Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 74 – Navigating New Genres with former CIA spook turned author, Alma Katsu

Navigating New Genres

Navigating New Genres with Alma Katsu

Returning guest Alma Katsu has recently gained valuable insight into navigating new genres. With the release of her new spy novel, Red Widow, she’s learned how to grab the interest of her existing horror readers, change her marketing approach to attract readers in a new genre, and write something different and true-to-life while keeping it dramatic. Alma is best known for her novels The Taker and The Hunger, the latter of which prompted a blurb from Stephen King on Twitter. Katsu worked in federal intelligence for most of her life and is currently a technology consultant. To check out Red Widow, follow the link below.

From Amazon.com:

Ms. Katsu’s debut novel, The Taker, was selected by Booklist as one of the top 10 debut novels of 2011. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Program and Brandeis University, where she studied with novelist John Irving, and an alumni of the Squaw Valley Writers Conference. Like many writers, she has a day job, too: for over 30 years, she was an intelligence analyst for the federal government and RAND, and is currently a consultant on emerging technology.

Whether you’re traditionally published or indie, writing a good book is only the first step in becoming a successful author. The days of just turning a manuscript into your editor and walking away are gone. If you want to succeed in today’s publishing world, you need to understand every aspect of the business – editing, formatting, marketing, contracts. It all starts with a good book, then the real work begins.

Join international bestselling author J.D. Barker and indie powerhouses, J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon, as they gain unique insight and valuable advice from the most prolific and accomplished authors in the business.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why writing Red Widow was a little risky
  • Why it’s hard to write fiction about something you know a lot about
  • The business aspect of switching genres
  • Why virtual events aren’t as popular as they used to be
  • The importance of social media advertising


In Computero: Hear How AI Software Wrote a ‘New’ Nirvana Song – https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/nirvana-kurt-cobain-ai-song-1146444/ 

J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Zach Bohannon – https://zachbohannon.com/

Alma Katsu – https://www.almakatsubooks.com/

Red Widow https://mybook.to/RedWidow

Story Rubric – http://storyrubric.com  

Nonfic Rubric – http://nonficrubric.com  

The Career Author Summit 2021 – https://thecareerauthor.com/summit2021/ 

Proudly sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – https://kobowritinglife.com/

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

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

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

3 thoughts on “Writers, Ink Podcast: Episode 74 – Navigating New Genres with former CIA spook turned author, Alma Katsu”

  1. Another interesting interview as I read and write in multiple genres.
    AI is interesting but I think the real question is not ‘can people distinguish between AI and real authors?’ That question was so last century. The real questions are:
    will people buy AI books?
    will the law change so that AI publishers must reveal they are AI generated?
    will AI be allowed to create books “in the style of…” when the real authors are still alive, or before their copyright has run out’?
    At the moment there are quite a few dead authors who’s names are being kept alive by other authors writing under their name. Is that any different to AI replacing real authors?
    What might be interesting is AI writing an original piece, not ‘in the style of…’ Otherwise AI is not creating the novel, it is merely a program responding to the input by a human data input operator. I wonder if an entirely AI generated novel might be multi-genre drivel.
    But the most important question of today is; was this podcast real? Or did you put three laptops on a table facing each other and all go down some local cafe for twenty minutes and drink lattes then add the interview later? Are you real? Is AI the way you can do so many podcasts at the same time? 🙂
    Great show today.

    1. I am real. J.D. is real. Zach is AI. Ha!

      I wouldn’t buy a book written “in the style of” whether it was penned by a human or an AI. As far as I’m concerned, there are more excellent human-written books in the world now that I’ll never read in my lifetime. I have zero interest in anything generated artificially. When in life has anything “artificial” been as good or better than the real thing?

      1. That is a great question that needs thought. I may come back to you one day if anything leaps to mind. The only answers I can give now would be:
        the fake fur coat
        fake leather
        fake meat products
        etc. all are better if considered from a conservationist viewpoint, so some might disagree.

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