Behind the Scenes: J.D. Barker Discusses Writing Process, Autism Spectrum, and BookTok Email Controversy

Acclaimed thriller author J.D. Barker recently found himself at the center of an unintentional controversy surrounding promotions for his upcoming novel, “Behind A Closed Door.” A marketing email intended for paid influencers was accidentally sent to a mailing list of book reviewers, causing a stir on BookTok, the book-loving community on TikTok.

Some content creators were surprised by the email, which included suggestions for promotional content. The incident quickly gained attention, with discussions on TikTok and coverage by the national press.

After the unintended situation, Barker promptly addressed the matter with two apologies. The first was an immediate response acknowledging the issue. The second, posted on X (formerly Twitter), aimed to provide further context. Recognizing the situation’s sensitivity, Barker ultimately chose to refrain from additional comments to avoid further misunderstanding. “It became clear that anything I said could be misinterpreted,” he shares. “I was taken aback by the unexpected turn of events.

Writing Process and Personal Insights

Despite the recent controversy, Barker remains a master of his craft, known for his ability to create complex, gripping narratives. When asked about his writing process, Barker reveals, “I wish I could tell you there was some secret recipe or method to it all, but there really isn’t. It’s fluid. I find that my process changes from book to book.

Barker, who is on the autism spectrum, considers his unique way of processing information to be his “superpower” when it comes to writing. “I may have a hard time making eye contact, but I can string together a complex plot and understand how each event impacts the rest,” he explains. “It’s a lot like writing computer software—when you write your first line of code, you need to understand how that line will impact the last line, how it will impact everything in between.

Themes and Motivations Behind “Behind A Closed Door”

“Behind A Closed Door,” the book at the center of the controversy, explores the dark side of technology and human nature. Inspired by the realization that our phones are constantly listening to us, Barker crafted a story that delves into the potential consequences of mindlessly accepting terms of service agreements.

I knew I’d be exploring themes like marital indiscretion and infidelity,” Barker says. “But when it came to sex, I had a decision to make. In the writing world, it’s known as the ‘closed door.’ Would sex take place behind a ‘closed door’ and only be implied to the reader, or would they be present, a literary voyeur? I opted for the latter.”

Impact on Personal Life

The email mishap and subsequent backlash have profoundly impacted Barker’s personal life. As someone on the autism spectrum, he found the experience particularly challenging. “When you put a problem in front of someone like me, I am hardwired to fix it. That’s what I do. I fix things,” he explains. “When this happened, that voice was shrieking. I wanted to fix it, I kept trying to fix it, but I didn’t know how, and every attempt detonated a dozen new bombs.

Barker credits his wife as an incredible source of support during this difficult time. “Thank God for her. I don’t know how I would have gotten through those initial days without her love and support. The same goes for my friends and colleagues. People who know me know I’m not the guy they painted me to be. Hearing from them went a long way.”

J.D. Barker’s Resilient Writing Journey

Barker’s journey as an author has its triumphs and challenges. His perspective, shaped by his experiences on the autism spectrum, has allowed him to create intricate and captivating stories that redefine the thriller genre.

While the recent controversy over the promotion of “Behind A Closed Door” has undoubtedly been a difficult chapter in Barker’s career, it has also highlighted his resilience and dedication to his craft. As he deals with the fallout, Barker remains focused on his writing, committed to captivating readers with his signature blend of suspense, horror, and psychological depth.