EPISODE 024: Fiction as Playground - Why We Tell and Read Stories with Holly Root, Literary Agent

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“Being human is how we live out…connection,” Holly Root says. She’s this weeks’ guest, a literary agent and literary agency owner based in Los Angeles, California. Holly has launched more than two dozen New York Times Bestsellers. 

In this candid conversation, Holly explores the idea that fictional narrative gives humans the structure we need to connect events in our lives and also acts as a playground to satiate innate curiosity about what its like to live in other people’s brains and relationships we wouldn’t otherwise experience. 

Listen in to not only learn about what its like being a literary agent, but to learn about how Holly analyzes work for her clients, being particularly captivated by voice, and how Holly still finds time to enjoy her hobby she turned into a more-than-full-time career. 

Plus, she tells us if it’s okay to quit a book you’re just not that into. 


LISTEN



HIGHLIGHTS

  • “Being human is about how we live out…connection.”

  • Our need to create story - “an architecture around the events of our lives.”

  • How we learn based in story.

  • What is a literary agent.

  • We have real curiosity about what its like to be in situations and relationships other than our own.

  • “Reading lets us live in lives and brains that are not our own.”

  • Testing out future life scenarios.

  • What makes people tick.

  • Reasons why characters connect with people

  • “Every book is not fully done until a reader comes to it and what the reader brings to it is going to be different from person to person.”

  • There is no one right way to read a book.

  • “Books are there for you at different times in your life as you become different people.”

  • How literary agents take on a new client.

  • The book publishing industry.

  • How identity plays into connecting to a book.

  • How reading a book helped holly reach out and reconnect with friends.

  • “Books find you at the exact right moment.”

  • Applying truths from fiction into our own lives. 

  • What is voice.

  • How voice in a book connects to our real voices.

  • Can voices change over time.

  • How voice is point of connection.

  • A time and place for ghost writing.

  • “…there is a pureness once you tap into your own voice and identify it.”

  • Any kind of reading is great for our brains.

  • What does reading teach you about the human condition?

  • The generosity of creating.

  • Holly’s obsession with marine mammals - Whale Overlords!

  • How to be current with the industry.

  • Holly’s background story.

  • The entrepreneurial journey.

  • The kiddo bedtime routine.


HOW TO FIND HOLLY


ALL THE COOL STUFF HOLLY MENTIONS

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing 

Code Named Verity by Elizabeth Wein 

• Reading on the Kindle

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