Episode 596. Nicole Galland’s D.O.D.O.

Friend of the podcast, novelist Nicole Galland (I, Iago), has co-authored (with Neal Stephenson) a wonderful sci-fi time-travel thriller-comedy called The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., which the San Francisco Chronicle calls “a high-stakes techno-farce with brains and heart!” D.O.D.O. is now out in paperback so Nicole returns to talk about the book’s creation, the difficulties of describing your characters, how she met Neal Stephenson, the burden of having too many interests in too many places, the rarity of authorial rebranding, rewriting during the editing stage, how the authors’ writing partnership informed the relationship between the two main characters, some tantalizing clues about the sequel, and how one transitions from an historical to a sci-fi novelist. (Length 18:53)

Episode 592. Christopher Moore’s ‘Noir’

Christopher Moore, the author of such wonderful comic novels as Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal; Fool; The Serpent of Venice; The Stupidest Angel; Bloodsucking Fiends; Practical Demonkeeping; Sacre Bleu, and many others, has a new novel out called Noir, and it’s wonderfully comic, weird, and surprisingly poignant, all of which are hallmarks of a Chris Moore novel. Chris talks about this new novel’s inspirations which, it turns out, are varied and many. Featuring San Francisco history, film and literary precedent, surprisingly Shakespearean inspirations, weird connections to Roswell, loving language, shout-out to Damon Runyon, the joys of touring (and how to train for it), teasing future novels, and the Top Secret First Thing They Teach You at Famous Author School. (Length 21:18)

Episode 591. I Was Cleopatra

Dennis Abrams has written the new YA novel I Was Cleopatra, the fictional memoir of John Rice, a boy actor in the King’s Men, Shakespeare’s acting company, who played many of Shakespeare’s signature female roles, including Lady Macbeth, Cordelia, and Cleopatra. I Was Cleopatra was just published last week and its author discusses the creation of his novel, the amount of research he did, the wonder of being surprised by your main character, the supplemental reading he recommends, how we know when Shakespeare wrote his plays, the fun of deconstructing Shakespeare’s texts, and the ultimate joy of all: annoying Oxfordians! (Length 21:18)

Episode 584. The Comedy “Plantation!”

Kevin Douglas’ new play Plantation! is having its world premiere right now at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, in a production directed by Lookingglass founding member David Schwimmer and starring eight phenomenal actresses. It’s a family comedy that deals with race and legacy and family and atonement, and in addition to its many laughs, some of which are definitely uncomfortable, its ending takes audiences absolutely by surprise and bring them to tears. Kevin discusses his creative process, explaining why he decided to create a comedy in the first place, and features the danger of clinging, the benefit of listening to actors, the value of a spoonful of sugar, and how Kevin’s next play will solve all the world’s problems. (Length 25:05)

Episode 574. The Stupidest Angel

’Tis the season! Christopher Moore, the author of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal; Fool; The Serpent of Venice; Sacre Bleu; The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove: and the upcoming Noir, talks about his “heart-warming tale of Christmas terror” The Stupidest Angel, how it came to be written, how it fits with the rest of his oeuvre, and also what’s coming next. Featuring a return to Pine Cove, the fun of playing with existing characters, purposely misleading cover art, inclement weather, writing the thing you want to read, the secret to writing moving or funny novels, and how one creates a wonderful celebration of — and antidote to — our favorite winter holiday. (Length 22:45)

Episode 567. Sir Stanley Wells

For the length and breadth of his scholarship and writing and editing and teaching, Sir Stanley Wells is our greatest living Shakespearean, and at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, might well be the greatest Shakespearean of all time. Generously granting us a brief (reduced) audience, Sir Stanley discusses the many Read more…

Episode 566. Captain Picard’s Autobiography

David A. Goodman (author of Federation: The First 150 Years and The Autobiography of James T. Kirk) returns to talk about his new book The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard, the definitive chronicle of Starfleet’s most inspirational captain. David discusses how his television writing helps address the challenges of writing Star Trek fiction, and gives a Read more…

Episode 500! Playwright Ken Ludwig

Ken Ludwig (right) is the prolific American comic playwright responsible for such Tony- and Olivier-award winning shows as Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy For You, Moon Over Buffalo, Shakespeare In Hollywood, Baskerville, and almost two dozen more plays and musicals that have been produced in more than 30 countries in over 20 languages. For this special milestone episode, Ken talks about his work, his process, his new book How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, future projects, the importance of being in touch with Twelfth Night, the difference between farce and muscular comedy, the contrast between prose and poetry, the power of comic engines, and the all-important value of romance. (Length 31:22)

Episode 360. Austin Tichenor’s ‘Frankenstein’

Austin Tichenor’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is getting new life, with a new production and published acting edition. Austin talks to director Rob Richards about the current production and consider the ideal interpreters of 19th-century Romantic authors, some genius casting notions, the dangers of polite acting, the close relationship between laughter and screams, a special appearance by newly elected Senator Cory Booker, dodgy Jeff Goldblum impressions, and the nature of monstrosity. (Length 19:15) (Pictured: Matthew Geary as The Creature in the 2013 Phillips Exeter Academy production. Photo by Cheryl Semter. Used by permission.)

Episode 178. The Ballet Book

Kay Tichenor (Austin’s mom!) talks about her 1976 book Ballet (Troubador Press/Price Stern Sloan) and how a casual family interest became an activity and reference book that’s still in print after thirty-five years. Featuring a reduced history of this ‘history of the dance’, advice for aspiring writers, the power of movement, and a special appearance by a man of a certain age. (UPDATE: Kay passed away on May 29, 2010, less than a month after this was recorded. She is and will be missed.) (MP3. Length 20:47)