I produce and host Story Behind the Story, a monthly radio show for KSQD 90.7 FM in Santa Cruz. On my show, I interview authors working in every genre and medium on their work and their creative process.
In What is real?, Adam Becker details the century-long fight over the interpretation of quantum physics — what this enormously successful theory, which has given us so much of the technology we use today, is actually saying about the world. Becker first encountered this controversy when, as an undergraduate student of physics at Cornell, a professor pooh-poohed his concerns over the implications of the standard model of quantum theory, developed by Bohr and others in the early 20th century, writing them off as philosophical questions, irrelevant to the study of science. But as Becker soon discovered, those questions were at the heart of a scientific debate that had been raging for nearly a century.
In our conversation, we talk about the social and political factors that have governed the understanding and application of quantum physics since its inception, as well as the people on both sides of the debate. Becker also talks about borrowing techniques from fiction writing to turn a true story about a complex and opaque area of scientific inquiry into an engaging narrative populated by distinctive characters.
The Disasters is M.K. England’s debut novel, written for young adults. It follows a group of space academy washouts who are forced to step up and save the world after escaping a terrorist attack. It’s a wildly entertaining romp through space that has been lauded for its nuanced representation of LGBTQIA characters and the way it handles mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
In this episode, I talk to England about these issues and more, including what it’s like to write action scenes, how publishing a novel has changed the way England reads books, and how their experiences with National Novel Writing Month have affected their writing. I hope you enjoy it.
Luis ‘xago’ Juarez
Drawing on the long tradition of documentary theater and taking inspiration from practitioners like Anna Deveare Smith and Culture Clash, Luis ‘xago’ Juarez interviewed nearly 40 residents of East Salinas before he wrote his reAlisal plays. He wanted to tell the history of the East Salinas neighborhood he grew up in — known as the Alisal — from the perspective of the people who lived there. He hoped that by telling their stories in their voices, he could help reshape the dominant narrative most people hear about the region.
In this interview, I talk to xago about the third play in this series, reAlisal: Stories from East Salinas, as well as his theatrical upbringing and what it means to residents to hear stories about the region told in their own voices.