317 episodes

Kelton Reid studies the habits, habitats, and brains of a wide spectrum of renowned writers to learn their secrets of productivity and creativity. Tune in each week to learn how great writers keep the ink flowing, the cursor moving, and avoid block. Explore our archives at writerfiles.fm to find interviews with notable guests that include bestselling authors John Scalzi (Old Mans War), Greg Iles (Natchez Burning), Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City), Kevin Kelly (founder of WIRED magazine), Emma Donoghue (Oscar Nominee for Room), Maria Konnikova (The Confidence Game), Andy Weir (The Martian), Dan Buettner (The Blue Zones), Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist), Daniel Pink (When), and serial guest hosts: neuroscientist Michael Grybko, journalist Adam Skolnick, and short story writer Robert Bruce.

The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience Podglomerate

    • Arts
    • 4.5 • 165 Ratings

Kelton Reid studies the habits, habitats, and brains of a wide spectrum of renowned writers to learn their secrets of productivity and creativity. Tune in each week to learn how great writers keep the ink flowing, the cursor moving, and avoid block. Explore our archives at writerfiles.fm to find interviews with notable guests that include bestselling authors John Scalzi (Old Mans War), Greg Iles (Natchez Burning), Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City), Kevin Kelly (founder of WIRED magazine), Emma Donoghue (Oscar Nominee for Room), Maria Konnikova (The Confidence Game), Andy Weir (The Martian), Dan Buettner (The Blue Zones), Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist), Daniel Pink (When), and serial guest hosts: neuroscientist Michael Grybko, journalist Adam Skolnick, and short story writer Robert Bruce.

    How NY Times Bestselling Debut Novelist Ana Reyes Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Debut Novelist Ana Reyes Writes

    New York Times bestselling debut author, Ana Reyes, spoke with me about the importance of the writing community, the evolution of a haunting tale from graduate thesis to instant bestseller, and her first thriller “The House in the Pines.”
    Ana Reyes is the bestselling author of Reese's Book Club pick The House in the Pines, her debut psychological thriller.
    Described by New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager as, "Powerfully eerie and atmospheric, The House in the Pines is a compelling mix of psychological thriller and dark fairy tale."
    An Amazon Best Book of January 2023 review also described it as “... an absorbing, cleverly plotted story of female friendship, loyalty repaid, maternal love, and the powerful desire to unlock secrets, even in the face of evil.”
    Ana Reyes has an MFA from Louisiana State University and her work has appeared in Bodega, Pear Noir!, The New Delta Review, and others.
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    In this file Ana Reyes and I discussed:

    How her work and process evolved over the seven years to publication

    Writing through and into the symptoms of withdrawal

    Why teaching is the best education for writers

    Weaving cultural heritage and magical realism into her work

    Embracing the thriller genre

    And a lot more!

    Show Notes:

    anareyeswriter.com


    The House in the Pines a Novel By Ana Reyes (Amazon)

    Ana Reyes on Instagram

    Ana Reyes on Facebook

    Ana Reyes on Twitter

    Kelton Reid on Twitter


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    • 32 min
    How NY Times Bestselling Horror Writer Grady Hendrix Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Horror Writer Grady Hendrix Writes

    Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author and screenwriter, Grady Hendrix, spoke with me about getting serious about horror, turning genre tropes on their head, and his latest “How to Sell a Haunted House.”
    Grady Hendrix is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and journalist best known for My Best Friend’s Exorcism (adapted into a feature film by Amazon Studios), and the New York Times bestsellers The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, and The Final Girl Support Group.
    His latest is How to Sell a Haunted House, an #1 Indie Next List pick, described as a “...novel that explores the way your past—and your family—can haunt you like nothing else.” The New York Times called it a “…gripping, wildly entertaining exploration of childhood horrors,” and Esquire called it “... an authentically frightening, genuinely funny reconfiguration of what a haunted house can be.”
    New York Times bestselling author Chuck Wendig said of the book, “A spirited nightmare story about death, but also, what comes after: grief, guilt, family secrets, and estate administration. Oh, also, did I mention the evil puppets?” 
    Grady Hendrix’s work is currently in multiple phases of adaptation at HBO and others, for both feature film and streaming.
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    In this file Grady Hendrix and I discussed:

    How his novel about a haunted Scandinavian furniture store launched his fiction career

    Perseverance and writing what you know

    Stripping down the horror genre to its core

    The importance of sucky drafts 

    Why haunted house stories are always about families

    And a lot more!

    Show Notes:


    How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix (Amazon)

    Grady Hendrix Amazon Author Page

    Gradyhendrix.com

    The Smell of Fear - How To Sell A Haunted House Candle

    Grady Hendrix on Facebook

    Grady Hendrix on Twitter

    Kelton Reid on Twitter


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    • 36 min
    How Academy Award-Nominated Screenwriter & Novelist Iris Yamashita Writes

    How Academy Award-Nominated Screenwriter & Novelist Iris Yamashita Writes

    Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and debut novelist, Iris Yamashita, spoke to me about working with Clint Eastwood, her journey from Hollywood to publishing, and falling down the rabbit hole with her first mystery “City Under One Roof.”
    Iris Yamashita has been working in Hollywood for over 15 years and was nominated for a “Best Original Screenplay” Oscar for the movie Letters from Iwo Jima (directed by Clint Eastwood).
    Her debut novel is City Under One Roof, described as “Alice in Wonderland meets Fargo,” and, “The ultimate locked room mystery, [the novel] drops readers into an isolated, snowy town and is perfect for fans of Twin Peaks, Mare of Easttown, and Broadchurch.”
    A Publishers Weekly starred review noted, “Unusual topography plays a major role in screenwriter Yamashita’s atmospherically charged debut….This distinctively original perspective on a ‘community of stragglers, oddballs, and recluses’ heralds the arrival of a major new talent.”
    #1 New York Times bestselling author C.J. Box called the book, “A compulsive page-turner that’s both atmospheric and claustrophobic at the same time.”
    Iris continues to work in Hollywood, developing for both film and streaming media. She has taught screenwriting at UCLA and the American Film Institute.
    Stay tuned until the end of the show for a preview of the Audiobook, excerpted courtesy Penguin Random House Audio from City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita, read by Aspen Vincent, Shannon Tyo, and Anna Caputo.
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    In this file Iris Yamashita and I discussed:

    How she kept her dream of becoming a novelist alive

    The reverse path from TV pilot to novel

    What her transition from the movie world to the book world was like

    Why nothing is precious

    Vomit drafting

    Finding flow state versus slow state

    And a lot more!

    Show Notes:


    City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita (Amazon)

    www.irisyamashita.com

    Iris Yamashita on Facebook

    Iris Yamashita on Instagram

    Kelton Reid on Twitter


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    • 37 min
    How Acclaimed Debut Novelist Kai Thomas Writes

    How Acclaimed Debut Novelist Kai Thomas Writes

    Acclaimed debut novelist, Kai Thomas, spoke to me about writing historical fiction that interweaves Black and Indigenous cultures, the power of storytelling, keeping grounded in his work, and his novel “In the Upper Country.”
    Kai Thomas is a writer, carpenter, and land steward of Soul Fire Farm a community-centered “… farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system.”
    His debut novel is In the Upper Country and described as “... an unforgettable story that unearths the tangled fates of two resilient women from different generations with different pasts …. as they reveal the deeply connected histories of Black and Indigenous peoples of North America and their relationship to the land around them.”
    A Publishers Weekly starred review called it, “... [a] mesmerizing debut [that] explores freedom, family, and the interconnections between white, Black, and Indigenous communities in 1859 Canada….”
    Stay calm and write on ...
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    [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen]
    In this file Kai Thomas and I discussed:

    How an MFA program helped him find his confidence as a writer

    The importance of mentorship, peer evaluation, and fiction workshops for honing his debut

    Gleaning inspiration from his own cultural heritage and an old photograph

    Exploring lesser-known chapters of history

    Finding a balance between research and writing

    Trusting the process

    And a lot more!

    Show Notes:


    In the Upper Country by Kai Thomas (Amazon)

    KaiThomasAuthor.com

    SOUL FIRE FARM

    Kelton Reid on Twitter


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    • 41 min
    How NY Times Bestselling Author Jayne Ann Krentz Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Author Jayne Ann Krentz Writes

    Award-winning and NY Times bestselling author, Jayne Ann Krentz, spoke to me about how persistence has defined her career, why you need to describe your core story in three words, and her latest thriller, “Sleep No More.”
    Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of over 50 consecutive New York Times bestsellers with over 40 million copies of her books in print. She currently writes under three pseudonyms and her award-winning books have earned her the title of “Queen of Romantic Suspense.”
    Her latest is Sleep No More, the first novel of the Lost Night Files series, described as a “... new romantic suspense trilogy about a night that changed three women forever—but that none of them can remember.”
    Kirkus Reviews called the book, “A richly layered mystery full of pleasing paranormal elements from a master of the genre,” and Booklist wrote, in a starred review, “[Krentz] skillfully [taps] into the current vogue for true-crime podcasts with her heroine’s side hustle while at the same giving a clever nod to the eternal appeal of the Gothic …”
    Jayne Ann earned a BA in history from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to obtain a Master’s degree in library science from San Jose State University in California.
    Stay calm and write on ...
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    [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen]
    In this file Jayne Ann Krentz and I discussed:

    Her warnings against using multiple pseudonyms

    How she invented the Futuristic Romance subgenre

    Finding her niche and why each writer has a unique universe

    Why she doesn't love police procedurals

    Leaning into dreams and the paranormal

    And a lot more!

    Show Notes:

    JayneAnnKrentz.com


    Sleep No More by Jayne Ann Krentz (Amazon)

    Jayne Ann Krentz Amazon Author Page

    Jayne Ann Krentz on Instagram

    Jayne Ann Krentz on Facebook

    Jayne Ann Krentz Twitter

    Kelton Reid on Twitter


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    • 36 min
    How to Ghostwrite a Bestseller with Author Adam Skolnick: Part Three

    How to Ghostwrite a Bestseller with Author Adam Skolnick: Part Three

    Award-winning indie journalist and author, Adam Skolnick, returns to discuss the “virus of dissatisfaction,” writing for modern-day samurai David Goggins, and their latest journey to bestseller with “Never Finished,” the sequel to a bestselling memoir.
    Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within is the follow-up to Can’t Hurt Me, David Goggins’ smash hit memoir. It’s been described as a tour of David’s “... Mental Lab, where he developed the philosophy, psychology, and strategies that enabled him to learn that what he thought was his limit was only his beginning and that the quest for greatness is unending.”
    Adam is an award-winning independent journalist and author covering adventure sports, environmental issues, and civil rights for outlets such as The New York Times, Outside, ESPN, BBC, and Men’s Health, among others. 
    Adam is also the author of One Breath, has narrated David Goggins’ bestselling audiobooks, and co-hosts The Rich Roll Podcast, on the "Roll On" edition.
    This is the last episode of the year but we’ll be back soon with more inspiration from your favorite authors. Happy Holidays!
    Stay calm and write on ...
    [Discover The Writer Files Extra: Get 'The Writer Files' Podcast Delivered Straight to Your Inbox at writerfiles.fm]
    [If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click FOLLOW to automatically see new interviews. And drop us a rating or a review wherever you listen]
    In Part Three of this file Adam Skolnick and I discussed:

    How the sequel to a memoir hit #1 on Amazon and Audible in its week

    Battling Michelle Obama (once again)

    The pressure of publishing a follow-up to a longtime bestseller 

    “Goggins Grad School” and the pursuit of greatness

    Why ghostwriters need to stay out of the way, be a servant to the story…

    And a lot more!

    Show Notes:

    AdamSkolnick.com


    Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within – by David Goggins (Amazon)


    Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – by David Goggins (Amazon)

    Adam Skolnick on Instagram

    Adam Skolnick on The Rich Roll Podcast

    A Mostly Uncensored Chat with Award-Winning Journo Adam Skolnick

    21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers: Part One

    21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers: Part Two

    Kelton Reid on Twitter


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    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
165 Ratings

165 Ratings

1979Camaro ,

My Favorite Podcast on Writing

Just began listening to the show, starting from the first episodes and absolutely love it. Such a fantastic show for writers.

James McAndrew ,

The Best

Consistently the best podcast for aspiring writers. High-powered guests, with poignant questions posed by an intelligent host.

irma0408 ,

Best podcast for aspiring writers

This is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to that gets into the behind the scenes of accomplished writers’ habits and working lives. And an additional benefit - Kelton’s smooth husky voice is like honey melting the jagged crevices off an English muffin.
One suggestion for my own interest, wish that every author/writer was asked what books they are currently reading, or what books on writing made them biggest impact in their writing journey. I’m always looking for book recommendations!
Thanks for all the work you do Kelton!

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