The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, And Neuroscience



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 to find interviews with notable guests that include bestselling authors John Scalzi (Old Man's 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 Critically Acclaimed Novelist Erik Raschke Writes

    How Critically Acclaimed Novelist Erik Raschke Writes

    21/04/2021 Duração: 01h04min

    #PodcastersForJustice Critically acclaimed novelist, short story writer, and educator, Erik Raschke, stopped by this week to talk about coming-of-age in Denver, Colorado, how The Beat Generation influenced his writing, and how your children consume you. Erik Raschke is a native to Denver, Colorado – and admittedly, one of my oldest friends. He became a dual Dutch and American citizen in 2013, teaches writing at the University of Amsterdam and is a certified New York public school teacher. Erik's first novel, The Book of Samuel, was translated into Italian and nominated for the prestigious Printz award. His short story, Winch (Portland Review), was nominated for the 2018 Best American Short Stories. His latest is To the Mountain, a novel described as "... an absorbing tale of sacrifice, hope, and the bond between father and son." NY Times bestselling author Margaret Coel called the book, “A deeply affecting tale of a father’s love for his autistic son ... Raschke’s lyrical prose evokes both the awesome wilder

  • How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Mark Greaney Writes

    How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Mark Greaney Writes

    14/04/2021 Duração: 29min

    #PodcastersForJustice The #1 New York Times bestselling author, Mark Greaney, dropped by to chat about hanging out with Tom Clancy at The Pentagon, the elements of a great spy novel, and the latest in The Gray Man series. "Even if you finish a whole book and it doesn't get published, I promise you you're a much better author at the end of that process than you were at the beginning..." – Mark Greaney Mark's debut international thriller, The Gray Man, was published in 2009 and became a national bestseller and highly sought-after Hollywood property. He's released ten in that series to date including the #1 New York Times bestseller One Minute Out. The Gray Man series has drawn comparisons to giants of the field including Brad Thor, Daniel Silva, and – of course – Tom Clancy. Mark is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author or co-author of seven Tom Clancy novels – he co-wrote Clancy’s final three Jack Ryan thrillers prior to his passing. Mark's latest outing with The Gray Man is Relentless, a book best

  • How to Research Historical Fiction with Award-Winning Author Patrick Hicks

    How to Research Historical Fiction with Award-Winning Author Patrick Hicks

    07/04/2021 Duração: 36min

    #PodcastersForJustice Award-winning author, poet, and Emmy-nominee, Patrick Hicks, joined me this week to talk about his unique research process, how stories choose their authors, and how to talk about The Holocaust. "Whatever scares you to write... that's what you should be writing." – Patrick Hicks Patrick is the award-winning author of over ten books, including The Collector of Names, Adoptable, This London, and the critically acclaimed novel, The Commandant of Lubizec. He is the Writer-in-Residence at Augustana University as well as a faculty member at the MFA program at Sierra Nevada University. He has been published widely in literary journals including Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Guernica, The Utne Reader, and many others. His poetry has appeared on NPR, The PBS NewsHour, and American Life in Poetry. The Emmy-nominated writer also hosts a weekly radio broadcast Poetry from Studio 47 that airs on NPR affiliates. Note: I’m cooking up some extras for fans of the show in the coming weeks you won’t w

  • How Award-Winning Artist  Author Jason Naylor Writes

    How Award-Winning Artist & Author Jason Naylor Writes

    25/03/2021 Duração: 32min

    #BoulderStrong Brooklyn-based designer, artist, and creative director, Jason Naylor, rapped with me about his mission to inspire hope, how to write bite-sized wisdom for an attention-starved world, and why "love is the answer to everything." “Be yourself, be brave, be proud of who you are, be kind, be loving, be happy, and be colorful.” – Jason Naylor As a designer, Jason has won two CLIO bronze medals and a Golden Novum Design Award. But it's his "live life colorfully" credo and independent artwork that have found him fame. Jason's popularity has grown during the pandemic through his inspiring and intensely colorful murals. Jason has worked around the world to brighten communities through his public art installations. His first book is Live Life Colorfully: 99 Ideas to Add Joy, Positivity, and Creativity to Your Life, a "...quirky, illustrated mix of inspiring words, tips and tricks, and challenges from [the] award-winning artist." You may recognize his distinctive style from his collaborations with bran

  • How NY Times Bestselling Author Matt Haig Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Author Matt Haig Writes

    17/03/2021 Duração: 36min

    #PodcastersForJustice Internationally bestselling author, Matt Haig, spoke with me about how the novelist became an accidental "mental health expert," why writers need resilience, and the process behind The Midnight Library. "The only reader you're ever going to truly know ... is yourself." – Matt Haig Matt's the author of 20 books including the #1 bestselling memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, five novels – including How to Stop Time – and several award-winning children’s books. His work has been translated into over 40 languages. His latest novel is The Midnight Library, a runaway, #1 bestseller and reader favorite of 2020. It was a Goodreads Choice Awards Best Fiction Book of 2020, a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, Amazon, the New York Public Library, among many others. The New York Times said of the book, "An absorbing ... vision of limitless possibility, of new roads taken, of new lives lived, of a whole different world available to us somehow, somewhere, [perhaps] exactly what’s wanted in

  • How Bestselling Thriller Writer Nick Petrie Writes

    How Bestselling Thriller Writer Nick Petrie Writes

    11/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    #PodcastersForJustice Bestselling novelist, Nick Petrie, spoke with me about keeping your sanity as a writer, the importance of boredom for creativity, and how to write a thriller series. Nick's the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Peter Ash series. His debut novel, The Drifter, won the ITW Thriller and Barry Awards, and was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Hammett Awards. He won a 2016 Literary Award from the Wisconsin Library Association and was named one of Apple’s 10 Writers to Read in 2017. Light It Up was named the Best Thriller of 2018 by Apple Books and has been nominated for a Barry Award. His latest is The Breaker, the sixth in his award-winning series featuring Peter Ash, the war veteran struggling with PTSD who travels the US, "... stumbling into mysteries that only a man with his unique skill set can solve." #1 New York Times bestselling author C.J. Box said of the book, "Nonstop action at a machine-gun pace. If you aren't reading Nick Petrie, now is the time to start." Sta

  • How Award-Winning True Crime Writer Kali White VanBaale Writes

    How Award-Winning True Crime Writer Kali White VanBaale Writes

    24/02/2021 Duração: 41min

    #PodcastersForJustice Award-winning novelist and creative writing professor, Kali White VanBaale, chatted with me about the transition from literary fiction to true crime, her work with the PEN America Prison & Justice Writing program, and taking chances. Kali is an award-winning, Iowa-based author of novels, short stories, and essays. Her novel The Space Between (penned as Kali VanBaale), won an American Book Award, an Independent Publisher’s silver medal for fiction, and was winner of the Fred Bonnie First Novel Award. Her latest is The Monsters We Make (as Kali White), a mystery loosely based on the real-life unsolved "Des Moines paperboy abductions" of the early ‘80s. Pulitzer Prize finalist Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever, said, “[The Monsters We Make] ... kept me on the edge of my seat. I truly did read this remarkable new novel in one sitting.” Kali is a regular contributor to the A&E Network Real Crime blog series, and her short stories and essays have appeared in The Coachella Revi

  • How Writer-Director-Activist Duo Bush+Renz Write

    How Writer-Director-Activist Duo Bush+Renz Write

    18/02/2021 Duração: 33min

    #PodcastersForJustice Writer-director duo and activists, Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz (AKA Bush+Renz), took a timeout to chat with me about storytelling to amplify social justice, hanging out with Jay-Z, their debut feature film "Antebellum," and why you need stamina to make it. “When we conceived A​ntebellum​, we did not – could not – envision the way that systemic racism would break through to force the meaningful conversation we desperately need. But it has.” – Gerard Bush The duo have been together for 12 years and got their start in advertising in Miami. After losing the taste for producing champagne commercials they pivoted to their "... passion for telling powerful stories of the disenfranchised, marginalized, and underrepresented." After their police brutality PSA "Against the Wall," starring Michael B. Jordan, went viral, their paths shifted toward Hollywood. Their chart-topping, timely, debut feature film is "Antebellum" starring Janelle Monae, a "... psychological thriller showcasing the sta

  • How to Submit Your Short Story to Literary Magazines

    How to Submit Your Short Story to Literary Magazines

    11/02/2021 Duração: 50min

    #PodcastersForJustice A unique double-wide lit mag themed episode that includes interviews with two pioneering souls. My first guest is Erik Harper Klass, a writer and the founder of the full-service short story submissions service Submitit. And my second guest is Jenna Faccenda, Founder of Eclipse Lit, a nonprofit literary magazine. Erik Harper Klass is the founder of a unique business, the world's first full-service submissions company for short story writers – He is also a critically acclaimed writer whose work has appeared in a variety of journals and been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes. Erik and I talked about: The sniper vs blunderbuss approach to publishing "Zen and the Art of Rejection" How his unique submission algorithm was designed Why glossy lit mag queries might be a waste of time And how to stagger your submissions In the second segment of the show, I chatted with inspiring Philadelphia native and writer, Jenna Faccenda, Founder of Eclipse Lit. Eclipse Lit is a nonpr

  • How Award-Winning Crime Writer Christopher Chambers Writes

    How Award-Winning Crime Writer Christopher Chambers Writes

    04/02/2021 Duração: 40min

    #PodcastersForJustice Award-winning writer, commentator, and Professor of Media Studies at Georgetown University, Christopher Chambers, chatted with me about why there's never been a better time to break through as a writer of color, unreliable narrators and the 2nd person POV, and writing for Marvel's Black Panther franchise. Christopher Chambers is a professor of media studies and novelist whose books include A Prayer for Deliverance and Sympathy for the Devil, the graphic anthology (with Gary Phillips) The Darker Mask, and PEN/Malamud-nominated story, "Leviathan." His writing was included in the anthology The Obama Inheritance: 15 Stores of Conspiracy Noir, which won numerous awards including the Anthony Award. His latest novel is Scavenger: A Mystery, set in Washington D.C.'s underbelly where "... a Black homeless man must quickly learn the ropes of being a detective after [being framed] for a brutal crime he didn’t commit." Publishers Weekly called the book, a “... no-holds-barred crime novel . . . a 21

  • How NY Times Bestselling Thriller Writer Jeff Lindsay Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Thriller Writer Jeff Lindsay Writes

    27/01/2021 Duração: 26min

    #PodcastersForJustice The international bestselling thriller writer of the Dexter series, Jeff Lindsay, chatted with me about his previous life in the dramatic arts, marrying into literary royalty, and what it's like to hang out with actor Andy Garcia. "I thought I was creating a bad guy. And I was trying to make him just interesting and likeable enough to keep people reading .... I was glad it took off like it did, but it was always a shock to me that people actually liked Dexter." — Jeff Lindsay Jeff is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dexter novels – which debuted in 2004 with Darkly Dreaming Dexter – adapted by Showtime into the popular TV series that ran for eight seasons. His latest novel is Fool Me Twice, second in the Riley Wolfe series, about "... a master thief that targets the wealthiest 0.1 percent." Publishers Weekly said of the series in a starred review, “Fans of the Ocean’s Eleven film franchise will be eager for more.” Jeff has also spent time as an actor, comedian, and playwri

  • How NY Times Bestselling Memoirist Dani Shapiro Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Memoirist Dani Shapiro Writes

    20/01/2021 Duração: 41min

    #PodcastersForJustice Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Dani Shapiro, chatted with me about the Groundhog's Day effect of the pandemic, the transition from fiction to memoir, and the hidden power of Family Secrets. "There's no check the boxes kind of 'career development,' or anything like that, that exists in the creative life. People think that there is, and that they're not doing it right. And there's no right." — Dani Shapiro Dani is the author of 10 books including the instant New York Times bestselling memoir, Inheritance, which was published in 2019. Her other books include the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Inheritance won the 2019 National Jewish Book Award, was named one of Wired’s top Science books of 2019 and a best book of 2019 by Vanity Fair. It was also a book club pick for Now Read This, the PBS NewsHour’s book club with The New York Times. “A meditation on what it means to live in a

  • How NY Times Bestselling Author Craig Johnson Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Author Craig Johnson Writes

    13/01/2021 Duração: 26min

    #PodcastersForJustice The award-winning mystery writer and popular crime novelist, Craig Johnson, spoke with me about his long-running Longmire series, shotgun self-realization, and how to write good books. "How am I ever gonna get seen? Write good books." — Craig Johnson Craig is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the bedrock of the hit Netflix series of the same name. His latest novel is the 16th Sheriff Walt Longmire murder mystery, Next to Last Stand, a story that centers around Custer’s Last Fight, one of the most viewed paintings in American history. "Custer's Last Fight was copied and distributed by Anheuser-Busch at a rate of over two million copies a year and destroyed in a fire at the 7th Cavalry Headquarters in Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1946 . . . Or was it?" In a starred review, Library Journal said of the book, "... Johnson lightens the atmosphere in this complex, thought-provoking mystery that highlights art and Western history, emphasizing the contrast between Nati

  • How International Bestselling Novelist Emily Schultz Writes

    How International Bestselling Novelist Emily Schultz Writes

    05/01/2021 Duração: 28min

    #PodcastersForJustice The internationally bestselling thriller writer, Emily Schultz, spoke with me about recollections of coming of age as a Gen-Xer, her creative process in multiple mediums, and how to funnel emotion onto the page. "You have to be able to take your own emotions and experiences and translate them into a fictional story. If you can pull on the truths that you know, you can bring them to the reader." — Emily Schultz Emily is the co-founder of the literary magazine Joyland and is the author of The Blondes, an international bestseller named a Best Book of 2015 by NPR, BookPage, and Kirkus Reviews. Her latest novel is Little Threats, described as a "...taut whodunit and a haunting snapshot of the effects of a violent crime [that] tells the story of a woman who served 15 years in prison for murder ... and now it's time to find out if she's guilty." The book was named an Apple Books Best of November 2020 pick. Booklist said of the book, "Fans of Tana French, Kimberly Belle, and Orange is the New

  • The State of Publishing 2020 with Hybrid Publisher Jesse Krieger

    The State of Publishing 2020 with Hybrid Publisher Jesse Krieger

    24/12/2020 Duração: 37min

    #PodcastersForJustice Internationally bestselling author, publisher, and founder of Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press, Jesse Krieger, took time to chat with me about disruptions to the publishing industry, the intersection of creativity and commerce, and marketing and promotion strategies for self-published authors. "Learn what you need to know, to do what you love to do, so you can be the person you want to be" — Jesse Krieger Jesse has signed publishing deals on two different continents and navigated the path of becoming a bestselling author twice. He has been featured on over 50 media outlets for his bestselling book Lifestyle Entrepreneur. He has also published 100+ books during his six-year tenure as founder and publisher of Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press, a boutique, hybrid model publishing house. “Their mission is to deliver a world-class publishing experience for authors – which they accomplish through their done-for-you publishing service – focused primarily on personal development, entrepreneurship,

  • How to Design Your Book Cover with Designer  Author Erin Tyler

    How to Design Your Book Cover with Designer & Author Erin Tyler

    08/12/2020 Duração: 33min

    #PodcastersForJustice Celebrated designer, Creative Director of Scribe Media, and author, Erin Tyler, spoke with me about how she overcame childhood trauma to become one of the industry's best book cover designers, why this is such an important time in publishing, and book cover fails to avoid. "My relationship with writing is a private one. It's just something that I do every day. It's almost religious for me. Some people meditate or do yoga. I write." — Erin Tyler Over her 20-year career, Erin has designed book covers for multiple New York Times bestselling authors including James Altucher, Ryan Holiday, David Goggins, and Tucker Max. As Creative Director of Scribe Media she helps manage and support "...the best book cover designers in the game ... to create unforgettable covers for authors." Erin recently illustrated and published her own memoir – The Bad One: A Memoir About Growing Up a Goat (short for scapegoat) – the story of her traumatic childhood. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: We can all h

  • How Award-Winning Debut Novelist Bryan Washington Writes

    How Award-Winning Debut Novelist Bryan Washington Writes

    29/11/2020 Duração: 30min

    #PodcastersForJustice New York Times Notable author, Bryan Washington, dropped by to chat about how his short stories garnered so much acclaim, what cuisine tells us about the larger narrative around sharing a meal, and why writers need to ignore the publishing marketplace. "A reading itself can feel more akin to a set list. You adjust your set list based on the context in which you're performing. I think of the reading ... as being interconnected with the text, but its own singular entity." — Bryan Washington The author published the award-winning story collection Lot in 2019 which garnered him – to name only a few – a National Book Award 5 Under 35 honor, the Dylan Thomas Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, numerous best-of-the-year lists, and one of President Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2019. His debut novel is Memorial, and it too earned a NY Times notable spot, a Good Morning America Book Club Pick, and was named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, TIME, O, the Oprah Magazine, Esquire, Ha

  • How NY Times Bestselling Mystery Writer Tana French Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Mystery Writer Tana French Writes

    04/11/2020 Duração: 28min

    #PodcastersForJustice 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

  • How NY Times Bestselling Novelist Ace Atkins Writes

    How NY Times Bestselling Novelist Ace Atkins Writes

    21/10/2020 Duração: 31min

    #PodcastersForJustice 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

  • How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Laurell K. Hamilton Writes

    How #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Laurell K. Hamilton Writes

    09/10/2020 Duração: 29min

    #PodcastersForJustice 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 opionion. 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, "Hamilto

página 1 de 12