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Author Stories - Author Interviews, Writing Advice, Book Reviews

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The Author Stories Podcast has been called a Master's Degree Program in the creative process. Five days a week, Hank Garner interviews the best writers in publishing and with his in-depth interview style is able to get the story behind the stories like no one else can. Hank consistently Interviews the most interesting writers in publishing today; people like Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Butcher, Diana Gabaldon, Andy Weir, Hugh Howey, Bernard Cornwell, Robin Hobb, Ernest Cline, Terry Brooks, Margaret Weis, Tad Williams, and many more. With over 500 episodes, Author Stories is one of the longest-running author interview podcasts around. Find the full archives of the show at


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Author Stories Podcast Episode 755 | Sharon Prentice PhD Interview
Today’s author interview guest is Sharon Prentice PhD, author of Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light. Becoming Starlight is a memoir about the process of grief and its relationship to the mysteries concerning the afterlife. This book will bring comfort to those who are feeling unrelenting sorrow over the loss of loved ones. This memoir is a story of surviving grief and mending the wounds of loss. “Becoming Starlight is truly sensational; everybody who is seriously interested in the question of life after death should read it.” — Raymond Moody, M.D., Ph.D., author of Life After Life, Reunions, and Glimpses of Eternity “In Becoming Starlight, Dr. Sharon Prentice describes the deeply human losses and hurts that gave birth to a vision of our true identity and place in this universe. Her life-changing—and life-giving—encounter with the divine simply had to be shared. This book is a gift.” —Seth J. Gillihan, Ph.D., author of A Mindful Year and The CBT Deck, and Psychology Today contributor “Dr. Sharon Prentice, in her book Becoming Starlight, assists all of humanity by transmuting our collective fear of death into love when she journeys to that mysterious place we call Heaven and returns to share her experiences with us. This messenger is worth listening to.” — Tim Miejan, editor of The Edge Magazine “In Becoming Starlight, the author teaches us the most important lesson of all—that love is the eternal fiber connecting all existence, living and beyond. Her extraordinary true story provides faith and ease to all who wonder what happens when our loved ones or we die.” — Randi Fine, Author of Close Encounters of the Worst Kind, Podcast Host of A Fine Time for Healing “A magnificent reckoning with love, death, God, and the unexplainable universe that surrounds us all. From living through devastating heartbreak to cracking wide open with indescribable awe, Becoming Starlight is a deeply personal story on where we can find peace, solace, and stillness in the world of grief.” — Shelby Forsythia, Intuitive Grief Guide and Podcast Host of Coming Back: Conversations on Life After Loss “Sharon’s experience is probably the most extensive and beautiful shared-death experience I’ve come across. And the struggles she experienced in her life demonstrate that no matter how hopeless life seems, all of us are loved by God, infinitely. Becoming Starlight is more than just the missing link in near-death literature (which it is), and more than just powerful evidence of the afterlife (which it also is), it’s a testament to the power, potential, and infinite worth of the human soul.” — Chas Hathaway, Host of the Near-Death Experience Podcast Soon after completing her graduate studies in psychology, Dr. Sharon Prentice found the world of secular psychology lacking-her patients needed “something more”. So, she set out to investigate and explore alternative methods in the field of mental health that would incorporate that “something special” she believed existed in each and every individual soul. Her journey would take her through the great religions of the world as well as to a discovery of ancient, time proven alternatives to modern therapeutic models of counseling. Along the way, because of her unusual personal experience with death, she developed a keen, and intense interest in death and dying, and researched, investigated and interviewed patients who were in the dying process, individuals who had experienced NDE’s or SDE’s or had experienced something “weird, unbelievable, odd” at the time of death of a loved one. She found that “something more” in Spirit! Her studies and experiences led her to seek out alternative learning centers which incorporated a much more spiritual approach to mental health. Dr. Prentice firmly believes that if one is not Spiritually healthy then it is nearly impossible to enjoy emotional, psychological or physical health. Dr. Prentice is in private practice as a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor-Advanced Certification. She is also a Board Certified Spiritual Counselor (SC-C) and holds Board Certification in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Group Therapy, Integrated Marriage and Family Therapy, and Crisis and Abuse Therapy. She is also a Board Certified Temperament Counselor. Dr. Prentice is a Professional Member of the American Counselors Association, a Professional Clinical member of the National Christian Counselors Association, a Clinical member of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and a Presidential member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. She is also a Commissioned minister of Pastoral Care. Dr. Prentice and her 30+ years of interest in the Spiritual health of her patients have guided her away from strictly traditional methods of psychotherapy to what she terms “crazy hot mess” therapy where all aspects of one’s being are considered and honored. Because of the nature of her experiences, both personal and professional, she has a unique understanding of the true nature of the Soul-and the need for ripping open the dark recesses of the Spirit where joy sometimes is held captive. “Crazy hot mess therapy” opens up-wakes up-the Spirit! She does, however, devote extra attention to those seeking solace and understanding after the death of a loved one as she fully acknowledges the experiences that sometimes accompany that death. Her commitment to the health and well being of the Spiritual nature of her patients has led to her being called “an empath”, “ a mind reader”, “a healer”, “a spiritual guide” by her patients. Her highly sensitive, intuitive, and compassionate nature, her unique approach to therapy, and her truly empathic ways have engendered a loving and fiercely loyal following among her patients and her friends.
Author Stories Podcast Episode 754 | Ivy Claire Interview
Today my guest is Ivy Claire, co-author with basketball legend Kobe Bryant of Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof. From the mind of basketball legend, Academy Award–winning, and New York Times–bestselling storyteller Kobe Bryant comes a new tale of finding your strength against all odds. Set in an alternate classical world dominated by sports and a magical power called grana, Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof is the story of two children: the lowly born Rovi and the crown princess Pretia who uncover and battle terrible evil and discover their inner strength along the way. Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof takes place at the most elite sports academy in the land, where the best child-athletes are sent to hone their skills. When Rovi and Pretia arrive, each harboring a secret about themselves, they begin to suspect that something evil is at play at the school. In the course of their first year, they must learn to master their grana in order to save the world from dark forces that are rising. Ivy Claire is a former world ranked athlete and national and collegiate squash champion. She spent a decade competing internationally before turning full-time to writing. She holds a degree in classics and in a parallel life is a literary novelist. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.  
Author Stories Podcast Episode 752 | Chris Pourteau and Dustin Welch Talk Fiction And Music
Today we have a special show for you with my guests Chris Pourteau, author of the new book Optional Retirement Plan, and Singer/Songwriter Dustin Welch. Listen in today to hear the unique story of how these two storytellers talk about the intersection of literature and music, and how inspiration comes from the most interesting places. When retiring isn’t an option, it’s kill or be killed. Stacks Fischer is a killer for hire. For more than three decades, he’s loyally served the Syndicate Corporation as its most-feared and respected enforcer around the solar system. He’s buried the company’s dirty laundry six feet deep, no matter who had to be taken out to do it. Now, Stacks has a problem—he’s losing his mind to incurable form of dementia, and unwittingly spilling corporate secrets in public. When SynCorp decides Fischer has outlived his usefulness, they decide it’s time to permanently retire him. But Stacks isn’t quite ready to go. With every one of SynCorp’s Five Factions gunning for him—and his own mind slowly rebelling—Fischer leads a pack of would-be assassins in a final, deadly chase across the solar system. The old hitman refuses to fade quietly into oblivion at the hands of his disease or the business he’s dedicated his life to. He’s choosing an Optional Retirement Plan. Don’t miss this pulse-pounding science fiction thriller filled with twists that will leave you on the edge of your seat. It’s perfect for fans of Titanborn, The Expanse, and Minority Report. Chris Pourteau is the bestselling author of the sci-fi thriller novels of the SynCorp Saga (co-authored with David Bruns), the post-apocalyptic Serenity Strain novels, and the military sci-fi collection Tales of B-Company. His first novel, Shadows Burned In, earned the 2015 eLit Book Awards Gold Medal for Literary Fiction. The Lazarus Protocol, the first novel in the SynCorp Saga, placed in the Top Ten in Read Freely’s 2018 50 Best Indie Book of the Year contest; it was the highest-rated Sci-Fi novel in the contest. He’s also edited and curated bestselling short story collections including the two animal-centric collections Tails of the Apocalypse and Tails of Dystopia (with Samuel Peralta), as well as Bridge Across the Stars, a collection of Sci-Fi stories from indie and traditionally published authors published by Sci-Fi Bridge, which Chris co-founded. His dayjob is editor-in-chief for the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, which researches cutting-edge technologies across the transportation spectrum. When he’s not writing, editing, or working the dayjob, Chris loves exercising regularly, watching shows like Star Trek and Stranger Things, and reading his favorite authors. Those include Bernard Cornwell, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Edgar Allan Poe, and Max Collins. He lives in Texas with his wife, son, and two dogs. (He’s a HUGE dog person, by the way.) Find out more about Chris and his writing through his newsletter. Sign up and get free stuff at Dustin Welch was born on a cold Winter Solstice in a haunted plantation house on the grounds of a Tennessee horse farm. His birth room was heated by a red-hot $80 tin stove that burned whatever deadwood trees his dad could drag out of the woods by tractor and chains. He was the first born son of a first born son. His mother was the daughter of an Indian Princess, and the grand-daughter of one of the last living original members of the Osage Tribe. That very night his father made a silent promise, a sacred promise, that the boy would have a mandolin on his fifth birthday. Five years later, almost to the day, his father sat in the early evening hours with the legendary songwriter Harlan Howard, talking about the upcoming Christmas holidays, and saying goodbye to each other till the New Year came. Harlan was a rich man, rich in heart and soul, and he said goodbye to the young father and left him alone in the giant publishing house. The father had not a penny to his name and the promise of the mandolin was weighing heavy on his heart. Finally, he dragged himself together and made his way down to the front door, where the receptionist was turning off the lights and locking up. She said that Harlan had left something for him and handed him an envelope. Inside were three crisp one hundred dollar bills. The boy got his mandolin, and the rest of the story just tumbles along like that. Raised among the sons and daughters of songwriters, fiddle players, guitarists, banjo dobro piano players, publishers, song pluggers, hippie kids from Gaskin’s Farm, painters, pot throwers, and pot growers, he drank deep. They all drank deep. His 10th birthday presents included a cassette tape of Merle Haggard’s Greatest Hits. As the friends grew up together, they had the distinct advantage of often being able to ask, if they wanted to, how to do things from the very people who were making the records they were listening to. One kid band led to another, with second generation kids like Justin Earle, son of Steve, and Travis Nicholson, son of Gary, and Cary Ann Hearst, the girl kid down the street who grew into an astonishing writer and singer. The moms and dads attended their gigs with the same devotion with which they had come to their Little League ball games. Inspired by his early exposure to such a vast wealth of revolutionary music, Dustin began devising a unique style of his own. Finger-style, open tuned, Appalachian flavored grooves and melodies coupled with literate lyrics, strange and beautiful, and the songs kept coming. He wrote them by himself, he wrote them with friends, relatives, the friends of relatives…. One evening in 2006, he was playing in the house band for a tribute to Townes Van Zandt at the venerable old Belcourt Theater in Nashville. The drummer that night was Ken Coomer from Wilco, who told him that he knew a band in San Diego who was looking for a guy like him. Within a week he flew out for an audition and didn’t go home for 6 months, touring with the Scotch Greens all over the US and Europe, opening for acts like Reverend Horton Heat and Flogging Molly, playing disciplined, slamming shows night after night. Then they embarked on the dreaded Warped Tour, a grueling deep summer, black-top circus of all out days and all night drives. It was classic. They lived. They killed. They disbanded. However, they are currently in the process of reorganizing and finishing a record they began five years ago with a bunch of Dustin’s songs. Anyway, back in 2009, after relocating to Austin, Dustin released his first album, titled Whisky Priest, after the main character in Graham Greene’s consummate novel, The Power and the Glory. Another eventually followed in 2013 titled Tijuana Bible. Nowadays, he plays and tours on his own, with his band, and more than ever before, with his father Kevin. The highlight of Dustin’s active schedule is hosting a weekly songwriting and guitar workshop in San Marcos for Armed Forces veterans. It’s inspiring. It’s a beautiful thing.
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Podcast Details
Sep 4th, 2014
Latest Episode
Nov 12th, 2019
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About 1 hour

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