Carter Wilson | Thriller Author

In my conversation series Making It Up I talk to writers of all backgrounds in order to find out why they do what they do. My guests and I discuss childhood influences, roots of creativity, luck and loss, tools of the craft, and the highs and lows of publishing. At the end of our conversation, we pick a random sentence from a random book and use it to create an impromptu short story. Scroll down for all the episodes!

Full Episode List:

Ep 1: Alex Marwood
Ep 2: Julie Clark
Ep 3: Joe Clifford
Ep 4: David Bell
Ep 5: Sean Eads
Ep 6: K.J. Howe
Ep 7: Lynne Constantine
Ep 8: Mark Stevens
Ep 9: Steven James
Ep 10: Julia Heaberlin
Ep 11: Graham Hurley
Ep 12: Emily Bleeker
Ep 13: Erika Englehaupt
Ep 14: Mark Sullivan
Ep 15: Sabrina Jeffries
Ep 16: Clare Whitfield
Ep 17: Xio Axelrod
Ep 18: Brad Parks
Ep 19: Barb Webb
Ep 20: Adrian Goldsworthy
Ep 21: Stuart Turton
Ep 22: S.A. Cosby
Ep 23: Daniel Handler
Ep 24: Maureen Johnson
Ep 25: Sarah Fine
Ep 26: Matthew Fitzsimmons
Ep 27: Robert Dugoni
Ep 28: Farrah Rochon
Ep 29: Alverne Ball
Ep 30: Drew Magary
Ep 31: Dr. Ian Smith
Ep 32: Yasmin Angoe
Ep 33: Gabrielle St George
Ep 34: Amanda Kabak
Ep 35: Lynne Reeves Griffin
Ep 36: Allen Eskens
Ep 37: Daniel Jude Miller
Ep 38: Alex Finlay
Ep 39: Aaron Philip Clark
Ep 40: Lara Elena Donnelly
Ep 41: J.T. Ellison
Ep 42: Erica Ferencik
Ep 43: Katie Lattari
Ep 44: Katrina Monroe
Ep 45: Ananda Lima
Ep 46: D.P. Lyle
Ep 47: Jess Montgomery
Ep 48: Elle Marr
Ep 49: Hilde Lysiak
Ep 50: Hannah Mary McKinnon
Ep 51: Ashley Winstead
Ep 52: Joey Hartstone
Ep 53: Clare Mackintosh
Ep 54: Faye Snowden
Ep 55: Pip Drysdale
Ep 56: James Byrne
Ep 57: Russell James
Ep 58: David Ellis
Ep 59: Laurie R King
Ep 60: Leanne Sparks
Ep 61: Wendy Walker
Ep 62: Sam McAlister
Ep 63: Kelly J Ford
Ep 64: Jonathan Woods
Ep 65: Samuel Octavius
Ep 66: Jeffrey Wilson
Ep 67: Barbara Nickless
Ep 68: Katie Sise
Ep 69: Carla Damron
Ep 70: Jennifer Givhan
Ep 71: Ronald Kelly
Ep 72: Nuzo Onoh
Ep 73: Mark Stevens
Ep 74: Chad Boudreaux
Ep 75: Lexie Elliott
Ep 76: David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Ep 77: Rebecca Kelley
Ep 78: Kimberly Belle
Ep 79: Tracy Clark
Ep 80: Veronica G. Henry
Ep 81: Kimberly Giarratano
Ep 82: Samantha M. Bailey
Ep 83: Hank Phillippi Ryan
Ep 84: Nancy Stohlman
Ep 85: Ciera Horton McElroy
Ep 86: Rebecca Ann Keller
Ep 87: Lauren Thoman
Ep 88: Tessa Wegert
Ep 89: Kara Thomas
Ep 90: Don Bentley
Ep 91: Christopher Flory
Ep 92: Rachael Herron
Ep 93: Alisa Valdes
Ep 94: A.G. Riddle
Ep 95: Bryn Turnbull
Ep 96: Eliza Knight
Ep 97: Aimie K. Runyan
Ep 98: M.P. Woodward
Ep 99: Del Chatterson
Ep 100: Javier Castillo
Ep 101: Lindsay Cameron
Ep 102: Chris Riley
Ep 103: Carl Vonderau
Ep 104: Michael Katz Krefeld
Ep 105: MIU Live
Ep 106: Amy Weinland Daughters
Ep 107: Heather Levy
Ep 108: Carol Dunbar
Ep 109: Hannah Nicole Maehrer
Ep 110: Edward Cahill
Ep 111: Stephen Michaud
Ep 112: Erin Hoover
Ep 113: Martin Clark
Ep 114: Elise Hart Kipness
Ep 115: Emily Smith
Ep 116: Kathleen Willett
Ep 117: Abbott Kahler
Ep 118: Hailey Piper
Ep 119: Sara DiVello
Ep 120: Boyd and Beth Morrison
Ep 121: Katherine Howe
Ep 122: Audrey Gale
Ep 123: Matt Coyle
Ep 124: L.R. Jones
Ep 125: Joe and Kasey Lansdale
Ep 126: Araminta Hall
Ep 127: Peg Tyre
Ep 128: Jeff Hoffmann
Ep 129: Diego Báez
Ep 130: Caroline Cleveland
Ep 131: Peter Blauner
Ep 132: Danny Cherry Jr.
Ep 133: Christopher Reich
Ep 134: Tim Booth
Ep 135: Louise Doughty
Ep 136: Matt Scott
Ep 137: Kimberly Giarratano
Ep 138: Aimie Runyan

Latest Episodes

Episode 138 | June 20, 2024

Aimie Runyan is a multi-published and bestselling author of historical and contemporary fiction. She has been nominated for a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Writer of the Year Award, a Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice selection, and a four-time finalist for the Colorado Book Awards. She is an adjunct instructor for the Drexel University MFA in Creative Writing program.

Among other things, Aimie and Carter discuss using empathy to create compelling characters, what exactly defines genre, and maintaining a fanbase and readership. At the end of their conversation, they make up a mysterious story using a line from Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend.

Episode 137 | June 13, 2024

Kimberly Giarratano is an author of mysteries for teens and adults. Her debut novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards, won the 2015 Silver Falchion Award for Best YA at Killer Nashville. In May 2024 she released the second novel in her Billie Levine series, Devil in Profile, which follows the novel Death of a Dancing Queen. A former librarian, she is currently an instructor at SUNY Orange County Community College and the chapter liaison for Sisters in Crime. 

Among other things, Kimberly and Carter discuss the challenges of being an extrovert in the writing field, inspiration drawn from Nazi art theft, and trying to figure out how to balance a realistic plot with an exciting and unpredictable story. At the end of their conversation, they make up a captivating story using a line from Audrey Lee’s The Mechanics of Memory.

Episode 136 | June 6, 2024

Matt Scott is the author of the Surviving the Lion’s Den thriller trilogy which debuted in 2021. Matt earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Hampden-Sydney College. During his subsequent studies, Matt became fascinated by the CIA and read dozens of books related to Middle East politics, spy craft, the CIA’s war against terrorism, and double agents. Matt’s latest action-packed political thriller is The Ayatollah Takedown. His two previous novels in the series include Surviving the Lion’s Den and The Iranian Deception.

Among other things, Matt and Carter discuss the psychology of starting a writing journey later in life, committing to a consistent writing routine, and exploring the topic of Iran in literature. At the end of their conversation, they make up an eerie story using a line from William Kent Krueger’s Fox Creek.

Episode 135 | May 24, 2024

Louise Doughty is the author of ten novels, most recently A Bird in Winter. Her previous books include Platform Seven, filmed for ITVX; Black Water, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; the bestseller Apple Tree Yard, adapted for BBC One; and Whatever You Love, nominated for the Costa Novel Award and the Women’s Prize for fiction. She has been nominated for many other prizes and has helped with creating and writing the hit BBC drama Crossfire. Her work has been translated into thirty languages.

Among other things, Louise and Carter discuss the complexities of writing about sex, writing violence realistically and focusing on the consequences of violence, and how being a writer involves so much more than just writing a book. At the end of their conversation, they make up a suspenseful and descriptive story using a line from S.F. Kosa’s The Night We Burned.

Episode 134 | May 15, 2024

This week’s Making It Up is extra-special as it features Tim Booth, lead singer and lyricist of James, a British band who has been performing for over 40 years and has sold more than 25 million albums globally (James is also Carter’s absolute favorite band, making Tim one of his personal heroes). You may have seen quotes from James songs as epigraphs in many of Carter’s novels, which is how he got to know Tim. After a decade in the making, Tim’s brilliant debut novel, When I Died For the First Time, just released in the U.K. and is set for a U.S. launch in July 2024.

Among other things, Tim and Carter discuss seeking out art and culture as a kid, how improvisation and editing are large parts of Tim’s lyricism, and how having an established audience affects confidence in writing. At the end of their conversation, they make up an incredibly descriptive story using a line from David Mitchell’s Slade House

Episode 133 | May 10, 2024

Christopher Reich is the New York Times bestselling author of The Take, Numbered Account, Rules of Deception, Rules of Vengeance, Rules of Betrayal, and many other thrillers. His novel The Patriots Club won the International Thriller Writers award for Best Novel in 2006. He is also the author of the Simon Riske series, an international spy thriller series, and his newest novel Matterhorn was just released in April 2024. 

Among other things, Christopher and Carter discuss writing in first person present, quitting a day job to pursue a career in writing, and the pressure of writing accurate historical fiction. At the end of their conversation, they make up a chilling story using a line from John Grisham’s A Painted House.

Episode 132 | May 4, 2024

Danny Cherry Jr., a Customer Service Representative with an MBA, and he writes political and personal essays; novels; narrative nonfiction; and short stories. He has written for Buzzfeed News, Politico, The Daily Beast, and more; and fiction for Apex Magazine, Fiyah Lit Mag, amongst others. His first novel, The Pike Boys, came out in January 2024 and is a 1920s organized crime drama set in New Orleans. His story “Brief Life Story of Lila” was added to the Locus Magazine recommended reading list for 2022, as well as the BEST AMERICAN SCI-FI & FANTASY 2023 notable stories list.

Among other things, Danny and Carter discuss how a business degree helps writers appreciate the craft of writing, how writers can take inspiration from television, and the process of self-publishing. At the end of their conversation, they make up a short story using a line from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.

Episode 131 | April 28, 2024

Peter Blauner is the author of nine novels, including Slow Motion Riot winner of an Edgar Allan Poe award for best first novel from Mystery Writers of America, and The Intruder, a New York Times bestseller and a bestseller overseas. He began his career as a journalist for New York magazine in the 1980s and segued into writing fiction in the 1990s. He has been a staff writer for several television shows, including Law & Order: SVU and Blue Bloods. His new novel, Picture in the Sand, which spans sixty years and the distance from Hollywood to Cairo, was published in January, 2023 and is his first work of historical fiction.

Among other things, Peter and Carter discuss writing for television and how it differs from writing novels, the transition from journalism to fiction, and complications when writing historical fiction. At the end of their conversation, they make up a suspenseful story using a line from John Grisham’s The Rainmaker.

Episode 130 | April 18, 2024

Caroline Cleveland credits growing up in the rural South and its quieter way of life for her lifelong passion for books and storytelling. Her dedication to the written word led her to law school at the University of South Carolina, where she earned her degree in 1991. She is certified by the South Carolina Supreme Court as a specialist in labor and employment law and is the founding partner of Cleveland & Conley, LLC. Her debut novel, When Cicadas Cry, about a high-profile murder case in a small South Carolina town rife with racial tension, will be published by Union Square Publishing on May 7, 2024.

Among other things, Caroline and Carter discuss the Murdaugh family, writing unreliable narrators, and how legal experience and connections can influence writing novels. At the end of their conversation, they make up a suspenseful and captivating story using a line from Hot Springs by Stephen Hunter.

Episode 129 | April 11, 2024

Diego Báez is a writer and educator. He is the author of Yaguareté White, a finalist for the Georgia Poetry Prize and a semifinalist for the Berkshire Prize for Poetry. A fellow at CantoMundo, the Surge Institute, and the Poetry Foundation’s Incubator for Community-Engaged Poets, Báez has served on the boards of the National Book Critics Circle, the International David Foster Wallace Society, and Families Together Co-operative Nursery School. His poems, book reviews, and essays have appeared online and in print.

Among other things, Diego and Carter discuss how music can inspire poetry, knowing who to listen to and trust when getting feedback, and compiling a collection of poetry in a methodical way. At the end of their conversation, they make up an intriguing science-fiction story using a line from Stardust by Neil Gaiman. 

Episode 128 | April 4, 2024

Jeff Hoffmann quit his job at the age of 47 to return to college for his MFA, and his first novel, Other People’s Children, emerged from that decision. His second novel, Like It Never Happened, was just released in March 2024. In addition to his two novels, Jeff’s writing has been published in The Sun, Booth, Harpur Palate, and Publishers Weekly. He was the winner of the Madison Review’s Chris O’Malley Prize in Fiction and a finalist for the Missouri Review’s Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize.

Among other things, Jeff and Carter discuss shifting trends in the publishing industry, separating yourself from a business/academic mindset when writing, and the positive side of reading reviews. At the end of their conversation, they make up a chilling story using a line from The Fireballer by Mark Stevens.

Episode 127 | March 29, 2024

Peg Tyre is director of strategy at the Edwin Gould Foundation in New York City. In addition to her two creative fiction novels that have recently been republished, Tyre has written about education for The New York Times, Politico, The Atlantic, and more. She has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and is the author of two critically acclaimed books on education, one of which is a New York Times bestseller. She has a bachelor’s from Brown University and was a Spencer fellow at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Among other things, Peg and Carter discuss working in the journalism industry before and after the rise of the Internet, writing flawed characters, and looking back on and reflecting on the process of republishing old novels. At the end of their conversation they make up a fast-paced and thrilling story using a sentence from The Wedding Party by L.R. Jones.

Episode 126 | March 21, 2024

Araminta Hall began her career in journalism as a staff writer on teen magazine Bliss, becoming Health and Beauty editor of New Woman. She wrote regular features for the Mirror’s Saturday supplement and ghost wrote supermodel Caprice’s column. She has a MA in creative writing and authorship from the University of Sussex, and teaches creative writing at New Writing South in Brighton. She’s the author of Our Kind of Cruelty, which was named a best book of 2018 by CrimeReads and Real Simple, along with five other novels including her newest novel One of the Good Guys.

Among other things, Araminta and Carter discuss having social media as an author, the unpredictability of the writing world, and why so many people struggle trying to get into, and stay in, the writing industry. At the end of their conversation, they make up a suspenseful and funny story using a sentence from Araminta’s own One of the Good Guys.

Episode 125 | March 14, 2024

Joe Lansdale has written novels in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, and mystery, and has written for comics such as “Batman: The Animated Series.” As of 2020, he had written 50 novels and published more than 30 short-story collections. He has won ten Bram Stoker Awards, a British Fantasy Award, an Edgar Award, and more, and has been inducted into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Kasey Lansdale is a country blues singer and songwriter, an actress, and an author. Lansdale was first published at the age of eight by Random House, and is the author of several short stories and novellas. Recently she has been collaborating with her father on a collection of short stories.

Among other things, Joe, Kasey, and Carter discuss writing together as a father and daughter, how to collaborate as an author, and future independent projects. At the end of their conversation, they make up a comedic and short story using a sentence from True Evil by Greg Iles.

Episode 124 | March 7, 2024

L.R. Jones, or Lisa Renee Jones, is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her dark, edgy fiction includes the novels You Look Beautiful Tonight, The Poet, A Perfect Lie, and the Lilah Love series. Prior to publishing, Lisa owned a multistate staffing agency recognized by the Austin Business Journal and was #7 in Entrepreneur magazine’s list of growing women-owned businesses.

Among other things, Lisa and Carter discuss being parents to golden retrievers, the differences between writing romance and writing thrillers, and publishing and editing complications. At the end of their conversation, they make up a dark and suspenseful story using a sentence from You Always Come Back by Emily Smith.

Episode 123 | February 29, 2024

Matt Coyle is the author of the best-selling Rick Cahill crime novels. He graduated with a degree in English from University of California at Santa Barbara. His foray into crime fiction was delayed for thirty years as he spent time managing a restaurant, selling golf clubs for various golf companies, and in national sales for a sports licensing company. Yesterday’s Echo was published in 2013 and won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery, and the Ben Franklin Award for Best New Voice in Fiction.

Among other things, Matt and Carter discuss the emergence of the crime fiction genre, balancing a full-time job and writing, and what it’s like to find your “voice” in your writing. At the end of their conversation, they make up a fast-paced story using a sentence from Clare Mackintosh’s The Last Party.

Episode 122 | February 22, 2024

Audrey Gale is the author of the new release, The Human Trial. After twenty-plus years in the banking industry, Audrey pursued her master’s in fiction writing at the University of Southern California. Her first novel, a legal thriller entitled The Sausage Maker’s Daughters, was published under the name A.G.S. Johnson. Her second, The Human Trial, is the first book in a medical-thriller trilogy inspired by Gale’s own experiences with the gap between traditional medicine and approaches based on the findings of the great physicists of the 20th Century. 

Among other things, Audrey and Carter discuss writing stories as a child, navigating imposter syndrome as a new author, and the necessity of doing research in different academic/career fields for a book, even when writing fiction. At the end of their conversation, they make up a hilarious and twisted story using a sentence from Darcy Coates’s From Below.

Episode 121 | February 15, 2024

Katherine Howe, author of A True Account: Hannah Masury’s Sojourn Amongst the Pyrates, Written by Herself, is a New York Times bestselling and award-winning historian and novelist. She is the author of several novels for adults and young adults, has edited two volumes of primary sources for Penguin Classics, and is the co-author with Anderson Cooper of the #1 New York Times bestselling books Vanderbilt and Astor. She has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” and others. 

Among other things, Katherine and Carter discuss how the Salem Witch Trials influenced her writing journey, her unique story of how she got her agent, and how she started writing novels with Anderson Cooper. At the end of their conversation, Katherine makes up a captivating story using a sentence from The Lost Weekend by Charles R. Jackson. 

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