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Behind the Book

Author: Tess Thompson and Karen McQuestion

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Behind the Book is hosted by authors Tess Thompson and Karen McQuestion, both of whom have a passion for books, lack filters, and are too curious for their own good. Listen to insider scoops, insightful conversation, and lots of laughs as they chat with bestselling authors and other top publishing industry insiders. Join them to find out the real story behind your favorite books and authors. New episodes are dropping, every week. Give or take. Depending. Produced by the incredible Craig A. Hart.
72 Episodes
Tess & Karen couldn't believe their good luck in landing Jayne Ann Krentz as a guest! The author of over 50 New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ writes romantic-suspense in three different worlds: Contemporary (as Jayne Ann Krentz), historical (as Amanda Quick) and futuristic (as Jayne Castle). There are over 35 million copies of her books in print.Readers and authors will enjoy hearing her thoughts on the art of reinvention, defining the core story, and why emotions in novels are more important than setting.Books mentionedSweetwater and the Witch by Jayne Castle Sleep No More  by Jayne Ann KrentzWebsite: Jayne Ann Krentz
Lindsay is a full-time independent fantasy and science fiction author who loves travel, hiking, tennis, and vizslas. She's written over a hundred novels, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list, and has been twice nominated for a Goodreads Readers' Choice Award.Tess and Karen loved hearing about how she got her start in publishing, why she decided to set up a Patreon account, and why she believes that free books are a valuable marketing tool for authors. She also explains the writing process that has enabled her to write over 100 books.Enjoy!Book mentioned:The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. WhiteLindsay BurokerSix Figure Authors podcast
Kim Taylor Blakemore is the bestselling author of After Alice Fell and The Companion, as well as young adult novels Bowery Girl and Cissy Funk, winner of the WILLA Literary Award. She is also the recipient of a Tucson Festival of Books Literary Award and three Regional Arts & Culture Council grants.  In addition to writing historical novels about fierce and dangerous women, Kim is the founder of Novelitics, which provides coaching, developmental editing, workshops, and community to writers from around the US and Canada. Her newest novel is The Deception.Website: Kim Taylor BlakemoreNoveliticsBook mentioned:Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott BellSave the Cat! Writes a Novel  by Jessica Brody
Tess & Karen loved interviewing their friend and accomplished author, Julianne MacLean. Julianne  is a USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the popular Color of Heaven series. MacLean is a four-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and has won numerous awards, including the Booksellers’ Best Award and a Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times. Her novels have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her latest book, Beyond the Moonlit Sea, is a gripping novel about one woman’s search for answers when her husband vanishes in the night.Website: Julianne MacLeanBooks mentioned:Amazon Ads for Authors by Deb PotterWriting and Launching a Bestseller by Elana JohnsonThe Writer's Journey by Christopher VoglerSelf Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King  
On this episode, Tess & Karen are joined by Heather Wheeler Sadlemire, book promoter extraordinaire! Listen in as she tells what drew her to book promotion, and how she helps authors find their audience. She also discusses current trends in social media (including TikTok!) and explains the advantages of authors teaming up with others when doing giveaways.Enjoy!
We were thrilled when Tess's assistant, MaryAnn, graciously agreed to come on the show! Listen in as she explains how she got her start, the importance of keeping up to date with innovations in publishing, and why she considers customer service to be part of her job. She also divulges how she assists two authors with diverse personalities, each one writing in a different genre. As a bonus, she also shares some book recommendations. Enjoy!
#1 Amazon bestselling author Freida McFadden is a practicing physician specializing in brain injury who has penned multiple Kindle bestselling psychological thrillers and medical humor novels. In today's interview she shares how she got the news that multiple parties in Hollywood were vying for the rights to her book, The Housemaid. Other topics include her writing process, how her math background helps with the intricate plotting required to write thrillers, and how she chooses her titles. Book mentioned:Save the Cat! Writes a Novel  by Jessica Brody This episode sponsored by: A Limited Run  by Karen McQuestion
Director and writer David Koepp has used his storytelling skills to write screenplays for more than thirty films,  including the first two Jurassic Park movies, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, War of the Worlds, Ghost Town (with the enigmatic John Kamps) and Kimi.  As an author, he's penned the novels Cold Storage and Aurora. In this interview, he shares how a landscaping problem led to his audiobook, Yard Work,  which was narrated by Kevin Bacon. Listeners will also love hearing about his experiences working in the film industry and learning about the inspiration behind his new highly-acclaimed novel, Aurora.Enjoy!Books mentioned:Aurora by David KoeppOn Writing by Stephen KingDanse Macabre by Stephen KingBird by Bird by Anne LamottScreenplay by Syd FieldAdventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman
Collectively Tess & Karen have written more than sixty books so it's not surprising that they've picked up a few skills along the way. On this episode they discuss the art of creating complex characters who will strike a chord with readers. Using specific examples from movies and books, they describe methods writers can use to get their characters to the next level. They hope you find it interesting and useful! Books mentioned:Save the Cat by Blake SnyderSave the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica BrodyTess's Presentation on Characterization
Tess and Karen loved talking to Ellen Marie Wiseman, a New York Times bestselling author of six highly acclaimed historical fiction novels. The interview covers her start as an imaginative child and concludes with a discussion of her fascinating book, The Lost Girls of Willowbrook, a novel described as a blend of fact, fiction, and urban legend. She also reveals how she chooses names for her characters and the temptation of going down the rabbit hole of research. She believes in crafting stories that cover past social injustices not widely known and creating characters that illustrate the resiliency of the human spirit.    Writers and readers alike will enjoy this fascinating conversation. Books mentioned:Bird by Bird by Anne LamottOn Writing by Stephen King those considering advertising on BEHIND THE BOOK:
Are you an author looking for new ways to get the word out about your books? Or are you a reader wondering how authors go about marketing new releases? Well, look no further! Podcast co-hosts Tess Thompson, a USA Today Bestselling Author, and Karen McQuestion, an Amazon Charts Bestselling Author, have picked up a plethora of marketing tips and tricks over the years. Other authors have been instrumental in helping them along the way, so they've done this episode to pay it forward.They hope you find it informative and entertaining.  Kindlepreneur Dave Chessen: Book Description GeneratorBKlink--to check book categories: guru David Gaughran: for Writing a Book Description: Promotion: On Top of That Marketing GiveawaysInkers ConKing Sumo (Giveaway hosting site): https://kingsumo.comA+ ContentBook: Write that Novel!  by Karen McQuestionFor advertising on BEHIND THE BOOK:
Author Dee Ernst is a big believer in writing books with second chance themes!  Her newest novel, Lucy Checks In, takes place in Rennes, France, a place she's visited and loves. In this interview, she talks to Tess and Karen about the contrasts between being published by a traditional New York publisher versus Amazon Publishing, and her earlier experiences with indie publishing. Aspiring authors will also love hearing her philosophy that for writers,  it's never too late.Books mentioned:On Writing by Stephen KingBird by Bird by Anne Lamott by: Mayan Shadows:  The Crystals of Ahrum by Craig A. Hart & S.J. VarengoAuthor Promotion: On Top of That Marketing
This interview with Kayte Nunn was second to None (sorry, we couldn't resist!). But seriously, Kayte proved to be a delightful guest, sharing her unconventional process for writing a dual timeline novel, and explaining why writing in a genre helps authors build name recognition and a readership. Tess & Karen also enjoyed hearing how a walk near a lighthouse sparked the idea that led to one of her novels, and learning the food that will never get past her lips (you'll never guess!).  Her newest, highly-recommended novel, The Only Child,  is a contemporary-historical crime mystery.Enjoy!Books mentioned:Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald J. MaasThe Only Child by Kayte NunnThe Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn
Tess & Karen loved talking with USA Today and international bestselling author Debra Clopton!  She writes wholesome, sweet contemporary, and western romances.  All told, her books have sold over three million copies.In this episode, Debra (in her charming Texas accent) tells a fascinating story of the time a sudden life-threatening illness struck during a writing workshop. After a month-long stay in the hospital, doctors told her that her writing routine was ideally suited for brain recovery. She also touches on the importance of retaining the authorial voice, and reveals why she deliberately transitioned from being traditionally published to going indie.Enjoy the show!
Gregory Maguire is a master storyteller, both in the written form and in this interview! Tess & Karen were enthralled, leading to a longer than usual episode. Listen in as Gregory tells how the process of elimination led to his writing career and how an intellectual idea sparks book ideas for him. The ladies loved learning how the composer Stephen Schwartz convinced him that the Broadway musical would honor his intention, and hearing about his experience seeing Wicked on stage for the first time.  He also shared an amusing story of a visit with P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins series.This is an interview you won't want to miss!Books mentioned:The Wild Winter Swan by Gregory MaguireEgg & Spoon by Gregory MaguireCress Watercress by Gregory Maguire
Jodi Allen Brice writes small town clean and sweet romance.  Her previous novels, written under a different name, were paranormal romance novels, but when the virus hit,  she felt compelled to write a book that would change hearts and minds.Mentioned during the interview: Margie Lawson's Writing ClassesWrite Better-Faster with Becca SymeAuthor Jodi Allen Brice - Author of Sweet Romance and Woman's Fiction
When Karen McQuestion's publisher rejected her book, THE MOONLIGHT CHILD, she decided to self-publish it, then poured on the marketing to give it every advantage. Eventually the novel reached the #1 spot on the Amazon Kindle charts and was the #3 bestseller in Kindle for 2021. Listen in as she shares her strategies and chats with Tess about book marketing in general.  Mentioned during the podcast:Novelist and Editor Barbara Taylor Sissel: Dave Chessen: BKlink--to check book categories: Marketing guru David Gaughran: Bryan Cohen's Amazon Ads course: for Writing a Book Description:
USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett writes lighthearted mysteries for readers who enjoy atmospheric settings and puzzling whodunits. She is the author of over 30 novels in the genres of cozy and historical mystery. Sara writes nonfiction for authors, including “How to Write a Series” and “How to Outline a Cozy Mystery.” She also co-hosts a podcast for writers, the Wish I’d Known Then Podcast.Books mentioned:The Heroine's Journey by Gail CarrigerPlot and Structure by James Scott BellDear Writer series by Becca Syme 
Amazon Charts bestselling author Karen McQuestion describes the three things every great novel has in common. Books mentioned: The Writer's Journey by Christopher VoglerSave the Cat by Blake SnyderCheck out Karen's writing book:  Write that Novel by Karen McQuestion
Jacque Ben-Zekry of Modify Editorial Services, is a Developmental Story Editor primarily working with Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Historical novels. She also works in Screen and Stage play story development. Projects she has worked on have gone on to be New York Time’s bestsellers, Wall Street Journal Bestsellers, and Amazon Bestsellers as well as nominations for the Pen Falkner, The Edgar, The Silver Dagger, The ITW Thriller Award, The Hugo, and The Harper Lee. Jacque has been a developmental story editor for more than 10 years and has worked on over 100 novels. Her clients range from Bestsellers to first time novelists.Enjoy the show! Modify Editorial Services
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