This Creative Life with Sara Zarr artwork

This Creative Life with Sara Zarr

52 episodes - English - Latest episode: about 4 years ago - ★★★★★ - 40 ratings

Author Sara Zarr in conversation with other writers, with a focus on the practical and psychological aspects of creativity, the creative process, and the strange landscape where art meets commerce. Past guests include the author of If I Stay, Gayle Forman; literary agent Michael Bourret; and filmmaker Scott Derrickson.

Books Arts TV & Film Film Interviews authors books creativity filmmaking literature publishing writing youngadult
Homepage Apple Podcasts Google Podcasts Overcast Castro Pocket Casts RSS feed


Documentarian and Adoptee Advocate Angela Tucker - Ep 51

December 28, 2015 21:59 - 35 minutes - 16.2 MB

"Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world's deep need." Frederick Buechner said that, and it's a quote I thought of when prepping to talk to Angela Tucker, the subject of the documentary Closure and the woman behind The Adopted Life, a blog and forthcoming episodes/mini-documentaries for that blog. A self-described private person and introvert, Angela has made her story public and herself vulnerable in the interest of educating people about transracial adoption and build...

Daniel Kraus - Ep 50

December 15, 2015 03:36 - 58 minutes - 28.3 MB

50! Episode 50! I'm so happy to celebrate this milestone with my guest Daniel Kraus, whose most recent book, The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, was named one of Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Books for 2015 shortly after we recorded this conversation. It's a meaty one, this conversation, from what it means to finish a project twenty years in the making, to the desire to divorce yourself from the reception of your work--if that's even possible--to building a career as a weekend novelist. We ...

Jeanne Murray Walker and Ambition - Ep 49

December 03, 2015 00:00 - 41 minutes - 18.5 MB

Jeanne Murray Walker is a poet, playwright, memoirist, and teacher. Most recently, she co-edited with Luci Shaw a book of essays on the topic of ambition by members of the Chrysostom Society. We talked about her experience as an ambitious young woman in the era of the "mythical character" of Betty Crocker, ambition and motherhood, and the problems of ambition without direction or models of what to do with it. My own relationship with ambition is quite fraught in ways that might warrant a seq...

Corey Ann Haydu and Adult Children of Alcoholics - Ep 48

November 19, 2015 16:36 - 57 minutes - 66 MB

In this Very Special Episode of This Creative Life, Corey Ann Haydu and I talk about being adult children of alcoholics and how that can play out in both the creative and business sides of our careers, in positive and negative ways. As we mention in the conversation, the symptoms or traits we go over can also come from growing up in environments without substance abuse--for example families that are very rigid, perfectionistic, dealing with mental health issues, homes with raging/anger, fami...

Author Brendan Reichs - Ep 47

November 11, 2015 22:37 - 42 minutes - 19.3 MB

Have you ever thought about co-writing some books with your mom? No? Well, if your experience could be anything like Brendan Reichs', maybe you should. Brendan is the co-author with Kathy Reichs of the Virals series--five books and a collection of novellas. What started as a way out of a horrible job became a career in something he's good at and enjoys, and he's now transitioning into solo novels. In this episode, we talk about collaboration, outlining, optimal placement of dry-erase boards,...

Author Justine Larbalestier - Ep 46

November 01, 2015 00:31 - 46 minutes - 21.7 MB

Justine Larbalestier is the author of half a dozen books for young adults in addition to her broader body of work writing and editing. Her most recent novel is RAZORHURST. In this episode we talk about how she got from academia to YA publishing, the pros and cons of the globalization of literature, repetitive stress injury and ergonomics, diversity in publishing (see: the lack thereof), and how her husband's optimism helped her make the leap to full-time writing.  I give a big swearing warn...

John Corey Whaley – This Creative Life ep 45

September 04, 2015 21:23 - 35 minutes - 16.7 MB

    Charlie Kaufman and Sufjan Stevens, inspiration vs. discipline, being “Corey” vs. being “author John Corey Whaley”, the upside of being a process-hacker, the difference between normal jobs and writing, imposter syndrome, movies, identity crises, and why we write and the fear of losing it. Yes, John Corey Whaley and I covered it all [&hellip

Author Alex Sanchez – This Creative Life ep 44

August 21, 2015 19:52 - 34 minutes - 15.6 MB

At long last, it’s the end of summer hiatus! We kick off this new batch of episodes with Alex Sanchez, award-winning author of numerous books for young adults, including Rainbow Boys and its sequels, Bait, So Hard to Say, The God Box, and Boyfriends with Girlfriends. Alex has been in this biz for fifteen years [&hellip

Author Jennifer E. Smith – This Creative Life ep 43

June 08, 2015 21:31 - 31 minutes - 14.5 MB

  Another podcast already? What? It’s true! I wanted to get one more episode in the can before I took off for some travel, and though I considered making it a scheduled post in a week or so I thought–why withhold? We all like instant gratification, so in that spirit I offer this conversation with Jennifer [&hellip

Author Varian Johnson – This Creative Life ep 42

June 04, 2015 18:02 - 39 minutes - 19 MB

    Varian Johnson and I go back to the era of listservs, LiveJournal, and Nokia flip phones. He’s the author of four novels for young readers–most recently The Great Greene Heist–and one on the way. In this conversation we talk about Varian’s ten years as a published author and how he has weathered the disappointments [&hellip

Author Coe Booth – This Creative Life ep 41

May 20, 2015 17:43 - 36 minutes - 17.4 MB

Coe Booth was one of the first YA writers I met when I started mingling with authors as a soon-to-be-published newbie. (I believe our first conversation was about Estelle Getty being alive or dead–she was alive, at the time.) After we met I read her debut novel, TYRELL, and absolutely loved it. Since then, she’s [&hellip

Literary Agent Michael Bourret – This Creative Life ep 40

May 11, 2015 19:00 - 37 minutes - 17.1 MB

I’ve known Michael Bourret (that’s pronounced with a hard T, by the way) for over a decade now, yet even I learned some new things about him in this episode. For example, that I’m not the only one who thought you could only break into publishing if you had a trust fund, and that the book [&hellip

Author Gayle Forman – This Creative Life ep 39

April 23, 2015 18:31 - 34 minutes - 16.3 MB

Gayle Forman is the author of seven novels, a book-length work of nonfiction, and many many magazine pieces. I knew that the day she and I could finally work out our schedules to get her on the podcast would be a good one. Here, you’ll find some real talk about writing and wanting, the importance [&hellip

Author Malinda Lo – This Creative Life ep 38

March 26, 2015 21:43 - 30 minutes - 14.3 MB

We’re back, and with a vengeance! In this first TCL episode of 2015 (a wee bit late, I admit), I had the great pleasure of talking to Malinda Lo, author of young adult novels and co-founder of the Diversity in YA project. We covered a lot of ground here, including some of Malinda’s fascinating family [&hellip

Listener Q&A II: Electric Boogaloo – with Matt Kirby – This Creative Life ep 37

December 08, 2014 19:07 - 38 minutes - 17.9 MB

Wow, you guys really came through with some great questions! Thank you so much, and my apologies that we couldn’t get to them all. We did cover a fair amount of ground, though, including book production timelines, revision, how not to be awkward at parties, and how to stay sane (always a crucial topic). Special thanks [&hellip

Bestselling Author E. Lockhart – This Creative Life ep 36

September 13, 2014 20:49 - 34 minutes - 11.4 MB

E. Lockhart is the author of nine–nine!–novels for young adults, a host of other books under the name Emily Jenkins, and short and collaborative projects. Her 2008 release–The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks–was given a National Book Award Finalist medal and a Printz Honor. She chaired the Young People’s Lit National Book Award judging committee [&hellip

Bestselling Author Jenny Han – This Creative Life ep 35

August 01, 2014 20:44 - 28 minutes - 9.41 MB

Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of books for young adults and younger readers, and an all-around cool lady. In our conversation we covered work habits, the relationship with readers, her collaborations with Siobhan Vivian, and–if you know Jenny this is not a surprise–Leo DiCaprio. A fun fact that got edited out [&hellip

Author Nova Ren Suma – This Creative Life ep 34

July 14, 2014 22:15 - 30 minutes - 9.17 MB

“When I was writing The Walls Around Us, I decided to be simply and only myself. … I wasn’t writing for recognition. I wasn’t writing for commercial success, or should I say ‘success’ because the idea of that changes with every new hoop I jump through.” So writes Nova Ren Suma on the blog post [&hellip

Critic Alissa Wilkinson – This Creative Life ep 33

July 01, 2014 15:15 - 35 minutes - 11.3 MB

Not that I’ll ever tire of talking to novelists, but it was a nice change-up for this episode to have a chat with Alissa Wilkinson–critic and lover of pop culture; and editor and writer of film reviews, Mad Men recaps, and essays about art and art-making. What Alissa may not know is how much I [&hellip

Author Stephanie Kuehn – This Creative Life ep 32

June 16, 2014 14:46 - 30 minutes - 9.93 MB

After a six-month hiatus from doing the podcast, I am happy to be back! Thanks for your enthusiasm and support. I’m very pleased to have Stephanie Kuehn as my first guest in 2014. Stephanie is the author of the 2014 Morris Award winning Charm & Strange (now in paperback), and the forthcoming Complicit (June 24), [&hellip

Bryan Bliss & Kate Bassett – This Creative Life ep 31

December 19, 2013 19:41 - 34 minutes - 11.1 MB

It’s a This Creative Life first! My guests are two authors who are still a year out or more from the publication of their first books. I’ve been eager to do a show like this to remind us all that working writers don’t spring up overnight from nowhere. Not that you thought that, but it’s [&hellip

Author David McGlynn – This Creative Life ep 30

December 05, 2013 01:00 - 36 minutes - 11.6 MB

David McGlynn is the author of the Utah Book Award winning story collection The End of the Straight and Narrow; the riveting memoir about faith and swimming and loss, A Door in the Ocean; and numerous stories and essays published in places like Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, and Shenandoah, and work selected for Best American [&hellip

Author Jo Knowles – This Creative Life ep 29

November 18, 2013 23:06 - 34 minutes - 11.2 MB

In this episode, the lovely and talented Jo Knowles talks with me about emotional truth vs. “what really happened,” The Chocolate War, when we will start to feel like real authors, and the tragic decline and fall of roller discos. Jo is the author of five novels, her most recent being Living with Jackie Chan, [&hellip

Author Steve Brezenoff – This Creative Life ep 28

November 01, 2013 19:07 - 31 minutes - 9.54 MB

Steve Brezenoff started his career with dozens of writer-for-hire chapter books, and never though he’d wind up writing young adult realism. He says he “did it all wrong,” and YA just seemed to be what was in him wanting to come out. In this episode, Steve takes us through his scene-based process for the forthcoming [&hellip

Author Sarah Dessen – This Creative Life ep 27

October 15, 2013 15:24 - 34 minutes - 11.2 MB

Does she really need an introduction? Okay, just in case: Sarah Dessen is a Good Morning America superfan, tweeter extraordinaire, deviled egg aficionado and, oh yeah, the author of eleven bestselling novels. She and I recently met on the cybernets to talk about her writing life and career. We discussed how publishing has changed since [&hellip

Author & Filmmaker Nina LaCour – This Creative Life ep 26

October 01, 2013 15:13 - 32 minutes - 10.7 MB

My guest this episode is Nina LaCour, author of HOLD STILL and THE DISENCHANTMENTS, and producer/writer/director of the forthcoming movie, HOLD STILL, based on her novel (as you may have guessed). Listen in to Nina and I talking about how and why she Kickstarted the movie, our experiences as novelists figuring out how to write [&hellip

Author Matt de la Pena – This Creative Life ep 25

September 14, 2013 21:24 - 29 minutes - 9.43 MB

25! 25! 25 episodes of the podcast. Day-um. That went by kind of fast. Thanks so much for helping me make this a success, and for your patience during summer hiatus. Your reward is this conversation with Matt de la Peña, author of four novels for young adults (and a 5th coming very soon), one [&hellip

This Creative Life season finale! Dealing with Change

June 11, 2013 17:39 - 10 minutes - 4.65 MB

The winds of change never stop a-blowin’. How do we deal? By being flexible, letting go, staying optimistic. In this episode of This Creative Life, I talk briefly about how this works and why it matters. No season-ending cliffhangers, no car crashes, no major cast changes, I promise. And then I’m sending the TCL production [&hellip

Author/Screenwriter/YouTuber T. Michael Martin – This Creative Life ep 23

May 01, 2013 15:48 - 32 minutes - 10.3 MB

Debut novelist Mike Martin in conversation with me (and you) about being the writer you are, gestating in the gap, and reasons to not read about yourself online. We talk about how my fifth novel, THE LUCY VARIATIONS, and his first,  THE END GAMES, have a shared history as well as a shared release date [&hellip

Author/Performer Aaron Hartzler – This Creative Life ep 22

April 15, 2013 15:05 - 34 minutes - 9.44 MB

Oh my oh my. I think I say this every time, but it’s yet another all-time favorite episode. Aaron Hartzler and I talk about his new memoir, RAPTURE PRACTICE, which led us to topics such as: the power of personal stories, why the advice “write like your parents are dead” doesn’t work for everyone, the [&hellip

Author Bennett Madison – This Creative Life ep 21

March 15, 2013 19:05 - 37 minutes - 11.6 MB

Author Bennett Madison (The Blonde of the Joke) and I discuss his forthcoming book September Girls, among many other things. Such as: trusting your readers, what to do with the feedback of your peers or editors in the revision process, and the futility of trying to capture the ineffable–and why it still matters. Also his [&hellip

Part 2: Listener Q&A with Co-host Matthew J. Kirby – This Creative Life Ep 20

March 03, 2013 00:04 - 41 minutes - 18.4 MB

And here is part 2 of the epic Listener Q&A, 2013 edition. Author Matthew J. (Matt) Kirby and I field your excellent questions about the writing life and process. See here for part one and the episode’s home post, complete with show notes and links. As always, the easiest way to get new episodes and [&hellip

Part I: Listener Q&A with Co-host Matthew J. Kirby – This Creative Life Ep 20

March 01, 2013 23:57 - 34 minutes - 11.5 MB

It’s an extremely epic episode of This Creative Life, so epic that I had to split the audio file into two parts. Because of the way my feed works, I believe I need to make this into two separate blog posts. This one contains part one. It’s a Listener Q&A episode! I haven’t done one in [&hellip

Author Sara Ryan – This Creative Life ep 19

February 15, 2013 22:40 - 29 minutes - 14.2 MB

In this episode of This Creative Life, I had the pleasure of sitting directly across from – live! in person! – friend and writer Sara Ryan, in my very own house. We talked about writing space and writing pace, the process of writing a graphic novel, how she feels about being known as an “LGBT [&hellip

Author & Teacher Robert Clark – This Creative Life Ep 18

February 01, 2013 15:00 - 36 minutes - 10.2 MB

In which Robert Clark – Edgar Award Winner, Guggenheim Fellow, novelist, essayist, and “nonfictionista” – and I have a good meaty talk about writing, including a healthy dose of the craft and process stuff I love. Robert talks about how he hatches a book, his transition from nonfiction to fiction at the beginning of his [&hellip

Author & Video Game Designer Andrew Auseon – This Creative Life Ep 17

January 15, 2013 14:05 - 34 minutes - 9.8 MB

Andrew Auseon and I first made contact back in 2005 or 2006, when his debut novel, Funny Little Monkey, was out and I’d just sold Story of a Girl. Though we’ve known each other online for nearly eight years, the day we had our This Creative Life conversation was the first time we’d actually talked. He’s [&hellip

Jeffrey Overstreet & Anne Doe Overstreet – This Creative Life Ep 16

January 04, 2013 21:29 - 37 minutes - 10.7 MB

In this episode of This Creative Life, I’m thrilled to bring you a conversation with Jeffrey Overstreet and Anne Doe Overstreet, who are a talented and inspiring pair. I’ve known them for years and have always deeply admired the life they’ve built for themselves, in which creativity is integrated into all aspects and is perhaps, [&hellip

Bestselling Author Ally Condie (also: A Year of Podcasting) – This Creative Life Ep 15

December 17, 2012 14:23 - 28 minutes - 8.04 MB

In January 2011, I gave a talk called “Crafting a Creative Life” at the SCBWI-NY conference. I talked about the long journey of an artist’s life and all of the things that might trap us or freeze us along the way–the practical things like time and money and bad backs, as well as the psychological [&hellip

Staying Productive Through the Holidays – This Creative Life ep 14

December 02, 2012 00:13 - 11 minutes - 6.6 MB

It’s a very special holiday episode! Like when Juliana Hatfield played an angel on My So-Called Life, and by the way I just looked that up and Jason Katims co-wrote that episode, which blows the mind of this fan of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood and ANYWAY – – the podcast is back, and off [&hellip

Screenwriter & Director Scott Derrickson – This Creative Life ep 13

November 01, 2012 13:21 - 46 minutes - 13 MB

What do these things have in common: Biola University, the Chicago Film Critics Association’s Top 100 Scariest Films ever made, GK Chesterton, Ethan Hawke, lawn work, and Walker Percy? Well, maybe there’s a lot there for anyone who wants to try, but for our purposes I’m talking about screenwriter and director Scott Derrickson. His most [&hellip

Author Matthew Quick – This Creative Life ep 12

October 14, 2012 16:10 - 36 minutes - 10.3 MB

No one can teach you to be you, and that’s the one thing you have as a writer. So saith Matthew Quick, author of two books for young adults and two books for adults (one yet unpublished but forthcoming), including The Silver Linings Playbook, which has been made into a major motion picture directed by [&hellip

Comic Book Hero Gene Luen Yang – This Creative Life ep 11

October 01, 2012 15:14 - 31 minutes - 8.87 MB

In this edition of This Creative Life, hear about my plan to start all over in life with a new identity! But seriously folks! I hope you enjoy my conversation with Gene Luen Yang as much as I did. He’s a National Book Award finalist, Printz winner, two-time Eisner Award winner, and all-around terrific person. [&hellip

Author A.S. King – This Creative Life ep 10

September 17, 2012 18:00 - 29 minutes - 8.41 MB

A.S. (Amy) King and I have a good chat about getting to know our characters, why we don’t read most of our reviews, and that beautiful moment when we no longer hate our books. Sadly, Amy’s stories of raising chickens and my hilarious “rare poultry” jokes wound up on the cutting room floor due to [&hellip

Film Critic Scott Renshaw – This Creative Life ep 9

September 03, 2012 15:15 - 29 minutes - 16.7 MB

The podcast is back for a fall season of new episodes and conversations –  hooray! In this one, I talk with Scott Renshaw of the Salt Lake City Weekly about the art of criticism, how he gets it done, and why. Scott says there’s no genre where you can’t find excellence, and that “you have [&hellip

Round Table on Community – This Creative Life ep 8

July 02, 2012 18:22 - 25 minutes - 14.5 MB

TCL Ep 8 – Round Table on Community (click this link to play – or follow iTunes link below to subscribe) In this episode of This Creative Life, I talk with local writer friends Bree Despain, Brodi Ashton, Kim Reid, and Heather Dixon about writing groups and writing community – the good, the bad, and the [&hellip

Author Siobhan Vivian – This Creative Life ep 7

June 15, 2012 16:27 - 29 minutes - 16.4 MB

TCP Ep 7 – Siobhan Vivian The creative challenges Siobhan Vivian faced while writing her fourth novel, The List, in her words, nearly broke her. In this episode, Sara and Siobhan talk about risk-taking, self-doubt, and pushing ourselves to try to write the book we think we can’t. (Click on the link above to listen [&hellip

Author Emily Wing Smith – This Creative Life ep 6

June 01, 2012 14:15 - 28 minutes - 15.6 MB

This Creative Life – Episode 6 – Emily Wing Smith Author Emily Wing Smith was hit by a car when she was 12, and that still affects her writing process today. Sara and Emily chat about writing with physical challenges, and how to deal with the associated discouragement. Show notes: Emily’s web site  |  Emily [&hellip

Listener Q&A – This Creative Life ep 5

May 02, 2012 00:15 - 27 minutes - 15.7 MB

You asked, Sara answered. Thoughts on knowing when a book is finished, “legitimate distractions”, and writing about God. TCL Ep 5 – Listener Q&A – You can now subscribe though iTunes. If you like the podcast, feel free to leave a rating or review in the iTunes directory. Somehow, episode 1 has disappeared. Woe. I [&hellip

Cartoonist/Author/Illustrator Mark Pett – This Creative Life ep 4

April 16, 2012 16:05 - 33 minutes - 19 MB

TCL Ep 4 – Mark Pett Mark Pett and Sara talk about perfectionism, learning to let go, and self-management, among other things. — Show Notes: A page from Mark’s sketch/idea book Mark’s website  |  Mark on Twitter  |  See Mark Pett and Gary Rubenstein perform The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes at the National Book [&hellip

Author Antony John – This Creative Life ep 3

April 02, 2012 14:30 - 31 minutes - 17.2 MB

Sara and YA author Antony John discuss the pros and cons of selling a project on proposal, how much industry info is too much, and what happens when you’re sick of your book… — My guest this episode is Antony John, the author of the YA novels  Five Flavors of Dumb and  Thou Shalt Not [&hellip