In my show 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!

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Latest Episodes

Episode 7 | June 13, 2021

Lynne Constantine is an internationally bestselling author who writes with her sister as Liv Constantine (The Last Mrs. Parrish) and solo as L.C. Shaw (The Silent Conspiracy). Her books have been translated into 28 languages, are available in 33 countries, and are in development for both television and film.

Among other things, Carter and Lynne talk about her father working for Spiro Agnew, the process of writing books with a sibling, and the dread of receiving the first editorial notes on a manuscript. At the end of their conversation, they make up a boozy little tale based on a random sentence from Mortal Fear by Greg Iles.

Episode 6 | June 6, 2021

K.J. Howe lived all over the world growing up, and those experiences turned her into a bestselling and award-winning storyteller with global reach.

Among other things, Carter and K.J. talk about meticulous research, the kindness of thriller writers, and kidnapping conferences in Miami. At the end of their conversation they make up a short story starting with a sentence from William Goldman’s Princess Bride.

Episode 5 | May 30, 2021

Sean Eads writes for himself and is unapologetic about it. Not only is Sean a talented and amazingly prolific author of countless novels and short stories, he and Carter are in the same critique group.

Carter and Sean talk about audience, character development, and the lasting pain from accidentally deleting a manuscript. At the end of their conversation they make up a short story starting with a sentence from Eyre Price’s Rock Island Rock.

Episode 4 | May 21, 2021

David Bell has been fascinated by murder since he was a kid. Fortunately, his career path led him to writing stories about it rather than committing it. He’s the USA Today bestselling author of ten standalone thrillers and his eleventh, Kill All Your Darlings, releases in July 2021.

Among other things, Carter and David talk discuss the highs and lows of publishing, the wisdom he imparts on his writing students, and how he defines success as an author. At the end of the conversation, they make up a weird story about chest hair using a sentence from The Children’s War by J.N. Stroyar.

Episode 3 | April 1, 2021

Joe Clifford’s writing career was immensely helped when he was hit by a bus. Today, this bestselling mystery and crime writer has a dozen books to his name and life is good, even if it requires a cane.

Carter and Joe discuss Joe’s past struggles with heroin addiction, his inability or desire to hold down a 9-5 job, and love and heartbreak within the publishing industry.

At the end of the conversation, they make up a noirish tale using a beginning sentence from Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

Episode 2 | March 31, 2021

Julie Clark still tells people she’s an elementary school teacher, which she is. But she’s also the New York Times bestselling author of the 2020 breakout thriller The Last Flight.

Carter and Julie talk about working multiple jobs, the unpredictability of the publishing industry, and how to continuously become a better writer.

At the end of the conversation, they make up a surreal circus story using a sentence from The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B, by J. P. Donleavy.

Episode 1 | March 26, 2021

Alex Marwood was a journalist who worked extensively across the British press. Her first novel, The Wicked Girls, achieved widespread acclaim and international bestsellerdom. It was shortlisted for ITW, Anthony and Macavity awards, was included in Stephen King’s Ten Best Books of the Year list, and won the prestigious Edgar Award.

Carter and Alex talk about the other famous writers in her family, the highs and lows of publishing, and what it’s like writing when you have ADHD. At the end of our conversation, we make up a dark little tale based on a random sentence from Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose.

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