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.

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Stephen King called Don Winslow, “one of America’s greatest storytellers,” and for good reason. For decades, Winslow has consistently produced international bestselling works. His newest release, “City on Fire,” is no exception. Don writes daily, sometimes reading poetry for inspiration. “City on Fire” is the first book of a new trilogy that will probably be Don’s last.


Don Winslow is the author of twenty-one acclaimed, award-winning international bestsellers, including the New York Times bestsellers The Force and The Border, the #1 international bestseller The Cartel, The Power of the Dog, Savages, and The Winter of Frankie Machine. Savages was made into a feature film by three-time Oscar-winning writer-director Oliver Stone. The Power of the Dog, The Cartel and The Border sold to FX in a major multimillion-dollar deal to air as a weekly television series beginning in 2020. A former investigator, antiterrorist trainer and trial consultant, Winslow lives in California and Rhode Island.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why Don is a cupcake
  • How writing is like hockey and jazz
  • Why seeing your words from a distance is important
  • How Don finally finished a story, 28 years in the making


J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Zach Bohannon –

The Author Life Summit 2022 – 

Don Winslow – 

City on Fire 

Three Story Method: Writing Scenes – 

Best of BookTook – 

The Carbon Almanac – 

Story Rubric –  

Nonfic Rubric –  

Scene Rubric – 

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  

    Great show today. Agree with Zach that ‘Story is King’ but caveat that with ‘Three is a magic number’ because 9 books equals 3 x 3 box sets. Just saying.
    I studied the Iliad and Odyssey and often thought about writing a modern story either based on Helen of Troy, or the Odyssey journey back home. I suspect any writer who has read them thinks in a similar vein.
    Interesting to hear Don talk about standing back from his pages. I used to be a technical author and that’s a technique technical authors use to look for white space on a page. This is important to give a reader comfort. For example lots of short paragraphs or dialogue on page one can draw a reader in to a book, whereas long Victorian style paragraphs can push them away.
    ‘We shouldn’t see the events of the ending coming, but once it unfolds, it’s the only way it could have ever happened.’ is attributed to Aristotle in Poetics. (Google says).
    Not sure about Don saying Bruce is the ‘greatest American poet…’. I prefer Bob Dylan, and he has the Nobel Prize to prove it.
    My takeaway today is that being widely read, widely educated and widely employed is a good background to becoming a good writer.
    Great interview today.

    1. J. Thorn

      2 years ago  

      Yes! So much good stuff in Poetics. As always, thanks for listening and commenting 🙂

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