John Gilstrap

Virtual Book Club Visits

Are you part of a book club? Would you like for me to speak to your group? I have a Zoom account and I know how to use it, so if you’d like me to host a virtual meeting for your club, send me an email at . I’ll for sure arrange the first ten, and after that, we’ll play it by ear.

In a perfect world, I’ll be there because you’ve read one my books as a group, but I won’t make that a deal-breaker (although, in the case of a tie…). Y’all can ask me anything.

Hey, teachers, this goes for you, too. These are the days of the virtual classroom, so why not the virtual author talk to the class? My book, NATHAN’S RUN is now middle school compatible, so if you want them to read it, that would be super, but again, that’s not a deal breaker. We can get together and just talk about writing. We can figure something out. (NOTE: The old hardcover version of NATHAN’S RUN is NOT middle school compatible. Lots of language. Enough that that version made the list of the 100 most banned books in America.)

As far as logistics are concerned, the only potential problem I can think of is time zones. I live on the East Coast of the USA. But hey, we can make it work.

John Gilstrap’s Presentation Topics:

Bangs & Booms 101: Technical Stuff That Writers Should Get Right

Fiction readers are getting more sophisticated all the time, and it’s a writer’s job to get the details correct. New York Times bestselling author John Gilstrap brings his thirty years of experience as a firefighter, EMT, safety engineer and hazardous materials specialist to the classroom in a lively, interactive session to teach the basics of projectile ballistics, fire behavior, how explosives work, and how the human body functions. What actually happens when a person gets shot or stabbed? Do silencers really work? What’s the difference between a fire, a deflagration and a detonation? Was there really another shooter on the grassy knoll when JFK was shot? These and many other questions will be answered. Note: This presentation contains graphic imagery. (Target audience: writers’ groups, CSI fans, journalists; 60-90 minutes)

A/V Requirements: Data projector; sound system. John prefers to speak with a wireless lavaliere microphone.

Dare To Dream

If New York Times bestselling author John Gilstrap had listened to the advice he received from parents, teachers and friends, he never would have published a thing. As it is, he listened to the naysayers for at least 20 years too long. In this moving, inspirational presentation, John decodes the culture of negativity that keeps artists of all stripes from achieving the dreams they were born to live, and gives people the tools to turn it all around. It’s never too early, and it’s never too late to dare to dream. (Target audience: commencement exercises, civic groups, inspirational keynote; 30-50 minutes)

A/V requirements: John prefers to speak with a wireless lavaliere microphone.

Adrenaline Rush: How to Write Suspense Fiction

Award-winning thriller author John Gilstrap presents a day-long seminar on the construction of intelligent suspense fiction. What makes for a strong plot? How do you take cardboard characters and give them life on the page? Through lively lectures and writing exercises, students get a peek at the skeleton that gives structure to the stories that keep us reading long into the night. (Target audience: writers’ groups, writing classes; 4-6 hours)

A/V requirements: Data projector. John prefers to speak with a wireless lavaliere microphone.

Blood on the Page: Using Research to Create Credible Fiction

Bestselling author John Gilstrap writes critically-acclaimed thrillers featuring military tactics and surveillance, but has never served in the armed forces. He writes about crimes and cops, but he’s never served in law enforcement. In this session, you’ll learn how to make minutes of research look like years of first-hand experience. (Target audience: writers’ groups; 60 minutes)

A/V requirements: Data projector. John prefers to speak with a wireless lavaliere microphone.

Whose Story Are You Telling?

Choosing the correct point of view is one of the key elements of dramatic storytelling. Bestselling author John Gilstrap has been praised by Publishers Weekly for “flawless characterization” in his books, and in this interactive session, he’ll walk you through the critical decisions that help you propel your story through the most dramatic set of eyes. Bring paper and a pen, because there’ll be a writing exercise. (Target audience: writers’ groups; 60-90 minutes)

A/V requirements: Data projector. John prefers to speak with a wireless lavaliere microphone.

Adapting Stories for the Screen

In setting out to adapt the work of another author for a film, it’s important to understand from the very beginning that the mission is not to take the author’s vision from the page and reproduce it on the screen. Instead, the mission is to create a story for film that happens to be based on a story previously told in print. New York Times bestselling author and five-time screenwriter John Gilstrap knows better than most that it’s not as easy as it seems, and he’s anxious to share the details with you. (Target audience: writers’ groups, writing classes; 50 minutes)

About the Presenter:

John Gilstrap is the New York Times bestselling author of the Jonathan Grave thrillers. His previous books include Hostage Zero, No Mercy, Six Minutes to Freedom, Scott Free, Even Steven, At All Costs, and Nathan’s Run, four of which were selections of the Literary Guild. His novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.

John has also adapted four bestselling novels for the big screen: Red Dragon (uncredited) from the Thomas Harris novel, for Dino DeLaurentiis Productions; Word of Honor (from the Nelson DeMille novel, for Dino DeLaurentiis Productions); Young Men and Fire (from the Norman Maclean book, for Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures/Warner Brothers); and Nathan’s Run (from his own novel, also for Warner Brothers). Currently, he is writing the screenplay for his book Six Minutes to Freedom for Sesso Entertainment. A former firefighter and EMT, John holds a master’s degree in safety from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.