Listen to some of Josie's latest Author Provocateur podcasts:
According to internationally bestselling author David Baldacci, when you’ve written as many books as he has—ten series, or a total of thirty books, and counting; and another twelve stand-alone novels—there is one way to keep his writing razor-sharp: “Start from Square One: create a new character, a new series—a new world.”
With his latest novel, LONG ROAD TO MERCY, Baldacci has done just that. His new protagonist, female FBI agent Atlee Pine, must cover a desolate Far West outpost on her own. And although its size is intimidating—it includes Grand Canyon National Park—Atlee is strongly motivated to succeed. She sees it as a way to avenge the tragic death of her twin sister, Mercy, who was abducted by a serial killer when the girls were only six years old.
David and I talked about his process in creating new, complex characters and weaving real-time geopolitical incidents into a heart-pounding plot.
The iconic loner anti-hero, Jack Reacher, has made thriller writer Lee Child an internationally renowned author. Child’s debut novel, Killing Floor—the first of 23 Reach books—won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery. The 9th novel, THE ENEMY, won both the Barry and the Nero awards for Best Novel and became a film starring Tom Cruise.
I interviewed Lee about the latest book in the series, PAST TENSE, in which a turn in the road takes Jack to his long-deceased father’s hometown, where the ghosts of his past aren’t necessarily dead and buried.
In the 10th novel in New York Times best-selling novelist Deborah Coonts’ series, LUCKY CE SOIR, Coont’s heroine, a fixer at the mythical and very posh Vegas Strip hotel, the Babylon, puts her business life on hold in order to meet the parents of her fiancé, the noted French chef Jean-Charles Boucle, only to stumble into a murder mystery that might destroy the Bouclet family’s reputation in the high-stakes industry of top-flight French wines.
In New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s latest thriller, A COLD TRAIL, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite returns home to Cedar Grove, where a brutal murder and her haunted past come to a crossroads.
There her husband, lawyer Dan O’Leary, is drawn into representing a local merchant whose business is jeopardized by the town’s revitalization. At the same time Tracy is urged by the local Police Department to put her own skills to work on a new case: the brutal murder of the new police chief’s wife who was also local reporter investigating a cold-case slaying of a young woman.
As Tracy’s and Dan’s cases crisscross, Tracy may have put everyone she loves at risk.
New York Times best-selling author Kristan Higgins’ eighteenth novel, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, follows three women—best pals Emerson, Marley, and Georgia—whose lifetime battles with obesity were the bonds that brought them together. The death of one provides the catalyst for self discovery, change, and acceptance for the other two.
If you’re a novelist, the best way to make lemonade from a lemon of a non-fiction book deal gone awry is to repurpose it into a thriller that garners numerous enthusiastic reviews and a slot several best-sellers’ lists.
With her latest stand-alone novel, TRUST ME, Five-time Agatha award-winner Hank Phillippi Ryan has done exactly that. I talked to her about this latest thriller as well as how she varies her process when writing a stand-alone novel as opposed to her Jane Ryland series.
James Rollins has written enough bestselling novels to fill a tall bookcase. In most of them, a historical event, or artifact, is the catalyst for a modern-day catastrophe. Sometimes Rollins will find the perfect plot concept from reading an article. Sometimes it’s sparked from his travels. For his latest novel, CRUCIBLE, it came from a place that even surprised him. (You'll have to hear the interview to find out where.)
In CRUCIBLE, the Spanish Inquisition is the catalyst for a religious cult's modern-day witch hunt in the not-too-distant-future. Fair warning: Should the events depicted in this novel come to pass and scientists soon develop an artificial intelligence capable of warp-speed learning capacity, fact will be much scarier than fiction.
Today's guest is the prolific suspense novelist Debra Webb, a USA-Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author with over one hundred and fifty books to her name.
Debra’s latest novel, THE SECRETS WE BURY, is the first in a new romantic suspense series whose protagonist, Dr. Rowan Dupont—formally Nashville Police Department’s forensic psychologist—also happens to be an undertaker’s daughter.
Rowan, who comes from the small town of Winchester Tennessee, is haunted by the mysterious drowning death of her twin sister. Between her mother’s subsequent suicide and the recent murder of her father, returning to Winchester to run the funeral home feels fitting—even if it leaves her vulnerable to an obsessive serial killer.
Debra and I not only discussed her plotting and how her own past affects her writing, she also has sage advice to authors just starting out: “If what you write is what readers want to read, don't deviate from what works best for them—and for you.”