The Outrider Podcast

Shoptalk #4 with Laura Hawley

Today, we talk a bit about Emily Mandel's Station Eleven and make plans to discuss it at length once we're finsihed . . . and then we talk psychosis. 

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Episode 23: Taylor Mali

Today’s guest is Taylor Mali. We talk about long held family businesses, the purpose of language, how one ends up in Kansas, poetry slams, and jumping at the chance to be a full time poet.

Taylor is a four-time National Poetry Slam champion, the author of What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, and three books of poetry What Learning Leaves, The Last Time As We Are, and the newly released Bouquet of Red Flags. You can read more about Taylor, find his books, and watch videos of some of his performances at this website . You can also check out his Youtube channel for the performance of “The Naked Gardener” recorded in-between the two halves of our conversation at the KATE Conference in Wichita, KS. 

A special thanks to Kansas Association of Teachers of English for letting me crash the last day of their conference to steal an hour of Taylor’s time, and for graciously allowing me to also share lunch with a number of fine English teachers.

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From the Vault Ep 17 Laird Hunt

While I’m still on hiatus, I thought I’d ramble on a bit about the Amazon v. Hachette contract dispute and how it’s hurting the writers more than anything else. Coincidentally, one of my previous guests, Laird Hunt, is published by Little Brown, a Hachette imprint. So, I thought I’d reissue his episode to follow my unplanned and unscripted thoughts on the matter. 

Now, while you’re at it, you can read a few articles about the dispute, one from The Guardian,, and one from The New York Times

But even better, I’d recommend making a trip to and finding your nearest independent bookstore. Consider giving them your business instead of Amazon - especially if the book you’re looking for is published by Hachette or one of its imprints. You’ll certainly be able to pick up a copy of Laird’s book easily at an independent bookstore. 

And, of course, if you want to read some more about Laird, his book, and some of the good news happening around it, here is are a few links to some reviews and to the article about the film option. 

Laird’s website 

NY Times

Washington Post

The Huffington Post

Deadline Hollywood

The Outrider Podcast is available on iTunes and Stitcher. You can also listen at my website ( 

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Shoptalk 3 w/Laura Hawley

In this episode Laura and I talk about all sorts of stuff: bad weeks, writing habits, self-publishing, mindless entertainment, vampires, romance, and working with the disturbed (including writers).  Below are some links to some of the books and writers we mentioned.

Lantern Journal, with Gavin Pate’s collaboration with Derek Fenner.

You Animal Machine - Eleni Sikelianos

MASH - Richard Hooker

Tim Dorsey 

R.A. Salvatore

Peyton Marshall - Goodhouse

Laird Hunt - Neverhome

Emily St. John Mandel - Station Eleven

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From the Vault: Ep 6: Emily St John Mandel

Taking a little hiatus again to get back on top of my scheduling and to focus on some creative issues - like writing query letters to agents and finishing a new manuscript. So, while I’m tending to my business, I figured I’d repost a few of the early episodes. Today’s repost is my conversation with Emily St John Mandel, who recently made the long list for the National Book Award for her new novel Station Eleven.

You can read more about Emily at her website, and find all her books at your favorite local independent bookstore via

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Episode 22 Andrea Portes

In this episode I talk with novelist Andrea Portes about growing up in Nebraska and Rio among other places, her time as a script reader for Paramount Pictures, the lessons learned from working with good editors, and how, when we first met, I showed her the trick where I put both of my feet in my mouth. 

Andrea is the author of Hick (Unbridled Books), Bury This (Soft Skull Press), and the just released YA novel Anatomy of a Misfit (Harper Teen). Hick was made into a movie starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, Juliette Lewis, and some dude named Alec Baldwin. You can read more about Andrea’s first two books at her website or more about her most recent book at

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Shoptalk 2 with Laura Hawley

This is the second installment of the Shoptalk series with Laura Hawley. We talk about her struggle with Lydia Davis, the travails of finding and keeping an agent, losing our way, and the further disintegration of my current project into disarray . . . But we still had a good time. 

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Episode 21: Stephen McClurg

In this episode I talk with long-distance friend and co-conspirator Stephen McClurg about changing diapers, living, writing and teaching in Alabama, Stephen King, and how he’s silently poised to take over the world . . . as long as the kids cooperate. 

Stephen is a poet, artist, musician and teacher. His writing and artwork have appeared in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, and something called The Project for a New Mythology. He’s composed music for short films and art installations. You can keep up with him at his blog You can read some of his work at .  You can also see some artwork for a comic book he’s written with Derek M. Ballard called Ghoulanoids, which will be released this fall here

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Shoptalk w/ Laura Hawley

I’m not a very good scheduler of things. Also, it’s the tail-end of summer and a lot of people are doing things like taking vacations, moving, and so on. Add to that, I’m trying to find interesting things to do with this podcast that aren’t only the simple interview/conversation. So, I’m going to try something different to fill one of my two monthly slots. I’m calling this Shoptalk, and it has a couple of purposes that I hope might prove interesting. First, I miss talking to my old grad school friend, Laura Hawley, about the projects we’re working on. We had a great rapport, and we seemed to understand what the other was trying to do creatively and also had the ability to push each other in interesting directions. I’m stuck on the ending of a novel, and I really needed her help and thought I’d record our conversation about my problematic story. Second, Laura hasn’t been writing much these last few years, and I’ve been trying to think of ways to get her to start writing again. For those who haven’t listened to the episode where I read one of Laura’s stories and talked to her, go back and check that out. But, if you’re more industrious, track down a copy of the 2003 Best New American Voice anthology edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Your local library might have one. Give Laura’s story “The Good Life” a read. I believe you will be impressed. 

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Episode 20: Pauls Toutonghi

In this episode I talk with the wonderful Pauls Toutonghi about sleeping babies, family vacations, growing up in Seattle, Michael Ondaatje, getting sober, and what kids do at Latvian summer camp. 

Pauls is the author of two novels, Red Weather and Evel Knievel Days. Pauls’ fiction and essays have appeared in many periodicals, even earning him a Pushcart Prize. He teaches at Lewis and Clark College in Portland Oregon.

You can learn more about Pauls at his website and you can read the L.A. Review of Books piece that we talk about at the beginning of the show here.

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