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The Worm Hole Podcast

A photograph of me sat behind a stack of books

Join me each second and fourth Monday of the month, when I’ll be in conversation with an author about one (occasionally more) of their books. We’ll be taking a fairly deep dive, looking at the background, the topics, writing, and the nitty gritty. Expect some spoilers and frequent discussions of the endings.

To listen to the episodes on this site, click on the links in the table below. This will take you to the episode’s page which includes all the notes as well as links to the episode’s page on apps.

The podcast main page on major channels: iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Deezer, iHeartRadio, YouTube, Gaana, Amazon Music (US), Amazon Music (UK)

It’s also on the majority of iOS and Android apps including Podcast Addict, CastBox, Overcast, Castro, and PocketCasts.

You can also subscribe via the RSS feed.

A photograph of Patrick Gale

Monday 28th February: Patrick Gale

Author of Take Nothing With You and the forthcoming Mother’s Boy

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A photograph of Janie Chang

Monday 13th December: Janie Chang

Author of The Library Of Legends

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A photograph of Samantha Sotto

Episode 50: Samantha Sotto

Samantha Sotto returns! We discuss her latest book The Beginning Of Always (its inspiration was the woman whose death mask was used to create the first aid dummy Resusi Annie), and, not to be outdone, Sam’s dog Alfie also returns to make a second appearance.

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A photograph of Rebecca F John

Episode 49: Rebecca F John

Charlie and Rebecca F John (The Haunting Of Henry Twist) discuss being gay and bisexual in the 1920s, the way the flapper years could mask the effects of War, and the fictional man who cannot believe that his male partner is not some sort of reincarnation of his dead wife.

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A photograph of Rosie Travers

Episode 48: Rosie Travers

Charlie and Rosie Travers (The Theatre Of Dreams) discuss writing novels set amongst the working class of the south coast, Art Deco buildings we’ve lost and those we’ve saved, and the sporting professional heroine publishers rejected.

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A photograph of Jennifer Robson

Episode 47: Jennifer Robson

Charlie and Jennifer Robson (Our Darkest Night) discuss the horrors of life as an Italian Jew during the Second World War, those who fled and those who helped them, and the people who chose to stay behind.

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A photograph of Hazel Gaynor

Episode 46: Hazel Gaynor

Charlie and Hazel Gaynor (The Bird In The Bamboo Cage) discuss the lives of the pupils and teachers of the Chefoo school for missionaries’ children in China during the Japanese occupation, and the way being Brownie Guides helped to keep them going. We also discuss the beginnings of her career, and her collaborations with fellow historical fiction writer, Heather Webb.

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A photograph of Claire North

Episode 45: Claire North

Charlie and Claire North (Notes From The Burning Age) discuss climate change today and into the future, sexism back of house in theatre, and how she views her books in terms of colours and shapes rather than words.

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A photograph of Tyler Keevil

Episode 44: Tyler Keevil

Charlie and Tyler Keevil (Your Still Beating Heart) discuss using the violence of Snow White in an adult thriller to shocking and literary effect, writing in the second person to tell a story within a story where either – or both, or none – may be ‘true’, and the many hearts at the heart of his novel.

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A photograph of Rachel Hore

Episode 43: Rachel Hore

Charlie and Rachel Hore (A Beautiful Spy) discuss the life and work of a female spy in the years between the First and Second World Wars, the man who inspired James Bond’s M, and how Rachel took care to do right in her representation of a real person.

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A photograph of Gill Paul

Episode 42: Gill Paul

Charlie and Gill Paul (The Second Marriage) discuss the lives and loves of Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas from their early married years until later life, the womanising ways of the men in their lives, and the opera and celebrity that in Gill’s book links them all.

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A photograph of Rosanna Ley

Episode 41: Rosanna Ley

Charlie and Rosanna Ley (The Orange Grove) discuss whether one of her main characters, Ella, made the right decision with the situational contexts at hand, the viability of a shop focused on orange-related products and set up in Dorset, the Seville producers of those products, and the secrets of the flour-free cake that starts the whole thing off.

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A photograph of Zen Cho

Episode 40: Zen Cho

Charlie and Zen Cho (Black Water Sister) discuss traditional Chinese beliefs, smashing up shrines, and Jane Austen.

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A photograph of Christina Courtenay

Episode 39: Christina Courtenay

Charlie and Christina Courtenay (Echoes Of The Runes; The Runes Of Destiny) discuss what the Vikings were really like, time travellers’ historical partners travelling back with them, and predictability and coincidence as plot devices.

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A photograph of Nicola Cornick

Episode 38: Nicola Cornick

She’s back! Nicola Cornick (The Forgotten Sister; The Last Daughter) returns to discuss Amy Robsart and the mystery of her death, the relationship between Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I, and who killed the Princes in the Tower.

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A photograph of Kimberly Derting

Episode 37: Kimberly Derting

Charlie and Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder) discuss publishing a dark YA series in the wake of Twilight, avoiding romance and family tropes, and the further lives of her characters beyond the final page.

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A photograph of Kate Forsyth

Episode 36: Kate Forsyth

Charlie and Kate Forsyth (Bitter Greens; The Wild Girl) discuss the story and history of Rapunzel – which was part of Kate’s doctoral thesis – as well as the woman who told the Brothers Grimm many of their tales, and the progression of change those tales went through as the brothers pursued success.

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A photograph of Liz Fenwick

Episode 35: Liz Fenwick

Charlie and Liz Fenwick (The Path To The Sea) discuss the success of spies in the Cold War who were – on the face of it – ‘just’ housewives, bringing new characters to more prominence and bringing past characters back from other books, and the age-old question of cream or jam first.

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A photograph of Lillian Li

Episode 34: Lillian Li

Charlie and Lillian Li (Number One Chinese Restaurant) discuss racial prejudice in Chinese restaurants, looking at the narrative of immigrant parents and sacrifice, and how her editor pushed her to increase the impact of themes and ideas.

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A photograph of Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

Episode 33: Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

Charlie and Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (The Rabbit Back Literature Society; Secret Passages In A Hillside Town) discuss dreams that become literature – vampires; books where words and plot points change in a sort of book plague; secret passages that wipe your memory, and many more – writing a book that’s difficult for a reader to work out and not knowing yourself what the answer is, creepy and traumatic fictional games, and issuing an alternative ending to your novel in a brand new publication.

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A photograph of Susmita Bhattacharya

Episode 32: Susmita Bhattacharya

Charlie and Susmita Bhattacharya (Table Manners) discuss her world-wide travel and moves abroad – including a visa-less stopover, the experiences of recent immigrants to Britain, and having your work featured and serialised on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extra.

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A photograph of Elizabeth Baines

Episode 31: Elizabeth Baines

Charlie and Elizabeth Baines (Used To Be; Astral Travel) discuss writing for radio, short stories – the relative importance of their first lines and differences to novels – writing a book about trying to tell a story, and the difficulties in labelling someone complicit or a victim in the context of past societal values.

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A photograph of Katy Yocom

Episode 30: Katy Yocom

Charlie and Katy Yocom (Three Ways To Disappear) discuss tiger conservation in India and balancing numbers alongside human requirements for life, the importance of being diligent when writing about a culture that is not your own, and what the three ways to disappear are.

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A photograph of Marianne Holmes

Episode 29: Marianne Holmes

Charlie and Marianne Holmes (A Little Bird Told Me; All Your Little Lies) discuss procedures when children go missing, societal changes in regards to domestic violence in the 1970s, and, on a lighter note, trying not to finish books you’re not enjoying.

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A photograph of Deborah Swift

Episode 28: Deborah Swift

Charlie and Deborah Swift (Past Encounters; The Occupation; The Lifeline) discuss Brief Encounter at Carnforth, the experiences of prisoners of war at the time and once back home, the real life story of a Jersey woman who hid her Jewish friend, and reactions to the death of the last woman in Britain to be given capital punishment.

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A photograph of Tammye Huf

Episode 27: Tammye Huf

Charlie and Tammye Huf (A More Perfect Union) discuss her great-great-grandparents’ relationship as an 1840s Irishman and a Black American slave, the way owners used Christianity to support their views of a racial hierarchy, and the lengths reached in order to label people by skin colour.

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A photograph of Eric Beck Rubin

Episode 26: Eric Beck Rubin

Charlie and Eric Beck Rubin (School Of Velocity) discuss the representation of the Holocaust in literature, using classical music as a literary device, having a main character whose person limits the opportunity for dialogue through his obsession with another, and the reader being a writer.

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A photograph of Intisar Khanani

Episode 25: Intisar Khanani

Charlie and Intisar Khanani (Thorn; Sunbolt; Memories Of Ash) discuss working to better the health of people in Cincinnati, rewriting and exploring the Goose Girl fairy tale to stunning effect, bonkers jail-breaking heroines, and men who take a far more subtle approach than riding in on horses to save the day.

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A photograph of Joanna Hickson

Episode 24: Joanna Hickson

Charlie and Joanna Hickson (First Of The Tudors; The Tudor Crown; The Lady Of The Ravens) discuss the royal and noble individuals of the War of the Roses, the women who made an impact, the ever-present question of who killed the princes in the tower, and, on another topic entirely, using weasels to prevent conception.

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A photograph of Nicholas Royle

Episode 23: Nicholas Royle (‘critic’)

Charlie and Nicholas Royle (Quilt; An English Guide To Birdwatching; Mother: A Memoir) discuss killing yourself – your avatar – off in your fiction, using ‘it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’, and sharing a name with another British writer who also writes fiction… that is also about birds…

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A photograph of Midge Raymond

Episode 22: Midge Raymond

Charlie and Midge Raymond (Forgetting English; My Last Continent; also Everyday Writing; Everyday Book Marketing) discuss the current situation in Antarctica and the balance of keeping it clean whilst allowing research and tourism, environmental and climate changes in the same location, and being followed to the toilet by a penguin.

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A photograph of Peter Ho Davies

Episode 21: Peter Ho Davies

Charlie and Peter Ho Davies (The Welsh Girl; The Fortunes) discuss moving as a writer from Britain to the US, Welsh with English as a second language, the first Chinese Americans, Hollywood star Anna May Wong, and the impact – then and now – of the murder of Vincent Chin.

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A photograph of Tracy Rees

Episode 20: Tracy Rees

Charlie and Tracy Rees (Amy Snow; Florence Grace; The Hourglass; Darling Blue; The House At Silvermoor) discuss Richard, Judy, Dickens, Austen, and Brontë – not all at once – coffee houses in Victorian times, landslides and hourglasses, changes to the Yorkshire mines in the late 1800s to early 1900s, and the inclusion of the average person in historical fiction.

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A photograph of Sofie Laguna

Episode 19: Sofie Laguna

Charlie and Sofie Laguna (One Foot Wrong; The Eye of the Sheep; The Choke; the forthcoming Infinite Splendours) discuss beginning with acting, writing from a child’s perspective and not labelling those who are different, bad fictional parents, not liking John Wayne… and we have the inaugural reading of Sofie’s October release.

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A photograph of Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Episode 18: Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Charlie and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (The Whispering Trees; Season of Crimson Blossoms) discuss Nigeria at this time, publishing a novel on a very controversial subject and reactions to it, effects of grief, and looking at cultural expectations of women as the generations change.

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A photograph of Roselle Lim

Episode 17: Roselle Lim

Charlie and Roselle Lim (Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune; Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop) discuss weaving culture, mental illness, and magic into your fiction, an aid for your eyes when chopping onions, and children you excitedly take to tourist attractions who wonder what you see in them.

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A photograph of Isla Morley

Episode 16: Isla Morley

Charlie and Isla Morley (Come Sunday; Above; The Last Blue) discuss growing up and travelling back to South Africa, creating a negative heroine, the 1800s medical phenomenon wherein people were literally blue, and what it’s like owning five tortoises.

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A photograph of Terri Fleming

Episode 15: Terri Fleming

Charlie and Terri Fleming (Perception) discuss looking at the further lives of Mary and Kitty Bennet, working with Austen’s original stories and prose, Mr and Mrs Bennet’s relationship, and organising bookshelves.

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A photograph of Zoë Duncan

Episode 14: Zoë Duncan

Charlie and Zoë Duncan (The Shifting Pools) discuss coping with and healing from war trauma in reality and fiction, the use and power of dreams, employing various styles and formats, and how fascinating reader interpretations can be.

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A photograph of Dan Richards

Episode 13: Dan Richards

Charlie and Dan Richards (Climbing Days; Outpost) discuss asking to join well-known people for lunch and producing fascinating interviews for your book, travelling the less beaten paths of your mountaineering great-great aunt, finding society in isolated places, and looking ahead to how we might continue to approach humanity’s harming of nature after the benefits to scaling back have been shown by this current crisis.

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A photograph of Weike Wang

Episode 12: Weike Wang

Charlie and Weike Wang (Chemistry) discuss having both a scientific – in epidemiology no less! – and a writer background, making use of extracts and white space and preferring them beyond more long-form prose, the difficulties of studies and incorporating friends’ experiences in your stories, and fictional dogs who are inherently important to the text.

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A photograph of Laura Pearson

Episode 11: Laura Pearson

Charlie and Laura Pearson (Missing Pieces, Nobody’s Wife, I Wanted You To Know) discuss the process of grieving for various members of a family, writing a book about cancer when you are working through the same, and changing stories almost entirely from their beginnings.

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A photograph of Camilla Bruce

Episode 10: Camilla Bruce

Charlie and Camilla Bruce (You Let Me In) discuss the darker side of faerie, being as in the dark about answers as your readers are, survival and coping methods following trauma, and the habits of cats inspiring your work.

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A photograph of Fran Cooper

Episode 09: Fran Cooper

Charlie and Fran Cooper (These Dividing Walls, The Two Houses) discuss open mic nights, current and recent sociopolitical situations in Paris (and the world), the way we talk about women and motherhood, and the complexity of relationships.

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A photograph of Andrew Blackman

Episode 08: Andrew Blackman

Charlie and Andrew Blackman (On the Holloway Road, A Virtual Love) discuss life on the road, following in Jack Kerouac’s footsteps, offline and online identity, writing an entire book about a character but never giving them a voice, current climate change activism, and withholding – for very good reason – the endings your readers expect.

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A photograph of E C Fremantle

Episode 07: E C Fremantle

Charlie and E C Fremantle (The Poison Bed) discuss changing pen names, a horrific murder case in the Stuart nobility, coping as a new mother in a one-of-a-kind situation, and the historical line between witchcraft and ‘simple’ superstition.

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A photograph of Nancy Bilyeau

Episode 06: Nancy Bilyeau

Charlie and Nancy Bilyeau (The Crown; The Chalice; The Tapestry; The Blue; Dreamland) discuss the lifestyle of Dissolution-era nuns, using a website’s ‘contact me’ form to great success, there being more relics than there were items, using your family’s name in your work, and the grand amusement parks and luxury hotels of New York’s past.

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A photograph of Samantha Sotto

Episode 05: Samantha Sotto

Tune in as Charlie and Samantha Sotto (Before Ever After; Love and Gravity; A Dream of Trees) discuss characters that join you in your car in the midst of a traffic jam, time travelling with Issac Newton, switching from your fully researched work in progress to a story that needs to be told, and… chickens?

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A photograph of Phillip Lewis

Episode 04: Phillip Lewis

Charlie and Phillip Lewis (The Barrowfields) discuss planning out fictional houses, the detail and beauty of classical music, books about books, and how real life in all its ups and downs makes its mark on your work.

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A photograph of Naomi Hamill

Episode 03: Naomi Hamill

Tune in as Charlie Place and Naomi Hamill (How To Be A Kosovan Bride) discuss post-war Kosovo, using a narrative method that divides opinion, and researching Albanian folklore.

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A photograph of Orlando Ortega-Medina

Episode 02: Orlando Ortega-Medina

Tune in as Charlie Place and Orlando Ortega-Medina (Jerusalem Ablaze; The Death of Baseball) discuss celebrity fictional reincarnation, writing short stories that don’t have messages, and working with ideas that could – if misinterpreted – look like something else.

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A photograph of Nicola Cornick

Episode 01: Nicola Cornick

Tune in as book blogger Charlie Place and author Nicola Cornick (House of Shadows; The Phantom Tree; The Woman In The Lake) discuss burning down your place of work in fiction, every day objects of ill repute, and solving Tudor mysteries yet to be solved.

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