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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Writing Complicated Characters with NYT Bestseller Gregg Hurwitz

Bestseller Gregg Hurwitz knows the importance of writing complicated characters. By blurring the lines of good and evil, choosing to write protagonists and antagonists rather than heroes and villains, and incorporating complex moral dilemmas into his plots, he creates characters whose moral vagueness is both interesting and relatable. Gregg is an international bestselling author well known for his Orphan X thriller series and for his role as co-president of International Thriller Writers. To order his latest Orphan X novel, Dark Horse, follow the link below.


GREGG HURWITZ is the New York Times #1 internationally bestselling author of twenty thrillers including OUT OF THE DARK (January 2019). His novels have won numerous literary awards and have been published in thirty languages. Additionally, he’s written screenplays and television scripts for many of the major studios and networks. Gregg lives with his two Rhodesian ridgebacks in Los Angeles, where he continues to play soccer, frequently injuring himself.

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 “R” Us theme song long before becoming an author.

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 Gregg “trains” to write books
  • How to build subtle pressure
  • How to naturally incorporate exposition
  • How to use a rolling outline
  • Why finding your voice takes time

J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Zach Bohannon –

Best of BookTook – 

Gregg Hurwitz –

Dark Horse

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  

    Fascinating interview today. I am editing a Reacher style novel at the moment. I’m not sure I would go as far as Gregg to do the research especially with the choke holds and the cults. But I agree that writers who write about guns should do their research. As ex-army I get annoyed when writers, even on the BBC, confuse revolvers with pistols and forget that occasionally one needs to reload a gun etc.
    You discussed ‘The Martian’ research but there were a lot of factual errors. One even I noticed was the storm. The atmosphere on Mars is so thin that a fast wind will be felt like a gentle breeze only and certainly would not knock anything down. I believe Martin Weir knew this and chose to ignore it as he needed a storm for his plot; so he did the research and applied the ‘it’s fiction’ rule.
    I’ve always wondered about cults. In 1979 I was backpacking along the East coast and staying in a youth hostel in Washington; lovely city. I was chatting up a German girl in the Youth Hostel. I asked her if she would like to go out for a meal (I was a 21 year old squaddie – it’s what we did…) She reluctantly (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) declined because she had already been invited out for a meal. Her invitees arrived (two attractive young women). They asked me if I wanted to go with them. After a nanosecond of thought I accepted. Was I being naïve or unrealistically dreaming of what could happen? We were taken to a house somewhere in Washington. A Moonie house – yes I was disappointed. After a cheap potato salad, a singsong we had a talk about farms they owned. They encouraged us (around 50 young tourists in the room) to go with them to work on their farms and have fun. Although we don’t have many cults in the UK I knew what the Moonies were. I was able to encourage a couple of older ‘gentlemen’ definitely not the Moonie type, to give me a lift back to the Youth Hostel. My German friend chose to stay, despite my warnings… I’ve always wondered what happened to her.
    Great show.

    1. J. Thorn

      2 years ago  

      I can only imagine some of the crazy things you did in your youth!

      Thanks for listening.

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