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Author Pep Talks

Author Pep Talks

By Laekan Zea Kemp
A podcast on writing through grief, trauma, and heartbreak.
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Episode 5: Sam Taylor

Author Pep Talks

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Episode 20: Natalia Sylvester
Today I’m interviewing Natalia Sylvester, author of Breathe and Count Back from Ten. Natalia Sylvester is the award-winning author of several novels for adults and young adults. CHASING THE SUN was named the Best Debut Book of 2014 by Latinidad and EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME won an International Latino Book Award and the 2018 Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters. Natalia's debut YA novel, RUNNING, was a 2020 Junior Library Guild Selection, and her next novel for young adults, BREATHE AND COUNT BACK FROM TEN, is out now from Clarion Books/HarperCollins. A MALETA FULL OF TREASURES, Natalia's first picture book (illustrated by Juana Medina), will be published by Dial Books in 2024. Natalia's non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, Bustle, Catapult, Electric Literature, Latina magazine, and McSweeney's Publishing. Her essays have been anthologized in collections such as A MAP IS ONLY ONE STORY and A MEASURE OF BELONGING: WRITERS OF COLOR ON THE NEW AMERICAN SOUTH. Born in Lima, Peru, Natalia came to the US at age four and grew up in Florida and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. She received a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami, was a 2021 Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and was formerly a faculty member at the Mile-High MFA program at Regis University. Today we’re talking about the importance of consent when excavating our own trauma on the page, how the right readers can make authors feel just as seen and heard and held as our stories make them feel, the heavy burden of self-advocacy, and the impossibility of self-caring our way out of systemic oppression. If you’re looking to be more gentle with yourself and your work, this is the conversation for you. So without further ado, give yourself permission to hit pause on your day and then enjoy my conversation with Natalia Sylvester. Connect with Natalia online: Natalia's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
38:51
June 17, 2022
A Pep Talk from Natalia Sylvester
A pep talk for the Writer who needs nourishing. Connect with Natalia online: Natalia's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
02:51
June 17, 2022
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #19
A Pep Talk for the Writer who needs a warm-up. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:24
June 10, 2022
Episode 19: Jen St. Jude
Today I’m interviewing Jen St. Jude, author of If Tomorrow Doesn't Come. Jen is a Lambda Literary Fellow who writes queer speculative fiction. They have served as an editor at Chicago Review of Books, Arcturus Magazine, Burning Worlds – Climate Change in Art & Literature, and Just Femme & Dandy Magazine. Today we’re talking about the joy of our animal companions and how they keep us grounded, making peace with the possibility of not quite reaching your dreams, as well as embracing the possibility of creating new ones, and the power of writing your own emotional discoveries that can be just as transformative as the arcs our characters go through. This conversation is perfect for writers tackling sensitive and personal issues, as well as writers in need of a reminder that you and no one else decide the value of your story. So relax and settle in, and enjoy my conversation with Jen St. Jude. Connect with Jen online: Jen's Website Twitter Buy their book!
27:10
June 03, 2022
A Pep Talk from Jen St. Jude
A Pep Talk for the Writer with big emotions. Connect with Jen online: Jen's Website Twitter Buy their book!
02:29
June 03, 2022
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #18
A Pep Talk for the Writer who deserves to just exist. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
00:54
May 27, 2022
A Pep Talk from Stephanie Feldman
A Pep Talk for the Writer who feels left behind. Connect with Stephanie online: Stephanie's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
01:05
May 20, 2022
Episode 18: Stephanie Feldman
Today I’m interviewing Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses and Saturnalia. She is also co-editor of the multi-genre anthology Who Will Speak for America? and her stories and essays have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Electric Literature, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Maine Review, The Rumpus, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family Today we’re talking about how she managed to persevere through the eight years between her debut novel and her second book, the complex process of rebuilding, and why it’s important to love the act of writing more than the idea of being a writer. If you’re stuck in the query trenches or trunking novels you were sure would sell, this episode is a treasure trove of advice when it comes to keeping your eyes on your own paper and working at a pace that honors the writers you actually are, rather than the writer you wish you were. So slow down, let it all go quiet, and enjoy my conversation with Stephanie Feldman. Connect with Stephanie online: Stephanie's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
23:25
May 20, 2022
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #17
A Pep Talk for the Reluctant Writer. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:02
May 13, 2022
Episode 17: Alechia Dow
Today I’m interviewing Alechia Dow, author of The Sound of Stars and The Kindred. Alechia Dow is a former pastry chef and librarian. When not writing, you can find her having epic dance parties with her daughter, baking, reading, or traveling. Today we’re talking about the journey of self-discovery that coincides with becoming a published author, learning to adjust your expectations in a way that prioritizes your own physical and mental health, and the importance of safeguarding the things that made you fall in love with writing in the first place. If you struggle with comparison, self-doubt, and just feeling like your dreams aren’t coming true fast enough, I know you’ll be encouraged by Alechia’s reminders to slow down, take stock, and redefine success for yourself. So settle in wherever’s comfortable and enjoy my conversation with Alechia Dow. Connect with Alechia online: Alechia's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
29:36
May 06, 2022
A Pep Talk from Alechia Dow
A Pep Talk for the Writer who needs to just be. Connect with Alechia online: Alechia's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
01:16
May 06, 2022
A Pep Talk from Vanessa L. Torres
A Pep Talk for the Willing. Connect with Vanessa online: Vanessa's Website Twitter Buy her books!
01:07
February 25, 2022
Episode 16: Vanessa L. Torres
Today I’m interviewing Vanessa L. Torres, debut author of the young adult novel The Turning Pointe. Vanessa L. Torres loves to read anything with a vivid setting, but there's a special place in her heart for urban tales. She was born and raised in Minneapolis Minnesota, and now lives in Olympia Washington with her husband and daughter. When she's not writing, she balances her time between anything outdoors, and her other job as a firefighter/paramedic. And when the snow hits, you might catch a glimpse of her ski patrolling on the mountain. Today we’re talking about how Vanessa juggled writing her debut novel alongside being a firefighter paramedic at the height of the pandemic, the beauty in returning to old security blankets in times of need, and why it’s essential to have the support of other writers as you brave the often long and winding journey to publication. If you’ve found yourself feeling discouraged by rejections or overwhelmed by your responsibilities, I know you’ll find solace in Vanessa’s story. So pop in your headphones, find a path you’ve yet to explore, and enjoy my conversation with Vanessa L. Torres. Connect with Vanessa online: Vanessa's Website Twitter Buy her books!
27:45
February 25, 2022
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #16
A Pep Talk for the Pusher. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
02:03
February 18, 2022
A Pep Talk from Racquel Marie
A Pep Talk for the Painstaking. Connect with Racquel online: Racquel's Website Twitter Buy her books!
01:17
February 11, 2022
Episode 15: Racquel Marie
Today I’m interviewing Racquel Marie, debut author of the young adult novel Ophelia After All. Racquel Marie grew up in Southern California where her passion for storytelling of all kinds was encouraged by her friends and big family. She received a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in gender and sexuality studies from the University of California, Irvine. Racquel primarily writes YA contemporaries starring queer Latine characters like herself. When not writing or reading, she loves practicing beauty and special effects makeup, watching and producing YouTube videos, and teaching herself to play ukulele in spite of her extremely long nails. Today we’re talking about the importance of setting physical and emotional boundaries, how borrowing joy from our own communities can help us reconnect with our work, and why books are the ultimate group project. If you’re struggling to find your voice in your personal or professional life, this episode is for you. So make a space that’s just for you and enjoy my conversation with Racquel Marie. Connect with Racquel online: Racquel's Website Twitter Buy her books!
32:29
February 11, 2022
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #15
A Pep Talk for the New You. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:49
February 04, 2022
A Pep Talk from Alex Perry
A Pep Talk for the Unproductive. Connect with Alex online: Alex's Website Twitter Buy her books!
02:20
January 28, 2022
Episode 14: Alex Perry
Today I’m interviewing Alex Perry, debut author of the middle grade novel PigHearted. Alex used to teach amazing middle schoolers in Houston, but now she writes novels for kids everywhere. She lives in Arkansas with her husband, baby, and two dogs. Today we’re talking about what it feels like to be entering year three of the pandemic, experiencing tragedy alongside professional milestones, and how to let go of the debut hustle. If you’re currently raising littles or struggling with the guilt of not being quite as productive as you’d like, this episode is for you. So on Alex’s recommendation, make yourself a warm cup of Earl Grey Tea, find your favorite chair and enjoy my conversation with Alex Perry. Connect with Alex online: Alex's Website Twitter Buy her books!
19:47
January 28, 2022
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #14
A Pep Talk for the Uninspired Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:18
January 21, 2022
A Pep Talk from Juliet Menendez
A Pep Talk for the Short on Time. Connect with Juliet online: Juliet's Website Twitter Buy her books!
00:44
January 17, 2022
Episode 13: Juliet Menendez
Today I’m interviewing Juliet Menendez, debut author of the illustrated collection Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers. Juliet is a Guatemalan American author and illustrator living between Guatemala City, Paris, and New York. While working as a bilingual teacher in New York City’s public schools, Juliet noted the need for more books that depicted children like the ones in her classrooms. She studied design and illustration in Paris and now spends her days with her water colors and notebook. Latinitas is her first children's book. Today we’re talking about finding moments of creativity when you’re operating in survival mode, how unexpected projects can be a safe place to hide in the midst of trauma, and why being vulnerable with others is essential to avoiding overwhelm. I was awestruck by the medical journey Juliet’s mother went on and how Juliet remained by her side, sleeping for months in her hospital room, while also managing to pitch her debut collection in person. My conversation with her was a great reminder that we are all capable of doing extraordinary things, and that many of us have over these past two years, juggling work and caretaking and our creative endeavours. Finding strength and an ability to adapt we may never have thought possible. It’s the perfect conversation to kick off this new season of Author Pep Talks and I know you’ll find it just as fortifying as I did. So, without further ado, curl up with a furry companion or find yourself a warm blanket, and enjoy my conversation with Juliet Menendez. Connect with Juliet online: Juliet's Website Twitter Buy her books!
30:55
January 14, 2022
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #13
A Pep Talk for the Still Dreaming. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:46
January 07, 2022
A Pep Talk from Ally Malinenko
A Pep Talk for the Covetous. Connect with Ally online: Ally's Website Twitter Buy her books!
02:03
October 15, 2021
Episode 12: Ally Malinenko
Today I’m interviewing Ally Malinenko, debut author of the middle grade novel Ghost Girl. Ally writes poems and stories in a secret writing closet before dawn each day and is the author of several poetry collections, as well as two middle grade horror novels. She has a burning desire to go to Antarctica, specifically to the South Pole so she can see where Robert Falcon Scott died. You can find her online writing about smashing the patriarchy, writing anxiety, Doctor Who, David Bowie, and more patriarchy smashing. She’s also a cancer survivor and Brooklyn resident where she lives with her husband. Today we’re talking about the very normal experience of falling out of love with your debut novel, how celebration and grief go hand-in-hand when it comes to releasing a book out into the world, and the storyteller’s essential role in cultivating empathy and creating community. Ally’s story is raw and impactful and her relentless ability to push through is the perfect note to end on as the first season of Author Pep Talks comes to a close. So for the last time until I see you again in 2022, find a quiet place that’s just for you, and enjoy my conversation with Ally Malinenko Connect with Ally online: Ally's Website Twitter Buy her books!
31:59
October 15, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #12
A Pep Talk for the Runner. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:47
October 08, 2021
A Pep Talk from Lulu Delacre
A Pep Talk for the Lost. Connect with Lulu online: Lulu's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
02:07
October 01, 2021
Episode 11: Lulu Delacre
Today I’m interviewing Lulu Delacre, author and illustrator of the picture book Luci Soars and Us: In Progress, a middle grade collection of short stories. Lulu is a three-time Pura Belpré Award honoree and has been writing and illustrating children's books since 1980. The New York Times Bestselling artist was born and raised in Puerto Rico to Argentinean parents. Delacre has lectured internationally and served as a juror for the National Book Awards. She has exhibited at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, The Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators in New York, the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico among other venues and Reading is Fundamental honored her with a Champion of Children’s Literacy Award. Today, we’re talking about channeling grief to create something beautiful for others, how a reverence for your audience, no matter how small, can give your work purpose, and the healing power of writing to understand. Connect with Lulu online: Lulu's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
20:24
October 01, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #11
A Pep Talk for the Perfectionist. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:07
September 24, 2021
A Pep Talk from Anya Leigh Josephs
A Pep Talk for the Brave Beginner. Connect with Anya online: Anya's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
01:56
September 17, 2021
Episode 10: Anya Leigh Josephs
Today I’m interviewing Anya Leigh Josephs, the author of the Young Adult Fantasy novel, Queen of All, which debuted in June of 2021. Anya Leigh Josephs was born in Boston, MA, raised in Chapel Hill, NC, and now makes her home in New York City. She has a BA from Columbia University and an MA from UCLA, both in English. When she’s not writing, she teaches foster youth pursuing college degrees. She can also often be found playing Dungeons and Dragons, going to the theatre, reading door stopper fantasy novels, or worshipping her cat, Sycorax. Today, we’re talking about stories that hit too close to home, what role your creative process should play in your life and how therapy, medication, and other mental health services made it possible for us to get through the publication process. Anya is currently [pursuing a degree in social work so you know this episode is full of gems related to creativity and mental health. She also has an incredibly inspiring personal story of courage, perseverance, and grace that I know is going to really resonate with so many of you who have been working on a single project for years and feeling unsure about the fate of it. So without further ado, take some time to settle in, and then enjoy my conversation with Anya Leigh Josephs. Connect with Anya online: Anya's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
49:27
September 17, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #10
A Pep Talk for the Distracted. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:55
September 10, 2021
A Pep Talk from Crystal Maldonado
A Pep Talk for the person trying their best. Connect with Crystal online: Crystal's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
02:31
September 03, 2021
Episode 9: Crystal Maldonado & Olivia Abtahi
Today on this very special episode of the Author Pep Talks podcast I’m actually interviewing two guests instead of just one. My first guest is Crystal Maldonado, the author of the Young Adult romance, Fat Chance Charlie Vega. Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her work has been published in the Hartford Courant, Buzzfeed, and Latina Magazine. By day, she is a social media manager working in higher ed, and by night, a writer who loves Beyoncé, shopping, spending too much time on her phone, and being extra. She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog. Next up is Olivia Abtahi, author of the Young Adult novel, Perfectly Parvin. Olivia Abtahi is a film director and writer based in Denver, Colorado. Born to an Iranian father and an Argentine mother, she is a melting pot of distinct cultures. Growing up in the DC area, Olivia always had a passion for cinema and storytelling. She is a graduate of NYU Film School and VCU Brandcenter, and has lived in New York, San Francisco, Richmond Virginia, and Dublin, Ireland. She holds a BFA and MaSC. In her spare time, she enjoys watching music videos, laughing so hard it hurts, and hunting down gluten-free pastries. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and daughter. Today, we’re talking about the absolutely monumental feat that is parenting during the pandemic, the intense stress of debuting, also during a pandemic, and making time for your creative practice when you’re being pulled in a million different directions. I enjoyed every second of our conversation and loved the back and forth between these two fierce Mamas. I am so in awe of their strength, candidness, and sense of humor, and I hope you come away from this conversation feeling as liberated as I did. So steal some alone time if you can, kick up your feet, and then enjoy my conversation with Crystal Maldonado and Olivia Abtahi. Resources mentioned in this episode: AirPods Bullet Journaling Connect with Crystal online: Crystal's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books! Connect with Olivia online: Olivia's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
48:37
September 03, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #9
A Pep Talk for the Tired. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:25
June 25, 2021
A Pep Talk from Adiba Jaigirdar
A Pep Talk for the Joyless. Connect with Adiba online: Adiba's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
01:49
June 18, 2021
Episode 8: Adiba Jaigirdar
Today I’m interviewing Adiba Jaigirdar, the author of the Young Adult Contemporary novel, The Henna Wars, which debuted in 2020. Adiba Jaigirdar is a Bangladeshi/Irish writer and teacher, and she has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and a BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland. All of her writing is aided by tea, and a healthy dose of Janelle Monáe and Hayley Kiyoko. When not writing, she is probably ranting about the ills of colonialism, playing video games, or expanding her overflowing lipstick collection. Today, we’re diving deeper into her recent blog post titled Book Two Depression and discussing the unexpected apathy and disconnection authors sometimes feel toward their work, how writer friends can keep us afloat during these dark times, and how to cultivate joy around a particular project when you need it the most. I found my conversation with Adiba just as moving as when I read her original blog post and it was so refreshing to speak candidly about an experience many writers have, though often in isolation, especially over the past year as many of us have been drafting and debuting in a bubble that feels so far away from the rest of the world. Our conversation allowed me to let go of mainy painful months of trying to fall in love with my sophomore novel, and to finally make room for those feelings to grow in an organic way. I hope you come away from our conversation feeling less burdened too. So without further ado, find a comfy spot away from all the noise, and then enjoy my conversation with Adiba Jaigirdar. Connect with Adiba online: Adiba's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
33:18
June 18, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #8
A Pep Talk for the Joyless Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:28
June 11, 2021
A Pep Talk from Nina Moreno
A Pep Talk for the Over (or Under) Prepared Connect with Nina online: Nina's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
02:23
June 04, 2021
Episode 7: Nina Moreno
Today I’m interviewing Nina Moreno, the author of the Young Adult Contemporary novel, Don’t Date Rosa Santos, which debuted in 2019 and the forthcoming companion novel, Our Way Back to Always, out on October 12th of 2021. Nina Moreno was born and raised in Miami until a hurricane sent her family toward the pines of Georgia where she picked up an accent. She’s a proud University of Florida Gator who once had her dream job of shelving books at the library. Inspired by the folklore and stories passed down to her from her Cuban and Colombian family, she now writes about disaster Latinx teens & tweens chasing their dreams, falling in love, and navigating life in the hyphen. Her first novel, Don’t Date Rosa Santos was a Junior Library Guild Selection, Indie Next Pick for teen readers, and SIBA Okra Pick. Today, we’re talking about the book two slog, when writing is no longer a refuge, and the importance of grace in the creative process. There were so many parallels between our creative journeys over the course of the pandemic and being able to speak candidly about the book two experience, writing from personal grief and trauma, and the aches and pains (both physical and emotional) of being a writer with someone I so admire left me feeling less alone and more confident in my abilities to handle whatever writing and publishing throws my way. And I know our conversation will leave you feeling inspired too. So curl up with a nice hot cup of cafecito, maybe a pastelito or two, and then enjoy my conversation with Nina Moreno. Connect with Nina online: Nina's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
40:22
June 04, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #7
A Pep Talk for the Insecure Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
02:10
May 28, 2021
Episode 6: Steven Salvatore
Today I'm interviewing Steven Salvatore, the author of the Young Adult Contemporary novel, Can’t Take That Away, which debuted in March of 2021. Steven grew up in Tarrytown, New York. They studied writing and art history at Ithaca College, and received their MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Writing for Children from The New School. Formerly a full-time Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of the Writing Center at CNR, they oversaw the Freshman Writing Program and taught creative writing. After CNR officially ceased academic operations in August of 2019, they began teaching part time at Pace University and Westchester Community College. They also volunteer at The LOFT (an LGBTQ+ resource center in White Plains, New York) where they facilitate a creative writing workshop. As an educator, Steven is passionate about progressive activism on and off campus and advocating for young people. Steven currently lives in Peekskill, New York, with their amazingly patient husband, whose name is also Steve. Today, we’re talking about the anti-climactic free fall into nothing that is debuting during a pandemic, coming to terms with an author’s lack of control, and the gift of closure in such uncertain times. I had such a great time talking with Steven two months post their debut and one month post my own and I felt so validated by our conversation. They reminded me that even though it feels like something has come to an end, we’re actually at the beginning of, hopefully, very long careers, and that it’s important to keep your eyes on the horizon, even in the midst of life’s storms. So find your favorite spot on the couch, get cozy, and then enjoy my conversation with Steven Salvatore. Connect with Steven online: Steven's Website Twitter Instagram Buy their books!
52:16
May 21, 2021
A Pep Talk from Steven Salvatore
A pep talk for the Dreamer. Connect with Steven online: Steven's Website Twitter Instagram Buy their books!
02:39
May 21, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #6
A Pep Talk for the Burned Out. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:14
May 14, 2021
A Pep Talk from Sam Taylor
A pep talk for the Dejected. Connect with Sam online: Sam's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
02:23
May 07, 2021
Episode 5: Sam Taylor
Today I’m interviewing Sam Taylor, the author of the Young Adult Fantasy novel, We Are the Fire, which debuted in February of 2021. Sam grew up in Arizona's desert and now lives among Connecticut's trees. She writes fantasy novels for teenagers, and magic is always at the heart of her stories. For her writing, Sam has won the Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children's Literature and twice received the Young Adult Romance Writers of America Rosemary Award. She's worked as a proofreader, copywriter, and instructor of university writing courses before deciding to write her own books. When she's not writing, Sam spends her time being mom to the world's cutest boys, whirling through dance workouts, and baking too many cakes. She does not possess fire magic, but does have one fire-colored cat. Today, we’re talking about the power of play, how writing in a new age category might be just the escape you need, and when stepping away from the work is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Sam was such a joy to talk to and I was so inspired by her optimism during a year when so many of us have struggled to see the silver lining. Her emphasis on family and community and the ways a good writing schedule should serve both, reminded me that no story is worth your sanity and that loving others is what life is truly about. So pull on your favorite oversized sweatshirt, get comfy, and then enjoy my conversation with Sam Taylor. Sam's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
38:45
May 07, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #5
A Pep Talk for the Truth-Seeker. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:10
February 19, 2021
A Pep Talk from Amparo Ortiz
A pep talk for the Discouraged. Connect with Amparo online: Amparo's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
02:26
February 12, 2021
Episode 4: Amparo Ortiz
Today I’m interviewing Amparo Ortiz, the author of the Young Adult Fantasy novel, Blazewrath Games, which debuted in October of 2020. Amparo was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently lives on the island’s northeastern coast. She holds an M.A. in English and a B.A. in Psychology from the UPR’s Río Piedras campus. Her short story comic, “What Remains in The Dark,” appeared in the Eisner Award-winning anthology PUERTO RICO STRONG , and SAVING CHUPIE, her middle grade graphic novel, comes out with HarperCollins in 2022. When she’s not teaching ESL to her college students, she’s streaming Kpop music videos, vlogging for her eponymous YouTube channel, and writing about Latinx characters in worlds both contemporary and fantastical. Today, we’re talking about scheduling moments of joy, music as an emotional entry point into story, and giving yourself permission to suck. Amparo is so witty and funny and full of optimism. Her anecdotes and advice left me feeling so much lighter and I hope our conversation leaves you feeling lighter too. So curl up in a cozy spot, maybe even with a snack nearby, and then enjoy my conversation with Amparo Ortiz. If you’d like to learn more about Amparo or her books, please visit her website at http://www.amparoortiz.com/ or find her on social media @Amparo_Ortiz on Instagram and Twitter. Also be sure to buy her book, Blazewrath Games, published by Page Street Kids, at your local indie bookstore. Amparo's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
01:00:40
February 12, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #4
A Pep Talk for the Uninspired. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
01:17
February 05, 2021
A Pep Talk from Rocky Callen
A Pep Talk for the Broken. Connect with Rocky online: Rocky's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
02:13
January 29, 2021
Episode 3: Rocky Callen
Today I’m interviewing Rocky Callen, the author of the Young Adult novel, A Breath Too Late, which debuted in April of 2020. Rocky is the daughter of an Ecuadorian immigrant and has long lived a life of service ever since she was a 13-year-old advocating for the undocumented immigrants in her community. She interned at NASA at 12 years old, started lobbying congress at 13, and wrote and produced student radio stories at NPR at 14. She was a behavioral therapist for over ten years. She received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives outside of Washington, DC with her husband, daughter, and baby boy. Rocky founded the Bleed Ink Foundation, a creative hub and resource center for writers, and the HoldOn2Hope Project, which unites creatives in suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Today, we’re talking about creating and maintaining safeguards to protect your mental health, listening to your body when it’s begging you to take a break, and cherishing every season of a creative life. I experienced such a range of emotions listening to Rocky speak and she said so many things that I personally really needed to hear. I hope that by listening to our conversation, you’ll find the same much needed optimism and clarity. So grab a pen and notebook, because trust me, you’re going to want to write all of this down, and then enjoy my conversation with Rocky Callen. If you’d like to learn more about Rocky or her book, please visit her website at http://www.rockycallen.com/ or find her on social media @RockyWrites on Instagram and @Rocky_Writes on Twitter. And be sure to buy her book, A Breath Too Late, published by Macmillan, at your local indie bookstore. Rocky's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
46:45
January 29, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #3
A Pep Talk for the Perfectionist. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
02:06
January 22, 2021
A Pep Talk from Nikki Barthelmess
A Pep Talk for the Unmotivated. Connect with Nikki online: Nikki's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
02:01
January 15, 2021
Episode 2: Nikki Barthelmess
Today I’m interviewing Nikki Barthelmess, the author of The Quiet You Carry, which debuted in March of 2019 and the sequel, Quiet No More, which was released in October of 2020. Nikki entered foster care in Nevada at twelve and spent the next six years living in six different towns. During this time, Nikki found solace in books, her journal, and the teachers who encouraged her as a writer. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Nikki lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, daughter, and pride-and-joy Corgi pup. Today, we’re talking about juggling multiple deadlines, balancing writing with a new baby, and the idea of writing as a hopeful act. Nikki offers so much great advice grounded in both actionable steps, as well as shifts in mindset. If you’re struggling with motivation or how to break down mountainous tasks, she’s got you covered. So without further ado, here is my conversation with Nikki Barthelmess. If you’d like to learn more about Nikki or her books, please visit her website at NikkiBarthelmess.com or find her on social media @NikkiBarthelmess on Instagram and @ NikkiGrey_ on Twitter. And be sure to buy her novels, The Quiet You Carry and Quiet No More, published by Flux, at your local indie bookstore. Nikki's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
29:15
January 15, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #2
A Pep Talk for the Obstinate Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
02:01
January 08, 2021
A Pep Talk from Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
A Pep Talk for the Overwhelmed. Connect with Raquel online: Raquel's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
01:34
January 01, 2021
Episode 1: Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Today I’m interviewing Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, the author of Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, which debuted in August 2020 and was one of my absolute favorite books of the year. Raquel is a Mexican American poet, novelist and painter. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2017. She’s most inspired by fog and seeds and the lineages of all things. When not writing, Raquel tells stories to her plants and they tell her stories back. She lives in Tennessee with her beloved family and mountains. Today, we’re talking about what it was like debuting during a pandemic after her own bout with COVID, movement as a tool for healing, and maintaining a creative practice 300 words at a time. Raquel is so full of wisdom and I absolutely loved our conversation. And if you, like me, have found it especially difficult to be creative this year, I know you’ll love it too. If you’d like to learn more about Raquel or her books, please visit her website at RaquelVasquezGilliland.com or find her on social media @poet_RaquelVGIL. And be sure to buy her debut novel, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything published by Simon & Schuster, at your local indie bookstore. Raquel's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her books!
33:21
January 01, 2021
A Pep Talk from Laekan Zea Kemp #1
A Pep Talk for Perfectionists. Connect with Laekan online: Laekan's Website Twitter Instagram Buy her book!
02:06
December 25, 2020
Introduction
Hey friends! Welcome to episode 0 of Author Pep Talks, a podcast where I interview writers who have faced hardship and written through it. They'll be sharing advice, encouragement, and mini-episodes AKA "Pep Talks" straight from their hearts to yours to help you push through the fear, fatigue, and occasional writer's block that has been exponentially worse in this, the year of our Dark Lord, 2020. Subscribe to the Author Pep Talks podcast now and be sure to connect with me on social media for updates, sneak peaks, and exclusives. Podcast Website: https://www.authorpeptalkspod.com/ Laekan's Website: http://www.laekanzeakemp.com/ Laekan's Link Tree: https://linktr.ee/laekanzeakemp
03:43
December 24, 2020