Episode 33: Mary Roach On Where Best-Sellers Come From

Mary Roach

Mary Roach

This week, the GrottoPod travels to the downtown Oakland office of Grotto alum Mary Roach, the New York Times best-selling author of six titles, including Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, and her most recent work, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. Join us for a wide-ranging conversation with one of the Bay Area’s favorite writers.

Episode 32: “Dr. Frank” Portman, From Punk to Publishing

Frank Portman

Frank Portman

What do you do when a music industry meltdown kills your band’s record sales? If you’re “Dr. Frank” Portman of East Bay pop-punk pioneers The Mr. T Experience, you get to work becoming a successful YA author. Portman, author of King Dork and Andromeda Klein, joins the GrottoPod this week to explain his process, his path from punk rock to literature and why he recorded a companion album for the paperback release of his latest book, King Dork Approximately.

Episode 31: Janelle Brown On Writing A Best-Seller

Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown 

What are the unique challenges of being a best-selling author? Find out this week as Janelle Brown — whose latest book, Watch Me Disappear, debuted at #13 on the New York Times bestseller list — joins the GrottoPod to talk about expectations, process, why she doesn’t like it when her characters are called “difficult” and the contrasts between living and writing in Los Angeles and doing the same in the Bay Area. Brown is also the author of This Is Where We Live and All We Ever Wanted Was Everything. Watch Me Disappear was recently optioned for film by The Gotham Group.

Episode 30: Christian Winn On Finding Your Writing Path

Christian Winn

Christian Winn

When Christian Winn moved from Seattle to Boise, he didn’t realize that he was also jump-starting his writing career. Twenty years later, he’s Idaho’s writer-in-residence and a central piece of Boise’s literary scene. Winn, author of the short story collection Naked Me, respected writing teacher and founder of the Storyfort Literary Festival, joins the GrottoPod this week to ruminate on his path, the nature of “western” writing and how it feels to be Boise’s prodigal son. 

Episode 29: Roberto Lovato On Chasing the Truth

Roberto Lovato

Roberto Lovato

Journalist and writer Roberto Lovato has spent his life running toward — rather than away from — conflict. Through it all, he has never stopped seeking the truth and has never wavered from his belief in the spirituality of the written word. This week, the San Francisco native joins the GrottoPod to recount his journey, share his point of view and explain why he’ll never stop trying to bring levity to a complicated and often dangerous world.

Episode 28: Ex-NYT Poetry Editor Matthew Zapruder On His New Book

Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder

Critically-acclaimed poet, Grotto member and former New York Times poetry editor Matthew Zapruder releases his newest book, Why Poetry?, today. To celebrate, we’re revisiting his April interview with GrottoPod hosts Bridget Quinn and Larry Rosen, where he talked about his life in poetry and the reasons this often-misunderstood genre of writing is so important. Zapruder embarks on a book tour this week, including stops in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. For his complete schedule, check out his calendar of upcoming events.

Episode 27: Laura Fraser On Turning Travel Into Books

Laura Fraser

Laura Fraser

Laura Fraser is, among other things, a best-selling memoirist; an instinctive muckraking journalist; a celebrated travel writer; the founder of Shebooks, a publishing imprint dedicated to women authors; and a Grotto O.G. (Original Gangsta). This week she joins the GrottoPod to discuss her travels and travails, mentors and mentoring, and the halcyon early days of the San Francisco Writers Grotto.

Episode 26: Larry and BQ On The Sticky Business of Writing

Bridget Quinn and Larry Rosen

Bridget Quinn and Larry Rosen

Why do you write? Or, rather, how do you write? This week, hosts Bridget Quinn and Larry Rosen address these issues, landing on questions of motivation, ambition and outcome as they share their respective “state-of-the-writer” stories. This episode closes with a pair of unexpected twists: we’re proposing a 500-word-a-day “GrottoPod Challenge” — and we bring you a new track from our house band, Sugartown.

Episode 25: Katherine Ozment On The Search for Meaning

Katherine Ozment

Katherine Ozment

Can you create community and ritual without religion, raise moral and ethical children without the guiding hand of the church, find grace without God? This week, we address big questions like these when award-winning journalist Katherine Ozment joins the GrottoPod to talk about her book Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose and Belonging in a Secular Age. Born in Arkansas, Ozment is a former senior editor for National Geographic. 

Episode 24: Bridget Watson Payne On The Writer-Editor Bond

Bridget Watson Payne

Bridget Watson Payne

Bridget Watson Payne is the embodiment of the GrottoPod motto “read, write and just keep working.” In addition to her responsibilities as Chronicle Books’ art books editor, she is an illustrator and artist and recently published two (!) books, How Art Can Make You Happy and The Secret Art of Being a Grown-up. This week, she joins us to discuss her work, the writer-editor relationship and the mysteries of publishing. She also offers tips on how to be an effective adult.