Show cover of The Worm Hole Podcast

The Worm Hole Podcast

Join me each second and fourth Monday of the month, when I'll be in conversation with an author about one (occasionally more) of their books. We'll be taking a fairly deep dive, looking at the background, the topics, writing, and the nitty gritty. Expect spoilers and frequent discussions of the endings.


Episode 96: Lucy Barker (The Other Side Of Mrs Wood)
Charlie and Lucy Barker (The Other Side Of Mrs Wood) discuss Victorian mediums both factual and fictionalised - their work, the spiritualism that led to their popularity, the social circles, the rivalry, the rumours of fraud, and the women's roles as early grief counselors. We also talk about the early days of the Suffrage movement and various aspects of the book's ending. Please note there is a very mild swear word in this episode. The Courtauld's exhibition of Georgiana Houghton's spirit paintings A preview of Tracy Ann Oberman's audio version of The Other Side Of Mrs Wood Lucy's blog post on the postal service in Victorian times One Night At McCool's Lucy's blog post on using Notting Hill Where to find Lucy online Blog || Twitter || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:50 The real mediums who inspired the book: Agnes Guppy and Florence Cook 05:17 Lucy talks about how mediums in general were able to escape accusations of falsehood despite many being outed as frauds 08:53 The fickleness and loyalty of medium patrons 10:35 Why the Victorians were in to Spiritualism 14:00 The importance of the references to America throughout the book - America's own spiritualism 15:27 Mrs Wood, Miss Newman, and Miss Finch 19:07 The very early days of the women's suffrage movement 22:30 About Mrs Wood's circle of people 26:35 How Mrs Wood seeing herself as providing a service for grieving people, and the role of mediums in early grief counseling 29:34 The comedy in the book, and Lucy speaks briefly about her next book in the context of humour 30:58 Lucy's use of letters in the book, and Mr Clore's columns 33:23 The ending: why Lucy chose the ending she did for Mrs Wood and Mr Larson 35:32 Charlie thought it was going to be revealed that Miss Finch could really talk to spirits - Lucy discusses this point. Listen in! 37:24 The ending: Mrs Wood and Miss Finch and their terms 39:20 Lucy tells us about the locations in the book: Victorian-era Notting Hill, Portobello Road, Ladbroke Grove 42:32 Lucy gives us more information about her next book
43:45 4/22/24
Episode 95: Jennifer Saint (Atalanta)
Charlie and Jennifer Saint (Atalanta) discuss the forgotten story of the female member of the Argonauts - Jennifer's use of and changes to the various versions of the mythological story, including her usage of motherhood as a theme, Homer's thoughts on his women characters, the assault of Callisto, and the fact that Jason isn't much of a hero. Please note there are mentions of sexual assault in this episode. Episode 60 of this podcast is my interview with Jennifer about Elektra Jennifer's Elektra Jennifer's Ariadne The Argonautica Sarah Clegg's Women's Lore Cicero said, in the Tusculan Disputations, Book I, On The Contempt Of Death, section XXXIX: "If a child dies young, one should console himself easily. If he dies in the cradle, one doesn't even pay attention." Emily Wilson's translation of The Iliad Where to find Jennifer online Website || Twitter || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:42 Why Atalanta, what drew you to her? 03:19 Why the first person in particular and how did you create Atalanta's voice? 06:31 The relevance of Atalanta's story to our present day, especially compared to Elektra 08:49 The unimportance of Jason (of the Argonauts) 10:07 Atalanta's growth as a person and her relative genderlessness 12:49 How and why Jennifer included motherhood in the way that she does (and how there are bad parents in Greek mythology) 17:54 Depending on the version of the story, Atalanta doesn't always meet Artemis - Jennifer talks about this and her choices for her story. We then move on to Callisto's story and the different versions of it 24:25 Jennifer talks about how Homer seems to have empathy for the women in his stories as part of a wider discussion as to the reception of the female characters in Ancient Greek society 27:49 How Jennifer approached writing the male characters, who revolve around Atalanta rather than the other way around 34:57 The ending - becoming lions would've been seen as a punishment in Ancient Greece, so how did Jennifer change this for her story? 38:02 Artemis' and Aphrodite's relationship 41:16 What's next - Jennifer's book on Hera 42:23 Might Jennifer ever write a 'regular' high fantasy novel?
43:40 4/8/24
Episode 94: Elizabeth Fremantle (Disobedient)
Charlie and Elizabeth Fremantle (Disobedient) discuss the formative life, and Elizabeth's fictionalisation, of Artemisia Gentileschi, a woman painter from the 17th century. Please note that there are many mentions of rape in this episode, and there is also a mention of animal death. The previous episodes with Elizabeth are episode 7 and episode 70 The exhibition at The National Gallery Judith Slaying Holofernes Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes Mary D Garrard's Artemisia Gentileschi Elizabeth's Queen's Gambit Firebrand Where to find Elizabeth online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:18 Why Artemisia, and the general inspiration for the book 04:40 Elizabeth talks about Artemisia's work in general, as well as her success in her lifetime 10:58 How much does your fictionalisation of Orazio Gentileschi align with what's known? 15:14 Where Artemisia worked on her father's paintings 16:47 The Stiatessi family and what we know about Artemisia's husband 20:12 About Zita, real name Tuzia 22:49 The fragments of translations in the book - listen in for some interesting facts! 25:56 The use of laundry and light coming through the laundry lines 28:21 The Nightingale (Ovid's Metamorphoses' Philomel and Procne) 31:19 About Beatrice Cenci and Elizabeth's next book 35:28 Asking Elizabeth about what Charlie feels is her defining element - her honing in to one or two specific elements - and how she may continue in this vein in future 40:42 Lola the dog, who is mentioned at the start of the novel 41:29 Release dates for Firebrand, the film of Queen's Gambit Photo credit: JP Masclet.
43:04 3/25/24
Episode 93: Kristy Woodson Harvey (The Summer Of Songbirds)
Charlie and Kristy Woodson Harvey (The Summer Of Songbirds) discuss whether we should like her character, Lanier (who stops her best friend and brother being together); the various plot threads she left out of the book (including alternative endings); and US summer camps (both Kristy's experiences, and the effect of the pandemic lockdowns). We also spend a good amount of time discussing the pre-actor's-strike announcement of an adaptation of Kristy's Peachtree Bluff series and her next two books. Kristy's The Wedding Veil Kristy's Christmas In Peachtree Bluff Friends & Fiction Kristy's interview with Susan M Boyer The announcement about the Peachtree Bluff adaptation on Kristy's website Where to find Kristy online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 02:14 The inspiration: a sailing trip at a summer camp Kristy went to with her family during the pandemic 06:49 So Lanier and Rich came first?... 08:02 How Kristy doesn't write in chronological order and how it ends up working well 12:01 How Kristy feels about Lanier 15:35 Why was important to write about Daphne's family and the problems there are there? 19:21 Why no narrator for Mary Stuart? 25:39 This book was originally longer (what got cut) 29:24 Kristy's childhood experiences of US summer camps 33:52 Why Kristy ends her book with a scene about Daphne, Lanier, and Mary Stuart's children going to camp 34:51 Real camps that had to close due to the lockdowns 36:24 The concept of 'hard things' 40:27 Other endings Kristy had in mind for The Summer Of Songbirds 44:43 A sequel? 48:18 The on-hold Peachtree Bluff adaptation 52:16 What's next (A Happier Life, and and very, very brief peak at Kristy's 2025 book)
59:48 3/11/24
Episode 92: Maggie Brookes (Acts Of Love And War)
Charlie and Maggie Brookes (Acts Of Love And War) discuss the small group of British Quakers who went to aid refugees during the Spanish Civil War, the way the war tore families apart as people chose different sides, and why she ended her romantic thread differently than might be expected. All referenced media in this episode: Francesca Wilson's In The Margins Of Chaos Maggie Brookes' Acts Of Love And War Maggie Brookes' The Prisoner's Wife Buy Acts of Love and War and other books mentioned Where to find Maggie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:53 The initial inspiration: Professor Farah Mendlesohn's PhD on the Spanish Civil War 03:39 The very small group of Quakers, including Alfred Jacob, who went out to Spain from Britain to help refugees 07:02 The real life women in Maggie's book: Francesca Wilson, Kanty Cooper 09:30 How the Quakers got their supplies to Spain, and the refugee children's colonies 15:03 What happened to the refugees after the war 18:26 Maggie's fictional characters - Lucy, Tom, and Jamie and having two brothers on different sides of the war 22:20 People in Britain who thought Franco was right, and why they thought that, and we mention the non-intervention pact many countries agreed to 27:27 On why Maggie had one of the brothers die, and who was better for Lucy 29:59 The ending, Maggie leaving Lucy single 32:00 Maggie tells us about the inspiration of her first book, The Prisoner's Wife, and Maggie briefs us on what she's writing now Photo credit: Lyn Gregory Disclosure: If you buy books linked to our site, we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops
36:06 2/26/24
Episode 91: Stacey Thomas (The Revels)
Charlie and Stacey Thomas (The Revels) discuss English Civil War era witch hunting which includes the methods, the propaganda, and the awful theatre of it all. We also discuss Stacey's inclusion of actual witches in her narrative, and Stacey's recommendations of Wolf Hall and A Little Life. Witchfinder General James VI/I's Daemonologie Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life Bridget Collins' The Binding Stacey's episode on Witches Of Scotland I spoke to Amita Parikh in episode 72 Where to find Stacey online Twitter || Instagram || TikTok Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:20 What made you want to tell this story of a man who is a witch, and his role in the judgement of witches? 02:23 Stacey's interest in James I and his favouritism of different male courtiers 04:22 The theatrical elements of the book 05:58 The torture of the accused 'witches' that led to fantasy stories being created 08:51 The influence of the printing press and propaganda pamphlets on the public's thoughts about accused women 10:02 About knot magic 12:09 The importance of having actual witches in the book and the impact of religion 14:32 Stacey's interest in taxidermy and Althamia's experience 16:41 Althamia's impact on the novel 17:54 The themes of grief and guilt in the book 20:51 Castor and Pollux 22:20 The writing style and narrative voice, and Stacey recommends Wolf Hall and A Little Life 25:24 All about Will and how he fits into the story 30:44 Is John Rush a witch?... And the fact he's left at large at the end 34:40 The initial execution scene did not originally happen... 35:57 Althamia says "Happy endings are beyond most people" and talks of proper endings - how does Stacey see The Revels in that sense? 39:15 Modern day apologies for witch hunters by the church 42:02 What Stacey's working on now (this turns into a lengthy discussion on debutantes and their publicity machines With thanks to Jawnson.
46:59 2/12/24
Episode 90: Celina Baljeet Basra (Happy)
Charlie and Celina Baljeet Basra (Happy) discuss the experiences undocumented migrants to Western Europe face, French film director Jean Luc Goddard's seminal film Bande À Part, Indian talkshow Koffee With Karan, and Celina's particular usage of Umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh. The Abduction Of Europe A review of 'Park', the 2017 exhibition curated by Celina Bande À Part Bruce Bégout's Le Park Uski Roti There are no clips of the discussed Koffee With Karan episode on YouTube, but if you've the right channel, it is from 7th November 2010 Where to find Celina online Website || Twitter || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:48 Why Celina wanted to tell this story: inspiration from a distant relatives' migration from India to Italy 05:24 Celina's highly unique narrative structure (fragmented) and how she used it to further achieve her aims 09:45 Would there have been a way for Happy's life to improve, if what happened to him at the end didn't happen? 12:07 The real riot of exploited migrants that was mentioned in the book 14:36 The character of Europe and the way Celina created a woman from a continent 19:32 The importance of the presence of Happy's family in the novel 21:20 The phrases of Italian vocabulary included that shows us where Happy is in his learning about his new life 24:35 Wonderland - the real one in Jalandhar and Celina's fictionisation of it 28:53 The inclusion of Jean Luc Goddard's Bande À Part 34:35 The inclusion of Indian talkshow Koffee With Karan 40:22 Why Celina included the other narrative voices of Harbir and Zhivago at the end 43:37 What's next Photo credit: Lilian Scarlet.
45:08 1/22/24
Episode 89: Rachel Abbott (Don't Look Away)
Charlie and Rachel Abbott (Don't Look Away) discuss young carers and the guilt they can feel, trafficking in Cornwall - both fact and fiction - and having her series' policewoman staying in the background of the story rather than take the spotlight. (We talk about that a couple of times, I loved it!) Please note that there are mentions of suicide in this episode. And So It Begins Stranger Child Come A Little Closer Sleep Tight About the trafficking at Newlyn Harbour in late 2019 Where to find Rachel online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:40 The inspiration for Nancy and Lola's story 03:15 Nancy's feeling of guilt as a young carer who failed to save her mother 06:23 The way Rachel really fleshes out the non-police characters in her thriller 11:05 How long Lola will be in prison 13:48 Research Rachel does in terms of the police 16:55 How important is policewomen Stephanie (the linking factor of the books) compared to Nancy (one of this book's victims)? 20:18 Stephanie is written in the third person and Nancy is in the first person... 22:20 Why set the book in Cornwall, and why create a fictional village in Cornwall 25:36 The trafficking in the book and real situations 29:34 How Rachel goes from one plot to many - the expansion 33:15 How Rachel uses technology in her books as opposed to finding tech makes things too easy 35:03 What's next for Stephanie King, book 4 in the series? 41:26 Was there anyone that Rachel's editing agent didn't like, or did really like? 43:26 Rachel's current work on her next Tom Douglas book Photo credit: Andrew Crowley.
46:22 1/8/24
Episode 88: Karen Hamilton (The Contest)
Charlie and Karen Hamilton (The Contest) discuss the specifics of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and the vast support crews, her ridiculously privileged holidaying characters and where their requests are based in reality, and why everyone is obsessed with toilets. We then move on to an extensive discussion of the thriller aspect of Karen's book and whether, even though there is one killer in her book, there are in fact more. Erick Kivelege's Climbing Kilimanjaro With Africa's Top Guide Kilimanjaro Porters Society Where to find Karen online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:14 Mt Kilimanjaro and luxury travel 05:26 How climbing the mountain goes - the specifics of it 15:30 Karen's characters - Florence, Jacob, and Hugo 24:55 The grief in the book and the whole contest of two groups climbing Kilimanjaro 26:54 The violence and discussing who the killer is, and the associated theme of isolation 36:31 Ethical Getaways and BVT merging and the effect on Florence and Jacob 39:34 What's next (brief) Photo credit: Emma Moore.
40:55 12/11/23
Episode 87: Radhika Sanghani (I Wish We Weren't Related)
Charlie and Radhika Sanghani (I Wish We Weren't Related) discuss having alopecia, healing from being a people pleaser and self-empowerment in general, and her comic novel which includes an ex-fiance turned future brother-in-law, and a father who died, was not dead, but then died - true fictional story. Radhika's book also includes beloved cats, so we talk about cats too. Asha Bhosle Pema Chödrön Marian Williamson talking about choosing between love and fear Radhika's novel 30 Things I Love About Myself Where to find Radhika online Twitter || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:35 The inspiration, in particular the theme of healing from alopecia 04:39 The characters, in particular Saraswati in Bollywood 08:14 Satya Auntie, and spirituality, in particular Buddhism and what Marian Williamson teaches about all our decisions being due to love and fear 12:37 On character Reeva's people pleasing and our own! 15:27 Reeva's trauma from her accident 17:36 Reeva's speech at her father's funeral 19:21 The choices made in regards to Reeva and Nick's relationship 21:34 The importance of including a second funeral, this time for someone Reeva knew and loved 22:55 Cats! All the cats! 25:52 What Radhika wanted to say about family 27:14 What's next Photo credit: SEBC Photography.
28:48 11/27/23
Episode 86: Gill Paul (A Beautiful Rival)
Charlie and Gill Paul (A Beautiful Rival) discuss the working lives of and rivalry between businesswomen Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, and the antisemitism in the US during WW2. We also discuss our views of Wallis Simpson. We spoke about Gill's book The Second Marriage (Jackie And Maria in the US) in episode 42 The Powder And The Glory Lindy Woodhead's Warpaint Cosmetics And Skin Gill's Another Woman's Husband Wendy Holden's The Duchess Where to find Gill online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram || TikTok Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:03 Why these women? 02:20 Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein hated each other but they never met... 02:59 Elizabeth's and Helena's backgrounds 07:28 The work Arden and Rubinstein put in to become successful 10:30 How Gill wrote her versions of Elizabeth and Helena 11:29 Elizabeth Arden's snobbery 13:46 The antisemitism in the West despite those countries going to war, particularly that coming from Arden 17:49 Irene Delaney, Elizabeth's forgotten 40-year-long PA 20:34 Moving factual events round to suit the narrative 22:24 Elizabeth employed her rival's ex-husband! 24:14 Advertisements and selling the companies 28:03 Helena Rubinstein's first husband was the publisher of Lady Chatterley's Lover 29:40 Rubinstein created the idea of skin types 32:39 The Suffragettes apparently wore lipstick on their marches, and talking about Gill's next book 34:53 What other people might Gill write about in future 36:33 Discussing our views of Wallis Simpson
40:43 11/13/23
Episode 85: Tasneem Abdur-Rashid (Finding Mr Perfectly Fine)
Charlie and Tasneem Abdur-Rashid (Finding Mr Perfectly Fine) discuss writing a story that hadn't yet been told in novels and working with getting the balance and choices right when it came to writing for Bengali Muslims, Muslims from other cultures, and other readers. We also discuss the guys she cut from the first draft, why she decided to finish her rom-com on the somewhat controversial note she did, oh and if you're looking for a great Turkish restaurant in North London, we've got you covered. Please note that there is swearing and discussion of rape in this episode. Not Another Mum Pod ('Was My Husband Gay?' is episode 6) Tasneem's 'he's a 10 but...' TikTok video Capital Restaurant, Wood Green Hala, Green Lanes Gokyuzu Antepliler Tasneem's Instagram Where to find Tasneem online Twitter || Instagram || TikTok Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:44 The inspiration for Finding Mr Perfectly Fine 04:33 About Zara, Adam, and Hamza 08:48 How Tasneem wrote and planned the book, and balancing the different audiences she was writing for 13:30 Wherein Tasneem's dad bought her a computer for writing on when she was 10 years old 17:17 Deleted sections of the book - Zara met a lot more people! 20:16 Writing from a specific Muslim perspective (British Bengali) and pushback; also the Sylheti dialect 24:12 On the part where Yasmin wears hijab to cover her beauty when chaperoning Zara on a meet up 27:04 Hamza and Zara's lack of thinking about how controlling he is whereas others can see it 31:47 The Tariq plotline and backstory 33:26 Adam and Zara's mismatched values and working them out, Hamza, and the decisions Tasneem made for the ending 42:02 What happens beyond the ending pages 43:17 The possibility of a book about Amina 44:03 Further info about Tasneem's next book 47:31 On North London Turkish restaurants 49:47 On Tasneem's podcast, Not Another Mum Pod
51:59 10/23/23
Episode 84: Amanda Geard (The Moon Gate)
Charlie Place and Amanda Geard (The Moon Gate) discuss Tasmania in WW2 and in general, Australia's famed poet Banjo Paterson and his fellow Bush Ballad writers, British Blackshirts and the Mitfords, and the Moorgate Tube Crash in London. On a lighter note, Amanda also tells us much about the writing of her book, including a lot of what she left out in order to reduce her book from the lengthy draft it was to the mere 500 hardback pages it is. Amanda was the guest in episode 63 in which we spoke about The Midnight House Waltzing Matilda The Man From Snowy River The Mitfords - Letters Between Six Sisters The Moorgate Tube Crash I spoke to Kate Thompson about the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster in episode 76 Penghana Where to find Amanda online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:50 The inspiration - Banjo Paterson's Bush ballads and mining in Tasmania 03:17 Keeping up with all the characters and planning the timelines 08:43 How there is so much of Amanda in this book 10:51 Mining on the West Coast of Tasmania, and Amanda's dad 13:41 Banjo Paterson and Australian poetry 17:49 Tasmania in WW2, including Prime Minister Robert Menzies 26:01 Women Blackshirts in Britain (including Diana Mitford) and the awfulness of Edeline 30:47 The Moon Gate's lengthy first draft 33:12 Moon Gates and rebirth 35:45 The focus on grief 37:23 Including the Moorgate Tube Crash 40:44 Amanda's Balinn returns! 42:45 The epilogue and what was left out 44:45 Rose and what might have been 47:20 The House of the book, Towerhurst and Australia's Federation houses, and huon pine trees 52:46 What Amanda found when renovating an old Irish house 55:07 More on Amanda's current manuscript, a story looking at occupied Norway
58:30 10/9/23
Episode 83: Alex Hay (The Housekeepers)
Charlie and Alex Hay (The Housekeepers) discuss his meticulously planned and fast-paced 1900s heist novel wherein the entire contents of a grand house are to be removed... and the mistress of the place is in on it. Alex tells us about the successful collaboration between himself and his three editors and we discuss the various comedy aspects of the book. Sadie Jones' The Uninvited Guests Julia Laite's The Disappearance Of Lydia Harvey Alex's conversation with Sarah Penner for Always Authors Where to find Alex online Website || Twitter || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:25 The inspiration for The Housekeepers 06:14 Alex's extensive planning of the book and some of the changes made 10:01 Mrs Bone, Danny/Mr de Vries, and the O'Flynn family 12:54 The many narratives and including Miss de Vries in her own narrative as an 'equal' 17:20 The comedy! 21:33 The trafficking plot line 24:37 On Alice and keeping secrets 27:23 Working with three editors 31:22 Was there ever another ending in mind? 33:37 The 'What-choo' boy 34:59 Jane One and Jane Two 36:59 The reality of the smoking machine 38:11 The possibility of an adaptation 38:50 What's next?
43:53 9/25/23
Episode 82: Paula Cocozza (Speak To Me)
Charlie and Paula Cocozza (Speak To Me) discuss how phones have taken the place of conversation, a number of literary Susans, and Paula tells us about her love of reading and libraries in childhood. The Guardian's story on Kirstie Allsopp smashing her daughter's IPad Susan Cain's Quiet Suze Rotolo's A Freewheelin' Time I am (happy?) to say that Susan the dog is no longer the first Susan mentioned on pages about 'Susan' on Wikipedia Hanif Kureshi's Intimacy (beware NSFW cover) The Reading Agency Paula's column, A New Start After 60 Where to find Paula online Twitter Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:08 The inspiration and our modern phone usage 09:01 The hows of how Paula wrote the book 16:12 On the narrator's reliability 19:43 All the Susans in this book! 22:21 The Victorian terrace house, our main character's former home 24:22 Anthony 27:51 So Paula wrote some of the book with pen and paper... 29:40 The use of Shakespeare's Malvolio 31:30 Our narrator's dealings with Anthony and Kurt later in the book, and miscommunication 36:32 Our narrator's relationship with her sons 38:55 Why our narrator is a librarian - Paula's reading journey 43:40 What's next 45:39 On Paula's current feature series for The Guardian, A New Start After 60
47:57 9/11/23
Episode 81: Nicolai Houm (The Gradual Disappearance Of Jane Ashland)
Charlie and Nicolai Houm (The Gradual Disappearance Of Jane Ashland) discuss a unique and somewhat extreme form of coping with grief, where his characterisation blends into his own writer self, and the open ending he left his readers with. Please note that there's some swearing and mentions of suicide in this episode. Wikipedia's article on Andersonville Prison Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:20 The starting point of loss and trauma 07:32 Jane, family, and replacing family 12:59 Jane as a writer and how she could have written the book herself 15:35 Nicolai's use of language and how his writer self is included in the book 20:51 Everything about Ulf 24:05 The significance of the musk oxen 28:14 Continuing on the musk oxen in regards to the ending of the book 31:48 How Jane's parents affected who she is 33:03 Nicolai's travels for surfing reasons and what's next
38:08 8/28/23
Episode 80: Elissa Soave (Ginger And Me)
Charlie and Elissa Soave (Ginger And Me) discuss including the working class in fiction, writing about neuro-divergence without labels, and social care and society in context. We also discuss Elissa's Greggs habit, writing about her hometown, and why her editor told her 'this is not Reservoir Dogs...' Please note that there is a mild swear word in this episode. The Primadonna Prize Laura Pearson's episode was number 11 Kazuo Ishiguru's Nobel Prize speech Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine Where to find Elissa online Twitter Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:27 The starting point for the book and discussing 'difference' of personality and labels 09:36 The people on the bus and exploring the lives of the working class 13:49 Ginger 15:21 Diane 17:13 Friendship and loneliness 20:23 The writing group 24:20 Uddingston 27:44 The importance of food in the novel 29:17 Wendy's parents 32:14 Social care in the book and our society 36:24 Ginger's death 40:56 Wendy not changing at the end (and including Ali Smith!) 43:53 What's next
46:20 8/14/23
Episode 79: Lisa See (Lady Tan's Circle Of Women)
Charlie and Lisa See (Lady Tan's Circle Of Women) discuss the medieval Chinese woman doctor Tan Yuanxian, whose book is still in use today. We also discuss, in this context, the isolation and disability of being an aristocratic woman in the time period. Please note that there is swearing in this episode. Tan Yuan Xian's Miscellaneous Records Of A Female Doctor Hildegard Von Bingen The Washing Away Of Wrongs Where to find Lisa online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram || YouTube Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 00:55 About Tan Yuan Xian 06:00 Facts versus fiction, where we don't know all that much about Yuan Xian 11:21 While there were many of them, we don't know much about other women doctors in China at that time... 12:44 The importance of friendship in the novel 17:50 Being born in the year of the (Metal) Snake 22:22 The true story of a midwife who had a miscarriage in front of the empress 26:52 The focus on isolation, and foot binding 34:47 Lady Kuo 41:54 Miss Zhao 44:25 The murder mystery 49:58 The men, and in particular Yuan Xian's grandfather 51:16 What's next Photo credit: Patricia Williams.
53:22 7/24/23
Episode 78: Eleanor Shearer (River Sing Me Home)
Charlie and Eleanor Shearer (River Sing Me Home) discuss how slavery didn't really end when it was abolished, and Eleanor's experiences studying the Caribbean during this time and the knowledge she gained. We also explore different versions of freedom, and the way Eleanor's family influenced her writing. The Windrush Foundation Samuel Smith's To Shoot Hard Labour Toni Morrison's Beloved Marianne Hirsch V S Naipaul's The Loss Of El Dorado Wikipedia's extensive article on Black Nova Scotians Andrea Levy's Small Island Where to find Eleanor online Website || Twitter || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 00:47 The 'apprenticeships' that happened after slavery had 'ended' 02:47 About Eleanor's two 'main' inspirations 06:23 On reparations 10:23 Rachel, and Eleanor's family 15:41 The order in which Rachel finds her children 17:53 Nobody 21:21 The children's fathers 23:42 The theme of motherhood 26:36 Eleanor's wanting to use Creole languages but wanting to keep it accessible to non-Creole speakers 28:28 Mary Grace's muteness 31:59 The oral storytelling 34:34 The different versions of freedom 37:30 The theme of water 40:24 The Maroon communities and their movements 42:27 The Rising of Demerara 45:57 Eleanor's use of the search for El Dorado 47:34 What's next? Photo credit: Lucinda Douglas-Menzies.
50:45 7/10/23
Episode 77: Jenni Keer (The Legacy Of Halesham Hall)
Charlie and Jenni Keer (The Legacy Of Halesham Hall) discuss wacky puzzle houses, writing as a reader, the age gap in her book, and Rebecca-like characters who remain alive. The Winchester Mystery House, California Where to find Jenni online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram || TikTok Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:16 The inspiration/reason for the story 03:29 The house... and Clement Bellingham 08:16 The influence of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca 13:52 On Phoebe ending up with Sidney, and age gaps 16:45 On what Sidney looks like 18:04 The Bellingham board game company 20:52 Sidney's choices, adolescence, and the etymology of 'teenager' 32:45 Phoebe's gaining of the house 37:43 Not needing to live an 'exciting' life in order to be an author 39:20 What's next?
40:49 6/26/23
Episode 76: Kate Thompson (The Little Wartime Library)
Charlie and Kate Thompson (The Little Wartime Library) discuss the wartime history and community of East London's Bethnal Green - the Tube station that housed locals during the Blitz, the library that moved down into the tunnels and is now back overground, and the people that made the community what it was. We also discuss wartime reading and the measures put in place to stop women reading escapist fiction. Please note that there is a moderate swear word in this episode. Bethnal Green Library The Stepney Doorstep Society Bethnal Green Tube Station and history Pellicci's restaurant You can find photos of the underground library, tunnels, Kate in the library archives, and the quotes read, in Kate's article for Historia Magazine Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial in Budapest The event that Kate references that also led to a crush disaster was The Hillsborough Disaster Forever Amber Secrets Of The Singer Girls The Paris Library The Last Bookshop in London The Librarian Of Burned Books Where to find Kate online Website || Twitter || Instagram || TikTok Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 02:02 How Kate found her story 04:36 Mrs Chumbley 06:09 The framing, using the Covid lockdown each end of the story 12:57 Why Kate created fictional narrators 15:55 How the tunnels at Bethnal Green Tube Station came to be used as bomb shelters and what it was all like 21:58 The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster 29:24 The Hughes Mansions bombing 31:09 Discussing Bethnal Green Library 32:28 The attempts to stop women reading whatever they wanted 37:26 Wartime reading: Mein Kampf and Forever Amber 40:54 Kate's writing and language 43:06 What's next? 47:05 Bethnal Green Library today 48:44 Kate's forthcoming podcast Photo credit: Debbie Clark.
52:16 6/12/23
Episode 75: Ronali Collings (Love & Other Dramas)
Charlie and Ronali Collings (Love & Other Dramas) discuss her relationship with her mother and where that influences her novel, racist comments and decisions in the workplace, and her experiences of female friendships during her IVF journey. We begin with her studies for a Masters - her supervisor was Bernardine Evaristo. The Madeline Milburn Mentorship Programme Ronali's interview on The Two Of Us Ronali's episode on Chloe Timms' Confessions Of A Debut Novelist Where to find Ronali online Website || Twitter || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:19 On Ronali's MA for which she was supervised by Bernadine Evaristo 06:18 On the inspirations and reasons for writing Love & Other Dramas 13:10 The characters 20:11 Stephen! 22:55 The importance of Tanya remaining single at the end 27:06 Ronali's relationship with her mother and the influence on Helen and Tanya 33:46 Catholicism in Ronali's life and in the book 39:11 The micro-aggressions related to racism 43:06 Priya and Bianca's relationship 46:16 Discussing female friendships - Ronali discusses the absence of them in parts of her life and we then go on to discuss friendship in the context of her IVF treatments 56:38 What's next? Photograph used with the permission of the author.
59:09 5/22/23
Episode 74: Kristina McMorris (Sold On A Monday; The Ways We Hide)
Charlie and Kristina McMorris (Sold On A Monday; The Ways We Hide) discuss the harrowing photographs of children that inspired her last two novels, why she chose to focus - in the first book - on the news reporters rather than the children, and changing the fictional outcome of the stories. The photograph of the children for sale and an article with the basics Kristina's Facebook post about her and RaeAnn's appearance on NPR Interview with RaeAnn for North West Indiana Times Interview with David McDaniel Christina Baker Kline's Orphan Train The first sentence on Sold On A Monday ended up being: 'Outside the guarded entrance, reporters circled like a pack of wolves.' (The photograph that inspired The Ways We Hide is a photograph of some of the children who died in the Italian Hall Disaster and shows them laid out after death.) "How Monopoly Helped The Allies Win WW2" article The videos of the various MI9 tools are listed on Kristina's website Where to find Kristina online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:21 Tell us about the photograph Sold On A Monday was inspired by 06:09 Changing the outcome for the fictional children 07:40 The book's focus on the reporters rather than the children 11:11 How Kristina's experience in media informed her writing 13:41 About the original title 17:55 The reliability of the characters 19:10 Ellis and Lily 22:33 Theme of family and motherhood 23:45 The photograph that inspired The Ways We Hide 27:17Fenna! 28:25 The four books Kristina is currently working on 32:29 Kristina introduces the extra content on her website
33:39 5/8/23
Episode 73: Orlando Ortega-Medina (The Fitful Sleep Of Immigrants)
Charlie and Orlando Ortega-Medina (The Fitful Sleep Of Immigrants) discuss the reality for LGBT asylum seekers in the US, Orlando's own experiences as a lawyer, and same-sex marriage rights now Roe v Wade has been overturned. Orlando's law firm Authority Magazine video "How Do We Master Our Ego?" an discussion with Rabbi Joseph Dweck for J-TV Where to find Orlando online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram || TikTok Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:33 Orlando's career as a lawyer and his own firm 03:55 How Orlando might have changed his plans for his career if he'd been able to write part time and be a lawyer part time 05:38 Creating the characters 09:08 Issac and the situation in El Salvador in the late 1990s at the time 11:22 The court hearing 15:08 Alejandro Silva! 23:11 The original version of the book 26:18 The Saint Cloud case and realities 28:06 On the same-sex marriage rights of LGBT people in the US now that Roe v Wade has been overturned 32:04 The passage about darkness and light in the context of people 34:19 Mitzpe Ramon and Orlando's use of it in his work Photograph credit: Marte Lundby Rekaa
37:04 4/24/23
Episode 72: Amita Parikh (The Circus Train)
Charlie and Amita Parikh (The Circus Train) discuss how Amita's dancing and performing experiences influenced her work, her controversial decision to have her wheelchair-using heroine learn to walk, and the Theresienstadt Ghetto (concentration camp) where prisoners led a fairly cultured life. 'Ten Fun Facts About The Circus Train' on Amita's website The Night Ferry Elizabeth Kenny The Theresienstadt Ghetto Information and links about #PublishingPaidMe Where to find Amita online Website Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions 01:20 The inspiration behind the characters and the theme of illusion 04:29 The circus itself and Amita's dancing experience 07:01 Real travelling circuses of the time 08:53 Getting the balance between magic and reality 09:22 The original drafts 11:47 Back to the train aspect 13:37 The decision to have Lena learning to walk and the historical medical context for it 18:35 The Theresienstadt Ghetto 22:20 Horace! 26:31 About another book Amita has written (not published), her reaction to getting an agent, and her upcoming second book Photograph credit: Helen Tansey
35:03 2/27/23
Episode 71: Emma Cowell (One Last Letter From Greece)
Charlie and Emma Cowell (One Last Letter From Greece) discuss grief, miscarriage and expectations surrounding it, and, in keeping with her book's title, Greece and its culture. Methoni Cadgwith Petalidi Where to find Emma online Website || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Discussions and Readings 01:30 First reading 03:56 Emma's mum 07:49 The how, when, and so forth of Emma writing One Last Letter From Greece 11:42 Emma's inclusion of Greece in the book 14:44 Second reading 18:09 All about Sophie 24:38 Discussion of friendship, miscarriage and fertility 31:32 Theo! 33:25 Emma's angling experience and its influence 35:04 Art and the art world 39:00 The paranormal elements 42:27 Lindsay and Grigor what ifs 49:36 Emma's next book, The House In The Olive Grove Photograph used with the permission of the author.
53:09 2/13/23
Episode 70: E C Fremantle (The Honey And The Sting)
She's back! Charlie and E C Fremantle (The Honey And The Sting) discuss producing a book that is utterly devoid - and then some - of filler, Black people of the Stuart era, and the film of Fremantle's first novel, which will star Jude Law and Alicia Vikander. The Honey And The Sting George Villiers Frances Coke John Felton Eleanor Davies Miranda Kaufmann's Black Tudors Pearl diver Jacques Francis The Poison Bed Robert Carr The painting of Anne of Denmark Firebrand Artemisia Gentileschi Where to find Charlie online Website || Twitter || Instagram Question Index 00:40 [Asking Liz about her writing choices in terms of the stripped-back style of her book] 05:43 [Reading] 13:08 Could you talk more about the creation of the sisters themselves? 16:31 Is this book moving towards the fantasy genre? 17:21 Can you talk about the bees, honey, this concept? 19:08 George Villiers - can you talk about how you included the story and why you made the choices you did? 23:45 Were James I and George Villiers lovers, in your opinion? 26:58 Can you talk about your decision to use Francis Bacon's work in your book? 28:16 Can you talk more about your research of Black people of the era and their inclusion in your book? 31:55 Your first novel has now been made into a film (called Firebrand; in post-production). What can you tell us about it at this point? 34:10 Can you tell us about your next book, Disobedient? Photograph used with the permission of the author. Credit: JP Masclet.
37:06 10/10/22
Episode 69: Cecelia Tichi (A Fatal Gilded High Note)
Charlie and Cecelia Tichi (A Fatal Gilded High Note) discuss the Gilded Age in its success and its crimes, her rebellious 1890s character who defies class, and the history of French Bulldogs. Some podcast apps do not show description links properly unless the listener subscribes to the podcast. If you can't click the links below and don't wish to subscribe, copy and paste the following address into your browser to access the episode's page on my blog: The 1897 World Expedition in Nashville Parton's, Harris', and Ronstadt's Trio Cecelia's book on country music and literature Virginia City "Boss" Tweed Jay Gould Upton Sinclair's The Jungle John Mackey Evelyn Walsh McLean (Cecelia's book on Gilded Age Cocktails) The Gilded Age Society on Facebook Question Index 00:58 Where do country music and literature meet for you? 07:58 [Reading] 12:09 Why the Gilded Age? 15:57 There was a lot of crime in that era?... 21:43 How did you come to create Val, the fictional aspects? 27:11 Tell us about Velvet the French Bulldog 30:50 Tell us about A Deadly Gilded Freefall 31:32 Will there be a fifth book in this series? 31:55 How is Val going to progress as a character going forward? Purchase Links A Fatal Gilded High Note: Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon Canada Barnes & Noble IndieBound Indigo Chapters A Deadly Gilded Free Fall: Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon Canada Barnes & Noble IndieBound Indigo Chapters I am an IndieBound affiliate and earn a small commission on qualifying purchases. Photograph used with the permission of the marketing team.
34:17 9/26/22
Episode 68: Kate Glanville (The Peacock House)
Charlie and Kate Glanville (The Peacock House) discuss her main character who is 90 years old, and villains who aren't so villainous after all. Kate also discusses the way her dyslexia has effected her reading, and some of her thoughts on education in this vein in the context of her younger character. Please note that there are spoilers throughout the episode. Some podcast apps do not show description links properly unless the listener subscribes to the podcast. If you can't click the links below and don't wish to subscribe, copy and paste the following address into your browser to access the episode's page on my blog: Kate's ceramics Newton House St David's College Llandudno and Conway Bodysgallen Question Index 00:33 How did you first know when you wanted to write? 03:17 [Reading] 07:41 Can you tell us where the story comes from and your inspiration? 16:17 In terms of Evelyn's romance were there any wartime inspirations? 17:52 Why didn't you include Evelyn and Jack's reunion in the book? 20:34 Kind of on this, is a more pleasant cast of characters what you prefer to go for? 23:18 Tell us about the future for Tilly, Bethan, and Tom 25:20 What's next? 27:53 Tell us more about your ceramics business 29:02 [Kate talks about audiobooks and how they've helped her read] Purchase Links The Peacock House: Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon Canada Waterstones Hive Barnes & Noble Indigo Chapters I am an IndieBound affiliate and earn a small commission on qualifying purchases. Photograph used with the permission of the author.
31:23 9/12/22
Episode 67: Kristin Harmel (The Forest Of Vanishing Stars)
Charlie and Kristin Harmel (The Forest Of Vanishing Stars) discuss the true story, and Kristin's own fictional one, of a group of over a thousand Jewish people who during WW2 slowly escaped to and hid in a vast forest away from the Nazis. Please note that there are spoilers throughout the episode. Some podcast apps do not show description links properly unless the listener subscribes to the podcast. If you can't click the links below and don't wish to subscribe, copy and paste the following address into your browser to access the episode's page on my blog: Quotation from Patti Callahan Henry taken from the Friends & Fiction Launch Party for The Forest Of Vanishing Stars (audio only) The Bielski Partisans Naliboki Forest Nechama Tec's Defiance Defiance (the film) The Sweetness Of Forgetting The martyrs of Nowogrodeck Vadem Sidorovich Friends & Fiction website Friends & Fiction Facebook group Mary Alice Monroe Mary Kay Andrews Patti Callahan Henry Kristy Woodson Harvey Question Index 01:13 As a reporter you were interested in ordinary people who were heroes and also the stories of how people got to where they were. How dd this segue into you becoming a novelist? 04:21 [Reading] 08:47 You've got Yona, who's fictional, but the history is real?... 12:32 You said twelve hundred people - how on earth did they hide all that time? 15:40 One of the Bielkski brothers was a Zus, and you have a character called Zus... 18:03 Is there a reason this fact of so many people hiding in the forest isn't well known? 23:11 Are you able to talk about the theme of stars? 27:59 Why the mysticism? 31:57 On this, what might have happened if Yona hadn't been stolen, with her father? 35:51 Why did you feel the need to have Yona die? 42:04 You weren't able to visit the forest to research it due to the pandemic. Do you think you might go to it at some point? 46:18 What's next? 47:29 Tell us about your weekly web show, Friends & Fiction, and the spin-off podcast, Writer's Block Purchase Links The Forest Of Vanishing Stars: Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon Canada Waterstones Hive Barnes & Noble IndieBound Indigo Chapters I am an IndieBound affiliate and earn a small commission on qualifying purchases. Photograph used with the permission of the author.
52:52 8/22/22