Mary Robinette is one of the hosts of the Hugo-award-winning podcast Writing Excuses. Listen to her talk about writing, her process, and her advice here.

If you are interested in her process, taking monthly writing classes, or just want to support her in her creative endeavors, find Mary Robinette on Patreon.



Daniel & Jorge Explain the Universe — The SF Universe of Mary Robinette Kowal’s “The Calculating Stars” (audio)

with Daniel Whiteson and Jorge Cham

APRIL 2020

In which Mary Robinette talks about the science behind the meteor strike in The Calculating Stars, the human reaction to conflict versus disaster, and exploring Mars. Plus, a brief teaser of The Relentless Moon, book three in the Lady Astronaut series!


The Takeaway: NASA is Accepting Applications for New Astronauts: Extensive Travel Required (audio)

with Duarte Geraldino

MARCH 2020

In which Mary Robinette and Cady Coleman, a retired NASA astronaut, discuss the impact of gender on NASA’s astronaut selection program, why representation is important, and what the space program of the future might look like.


Putting the “Science” in Science Fiction: Part Two

by Kelly Lagor for Locus

MARCH 2020

In which Mary Robinette and several other authors talk about writing hard science fiction, how to figure out what you need to research, and not letting research distract you from getting words down on the page.


Brandon Sanderson’s BYU 2020 Creative Writing Lectures on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy — Lecture #7: Short Stories with Special Guest Instructor Mary Robinette Kowal (video)

MARCH 2020

In which Mary Robinette teaches a class on how to write and structure short stories. Writing is fractal: once you understand the principles that make something work at one length, you can apply it to other lengths. She discusses the elements of the MICE quotient, weaving plot threads together, how to maintain tension through the muddy middle, and satisfying endings. Also, everyone writes a story in class! Yes, really!


BBC: The Food Chain – Fantasy, Fiction and Food (audio)

with Graihagh Jackson

JAN 2020

The familiar and the strange, using food to immerse a reader in the world, MRK reads a scene from The Fated Sky and discusses it, the liminal space between an author and a reader



Future present? How science fiction sees our world in 2050.

by Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor


In which Mary Robinette and several other science fiction authors discuss how present technology shapes future society, walking the line between disaster and hope, and what the world might look like in the year 2050.


The Worldshapers Episode 41: Mary Robinette Kowal (audio)

with Edward Willett


In which Mary Robinette discusses her lifelong connection to science fiction, how puppetry informs her storytelling, the mechanics of turning an idea into a story, and the creative process behind her punch card punk universe and its multiple award-winning first novel The Calculating Stars.


Why NASA’s First All-Women Spacewalk Made History

with Jessica Bennett, New York Times

OCT 2019

Women in space, spacesuits, First Lady Astronaut Trainees


Breaking the Glass Slipper — Alternate histories with Mary Robinette Kowal (audio)

with Charlotte Bond, Lucy Hounsom, and Megan Leigh


In which Mary Robinette talks about writing alternate histories, how divergent points shift society, using real historical figures in fiction, and why genre stories can create space for thinking about social issues.


Interview with Mary Robinette Kowal (The Fated Sky)

by Jonathan Thornton, The Fantasy Hive


In which Mary Robinette talks about the genesis of The Lady Astronaut of Mars, space science geekery, and using a historical frame to talk about contemporary issues.


The Imaginaries Podcast Episode 91: Mary Robinette Kowal (Makes Us Cry) (audio)

with Tony and Kend

JULY 2019

In which Mary Robinette discusses how representation in narrative impacts our understanding of the world, why she writes alternate histories, and why writing inclusive fiction is really about realism.


Up All Night on BBC (audio, timestamp 24:49-32:42)

Richard Foster

JULY 2019

Apollo created for men by men, NASA’s current attempts to rectify, in-depth on spacesuit sizes


Nebula-Winning Author Mary Robinette Kowal is Bringing More Equity to Space

Belle Dieppa Betancourt

JULY 2019

The Lady Astronaut series, the process of writing the book, sexism then and now, the importance of science fiction, 


To Make It to the Moon, Women Have to Escape Earth’s Gender Bias

Mary Robinette Kowal for New York Times

JULY 2019

How NASA has been designed for men, challenges women astronauts have had, what we can learn as we go forward with Artemis and Commercial Space Program


In Space, Nobody Picks Up Your Trash

Daniel Dern

MAY 2019

How to recycle in space, ISS junk drawer, difference between policy and how people actually live. 


Black Tribbles — Mary Robinette Kowal Interview @C2E2 (video)

with Len Webb

APRIL 2019

In which Mary Robinette talks about The Lady Astronaut novels and creating the character of Elma York. Also, she also gets her official Tribble title!


More of a Comment, Really… — C2E2: Mary Robinette Kowal on Her “Lady Astronaut” Series, “LazyTown” and More (audio)

with Clint Worthington

APRIL 2019

In which Mary Robinette talks about correcting historical erasure, writing female characters, and some of her puppetry experiences.


The Practical Creative Podcast — Playing in different worlds with puppeteer and sci-fi author Mary Robinette Kowal (audio)

with Jeremiah Krage

MARCH 2019

In which Mary Robinette discusses how she gets creatively unstuck, tools for getting traction on a project, managing mental health as a creative, and trusting your own taste as a reader.


Opinion: If space is the future, that future needs to include everyone.

Mary Robinette Kowal for The Washington Post

MAR 2019

Restaffed spacewalk because of suit fit issues, history of women astronauts at NASA, things we need to change


Sword and Laser Podcast — #345 Math as a Magic System with Mary Robinette Kowal (audio)

with Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt


In which Mary Robinette talks about using math as a magic system, learning to be aware of personal and structural biases, the stigma around mental illness, recording audio books, and whether or not she would go to space.


Talks at Google | Mary Robinette Kowal: “Lady Astronaut of Mars” (video)

Talks at Google, moderated by Jason Gessner


In which Mary Robinette reads an excerpt from The Fated Sky and then discusses the research that went into writing the Lady Astronaut novels, the evolution of her punchcard punk universe, how she decides what to write, and what she’s learned from dealing with third graders.


Space the Nation: Mary Robinette Kowal on Astronauts, Social Justice, and Needing Glasses

with Ana Marie Cox on

JAN 2019

The Lady Astronaut series, current politics, apocalyptic fiction, doing better for and in the world



The Secret Library Podcast (audio)

with Caroline Donahue

DEC 2018

MRK’s multiple careers, The Lady Astronaut series, alternate history, “We Interrupt this Broadcast”, women in the space race, scifi as thought experiments, not being ashamed of reading scifi, using experts to help your writing, fixing “write what you know” A Mars Journey Before Computers?

with Meghan Bartels

NOV 2018

The Lady Astronaut novels, punchcard punk, international collaboration, writing toward a hopeful future, mental health, writing in history.


The Writer Librarian

with Karen B. McCoy

NOV 2018

The Lady Astronaut novels, having a true vision, Hidden Figures, current projects.


Writers, After Dark Podcast (audio)

with Summer Brooks

OCT 2018

The Lady Astronaut novels, meteorites, women in history, Mercury 13, best stuff Mary Robinette learned while writing


Write-Minded podcast – Changing the World by Writing Alternate Histories (and Prepping for NaNoWriMo) (audio)

with Brooke Warner and Grant Faulkner

OCT 2018

How Mary Robinette choses what historical period to write in, how to be fearless, make an outline work for you, writing in different mediums, favorite puppet personas (with voices), what a rocket launch is like. 


The Arts STL – Mars and Martinis with Mary Robinette Kowal

with Jenny Noga Davinroy

SEP 2018

Research Mary Robinette loved, writing Mad Libs style, writing and puppetry, The Lady Astronaut novels


‘An Optimistic Book About Disaster’: Chatting with Mary Robinette Kowal

by David M. Perry, Pacific Standard


In which Mary Robinette discusses The Calculating Stars, writing characters that struggle with mental illness, and optimistic science fiction.


Girl Tries Life Podcast #80: Storytelling, Structured Procrastination and Legacy with Mary Robinette Kowal (audio)

with Victoria Smith


In which Mary Robinette talks about structured procrastination, her first role on Sesame Street, balancing mental health with solitary creative pursuits, behind the scenes at Writing Excuses, and the legacy she hopes to leave.


The Verge – Return to an Alternate History Space Race with Two New Lady Astronaut Novels

with Andrew Liptak

SEP 2018

Announcing two new Lady Astronaut novels, The Relentless Moon, The Derivative Base, writing in history, “The Phobos Experience” short story


SYFY Fangrrls

with Swapa Krishna

SEP 2018

Lady Astronaut novels, Parker Solar Probe launch, NASA, using experts 


Ask Me Anything on Reddit

on r/books

AUG 2018

Lady Astronaut novels, lots of writing advice, narrating for audiobooks, 


John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal discuss their work (video)

The Poisoned Pen Bookstore


In which Mary Robinette has a conversation with John Scalzi about the Lady Astronaut novels and reads an excerpt from The Fated Sky. Then, John Scalzi reads his short story “Regarding Your Application Status.”


Stuff You Missed In History Class (audio)

with Tracy V. Wilson

AUG 2018

Mary Robinette’s research process, narrating historical books, changes in the timeline, Rise of the Rocket Girls, Mercury 13, Jackie Cochran, Mildred Hemmons Carter, Miltown and anxiety drugs


Happily Ever After with USA Today

with Veronica Scott

AUG 2018

Influences for Lady Astronaut novels, pets, Elma and Nathaniel interview each other


Fantasy & Science Fiction

with Stephen M

JULY 2018

The Phobos Experience


Den of Geek Book Club – audio

with Kayti Burt

JULY 2018

Building the Lady Astronaut novels out of a novelette, axes of power, Lady Astronaut reading order, importance of Southern woman as mathematician, Doctor Who cameos


Writing Excuses Project in Depth – audio

with Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Kjell Lindgren

JULY 2018

Writing The Calculating Stars, astronaut as beta reader


Mary Robinette Kowal and Robyn Bennis on Anxiety, Representation, and Fearless Women


JULY 2018

The Calculating Stars, By Fire Above, anxiety, writing relationships and sex, researching little details


The Functional Nerd Podcast #371 – audio

with Patrick Hester and John Anealio

JULY 2018

Blurbs, The Lady Astronaut novels, the beginning of the space program, astronaut ad-libs, publishing a duology


Breaking the Glass Slipper – 5 Questions

by Megan Leigh

JULY 2018

The Lady Astronaut novels, women-centered fiction, writing Science Fiction vs Fantasy


B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

with Alasdair Stuart

JULY 2018

The Lady Astronaut novels, their original structure, writing historically, writing Dr. Elma York


The Author Stories Podcast (audio)

with Hank Garner

JULY 2018

In-depth: how Mary Robinette started writing, puppetry + writing, short stories vs novels, The Glamourist Histories, The Lady Astronaut novels, what Mary Robinette wants you to take away from them


Uncanny Magazine Podcast (audio, starts 34:24)

with Lynne M. Thomas

JULY 2018

“Nails In My Feet”, research, historical scifi vs historical fantasy, The Lady Astronaut universe


Scalzi’s The Big Idea 

by Mary Robinette Kowal

JULY 2018

The ideas behind The Calculating Stars


Ink Feather Podcast (audio)

with Lauren Zurchin

JULY 2018

Being a professional freelancer, structured procrastination, audiobook recording, The Calculating Stars, book recommendations – Five Really Cool Things I Learned at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab

by Mary Robinette Kowal

JULY 2018

NASA, Neutral Buoyancy Lab, Astronauts, general squeeing over amazing SCIENCE


Rocket Fuel: Cooking the Books (audio included)

with Fran Wilde and Aliette de Bodard

JUNE 2018

The Lady Astronaut novels, rocket innuendo, food as narrative, recipes for pound cake and chess pie, the food at NASA and in space


Tor/Forge Blog – The Responsibility of Narratives

by Mary Robinette Kowal

JUNE 2018

The Lady Astronaut novels, Hidden Figures, narratives and gender


Strange Horizons

with Vanessa Rose Phin

MAY 2018

The Lady Astronaut novels, space, representation, SFF community


Q on CBC Radio (audio)

produced by Elaine Chau

MARCH 2018

A Wrinkle in Time


B55 Mini Interviews with Mary Robinette Kowal, R.W.W. Greene, Marianna Martin PhD & Craig Miller

by Brenda Noiseux


In which Mary Robinette briefly talks about the Boskone convention, her multiple careers, an excellent witch costume, and her superhero dream team.


Guest of Honor Interview at Boskone

with Cady Coleman


Puppets, the Lady Astronaut books, finding the stories that have been erased, reclaiming history


Storypunks Podcast ep. 8 (audio) (video) (show notes)

with Cindy Grigg


Manners as technology/social engineering, the Lady Astronaut books, worldbuilding, diversity, story creation, a tour of Mary Robinette’s typewriters and the story of the Qwerty keyboard


NPR – The Influence of Ursula K. Le Guin (audio)

with Petra Mayer


Ursula K. Le Guin’s influence


NPR – Ursula Le Guin, Whose Novels Plucked Truth from High Fantasy, Dies at 88

with Colin Dwyer


Memories of Ursula K. Le Guin


Fantasy & Science Fiction

with Stephen M


A Feather in Her Cap



THE GEEK SHOW – Mary Robinette Kowal talks about her book Ghost Talkers! (video)



In which Mary Robinette talks about Ghost Talkers, tragic stories from World War I, and Doctor Who cameos.


THE GEEK SHOW – Mary Robinette Kowal talks about her Puppet-related Injury (video)



In which Mary Robinette talks about her severe puppet injury and makes the crowd collectively cringe multiple times.


GeekDad’s Great Big Beautiful Podcast ep 144 (audio)

with Jamie Green and Shiri Sondheimer


Ghost Talkers, Shades of Milk and Honey, Puppeteering, Regency Era


Uncanny Magazine

with Julia Rios


“The Worshipful Society of Glovers”


Why Mary Robinette Kowal Traded in Puppets for Science Fiction

by Kelly Prosen, Rewire

APRIL 2017

In which Mary Robinette discusses how a puppeteer injury led to a career in writing, gender bias in SFF publishing, and getting through writer’s block.


Read For Pixels 2017 (IWD Edition): Mary Robinette Kowal Reading+Q&A Session (video)

The Pixel Project

MARCH 2017

In which Mary Robinette reads an excerpt from Ghost Talkers, and then talks about reading out loud effectively, managing reader expectations when writing about specific historical periods, what the “strong” in “strong female character” actually means, recognizing and dealing with structural and internalized gender bias, and why she writes healthy committed relationships.


Mary Robinette Kowal: The Familiar & the Strange

excerpt from Locus Magazine


Ghost Talkers, WWI, women in history, the Lady Astronaut novels, audiobook narration styles



Inside a puppeteer-novelist’s at-home creative workshop (video)

Chicago Reader


In which Mary Robinette shows off her Chicago apartment in the Ukrainian village, her typewriter collection, and some of her puppets.


Sci-fi Fantasy Network (audio and print)

with Joel Cornah


Finding a gateway into reading SFF, puppetry and writing, writing process, short stories, The Glamourist Histories, diversity, the cycle of bookselling


Signing Station — Mary Robinette Kowal (video)

with Blake Hausladen


In which Mary Robinette discusses the conception of Ghost Talkers, the different roles women had during World War I, and some of her favorite ciphers.


“Ghost Talkers” Mixes Fantasy, Spycraft and World War I

by Christina Kloess, Chicago Review of Books


In which Mary Robinette talks about the spiritualism surge in World War I, developing Ginger’s character, and the tension between what the reader knows and what the characters know.


Nerd for a Living Episode 76 — Mary Robinette Kowal, author of “Ghost Talkers” (audio)

with Adron Buske


In which Mary Robinette talks about Ghost Talkers, researching women’s roles in World War I, the British spiritualism movement, and one of the most beautiful pieces of paper she has ever handled.


Unbound Worlds

with Shawn Speakman


Ghost Talkers, writing within known history, narrating her own books


Silly Interview with Mary Robinette Kowal, Intermittently Teal Storyteller

with Rachel Swirsky

MAY 2016

Short stories, puppeteering, sewing, Jane Austen, Ghost Talkers as an animal



How a 3-time Hugo Winner learned to Write Great Stories – An Interview with Mary Robinette Kowal

by Filip Wiltgren


In which Mary Robinette talks about systematically improving writing techniques, trusting her own reader responses, and advice for writers.


Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen Pt 1 – Mary Robinette Kowal (video)



In which Mary Robinette, Patrick Rothfuss, Hank Green, Paul Sabourin, Joseph Fink, and Maureen Johnson play the Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen.


Uncanny Mini Interview with Year Two Contributor Mary Robinette Kowal!

by Michi Trota, Uncanny Magazine


In which Mary Robinette talks about the different story structures of her Glamourist Histories series, how improv relates to writing, and her favorite pie.


Uncanny Magazine Podcast #5A (audio, starting at 58:10)

interviewed by Deborah Stanish

JULY 2015

In which Mary Robinette discusses her story “The Midnight Hour,” subverting fairy tales, writing characters with mental illness without losing sight of their humanity, the intersection of puppetry and writing, and paying it forward to create a richer community.


Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing 302 — Mary Robinette Kowal (part 2) (audio)

with Brent Bowen and Kristi

JUNE 2015

In which Mary Robinette talks about ending the Glamourist Histories series with Of Noble Family, drawing inspiration from Mansfield Park and making the context accessible to modern readers, and her new gig on Sesame Street.


Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing 301 — Mary Robinette Kowal (part 1) (audio)

with Brent Bowen and Kristi

MAY 2015

In which Mary Robinette talks about going on a Steampunk cruise, getting involved in the Hugo Awards controversy, and diversity in speculative fiction.

Negotiating Social Media for Writers: A Conversation With Jim C. Hines, Mary Robinette Kowal & Kameron Hurley

by Erin Bellavia (Billiard), Toasted Cheese

APRIL 2015

In which Mary Robinette talks about which social media platform she uses most, how her relationship to social media has changed since being published, self-promotion, and dealing with trolls.


Guest Post: Mary Robinette Kowal On Saying Goodbye to the Glamourist Histories

by Mary Robinette Kowal and Joel Cunningham, B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy blog

MARCH 2015

In which Mary Robinette talks about Of Noble Family, why she’s closing out the Glamourist Histories series, and why she’ll miss writing about Jane and Vincent.



Lightspeed Magazine #52

with David Barr Kirtley


Valour and Vanity, The Glamorist Histories, Lord Byron, impersonating famous people


“Fix it or Feature It” – Mary Robinette Kowal talks puppets, fantasy and safer spaces

Ada Initiative


In which Mary Robinette talks about turning things that go wrong into positives and why anti-harassment policies are important.


Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Episode 109: Doctor Who Is Even Better When You Add One of History’s Greatest Sexaholics (article, audio)

Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy, Wired

MAY 2014

In which Mary Robinette talks about Valour and Vanity, women in science fiction and fantasy, and things she learned at a Sesame Street puppetry workshop.



Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

with Carrie S

JUNE 2013

In depth about The Glamourist Histories, Jane Austen and Regency, Doctor Who cameos, romance, procrastinating effectively, favorite authors


Artificial Intelligence and You w/Mary Robinette Kowal (audio)

The Skiffy and Fanty Show Podcast, ep 146

MAY 2013

Artificial Intelligence, Pre-Victorian examples of AI, Without a Summer


Ask Me Anything

on Reddit r/fantasy

APRIL 2013

Puppeteering, writing tips, Writing Excuses, The Glamourist Histories, creativity, general silliness


The Mad Scientists Guide to World Domination

with John Joseph Adams


We Interrupt This Broadcast


5 x 5 – MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL & the Five Books That Inspired Her

by Lee, She Wolf Reads


In which Mary Robinette talks about the five books that have influenced her as a reader and a writer.



Apex Magazine

with Maggie Slater


Weaving Dreams, Mary Robinette’s many talents and interests, reading your own work


Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing 168 — Jennifer Brozek, Mark Teppo and Mary Robinette Kowal (audio)

with Sandra Wickham

MAY 2012

In which Mary Robinette talks about focusing on writing in a rainforest, why she uses a timer while writing, how she makes the most of a writing session, and which book she rereads.


A Conversation with Patrick Rothfuss

with Patrick Rothfuss

APRIL 2012

Glamour in Glass, writing in historical eras, writing with an outline, random delightfulness


JordanCon 2012 — An Hour with Guest of Honor Mary Robinette Kowal (video)


APRIL 2012

In which Mary Robinette discusses communication with a fan, her Glamourist Histories series, the cover design process, and how she picks the historical periods she writes in. She also reads an excerpt from Glamour in Glass!


Grasping for the Wind – [SFFWRTCHT] Another Chat With Author Mary Robinette Kowal

by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

APRIL 2012

In which Mary Robinette talks about writing Jane Austen inspired fantasy, the writing process behind Glamour in Glass, why she wanted to serve as a SFWA officer, and writing in different genres.


RT Book Reviews – Interview with Mary Robinette Kowal (video)

with Morgan Doremus


In which Mary Robinette discusses the reception she has received for Shades of Milk and Honey, shadows puppets and how they play in her novels, and the second book in her Glamourist Histories series, Glamour in Glass.



Fantasy Magazine

with Catherine Bollinger


Novels vs Short Stories, Shades of Milk and Honey, writing 


Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing 112 — Laura Resnick, Mary Robinette Kowal (audio, starts at 28:48)


In which Mary Robinette talks about Shades of Milk and Honey, building a magic system that would fit into a historical period, and what got her into writing.



Amazon Book Review: Quick Three Interview

with Jeff VanderMeer


Shades of Milk and Honey as a meal, a piece of music, and an animal


The Agony Column – Mary Robinette Kowal Interviewed at SF in SF (audio)

with Rick Kleffel


In which Mary Robinette discusses the research involved in writing Shades of Milk and Honey, writing in period voice and with period language, and designing a magic system that wouldn’t break history.


The Bat Segundo Show #356: Mary Robinette Kowal (audio)

with Edward Champion


In which Mary Robinette talks about writing with Jane Austen’s language and style, writing tics, the historical divergence point in the Glamourist Histories, and using the principles of puppetry in her writing.


The Big Idea: Mary Robinette Kowal

by John Scalzi, Whatever


In which Mary Robinette discusses why she wanted to write an intimate character story in the fantasy genre, working magic into a historical world, and how restrictions made for a stronger story.



with Jenny Williams

JULY 2010

Shades of Milk and Honey, Lazytown, Puppeteering, SFWA, creativity



Locus Magazine


Puppeteering, Lazytown, art background, Shades of Milk and Honey, Glamour in Glass



Subterranean Press

with Alethea Kontis


Random delightfulness, props and set design, books on Mary Robinette’s nightstand


Bibliophile Stalker

with Charles Tan


Puppeteering and writing overlap, art major, Campbell award, narration



with JM McDermott

MAY 2008

Puppeteering, video of Mary Robinette with a puppet


Mind Meld

SF Signal

APRIL 2008

Short fiction market



Strange Horizons Podcast (audio)

with Susan Marie Groppi


Very in-depth on puppeteering, love for editing process, making the Coraline puppet and puppets in general, audiobooks

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