Your backstage pass to the world’s most prolific authors

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!

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.


Riley Sager is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, most recently Home Before Dark and Survive the Night. His first novel, Final Girls, has been published in 30 countries and won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Hardcover Novel. His latest book, The House Across the Lake, will be published in 2022 by Dutton Books. A native of Pennsylvania, he now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why Riley needed a messed up protagonist
  • Why artistic characters can keep the plot interesting
  • How to effectively take inspiration from others
  • How to write with minimal setting changes


J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Zach Bohannon –

Riley Sager –

The House Across the Lake

Three Story Method: Writing Scenes – 

Best of BookTook – 

Story Rubric –  

Nonfic Rubric –  

Scene Rubric – 

Proudly sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – and Atticus –

Music by Nicorus – 

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

Audio production by Geoff Emberlyn – 

Contact – 

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


  1. Christopher Wills

    2 years ago  

    Great interview today guys. Sitting in front of a lake at night sounds like a creative place to think up ideas. Riley is correct about lakes being more scary than other bodies of water. Odd that.
    Can I assume J D’s next book is ‘Misery’ meets a Rapper where the protagonist is a writer who rents out his properties.
    Good question about how to keep a reader’s attention on every page in a novel. Donald Maass calls it micro-tension. In his book ‘The Fire in Fiction’ he explains it in chapter 8 ‘Tension all the Time.’ He mentions it in other books, but not as comprehensively.
    Enjoyed the show.

    1. J. Thorn

      2 years ago  

      Thanks for sharing Donald’s book! Great resource. J.D. and I ran into him at Thrillerfest. Literally. He snapped a pic for us. LOL!

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