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Episode #3:
"Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?"
with Jeffery Deaver and John Gilstrap

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Tune In

On this episode, we're excited to bring you Jeffrey Deaver in conversation with John Gilstrap.

Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling mystery author who has written more than 40 novels, including The Bone Collector, part of the acclaimed Lincoln Rhyme series, which was adapted in to a hit film starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. His book A Maiden’s Grave was made into an HBO movie starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and NBC television recently aired the nine-episode prime-time series, Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector. He was recently named a Grand Master of The Mystery Writers of America, whose ranks include Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Mary Higgins Clark and Walter Mosely. His latest Lincoln Rhyme novel, The Midnight Lock, was released in 2021.

John Gilstrap is a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty thrillers, two of which, Nathan’s Run and At All Costs, were optioned for movies. In 2009, John wrote No Mercy, which started the massively popular Jonathan Grave series and in 2021, Crimson Phoenix initiated the Victoria Emerson series, the latest installment of which is The Blue Fire, released in 2022.

These good friends share their perspectives on genre writing: the difference between mysteries and thrillers, the elements of the perfect thriller, and who outlines stories before writing (plotters) and who writes by the seat of their pants (pantsers). They also get personal, getting into their mutual love of music and skiing, with an emphasis on their apres ski rituals.

Read Along!

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A thrilling new suspense novel with shades of The Stand and One Second After from the New York Times bestselling author of the Jonathan Grave series, that fans of Ben Coes and Brad Taylor won’t want to miss! In the wake of a global conflict that has devastated America, those who survived live in a world without technology or governance. They look to one woman—single mother and former West Virginia Congressperson Victoria Emerson—to lead and protect those determined to rebuild all they have lost…

“Engrossing…Fans of doomsday military thrillers will delight in the resilience of Gilstrap’s family of preppers and their quest for survival on their terms.” –Publishers Weekly

They call it Hell Day—a world war that lasted less than twenty-four hours. Nations unleashed weapons that destroyed more than a century’s worth of technology. Electrical grids cannot generate power. Communications and computers cannot run. And the remnants of the U. S. government cannot be depended upon. Those who survived must live as their ancestors did, off a land ruled by the whims of nature.    
One-time congressional representative Victoria Emerson has become the new leader of the small town of Ortho, West Virginia. She has been struggling to provide food and shelter for the town’s inhabitants, while coping with desperate refugees. An autumn morning’s calm is shattered when her teenage son sounds the alarm with the cry “Blue Fire”—the code phrase for imminent danger.
A band of National Guardsmen intends to take Ortho and its resources for themselves. They have enough soldiers and firepower to eliminate anyone who dares to stop them. But Victoria swore an oath to defend and protect her people, and she isn’t about to surrender. It’s time to tap into the traditional American values of courage, ingenuity, and determination – and fight fire with fire.

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In a single, devastating day, a nuclear war has destroyed modern life as we know it, bringing civilizations back to a world without electricity, computers, or communications – what preppers refer to as a “fast crash event,” where society collapses in an instant. The U.S. government and its military arms have fallen; individuals are now tasked with the basics of survival in the wake of horrendous

Victoria Emerson has put her former congressional experience and her prepper skills to the test as the new leader of tiny Ortho, West Virginia, from managing the town’s most basic needs to overseeing incoming waves of desperate refugees. Her sons also need her strengths. To her own surprise, she is the leader Ortho needs – from overseeing rebuilding to instilling law and order without the benefit of order.

An autumn morning’s calm is shattered with the alarming cry “Blue Fire”—the town’s code phrase for imminent danger. A heavily armed gang, looking to steal the town’s precious provisions, runs up against the indefatigable Emerson. When she orders them to leave, they open fire. Another war is erupting inside the bunker housing the President, the Speaker, and other DC brass who have survived the nuclear bombs. The chain of command is breaking, and a violent overthrow is about to take place. What is discovered beyond the safety of the official Annex leads to shocking revelations
about power and survival.


BLUE FIRE is a riveting, fast-paced, and wrenching exploration of the best and worst in the human will to
survive, the tenuous levers of power, and what people will do to reestablish normalcy in the face of

We are proudly supported by:

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Desert Island Bookshelf

This episode's Independent Bookseller shout-out goes to:


The Book Club

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