19 Jessamyn Violet interview

Jessamyn Violet, author of Secret Rules to Being a Rockstar and musician, shares her musings on the power of creative inspiration, music, and more. In conversation with host Cody Sisco, Jessamyn discusses the rock and roll lifestyle, writing a true-to-life Hollywood coming-of-age novel, and the power of being an outsider.

Photo credit: Erin Naifah

Jessamyn Violet is a writer and musician based in Venice Beach. Originally from Boston, she has a BFA from Emerson College and an MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts. She’s published a book of poetry called Organ Thieves (Gauss PDF, 2017) as well as short fiction in Ploughshares and more. Her debut novel Secret Rules to Being a Rockstar was published in 2023. She is also the drummer for the band Movie Club.

18 Dr. Melissa Chadburn interview

Dr. Melissa Chadburn, author of A Tiny Upward Shove and self-proclaimed recovering journalist, shares her inspirations during this episode to re-launch the BookSwell Intersections podcast. In conversation with host Cody Sisco, Melissa discusses the foster care system, recovering her Filipina heritage and language to research and write her novel, the ethics of witnessing, and how to balance darkness and light.

Dr. Melissa Chadburn’s writing has appeared in The LA Times, NYT Book Review, NYRB, Paris Review online, and dozens other places. Her debut novel, A Tiny Upward Shove, was published with Farrar, Straus, & Giroux in April 2022 and was longlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Debut Novel Award. She was just awarded her Ph.D. from USC’s Creative Writing Program. Melissa is a worker lover and through her own work and literary citizenship strives to upend economic violence. Her mother taught her how to sharpen a pencil with a knife and she’s basically been doing that ever since.

17 Roxana Preciado reading and discussion

Roxana Preciado is an indie author and artist recognized for her work as a poet and activist. At the age of 12, Roxana started writing poetry as a coping mechanism to deal with her life challenges. She shares her story with others in hope that she can help anyone who is facing similar hardships.

Preciado has published four volumes of autobiographical poetry, most recent being Trauma for Sale. She continues to use her poetry and her story to support community engagement and activism to raise awareness about violence against women.

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Interview starts at 14m:40s

16 Yodassa Williams interview

Cody Sisco interviews Yodassa Williams about her debut fantasy novel, The Goddess Twins, coming of age and finding one’s voice, black girl magic and creativity, and the revelatory experience of going to Burning Man.

Yodassa Williams shows off her new novel, The Goddess Twins, in the magical locale of Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70 percent Jedi, 30 percent Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award-winning performing storyteller, an alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and the Fortify Writer’s Retreat, and the creator of the podcast The Black Girl Magic Files, Yodassa (Yoda) launched Writers Emerging, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color, in 2019. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently resides in the Bay Area. The Goddess Twins is her debut novel.

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Link to BookSwell Intersections Podcast on Spotify

15 Reuben “Tihi” Haylsett interview and more

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Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett discusses his novel Dark Corners with Running Wild Press publisher Lisa Kastner at a live recording of the BookSwell Intersections podcast. They talk about amplifying marginalized voices and centering queer people of color in fiction and publishing. Dan Lopez and Sarah LaBrie joined the discussion to recommend books they’ve enjoyed.

Note: this is a live taping of the BookSwell Intersections literary podcast.

“A gripping collection of yarns in which social disadvantages take on monstrous shapes.” — Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus’s starred review gives Dark Corners by Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett the boost that every author craves. In a publishing industry that continues to privilege white and male authors, how did Dark Corners come about and what comes next? BookSwell Intersections literary podcast host Cody Sisco will speak with “Tihi” and with Lisa Kastner, the publisher of Running Wild Press, which published Dark Corners and publishes stories that cross genres and writing that doesn’t fit neatly in a box.

About Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett

Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett is a queer activist, writer, and storyteller. His non-fiction work first appeared in The Splinter Generation in 2007, while Tihi was still an undergraduate, and more recently in The Mary Sue blog in 2015. His first fiction short-story collection Dark Corners debuts in 2019 through Running Wild press. Dark Corners was recently included in the swag bag for George Lopez’s Celebrity Golf Tournament, frequently attended by Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Eva Longoria and many other celebrities. His fiction has elsewhere appeared in the Surreal South Anthology in 2011, transLit magazine, and Oregon Literary Review. He currently works at Demand Progress, leading online campaigns against the overreach of government surveillance. Prior to that, Tihi worked as an online campaigner for the Working Families Party, a progressive third party in the United States, where he combined his storytelling skills and political activism. Tihi has won consumer campaigns against Netflix, UPS, and worked with a coalition to remove David Koch from the Boards of the Smithsonian and PBS. While living in Brooklyn, Tihi produced Rustik Storytellers, a monthly oral storytelling live show in 2013. In 2016 he co-produced PRACTICE, a safe-space live storytelling show designed to encourage new-comers to take up the oral storytelling tradition. As a fluent speaker of Dothraki, one of the languages created for HBO’s Game of Thrones, Tihi recently worked on the upcoming Netflix series Daybreak as a Dothraki Language Consultant. Tihi has a MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University and currently lives in Long Beach, CA.

About Lisa Kastner

Lisa Kastner is a former journalist and corporate communications consultant and journalist. Lisa is credited in over, 20 publications, including Now What? The Creative Writer’s Guide to Success After the MFA and The Resistors by Dwight L. Wilson (edited by Lisa Kastner), which was featured in a Kirkus Reviews story that says the book will “keep you up all night.” Lisa, the founder and executive director of Running Wild Press, has led Pennwriters, Running Wild Writers Community, and the Springfield Writers Group.

She earned an MFA from Fairfield University and her MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Lisa was on Dance Party USA, syndicated on the USA TV network, and appeared on Dancin’ on Air, a regional television program, as a teenager. Her step-mother, Violet Smith, was the director for the arts in Santa Ana, CA, where a concourse at the Santa Ana Airport is named after her. Lisa’s father, Frank Carter, is in the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame, for his service in radio for 50 years. She resides in Los Angeles, California.

About BookSwell Intersections literary podcast

The BookSwell Intersections podcast features book recommendations, interviews with authors, and highlights of upcoming literary events in Los Angeles.

Much like LA itself, the literary scene here is often difficult to navigate. BookSwell Intersections will help you find your way to the authors, events, and new releases that you won’t want to miss.

Cody Sisco hosts the BookSwell Intersections literary podcast along with co-hosts Rachelle Yousuf, Sakae Manning, Dan Lopez, and Sarah LaBrie.