People of Charlotte, please meet Landis Wade, Producer and Host of Charlotte Readers Podcast and
Author of The Christmas Courtroom Trilogy. Landis is a self-proclaimed recovering trial lawyer who turned over a new page upon retiring to highlight local and regional authors on his popular podcast. If you love reading, storytelling, listening to author's share their work through their own voice, and gaining insight and inspiration, then tune into the Charlotte Readers Podcast.
Now let's get to know Landis' story!
Q. In what ways have you always been a storyteller?
I think I inherited the itch to tell stories from my grandfather, Jake Wade, a sportswriter for The Charlotte Observer in the 1930s and 40s and later Sports Information Director at UNC. I first wrote sports columns for the Myers Park High School newspaper, while playing football and baseball, so I was able to put the best spin on what happened. And speaking of spinning tales, when I became a trial lawyer, every case I handled was a story waiting to be told.
Q. How did your career set the stage for what you do now?
Being a courtroom attorney for 35 years helped me hone my story-telling skills. The law taught me how to write persuasively, which helps me write books and stories and my many years of interviews, depositions and trials taught me to examine witnesses, which comes in handy in an interview based podcast.
Q. How long were you retired before you started the podcast?
I slipped into the podcast studio with four months to go before retirement, figuring I’d try it out at nights and on weekends to see if I liked it. The day after I retired, I hit the ground running, and while I don’t call podcasting “work,” the schedule I keep is every bit as demanding as my law practice. It’s just a lot more fun.
Q. What was the biggest challenge in starting a new podcast?
Some people say the only thing you need to start a podcast is an audio recorder and the ability to talk. Don’t believe them. Substitute patience and perseverance, instead. Perseverance has never been a problem for me. Patience is a different story. I was learning a new language. I didn’t speak podcast. Sometimes, I forgot to hit “record.” Sometimes, the equipment didn’t work, or there was a last minute cancellation. Patience was and continues to be the biggest challenge.
Q. Who have you featured on the podcast?
I started recording with Charlotte authors and those who could drive to the podcast studio at Advent Coworking. When the Pandemic hit, I learned to podcast over the internet. Our guest list on the website now has 125 Charlotte area authors, 68 authors from other parts of North Carolina, 64 authors from 22 other states and one author from South Africa and one from Australia.
Q. What are some of your favorite pieces of writing advice received from your guests?
When writing memoir, tell the truth and be twice as hard on yourself as anyone else.
When writing fiction, think character before plot. Readers may not remember the details of the best plots, but they will remember great characters.
When learning to write, it’s good to take courses and helpful to listen to authors talk about their work, but it’s really important to read lots of books. You will absorb more than you think.
Stories are often a fun escape, but they also help us make sense of the world and the people around us.
Finally, it takes about 12 years to be an overnight success and rejection is part of the game. One writer told me that when her stories come back with a rejection notice, she welcomes them with open arms, says how much she missed them and says she is looking forward to sending them out again, but this time, to someone who has more literary sense.
Q. If you could have anyone on the podcast, who would you interview?
Sadly, it would be Larry McMurtry, but he recently passed away. His book Lonesome Dove is my all-time favorite. My wife let me name our two rescue dogs after characters in the book. We have Gus, whose named after Augustus “Gus” McCrae, and Lori, whose nickname in the book and in our home is Lori Darling.
Q. Why is storytelling important?
Stories are often a fun escape, but they also help us make sense of the world and the people around us. When we are able to identify with characters, we appreciate their struggles and we are sometimes able to use what we learn to find our own arcs and change for the better. And when we meet characters who are different from us and who live in different spaces, we may be able to build connections, possibly empathy.
Q. Any advice for other retirees, storytellers, and podcasters?
For retirees, I’d say to look at your Act 3 as an opportunity to experiment with those projects you think look interesting, exciting and challenging, even if it looks too hard and even if you fail at first, as I did when I lost audio files and forgot to punch the record button. You could be surprised what you teach yourself and what you learn from those you meet.
For storytellers, I’d say keep writing and telling stories. They make a difference.
For podcasters, I’d say be patient and enjoy the experience. Try not to worry about downloads. Do the best you can for those who choose to listen and be grateful when they do.
Q. What is the most rewarding part of helping authors give voice to their written words?
Writing a book is hard work and most authors enjoy interacting with readers. The Pandemic put a halt to live events like that. I’m proud we were able to help over 100 authors in the past year tell their stories and the stories behind their stories through the medium of podcasting.
Q. What are your plans/goals for the show in 2021?
We will continue to strive to release quality bookish content for listeners and make the experience for authors as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. We will continue to improve our website and our twice monthly newsletter, which we call The Book Report, and continue to add to our Community Blog and our Community Vlog. We will continue to release exclusive content for listeners who want to do a deeper dive into the craft or business of writing with our authors on our Patreon channel. Hopefully, at some point, we can start back with live podcast events. I’m thinking that Beer and a Podcast at a local brewery sounds pretty good.
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