Karolina Waclawiak is the guest. Her new novel is called The Invaders, available now from Regan Arts.
This is my second time talking with Karolina. The first time, it was over the phone. She was living in Brooklyn. Things were different for her then. Then she moved to Los Angeles and is now a neighbor of mine, more or less. She took a long lunch break from her day job and drove over and sat down across from me, and we had a great conversation. When I do repeat interviews I'm always worried that it's going to be a retread, but I don't think that's the case here. Karolina and I covered a lot of new ground. We even talked about crystals. I was really tired but didn't feel it during the conversation. The conversation brought me to life. Hopefully it does the same for you. (Note: You can hear my first interview with Karolina Waclawiak via Otherppl Premium.)
In the monologue today, I read some more mail. A listener wrote in accusing me of glorifying recreational drug use and denigrating antidepressant use and also accused me of behaving selfishly by trying to "crowdsource" positive thoughts for myself via the podcast. I respond.
J. Ryan Stradal is the guest. His bestselling debut novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, is available now from Viking.
Really happy for J. Ryan. He lives here in Los Angeles and I've known him for a while and he's one of those guys who really deserves the success he's having. Not only has he worked hard and written well, he's been showing up at literary events all over town for years, he hosts his own reading series, he volunteers at 826LA, and is generally just an all-around mensch in the LA writing community and beyond. I know I'm not alone in being thrilled for him.
In the monologue today, I bitterly assess the state of my novel while in a state of epic sleep-deprivation. Hopefully some humor shines through.
Meg Howrey is the guest. Her two novels, Blind Sight and The Cranes Dance, are both available from Vintage Contemporaries.
This is the first interview I conducted after the birth of my son, which is to say "in the throes of acute sleep deprivation." I was pretty caffeinated, and Meg was great to talk with, which helped a lot. I hope I did an okay job. Meg seems like one of those people whom you might call an old soul. It's hard for me to imagine her as a child. An accomplished dancer, she went off to study ballet in New York City at age 15. And now she's the author of two critically acclaimed novels. A gifted person who has lived an interesting life, or lives, in a short amount of time. Also: she wants to go to Mars.
In the monologue, I catch up on more mail. Thanks again for all the letters. If you want to email me, you can do so at letters [at] otherppl [dot] com.
Matt Sumell is the guest. His novel-in-stories, Making Nice, is available now from Henry Holt.
Note: Our conversation was recorded earlier in July, days before my son was born, so you'll hear us talking about the impending birth a little bit. I logged a bunch of interviews in the weeks leading up to delivery, anticipating a busy late summer, so if you hear things that seem chronologically lagging, baby-wise, that's why.
And so. Matt Sumell. There are people in the world who are naturally funny, I feel, and by that I mean this: they're the ones who don't even have to tell a joke, and they're still funny. They barely have to say a word. It's like their essence is funny. They walk into the room, and things get funnier automatically. It's just who they are, it's the charge they give off. Matt Sumell is like this. He's a character. You'll get it almost right away when you listen to him talk. And he's a hell of a writer.
In the monologue, I read and respond to some mail from listeners. I've been getting a lot of great email lately. So much. Many of you have taken the time to send good wishes re: the arrival of my son, and I want you to know how much I appreciate that. Thank you. (I'm not gonna overdo it reading such emails, as I feel like that would be overkill.) That said, the mail runs the gamut, subject-matter-wise, and I'll be reading more of it in episodes to come; I want to try to get to as much of it as possible on-air.