More To The Story



A podcast all about creative nonfiction, telling true stories and sharing them with the world. Excerpts of true, personal stories and interviews with their authors. Hosted by Janna Marlies Maron, editor & publisher of Under the Gum Tree magazine.


  • MTS 23: Self-care, community, and the Nonfiction Bootcamp with Janna Maron

    08/07/2021 Duración: 15min

    Janna Marlies Maron (she/her) is a professional editor with nearly 20 years of experience helping writers to complete their projects and produce the best work possible. Her experience includes time as a magazine editor, college professor, agency editorial director, and content director for a popular internet brand. Her life’s work began when she was a kid writing in a spiral bound notebook, and she has since turned an MA in creative writing into a successful career as an editor, publisher, and director of her own business supporting women authors writing nonfiction. In addition to founding and editing Under the Gum Tree, she‘s the host of More to the Story, a podcast all about creative nonfiction, as well as private online community for nonfiction writers also called More to the Story.In the episode I talk about: What’s been happening in the past three years, since the last season of More to the StoryThe importance of stepping back and taking a break when necessarySelf-care as an essential component of work a

  • MTS 22: Tinkering & braiding the threads of science and literature with Nicole Walker

    01/07/2021 Duración: 45min

    Nicole Walker is the author of Processed Meats: Essays on Food, Flesh and Navigating Disaster (2021) Sustainability: A Love Story (2018) and the collaborative collection The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet (2019). She has previously published the books Where the Tiny Things Are (2017), Egg (2017), Micrograms (2016), Quench Your Thirst with Salt (2013), and This Noisy Egg (2010). She edited for Bloomsbury the essay collections Science of Story (2019) with Sean Prentiss and Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction (2013) with Margot Singer. She is the co-president of NonfictioNOW and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award and a noted author in Best American Essays. Her work has been most recently published in the New York Times, Longreads, and Manifest-Station. She teaches at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. You can find her website at the episode we talk about: Nonfiction feeling particularly apt for the time that  we’re li

  • MTS 21: Intersectionality through essays, memoir, and poetry with Kristie Robin Johnson

    24/06/2021 Duración: 39min

    Kristie Robin Johnson is an educator, essayist, and poet from Augusta, Georgia. She is the current Chair of the Department of Humanities at Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus where she is an Assistant Professor of English. A graduate of the MFA Creative Writing program at Georgia College and State University, Kristie’s writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has received other awards and recognition, including an AWP Intro to Journals award, the 2020 Porter Fleming Prize for Nonfiction, and the 2021 Page Prize for Nonfiction from The Pinch Literary Journal. Her work has been published in numerous literary magazines, journals, and anthologies. Her first book, High Cotton, was released in 2020 by Raised Voice Press.In the episode we talk about: Hip hop as Kristie’s first introduction to literatureWriting essays as a function of journaling, being a young mother, and writing letters to her unborn childThe transition from being a poet to being an essayistMaya Angelo, Harlem Renaissance writers,

  • MTS 20: Reinventing the addiction memoir & writing as recovery with Tim Hillegonds

    17/06/2021 Duración: 01h03min

    Timothy J. Hillegonds is the author of The Distance Between (Nebraska, 2019), a finalist for the 2020 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Tim's work has appeared in The Guardian, the Chicago Tribune, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Assay, Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, River Teeth, Baltimore Review, Brevity, Under the Gum Tree, Hippocampus Magazine, The Fourth River, Midway Journal, RHINO, Bluestem Magazine, r.k.v.r.y. quarterly, and others.In 2019, Tim was named by the Guild Literary Complex as one of their thirty "Writers to Watch,” and he currently serves as a contributing editor for Slag Glass City, a digital journal of the urban essay arts.In the episode we talk about: The practice of writing in rehab at the beginning of a serious writing life and as an integral part of healingComing to nonfiction as a result of traumaGetting an undergrad degree at age 30Recovery as never being singular, we're constantly recovering

  • MTS 19: Diary entries becoming essays & the short form with Kelly Fig Smith

    10/06/2021 Duración: 27min

    Kelly is an award-winning essayist and a Pushcart nominee. She has an MFA in nonfiction from Lesley University. Her essay “Do No Harm” was awarded the $1000 Best Essay Prize and appeared in Creative Nonfiction’s Issue #55, The Memoir Issue, Spring 2015. Her essay, "Paper Moon" was shortlisted for The Pinch's 2017 Literary Award. Kelly enjoys the quiet life of rural Ohio. When she's not chasing children around the house, she can usually be found corn field watching from beneath an apple tree in her backyard. Kelly is currently seeking representation for her first book a collection of essays. In the episode we talk about: Grief journals and turning them into essaysNeeding a place to figure out what an experience meansGiving readers the benefit of the doubt, and essays that are a slow burnThe short form of flash and “micro” writingLoss and learning to love things without consuming or owning themUsing care in the things we create vs. self-imposed deadlines or goalsKelly’s piece "Winter Soliloquy" in HippocampusCo

  • MTS 18: Heartbreak, heart devices, and conflict minerals with Kati Standefer

    03/06/2021 Duración: 42min

    In this episode I talk with writer Katherine Standefer. Katherine's debut book, Lightning Flowers, published November 2020 from Little Brown, was shortlisted for the 2018 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Prize from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Her work was featured in The Best American Essays 2016, won the 2015 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction, and most recently appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review Online, New England Review, Crazyhorse, Quarterly West, and The Normal School. She was a Fall 2018 Logan Nonfiction Fellow at The Carey Institute for Global Good, and earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Arizona. As a creative entrepreneur, she teaches intimate, electric writing classes that help people tell their stories about sexuality, illness, and trauma. She is also a professor in Ashland University's Low-Residency MFA.In the episode we talk about: Heartbreak and conflict mineralsIllness as a driver force for w

  • MTS 17: Parenthood and the confluence of son & father with James Chesbro

    27/05/2021 Duración: 28min

    In this episode, I talk with writer James M. Chesbro. James is the author of A Lion in the Snow: Essays on a Father’s Journey Home. His work has appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle, America, The Washington Post, The Millions, Essay Daily, and The Huffington Post. Essays from A Lion in the Snow were chosen as notable selections in The Best American Essays series 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018, as well as The Best American Sports Writing 2014.In the episode we talk about: Making sense of things in a private journalMourning the loss of a parent while trying to keep children alive at the same timeThe confluence of the role of son and father, feeling like a kid foreverHow becoming a father allowed him to learn about and understand his own father who passed away before he had kidsHow the memories that we  attach to objects allow them to take on a life of their ownJamie's book, A Lion in the Snow, Essays on a Father’s Journey Home compiling an essay collectionFinishing a project, even when it takes almost a decade,

  • MTS 16: The Soundtrack of a neighborhood & processing grief with Tori Weston

    20/05/2021 Duración: 35min

    In this episode I talk with Tori Weston, creative writer and visual artist. Tori received a BFA in Writing and Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. While working for the Professional Studies department and finishing her last semester of graduate school, she wrote a proposal for a creative writing high school program. Fifteen years later, she is now the Assistant Director of Pre-College Programs at Emerson College. When not running the pre-college program, she balances her professional life with her creative life as both a writer and artist. Her writing has appeared in What's Up Magazine, Providence Journal-Bulletin, Sleet Magazine, and Under the Gum Tree. She has also been a featured storyteller in the Risk! Live show, podcast, and book. Her artwork has been shown at the Somerville Museum, Diesel Cafe, and Bloc 11 Cafe. In the episode we talk about: Her 6th grad teacher’s quirky essay assignmentsTori's love of grammar & being rewarded for memorizing poems with partiesThe 1991 Do

  • MTS 15: Disability in literature & writing about life in a particular body with Rebeckah Taussig

    21/12/2017 Duración: 39min

    In this episode I talk with Rebekah Taussig, one of Under the Gum Tree’s previous contributors. Rebekah is a writer and teacher with her PhD in creative nonfiction and disability studies from the University of Kansas. She is interested in the powerful connection between the stories we tell and the tangible world we live in. You can find her essays in Under the Gum Tree and The Florida Review and can follow her flash-memoirs on her Instagram @sitting_pretty. Her essay “Reupholstered” appears in the October 2016 issue of Under the Gum Tree. In this episode we talk about: Wanting to make sense of the world through words Disability stories in nineteenth century literature The Moonstone and Poor Miss Finch by Wilkie Collins Responses of Rebekah's students in her high school disability and literature class The challenge and discomfort engaging with "others," people who are different from we are Rebekah's experience of transitioning to using a wheelchair as a child Writing life stories that are shaped by

  • MTS 14: Place often makes the people & paying attention to surroundings Liz Stephens

    14/12/2017 Duración: 33min

    In this episode I talk with Liz Stephens, one of Under the Gum Tree's previous contributors. Liz is currently growing the Mojave Desert Arts project, a residency and workshop space outside Joshua Tree, California. Recent work can be found in the anthologies Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction and Dirt: A Love Story. Other work can be found in Fourth Genre and, among others. She has served as managing editor of Brevity, and teaches nonfiction with the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program and through private workshops and retreats. Liz’s essay “Because Faint Glitter Came Off Everything” appears in the April 2017 issue of Under the Gum Tree. In this episode we talk about: The difference between journaling and crafting true stories for an audience How writing creative nonfiction has taught Liz the craft and structure needed for returning to writing ficton Being in transition as an adult and part of the artistic class How places are created, whether people create it or whether place s

  • MTS 13: Embracing your subjective version of the truth & cult-classic films with Dorian Fox

    07/12/2017 Duración: 41min

    In this episode I talk with one of Under the Gum Tree's previous contributors, Dorian Fox. Dorian essays, articles and stories have appeared in december, Gastronomica, Alimentum, Monkeybicycle, National Parks Magazine, and elsewhere. His work has also been shortlisted for awards by Ploughshares, Phoebe and The Bellingham Review. He received his MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Emerson College and teaches writing at Grub Street in Boston. His essay "The Other First," appears in the January 2016 issue of Under the Gum Tree. In this episode we talk about: The nakedness that comes with writing nonfiction and claiming your personal experience How to not get tripped up by facts when writing nonfiction Embracing and honoring your own subjective version of truth when writing Anxieties and concerns that develop when we age, and when we age in a relationship How we revise, recast, or recalibrate our personal life stories and see it with fresh perspective Dorian's work teaching at Grub Street in Boston Teachin

  • MTS 12: Telling lies, asking questions & discovering personal truth in writing with Yahdon Israel

    30/11/2017 Duración: 01h09min

    In this episode I talk with Yahdon Israel, one of Under the Gum Tree's previous contributors. Yahdon is 27-year-old writer from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, who has written for Avidly, The New Inquiry, Brooklyn Magazine, LitHub, and Poets and Writers. He graduated from the MFA Creative Non-Fiction Writing program at the New School. He is the Awards and Membership VP of the National Book Critics Circle. Run a popular Instagram page which promotes literature and fashion under the hashtag Literaryswag, and host a web show for writers called LIT. In this episode we talk about: Writing as a means to confronting the world Telling lies to find your voice, and writing as a way to be heard Getting to the truth of feelings through false constructs like memory and objectivity How James Baldwin has influenced Yahdon as a writer White editors and their expectation that black writers should answer their questions Complexity of asking questions that reveal assumptions and lies we tell ourselves The essay as a form of asking questio

  • MTS 11: Writing about family & developing sympathy for others with Stephen Gutierrez

    23/11/2017 Duración: 29min

    In this episode I talk with Stephen Gutierrez, one of Under the Gum Tree's previous contributors. Stephen has published three books of stories and essays. Live from Fresno y Los won an American Book Award, and The Mexican Man in His Backyard is his most recent. He has published widely in magazines and anthologies, including nonfiction in Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Under the Sun, Alaska Quarterly Review, Third Coast, ZYZZYVA and Cleaver Magazine. He is working on a collection of essays and hybrid nonfiction. He teaches at California State University East Bay. His essay "Spiritual Direction" appears in the October 2016 issue of Under the Gum Tree. In this episode we talk about: Writing both fiction and nonfiction, and discovering a new voice in nonfiction Taking a stand for writing a positive tribute of a family member What we learn about ourselves and others close to use when we write about family How writing can help us learn sympathy for others by being willing to challenge our own beliefs Stephen

  • MTS 10: Structure is a b*tch & processing grief through writing nonfiction with Carol Marsh

    16/11/2017 Duración: 43min

    In this episode I talk with author and Under the Gum Tree contributor Carol Marsh. Carol's essay, “Pictures in Leaves,” won the 2016 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Prize. Her essay "Highest and Best" received an honorable mention in Under the Gum Tree's inaugural essay contest and appears in the January 2017 issue of the magazine. It is an excerpt from her memoir Nowhere Else I Want to Be. Additional excerpts of her book have appeared in Soundings Review , bioStories, and Jenny magazine. In this episode we talk about: Processing grief and experience through writing creative nonfiction Why Carol started Miriam's House, a nonprofit shelter for women in Washington, D.C. living with aids How writing played a role in maintaining emotional and spiritual health during her time at Miriam's House The importance of self-care when having others to take care and creating physical and emotional boundaries Why structure is a bitch and how to create it a memoir with multiple storylines Carol's memoir Nowhere

  • MTS 09: Modern day monsters and crafting segmented essays with Ira Sukrungruang

    09/11/2017 Duración: 43min

    In this episode I talk with Ira Sukrungruang, one of Under the Gum Tree's previous contributors. Ira is the author of The Melting Season, Southside Buddhist, Talk Thai, and In Thailand It Is Night. He teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. His essay "The Animatronic Dog" appears in the April 2016 issue of Under the Gum Tree. The pen name that Ira used when he used to submit stories to the New Yorker as a teenager How Ira shifts between writing in all three genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction The difference between writing personal stories as nonfiction versus autobiographical fiction Exploring the meaning of the word "monster," where monsters come from and what we are really afraid of Crafting segmented essays, determining the sequence and what to include or leave out What to do with material that doesn't end up in an essay The role of being an editor and how it affects Ira's work as a writer The online literary magazine Sweet, where Ira is a founding editor Ira'

  • MTS 08: Writing through trauma & redefining identity with Matt Young

    02/11/2017 Duración: 38min

    In this episode I talk with Matt Young, one of Under the Gum Tree's previous contributors. Matt is a marine veteran, writer, and teacher. He lives in Olympia, Washington where he teaches at Central College. He holds an MA in creative writing from Miami University. His work can be found in Yemassee, Word Riot, Tin House, River Teeth, and others. His essay "Equal and Opposite" appears in the July 2016 issue of Under the Gum Tree. His memoir Eat the Apple comes out in February 2018. In this episode we talk about: How Matt came to writing after his military career Navigating the often conflicting identities of being both a war veteran and a writer Dealing with re-traumatization when writing memoir Different types of reactions Matt experiences to his military stories Matt's new memoir Eat the Apple, which will be published February 2018 and available for preorder now Visit Matt online at or on Twitter at @young_em_see Visit us online at and visit Un

  • MTS 07: Short-short nonfiction & creating literary community with Penny Guisinger

    26/03/2016 Duración: 40min

    Welcome to episode seven of More to the Story, a podcast all about telling true stories and sharing them with the world! In this episode, I talk with previous Under the Gum Tree contributor, Penny Guisinger. Penny Guisinger lives and writes on the easternmost tip of Maine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Guernica, the Brevity blog, Solstice, Under the Gum Tree, and others. Her first book, Postcards from Here, was recently released by Vine Leaves Press. Her second book, Shift, is in progress. Penny is the founding director of Iota: Short Prose Conference and a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Program. She lives with two dogs, two kids, her wife, and a family of porcupines that trundle across the lawn like bulldozers. In this episode, we talk about: Penny’s new book, Postcards from Here Writing short-short prose, and assembling a book Finding material to write about by paying attention Getting published, and finding the exact right home for your work Incriminating ourself on

  • MTS 06: Spending a night in jail & turning an unpleasant experience into art with Maddy Walsh

    18/03/2016 Duración: 29min

    Welcome to episode six of More to the Story, a podcast all about telling true stories and sharing them with the world! In this episode, I talk with previous Under the Gum Tree contributor, Maddy Walsh. Maddy is the lead singer and primary songwriter for Ithaca, NY-based, nationally touring, seven-piece moxy rock band The Blind Spots. She received her Bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2005 and received her Master’s degree in the same field from California State University Sacramento in 2007. Her thesis was a manuscript of poetry, the form that most heavily influences her songwriting. Maddy’s essay “Placer County Jail” appears in the October 2012 issue of Under the Gum Tree and was listed as a notable in The Best American Essays 2013. Learn more about her current work, visit and In this episode, we talk about: Discovering cohesive of a life story without spewing unnecessary details Writing and sh

  • MTS 05: Sense of place & compiling a book manuscript of essays with Timothy Kenny

    12/03/2016 Duración: 40min

    Welcome to episode five of More to the Story, a podcast all about telling true stories and sharing them with the world! In this episode I talk with former Under the Gum Tree contributor, Timothy Kenny. Tim is a former USA Today foreign editor, a non profit foundation executive, a Fulbright scholar, and associate professor of journalism at the university of Connecticut. In addition to USA today, his reporting and op-ed piece shave appears in the Toronto Star, The Los Angeles Time, The Wall Street Journal Europe, The Chicago Tribune, among many others. His narrative nonfiction has appeared in several literary magazines including the Kenyon Review Online, the Louisville Review, the Gettysburg Review, and of course Under the Gum Tree. His piece “Turning 66 and 6 in Umbria,” appears in the January 2013 issue of Under the Gum Tree. Tim’s first book is a collection of creative nonfiction entitled Far Country: Stories from Abroad and Other Places, and it was just published in May 2015. Before we get to the interview,

  • MTS 04: Spirituality, sexuality & how journalism informs creative nonfiction with Samuel Autman

    04/03/2016 Duración: 42min

    Welcome to episode four of More to the Story, a podcast all about telling true stories and sharing them with the world! In this episode I talk with former Under the Gum Tree contributor, Samuel Autman. Samuel is a member of DePauw University's writing faculty in Greencastle, Indiana where he specializes in the personal essay. "Invisible Nails" won first place in the SLS-DISQUIET 2015 Literary Contest in the nonfiction category. His work has appeared in The Chalk Circle: Prizewinning Intercultural Essays, Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam's Call, Ninth Letter, The Common Reader, Under the Gum Tree, Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, I'm Black and I Travel, The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project. His essay “The Tongues of Angels” appears in issue seven of Under the Gum Tree, published in April 2013. In this episode, we talk about: Samuel’s writing background and what draws him to creative nonfiction The difference between journalism and narrative nonfiction How journalism

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