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!

Writing Fresh and Believable Fiction with ITW Interim Executive Director, KJ Howe

International thriller author KJ Howe has mastered the art of writing fresh and believable fiction. Armed with an extensive knowledge of her subject matter and a commitment to shedding light on underrepresented character traits, she is able to write novels that feel impressively accurate and relatable. KJ is well known for her Freedom Broker series, which follows the elite hostage negotiator Thea Paris as she takes on the world’s most dangerous kidnapping cases. She is also the Interim Executive Director of the International Thriller Writers organization and has previously been the Executive Director of ThrillerFest. Howe’s most recent publication, Skyjack, is available now.


While honing her fiction skills, KJ worked as a medical, health, and fitness writer. She then became involved with the International Thriller Writers as the Executive Director of ThrillerFest, the organization’s annual conference held every July in New York City. In preparation for writing THE FREEDOM BROKER series, which focuses on elite kidnap negotiator Thea Paris, KJ spent extensive time researching the dark world of kidnapping. She has interviewed former hostages, negotiators, hostage reintegration experts, special forces operatives, and K&R insurance executives.

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:

  • How to write something fresh and novel
  • The importance of accuracy and believability
  • Why you need to learn from authors in other genres
  • How to work out plot issues
  • How to craft relatable characters
  • Why non-fiction elements are still important in when writing fiction


J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

The Career Author Summit 2021 – 

KJ Howe –

The Freedom Broker by KJ Howe –

Skyjack by KJ Howe –

Music by Nicorus – 

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

Contact – 

“Muggable” quote by Harley Christensen –

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


  1. Christopher Wills

    4 years ago  

    Great interview today. Here’s something you can pass on to your new friend, Kim. A moody atmospheric Swedish cop in a novel and TV series called Wallander is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes during the series then later develops Alzheimer’s, following his dad. This was written by Henning Mankell who sadly died in 2015. The original Swedish subtitled TV series became a huge hit here in the UK and later the BBC filmed some episodes with Kenneth Branagh as the lead character.
    Love to get to ThrillerFest one year after seeing James and Mark filming there a couple of years ago.
    As a Poly-reader I’ve always thought the idea of reading different genres helps strengthen one’s overall writing skills. As J D says reading Romance helps one to write relationships and in many genre stories there is an element of romance even if it is not the main story.

  2. Jacob Patric

    4 years ago  

    Step One: JD says he counts his Ums.

    Step Two: I start counting his Ums, too.

    Step Three: He goes a few sentences without any Ums.

    Step Four: I realize I haven’t been listening to what JD was actually saying. I skip back 30 seconds to listen again.

    Wonderful show!

  3. S.A. Schneider

    4 years ago  

    JD – you said at the end that you are very direct and asked a couple authors about something that ended up being a sore spot for that author. You didn’t mean to, you just wanted to solve a problem you had.
    I really think this is a trait of autism or similar. I’ve thought about this a lot and come to realize that the spectrum isn’t one line and you are on one end or the other. The spectrum is the aggregate of many traits of a person. This direct I have a question/need an answer seems to be one of them. I do it too and my stepson with asperger’s does. Saw it a lot on Big Bang with Sheldon and people laugh because ‘ha ha, how could he do that?’ but my wife looks at me and is like ‘oh, yeah, you do that’.

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