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 Rounder Characters with Andy Weir, #1 NY Times Bestselling Author of The Martian

Bestseller Andy Weir has made a special effort to make the characters in his latest release, Project Hail Mary, as rounded out as possible. By working off of past criticism, like the need to avoid writing characters based on his own personality and focus on relatability while including reasonable flaws, he has both increased the depth of his characters and consequently strengthened his story arc. Andy has been writing for over seven years and is best known for his debut novel, The Martian, which topped the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into a hit film starring Matt Damon. To order Project Hail Mary, follow the link below.


ANDY WEIR built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail.

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:

  • Andy’s writing process
  • Why to avoid self-based characters
  • How to write a flawed character that is still likeable
  • How to balance plot depth and character depth
  • When to write a short story vs. a longform piece


J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Zach Bohannon –

Andy Weir –

Project Hail Mary

Story Rubric –  

Nonfic Rubric –  

The Career Author Summit 2021 – 

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

    3 years ago  

    My takeaway today is to hear a bestselling writer wanting to improve his writing.
    I’m always comforted to hear writers getting serious about improving their writing and not just looking for today’s shiny object shortcut hack to ‘success’.
    Bestselling books do not come from fulfilling a tick-list of tropes, a good cover, active over passive and a Facebook debate about punctuation. Bestselling books have a bestselling story with bestselling characters in bestselling settings, revealed by excellent sentences in excellent paragraphs and an excellent ending and they require serious application and hard work by the writer.
    I’ve pre-ordered the Stephen King book and a paperback version of Andy’s book; as both sound good to me. Like Zach, I am happy to ditch a book if it doesn’t hold me because there are far too many good books out there to read.
    Great show today.

    1. J. Thorn

      3 years ago  

      So true! I love Andy’s honesty and ambition.

  2. Patrick O'Donnell

    3 years ago  

    Loved this show. You guys keep coming up with incredible guests and topics. Andy Weir is such a down-to-earth kind of guy (pun intended).

    Keep up the good work! Btw, now I have to go buy his latest book. It seems way too good not to.

    1. J. Thorn

      3 years ago  

      It’s a great book. Thanks for listening!

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