On My Author Podcast, It’s the Writers’ Own Backstories That Inspire Me Most

As host of an author podcast for the Alliance of Independent Authors, I have a fun job. I get to talk to some incredible people. What I enjoy most is hearing their life stories. What made them want to write? What experiences did they bring before they ever began to set their ideas down on paper?

There is a pattern to our interviews. Right out the gate, the authors usually race forward and talk about the ins and outs of various plot points in their books. That’s when I stop them and say, “Hold that thought. We’ll talk about your book later.”

I try to take them back to the moment they decided to become a writer. It takes them a few seconds, then they grow a little more relaxed. The script they had planned is set aside. As we go through their life story, I always get something surprising, or something they hadn’t planned on telling me.

For example, Phil M. Cohen told me about the first time he felt a connection to Judaism and decided to become a rabbi. This connection was an important part of his life and critical to that moment, decades later, when he decided to write Jewish-themed books with a humorous sci-fi twist.

Victoria Noe took us on an emotional journey back to the 1980s, when she worked with AIDS patients and many of her friends passed away. But it was this experience that set her on a path to help others handle grief when friends die.

Scottish author Barry Hutchison remembered a kindly librarian who refused to shame him for enjoying graphic novels. Instead, she introduced him to a treasure trove of comic books that sparked his imagination and sent him on his journey to the comedy science fiction writer he is today.

Rohan Quine took me back to his days as a New York actor that helped define the very theatrical way in which he writes and records audiobooks. You have to hear him to “get” him.

The list goes on with all my shows, but you get the idea.

Indie authors usually have lived varied and interesting lives before they ever decided to become authors. They have backstories, themselves, that informed their worldview, writing style, genre choice, and usually a deep well of experience from which to draw. I have selfish reasons for hosting this show, too. These authors inspire me to use my own backstory to become a better writer.