Donald Maass is the author of more than 16 novels. He now works as a literary agent, representing dozens of novelists in the SF, fantasy, crime, mystery, romance and thriller categories. He speaks at writer’s conferences throughout the country and lives in New York City.
Episode 216: Perfect Your Plot Twists — Gabriela Pereira Interviews Steven James
This podcast originally appears on www.diymfa.com Sept. 5, 2018. Duration: 46 min.
Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.
After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY CROOKED PATH–a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.
If you’ve never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY CROOKED PATH is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.
Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”
Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”
David Kadavy (@kadavy) is a bestselling author, blogger, podcaster, and speaker. Through his blogging at kadavy.net and his podcast, Love Your Work, he helps people find satisfaction through following their crafts, even if it takes them down unconventional paths. David’s writing has appeared in Quartz, Observer, Inc.com, The Huffington Post, McSweeny’s Internet Tendency, and Upworthy. He has spoken in eight countries, including appearances at SXSW at TEDx. He lives in Medellín, Colombia.
Gabriela Pereira Interviews Grace Kennan Warnecke on the DIY MFA Podcast Episode 207
Owning Your Story — Interview with Grace Kennan Warnecke
This podcast originally appears on Diymfa.com July 4, 2018 Duration: 45 min.
Grace Kennan Warnecke’s memoir is about a life lived on the edge of history. Daughter of one of the most influential diplomats of the twentieth century, wife of the scion of a newspaper dynasty and mother of the youngest owner of a major league baseball team, Grace eventually found her way out from under the shadows of others to forge a dynamic career of her own.
Born in Latvia, Grace lived in seven countries and spoke five languages before the age of eleven. As a child, she witnessed Hitler’s march into Prague, attended a Soviet school during World War II, and sailed the seas with her father. In a multi-faceted career, she worked as a professional photographer, television producer, and book editor and critic. Eventually, like her father, she became a Russian specialist, but of a very different kind. She accompanied Ted Kennedy and his family to Russia, escorted Joan Baez to Moscow to meet with dissident Andrei Sakharov, and hosted Josef Stalin’s daughter on the family farm after Svetlana defected to the United States. While running her own consulting company in Russia, she witnessed the breakup of the Soviet Union, and later became director of a women’s economic empowerment project in a newly independent Ukraine.
Daughter of the Cold War is a tale of all these adventures and so much more. This compelling and evocative memoir allows readers to follow Grace’s amazing path through life – a whirlwind journey of survival, risk, and self-discovery through a kaleidoscope of many countries, historic events, and fascinating people.
Grace Kennan Warnecke’s memoir, Daughter of the Cold War describes her unique and extraordinary upbringing as the daughter of famed U.S. diplomat George Kennan. Grace’s life has been an incredible and at times difficult and dangerous journey through history. Her father became the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and was the architect of the U.S. policy on containment of Russian expansion during the Cold War. Born in Latvia, Grace lived in seven countries and spoke five languages before the age of twelve. As a child, she witnessed Hitler’s march into Prague, and attended public school in Moscow during World War II.
Grace forged her own brand of citizen diplomacy at a time when few women held prominent positions with the U.S. Foreign Service. Grace ultimately became a Russia specialist proving that when governments fail to communicate, it’s up to their citizens to keep talking.
Grace escorted Joan Baez to Moscow to meet with dissident Andrei Sakharov, served as Ted Kennedy’s interpreter when the Senator travelled to Russia to meet with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, and harbored Josef Stalin’s daughter on the Kennan family farm in East Berlin, Pennsylvania after Svetlana defected to the United States.
While running her own consulting company SOVUS in Russia, Grace witnessed first-hand the breakup of the Soviet Union. She had a face-to-face business meeting with a young Vladimir Putin. Grace’s accomplishments include becoming director of a women’s economic empowerment project that created women-run small businesses in a newly independent Ukraine.
Ms. Warnecke was founding executive director of the American-Soviet Youth Orchestra and associate producer of the prize-winning PBS documentary The First Fifty Years: Reflections on U.S.-Soviet Relations. As a professional photographer she was senior editor of A Day in the Life of the Soviet Union. She has served as an election observer in Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Grace is chairman of the board of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. She is a former fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and a member of the advisory council of the Kennan Institute.
Synopsis: In the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, something lethal is on the move.
Scuba divers travel from all over the world to visit the little island of Bonaire, with its crystal-clear waters and a host of beautiful marine life. After three years in the “Diver’s Paradise”, divemaster Boone Fischer thought he’d seen it all; but on a routine afternoon dive, he spots something that will turn his tranquil life upside down.
From the arid shores of the ABC Islands to the tropical jungles of Venezuela—from the ocean depths of the Southern Caribbean, to the lush islands of the Northern Leewards, Deep Shadow takes Boone and the reader on an action-packed adventure filled with danger and suspense.
“The age-old adage of ‘write what you know’ becomes very important when you write about a technical subject like scuba diving. When you get all the details right, and throw in just the right amounts of action, humor, romance, and suspense, you have a novel like this.” – Wayne Stinnett, bestselling author of “Fallen Out”.
This book was much better than I expected. Narrator and author Nick Sullivan skillfully brings to life the very characters he created. First off, Sullivan has a rich depth to his voice that emanates through every word he pronounces. Second, the type of voices, accents he commanded were exceptional. Russian, Venezuelan, American, British, Jamaican-like accent. When you have a narrator with a great voice, and the skills to match, the book is a winner.
The book itself was very entertaining, adventurous, with an underlying tone of humor that made me laugh out loud.
Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
The interesting thing about my process, having narrated over 400 titles over more than twenty years, is I’ve learned how effective a narrator is at catching typos, clunky sentences, and even plot inconsistencies. My final polishing on the writing occurs in the booth as I record. I have a separate document open where I make notes about what I have decided to change as I narrate; then I go back to the manuscript and apply what I learned in front of the microphone before finalizing it.
Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
Oh yes. From the very beginning. And in my last book, “Zombie Bigfoot”, I tailored a few characters’ backgrounds to dialects I’m quite good at. Although I had to learn Afrikaner, lol.
How did you select your narrator?
Looked in the mirror. I needed a shave, but after I was presentable, I offered myself the gig.
Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
Yes. I’ve been diving for twenty years, visiting numerous Caribbean islands. Many things in this book were loosely based on things I experienced (or heard about). I reached out to some folks I’ve dived with, and some authors I’ve narrated for who know the ocean well, for additional inspiration.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
Well, I keep getting interrupted to record other author’s books! That keeps me from burning out on my own writing. But getting back in the swing can be tricky. I usually have a “wasted day” while I get rolling again.
About the Author/Narrator: Nick Sullivan
Born in East Tennessee, NICK SULLIVAN has spent most of his adult life as an actor in New York City, working in theater, television, film, and audiobooks. After narrating hundreds of books over the last twenty years, he decided to write his own. Nick has been an avid scuba diver for many years and his travels to numerous Caribbean islands have inspired this series. His first novel, “Zombie Bigfoot”, hit #1 in Horror Comedy on Amazon.
NICK SULLIVAN has been narrating audiobooks for over twenty years, recording over four hundred titles and receiving numerous AudioFile Earphones and Audie nominations and awards. He has worked extensively on Broadway and at many U.S. theaters. His TV credits include The Good Wife, The Affair, Divorce, Younger, Bull, Madam Secretary, Boardwalk Empire, 30 Rock, Elementary, and all three Law and Order series. Film credits include Our Idiot Brother and Private Life. Proud member of SAG-AFTRA.
Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of six bestselling books for writers, including The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. Her books are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world.
Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site Writers Helping Writers®, as well as One Stop for Writers®, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling. A strong believer in writers helping and supporting other writers, she tries to pay-it-forward however she is able to.