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!

David Ellis knows how to write successful suspense into his novels. With twists and turns frequenting his pages, he puts forth special effort to make sure his plots are both complex and head-scratching while remaining decipherable to his average reader. David is a NYT bestseller of ten standalone crime novels and has co-authored eight novels with James Patterson. To purchase his latest novel, Look Closer, follow the link below.


David Ellis is a judge and an Edgar-award-winning author of nine novels of crime fiction, as well as five books co-authored with James Patterson. In December, 2014, Dave was sworn in as the youngest-serving Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District. Dave currently lives outside Chicago with his wife and three children.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why David builds characters before plot
  • Why he isn’t afraid to keep pivoting
  • How his work as a judge influences his writing
  • Why he starts writing at 3am
  • What it’s like writing with James Patterson


J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Zach Bohannon –

Wonder Lodge – 

2022 Colorado Gold Writers Conference – 

Tess Gerritsen – 

Rizzoli & Isles: Listen to Me: A Novel 

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  

    Interesting interview today. It may be that one of the reasons some chapters are getting shorter is because writers are now writing a chapter as a scene whereas in the past a chapter might have contained 2, 3 or more scenes.
    I like David’s idea of manipulating the reader. David possibly meant manipulating what the reader knows about the story. But I’ve always believed that being able to manipulate a reader’s emotions – not a character’s emotions – is a powerful writing tool and a constituent part of many bestsellers. It’s the readers emotions, long after reading a book, that make them recommend a book to their friends.
    Great show. Cue ‘The Harry Lime Theme’ played on the Zither, who was the Third Man you had on the show today?

    1. J. Thorn

      2 years ago  

      Some random stranger. Thanks for listening!

  2. Patrick O'Donnell

    2 years ago  

    Outstanding interview! Get up and write at 3:30 am every morning. That is discipline! It has certainly paid dividends for him.

    1. J. Thorn

      2 years ago  


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