Writing tips, publishing advice and lots of laughs: listen to every episode of The Riff Raff Podcast right here

Episode 81: Stephanie Scott

April 19, 2020

Amy chats to debut author, Stephanie Scott, about her beautiful novel, What's Left of Me is Yours. They discuss how to effectively write about people falling in love, how to take inspiration from real life and craft it into your own narrative, and how to effectively combine extensive research with letting your novel guide you. 

Episode 80: Alex Allison

March 08, 2020

Amy Baker chats to Alex Allison, author of The Art of the Body - a novel about the relationship between a young artist and his carer. They discuss how to approach writing about disability, how theme informs plot and character informs theme, and how Alex used SMART targets to get his novel written around a hectic day job. They also touch on how to use events to drive a novel forwards, whether you need to define the 'wants' of your characters and how writing to make people think you're clever is a huge error. 

Episode 79: Kiley Reid

February 09, 2020

Amy Baker of The Riff Raff chats to Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age - a novel that tells the story of a young black girl wrongly accused of kidnapping a white child and the events that follow. Amy and Kiley discuss writing a book that makes people question their perceptions, the multiple layers of effective dialogue, and why you must always think about what a scene needs to achieve before writing it. They also discuss taking on the subject of race with humour, how scrapped scenes are still forward progress and the importance of writing to the truth of your characters' experience.

Episode 78: Elle Nash

January 11, 2020

Amy Baker chats to Elle Nash, author of 'Animals Eat Each Other' - a complex and impressive psychological exploration of obsession and desire. Amy and Elle chat about writing without judgement of your characters, giving yourself the necessary space for magical epiphanies to occur and using universal experiences to convey feelings and emotions that your reader may not be familiar with.

Episode 77: Richard Roper

December 14, 2019

Amy chats to Richard Roper, author of Something to Live For, about how on Earth you write something 'life-affirming', the art of receiving and applying feedback and how writing chronologically helped him to stay motivated.

Episode 76: Daniel James

November 09, 2019

Amy chats to debut author Daniel James about his novel, The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas. They discuss his genre-busting novel, which combines multiple disciplines, questioning the concept of truth, and playing with your readers expectations.

Episode 75: Lara Prescott

October 12, 2019

Amy chats to Lara Prescott, author of instant New York Times Bestseller, The Secrets We Kept - a book inspired by the CIA plot to infiltrate Soviet Russia, not via propaganda, but via the novel, Doctor Zhivago. Amy and Lara discuss how books can change the world, writing historical fiction based on real life events and using visual exercises to understand the rhythm and balance of your novel. 

Episode 74: Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

September 14, 2019

Amy chats to Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of Sarong Party Girls, about inhabiting your characters to create a believable first person narrative, revelling in your story's details & conveying perspective shifts in your characters. They also discuss writing to tight deadlines, using humour to provide levity to dark subject matter and finding inspiration in the world around you.

Episode 73 - Ashley Hickson-Lovence

August 11, 2019

Amy chats to Ashley Hickson-Lovence about his debut novel, The 392. We discuss those special moments that spark book ideas, writing about one event from multiple perspectives, the challenges of taking on 11 different voices, and the art of editing a finale. 

Episode 72 - Catherine Kirwan

July 07, 2019

Amy chats to Catherine Kirwan, author of Darkest Truth about the art of the cliffhanger, showing your characters through the choices they make and how taking yourself to your setting can eliminate writers block.

Episode 71 - Wayétu Moore

June 09, 2019

Amy chats to Wayétu Moore, author of She Would Be King about writing flawed characters, finding the balance between writing as an art and writing as a craft and how vital it is to get away from your desk in pursuit of inspiration.

Episode 70 - Joanne Ramos

May 26, 2019

Amy chats to Joanne Ramos, author of The Farm. They discuss how Joanne's experience of straddling two worlds helped her to write her novel, training yourself in the habit of writing and choosing your characters to best convey the issues you want to cover.

Episode 69 - Elizabeth Macneal

May 12, 2019

Amy chats to Elizabeth Macneal, author of Sunday Times Bestseller, The Doll Factory, about perfecting the slang of a time period, using objects to link your characters and resisting the urge to write within the parameters of genre.

Episode 68 - Nicole Flattery

April 28, 2019

Amy chats to Nicole Flattery, author of Show Them a Good Time, about how themes reveal themselves in the writing, getting to know your characters through redrafting and giving yourself space to be funny. 

Episode 67 - Sara Collins

April 14, 2019

Amy chats to Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton. We discuss Sara's early obsession with books and drive to write the type of narrative she hadn't found before, the role of female anger in her novel, and the mess and magic of the writing process. 

Episode 66 - Alex Michaelides

March 31, 2019

Amy chats to Alex Michaelides, author of The Silent Patient. We discuss how to make every scene of your book iconic, summarising the beats of your story via props and the importance of writing from the heart. 

Episode 65 - Wendy Mitchell

March 18, 2019

The Riff Raff chat to Wendy Mitchell, author of Sunday Times Bestselling memoir 'Somebody I Used to Know'. We discuss writing as sudoku, the importance of trust in a collaboration, and how detail makes our stories come alive. 

Episode 64 - Mariam Khan

March 02, 2019

Amy chats to Mariam Khan, author and editor of It's Not About the Burqa. We discuss finding your power through writing, the process involved in editing an anthology, and providing a platform where important conversations can take place. 

Episode 63 - Ella Risbridger

February 24, 2019

Amy Baker of The Riff Raff chats to Ella Risbridger about her debut cookbook, Midnight Chicken. We discuss the redemptive power of cooking (& writing), the compulsion to write and the importance of having other hobbies. 

Episode 62 - Lillian Li

February 11, 2019

The Riff Raff chat to Lillian Li, author of Number One Chinese Restaurant, about how finding the perfect setting can kick start your novel, showing character in ways other than dialogue & writing with your reader in mind. 

Episode 61 - Anthony Good

January 26, 2019

We chat to Anthony Good, author of Kill (Redacted) about the books you need to write, the art of fragmented writing and how to connect your readers with your characters. 

Episode 60 - Lizzy Barber

January 14, 2019

We talk to Lizzy Barber, author of My Name Is Anna, about the art of writing a 'why' done it rather than a 'who' done it, the tricks to show don't tell and how entering a writing competition changed Lizzie’s life overnight.

Episode 59 - Tyler Wetherall

December 08, 2018

We chat to Tyler Wetherall, author of No Way Home about the role of truth in memoir, finding the story behind the story and working out your thoughts and feelings on the page. 

Episode 58 - Charlene Allcott

December 03, 2018

We talk to Charlene Allcott, author of The Reinvention of Martha Ross, about using your own experience to create a story, portraying a realistic view of motherhood and how to get your book bloody well written. 

Episode 57 - Emily Critchley

November 25, 2018

We chat to Emily Critchley, author of Notes on My Family, about getting into the mindset of a younger protagonist, giving your characters space to communicate who they are & the responsibility that comes with being a YA author. 

Episode 56 - Kat Poole

November 18, 2018

We talk to Kat Poole, author of Being An Adult, about writing a book with a stranger who becomes a friend, taking on Google and creating something that helps other people. 

Episode 55 - Leo Carew

November 11, 2018

We chat to Leo Carew, author of The Wolf, about how to begin putting years of planning down on paper, how to pace a fantasy epic and perfecting the lyricism of your writing. 

Episode 54 - Gabrielle Fernie

November 04, 2018

We talk to Gabrielle Fernie, author of the hilarious memoir Lush, about writing honestly – especially when it comes to your own life; how to hit a deadline (even with a wisdom tooth infection) and why it can really pay off to share your work with authors you admire. 

Episode 53 - Emilie Pine

October 21, 2018

The Riff Raff chat to Emilie Pine, author of Notes to Self, about why it's important to write for yourself rather than a perceived audience, creativity as a therapeutic tool and why, if you want to be a writer, you need to put it first.

Episode 52 - Helen Cullen

October 14, 2018

We talk to Helen Cullen, author of The Lost Letters of William Woolf, about how a chaotic writing process needn't be feared, what happens when characters develop all on their own and the tricks to revealing a realistic version of love. 

Episode 51 - Fatima Farheen Mirza

October 07, 2018

The Riff Raff chat to Fatima Farheen Mirza about her sensational New York Times best-selling debut novel, A Place For Us. We discuss how exploratory writing can help you discover your plot, the importance of honouring the consciousness of your characters, and how to address cultural matters without creating generalisations.

Episode 50 - Caroline O'Donoghue

January 01, 2020

Happy 50th podcast birthday to us! We're celebrating with Caroline O'Donoghue, author of Promising Young Women, as she opens up about the beauty (and importance) of the writer/editor relationship, sticking to your guns when it comes to being weird and how to write around a demanding day job. 

Episode 49 - Jenny Zhang

September 23, 2018

The Riff Raff chat to Jenny Zhang, author of Sour Heart, about coming-of-age stories, writing complicated relationships and whether it's ever possible to hide autobiographical aspects from your work. 

Episode 48 - Holly Ringland

September 16, 2018

This week we're talking to Holly Ringland, author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, about celebrating female relationships in books, how to nail descriptive writing so that it's not 'all pate and no biscuit' (it will make sense when you listen, promise) and why, when all is said and done, it will always be your readers who ultimately bring your story to life. 

Episode 47 - Michael Donkor

September 09, 2018

The Riff Raff chat to Michael Donkor, author of Hold, about the importance of dialogue in building character relationships, the licence writing gives you to think about ordinary things in new ways and the art of giving the reader just enough to draw their own conclusions.

Episode 46 - Rutendo Tavengerwei

September 01, 2018

The Riff Raff chat to Rutendo Tavengerwei, author of Hope Is Our Only Wing, about tackling big topics for a YA audience, starting at the end when your writing hits a wall and giving hope to readers of all ages through writing. 

Episode 45 - Tara Isabella Burton

August 26, 2018

The Riff Riff chat to Tara Isabella Burton, author of Social Creature, about using trial & error to find your narrative voice, writing about anxiety, and finding a place for social media in literary fiction.

Episode 44 - Juman Malouf

August 19, 2018

Amy and Rosy talk to Juman Malouf, author of The Trilogy of Two, about finding your identity through your writing, how imagery can inspire the world you create on the page and the joy – and grief – of pursuing childish passion and talents. 

Episode 43 - Özgür Mumcu

August 12, 2018

We talk to Özgür Mumcu, author of The Peace Machine, about how to avoid getting lost in research, the enduring popularity of the circus as a literary tool and re-creating a real location without stepping foot outside your door.

Episode 42 - Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

August 04, 2018

The Riff Raff chat to Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, author of Swan Song about the responsibility writers have to their subjects, the importance of letting your book guide you and those magical moments when inspiration strikes. 

Episode 41 - July 2018 Live Event

July 28, 2018

Live from the Effra Social in Brixton - The Riff Raff Live! In July we enjoyed readings and writing advice from Jenny Zhang (Sour Heart), Rachel Heng (Suicide Club), Claire Askew (All The Hidden Truths), Holly Ringland (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart), Amy Lilwall (The BIggerers) and Emily THomas (Mud). 

Episode 40 - Luke Tredget

July 22, 2018

The Riff Raff meet Luke Tredget, author of Kismet, to discuss how to create fully-rounded characters, writing in a narrative voice that's very different to your own and the best way to include modern communication in the context of a novel. 

Episode 39 - Adam Kay

July 14, 2018

We talk to Adam Kay, author of This Is Going To Hurt about how to find humour in deeply unfunny moments, the sometimes overlooked importance for your book of having a beginning, middle and an end and why the key thing is to care about the characters and world you are creating. 

Episode 38 - Luke Allnutt

July 08, 2018

The Riff Raff chat to Luke Allnutt, author of We Own the Sky about the delicate balance between theme and plot, fictionalising personal experience and how a life threatening situation impacted his will to write. 

Episode 37 - June 2018 Live Event

July 01, 2018

Live, from the Effra Social in Brixton, it's The Riff Raff June Meet Up 2018! Featuring book readings and writing advice from debut authors Sophie Mackintosh (The Water Cure), Rachel Edwards (Darling), Justin Myers (The Last Romeo), Sharlene Teo (Ponti) and Paul Howarth (Only Killers and Thieves). 

Episode 36 - Paula Cocozza

June 24, 2018

We talk to the Desmond Elliott Prize nominated Paula Cocozza, author of How To Be Human, about how to build tension, the importance of committing to your writing and following your instincts, even if it involves divisive storytelling techniques.

Episode 35 - Preti Taneja

June 17, 2018

The Riff Raff chat to Desmond Elliott prize nominee Preti Taneja about her state of the nation novel, We That Are Young. We discuss basing your book on a pre-exiting narrative, how to cover big themes without sacrificing plot and using characters as a tool to convey political ideas. Quality iffy at very end due to poor connection!

Episode 34 - Paul Howarth

June 10, 2018

The Riff Raff chat to Paul Howarth, author of Only Killers and Thieves about writing violence, using one character to convey big themes and putting a modern take on a tried and tested genre. 

Episode 33 - The Riff Raff Live Event - May 2018

June 03, 2018

Recorded live at The Riff Raff in Brixton on May 10th 2018, this month we welcome Guy Gunaratne (In Our Mad & Furious City), Samuel Fisher (The Chameleon), Anne Patterson (Yes), Kate Leaver (The Friendship Cure) and Zelda Rhiando (Fukushima Dreams). 

Episode 32 - Justin Myers

May 27, 2018

Amy Baker and Rosy Edwards talk to Justin Myers, author of The Last Romeo, about the thin line between fact and fiction, how where you write can affect what you're writing and why you should ignore (most of) the writing advice you get.

Episode 31 - Elaine Castillo

May 13, 2018

Amy Baker and Rosy Edwards chat to Elaine Castillo, author of America is Not the Heart, about how to identify your narrative voice, creating and deploying an authentic depiction of trauma, and writing as a bi woman of colour.

Episode 30 - Samuel Fisher

April 29, 2018

Amy Baker and Rosy Edwards chat to Sameul Fisher, author of The Chameleon, about traditional versus innovative narratives, working with independent publishers and the inspiration that comes from being surrounded by books, all day every day.

Episode 29 - Sharlene Teo

April 15, 2018

Amy Baker and Rosy Edwards chat to Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti, about writing from three different perspectives, following the flow of the narrative and ignoring the writing rules in order to stay positive.

 

Episode 28 - Stuart Turton

April 01, 2018

Amy Baker and Rosy Edwards chat to Stuart Turton, author of time-hopping, murder mystery, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. We discuss intricate plotting, character development and Stuart's fun technique of 'method writing'. 

Episode 27 - Natasha Bell

March 19, 2018

Amy Baker and Rosy Edwards chat to Natasha Bell, author of Exhibit Alexandra, about writing a cross-genre novel where plot twists abound, and the joy of prioritising your writing, whether that's by doing an MA or taking a holiday.