WSIRN Ep 115: Books that bridge two worlds

Readers, if you’re intrigued by the behind-the-scenes of the publishing industry, this one’s for you. In today’s new episode I chat with John August, a screenwriter, devoted reader, and author of a brand-new (or soon-to-be) middle grade novel.

As of this morning, John also has a brand new podcast out in the world: it’s called LAUNCH, and as someone who loves all the details about how books are born, I can’t wait to listen. This six-episode podcast tracks the launch of John’s novel, Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire, John covers it all, from conceiving the idea to landing an agent to the editorial process to printing and pub date to book tour and beyond. We chat a little about the process today, as well as the difference between writing movies and writing books, stories that bridge two worlds, and John’s unusual method of working, which is unlike any method I’ve previously heard of. 

What Should I Read Next #115: Books that bridge two worlds with John August

Connect with John: Website | Twitter | Instagram | LAUNCH podcast | Scriptnotes podcast

Books mentioned in this episode:
Some links are affiliate links. More details here.

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire, by John August (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• The Three Investigators series, by Robert Arthur (Amazon | IndieBound)
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (Amazon | Barnes and Noble IndieBound)
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Call Me By Your Name, by Andre Aciman (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
All the Dirty Parts, by Daniel Handler (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Wildwood, by Colin Meloy (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Booked, by Kwame Alexander (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• The City of Ember series, by Jeanne DuPrau (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Uncommon Type: Some Stories, by Tom Hanks (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)

What do YOU think John should read next? Tell us all about it in comments. 

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  1. Jenn says:

    I really enjoyed today’s episode and look forward to listening to John’s new podcast and reading his book when it comes out. Thanks!

  2. MISSY says:

    I loved this episode! Very interesting. I was so happy to hear someone else loved that book My Side of the Mountain. (John-I read it as an adult for the first time in my 30s. Trying to find stuff my son would like-I loved it and he didn’t even make it all the way through it. I kept raving and he’d give me strange looks) I loved hearing about the process of writing-totally true that you almost forget you have fingers when you’re “in the zone”. I just write for a writing class as a hobby but I totally related to so much he said about the feeling.

  3. Whitney Bak says:

    Loved this episode!

    John—when you were talking about the two books you read recently and what intrigued you about them (blunt insight into the inner workings of those characters) AND when you mentioned the challenge of writing dialogue in the English language, I was DYING to recommend this book to you: The Mortifications by Derek Palacio. I’m halfway through, and it has been hitting me on such a visceral level I’ve hardly known how to talk about it with others, but I think you’d be blown away by how the author deals with dialogue and character development, and especially by the way the main characters bridge their two worlds as immigrants. I’m not sure if you’ll be reading these comments, but I really hope you check it out!
    —Enthusastically signed by a fellow reader and friend.

  4. John and Anne,
    Thanks for another wonderful episode. John, hearing how you had to change your approach from script writing to prose hit home for me. I’ve got a 40 year theatre background and when I began writing my first novel, it tumbled out in dialogue to begin with. It took me many times through the manuscript to add the thoughts and emotions behind what the characters were saying. I knew those in my head, but getting them on the page was a learning process.

    I wonder if you’ve read any Madeleine L’Engle. I was introduced to her work when I was in my 30s and wished I’d read them when I was in elementary or junior high school. I recently read the first three books of The Wrinkle in Time series again and they are still magical.

    Thanks again for making my TBR list even longer. It’s one of the reasons I listen every week.

  5. Fiona says:

    John I love your comment around chapter length. Thank you for being mindful of parents reading aloud to their kids! You totally put into words the struggle we have in our house with certain books – the chapters are just too long to read in one night. I’m looking forward to reading Arlo Finch!

  6. Laura Shook says:

    John, I highly recommend looking into the Newbury Award winners (an award given annually by the American Library Association for children’s fiction). I especially loved When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. I had to read it twice because it left me with “whoah — what just happened there?”

  7. I know I’m really behind, but I really want to recommend he middle-grade novel “Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow” by Jessica Townsend. It’s the best world-building I’ve seen in ages (possibly since Harry Potter).

    And I’ve requested Arlo Finch at my local library!

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