Your backstage pass to the world’s most prolific authors

What does it take to succeed as a writer? Hosts J.D. Barker, J. Thorn, and Zach Bohannon pull back the curtain and gain rare insight from the household names found on bookshelves worldwide.

Want to ask your favorite author a question? Click here!

In this special episode of Writers, Ink, Zach Bohannon hosts a panel of authors brave enough to take the Harlan Coben Challenge, resulting in the Audible Original, “Birds of Prey.” Listen in as Tess Gerritsen, Kathy Reichs, Heather Graham, and other bestsellers discuss the behind-the-scenes process of writing and collaborating on a unique and spontaneous anthology.

From Audible.com:

The world’s greatest thriller writers prove they’re up to a unique challenge in this action-packed, audio-original collection.

It all started with a simple, yet sneakily difficult challenge from global best-selling author Harlan Coben: Pick a bird of prey, then use it as the inspiration for a brand-new story.

The response from some of the best writers on the planet: Game on!

The result: Eleven stories that are twisty, scary, surprising and bursting with imagination. An egg worth more than its weight in gold. A mysterious operative known only as Owl. An eagle-watcher who sees more than she should. Even a story that somehow places the Maltese Falcon in a nursing home.

Birds of Prey: The Harlan Coben Challenge is a highly bingeable audiobook that’s a treat for thriller fans.

Introduced by Harlan Coben, Birds of Prey features these stories:  

  • “The Coffin Bearer” by Tess Gerritsen 
  • “Precious Cargo” by C.J. Box 
  • “Owl” by Kathy Reichs 
  • “Kudzu” by Ace Atkins 
  • “Predator or Prey?” by Heather Graham 
  • “Silent as a Shadow” by S.A. Cosby 
  • “Jail Birds” by Hank Phillippi Ryan 
  • “The Falcon” by Robert Dugoni 
  • “Watchers” by Allison Brennan 
  • “Red of Beak and Claw” by Gregg Hurwitz 
  • “Hawkshaw Hunting” by Kelley Armstrong

Birds of Prey: The Harlan Coben Challenge was created with International Thriller Writers (ITW). C.J. Box served as project editor. 

©2022 International Thriller Writers, Inc., and authors (P)2022 Audible Originals, LLC.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How the Birds of Prey project originated
  • How you can get your work published in an ITW anthology
  • How a defined writing prompt makes drafting easier
  • If writing for Audiobook adaptation affects the writing process
  • And much more!


J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Zach Bohannon – https://zachbohannon.com/

Birds of Preyhttps://www.audible.com/pd/Birds-of-Prey-The-Harlan-Coben-Challenge-Audiobook/B09WZHXGMQ 

Three Story Method: Writing Scenes – https://books2read.com/threestorymethodws 

Best of BookTook – https://bestofbooktok.com/ 

Story Rubric – http://storyrubric.com  

Nonfic Rubric – http://nonficrubric.com  

Scene Rubric – http://scenerubric.com 

Proudly sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – https://kobowritinglife.com/ and Atticus – https://www.atticus.io/

Music by Nicorus – https://cctrax.com/nicorus/dust-to-dust-ep 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – http://www.nhpr.com and recorded at Mill Pond Studio – http://www.millpondstudio.com

Audio production by Geoff Emberlyn – http://www.emberletter.com/ 

Website Design by Word & Pixel – http://wordandpixel.com/

Contact – https://writersinkpodcast.com/contact/ 

*Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.

Prolific author Jeffrey Archer knows the importance of sticking with your process. By consistently writing in scheduled two-hour segments, drafting by hand, and keeping series alive only as long as he wants to, he efficiently produces gripping novels that both him and his readers enjoy. Jeffrey is an international bestseller of over 275 million copies worldwide, and has been writing for over fifty years. To preorder his latest novel, Next in Line, releasing tomorrow, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 155 – Sticking with Your Process with International Bestseller Jeffrey Archer”

Bestseller Josh Malerman makes his third appearance on the podcast with Daphne. His latest paranormal thriller, he uses expert character development and scarily accurate depictions of anxiety to make the novel truly come alive. Josh is a NYT bestselling author well known for his debut novel, Bird Box, which was adapted for film by Netflix. To preorder Daphne, which releases tomorrow, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 154 – Daphne with NYT Bestseller Josh Malerman”

Martin Edwards’ magnum opus, The Life of Crime, is a dream come true for crime readers. Covering the complete history of the genre, analyzing its most successful novels, and even providing crime-writing tips, Edwards makes himself a must-read. Martin is an experienced author of numerous crime and thriller novels, and has received the CWA Diamond Dagger Award, Britain’s highest crime-writing achievement. To purchase The Life of Crime, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 153 – The Life of Crime with Martin Edwards”

Anthony Horowitz knows the advantages and limitations of writing in a major franchise. In his latest James Bond novel, With a Mind to Kill, Horowitz uses his own brand of fast-paced dialogue and gripping storytelling to revitalize the Bond franchise while working within the confines of Ian Fleming’s original world. Anthony has written over 40 books, with his Alex Rider series selling more than 19 million copies. To purchase With a Mind to Kill, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 152 – Writing in the James Bond Franchise with Anthony Horowitz”

Returning guest Meg Gardiner shares her tips for adapting a screenplay into a novel. In her latest novel co-written with the legendary Michael Mann, Heat 2, she uses intense imagery and character building to expand the world of the classic movie onto the page while maintaining the immersion of a film. Meg is a #1 NYT bestseller and the author of sixteen novels, including the award-winning Evan Delaney series and Jo Beckett series. To purchase Heat 2, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 151 – From Screen to Page with #1 NYT Bestseller Meg Gardiner”

Bestseller Kimberly McCreight writes for her readers above all else. By avoiding genre stereotypes and unsolvable twists, and instead aiming for the emotional satisfaction of her fanbase, she maintains a loyal and dedicated following that keeps coming back for more. McCreight is a bestselling author of three novels, with her most popular being Reconstructing Amelia, and has been nominated for various awards. To purchase her latest novel, Friends Like These, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 150 – Writing for Your Readers with NYT Bestseller Kimberly McCreight”

Bestseller Riley Sager’s new book, The House Across the Lake, puts an inventive spin on a classic. Dubbed “Rear Window on a lake” by Sager himself, he uses personal experience and complex character building to create a gripping mystery thriller. Riley is an NYT bestselling author known for his hit book Final Girls, and makes his third appearance on the podcast today. To purchase The House Across the Lake, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 149 – The House Across the Lake with NYT Bestseller Riley Sager”

Catherine Coulter knows how to build a successful series. From creating strong foundational characters to keeping track of things as simple as physical description throughout books, she’s able to continue adding to longform series while keeping the stories and characters cohesive. Catherine is a #1 NYT bestselling author of 88 books. To purchase her latest novel, Reckoning, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 148 – How to Build a Series with #1 NYT Bestseller Catherine Coulter”

David Ellis knows how to write successful suspense into his novels. With twists and turns frequenting his pages, he puts forth special effort to make sure his plots are both complex and head-scratching while remaining decipherable to his average reader. David is a NYT bestseller of ten standalone crime novels and has co-authored eight novels with James Patterson. To purchase his latest novel, Look Closer, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 147 – Writing Successful Suspense with NYT Bestseller David Ellis”

Tess Gerritsen has spent decades refining her craft. From handwritten first drafts to listening to her characters, she follows the Muse on her creative journey. Tess wasn’t sure she’d write another Rizzoli & Isles book until she became excited about the possibilities of another installment in the hugely successful series. Whether it’s tending to her vegetable garden or her archive of handwritten manuscripts, Tess does so with care and creativity. Her characters are beloved worldwide, a testament to her enduring ability to master the craft of writing while being a keen observer of the world around her.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 146 – Following the Muse with NYT Bestseller Tess Gerritsen”

Author Vanessa Riley talks about her latest piece of women’s historical fiction, Sister Mother Warrior. Through determination in navigating the challenges of uncovering women’s history and a promise to write history from all perspectives, she created a gripping novel worthy of piquing the mind. Vanessa has had an accomplished career, graduating with several degrees and helping many businesses and startups before writing over twenty books. To order Sister Mother Warrior, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 145 – Sister Mother Warrior with Vanessa Riley”

Returning guest Blake Crouch explores the forefront of scientific discovery in his new novel, Upgrade. A gene-editing thriller, Blake pushed himself to go the extra mile for the book, interviewing field experts in biology and physics to keep his sci-fi enticing yet realistic. Blake is a bestselling author well known for works like Dark Matter, Recursion, and Wayward Pines. To preorder Upgrade, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 144 – Upgrade with NYT Bestseller Blake Crouch”

Barbara Graham employed her unique spiritual writing process while crafting her debut novel, What Jonah Knew. Through mindful storytelling and a more “hands-off” approach, letting the story come to her and keeping what feels right instead of meticulously planning and outlining, she produces writing that is genuine, intriguing, and effortlessly maintains its flow. Before becoming a novelist, Barbara had a lengthy career as a playwright, poet, and journalist, writing for various recognized magazines, like Time, NatGeo, and Vogue. To preorder What Jonah Knew, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 143 – Writing Spiritually with NYT Bestseller Barbara Graham”

Eva Lesko Natiello is no stranger to rejection. Despite being unable to secure an agent and having the manuscript of her first book, The Memory Box, rejected eighty-four times, she used her determination and knowledge of marketing to defy expectations and turn her story into a global bestseller. Eva is a NYT bestseller who began her career in the beauty industry before making it big as a writer, and is known for her gripping thriller novels. To order her latest book, Following You, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 142 – How to Deal with Rejection with NYT Bestseller Eva Lesko Natiello”

Colton Haynes understands the complexities of approaching a memoir. From learning to navigate difficult and personal life experiences to dealing with the hard process of cutting and editing his work, he used his trust in himself and his editors to push through the challenges and create a moving, well-written account of his life. Colton focused on modeling in his early career before being cast in hit shows like “Teen Wolf” and “The Gates,” and his memoir, Miss Memory Lane, is his first step into the writing world. To purchase Miss Memory Lane, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 141 – Approaching a Memoir with Hollywood Star Colton Haynes”

After decades of consistent, high-quality work, Christopher Golden continues to appreciate every day as a professional writer. From movie-tie ins to his own novels, Golden continues to do the work necessary to stay afloat in the business. Whether it’s Bram Stoker Award-winning novels, graphic novels, anthologies, or video games, he is a successful and prolific creative, by any standard.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 140 – Perseverance and Professionalism with NYT Bestseller Christopher Golden”

David Koepp knows the importance of correctly approaching a new story or project. By consistently outlining his thoughts, writing in a workspace that suits his style, and setting specific targets and goals, he keeps his writing process both efficient and personal. Koepp is a legendary screenwriter who has worked on movies like Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones and is the ninth most successful screenwriter of all time. To purchase his latest novel, Aurora, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 139 – Approaching a Story with Hollywood Legend and Screenwriter David Koepp”

Bestseller Emily St. John Mandel is well versed in the realm of writing science fiction novels. Drawing upon decades of story elements from her favorite sci-fi books, she creates stories that are true to herself while sticking to the rules of the genre. Emily has written six novels, winning notable acclaim from people like President Barack Obama, and had Station Eleven adapted for TV by HBO. To purchase her latest novel, Sea of Tranquility, follow the link below.

Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 138 – Writing Science Fiction with NYT Bestseller Emily St. John Mandel”

Q&A Episode – May 2022

In this monthly q & a session, the guys answer listener questions.

J.K. Rowling was nearly homeless when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. Stephen King penned CARRIE on a small desk wedged between a washer and dryer. James Patterson worked in advertising and famously wrote the Toys “R” Us theme song long before becoming an author. 

Join New York Times best-seller, J.D. Barker, and indie powerhouses J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon as they pull back the curtain on some of the world’s most prolific authors. Where did they start? What is their process? The biggest names in publishing all have origin stories, all have a process, all have tips and secrets… What does it take to consistently top the bestseller lists? Get your notepad out. School’s in session. This, is Writers, Ink.

Questions asked:

  • This is a difficult question – I’ve been pondering this for some time. I suspect you might be unable to answer this. There are a series of TV films starring Tom Selleck based on Robert B Parker novels called the Jesse Stone series. If you could use one word to describe the atmosphere in the films it would be melancholy. It’s mostly achieved by music photography and Tom Selleck’s slow drawl dialogue. How can one achieve this melancholy feeling in writing?
  • How do you reconcile multiple streams of income (in multiple author services) and the simplicity of offering ONE thing on your website for clients? I know that in order to build clientele, we need to focus our efforts, time, and attention (and maybe even marketing) on one service so as not to overwhelm the potential client with too many options. But, I receive (small amounts of) income from various author services I perform–editing, coaching, audiobook narration. How can I keep my website, newsletters, and “elevator pitches” simple enough and still allow clients to know what they can hire me to do? For instance, I thought of putting up my signature offer on a featured website page, and then list “other author services” with a link to a different page so it doesn’t clutter up the featured page.
  • If you could go back in time and change one decision you made in your writing career what would it be and why? If you wouldn’t change a thing…why not
  • I’m appreciating more and more the benefits of hybrid publishing through traditional and self. While I start my query process, I’m curious to best practices. How many agents should you submit queries to at one time? If you have two novels in different genres, should you submit both and see which one is picked up or focus on one? Also, where are the best places to meet agents? I write in the fantasy and superhero fiction genres. Where would I find agents that represent my genres? Does a personal meeting help the process of query acceptance?
  • Sounds like JD has “won” the treadmill that most authors hit in terms of making enough money to retire on without having to work with all his investments.  What keeps him writing?
  • I think Steven King said that 1 million words published is an achievement to make you a great writer. Do you think that number is correct? if not what is the number?  Or does it mean you need to have an editor and ensure you have deliberate practice in order for the million words to count?
Continue reading “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 137 – Question and Answer Episode – May 2022”