Favorite Interviews from How To Write The Future, part 2

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Favorite How To Write The Future interviews, part 2 – How To Write the Future podcast, episode 77

“Welcome back for another top five favorite interviews episode. I’m going to introduce each one. Hope you enjoy them. And stay tuned for a little goody at the end.”

In this special episode of How To Write the Future podcast, host Beth Barany shares clips from five of her favorite interviews featuring Russell Nohelty, Joe Tankersley, Denise Baden, Nina Hart, and one of the Paper Lantern Writers, Edit Cay. Beth also invites listeners to share your favorite episodes on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter: @BethBarany.

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Free World Building Workbook for Fiction Writers: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/world-building-resources/

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Nina Hart https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/08/21/bring-playfulness-to-your-writing-with-nina-hart-part-1/

Denise Baden https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/12/04/what-is-thrutopia-with-denise-baden-part-1/

Joe Tankersley https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/11/20/making-the-world-better-with-storytelling-featuring-joe-tankersley/

Paper Lantern Writers https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/05/01/paper-lantern-writers-a-book-marketing-collective-part-1/

Russell Nohelty https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/09/27/author-ecosystem-with-russell-nohelty-part-1/

About the How To Write the Future podcast 

The *How To Write The Future* podcast is for science fiction and fantasy writers who want to write positive futures and successfully bring those stories out into the marketplace. Hosted by Beth Barany, science fiction novelist and creativity coach for writers. We cover tips for fiction writers. This podcast is for readers too if you’re at all curious about the future of humanity.

This podcast is for you if you have questions like:

– How do I create a believable world for my science fiction story?

– How do figure what’s not working if my story feels flat?

– How do I make my story more interesting and alive?

This podcast is for readers too if you’re at all curious about the future of humanity.

Transcript for Favorite Interviews from How To Write The Future, part 2

Hey, everyone. Welcome to How To Write The Future podcast. I’m your host Beth Barany, science fiction and fantasy writer and writing teacher.

Welcome back for another top five favorite interviews episode. I’m going to introduce each one. Hope you enjoy them. And stay tuned for a little goody at the end.

Introducing Paper Lantern Writers

All right. Introducing the next favorite interview that I did uh, this past year it’s with a group of historical fiction writers. They call themselves the Paper Lantern Writers, writing all different kinds of historical fiction. I really enjoy talking to them. They’re doing a unique kind of marketing promotion coming together. Enjoy.


It’s so interesting. You’re all in different subsets of historical.

I was really struck by that when I first met everybody.

Honestly, I was like, how do you make this work?

Because your readership — historical romance might only love that and not love historical crime fiction or those who read the heritage fiction, which I hadn’t heard that before. which is beautiful, might not like the others.

How do you overcome that hurdle?

Who would like to take that one up?


I would love to take that one if I could.


Yeah. Please do.


I believe as a reader, I like to read across the spectrum. I love to read science fiction. I love to read fantasy. I love to read biographies. I love heritage fiction, crime fiction. I love all of it. I wanna read everything. I mean, there are times when I get into one genre more than the other, but you know, I’m always drifting off to other, other things and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

So when we formed Paper Lantern, we wondered if historical fiction was gonna be a tight enough genre bond for all and we’ve had to experiment with do On our website, we have areas so we can say, oh, if you are a historical romance person, you know, here are a few offerings, our authors that you might If you are biographical fiction lover, then try these out.

So, that way we can cater to everybody, but also just show really, I think a lot people love historical fiction because you learn something at the same time as getting a, it’s the edutainment, So, and I think that’s really what happens. and It’s so far been really great and I do think that our reach has expanded and other people have been able to see. And one thing that I, uh, as the romance writer in the group, for a while, I was the only one.

I do think that it has really helped because romance, as a genre is often seen as being vapid or somehow lesser.

And I think that being aligned with just historical fiction has actually helped raise awareness for other readers that, oh, there actually is meat to every one of these books.

Intro to Russell Nohelty


Next on the list is my conversation with Russell Nohelty. Russell is doing some really incredible things for authors, including his Author Ecosystem, which you can find out about in the full-length episode. Enjoy our excerpt next.

So welcome Russell. So glad you could be here.


Thanks for having me.


Yeah, and just a wonderful plug. I really enjoy your fiction. I have your graphic novel, that I’m spacing on. I forgot to go grab it, but about the girl who has to fight demons.


Katrina Hates the Dead.


Yeah. I loved it. Made me cry at the end. It’s really good. Yeah.


Thank you. That’s the best you can do when you have an action book is if you can get people to care about the characters enough to cry or feel emotion at the end.


Absolutely. Absolutely. Right there with you.

And, just so everyone knows full disclosure, I’ve taken Russell’s Kickstarter programs for novelists and I successfully did a Kickstarter launch last year for the fourth book, yeah, in my sci-fi mystery series, Red Running Deep. And I, I did a modest goal. I achieved my goal, almost tripled my goal.

It was a really great experience. Opened my eyes to how to do a Kickstarter for a novelist, which I think is a great option, and which kind of segues us into sustainability and creating author careers, which I understand your author ecosystem is all about.

How authors can use their natural tendencies to be more successful 


It is. So it’s interesting because we have had Monica and I, my business partner, Monica Leonelle and I, we’ve worked with thousands of authors at this point across over 25 years, and both of us have this very longitudinal perspective and data-driven perspective to how we run our businesses.

I have a degree in sociology. Monica has an MBA. And so we started to see this trend in our students where even though we give them all the same content, and if you’ve ever done any courses or you’ve ever taught anything, you know that given the same information, a small percentage of the people do well.

The average person does well. Then some percent of people way overperform, but then another group way underperforms. And so we got really obsessed with why people underperform, why people are on the outliers because I love a good bell curve. But I am all about looking at long and short tails.

Intro to Joe Tankersley


In this excerpt, you’re going to get a little taste of Joe Tankersley. Joe is a fiction writer, futurist. And really nice guy talking to me about the work that he does. Enjoy.

Thanks, Joe for joining me today. And gosh, where do we begin? Is there any opening remarks you want to jump in after, after hearing your bio read back to you?


It’s always depressing to hear your bio read back to you. It just makes me feel like I’m really old, actually. It’s too long, but you know.


Well, you’ve done a lot and that’s important. I mean, your insight adds to the conversation in a way that a lot of people don’t have, have that experience. So you’re really actually adding to the conversation, and I think people, especially the younger generation, they need, they need your wisdom.


Well, I appreciate that.

That’s, that’s hopefully useful, and, and I’ve been lucky to have the experiences that I’ve had. I’ve had a, you know, a chance to really explore a lot of different avenues throughout the years, which have sort of brought me to where I am today, still asking questions.


That’s fabulous. And I think it’s through those new questions leaning into the unknown that’s going to help us remake humanity and the world we live in through our stories.


Well, we certainly hope so because we definitely need some hope for better tomorrows right now.


Absolutely. And it sounds like your current work in progress will definitely give us some of that hope. So I hope to have you back when that story is done and out in the world.


No, I appreciate that.

And hopefully, that won’t be nearly as long as it’s taken me to get to this point with it. 

You know how that is with stories. They come when they come sometimes.


Exactly. I always tell my writers, you know, it takes as long as it takes.

As long as we’re showing up for the work on a regular basis and not shying away from the hard stuff, it’ll get done.

Intro to Denise Baden


In this next excerpt, I speak with Denise Baden and talk about her eco romance Habitat Man.



How can I maybe be a bit more ambitious in my world-building and think about the cultural and economic and those kinds of factors, as well as just this technology or that technology?


Right. So it seems like really the first step for writers is focus on the solution. Focus on what experts are saying, are doing, are thinking, are discussing, and then write toward that– the resolution. It feels like it’s- could be built into the resolution of the story, but it also could be built in, like what you did with Habitat Man.

You had him have his interest in ecology and sustainable gardening when he was much younger. And so he’s first working on it as a side project. And he thinks the solution is through economics, through accounting. And then when that, Well, I don’t want to reveal the story too much, but I feel like you did a good job organically setting up the character so that he had a personal interest that would eventually, in a circuitous, wonderful storytelling way, lead to a solution that, that is very satisfying and felt very organic.

It didn’t feel like I was being shoehorned into the solution part of the story. It felt like, this is something that the character really cared about. And he had his own journey to get there in a way that was very wonderful. You felt great when you got there. So at least, in the short story, I haven’t read the entire novel. I read enough of the novel where he starts to walk into his new role as Habitat Man, and it was very wonderful.

And I also love the romance that you’re building up in there.


Well, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Beth, because my first draft was nothing like that. My first draft was one big preachy info dump, and I had to get it out my system.



​And last but not least of this episodes, top five favorite interviews for How To Write The Future podcast and wrapping up my top 10. For the year is my conversation with Nina Hart, fellow writing teacher. And I just really enjoyed my conversation with her about beginner’s mind and playfulness and bringing that into your writing. I hope you enjoy it.

And I hope you tell me what your favorite interviews were of everything that I’ve released so far for the How To Write The Future podcast.

Stay tuned to right after Nina Hart. I share with you a way that you can get some help as a writer.


So, I decided I would go back to beginner’s mind. I would stop taking classes. I would throw out all of the rules. The hooligan got to come into play at that time, my inner teenager or troublemaker.

I decided to unlearn everything I had learned about writing and relearn to create and write in my own way, and that was a process.

I went over and over certain prompts that I’d received from a person named Marilyn who actually did lead a writing group, but it wasn’t a class, and she was in her eighties and she came up with these bizarre, kind of nonsensical writing prompts.

And I think there’s something about engaging nonsense, that sort of Dr. Suess-ian language that allows us to go back to our inner child. It allows us to start playing again and be curious and to drop the expectations.

So I just started playing in the Land of Marilyn prompts and other prompts that I gave myself, that once I had certain rules. If this is not fun, I am not going to do it. and I just started reconstituting myself.

The amusement park ride did come around after I had done some of that and I went back to Marilyn’s group and I felt –

This is very strange, of course, but these are science fiction writers you are working with, so let’s just go to that place. Right? Go there, going all the way.

So I felt the top of my head open. It’s the only way I can describe it. In Marilyn’s class, I felt like finally, I was not censoring what was coming through me. I was embracing it and curious and happy about it. And with every prompt– say it was a 10-minute prompt, I felt like I was like strapping into a little amusement park ride and going, Hmm, I wonder where we’re gonna go now.

And like an astronaut, I would just go around the circle, and then at the end of the 10 minutes, plop, I would be back and I would be like, whoa. What was that?

Kind of in the vein of an improviser where you say yes to everything and after the improv is over with your partners, you don’t remember what you just did until you reflect back on it because you’re so in the moment and that’s kind of part of how I reconstituted my writing process.


Oh, that’s so beautiful. Your courage, the wonderment that you brought, and also that rule of it needing to be fun. I just love that. If there was one rule I could offer all writers, and it sounds like you too. It’s like, only do it if it’s fun. And even the hard stuff. The hard stuff can be fun too.

Thanks for listening everyone. This ends my top five list of this episode, but wrapping up a whole little series of top 10, you can listen to the one I did just the other day on another five favorite interviews over the last 75 episodes I’ve done of How To Write The Future podcast.

And I would love to hear from you.

What is your favorite Interview or interviews that I’ve done?

And then as promised, if you would like to get some writing support for your, um, science fiction or fantasy novel, I recommend that you sign up for our World Building Workbook. It’s a PDF that will allow you to think about key aspects of your storyworld.

And there’s some tips in there on exactly how to do that. So you can check out the show notes for the link, or just go to how to write the future.com and you’ll find it.

So that’s it for now signing off. I have a upcoming special episode for you. Uh, next week and a really fun New Year’s episode as well. That’s it for now.

Write long and prosper.

Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/2012061


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Beth Barany teaches science fiction and fantasy novelists how to write, edit, and publish their books as a coach, teacher, consultant, and developmental editor. She’s an award-winning fantasy and science fiction novelist and runs the podcast, “How To Write The Future.”


Learn more about Beth Barany at these sites: 


Author siteCoaching site / School of Fiction / Writer’s Fun Zone blog



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SHOW NOTES by Kerry-Ann McDade


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