Episode 28: A Chat with Andrew Peterson

Andrew PetersonAndrew Peterson is the award-winning author of The Wingfeather Saga. Today marks the release of Book Four of that series,  The Warden and the Wolf King.  You may also know Andrew for his music. As a singer/songwriter, he has more than ten albums to his credit.  He is also the founder of The Rabbit Room, an online community focused on the intersection of life and the creative arts.

In the interview, Andrew talked about his earliest attempts at writing fiction (spoiler alert: Fans of Batman, Comics, and Mopeds will love this!). From there, we discussed a comparison of writing songs and fiction, as well as the source of inspiration for The Wingfeather Saga.

Are you interested in learning about the process Andrew employed in writing the series? You’ll want to listen in as he describes the process that began with a sketch pad. And if that were not enough, Andrew provides a splendid treat by reading a portion of The Warden and the Wolf King during the twelve-minute interview.

**You do not want to miss the BONUS feature with Andrew Peterson. In this ten minute session, AP responds to the following question:  How much of your children are in the Igiby children? The BONUS feature also includes a couple of blooper-ish moments and a fascinating discussion of what Story Warren refers to as holy imagination.  Andrew explores this idea and addresses his journey and understanding of the artist’s role in dealing with the sacred/secular split.

Click on the following links to learn more about Andrew Peterson and his work.

Buy The Warden and the Wolf King at The Rabbit Room

Buy The Warden and the Wolf King at Amazon

Andrew’s Website

The Rabbit Room

Episode 27: A Chat with Erin Casey

Erin Casey

Erin Casey is passionate about writing. Not only has she authored a series of children’s books and a recent work of nonfiction, she has worked for years as an editor and writing coach.  She believes that everyone has a message worth hearing, and she desires to help people communicate that message in a clear, compelling manner.

Erin shared with me her early start into writing and the different forms those early ventures took. She also talked about the similarities and differences between writing children’s literature and nonfiction and the role revision plays in the creative process.  Just like you’d expect from a successful coach, she walks us through the steps of the editing process.

A highlight of the episode is when Erin read a passage from her latest book, Get Personal: The Importance of Sharing Your Faith Story. You’ll be encouraged by her account of a divine message in what others might see as an annoying inconvenience.    

In the BONUS feature, Erin discusses why writing is important. She also responds to the question Who are some writers who inspire or encourage you? Sign up for the free Bonus feature in the upper right of this website.

Be sure to click on the following links to learn more about Erin Casey’s work and her books:

Erin’s Website

Click here to visit My Writers Connection.

Share Your Faith Story

Zany Zia’s Hats to Where

Episode 26: A Chat with Ken Davis

ken davisKen Davis is a seriously funny guy! Originally from Minnesota, and now living in Tennessee, Ken has been using comedy to inspire and encourage audiences for many years.  Our interview explored his creative process of writing and delivering humor with a purpose.

We discussed the roles raw inspiration and revision play in his work.  Inspiration for Ken occurs in day-to-day life, as he observes the humorous things around him. Revision is a constant flux of trial and error, experimenting new material with his audiences. It’s not unusual for him to chuck a bit if it receives poor feedback after a couple of tries.

Ken talked about the difference between what stand-up comedians do and what he does—which is more like storytelling. That makes sense, since storytelling lends itself to Ken’s purpose of encouraging and inspiring his audiences. He also shared a couple of reasons why he thinks comedy is important.

In the BONUS session, find out which couple of comedians had a big influence on Ken.  Can you guess who they are? Here are two hints: the first was a mentor of Robin Williams and the second is someone who was associated with NBC’s The Tonight Show.

Be sure to visit the links below to learn more about Ken and his work.

Ken’s Website

Ken’s Fully Alive on Amazon

Ken’s Lighten Up & Live







Episode 25: A Chat with Blimey Cow (Josh Taylor)

blimey cowJosh Taylor and his brother started Blimey Cow nine years ago.  What is Blimey Cow?  That’s the first question I asked Josh.

Blimey Cow’s Messy Mondays is a clever, humorous video series (aired on Mondays) that explores issues like relationships, conflict, hypocrisy, and religion—and always with sarcasm or irony. In addition to talking about how it started, Josh shared about the creative process of producing the weekly video from start to finish.

I expected to stump Josh with the question about his favorite Messy Monday episode, but he was prepared.  Tune in to find out what he said. Josh also filled us in on the latest Blimey Cow project: a Patreon campaign.  Find out more about that by clicking the Patreon link at the bottom of this post.

In the BONUS session, Josh talks about his parents and some of the Messy Monday episodes that have drawn the largest response. I even asked him about the origin of the name Blimey Cow. (Sign Up in the upper right of this site to receive the free Bonus session.)

Check out the links below to learn more about Josh and Blimey Cow.

Blimey Cow (Homepage) 

Five Reasons I Don’t Care About Poor People

Blimey Cow on Facebook

Blimey Cow on Twitter

Blimey Cow Patreon Page


Episode 24: Van Gogh: The Artist’s Influence on 3 Songwriters

van gogh

Vincent Van Gogh’s influence has been far-reaching in the art community and has made an impact in the music world as well.  Don McLean’s “Vincent” (often referred to by its opening line “Starry, starry night”) has been popular since the the early 1970s. In this episode, I interview three songwriters who each has written at least one song about Van Gogh. Bill Mallonee, Doug Burr, and Matthew Perryman Jones discuss the tragic,  compelling life of Van Gogh.

van goghSurprisingly, each of the songwriters found most of the inspiration to write his song in Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo rather than from his actual paintings. The vivid language of the letters and their honest thoughtfulness allowed them to have a firm understanding of the conflicts and disappointments of the troubled Van Gogh’s life.

Whether you are familiar with Mallonee, Burr, and/or Perryman Jones, you will want to listen to their insight into the life of the artist and hear excerpts from their interpretive attempts to capture his world in a song.

Be sure to check the links below to hear the entire songs. In fact, “Skin” by Bill Mallonee is available as a FREE download for a limited time.

FREE Download of Bill Mallonee’s “Skin”

Doug Burr’s “How Can the Lark (My Dear Theo)”

Doug Burr’s “Should’ve Known”

Matthew Perryman Jones’ “O Theo”

Thanks for listening!


Episode 23: A Chat with Matthew Perryman Jones

Matthew Perryman Jones

Matthew Perryman Jones is my guest today. He is a singer/songwriter originally from Decatur, GA and now based in Nashville.  Matthew has released three full-length albums, and his music has been featured in numerous films and television episodes. American Songwriter said, “Matthew’s voice ensnares listeners with a rare authenticity and gritty strength.”

Matthew had an early start in music, playing with bands and beginning his ventures into songwriting as a teenager. He talks about that briefly, but spends the majority of our conversation discussing the process of songwriting.  During that discussion, he shares about a time a song “showed up” and was completed in less than an hour.  You’ll even get to hear an excerpt of that song at the end of the interview.

Matthew spoke about the importance of revision, and the equally important task of not over-thinking or over-critiquing a song or lyric.  He also mentioned two or three bands which are currently in his playlist.

There were a couple of questions we didn’t get to in the twelve-minute interview. I asked MPJ the following:  Who is a songwriter who has inspired or influenced you? And if you could ask him (or her) one question about his/her work, what would it be?

Sign up in the upper right of this page to receive the Bonus Interview Download to hear what he said.

Also, be sure to visit the following links to learn more about Matthew and his music.

Matthew’s website

MPJ on Facebook

MPJ on Twitter


** Excerpt at the end of the interview from the song “Save You” on the album Swallow the Sea.

Episode 22: A Chat with David Bottoms

David Bottoms


David Bottoms is one of my favorite poets, so I was thrilled to be able to interview him.  His first book of poetry won the Walt Whitman Award in 1979. Since then, he has published eight books of poems, two novels, and a book of essays and interviews.  Having served as Georgia’s Poet Laureate, David currently teaches at Georgia State University and serves as founding co-editor of Five Points: A Journal of Literature & Art.

David shared his earliest memories of poetry, which involved W.B Yeats and a pink sofa in Canton, Georgia. From there, we explored the process of writing poetry.  Talk of metaphor and revision seemed to dominate that subject.

At my request, David read one of the poems from his most recent collection We Almost Disappear. The poem he shared was about a time when his daughter took a karate class.  It was a real treat to hear the story behind the poem as he set up the reading.

As we closed the conversation, he shared a couple of poets who inspired and influenced his work.

Click on the links below to learn more about David Bottoms and his catalog of work.

David Bottoms on poets.org

David Bottoms in the New Georgia Encyclopedia

David Bottoms on Amazon

Episode 21: A Chat with Doug Burr

Doug Burr Doug Burr is an indie/folk singer-songwriter from Denton, Texas.  He has developed a sizable following in the Dallas metro area and beyond. Several of Doug’s songs have been inspired by actual historic events, like the song “Graniteville,” which portrays a couple involved in the 2005 train crash in Graniteville, South Carolina.  In the interview, we discussed how he approaches writing a song inspired by a historical event. Doug also shared the interesting story of one song that came to him quickly as an entry for a songwriting contest.

His third album, The Shawl, was a bold endeavor in which all of the lyrics came from the book of Psalms in the Bible.  The album received notice from a number of music critics. Doug talked with me about his approach to this challenging project.

Doug and I chatted about his upcoming project which should be finished by the end of the summer, with an expected release of late 2014 or early 2015.  Listen in to get some hints at what to expect.

Be sure to explore Doug’s music with the following links:

Doug’s Website

Doug’s bandcamp page

Doug Burr on facebook

Doug Burr on twitter

Episode 20: A Chat with Dixon Hearne

Dixon Hearne


Dixon Hearne has a gift for portraying a sense of place and unique character voices in his writing. His short stories and poetry have received numerous nominations and awards, and he just finished his first novella.

In the interview, Dixon shares his earliest memories of writing, as well as the point in time when writing became a passion for him. We talked about the striking use of voice in his work, and the challenges associated with developing characters.

On more than one occasion, Dixon has experienced a story or poem just showing up. He shares some of the inspiration behind those. Also, he talked about his latest project, which will probably be published later this year.

The highlight of the interview was when Dixon read an excerpt from his story “Sandbars” (Roanoke Review, 2008). The story depicts life on the river, and the scene he reads captures a kindhearted moment exchanged between Runyard Poe and Sally Townes. Dixon’s complex characters are so engaging in this scene that the subtle surprise almost slips by unnoticed.

Be sure to learn more about author Dixon Hearne by visiting his website.

(Note: I must apologize for the audio quality of this interview.  We ran into some technical glitches that prevented a higher sound quality.)