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S3E11: Empowerment & Agency with Tara Gonzalez & Rachael McKee

What does it mean to be empowered? In some situations, it's about having literal power, which can take the form of knowledge or skill. In others, it's a quality of strength and belief in self you can cultivate (or receive a sense of from people who love and respect you). As writers and artists, we often flirt with all of the above.

We were fortunate enough to interview TWO amazing ladies for our Empowerment & Agency episode, encompassing external and internal empowerment. Considering March is Women's History Month, it sort of felt like kismet.

First, we spoke with the creator of the Kickstarter-backed oracle deck Messages from Her, Rachael McKee. From the Kickstarter campaign page "Messages From Her is a vibrantly illustrated 44-card deck and historical guidebook created to bring inspiration to your daily life. The cards and book pay tribute to some of the most world-changing women of the last century! Celebrating the lives of these women - their challenges, triumphs, and the impact they've had is incredibly empowering. Learning about them can help you realize your own strengths and powerful capabilities. All of the women in this deck are amazing role models with so much to share!"

We asked Rachael about the process of creating the deck, including how she decided which women to include, and which of the women she considered to be the least well known. Her answer? The first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Jane Addams. Tune in to hear more about her!

Rachael explained how oracle decks differ from the traditional 78 card tarot deck. "Oracle decks are sort of like a cousin of tarot. Tarot decks all correlate to a specific meaning [while] oracle decks usually have a [guide] book, and they can be used seriously, or you can just pull a card and grab some inspiration."

Which is to say, if you're not into the metaphysical attributed to tarot, you might enjoy the fun and flexible use of an oracle deck--especially this beautifully illustrated homage to women who changed the world.

Finally, we talked about the success of her campaign so far. She surpassed her funding goal of $7000 in the first 20 hours! BUT there are still plenty of great early access incentives, including the ability to send ten copies to the nonprofit Step Up Women's Network, that works with girls and gender-expansive teens who face systemic barriers to unlock their potential. Step Up does this through a combination of mentorships and programs that introduce social-emotional learning skills, community and connection, and opportunities for career practice.

You can snag your own copy of Messages from Her and a bunch of other goodies HERE until April 7th!

And as if that wasn't enough fun, we also got the chance to pick the brain of Nat's literary agent, Tara Gonzalez. Tara is an associate agent at Erin Murphy Literary Agency, where she represents children's fiction from picture books to young adult, with some forays into the adult space. Her taste spans across broad ranges of genres, from contemporary, historical, literary, to adventure and fantasy. She loves characters and stories that resonate, and strong voices.

We'd be remiss (and maybe murdered) not to mention our most important guest this month, and possibly this season, Tara's cat Nala, who made several appearances throughout the interview, including a late show bath.

Other, less important topics of conversation included:

- What makes Tara request a manuscript out of the slush pile

- Tara's take on the current state of publishing, and advice for querying authors

- Important questions authors should ask on THE CALL

- Agent red flags

- Which Taylor Swift song she associates with her current list

- and so much more!


You won't wanna miss:

  • The enduring spirit of Dolly Parton

  • Rachael's inspiration for Messages from Her

  • How you can use an oracle deck to empower yourself everyday

  • What Tara says about her agenting style, and what stands out in her inbox

  • Nala

  • Is it impossible to query a duology or trilogy?

  • Tara's cat Nala



Our season is almost over! We're actively booking for next season and taking pitches. If there is anyone you'd like to hear from, or if you have a topic you'd like to discuss with us, please reach out via our contact form.

Until next time!

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