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.

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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.

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”

The Benefits of Drafting on Paper with Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen uses the benefits of drafting on paper to her advantage. By handwriting first drafts and only using technology to print out digital versions, she allows her writing to be flawed, catches these mistakes early, and ends up with final drafts that are polished. Tess is an internationally bestselling author who is well known for writing the medical thriller Harvest and the Rizzoli & Isles series, the latter of which inspired a TV series of the same name. She is also the proud co-creator of Magnificent Beast, a documentary that chases the ancient origins of the pork taboo. Gerritsen’s upcoming murder mystery, Choose Me, will be available next year.

From Amazon.com:

Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), Last To Die (2012), Die Again (2014), Playing With Fire (2015), and I Know A Secret (2017). Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world.

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 powerhouse, J. Thorn, 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 handwriting a first draft works so well
  • Why you should still print out later drafts
  • When to write for yourself vs. your audience
  • The pros and cons of writing scripts vs. books
  • The unsure future of the publishing industry


J. D. Barker – http://jdbarker.com/

J. Thorn – https://theauthorlife.com/

Dumpster Tears – https://writersinkpodcast.com/dev/wp-content/uploads/dumpster.jpg 

KENP Read for KU Royalty Calculator – https://publishwide.com/kenp-royalty-calculator/ 

Tess Gerritsen – https://www.tessgerritsen.com/

Harvest by Tess Gerritsen – https://books2read.com/HarvestBook

The Surgeon (Rizzoli & Isles Book 1) by Tess Gerritsen – https://books2read.com/TheSurgeon

Magnificent Beast https://www.magnificentbeastmovie.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/dev/contact/ 

“Muggable” quote by Harley Christensen – https://www.mischievousmalamute.com/

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