Book Fight

This week, we tackle questions about how to promote your book without annoying people, whether writing can be taught, and if you should worry too much about your stylistic influences. Talking points include: Facebook baby photos, giving out healthy treats for Halloween, John Gardner's On Becoming a Novelist, Tom's love of animals, and The Lockhorns, America's least happy cartoon couple.

Direct download: WritersAsk_BookFightIsland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Zadie's new one is so good it leads us into a larger discussion of the relationship between truth and art. Also, we squabble over the word 'relatable,' Tom's generation vs. Mike's generation, and whether we're ready to take over for the retiring Car Talk guys.

Direct download: Ep_19-Zadie_Smith_NW.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

What kind of blowback can you expect when you portray someone ungenerously in your memoir? What if that person ends up sitting next to you, in your basement, with a belly full of scotch? Also: questions about character development and how to explain your writing to a date.

Direct download: Writers_Ask_Airing_of_Grievances.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We're joined by novelist Stewart O'Nan (The Odds, Last Night at the Lobster, many many more) to discuss a book he calls "a great American novel no one has read." In the second half of the show, we hit him up for advice on writing, publishing, not getting obsessed about your sales figures. Talking points include: emotional complexity, detective stories, O.J.'s fictional confession, and tossing novels onto Michiko Kakutani's lawn. Get more at

Direct download: Ep_18-Theodore_Weesner_The_True_Detective.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Which lit mags should you subscribe to? Should you publish with a small press or hold out for one of the big boys? Should you end your story with a character offing himself? Also: the etiquette of question-asking, diamond floors, and ruby teeth.

Direct download: WritersAsk_Suicide_Dont_Do_It.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT