaret and YouTube travel videos, and ran for Seattle City Council (he came in third). All of this — plus massive followings on Twitter and Instagram — have led multiple agents to beg Roderick to write a book. He tells us what he might write, and our hosts offer a GrottoPod first: 35 seconds of mid-podcast rock and roll.

Episode 36: Zen And The Art Of Literary Readings

Larry Rosen and Bridget Quinn

Larry Rosen and Bridget Quinn

This week, Larry and BQ honor San Francisco’s biggest (and liveliest) literary festival, Litquake, by focusing this guest-free episode on literary readings: what makes them succeed (or not!), how they build community and why writers — and aspiring writers — should attend as many readings as they can. As a bonus, BQ shares her tips for readers, and Larry explains why he can’t stand “poetry voice.” You know what we’re talking about.

Episode 35: Litquake Founder Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware

On the eve of Litquake, San Francisco’s renowned literary arts festival, co-founder Jack Boulware joins the GrottoPod to talk about his life in the literary scene. Boulware is also the co-founder of the legendary comedy magazine The Nose, the author of several books, including San Francisco Bizarro, a local bon vivant and a native Montanan. Join us as Boulware weaves tales from his colorful, creative life and explains how long hours, low pay and impossible logistics add up to literary glory. Litquake kicks off Oct. 6. Click here for the full schedule. 

Episode 34: Laurie Ann Doyle On Crafting Unputdownable Stories

Laurie Ann Doyle

Laurie Ann Doyle

This week, Laurie Ann Doyle — author of the new short-story collection World Gone Missing, founder of the Babylon Salon literary performance series and GrottoPod co-producer — sits down for a warm, honest and revealing discussion about her writing process, her career and the themes that inspire and compel her work. She has also contributed recent pieces to the Los Angeles Review and the resistance anthology Speak and Speak Again. Don’t miss her at a number of upcoming readings and events around the Bay Area; check out her schedule here.