Writing A Bestseller With A.G. Riddle

How can you lean into your strengths as a writer to find the genre — and the business model — that suits you best? A.G. Riddle talks about his writing process, his publishing choices, and how he’s planning to pivot into the next phase of his career.

In the intro, I talk about my experience at Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing festival this week, and how we all have to decide which game we want to play.


Today’s show is sponsored by ProWritingAid, writing and editing software that goes way beyond just grammar and typo checking. With its detailed reports on how to improve your writing and integration with Scrivener, ProWritingAid will help you improve your book before you send it to an editor, agent or publisher. Check it out for free or get 25% off the premium edition at www.ProWritingAid.com/joanna

A.G. Riddle is the bestselling author of 11 books with over 4 million copies sold and translated into 24 languages. His latest novel is Lost in Time, a time travel thriller.

You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below.

Show Notes

  • Reflecting on success — or lack of it — and assessing a career after a decade
  • Crafting a bestseller
  • Focusing on your strengths as a writer
  • Researching a novel, and Gerry’s writing process
  • Why the ‘job’ of being an author is different now
  • Moving from indie to hybrid to traditional publishing — and movie deals
  • What do you want to control — and what are you willing to let go of to achieve what you want?

You can find A.G. Riddle at AGRiddle.com and on Twitter @Riddlist

Transcript of Interview with A.G. Riddle

Joanna: A.G. Riddle is the bestselling author of 11 books with over 4 million copies sold and translated into 24 languages. His latest novel is Lost in Time, a time travel thriller. Welcome to the show, Gerry.

Gerry: Thank you for having me.

Joanna: I’m excited to talk to you.

Tell us a bit more about you and how you got into writing after quite a different original career.

Gerry: I’m someone who didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. It’s something that is a second career for me that I came to in my late 20s, early 30s. I started an internet company in college, and I did that for 10 years. I really enjoyed it. I like creating software and loved the startup environment.

I had had some success in my career, but I didn’t really feel that I had found that thing that I felt I was really qualified to do and was meant to do with my life. So I was just at this point in my life where I was reflecting to say, ‘When I leave this earth, what do I want to be proud that I’ve worked on?’

I think if you get 10 years into a career, you learn a lot about yourself and your own strengths and weaknesses.

And it’s incumbent upon all of us to periodically reflect and say, ‘Why am I not achieving the success I want, or what went well, what didn’t?’

The thing that I found is that what I loved about my job was creating something — web-based software is what we were creating. But running a company is something that I didn’t have much interest in. When I grew up, my dad owned a sign company and my grandfather owned a lumber company. I grew up around business.

And I guess via osmosis you inherit some interest from your parents and grandparents or your idols. But I was looking for this career that would be more creative that I could step away from running a business.

The thing that I really loved in my life was reading and reading science fiction. I would come home from work every day and read, and I just thought, ‘Well, I’m going to try to write a novel.’

And I thought, ‘If this takes off, I’ll keep doing it. If it doesn’t, just try to figure something else out.’ But that was 2011 and it took me two and a half years to write that first book.

Joanna: I was trying to think what year we met at Frankfurt. Would it have been like 2015 maybe?

Gerry: I think it was ’14. Yeah, I think.

Joanna: 2014.

Joanna (J.F.) Penn and AG Riddle at frankfurt book fair, 2014

Gerry: Or maybe it was ’15. I don’t know my memory. I have two kids now. My memory’s not as good.

Joanna: I don’t think you had kids at the time.

Gerry: I definitely did not have kids at the time.

Joanna: When we met, I’d read I think the first book, and I remember that you said to me that you intended to write a bestseller in the vein of Michael Crichton. I love Michael Crichton, I’ve read all the books. And then when I was researching this, I went to your website, and there’s a quote from Publishers Weekly saying, ‘Crichton-esque thrillers don’t come much better than this.’

And I was like, ‘Oh, that is fantastic,’ because I knew that’s what you set out to do. But, the biggest question then is…you just said that, ‘I’ll try to write a novel, and if it works, I’ll carry on.’ And, look, many of us try and write a bestseller and it doesn’t work. So how did you craft a book?

How did you go about this in a way to craft a bestseller? Because it’s not luck, is it?

Gerry: I think it’s a bit of both. To your point, I think that you can be very purposeful about it. And for me, anyway I knew one of the advantages of starting this career a little later in life is that I knew myself really well. I knew that if I wrote a book that didn’t really get much traction that I would be discouraged and that I would probably give up on it.

So the first stuff I wrote, man, I thought, ‘This is terrible.’ Like, I’m never going to be able to do this, and reading my writing, I was like, ‘Man, this is not good.’ So, that’s what took me two and a half years. I probably wrote that book, I don’t know, a dozen times.

My wife at the time…you’ve met Anna, and she thought I was going nuts. She was just like, ‘You’re going to have to be institutionalized. There’s something very wrong with you to work on something in isolation for many years.’

So the decision that I made that I do think launched my career was to basically focus on my strengths and avoid my weaknesses.

I knew for my debut novel, I would not be the strongest dialogue writer or the writer of characters and maybe plotting and all the things that I think that every novelist gets better at over time. But I felt that the science and history means I remain a huge geek.

I love learning about science and history. That’s something that I felt like I could do pretty well. And I felt very confident. I also felt like there was an audience out there, an under-served audience that was hungry for these science and history-based thrillers. What I would say is I chose my genre very well.

What I loved reading were those books, and there’s not a lot of ’em. But space adventure and stuff like that is what I read, but there was so many people writing it, then I thought doing it pretty well. I chose this genre that I felt like had a big audience, I felt like I could write, and fit with where my skills were.

Joanna: I feel like Michael Crichton is science fiction thriller, but not really known as space, obviously. I mean, a couple of them, I guess, but most of them were not.

You said that you found a niche and there was a hungry audience in that niche, but I thought you were mainly in the mainstream thriller niche now.

Gerry: Yes. The Atlantis Gene, that debut novel, I positioned as a science fiction thriller, but I think it has these aspects of action and adventure and it’s a scientific mystery.

I do think it crosses genre lines and that helped it. I think there’s been tons of readers that didn’t appreciate it for one reason or another because it had so many things in it.

Crichton, typically, a thriller author, wrote thrillers that are grounded in science. But I think over the course of my career since that debut, one of the things I’ve been trying to do is figure out what am I really interested in?

There’s been this shift, at least for me personally, I veer a little more towards the subjects that I’m interested in and maybe less toward what I think is going to sell or analyze in the market. And I think that’s just a function of mental health and just trying to grow as a writer.

Joanna: Obviously, you talked there that you’re a science geek, a history geek.

How do you do your research? What does your research process look like?

Gerry: My process has evolved a lot. The first book, The Atlantis Gene, I went overboard with the research. I did my research for the most part on the front end, and I wrote my outline, I did my research, and I probably overresearched that novel.

One of the things I found is that if there’s something I had learned about and researched, I was inclined not to take it out of the novel, even when I needed to, and it was slowing down the pace. My wife was my first reader, and she’s like, ‘Gosh, it’s just page after page of this stuff. I think it’s a good story, but I gotta cut this stuff down.’

I typically start with an idea that I’m personally really interested in. And I think if you’re going to write something grounded in research, it’s got to be something that you’re really excited about because it will get laborious. It’s time. I also think that your enthusiasm for the subject comes through on the page. I think readers sense this authenticity.

So I’ll get a subject that I’m interested in and then I’ll go to like generally ‘Popular Science’ or ‘Popular Mechanics,’ and I’ll try to find articles that are similar on that subject to try to find what is the broad audience? What aspect of genetic engineering, or AI, or nanotechnology, what are the angles that are popular or interesting? And then I’ll deep dive.

I will say that YouTube is a huge resource that you can now get videos of conferences and people that you basically couldn’t get access to talking about deep diving on subjects.

So I would say that my research process is top-level, find that subject, get some popular articles, and then I’ll do an outline.

Then when I come to the point where the character needs to go deeper, I’ll do my research as I’m writing my draft. I think that cuts down on the time. I think it makes it more accurate, and you throw out less as well, I feel like.

Joanna: I know what you mean about YouTube. I’m listening to your lovely accent. So I could listen to your voice all day.

Gerry: Well, likewise.

Joanna: It’s funny, isn’t it? Not that I’m saying your accent is like this, but when I was on YouTube researching an Appalachian snake-handling church for End of Days, and I was watching all these videos, and the way they spoke.

Going deep on YouTube into people’s voices can make such a difference. Can’t it? It almost takes it into another realm.

Gerry: For sure. I do think it gets you into the mode and the mindset of these people who work. In 2015, 2016 when I was writing Pandemic, I was able to find CDC employees that were at conferences. And the stuff they talked about is not something you’d find in a book. The thing that scares them on deployments in Africa when there’s an outbreak is driving around; that’s the most dangerous thing for them.

They have their PPE, they know their job really well. They’re scared of getting Ebola, but that their top concern is driving around, getting in a car accident and getting hurt really badly. Anyway.

But the Appalachian snake handler… I grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and that’s an interesting subject, people speaking in tongues and just crazy stuff.

Joanna: That’s really fun. You can find all sorts on YouTube. Interesting that you mentioned your book, Pandemic, and you wrote that, you said 2015, 2016.

How did that go in the pandemic? Did you sell an absolute ton, or did people not want to read about a pandemic in a pandemic?

Gerry: A little of both. At the beginning, I remember this at the beginning of the pandemic because it was apparent to me once you started to see how contagious it was and what the case fatality rate is, this is going to be a big deal, and also the asymptomatic period for carriers.

I remember it was February or something, and we were going to launch on a lock screen ad with AMG and for Pandemic. And so they email me back, and they’re like, ‘Hey because of this outbreak in China, we’re going to have to pause this for two weeks, but the pandemic should be over in two weeks.’ I wrote him back and I was like, ‘Let’s just indefinitely pause this. In no way is it going to be over in two weeks.’

To my surprise, early in the pandemic, that book really took on a new life. It sold a lot of copies and the UK printer just did another printing of it. And then as the pandemic wore on, no one wants to read that, but I don’t know what it’s selling now. But I know that it’s exceedingly less popular than it has been historically.

I think we all have this pandemic fatigue. And I think people read it early to try to get a sense of how this thing was going to play out or to, I think we all read to understand the world around us. And I think there was some of that, but now it’s just like Pandemic, last book in the world, anyway.

Joanna: I remember watching that movie Contagion early on in the pandemic. It’s like, ‘Oh, I need to know what’s going on.’ But what’s funny is I actually started a Scrivener project when we started to hear about what was going on out of China, and I was going, ‘Oh, this would be great for a novel.’

And literally, it was probably by middle of February, I was like, ‘This is no longer great for a novel.’ I just ditched that Scrivener project. I was like, ‘Nope, not happening.’ Given you wrote that beforehand, that’s awesome. But let’s just come back.

A bit earlier, you said, 10 years into a career, you need to take a look at what’s going on and assess your strengths and weaknesses. And you said you started in 2011. So we are over a decade into this next career.

Given what you’ve done and the books you’ve written, are you assessing where you are now and are you pivoting again, or what’s going on with your assessment there?

Gerry: I think it’s fair to say that I’m pivoting. Ten years is probably too long to reassess. I think we should probably all be doing it maybe annually or more than that, but I’m behind the curve. But yeah, I think the last couple years have been reflecting.

I think that happiness is about trying to figure out what you want from the things that are important in your life. Writing is something I still really enjoy. I love sitting down and stringing words together and trying to tell a story. It makes me happy and I feel fulfilled at the end of the day. I would say that since 2011 or March of 2013 is when the book came out, the first book, things have changed a lot.

The job feels different. I think self-publishing is a bigger task than it was in many ways.

When I published that first book, it was like, I put it on Amazon. My wife went on Facebook, and it’s like, ‘My husband’s written this book. Go get it.’ It’s pretty much all we did. Right?

And the market was different then. There were fewer books and it was a 99-cent 500-page book that had value for money. So now, I’m trying to figure out where do I fit into this new, this changing landscape?

I’m someone who likes to write, and that’s what I really like about this. So the other things, I think if you want to do a job, you can’t just pick and choose, ‘All right, I’m going to only do these tasks.’ It’s like, ‘What is the job?’ And that’s what I’m trying to figure out.

I considered starting a publishing company, but I just felt like that ultimately would take me further away from writing, which is what I was trying to do. And also my business career, one of the things I learned is I’m not a really great manager. And so it’s like, ‘Do I really want to go try to manage a company?’ I don’t think so. So, that’s what’s led me to traditional publishing and trying to focus more on writing.

Joanna: Interesting. I’m not a great manager either. I’m barely a good manager of myself let alone anyone else!

Gerry: Same here. That’s it.

Joanna: One of my decisions is I do not want to grow a company. And I think it’s good… Like you said, you have to know yourself and know what you like, and the universe will keep teaching you these things until you learn it. And luckily, you learnt that the first time around. So you haven’t done that.

Let’s talk about your publishing journey then. You mentioned there, you uploaded that first book, 2013, you said, and your wife said, ‘Oh, it’s on Facebook,’ or said on Facebook, it’s available, and things started to happen.

How do you go from being just an indie author with one book to you’ve got several different publishing deals now, I think. So how did that happen?

Did you pitch for these things, or how did your development in the publishing world go?

Gerry: I would say that as far as my career, I’ve been a bit more reactive than proactive.

When I started out, I knew nothing about the publishing industry. I’ve been an avid reader my whole life, and I’ve read on Kindle, and I started reading self-published books, and that’s when I was so aware of it.

But I knew a great deal about selling things on the internet, having run startup companies that did it. Self-publishing on Amazon really wasn’t much of a decision. That’s something I knew.

I also wanted to get the book out there to figure out, ‘Is there an audience? Should I be doing this?’ Writing a query letter and trying to get traditionally published is…I don’t know, that was never really in the realm of possibility for me.

Since then agents started contacting me. The movie deals came about that way. And then my fourth book, Departure, which I think I was actually writing, or just finished that up when I met you in Frankfurt, HarperCollins bought the rights to it.

I’ll say that I’ve only ever self-published ebooks in English, and then in print in the U.S., we have a warehouse and books on pallets. But Head of Zeus has always published my print-only deal in UK and Commonwealth.

So what’s happening now is that Head of Zeus, which has been publishing me for, I don’t know, nine years now, is taking over the ebook. They’re expanding from print-only in the UK Commonwealth to the North American print and then worldwide ebook English rights.

Joanna: With new books, but not the old books?

Gerry: With new books. Right. The old books is something that I think is on the table, and we’re thinking about right now.

Joanna: That’s so interesting because I know a lot of very successful indies like yourself, originally indie, who have sold backlist in order to almost like you are saying, get it off your…not off your chest, but move it over to someone else’s responsibility. Even though, you must know that you will make less of a cut after that.

Gerry: Definitely. I don’t know, but my sense is it will probably make less money. But I do think I’ll be able to spend more time writing. I think I’ll be happier. So the question is, ‘Are you able to write more, and thus, do you get back to even just from greater production?’ I don’t know.

Joanna: But as you said, you are making choices around lifestyle at this point…

Gerry: That’s it.

Joanna: It’s not like, ‘Oh, I could make more money that way.’ But as you say, you might well end up doing that anyway. But you mentioned some movie deals and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, movie deals.’

Everyone wants a movie deal. How did that come to pass?

Gerry: When CBS Films optioned Atlantis, I didn’t have a film and TV agent. I was living in Florida, and one of my neighbors was this entertainment attorney and he negotiated the deal. But since then, my literary agent in New York has gotten me a film and TV agent. And so the film and TV agent did the Departure deal.

But, I mean, the film and TV stuff, I don’t know. I try not to get my hopes up. It’s something that I hope it happens in my lifetime. It looks like some of my newer stuff will get made before my older books. But I don’t know. For me always a bridesmaid, never a bride on the movie stuff. So maybe someday.

Joanna: As long as they keep paying for options.

Gerry: That’s it.

Joanna: That’s what will happen. If people listening don’t know the reality is that most things never get made. Right?

Gerry: Yes. It’s a long road. I think the thing I told my agent the other day, I was like, ‘I don’t care about this option money. I really just want to find somebody that will actually make this happen.’ And he’s like, ‘No, we need the option.’

They’re the experts on this stuff, so I just let them run with it and I just try to be patient.

I think there are so many things that can drive you crazy in this business, it’s like the only hope for sanity is just focus on the things you can control, and writing the books is what I can control and that’s what I try to focus on.

Joanna: That’s interesting, though, because as an independent author, you control a hell of a lot more than what you are now controlling. And actually, you’re talking about giving away more control, licensing more of your rights and controlling less. How does that work?

Gerry: I think it’s a balance. It’s like, ‘In return for controlling this, you then have the responsibility for this, and you get the work too.’ With control comes work and the responsibility, and it’s like, ‘Are those things that I care about? Maybe, maybe not.’

I do think the world benefits from specialization. If I’m in this business and my part of the business is writing the books, and to a certain extent, promoting the books to my audience and to readers, well, gosh, that’s something I love. I want to focus on that.

A publisher’s focus is, ‘How do we get the metadata right? How do we get the right cover or the right description? How do we distribute this to as many bookstores as we can and get those bookstores excited about the book and promoting the book?’

Those are things that as I went down the road of starting a publishing company, I felt like, ‘Gosh, this is a completely new animal that I don’t really…’ It’s like I just want to carve out the piece that I care about and the piece that I think I can do really well. That’s where I am.

Joanna: I don’t whether it’s just the accent, but you are so relaxed. You’re like a relaxed guy. I do remember when I met you, I was like, ‘Yeah, Gerry’s pretty relaxed dude.’ I think that your character says a lot for that, but it’s interesting.

Before as well, you talked about focusing on strengths.

Obviously, writing is a strength, and you basically said ignoring your weaknesses rather than trying to, I guess, get better at your weaknesses. Is that what you feel?

Gerry: I think there’s two things.

I think that one of the things I learned early in my life is that you’ve got to focus on your strengths if you ever want to get anywhere in life.

And I think your weaknesses are things that you can work around and you can get better, but it’s like we’re all given a certain amount of talent.

If you’re not a great dialogue writer, a writer of dialogue, you can get better, but you’re never going to be the greatest in the world. You’re going to top out at some point, just limited by the way your brain is wired.

When I began writing, there were things that I was like, ‘I think I can get better at this, but I know I’m never going to write one of these literary novels with these deep characters, I don’t think.’ But I think that knowing your weaknesses and trying to work around them is the wind at your back.

If you can do that, great, because you don’t have to be good at everything, right? You just need to be good at the stuff that you do and what you make a living at.

Joanna: I agree with you. You said earlier the job feels different obviously, having been in this since 2007, 2008, the job of being an author. And I feel like you do have to do everything if you want to be successful, independent.

But what you are doing, which is licensing some of those rights or maybe all of those rights I think is really interesting.

It is the trade-off between what you want to do and what you could learn to do, but you are acknowledging that might be a weakness. So why do it essentially? It’s a strong message.

Gerry: Yes. I think it’s like when you’re in a job, when you started self-publishing long before I did, but it’s like when we first got into it a lot of it was about getting your cover right, how do we get the description, and then the book, right? But I think ads is this whole other thing.

And it’s like, ‘I know I’m not a great manager and it’s like ads or something. I haven’t even looked at my ads in months.’ I go down that rabbit hole and it’s like, ‘Man, well, I’ve now spent six hours on this today and it’s like I could have been writing another book.’

I think we’re all realizing that the cost of things in our career are not always financial. There is a cost to your mental health, there’s a cost to your time that you could be doing something else. And then it’s like, for me, I only have so many good writing hours in a day, but I do want to use those to write, and that’s what I want to be focused on.

I’ve felt like, ‘All right, well, if the job changes a little, now we need to do ads and now we need to do TikTok or whatever it is that comes up.’ But it’s like, at some point you’re just like, ‘I know that this would benefit my career, but I also know that I suck at it. I don’t want to do it. And I’m just going to keep doing the things I’m doing.’

Joanna: Wait, are you doing TikTok?

Gerry: I’m not doing TikTok. That would be an example of something that… like, I’m such an introvert and I’ve seen all the details and the just like, ‘Here’s what you can…you know, the page flip and you do a quote and all this.’

Joanna: I’m glad you said that because I’m also not doing TikTok. I’ve been like, ‘No, I don’t do video.’ We are on audio-only right now. I just don’t want to do video. So I don’t want to do TikTok, and I don’t want to even look at it, literally. The only ones I see are the ones that people put on Twitter.

Gerry: Oh, right. Yeah.

Joanna: Let’s come back to the craft because that’s clearly important. One of the things I’ve noticed about your books because I’m in the UK and I see your books in bookstores, so Head of Zeus are obviously doing a good job, is that they’re really long, they’re super long books. They’re doorstop books. I feel like in the thriller niche, that’s actually less of a thing.

Did you intend to write long? And do you think that’s helped your books stand out?

Gerry: I do. I would call the books epic science fiction. They’re a little different in that they don’t really fit. If you say, ‘All right, this is what is the norm for the genre,’ certainly the plot and what’s the content in the book is a little outside of it. I personally think that a longer book it can go really bad. If the reader is hating it on page 150 and they’ve got 400 more to go, that’s not a good setup.

But if I’m reading something I love, I don’t want it to end. I think that longer books give readers an opportunity to bond more with the characters. I think they care more about books that they’ve spent more time with and have more of an emotional connection to it.

So I think it helps you in reviews in terms of the number you’re getting. You probably get some bad ones just because of the length. But I think if you can write a good book that has some length to it and people spend more time with, I think it helps you.

Joanna: I definitely did notice that about your books being different in that way and that it does stand out. I know you say they’re epic science fiction, but I still feel like they’re in thriller. I actually think they get shelved in thriller here in the UK.

Gerry: Oh, really. Interesting.

Joanna: Yeah, and covered as thrillers more than science fiction. I feel like I don’t particularly read science fiction, but I’ve read almost all your books, I think. You’re definitely a crossover audience.

Gerry: Crossover. That’s Head of Zeus. They’re shelving in the right place.

Joanna: Our bookshops are smaller than you have them in the U.S. But I did want to ask about this too and what maybe it’s the length, but you have 11 books as we record this. And, I mean, that’s a lot for a lot of people, but it is a lot less than a lot of other authors.

There is a bit of a thing in the indie author community that the more books you have, the better. And if you don’t have more books, then you’ll never make tons of money. But you’ve sold over 4 million copies, and obviously, with the movie deals and everything, you’re doing really well.

What do you think is the truth around the size of your backlist and how that impacts a career?

Gerry: It’s a good question, and I think it’s a good debate. My sense is that maybe it varies by genre.

The science fiction thrillers are the ones that do take some research and that have a lot of plot twists. I do think they maybe take a little more work than, say, a contemporary romance or something that you’re just writing a lot based on your own experience or an urban fantasy, or something that where there’s not that extra overhead.

So I think maybe some of the work takes longer. Obviously, every author has their own pace. I think I’ve gotten faster as an author over time just from getting more comfortable and refining my own process.

But I don’t know, what I’ve always tried to do is write the best book I can every time. I think some years I’m better than I am other years, I’m just what’s going on in my life, or how focused I am. But if you’re getting better, you’re writing the best books. You can just write as many as you can while doing that. I think that’s the key. And then I think there is some genre impact there.

Joanna: So you said your process has improved. What does your writing process look like? Now, you said you outlined.

Do you just type or do you dictate or what’s your writing process?

Gerry: Good question. The big change for me has been how detailed the outlines are. For The Atlantis Gene the outline was really almost like a first draft, had the whole theme. I had the trilogy planned out. It was just like the Invasion of Normandy, the whole thing.

Then I got 30,000 words in, and the whole thing just completely changed because the characters when you’re writing an outline, it’s like, ‘Do you really know these characters that well?’ And so you get to a point you’re like, ‘Ah, that character wouldn’t do that. This doesn’t really seem natural anymore.’

So you have to adjust your outline, or I do have to adjust my outline. Maybe others have better outlines, but I would say that my process has changed and that my outlines are a lot looser. They’re more broad.

So my process, I’ve started dictating my outlines, and that helps me just get the outline out, use Dragon Dictate, Naturally Speaking, or whatever it is. If you read it in Scrivener, it looks horrendous. Some of the stuff is phonetic, and I was like, ‘What am I even saying there?’

.But it helps you get the outline down, or it helps me get the outline down. And then I typically type my drafts on a Neo Writer. It’s that little electronic…you can find ’em on eBay; Neo writer. There’s no internet. There’s no spellcheck. I’m an atrocious speller and drives me crazy in Word. And it’s just like, ‘You just screwed that up. All right. Yep. You missed another one.’

But yeah, I write my drafts on a Neo and then import it and see all the literary or grammatical transgressions, and then I edit in Scrivener and go to Word.

Joanna: It’s interesting you dictate the outline. I feel like a lot of people are hybrid dictators like that because it is very hard to dictate the finished words.

Gerry: It is for me. I can’t get my voice right. I guess I type different than I speak, or I don’t know, maybe because of my Southern accent, the software can’t understand what I’m saying. Dictating the novel hasn’t…I’ve tried it. It didn’t work for me, or I didn’t like the way it turned out.

Joanna: I go in fits and starts. Well, we are almost out of time.

Tell us about the next book, your latest book, Lost in Time, out September 2022, I think.

Gerry: Yes, September 1st. Lost in Time I would call it a time travel, murder mystery.

It’s about a widowed father whose girlfriend is murdered, and he and his daughter are accused of the crime. The evidence is ironclad, and they’ll be convicted. And this takes place in the near future in which murderers aren’t sent to prison. They’re sent to the past, 200 million years into the past, to the time of the dinosaurs.

The main character, Sam Anderson, makes the decision to confess to the crime to save his daughter. And so he’s sent to the past. His daughter stays in the present and her mission becomes to clear her father’s name and figure out how to get him back and to figure out who really committed the crime.

So she has this murder mystery to unravel. And then Sam in the past has this survival situation. Also, there’s some secrets waiting for him back there. So it’s a time travel, science fiction, thriller that I’m pretty excited about

Joanna: With an edge of‘Jurassic Park then.

Gerry: It has dinosaurs. That’s the first thing I told my agent. He was like, ‘What is this book about?’ I was like, ‘Danny, it’s got dinosaurs,’ and things went from there.

Joanna: I love it. That is a great premise. I’m certainly going to read it. It’s funny. I think I looked at it and went, ‘Oh, not really into time travel.’ Now you’ve told me that, I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m totally getting that one.’ I love a time travel with dinosaurs. Gotta love dinosaurs. Again, Michael Crichton just got me, whenever that year was, when Jurassic Park came out. Goodness, must have been ’90-something. ’93?

Gerry: ’92, ’93. Yeah.

Joanna: Over around there. Oh, no, that’s awesome. Right.

Where can people find you and your books online?

Gerry: It’s agriddle.com and then links to all the retailers are there.

Joanna: Fantastic. Thanks so much, Gerry. That was great.

Gerry: Thanks for having me.

The post Writing A Bestseller With A.G. Riddle first appeared on The Creative Penn.

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Author: Joanna Penn

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  • July 27, 2022