Episode #30 – Writing with Mental Illness with Robison Wells

IMG_2200Robison Wells’ interview was performed at ComicCon, so please excuse all the noise in the background. This is a very interesting and serious conversation about mental health… what it really is, how writers and others in the media should portray it in their work, what you should do if you suspect you have a mental illness, and some of Robison’s experiences in dealing with mental health.

If you get anything out of this podcast, it is this: if you suspect you are having a mental health issue, TALK TO SOMEBODY AND GET HELP!

For more information about Robison, visit his blog at http://www.robisonwells.com/. This is what he says about himself on his blog:

I’m the author of the YA science-fiction thriller, Variant (HarperTeen 2011), and of Feedback Robison(HarperTeen, Oct 2012). Variant was named as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2011, and one of the YALSA Picks for Reluctant Readers.

I began writing professionally (and poorly) as the theater critic (live theater, not film) for Red Magazine, an arts weekly at the University of Utah, in 1999. I started writing my first novel shortly thereafter, and it was terrible.

My first published novel, On Second Thought, was released in 2004 through a regional press. That book was a romantic comedy based on a small town in New Mexico where I lived for about a year. I followed that book with two more, Wake Me When It’s Over and The Counterfeit, both political thrillers and both attempts to use my poli-sci degree for something, since it definitely wasn’t getting me a job in the field.

Because it wasn’t getting me a job, I returned to graduate school in 2007 and got an MBA in marketing at Brigham Young University. With a background in sociology, I developed a great love for the squishier sides of business–particularly consumer psychology and behavior. I split my time between homework and writing, and it was during this time that I decided I wanted to write YA for the national market.

And, when I graduated in 2009 with the stock market at record lows, and I once again couldn’t find a job, I spent my unemployment writing Variant. I have been writing full time since 2011.

About James Duckett

James is a geeky, nerdy dude. He writes, sometimes. He blogs, sometimes. He's helpful to people, sometimes. He doesn't like to repeat himself, sometimes. He's funny... looking... always.

His hopes and aspirations of the future is to one day find a way that people will pay him while he sleeps. It is his dream job.

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Parap A

Great article, thank you.


Whilst I don't have mental health issues myself, my wife suffers from bi-polar. So I find it interesting to read / listen to other peoples points of view regarding mental health problems.


This is a very important subject. Many people are challenged because of our difficult culture, and because they are different from what is considered "normal". Some have a genetic illness but many are suffering from simply being different and not knowing what to do about it.