Podcast Episode 110: Memoir / Essays 101 with Mary Laura Philpott (Author of Bomb Shelter)

Mary Laura Philpott Bomb Shelter Memoir Essays

In Episode 110, Mary Laura Philpott (author of Bomb Shelter) joins me for a deep dive into the memoir & essays genre, including the differences between a memoir and an essay collection, the level of involvement from editors and publishers, and how she personally approaches writing a memoir or essays. 

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).


  • Mary Laura talks about her latest book, Bomb Shelter.
  • Where memoirs and essay collections fall on a spectrum.
  • The fluidity of genre-labeling books.
  • A bit about cover design and subtitles.
  • How Mary Laura feels about the “Literary” label.
  • The planning of an essay collection and their overarching themes.
  • Balancing living life for its own sake and living life for good book content.
  • How Mary Laura handles telling personal stories and the real people they feature.
  • How Mary Laura handles memory and recall in her work.
  • The fact-checking process for memoirs and essays.

Mary Laura’s Book Recommendations [32:31]

Two OLD Books She Loves

Two NEW Books She Loves


One NEW RELEASE She’s Excited About

Last 5-Star Book Mary Laura Read

Other Books Mentioned

About Mary Laura Philpott

Mary Laura Philpott

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Mary Laura Philpott is the author of the brand-new memoir, Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives, which has been named an Indie Next pick by booksellers nationwide, an Amazon Editor’s Choice selection, and a best book of the spring or most anticipated book of the year by publications ranging from the Washington Post to TODAY.com, among others. She is also the author of the national bestseller I Miss You When I Blink — which was named one of NPR’s Favorite Books of 2019 and a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Her writing has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and other publications. Additionally, Mary Laura (yes, she goes by both names) is a former bookseller and was an Emmy-winning co-host of A Word on Words, the literary interview program on Nashville Public Television. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

Next Episode

In two weeks (May 4), author Dolen Perkins-Valdez joins me discuss her newest book, Take My Hand.

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Mary Laura Philpott Bomb Shelter Memoir Essays

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