Meet the Author: Your Story, Well Told by Corey Rosen

Today we travel to San Francisco to chat with Corey Rosen about how new beginnings, Jabba the Hutt, interesting experiences, Harrison Ford’s ear, Visual Effects, improvisation, We Are the World, Star Wars, and a Chinese Theme Park come together as part of Corey’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Corey Rosen. I am a writer, actor and storytelling coach that lives in San Francisco, California. When not writing, I perform at BATS Improv and teach applied improvisation, storytelling, and stand up comedy writing. I also work in Visual Effects and have worked on some of the Star Wars movies. Lately I’m writing a movie that will be shown in a Chinese Theme Park.

In which genre do you write?

I focus on Storytelling, both my own, and helping people craft and tell their own stories. We all have interesting experiences. I love hearing those, and the lessons and learnings people have collected through our lives.

How many published books do you have?

“Your Story, Well Told” is my first published book! Woohoo!

What is your favorite season and why?

Fall. I grew up in Rochester, NY and, while I miss having a winter, I don’t miss shoveling snow and skidding on the ice. The weather in San Francisco, where I live, is a Mediterranean climate, which feels like autumn most of the time – not too hot and not too cold. I think fall is my favorite season because I associate the fall with change – changing weather, changing colors… it’s also when the new school year starts. For me, it’s a reminder that a new beginning can be just around any corner.

Can you play a musical instrument?

I play a bunch of instruments. I love to make music. I recently discovered the joy of recording and harmonizing with myself on parody and personalized songs I’ve written for friends as a fundraiser for my improv theater, BATS Improv. The trailer for my book is an example of this – I’m playing all the instruments and singing 6 parts in a parody of “We Are The World” to introduce my book. Check out the trailer here:

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I teach applied improvisation, storytelling, and stand up comedy writing. I also work for a visual effects studio founded by Oscar-winner Phil Tippett, who designed and animated the most iconic creatures in the original Star Wars movies, like Jabba the Hutt and the AT-AT snow walkers. As a creative director, I write and direct movies shown at theme parks around the world.

Have you ever had any Do It Yourself disasters?

There’s a classic children’s book called “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie,” by Laura Numeroff. In it, a simple action leads to increasing complications. My DIY prowess often unfolds in this way. A few weeks ago, my wife asked me to hang a picture on the wall. Looking at the wall, I couldn’t help but be irritated by the chipped paint and holes from prior screws and pictures. Within an hour I’d bought new paint and spent the rest of the afternoon taping, spackling, and repainting the entire wall. When we sat down to dinner, my wife quietly said, “maybe tomorrow you could hang that picture?”

What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to you while working at your current or a previous job?

When I was hired at ILM, George Lucas’ visual effects company, I was tasked with (digitally) removing specs of dirt and dust from the original Star Wars movie for the Special Edition re-release. This was the movie I saw as a child that made me want to tell my own stories, and work in the movie business. It was a heavy responsibility. One of the first shots I had to “clean” was a shot of Harrison Ford (Han Solo). I cleaned what I thought was a spec of white dirt from the same spot in every frame, only realizing when I was done that I’d actually removed Han Solo’s entire ear! I was so scared that I didn’t tell anyone, and, to this day, there is a moment in the Star Wars universe where Han Solo doesn’t have an ear, thanks to me!

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently writing a few movies for a theme park near Shenzhen in China! The movies will be seen on large dome screens, with the audience feeling like they are flying from Earth to Mars. It’s really fun to write this kind of experience because you are working in many dimensions – the audience is in motion having physical sensations while you are telling them a story.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My book will teach you fun and easy strategies to get inspired to develop stories, structure them, and tell them, well! My favorite discovery after writing the book has been all the stories others have told me – many by people I’ve known a long time, telling stories I’ve never heard! I hope this book helps you remember and tell stories that connect you with others.

It was wonderful learning more about you, and having you be a part of MTA, Corey! Here’s to your success!! – Camilla

Book Blurb:

Learn the art of telling stories and make the sale, land the client, propose a toast, or impress a date – maybe all at the same time! Moth veteran and master teacher Corey Rosen is an Emmy-award winning writer and actor with years of experience as a skilled storytelling coach. His book, Your Story, Well Told, is crafted to help ordinary people tell extraordinary stories. This laugh out loud handbook covers everything from how to tell a good story to going off script.

Book Trailer:

Where to find the book: Has links to independent and BIPOC-owned bookstores where you can order “Your Story, Well Told: Creative Strategies to Develop and Perform Stories that Wow an Audience.”

Connect with Corey:


social media links:

facebook & Instagram: @storyrosen
twitter: @coreyrosen


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Book Shelf: Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

I loved this beautiful story of a twelve-year-old who comes to know that home is not what she always thought it to be. I enjoyed learning about Mai’s roots along with her. Heartwarming and sweet. Just lovely.


To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Meet the Author: Chasing Shadows by Steven Smith

Today we travel to Stotfold in Bedfordshire to chat with Steven Smith about how LEGOs, book reviews, Jack the Ripper, gaming, Discworld, Elton John, coffee shops, winter, an out of control roller coaster ride, an electric guitar, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show come together as part of Steven’s life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, I am Steven, or Steve – either works for me! I live in a little town called Stotfold in Bedfordshire. It’s about an hour by train from London. I live with my wife Vanessa and my tuxedo cat Rey.

When things are a little more normal I love to travel and get out with my camera, too. I’m also an avid video gamer, armchair athlete and absolute Lego fanatic.

In which genre do you write?

My debut novel Chasing Shadows falls into steampunk – an alternate history set in a Victorianesque world where everything is steam-powered and electricity did not expand quite as it did. I have also written a number of short stories in a wide range of styles and genres.

How many published books do you have?

At the moment, just Chasing Shadows. Its sequel As the Crow Flies is well underway. I am also considering releasing a collection of short stories when I get the chance to write a few more.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Hmmm, now this is a tough question. Back in primary school, I remember doing something the teachers called “Extended Stories”. Everyone spent the lesson just writing anything we wanted. This carried on throughout the year. I loved those sessions. But then exams, needing a career, all that kind of thing waylaid my writing.

I’ve always been an avid book reader, so in March 2015 I started a blog where I review books, interview authors and take part in a range of other bookish features. In 2017 I decided the time was right to try and write a novel of my own. I set out to write a fictional account of the infamous Jack the Ripper – who he was and how he managed to evade arrest. It didn’t work out though – I became exhausted by the level of research to get the historical facts accurate, and it faded into nothingness.

I dabbled with some short stories after that until, in late 2019, an idea struck me. To begin with, it was just as the concept for a character, closely followed by another. Then I had some ideas for adventures they might find themselves in. And that was it, the early ideas for Chasing Shadows was formed.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I do love my home office space. It’s filled with all manner of things that are so homely to me. My wife and I have a range of similar interests, so we’ve made this space very much our own. There are signed Discworld prints and special framed stamp display pieces themed around Harry Potter and Elton John. There are framed signed comic books, a display cabinet brimming with video game paraphernalia, another bursting at the gunwales with Lego. That’s a habit of mine that has spread beyond the cabinet and throughout the house! Then, on the wall immediately behind the desk is a huge The Nightmare Before Christmas poster, my most beloved film. It really is a little slice of nerdvana for me.

Aside from there, I love writing in coffee shops. I can people watch and get inspiration for characters and events from what I see and hear. I’ve even done a spot of writing on the terrace of a wonderful cafe in the town of Riva, sat on the shore of the beautiful Lake Garda!

What are you currently reading?

Right now I am test-reading the first draft of a novel by author and good friend Richard Dee. It’s something a little different genre-wise from him, and I have to say I am absolutely loving it!

What is your favorite season and why?

Winter, without a shadow of a doubt. I am not built for the hot days of summer. I love nothing more than a cold, crisp, bright winter day. Blue sky, biting cold, your breath a freezing fog out in front of you. I love it! Plus, I am a massive Christmas fan, so it’s a no brainer for me. Indulgent food, festive music, cheesy films and an overabundance of decorations. It always fills me with joy!

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

The honest answer is that I am not really sure. I’ve always loved steampunk. It’s utterly fascinating to me – the inventions, the vehicles, the outfits, the airships. I love it all. As far as Chasing Shadows, well it was a series of disconnected ideas that hit me. First, it was an idea for a character, my leading man. Then there was the beginnings of another main character. Then I saw a few events. Nothing too large, just an underlying theme as such.

The connective tissue needed to hold the bare bones together wasn’t planned. Much of the book wasn’t planned. I only learned what came next after I had written it. The whole process was a frenetic, out of control rollercoaster ride that I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

Now this one is easy, especially as it’s indelibly inked into my right bicep. That would have to be Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was six years old when it came out back in 1993. I saw it then and was transfixed. The creepy world of Halloweentown and its denizens, the wonderful vibrance of Christmastown, Burton’s bizarre story and the incredible score and songwriting of Danny Elfman. All of these things have been forever imprinted on my mind, and guarantee I will watch that film multipe times a year. And yes, I do know it almost word for word.

If you pressed me for a second choice, that’d have to be The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Another weird, wonderful, riotous sing along movie.

Can you play a musical instrument? If not, which instrument would you like to be able to play?

I actually own an electric guitar – a stunning piece bought for me for Christmas by my wife. I haven’t played it nearly as much as I’d like. I want to learn it though. I used to be able to play real simple chords like the basic riff from Wonderwall by Oasis. I’d love to learn some more though. I am a huge rock music fan – Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, Kiss, AC/DC, Foo Fighters. That would be a definite goal to play a few of their songs one day.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Reading is an obvious answer for this one. I am also a massive video game freak. I lose hours at a time to a good game. Travelling is another passion of mine. I dabble with photography, I love playing around with the camera and trying out different things. And then there is Lego. It’s one of my biggest hobbies. I find the process of following the instructions and seeing the set come together really therapeutic.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Wow, now there’s a killer of a question. How do I pick just one? First up there would have to be the authors Terry Pratchett and Stephen King. They are two of my very favourite authors. Then there would have to be a few musicians in there, more likely whole bands – I just don’t think I could pick one.

Fantasy people, now that is interesting. I think I’d love to meet both Roland Deschain and Randal Flagg from The Dark Tower series. I love the series of books and these two characters are so deep, there is a lot to them that I’d love to uncover. Without sounding too narcissistic I’d also love to meet my own leading man, Edison Crow. I know he came from my mind, but there is so much about him I’d like to get to know over a coffee.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I can do it. That I can actually start the process and see it all the way through to the end and hold my book in my hand. That’s something else. Early on, I’d have been happy to reach 30 or 40,000 words. To make it to a complete novel, weighing in at over 78,000 words is a pretty incredible feeling!

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

I tried planning the story as I went along, but it just didn’t work out for me. I found it easiest to just write and see where the story took me. I loved this approach. It meant I got to discover the story much like the readers do! I only knew what was happening in the fractions of a second before I typed the words out. I know many people love to plan things meticulously, but my mind is too disorganised and chaotic for that, it just doesn’t work for me.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

I don’t in the traditional sense. I’ve started keeping a movie journal though. I am a film lover, but I am also aware there are a lot of films that always appear on ‘top movies to watch before you die’ lists that I’ve somehow not seen. I am using this as a way to motivate me to watch some of those films.

How do you prepare yourself to discuss your book?

With the UK having not long come out of COVID restrictions, I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to do anything like this. I hope to, though. And if I do, Obviously I would prepare a choice chapter or two to read. Beyond that, I feel passionate about my book, so I would just like to get that across to those listening.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

American History X. My team at work has started doing a movie club – someone recommends a film and everyone watches it ready to discuss the following week. It’s a great way to start watching films I might not have seen otherwise. And I have to say I really enjoyed it – fantastic visuals, deep story, tragic finale. A great film.

What are you currently working on?

I have a few things on the go right now. After finishing my first draft of Chasing Shadows, I dove headfirst into the sequel – As the Crow Flies. On the side, I am also working on a short story set in the same world. It’s following a young Edison Crow and Selah, just after they meet. Ideas are swirling for yet another short in that world, but in no way related to these characters.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent book is my debut novel, Chasing Shadows. It’s a steampunk novel with action and adventure along the way. It follows the roguish airship captain Edison Crow, his childhood friend and second in command Selah, and a ragtag crew of the most loyal rogues a captain could hope for. Seeking a big payday, Crow hopes to put his childhood as a street orphan firmly behind him. A series of unfortunate incidents and nearly failed jobs land the crew in the heart of a mystery with potentially dire consequences.

It was great having you be a part of MTA! I thoroughly enjoyed your interview, Steven. My mind is also disorganized and chaotic. I’ve only written nonfiction and poetry to date, but should I write a fiction, what you describe is how it will have to be for me, too! Wishing you all the best, with much success!! – Camilla


As captain of the airship Arcos, Edison Crow and his childhood partner in crime, Selah, lead their crew in search of a big payday. When it comes to the pursuit of wealth, nothing is out of the question for this band of charming rogues. Smuggling. Theft. Embezzlement. It’s all part of a daring game.

But all is not smooth sailing when you’re a high profile thief with a target on your back. A job gone wrong will thrust Edison, Selah and those aboard the Arcos upon a journey straight to the heart of the shady United Republic of the High Commission in pursuit of the truth.

Troubled by his own personal demons, Edison must navigate dark skies if he hopes to gain answers. Will it be enough to help the infamous Captain Crow clear his and his crew’s names? Or will he end up Chasing Shadows?

Where to find the book:

It’s available on Amazon for Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and in Paperback. I also offer personalised paperbacks directly from myself – just pop me an email to discuss!

Connect with Steven:


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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host


Book Shelf: The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

This was a random find while volunteering at the library. The cover, the short description pulled me in, and I’m glad it did. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The author time hops between the past and current time as the story progresses. I enjoyed learning a great deal about the history of libraries, specifically this particular library in Los Angeles, along with a bit of history regarding librarians. A non-fiction book at its best!


To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Friday with Friends: Doing the Dishes with Allen Klein

Doing the Dishes

When I was in grade school, I wrote a poem that was published in the school paper. If my memory serves, it went something like this:

The Dishes

We have a little system that we do each night,
And when we do this, we never fight.
Mom is the one who washes, of course,
Dad dries them off, the father the boss,
And I am the little boy who puts them away,
Who goes to school every day.

Certainly not a great poem but it was the first piece of my writing ever to be published. Little did I realize it at the time, but that experience unexpectedly came full circle years later during my midlife. While this latter career was based on my writing talent, my first career was based on my artistic talent.

When I was seven years old, I was taken to see my first Broadway show, Oklahoma. From then on, I wanted to be a scenic designer…the person who creates those pretty stage pictures. Growing up in New York City, I saw nearly every show that opened on Broadway. I studied at various places to become a designer. I got into the scenic design union after passing a very stringent test and worked at CBS-television. There I designed such shows as Captain Kangaroo, The Merv Griffin Show and The Jackie Gleason Show.

Things were going well…until they weren’t. The TV shows moved out of New York, and I was left designing soap operas and commercials, which didn’t suit me. Since my wife was from San Francisco, a city we both loved, we decided it was an ideal time to move across county. I had no steady job at the time, my daughter was not yet enrolled in a regular school, and the landlord gave us a bunch of money to vacate the apartment so he could renovate it and raise the rent. We took the money and moved across country.

I got work with the San Francisco Opera painting scenery and we found the Victorian house we always dreamed about. Again, things were going well… until they weren’t. My wife, Ellen, contracted a rare liver disease. There was no cure nor liver transplants at the time. The prognosis was three years. And indeed, she did die three years after the diagnosis.

It was an extremely difficult time, but Ellen had a great sense of humor that helped us cope with the situation. It also surprisingly thrust me into a speaking and writing career. After Ellen died, I realized how beneficial therapeutic humor was during her terminal illness. It helped us rise about the situation and, if only momentarily, gave us a reprieve from the challenging time we were going through.

I wanted to share with the world what I had learned about how humor could enable us to rise above any situation. I joined the National Speakers Association to find out about the ins and outs of being a professional speaker. I had almost failed speech in college because I feared getting up and speaking in front of a group. But here I was speaking to groups of upwards of 1,500 people because of my passion about the value of therapeutic humor. And it was the speaking that led to my writing career.

At one speaker’s convention, I kept hearing colleagues say, “If you want to accelerate your speaking career, you need to have a book.” It seemed like every speaker I heard that year was saying, “You need to have a book, you need to have a book.” When the conference ended, I went back home, put together a book proposal on the benefits of humor. After numerous rejections and revisions, my literary agent sold The Healing Power of Humor to a mainstream publisher.

The book hit a nerve with readers. I think it was, in part, because of Norman Cousin’s book, Anatomy of an Illness, which talked about his personal journey of healing himself with laughter. Even though my book was published way back in 1989, The Healing Power of Humor is still going strong today with a 40+ printing and a 9th foreign language translation.

One book led to another. For example, the hundreds of uplifting quotations I didn’t use in the first book became the basis for the second. That book led to a series of quotation books that got reprinted in many different formats with several different publishers. And those publishers continued to release several of my other non-quotation books.

Who knew when I wrote that poem for my school paper that years later it would lead to my writing of 30-plus books? ……. © Allen Klein, June 2021

To see Allen’s previous interview on MTA, go here:

Meet the Author: Embracing Life After Loss by Allen Klein

About Allen Klein

Comedian Jerry Lewis has said that Allen Klein is “a noble and vital force watching over the human condition.” Klein, also known as, “Mr. Jollytologist”® and “The Ambassador of Light”, shows audiences worldwide how to use humor and positivity to deal with life’s not-so-funny stuff. He is an award-winning professional speaker, a TEDx presenter, and author of 30-plus books including, The Healing Power of Humor, You Can’t Ruin My Day, and Embracing Life After Loss. His latest book, The Awe Factor: How a Little Bit of Wonder Can Make a Big Difference in Your Life was named by as “One of the Best Spiritual Books of 2020.”

Connect with Allen

Email: [email protected]


TedX talk:

Amazon book page:


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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Book Shelf: The Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick

The Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick

I don’t typically read the romance genre. However, I’ve read Phaedra’s previous 3 books and since I enjoyed them, I wanted to give this one a go. I absolutely enjoyed reading this one. It’s so much more than a romance story. In my opinion, that just happens to be part of the story. Phaedra’s books seem to always have an element of mystery to them, and this was no exception. Mystery, friendships, forgiveness, redemption, grief, and romance …. all rolled into one perfect story!

I interviewed Phaedra on MTA in June 2019. Go here to read the interview:

Meet the Author: The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick


To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Meet the Author: The Inside City by Anita Mir

Today we travel to London by way of Lahore, Pakistan to chat with Anita Mir about how journalistic work, the Blasphemy Law, comic pieces, Fordham University, Greek myth, a dolphin, Singin’ in the Rain, breathing deeply, Shakespeare, and a penguin in a sombrero come together as part of Anita’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Anita Mir. I seem to have flitted back and forth from Pakistan and England all my life. I was born in Lahore, Pakistan, where my novel is set. I grew up in Wales and County Durham in the UK. Then we went back, as a family, to Lahore. After college, I worked as a journalist and then in the NGO field. Most of my journalistic work was investigative reports on human rights issues, particularly pertaining to the Blasphemy Law, which is often used to target religious minorities such as Christians and Ahmedis.

I wrote what I then thought of as fluff -reviews, comic pieces, short stories- under a pseudonym, not understanding why I enjoyed writing that stuff so much. Through both jobs I got to see a Pakistan I’d never otherwise have seen.

I currently live in London where I teach at Fordham University and write plays. I’ve been in Lahore for the last eight months. That, though, is another story….

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

As a teenager I wrote poetry – embarrassingly bad poetry, full, I think, of Greek myth characters who popped up incongruously on our street, near the sweet shop, and did Greek myth kinds of things. Pretentious is too generous a word to describe my ‘poetry’. But thank God, in all our moves, it’s been lost.

At college, I was Editor of my college magazine and then straight from college, walked into my first job as a journalist – where I stayed for years, only leaving when the paper folded. But until I had my first short play on, a short story published and then my novel published I don’t think I had the guts to say I wanted to be a writer.

My novel, ‘The Inside City’ was longlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize and shortlisted for the UBL Prize.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

A dolphin. Just so I could say that wonderful line from ‘Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’: “Thanks for all the fish.”

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A bed.

What are you currently reading?

Academic stuff on death for a paper I want to write, ‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’ Farrell and dipping back into ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to try and understand how a real poet writes with such precision.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

I’m currently writing a kid’s book about an autistic boy whose beloved grandfather dies and whom he tries to bring back to the world. Two aspects of the story: the autistic boy and the grandfather are both biographical, though nothing else in the story is.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

Can I choose two? ‘Wings of Desire’ -for its beauty and ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ – which always cheers me up.

Can you play a musical instrument?

I play piano.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author from the past, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Shakespeare. ‘You were having bloody fun when you were writing, weren’t you?’

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

That writing is an addiction I don’t ever want to give up.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I write a journal. Short short stories. When I stop, the ‘proper’ writing comes harder and worse.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?

I breathe deeply. I’d like to do what I’ve seen Tim Robbins do as prep: Jump on a trampoline. But unless I can find a collapsable one, it might be difficult carrying it on the Tube.

What do you miss about being a kid?

My speed at running.

At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?

Just go for it. Come out, guns blazing. As an old actor said, ‘There is no rehearsal. This is it.’

You can have anyone fictional as your imaginary friend, who do you choose and why?

Samuel Beckett or Howard Barker. Because I’d hope a little of their magic would rub off on me.

If mars or another planet was livable, would you accept a one way ticket there? why or why not?

No. I haven’t explored enough of this world yet.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

‘Party central?’

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Determination, or as my mother called it, bloody-mindedness.

It was wonderful to have you be part of MTA, Anita. I very much enjoyed learning more about you and your writings. Wishing you all the best, with much success! – Camilla

Trailer and where to find the book:


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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host