Jami Attenberg

In this week’s episode we talk about the peaks and valleys of the writing journey, the fact that it’s never a straight line, and how to weather the challenges as much as you celebrate the successes. Guest Jami Attenberg talks with Grant and Brooke about how she pulled herself up after being dropped by her publisher, and what it was like for her to “go all in” when there was nothing to guarantee that she could make it doing her art. This is an inspiring episode about hard work and resilience in an industry where there are never any guarantees.


Jami Attenberg has written about food, travel, books, relationships and urban life for The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, Longreads and others. Her books include Instant Love, published in 2006, followed by the novels The Kept Man and The Melting Season. Her fourth book, The Middlesteins, was published in October 2012. It appeared on The New York Times bestseller list, and was published in ten countries in 2013. She followed that effort with three more books, Saint Mazie, All Grown Up, and All This Could Be Yours. She lives in New Orleans, LA.

The Takeaway:

We invite you to go on an excursion into families, whether your story is set on Mars or in Grant’s hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa. Think about a few families you know. It doesn’t have to be your family. What conflicts can you identify? What would your novel be like if, say, everyone came back for a funeral or a wedding or a family reunion. Think about what a tangled web you can weave. Write a few pages or a whole story, and see what transpires.

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