Aug 10 • 30M

Episode 93: Melissa L. Sevigny on Allowing the Story to Emerge

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Christie Aschwanden
Emerging Form is a podcast about the creative process in which a journalist (Christie Aschwanden) and a poet (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer) discuss creative conundrums over wine. Each episode concludes with a game of two questions in which a guest joins in to help answer questions about the week's topic. Season one guests include poets, novelists, journalists, a song writer, a circus performer, a sketch artist and a winemaker.
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Creative projects have a habit of taking on their own lives and bringing the creator along for the ride. In this episode, we speak with science writer Melissa L. Sevigny about how her book Brave the Wild River: The untold story of two women who mapped the botany of the Grand Canyon surprised her and required her to tell a story different from the one she set out to write. She also shares how she managed to work a full-time job while researching and writing, how she created three-dimensional characters out of archival information and interviews, how the book let her know she was done, and what she learned from this project to apply to future projects.   

Melissa L. Sevigny grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the Sonoran Desert’s ecology and dark desert skies. She has worked as a science communicator in the fields of space exploration, water policy, and sustainable agriculture, and has a B.S. in environmental science from the University of Arizona and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Iowa State University.

She is the science reporter at KNAU (Arizona Public Radio) in Flagstaff, Arizona and her stories have been awarded regional Edward R. Murrow awards and featured nationally on Science Friday. In addition to Brave the Wild River, she’s also written Mythical River and Under Desert Skies.

Learn more about her at or follow her on Twitter @melissasevigny.