Category Archives: podcasts

Dissecting Dragons – the first Guest Episode

I’ve talked about Dissecting Dragons, the speculative fiction podcast that M.E.Vaughan and I produce a bit before. However on Friday the first episode featuring a guest author was released and I feel it’s worth looking at the process in a bit more detail – not least of which because that episode has probably been our most successful one to date.

We’ve had lots of positive feedback about the podcast – people seem to genuinely be enjoying it, which is brilliant. As writers we all know how hard it is to judge your own work, so to have listeners comment or get in touch to say they like it is very encouraging. I will, in future, explain exactly how we are producing a podcast for those who fancy trying their hand at producing their own. (It’s always helpful to look at someone else’s process.)

So, first guest. James Nichol is a children’s author whose first book, The Apprentice Witch, is being published by the ChickenHouse. (To give you some context, he has been working with Barry Cunningham, the editor who discovered J.K.Rowling.) The book sounds utterly enchanting – I’m certainly looking forward to reading it myself when it is released in July 2016.

Dissecting Dragons - Writing, Reading, Loving and sometime Hating, Speculative Fiction.
Dissecting Dragons – Writing, Reading, Loving and sometime Hating, Speculative Fiction.

What made James a great guest was that he took an interest and engaged with the entire topic. And I think what allowed him to do that was that Madeleine and I had set things up so that we fell into a natural rhythm of conversation about that week’s topic. Between the three of us we produced some really interesting content. There was no sense of having to perform, either for James or for either of us. My theory is that it’s that relaxed atmosphere during which three authors discuss books and writing that makes it engaging for listeners.

Of course it definitely helps that James was interesting, engaging and humble about his achievements. Coupled with a sense of humour that has to be a winning combination for authors. I’ve mentioned before how hard many of us find it to talk about our work. Certainly publishers and editors both have said that they often feel that authors need to feel they’ve ‘been given permission’ to talk about their books. Could it be that a cosy chat via podcast is a way of breaking down this self imposed barrier? I have no firm conclusion on that but it’s definitely exciting times.

I highly recommend you listen to James story (not just because I want you to download the podcast) because it is as close to a ‘fairytale’ dream-come-true story of an author finding his publisher and his niche.

Dissecting Dragons – Episode 4 – Witches, Brooms and Spells with James Nichol

Dissecting Dragons Facebook page

Dissecting Dragons – hatching a podcast

Dissecting Dragons - Writing, Reading, Loving and sometime Hating, Speculative Fiction.
Dissecting Dragons – Writing, Reading, Loving and sometime Hating, Speculative Fiction.


Today was an exciting new first as my fellow fantasy author, M. E. Vaughan, and I prepared for the launch of our new podcast. ‘Dissecting Dragons’ is aimed at fans of all forms of speculative fiction – fantasy, sci-fi, horror, dystopian, steam-punk – you name it and we’ll be discussing it. As we are both driven writers and avid readers, we wanted to produce the kind of show that we would like for ourselves. So we will be looking at books, films and T.V. series as well as discussing the nuts and bolts of writing speculative fiction.

We recorded our first podcast today and will be launching it early in February. (Check out our Facebook page for more information. You can also contact us there.)

While Madeleine and I had both had a little podcasting experience before, it was the first time we had ever tried to direct our own show with our own original content. After some natural nerves and more than a few giggles it went really well. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget there’s a microphone on when you are in the middle of a really interesting discussion about books and writing!

Anyway, this is just the beginning of our adventures. We already have some fellow writers who will be making guest appearances on the show, as well as a very long list of interesting speculative fiction topics to tackle. (Not that we’re not open to suggestions on that score.) Look out for our first episode – we hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed making it 🙂