Vanessa Lillie, LITTLE VOICES

Vanessa Lillie, LITTLE VOICES

Vanessa: Little Voices is the story of a woman postpartum who is both struggling as a new mom, but then also her friend was murdered actually on the night she went into labor. She very much wants to return to who she was before, to be able to investigate, to be able to help find justice for her friend. It’s the story of an investigation. It’s also the story of motherhood, which is something I really wanted to read. I thought of this story and wrote a lot as a new mom. I wanted to see a new mom at the heart of a thriller, which is my favorite genre.

Alain de Botton, THE SCHOOL OF LIFE: AN EMOTIONAL EDUCATION

Alain de Botton, THE SCHOOL OF LIFE: AN EMOTIONAL EDUCATION

Alain: Here's an optimistic thing to bear in mind. No child needs a perfect parent. In fact, if you have a perfect parent, you'll end up psychotic. A parent who never disappoints you leads you towards a life of madness. The role of a parent is kindly disappointment. You want to try and gently initiate a child to the tragedies of existence until such point your job will long be done when it can accept the fact it’s going to die. It starts with, “I want to stay in the park all day. I want to eat as much chocolate cake as I like.” The job of a parent is, in a kindly way, to let them down. Some parents can never do any of the letting down because they have their own issues around disappointment. The notion is that the child must be happy all the time, which is very dangerous. There are some parents like that around.

Tiffany Shlain, 24/6: THE POWER OF UNPLUGGING ONE DAY A WEEK

Tiffany Shlain, 24/6: THE POWER OF UNPLUGGING ONE DAY A WEEK

Tiffany: Our daughters love it. It’s our favorite day of the week. I feel more creative, more productive. I'm happier on those days. I laugh more. It’s this secret sauce. It’s this ancient tradition that has so much wisdom in it. I'm so excited to get these ideas out. It’s not something I tried for a couple years or a couple months or digital detox. It’s not that. It’s a whole different way to live, to have a real structure around your week and have a true day of rest and a true day where we have a big Shabbat meal -- we have a big meal every Friday night with family and friends. No one brings their screen. It’s very different to be with people without their phones. Then the next day is the most delicious day of my week that I look forward to all week.

Tui Sutherland, THE HIDDEN KINGDOM

Tui Sutherland, THE HIDDEN KINGDOM

Tui: I'd written a bunch of books before Wings of Fire, as you mentioned. A unifying theme of all of them is I really am interested in telling stories from different perspectives. When you read one book, you'll see the other characters. You'll find out more about them as you read their books. That was one thing that I was really interested in. I also really just love writing fantasy. I've always read fantasy. I find it one of the most fun genres to read. With Wings of Fire, it started with -- my agent and I were talking about all of my ideas for different projects. He said, “Have you ever thought about doing something that was focused on dragons” -- he knew that I loved dragons -- “with them as the heroes of the story?” I immediately got excited because it fit into those themes I'd been thinking about. All the books that I'd read, the humans were the heroes of the story. The dragon were there, but they were the sidekicks or the transportation or the bad guys. They never got to be the center hero. I thought wouldn't it be interesting to write a whole series where the dragons get to tell their own stories? I thought that would be really fun to do.

Adrienne Brodeur, WILD GAME: MY MOTHER, HER LOVER, AND ME

Adrienne Brodeur, WILD GAME: MY MOTHER, HER LOVER, AND ME

Adrienne: The truth of it is some part of me has been writing this story my whole life, mostly in my journal. At different points in my life, I tried to tackle it in different ways. There was some period in my life where I told this story entirely humorous as cocktail party patter or funny essays. I tried to write it as a romantic comedy at one point. Why now or why when I did start to write it, it was having children and starting a family of my own that made me realize I really needed to reckon with my past. I love my parents. I love my mother, but I did not want to parent or mother as I had been parented or mothered. That was probably the biggest impetus for writing it the way I've written it. Aside from the point that I think it’s worth noting that my daughter will be fourteen at the time of publication -- that was exactly the age I was when all this started in my own life. There's probably some unconscious timing and considerations that went on as well.

Waylynn Lucas, SUNNY-SIDE UP

Waylynn Lucas, SUNNY-SIDE UP

Waylynn: Everybody should buy this cookbook. I really wanted to create a very family-friendly, everybody-friendly cookbook. I find a lot of chef cookbooks can be very intimidating. Because they're chefs, they do a lot of fancy things and use a lot of extravagant ingredients that aren't really applicable to just your regular home cook. I wanted to do the opposite of that. I wanted this to be fun and easy and approachable and use what I've learned as a chef to give little tips and tricks. I love breakfast. I love brunch. As a pastry chef, I love brunch and breakfast so much because it’s very sweet oriented. That was my inspiration to do something more than just a regular dessert book. I wanted to push myself and get into some more savory things, but more pastries and eggs and breakfast, brunch, and have my experiences as a pastry chef go that much further in the kitchen.

Matt Hall, ODDS ON: THE MAKING OF AN EVIDENCE-BASED INVESTOR

Matt Hall, ODDS ON: THE MAKING OF AN EVIDENCE-BASED INVESTOR

Matt: Writing what, for me, is a very personal story, writing a memoir is not easy. I heard one of your other podcast guests at one point say that it doesn't feel lonely if you're creating a work of fiction because you're getting to know this village of people that you're creating. For me, going back through my own experience, you have these moments where you go, is this going to be relevant? Is this going to connect with people? I loved the process. Writing the book has been transformational. I really wanted to do a personal narrative that was aimed at sharing the important truths I have found about modern investing. I had experience watching my mentor write many books that didn't really connect. If you go to any big bookstore and you look in the business section, it’s littered with books that are all doing the same thing. I really wanted to do something different.

Rachel Brathen, TO LOVE AND LET GO

Rachel Brathen, TO LOVE AND LET GO

Rachel: To Love and Let Go essentially is about a year in my life where I had the most amazing things happen and the most terrible things happen at the same time. My best friend passed away really tragically in a car accident. She was supposed to be the bridesmaid in my wedding. Three months after that, I got married to my husband, which was a highlight, of course. Then my grandmother passed away. Then we lost our dog. Then my mom tried to commit suicide. This all happened in the scope of one single year. It was a really big journey for me. Already then, I knew I wanted to write these stories down because I had so many intricate moments of things that felt like divine intervention, little miracles that happened in those really dark times. I wanted to write about it. It’s taken me five years to actually complete the book.