Your backstage pass to the world’s most prolific authors

JD Barker
Christine Daigle
Kevin Tumlinson
Jena Brown

What does it take to succeed as a writer? Join hosts J.D. Barker, Christine Daigle, Kevin Tumlinson and Jena Brown as they 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!

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 β€œR” 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?


J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Zach Bohannon –

Proudly sponsored by Kobo Writing Life –

Music by Nicorus – 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – and recorded at Mill Pond Studio –

Contact – 

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


  1. Christopher Wills

    2 years ago  

    Thanks for answering questions.
    I thought you gave a good response to my question. It’s for an idea I have in mind. I’ll try the suggestions made and see what turns out.
    I think qualified and experienced editors are essential. Where I am uncomfortable is that anybody can say they are an editor, as there are no required qualifications or anything that regulates editing. An editor with no formal training is effectively a paid Beta reader.
    This contradict the belief that one’s friendly neighbourhood English teacher should not be asked to edit one’s novel. Is a struggling writer, with no relevant qualifications or accreditation, better qualified to edit a novel, than someone who studied English to Degree or higher, who is paid to read, study, deconstruct and critique bestselling novels? I don’t get it. You almost agree with me on your Authorlife website – not the bit about the teacher though. πŸ™‚
    I enjoyed the show today and was interested in Zach’s regrets about Audio contracts. I’ve heard similar from other writers and it makes me wonder today whether the company (Audible?) are still getting enough business?
    Great show.

    1. J. Thorn

      2 years ago  

      Good points, my friend. I don’t think we’re as far apart on the editor issue as it might appear on the surface.

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