Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of talking to Pete Riehl for his Chills at Will podcast. I had a blast talking about reading, writing, self care, and tons of other stuff.

Take a listen, let me know what you think!

And a note, I mistakenly said Samanta Schweblin is Spanish, when she is, in fact, Argentine. Apologies.

Episode 185 with Toni Ann Johnson, Renaissance Woman, Master Storyteller in Film and on the Page, and Author of the Award-Winning Light Skin Gone to Waste The Chills at Will Podcast

Episode 185 Notes and Links to Toni Ann Johnson’s Work   *Content Warning-Please be aware of discussion of sexual assault*      On Episode 185 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete welcomes Toni Ann Johnson, and the two discuss, among other things, her early reading and love for the theater and acting, her college and formative reading lists, the ignorance surrounding her film on Ruby Bridges, growing up in an almost all-white town, racism and ignorance, writing objectively when her fiction is heavily-based on her real life, as well as pertinent issues and themes discussed in her award-winning collection, like racism, ignorance, adultery, neglect, sexual assault, and class.      Toni Ann Johnson is a screenwriter, playwright, and novelist.  She won the 1998 Humanitas Prize and the 1998 Christopher Award for her script Ruby Bridges. In 2004, she won a second Humanitas Prize for her script Crown Heights. She was nominated for a 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author.  Remedy for a Broken Angel also won a 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award for Multicultural Fiction and a 2015 International Latino Book Award for Most Inspirational Fiction Book. In 2020 her novella Homegoing won Accents Publishing's inaugural novella contest. She won the 2021 Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction for her linked short story collection Light Skin Gone to Waste.   Buy Light Skin Gone to Waste   Toni Ann Johnson's Wikipedia Page   Toni Ann Johnson’s Website   Los Angeles Times Article Regarding Story Collection- “For one award-winning Black L.A. author, light skin was no refuge”   Interview from Moria Online- "A Story Can Be Both: An Interview with Toni Ann Johnson"   Hawai’i Review of Books-"What Color Is Your Scapegoat?" with Dr. Stephanie Han    At about 2:00, Toni Ann talks about her early literary life, and how her earliest love was acting-plays especially-which led her to read a lot of plays   At about 4:15, Toni cites James Baldwin as the first writer whose complete works she read; Pete asks her about his fiction versus his nonfiction   At about 5:45, Toni relates her shared airplane flight with James Baldwin   At about 7:20, Toni talks about her time at the Lee Strasberg Theater and getting to know the founder and other legendary actors/directors   At about 9:15, Toni explains Monroe, New York’s placement in the state   At about 11:20, Toni discusses influential writers and writing, including Bessie Head   At about 13:00, Toni gives background on her time as a student of Chinua Achebe and Stella Adler   At about 16:50, Pete and Toni discuss method acting, with Toni providing interesting commentary on her view of it, as informed by her career in entertainment and her mentors   At about 22:40, Toni responds to Pete’s questions about muses; she references using memory as a muse   At about 27:20, The two discuss the state of book bans and historical manipulation happening currently, especially with regard to Toni’s 1998 Ruby Bridges and its recent headlines   At about 32:50, Toni relates comments she’s heard from teachers and parents over the years about feelings of empathy for Ruby   At about 35:20, The cover of the book is shouted out and Toni talks about seeds for the book and the balance between fiction and nonfiction in Light Skin Gone to Waste    At about 38:20, Toni responds to Pete’s questions about any difficulties with objectivity    At about 40:15, Pete lays out the book’s first story, exposition, and main character’s/conflicts, especially with Phillip and Velma’s lives   At about 42:40, Pete wonders about Phil’s mindsets    At about 46:40, Pete and Toni juxtapose the naivete of children and ignorance and bias in adulthood, as seen in the fictional stories   At about 48:00, Toni replies to Pete’s questions about how she sees her hometown’s biases and how much can be blamed on personal choice vs. “society”   At about 52:15, “Lucky” and the story’s throughlines and title and “turning point” events are discussed    At about 55:40, Toni gives background on help in revising “Lucky” from Roxane Gay   At about 1:01:50, Noble and ignoble actions by Phillip from the story are discussed, as well as the real experiences these events were based on   At about 1:02:20, Pete sets up the collection’s only two-narrator story and he and Toni discuss the housekeeper Gertie and her pivotal action or inaction   At about 1:06:45, Toni discusses multiple meanings of “scars” as used in the book and any connections to optimism    At about 1:10:00, Toni connects recent years and Trumpism and how her optimism has been regulated   At about 1:11:55, Toni talks about an exciting upcoming project based on/culled from her recent collection, as well as the fascinating background on curating her award-winning collection     You can now subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and leave me a five-star review. You can also ask for the podcast by name using Alexa, and find the pod on Stitcher, Spotify, and on Amazon Music. Follow me on IG, where I’m @chillsatwillpodcast, or on Twitter, where I’m @chillsatwillpo1. You can watch this and other episodes on YouTube-watch and subscribe to The Chills at Will Podcast Channel. Please subscribe to both my YouTube Channel and my podcast while you’re checking out this episode.    Sign up now for The Chills at Will Podcast Patreon: it can be found at patreon.com/chillsatwillpodcastpeterriehl     Check out the page that describes the benefits of a Patreon membership, including cool swag and bonus episodes. Thanks in advance for supporting my one-man show, my DIY podcast and my extensive reading, research, editing, and promoting to keep this independent podcast pumping out high-quality content!    NEW MERCH! You can browse and buy here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChillsatWillPodcast    This is a passion project of mine, a DIY operation, and I’d love for your help in promoting what I’m convinced is a unique and spirited look at an often-ignored art form.    The intro song for The Chills at Will Podcast is “Wind Down” (Instrumental Version), and the other song played on this episode was “Hoops” (Instrumental)” by Matt Weidauer, and both songs are used through ArchesAudio.com.   Please tune in for Episode 186 with Stephanie Feldman. She is the author of the novels Saturnalia and The Angel of Losses, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award, and finalist for the Mythopoeic Award. The episode airs on June 6.  
  1. Episode 185 with Toni Ann Johnson, Renaissance Woman, Master Storyteller in Film and on the Page, and Author of the Award-Winning Light Skin Gone to Waste
  2. Episode 184 with Robert Ottone, Bram Stocker-Nominated Creator of Worlds Familiar and Scary, Master of Allegory and Pure Terror, and The Author of The Vile Thing We Created
  3. Episode 183 with Eli Cranor, Master of Dialogue, Suspense, and Profundity, and Author of Edgar Award-Nominated Don’t Know Tough and its Followup, the Standout Ozark Dogs
  4. Episode 182 with Talia Lakshmi Kolluri, Gifted Storyteller, Stellar Translator of Animals’ Inner Lives, and Master of Thoughtful Prose
  5. Episode 181 with Ramona Reeves, Author of It Falls Gently All Around, Keen Observer of the Banal and the Dramatic, and Skilled Craftswoman of the Space Between Scenes and Characters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s