I’m excited to introduce to you my new podcast, “Tea with Jess: Chatting with Authors & Artists.”
The very first episode features Hannah Mary McKinnon, and we chat about her newest psychological thriller, “You Will Remember Me.” Listen to it here, or find it and/or subscribe via podcasting directories (Apple, Spotify,Overcast and many more).
For those wondering why in the world I decided to start podcasting, here’s the backstory.
Honestly, if someone had told me before the COVID Pandemic that I would end up creating a Podcast, I’d have chuckled in disbelief. (Of course, if someone had told me pre-March-2020 that we’d all experience a global pandemic, I wouldn’t have chuckled, but I’d have definitely felt disbelief.)
And yet… the Pandemic did happen.
Appropriately, all the large events I was scheduled to attend in 2020 (and so far, in 2021) were either cancelled or, if they were on the calendar for later in 2020, moved to a virtual format, such as Zoom. (I wasn’t aware of Zoom before 2020. Were you? And now it’s become a regular part of my life!)
A month or so after writers and publishers and bookstores realized that in-person events weren’t coming back anytime soon, the wonderful marketing team at Minotaur sent around a handy guideline chock full of suggestions for engaging with readers and fans above and beyond the occasional tweet or Facebook post. One idea was posting Facebook Live videos.
Why not, I thought. What’s the worst that could happen?
So, I posted a few such videos on my Author page. Then it occurred to me that Nana, an important secondary character in my Kinship series, is fond of saying “Life is hard. Have tea.”
Oh boy, I thought–life in a pandemic. Talk about hard. So my videos morphed into “Tea with Jess.” I began broadcasting them (usually live, occasionally recorded) on Mondays at 3 p.m. ET.
Why Mondays? Well, I used to write a lifestyle column that appeared every Monday in the Dayton Daily News, and besides, Mondays are generally hard. Why 3 p.m.? Seems like a good time for an afternoon tea break!
Soon after that, I realized two things: I really missed hanging out with my writer friends and chatting about the writing life. And folks were probably going to quickly become restless listening to me video chat each week about my cats or houseplants or writing process or, even, reading one of those lifestyle columns from my newspaper days.
So, why not chat with my writer friends on Tea with Jess?
That became a lot of fun. And then one of those writer friends, Jessica Strawser, pointed out that since I was using Streamyard to broadcast the chats, and Streamyard allows you to save off your recordings as either an MP4 (video file) or an MP3 (audio file), I could use the MP3 and… create a podcast from the fun I was already having anyway.
At about the same time, my column, “Literary Life,” which ran every Sunday in the Dayton Daily News for the past nine years, was wrapping up. I realized how much I would miss one particular aspect of the column: interviewing authors.
So, committing to interviewing authors every two weeks for a podcast seemed like an easy transition. As I chatted about this with my husband (whose avocation is barbershop singing), he pointed out that without the stricture of “literary” in my content title, I could expand my conversations to include artists of various types. Visual. Perhaps musical. And so on!
Becoming a podcaster has been an organic journey, and a surprising outcome, at least from my 2019 point-of-view. But then, most endeavors that I’ve really enjoyed–whether writing the Kinship series or creating this podcast, are ones that I didn’t strategically plan, but that I wandered into out of curiosity and, yes, a bit of love.
Indeed, I love chatting with artists about their processes and work, and am happy to amplify their creations in my own small way. I hope you’ll enjoy taking a break–whenever you can, whether via my podcast or my Facebook Author Page broadcasts–to sit in on casual, fun, yet insightful chats about creativity and creating art.