How a Hollywood Actor Got the Hang of Writing Novels

“I’d always wanted to write a novel, but I never had the guts or, frankly, the ability.”


Episode Notes

This week, host Karen Han talks to actor, director, and writer Tim Blake Nelson, who just released his first novel, City of Blows. In the interview, Tim explains why he decided to reference real life events–like the #MeToo movement and COVID–in a fictional story about Hollywood. He also talks about the challenges of writing fictional prose and offers some useful wisdom about writing in general.

After the interview, Karen and co-host June Thomas discuss the best ways to juggle multiple projects at once.

In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, Tim shares his rejected idea for the cover image of City of Blows.

Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to or give us a call at (304) 933-9675.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.


About the Show

Slate interviews creative people about their work.

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  • Karen Han is a former Slate staff writer. Her writing on film, TV, and culture has also appeared in the New York Times, Vulture, Vanity Fair, the Atlantic, and Vice.