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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

May 17, 2019

In this episode, Mark has a chat with Carolyn Arnold (the author of the Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures) and her husband George.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word about this episode's sponsor, Findaway Voices . .

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In his personal update, Mark shares the fact that he is in Oklahoma City, OK, spending a week at the Draft2Digital offices. He also talks about the importance of connecting in person (both with respect to hanging out with his colleagues from D2D as well as the in-person connections that happen at writer conferences).

He also shares his experience attending the Alicia Witt concert at The Blue Door in OKC and as well as his involvement "working backstage" or "front of house" for the evening.

In addition, he talks about the anger that fans of Game of Thrones have been expressing recently, and a petition fans are signing along with the thought that the emotional investment fans are displaying is evidence of really powerful and effective storytelling.

In their chat, Mark, Carolyn and George talk about:

  • How long Carolyn and George have been collaborating as a husband and wife team and writer and publisher
  • George's 25 years of experience as a designer before he adapted that knowledge into designing Carolyn's book covers
  • Carolyn's start in writing in a serious way in 2006 shortly after a work colleage asked her to tell her a story
  • What drew Carolyn to the dark corners of murder and mysteries
  • The way that Carolyn doesn't really know the end of her novels and that she investigates along with her investigators
  • How writing 10 books in a single year led to Carolyn's need of having George start to do the formatting of the eBooks and print books for her
  • Carolyn's belief that, though she is the creative person (the writer) that George is also a very creative person in their partnership
  • The need for divided and separating their at home work spaces
  • Strategy and detailed analytics that into the launch of each new book
  • How the message in Carolyn's book IN THE LINE OF DUTY is nearest and dearest to her heart
  • The research involved ERT and SWAT to ensure accuracy in the details of Carolyn's novels
  • The origin of Carolyn's two main branding catch phrases
  • The spreadsheet Carolyn and George have with various contacts and specialists from police, FBI, coroners, etc
  • Long term and patient curation of and engagement with Carolyn's fan base
  • The way Carolyn alternates between writing in her difference series books
  • The business decision behind the settings for Carolyn's novels in the US rather than in Canada
  • The value of ARC and early reader feedback and how they use Bookfunnel for that
  • The "empowering to women" effect of Carolyn's Madison Knight series and character
  • How SHADES OF JUSTICE was influenced by a double homicide that happened in Toronto
  • Strategies regarding moving into audiobooks
  • How the beauty of a leaf led to freeing up Carolyn's creative mind in determing the solution to a novel she had been working on
  • Advice that Carolyn and George would offer to help a creative person transition their passion to a full time career

After the interview, Mark reflects on the creativity involved in publishing and marketing. He then thanks recent commenters on the podcast and Patreon supporters.


Links of Interest


CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

GEORGE ARNOLD is a graphic design artist with nearly thirty years experience. Through his employment with a local graphic company, his talent has been put to work for many big names including 3M, McDonald’s, the London Knights, and Diamond Aircraft.

He joined Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc. full-time January 2016 for the purpose of cover design, interior formatting, sales and marketing. He’s been designing Carolyn’s covers since 2011 and has worked with others on theirs during that time, as well.

George was born in rural Ontario and has the desire to put his skills to use serving others in the publishing industry.


The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0