Podcast Episode 82: JoAnne Tompkins (Author of What Comes After)

What Comes After


In Episode 82, JoAnne Tompkins (author of the debut novel What Comes After) shares how her previous career inspired her to write this story, the real-life case that partially inspired the book, and how she wrote a character-driven novel that was also a page turner.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).


  • How JoAnne’s prior career as a trial lawyer, judicial officer, and mediator inspired her to become a writer.
  • The real life case that inspired elements of the story in What Comes After.
  • How JoAnne found her agent and the story of her selling What Comes After to Riverhead.
  • How JoAnne took her characters on a journey that felt a bit like therapy without them actually going through traditional therapy.
  • How she decided to make Isaac a Quaker and her own experience living in a Quaker community.
  • What JoAnne did to make What Comes After introspective / character-driven AND a page turner.
  • How JoAnne approaches writing (and how that changed over the course of writing this book).
  • The most autobiographical part of the book.
  • The story behind Rufus, the dog.

JoAnne’s Book Recommendations [30:35]

Two OLD Books She Loves

Two NEW Books She Loves

One Book She DIDN’T LOVE

One NEW RELEASE She’s Excited About

Last 5 Star Book(s) JoAnne Read [47:40]

Other Books Mentioned

About JoAnne

what comes afterWebsite | Instagram

JoAnne Tompkins is the author of WHAT COMES AFTER, published April 2021 by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Her first career as a trial lawyer and mediator immersed her in lives disrupted by conflict, injury, and far too often violence and abuse. Yet, she discovered in many a resiliency and passion for life that continues to move her. Her written work explores the small moments that hold the possibility of transformation and for finding grace in life’s darkest times. Her short work has appeared in journals such as High Country News, Lithub, Writer in the World, Stratus: Journal of Arts and Writing. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

Next Episode

There will not be a new episode next week since the podcast is on a bi-weekly schedule.

The following week, Susie from Novel Visits will join me for our Summer Reading Special Episode (airing May 12).

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What Comes After


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