Chapter 10: Elan Mastai on astronomical advances, artistic ambitions, and advice for aspiring authors

 Elan and I chatted in Toronto, Canada. And yes, I swam out to sea to take this picture.

Elan and I chatted in Toronto, Canada. And yes, I swam out to sea to take this picture.

Do you make your own luck?

Do you really control what happens?

Or do you simply dump everything you can in the system, press the big green button, and then hang on for the hairy-scary ride?

Elan Mastai is the award-winning screenwriter and novelist behind one of my favorite books of last year – the incredibly fast-paced, head-twisting, and emotionally moving sci-fi epic All Our Wrong Todays.

I was crying hot salty tears when I reached its final pages and was delighted when Elan accepted my invite to share his three most formative books on our show.

 Where our interview took place. I asked Elan to hold up his book in front of the "on display" bookshelf. Ruby Slippers must have darted off.

Where our interview took place. I asked Elan to hold up his book in front of the "on display" bookshelf. Ruby Slippers must have darted off.

And! Just to tease the very first story he shares.

Elan received a $1,250,000 advance for his first book. You read that right.

A seven-figure book advance for All Our Wrong Todays.

His first book!

How did that happen?

Well, I ask him, and you’re going to love the story he shares.

And then we get deeper into ambition versus contentment, how hard you push versus what you get, and whether or not we control the inputs and the outputs… or whether we all have to really learn to just practice getting comfortable dumping whatever we can into the system.

Pressing the green button.

And holding on for the hairy-scary ride.

 

Listen to Chapter 10:

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What You'll Learn:

  • What is the most obvious way to discover what you truly believe in?

  • What are some practices we can do to unshield our hearts?

  • Which book would Elan suggest you get for a teenager who feels like an outsider?

  • How does a debut novelist get a million dollar book advance?

  • How do we deal with thoughts that don't fit into the societal norm?

  • Which body part does Elan compare a writer to and how is it considered a “documented form of pain”?

  • Why did Elan, Kurt Vonnegut, and I all choose not to put semicolons in our books?

  • How do you wrestle with book shame when you don’t love classic novels you assumed you’d enjoy?

  • What should aspiring authors keep in mind when looking for a literary agent?

  • How do royalties and advances work in publishing?

  • How does an author entrench universal themes so deeply into their work that their stories stick with people and transcend time?

  • What’s the process of getting another author to write a blurb for your book?

  • How do you find your voice as an author?

Ideas Worth TWEETING:

"Everybody’s life schedule is different, but you can’t change the day. The sun’s going to rise and it’s going to set when it’s going to, regardless of what you do." @elanmastai #3bookspodcast

"I think that our true selves are revealed with every decision we make every day." @elanmastai #3bookspodcast

"I think a question a lot of authors ask themselves is, ‘If the wound heals, will I still have anything to say?" @elanmastai #3bookspodcast

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