Carter Wilson | Thriller Author

It’s less than two months from the launch of The Father She Went to Find and things are stirring. It’s the same with every book launch, so why does it always feel so surprising? This will be my ninth published book, and with every launch I’m never quite sure what to expect.

The work begins at least six months before the on-sale date. The publisher starts pitching the book to major booksellers/libraries in order to drive interest and retail pre-orders. Then the marketing and PR teams start working their magic, angling for (hopefully favorable) coverage from trade magazines, national and local media, social-media influencers, etc. They also book events for me, including my launch event, podcasts, newspaper/radio/TV interviews, as well as pitch guest articles written by me to well-known periodicals like Writer’s Digest and CrimeReads.  

You never know what’s going to stick. Which outlet might be interested in covering your book, and which might not even know you exist. You hope the major trade magazines review your book, and if they do you pray they don’t give it a solid thrashing. You check the early Goodreads reviews from those who were able to get advance copies, praying they don’t give it a solid thrashing.  You check the galley one last time, checking for any typos that can be fixed before final printing. And you wait on pins and needles to see what the lovely folks who agreed to blurb your book write about it. You hope Barnes & Noble places a sizable pre-order, and you pray to have physical copies of your book in Target and Walmart, though real estate is tight there.

All of this is happening while you are knee-deep into a new novel. Not even the next one, because hopefully that one’s already completed and sold. So by the time you start doing interviews or events, you have to go back and remind yourself what actually happens in the book you’re launching. And you don’t re-read it, because every time you look at your own stuff you end up telling yourself what a lousy writer you are. Then you chastise yourself for this attitude, because for fuck’s sake you coach other writers on how to find confidence and how would that look?

And then an outlet asks for a selfie with you and the book, and that reminds you to shower, because maybe it’s been awhile. Then you take the picture and the cat and dog photobomb it.  

Finally, the book comes out, and most of the craziness is already over. Unless you’re planning a big tour (which, for most authors, is self-funded), you have a handful of events and then things quiet down. It’s like sending your kid off to college. You’ve done all you can and now you just have to let go.

Your book is in the wild. And you have absolutely zero control over what happens next.

That’s my favorite part of all.

New episodes of Making It Up are out! This month I chatted with debut novelist Emily Smith (You Always Come Back), author Kathleen Willett (Mother of All Secrets), Bram Stoker Award-winning novelist Hailey Piper (Cruel Angels Past Sundown), New York Times bestselling novelist Abbott Kahler (Where You End) and true-crime writer Sara DiVello (Broadway Butterfly: A Thriller).

All episodes are available on my website, my YouTube channel, and wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

As far as I know, these are the places I’m supposed to be where you can meet me and stuff. Check my event calendar for the latest updates.
April 3, 2024, 6 PM
Workshop: A Writer’s Psychology
Parker Public Library
Parker, CO

April 6, 2024
Book Launch for The Father She Went to Find
Tattered Cover Colfax
Denver, CO

April 20, 2024, 6:30 PM
Author talk for The Father She Went to Find
Highlands Ranch Public Library
Highlands Ranch, CO

May 2-4, 2024
Unbound Writer Coaching Program & Retreat
Boulder, CO
Registration now open!May 28-June 4, 2024
Attending Author/Panelist/Queryfest Author
New York, New York

August 28-September 4, 2024
Attending Author/Panelist
Nashville, Tennessee

October 17-19, 2024
Unbound Writer Coaching Program & Retreat
Boulder, CO
Registration now open!

What’s Entertaining Me

TV Show

A Murder at the End of the World (FX, 2023)

From FX’s website: “A Gen Z amateur sleuth and tech-savvy hacker named “Darby Hart” (Emma Corrin). Darby and eight other guests are invited by a reclusive billionaire (Clive Owen) to participate in a retreat at a remote and dazzling location. When one of the other guests is found dead, Darby must use all of her skills to prove it was murder against a tide of competing interests and before the killer takes another life.”

Once I read “reclusive billionaire” and “remote location”, I was in.  Moreover, I’ve always been impressed by FX and the creative risks they take (season 5 of Fargo is especially good). This limited series is strong almost throughout, with dazzling interiors, foreboding exteriors, mostly good acting (Corrin is especially watchable, and you might recognize her as Lady Di from The Crown…I did not), and cool techy things abounding. Alas, that very same tech ultimately becomes the deus ex machina of the show, and the clever Agatha Christie setup ultimately results in more questions than answers. Beautiful, compelling, and ultimately flawed. Just like all of us.


Opposable Thumbs, How Siskel and Ebert Changed the Movies Forever, Matt Singer (Penguin Random House, 2023)

I grew up watching Siskel and Ebert yell at each other—didn’t you? In fact, I love movie criticism, and I enjoy following critics as much as reading the reviews. Current favorites are Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott, but of course Siskel and Ebert started it all.

Opposable Thumbs gives a short biography of each man, but the bulk of the book records their rise at a power couple, from two cranky, antagonistic critics working at competing Chicago newspapers to two, cranky film critics working together on the set of a fake movie theater. Two things surprised me. One, how much real power and fame the men grew to acquire, to the point they alone could make or break a movie with a flick of their thumbs. And two, what whiny little bitches they could be to each other. An entertaining read, especially the bit how they would fight over who got which seat in first class.

Photo of the Month

View from my front porch on a snowy day.

Update from my Kids
My boy went to a Baton Rouge bar/club and was featured in a promo video. He’s gonna hate that I posted this.

Update from my Pets

It’s like Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner when they’re on one of their breaks.

Heartwarming Post of the Month sent to me by a friend

Rescue crow! (click to watch)

Unbound Writer 2024 retreats – registration now open! I’m offering two in-person retreats in Boulder, Colorado this year, each with a maximum of ten people. Come spend 2.5-days finding community, inspiration, motivation, and confidence in your writing.

May 2-4

October 17-19

All details and testimonials can be found here:

Early-bird discounts and scholarships available. No more excuses, no more idle dreaming. Time to make your writing dreams happen.

I’m knee-deep into the pre-launch for The Father She Went to Find, but I did want to share that my next thriller will be out in January 2025. The official title is Tell Me What You Did (formerly Confess to Me) and I’m so excited for it!

That’s it for now! Just a reminder to subscribe to my newsletter for more content and access to contests and giveaways. Oh, and if you follow me on social media you’ll see a lot more pictures of my goddamn pets. Until next month…


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