Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Through discussions and interviews with writers, artists and health professionals, author friends James McKenzie Watson and Ashley Kalagian Blunt explore the big questions: how do books get written? How do people navigate life with chronic illness? And just what are you reading?

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is the author of Dark Mode, an internationally published psychological thriller. Her earlier books are How to Be Australian, a memoir, and My Name Is Revenge, collected fiction and essays. Her writing appears in the Sydney Morning Herald, Overland, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books, and more. Ashley is an enthusiastic teacher of writing and creativity. Originally from Canada, she has lived and worked in South Korea, Peru and Mexico. Find her on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website.

James McKenzie Watson is the author of Denizen, which won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize and was shortlisted in 2023 Ned Kelly Awards for Best Debut. His writing has appeared in The GuardianMeanjinKill Your Darlings and the Newtown Review of Books. He has appeared at events including the Sydney Writers Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival and BAD Crime Sydney. He works as a nurse. Find him on Twitter and Instagram or visit his website.

Mar 12, 2024

Throughout their writing careers, James and Ashley have each picked up some excellent writing tricks, plus developed a few of their own. In the coming months, they’ll each share a few of their most effective writing techniques, starting with James’ shortcut to compelling characters. 

British science-fiction author Karen Traviss writes remarkably nuanced characters. She also writes remarkably quickly, once tapping out 37,000 words in two days. In this episode, James delves into one of Traviss's novels to understand what makes her characters so compelling. He then shares the four questions he now always asks himself about his characters before writing. 

Plus, we talk about the latest novel from one of our very first guests.  

You can find a summary of James’ tips here

You can find Karen Traviss’ wildly entertaining and informative FAQ page here

Books and authors discussed in this episode

  • Gears of War: Aspho Fields by Karen Traviss;
  • The Corrections by Jonathon Franzen;
  • The Walking Dead (series) by Robert Kirkman; 
  • Red River Road by Anna Downes; 
  • The Consultant by Im Seong Sun, translated by An Seon Jae
Upcoming events

Learn more about James' award-winning novel Denizen and get your copy here or from your local bookshop

Learn more about Ashley's psychological thriller Dark Mode and get your copy here or from your local bookshop

Get in touch!