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 Mystery Writer Tana French Writes
The New York Times bestselling crime novelist, Tana French, took a break to talk with me about her early training as an actress, her definition of creativity, and how to write through the tough times.
"I didn't know if I could write a book. I'd written short stories and really galactically bad teenager poetry, but I'd never tried to write a book before." — Tana French
The author has written eight mystery novels and is considered a master of suspense and the modern psychological thriller. Her work has been compared to writers including James Ellroy and Donna Tartt, and has been called "incandescent" by Stephen King, and "absolutely mesmerizing" by Gillian Flynn.
Her novels have sold over three million copies and won numerous awards, including the Edgar and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction.
Her latest bestseller, The Searcher, is her second stand-alone novel, and she was described by The Washington Post as "...the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years."
Stay tuned for a clip from The Searcher audiobook at the break, “... excerpted courtesy [of] Penguin Random House Audio ... read by Roger Clark.”
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Tana French and I discussed: Her "galactically" bad poetry The archaeological dig that inspired “In the Woods,” her Edgar-winning 2007 debut novel How she came to riff on the Western genre in her latest And why writers need to fight off the struggle of isolation Show Notes: TanaFrench.com The Searcher: A Novel by Tana French [Amazon] Tana French Amazon page The Essential Tana French, The New York Times Tana French on FaceBook Kelton Reid on Twitter
How NY Times Bestselling Novelist Ace Atkins Writes
The New York Times bestselling Southern crime writer, Ace Atkins, took a minute to talk with me about his superhero origins as a journalist, the complicated, dark history of the American South, and the challenge and thrill of changing POVs in the novel.
"Make sure you're picking [your genre and subject] for the right reason, that you're picking something that's your personal obsession. When you do that you're never really working, you're really just having fun." — Ace Atkins
The author has written 26 books, including ten in his country noir, Quinn Colson series, and eight bestselling novels in the continuation of Robert B. Parker’s iconic Spenser series. He has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar three times.
HBO recently optioned his Quinn Colson novels for a series that's currently in development and Ace's second novel for the Robert B. Parker estate, Wonderland, was made into the film "Spenser Confidential" starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Peter Berg.
The former newspaper reporter (and SEC football player) also writes essays and investigative pieces for publications including Garden & Gun, The Wall Street Journal, and Outside Magazine.
The Revelators is the 10th Quinn Colson Novel a series Men’s Journal called, "The Deep South’s true detective," and NY Times bestselling author Megan Abbott dubbed, “Ace Atkins’ Quinn Colson series is, quite simply, the best in crime fiction today..."
Stay tuned for a clip from The Revelators audiobook at the break, “... excerpted courtesy [of] Penguin Random House Audio ... read by MacLeod Andrews.”
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Ace Atkins and I discussed: How his writing has been influenced by '70s noir Why his latest work echoes social issues of the deep South The music that helps him create Dinner with Dashiell Hammett And how to pick the best genre for your writing voice! Show Notes: AceAtkins.com The Revelators (A Quinn Colson Novel) by Ace Atkins[Amazon] Ace Atkins on FaceBook Ace Atkins on Instagram Ace Atkins on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Laurell K. Hamilton Writes
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of paranormal fiction, Laurell K. Hamilton, took a break to talk with me about why her first fantasy novel nearly tanked her career, some of the systems that go into her world-building, and why writers need to stay off the internet and protect their writing time.
"I am very much a believer that if my characters have a better idea then that's magic. They've become alive enough to argue with me, to have an opinion. And I don't squash my own magic." — Laurell K. Hamilton
The trailblazing, genre-bending author of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, and the Merry Gentry series, is considered an influential pioneer to the urban-fantasy genre. Laurell has sold more than 20 million books worldwide.
The 27th novel in her wildly popular Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series is Sucker Punch, a mash-up of her signature blend of
mystery, magic, horror, and romance.
Fellow #1 New York Times bestselling author, Charlaine Harris, said of the author, "Hamilton remains one of the most inventive and exciting writers in the paranormal field."
Stay tuned for a clip from the Sucker Punch audiobook at the break, “... excerpted courtesy [of] Penguin Random House Audio ... read by Kimberly Alexis.”
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Laurell K. Hamilton and I discussed: How she found her trailblazing, genre-busting style Why you have to be passionate to sustain a series How her characters take over the plot if they have better ideas On what unsettles her and how it "goes into the soup" And how to make more pages! Show Notes:
LaurellKHamilton.com Sucker Punch (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) by Laurell K. Hamilton [Amazon] Laurell K. Hamilton on FaceBook Laurell K. Hamilton on Instagram Laurell K. Hamilton on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
How to Live to 100 with Science Journalist Marta Zaraska
The lauded science journalist and author, Marta Zaraska, spoke with me about the impacts of loneliness on your health, why we need to think about aging earlier, and how smartphones ruin relationships.
"Too much concentration on our smartphones is definitely damaging our health. The reason for that is that it tends to damage our relationships ." — Marta Zaraska
Marta is the author of two non-fiction books (including Meathooked and Growing Young) two literary novels, and has contributed to two travel books published by National Geographic.
Her latest book is Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100, and is "A smart, research-driven case for why optimism, kindness, and strong social networks will help us live to 100."
Bestselling author Adam Grant said of the book, "If you care about the length and quality of your life but can’t stomach yet another diet or workout routine, this book is for you."
Marta has been published in the Washington Post, Scientific American, New Scientist, The Atlantic, Discover, and her articles and books have been turned into TV programs around the globe.
Note: This interview was recorded at the end of June, 2020.
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Marta Zaraska and I discussed: How she distills the essence of hundreds of research papers into highly-readable prose Why social isolation is so abnormal for humans and the double-edged sword of the pandemic How retirement can have negative side-effects And why introverted writers really only need one good friend Show Notes: Zaraska.com - Marta Zaraska's homepage GrowingYoungTheBook.com Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100 by Marta Zaraska [Amazon] Marta Zaraska on Facebook Marta Zaraska on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
How to 'Hyperfocus' with Productivity Expert Chris Bailey
The internationally bestselling author of The Productivity Project and Hyperfocus, Chris Bailey, took the time to chat with me about tricks for focusing on what matters most, and how writers can cultivate more calm and creativity through uncertain times.
"Tolkien said, 'Not all those who wander are lost.' I would argue that the exact same thing is true for our attention." — Chris Bailey
Fresh out of college Chris took a full year off to study productivity. He posted his experiments to his popular blog, A Life of Productivity, which went on to become the international bestseller, The Productivity Project.
His latest book is Hyperfocus: How to Manage Your Attention in a World of Distraction, "A practical guide to managing your attention--the most powerful resource you have to get stuff done, [and be] more creative."
Chris’s TEDx talk – How to Get Your Brain to Focus – on the subject of Hyperfocus has received over 5.4 million views.
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done said of the book, “Hyperfocus ... is an extraordinary, eye-opening and research-based report of what affects [our attention], and how to take advantage of [it] to achieve greater satisfaction in our lives.”
Chris also co-hosts the podcast Becoming Better with Ardyn Nordstrom, a self-described “nerdy economist,” a show that covers topics as diverse as productivity, procrastination, happiness, gratitude, and disconnecting.
Bailey’s work has received national and international media attention from outlets like the New York Times, Lifehacker, Fast Company, New York Magazine, and many others.
Note: This interview was recorded at the beginning of June, 2020.
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Chris Bailey and I discussed: Some of the neurobiology and behavioral psychology that went into his research and writing Why writers should always carry a notebook (even in the shower) How to stop beating yourself up and be less anxious Why calm is so important to the creative process And a lot more! Show Notes: ALifeofProductivity.com Hyperfocus: How to Manage Your Attention in a World of Distraction by Chris Bailey [Amazon] How to Get Your Brain to Focus | Chris Bailey | TEDxManchester Becoming Better podcast w/ Chris Bailey Chris Bailey on Instagram Chris Bailey on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
How NY Times Bestselling Thriller Author Shari Lapena Writes
The internationally bestselling author of "domestic suspense" thrillers, Shari Lapena, took a few minutes to chat with me about her circuitous path to success, how she subverts the idea of the perfect "white picket fence" family, and her unique process as a novelist.
"I always just start with an idea and write chronologically all the way through to the end. I don't have a plan, but as I go along, ideas present themselves....it's all very organic" — Shari Lapena
She's the author of popular "suburban paranoia" thrillers – including The Couple Next Door and Someone We Know – and multiple New York Times and The Sunday Times (London) bestsellers.
The Couple Next Door was an international breakout and New York Times bestseller for an astounding 23 consecutive weeks. Her books have been sold in 37 countries and sold more than seven million copies worldwide.
Her latest is The End of Her, a book that "... will have readers questioning their spouse’s past and their own judgment as well."
#1 NY Times bestselling author Ruth Ware said of the book, “No one does suburban paranoia like Shari Lapena — this slowly unfurling nightmare will have you biting your nails until the end.”
Note: This interview was recorded at the end of July, 2020.
Please help us learn more about you by completing this short 7-question survey If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In this file Shari Lapena and I discussed: How her process starts from the kernel of a perfect murder Why she intentionally starts out not knowing the ending to her novels Her work ethic, daily routines, and inspiration And rules and no-nonsense advice to getting words on the page Show Notes: ShariLapena.com The End of Her: A Novel by Shari Lapena [Amazon] Shari Lapena on FaceBook Shari Lapena on Instagram Shari Lapena on Twitter Kelton Reid on Twitter
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I found this podcast looking for something to put on as background noise. I love it and always listen when I work on my writing. Hearing the experiences of other writers and authors is very interesting and sometimes inspiring. I also really enjoy hearing about their writing process and the process successful writers use to make their work.
Kelton, host of The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience podcast, highlight all aspects of author and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!