Ask the Author: J.D. Barker

“Best of luck to you! BTW - if you still haven't found the lost chapter, we've added it to the paperback release of THE FOURTH MONKEY due out in May :)” J.D. Barker

Answered Questions (34)

Sort By:
Loading big
An error occurred while sorting questions for author J.D. Barker.
J.D. Barker Glad to hear it! I imagine the Australian publisher will use NetGalley but I'm not sure when it will go up there. I believe they're publishing in December. If you see it, let me know! They don't usually tell us these things :|
J.D. Barker I've read many Patterson books (I'm actually writing one with him now) but I have not read this particular series. When writing THE FOURTH MONKEY I fully intended it to be a standalone novel. 4MK has been rather insistent about continuing though, the story has grown into a three book series. At some point, I may go back and write three prequels to fill in the set but that hasn't been decided yet.
J.D. Barker Hi Jennifer! Thanks for the kind words! I'm afraid I've got no control or say over ARCs, that's handled completely by my publishers. Do you have a blog? Sometimes that helps. If not, best bet is to get a pre-order in so you can take advantage of the low price. I hear it's going up at publication.

J.D. Barker As more of my books come out, I think you'll find that "suspense" is really the common thread. They might have aspects of horror, thriller, sci-fi, even romance, mixed in, but my true genre is suspense. In other words, I mix it up. I do tend to try new things with each book, the one I'm writing now is greatly influenced by Great Expectations. Personally I feel that by challenging myself to new things, the writing stays fresh.
J.D. Barker Wow, that's a lot of questions :)

There are three planned books in the current 4MK series and I'm considering writing three prequels. We'll have to see how things shake out with the movie and TV show, then figure out where to go next. I absolutely love these characters, though - TFM was one of the funnest books I've written to date.

Book titles can be tough. The working title of this novel was DIARY OF A MADMAN but I knew we couldn't go to press with that (Ozzy might come knocking on my door). DO NO EVIL was another possible title but there are approximately 1.6 billion books with that title. In the end, I sat down one day and just started brainstorming, created a list, and when I wrote THE FOURTH MONKEY I knew I had it.

Thanks for the kind words! Can't wait to share the next one!
J.D. Barker I'm afraid that's just the way the publishing world works. Although THE FOURTH MONKEY released in the US, UK, and Canada in June 2017, it's still releasing in other countries around the world. Between translating and marketing, there are a lot of moving parts and it's best to spread them out. Unfortunately, that means there is a little wait time between novels. I have two coming out in 2018 - THE FIFTH TO DIE in June and DRACUL in the fall. Hopefully the publishers will continue to allow me to release two books/year moving forward.
J.D. Barker Oh boy, that's tough. Every sentence aspires to grow up and become a novel.
J.D. Barker Inspiration comes from so many places, it's difficult to pin it down. The idea for THE FOURTH MONKEY rattled around in my head for years. I knew I wanted to write a book about a serial killer, I also knew that killer would die in the opening chapters, but that was all I had. It wasn't until a day in line at the grocery store when I heard a father behind me lean down to his son and whisper, "Speak no evil, son," that the main storyline of my novel came together. The moment I heard him say that, I had 4MK's backstory plotted out. It's always the little things.

I grew up reading detective stories. I ran through all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries by the time I started kindergarten. All the Agatha Christie books came next. If I can offer any advice, it would be to study the classics, pick them apart, determine what works and what doesn't in each of them.

The books of Thomas Harris should be required reading for anyone planning to write in the thriller genre. They are damn near perfect from start to finish. Although Se7en was never a novel, it would have made a fine one. I guest lecture at high schools and colleges around the country. If you think that might be a fit for your class, feel free to reach out via my website.
J.D. Barker Dacre Stoker actually read my first novel, FORSAKEN, and felt I was a good fit for the project. When we finally met and got talking about it, we hit the ground running. One of the funnest experiences of my writing career to date! Keep an eye out for the book, it releases fall of 2018!
J.D. Barker It's there, I promise! A number of people have already found it.
J.D. Barker I know many authors who will not read something in the same genre in which they're writing. I don't find that the stories creep in, but the author's voice does. When writing the Dracula prequel, I actually used this to my advantage. I read (and re-read) Dracula while writing, I also listened to the audiobook nearly on repeat while exercising. This helped me to write in Bram Stoker's voice, mimic his sentence structure and cadence. Large parts of the novel actually came from his notes so it was important that I matched his voice. The funny thing is, now when I go back and read our book, I can't tell which words came from me and which came from Bram. Hopefully readers will feel the same when it releases next year. It's one hell of a fun and terrifying story!
J.D. Barker Well, thank you! If you ever get the chance to hang out with cops on duty, I think you'll find that many of them have a strong sense of humor. In many ways, it's necessary to help balance out some of the negative they see regularly.

As far as writing different POVs - I create my characters long before I start work on a novel. I feel it's important to know everything about them. I can tell you Emory's favorite foods, tv shows, her likes and dislikes, her favorite t-shirt when she just wants to wear something frumpy around the house... many of these things never make a book but they bring that character/person to life - characters need to be real before you can tell their story. When they stop being a creation and become someone you know, you're ready to tell their story.
J.D. Barker Sorry! Access to the title is currently only being granted to those with Super-Secret-Double-Probation-Clearance (meaning, only the publisher/editor). We will share it soon though, promise!
J.D. Barker Mirrors creep me out, I've never broken one. I don't think it's because I'm worried about seven years of bad luck. For me, the fear is really in what a mirror represents, it's a glimpse into a world opposite our own. Are you staring at your own reflection or is your reflection really the living being staring back at you?

As far as a book from the past, probably anything by Dickens. He was a master. I'm recently read Great Expectations for the umpteenth time and I'm still find new things in that story I missed on previous go-arounds. Every adult should revisit a few of the classics.
J.D. Barker I think most authors write the types of books they like to read and I love a solid thriller! Most people don't know this but I've worked with law enforcement as a consultant. I've personally solved several murders and helped put some nasty people in jail. With a baby on the way, I've toned down that kind of work (along with jumping out of airplanes, hang-gliding, and a few other things fathers-to-be should avoid). Although it helps the idea-mill, I've found most real-life criminals just aren't as inventive as the fictional sort. I absolutely love writing thrillers but I think as more of my work gets out in the wild, readers will find the underlying theme in all my books is suspense. Suspense with a bit of horror, a dab of the occasional paranormal, and even a little sci-fi every now and then. I grew up reading Koontz and King and I'm hoping readers will be willing to let me cross genres occasionally.

I dont know if any writer can tell you where their book ideas come from. For me, I get ideas when I'm not trying to think of ideas - in the shower, running with the dog, at a ballgame. You can take any scenario, add "what if" to it, and there is potential for a story. For example - imagine you're standing in line for a hotdog at a baseball game. Boring right? Now, what if you looked down at the person standing in front of you and noticed their right hand was soaked in blood, dripping in it, and they're just standing there, in line... all good stories start with a simple, "what if."
J.D. Barker THE FOURTH MONKEY is the first in a series of three. The next, titled THE FIFTH TO DIE, releases June 2018. Glad you enjoyed it!
J.D. Barker It absolutely was an honor! We had access to all of Bram's original notes and journals, much of which has not been made public. We even got to see the original DRACULA/UNDEAD manuscript in the possession of Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen. This allowed us to confirm information we found in Bram's notes as part of the original novel but removed by his publisher. The novel is done currently making rounds at the publishers as well as the film studios. I'm sure it will find a home quickly. Favorite author? That's tough, I read a lot and I read all genres. Stephen King and Dean Koontz would probably tie for first place, with Thomas Harris easily locking in #2, and John Saul rounding out at #3.

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more