Stark Reflections EP 2 with Joanna Penn

Episode 002 – Living The Healthy Writer’s Life with Joanna Penn

In Episode 2, Mark interviews Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn about her latest book The Healthy Writer: Reduce Your Pain, Improve Your Health, And Build A Writing Career For The Long Term (co-authored with Dr. Euan Lawson) and they also have a discussion about trends in publishing and speculation about the opportunities that are likely to be on the horizon for writers.

The Healthy Writer
The Healthy Writer is currently available in paperback and eBook

In his introduction to the episode, Mark announces that Findaway Voices is now an official sponsor. He shares his own experience with using Findaway Voices to create audiobooks and also his plans for some forthcoming projects.

Joanna and Mark at Kobo in Toronto, ON in summer 2014

In Mark’s interview with Joanna, they talk about:

  • How The Healthy Writer was a book she has written because it was something she needed to learn
  • The “letter to sugar” that Joanna shares in the new book and how it was affecting both her physical and mental health
  • How the decision to co-author this title came about (measuring the value that each brings to the project) and how Joanna and Euan worked on it together
  • How Joanna balances her three different personas (JF Penn, dark fantasy/thriller author; Joanna Penn, the optimistic writing and publishing personality, and Penny Appleton, the name adapted for the co-authored sweet romance books she is writing with her mother)
  • The critical importance of scheduling one’s time into blocks of activities, including “time off” from particular types of activities
  • The role that personal connections can play in terms of building and sustaining a sense of community for a writer
  • How Joanna incorporates business related travel and decisions on which events to agree to speak at for helping with research for her fiction projects
  • The state of “burn-out” Joanna had reached almost two years ago and what inspired her to double-down on her own podcast instead of letting it go
  • A strategy for how writers and entrepreneurs can approach out-sourcing some of the work they need to do for their own goals and objectives
  • What has changed in the writing and publishing industry since Joanna started as a blogger and a podcaster almost ten years ago
  • The thing that surprised Joanna the most about what happened in publishing in the past year
  • The challenges that come with being an early adopter in the digital publishing space
  • The potential forthcoming shifts that are likely to be coming within the book industry within the next few years and what it means to authors
  • The story structure, drama, character development and masterfully storytelling from particular movies and television program like The Crown, which are also areas of opportunity for writers
  • What the advent of self-driving cars might mean for content creation and distribution
Joanna with her 1st book in 2008 and in 2017 with just a few more books under her belt

In his post interview wrap-up, Mark shares a short section from The Healthy Writer that has resonated with him, discusses the importance of optimism in a writer’s life, and then shares his own plans to train for a half-marathon later this year and how that ties back to an inspirational talk that Joanna gave in a backlist episode from her own The Creative Penn Podcast about a 100 Kilometer ultra marathon that she completed and what that taught her about her own writing.

Findaway Voices logoThis podcast was sponsored by Findaway Voices – a company that gives authors and publishers everything they need to create professionally-narrated audiobooks and reach listeners in more than 170 countries through the world’s largest audiobook distribution network
Euan Lawson & Joanna Penn
Co-authors Euan Lawson and Joanna Penn

Links of interest:


Joanna Penn is an author, international speaker and award-winning entrepreneur based in Bath, England, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013. Joanna is a travel junkie, weaving her adventures into her books.

You can learn more about Joanna at The Creative Penn and follow her on Twitter.

The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

RSS options for this podcast:  Mark Leslie at Libsyn or Feedburner

10 thoughts on “Episode 002 – Living The Healthy Writer’s Life with Joanna Penn”

  1. Great to find another podcast worth following (I’m an avid follower of Joanna’s). In regard of audiobooks I’m probably in a minority but I disagree they’ll be the next big thing. My vision of the future is that soon Alexa (etc) will be able to read us any ebook, so i’d be able to say “Alexa read me Stone of Fire” and she (it) would just read the e book to me, making audiobooks as obsolete as the vhs video

    1. Excellent thought, Pete. Thanks for your comment (Also quite nice to meet another avid follower of Joanna – we’re like one big extended family, aren’t we?)

      I am with you in believing that Alexa and other similar technologies will, no doubt, be able to read books to us; the ability to do that is pretty much already there; but I wonder if (in the way that vinyl purists still prefer their music in that format) there’ll be audio book narrator purists who enjoy a particular voice actor to read a piece.

      For example, I’ve been a huge fan of Michael Connelly for two decades, and I’ve taken a shine to the Harry Bosch books narrated by Titus Welliver (the actor who plays Bosch on that awesome Amazon-produced “television” series BOSCH. If I had a choice, I think I’d be willing to pay extra for listening to HIS version over Alexa or Siri or Cortana or Google Assistant). Would it be any different than wanting to see a particular actor’s version of Hamlet, or a director’s version of a particular play or movie? IE, Veronica Giguere might be the preferred voice for listening to the awesome Arkane novels of JF Penn.

      (Er, should I admit to you that I still have a small VHS library at home and, even though Netflix streaming and BlueRay are my preferred cups of tea, I continue to watch a few favourite classics like THE PRINCESS BRIDE on VHS?)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.