More than True Crime with Sarah Perry

Graphic for the Writing Your Resilience Podcast episode titled More than True Crime, includes a photo on the left of a middle aged woman with curly silver hair wearing a blue dress, and on the right a young woman with a blond bouffant wearing a cream and black checked shirt.

About More than True Crime with Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry joins the Writing Your Resilience Podcast to talk about the choices she made while writing her award-winning memoir, After the Eclipse, and how each decision helped her build a book about her mother’s murder that was more than a true crime story. In this conversation, they explore the structure of Sarah’s book, how to build a character based on research, navigating the challenges of memory, and why closure isn’t what some of us are looking for.





Show Notes for More than True Crime with Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry joins the Writing Your Resilience Podcast to talk about the choices she made while writing her award-winning memoir, After the Eclipse, and how each decision helped her build a book about her mother’s murder that was more than a true crime story. In this conversation, they explore the structure of Sarah’s book, how to build a character based on research, navigating the challenges of memory, and why closure isn’t what some of us are looking for.

Here are a few questions to ponder as you listen to this episode: What’s your toughest experience? If you wrote about it, what would you like readers to focus on? How might you need to structure this book in order to make that happen? How would you take care of yourself while dealing with the toughest parts of your story, especially if that meant researching police reports or interviewing other people to bring a character to life?  What would you do with all that research? 

Sarah Perry (she/they) is memoirist and essayist who writes about love, trauma, gender-based violence, queerness, and the power dynamics that influence those concerns. She is the author of the memoir After the Eclipse, which was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Poets & Writers Notable Nonfiction Debut, and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Her second book, a memoir-in-essays called Sweet Nothings, is forthcoming from Mariner in 2024. Shorter work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Off Assignment, Elle magazine, The Guardian, and other outlets. A former Tulsa Artist Fellow and recipient of fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation, VCCA, Playa, and The Studios of Key West, she holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction from Columbia University. She is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Texas.

Episode Highlights 

  • 2:00 Framing a tough story
  • 8:00 Building a character you can’t interview
  • 12:00 Finding a resolution when closure isn’t possible 
  • 20:00 Navigating the challenges of memory
  • 31:00 Structuring a dual timeline narrative 
  • 45:00 Navigating research and coping with tough material 

Sarah’s essays: 

Connect with Sarah 

  • Website: sarahperryauthor.net
  • Instagram: @sarahperry100 
  • X: @trickylarouge

Connect with your host, Lisa:

  • Get Your Free Copy of Write More, Fret Less: https://lisacooperellison.com/newsletter-subscribe/ 
  • Website: https://lisacooperellison.com/
  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisacooperellison/
  • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UColPDzpoQlVktIv7-f7ObRg
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisacooperellison/
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-ellison-b5483840/

Sign up for Find the Memoir Structure that Works for You: https://janefriedman.com/find-the-memoir-structure-that-works-for-you-with-lisa-cooper-ellison/

Produced by Espresso Podcast Production: https://www.espressopodcastproduction.com



About Your Host


Lisa Cooper Ellison is an author, speaker, and trauma-informed writing coach with an Ed.S in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has spent the last two decades helping clients and students turn difficult experiences into art, and currently teaches courses in memoir, the psychology of writing, and the book proposal. Her essays have appeared in Huffington PostHippocampus Literary Magazine, and Kenyon Review Online, among others. 


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