Episode 77: Victoria Piontek On Writing for Young Adults

Victoria Piontek’s literary journey has taken her all over the U.S., but when it came time for this author and literary associate to publish her first book, she chose to return to the verdant lushness of her Florida birthplace. This week, Piontek joins the GrottoPod to talk about the Southern Gothic overtones of her haunting middle-grade story The Spirit of Cattail County. She also discusses the challenges of juggling writing, working a day job and raising a family, and helps Larry and BQ define “Y.A.” and “library chic.”

Episode 76: Nick Mamatas On Writing A Book A Year

This week, BQ and Larry enter the extended Nick Mamatas universe to learn about horror novels, manga, writing term papers for profit and much more. Join them as the author of the upcoming short story collection The People’s Republic Of Everything shares his unique and compelling tales and talks about how he manages to produce a new book every year. Mamatas also authored the San Francisco zombie novel The Last Weekend, the Lovecraftian murder mystery I Am Providence, and the forthcoming Hexen Sabbath.

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