Matt Witten

Psychological Thrillers

Novelist, TV writer, screenwriter, playwright.

Matt Witten is a TV writer, novelist, playwright and screenwriter who has written for many TV shows including House, Pretty Little Liars, Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Medium, JAG, The Glades, Homicide, Judging Amy, and Women’s Murder Club. His latest novel, The Necklace, has been optioned for film by Appian Way and Cartel Pictures, with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer. He has also written four mystery novels set in Upstate New York that were published by Signet: Breakfast at Madeline’s, Grand Delusion, Strange Bedfellows, and The Killing Bee. He wrote the movie Drones. His plays Washington Square Moves, The Deal, The Ties That Bind, Hadleyburg, USA, and Sacred Journey have been published by Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service and produced throughout the world. He has been nominated for two Edgars and an Emmy, and his debut novel won the Malice Domestic Award.

To learn more about Matt Witten, visit his website. Read BookTrib’s review of The Necklace here.

Watch the interview below to learn more about The Necklace from Matt Witten himself!

Your biggest literary influences:

Throughout my life, two writers have inspired me the most: Dr. Seuss and Elmore Leonard. Dr. Seuss wrote with such freedom and wealth of imagination, which I believe has had a tremendous, underappreciated impact on so many writers who came after him. Elmore Leonard wrote with such economy of language, and such wonderful realistic dialogue, that I still marvel when I reread his work today. 

In the past five or ten years, when I’ve been gobbling down psychological thrillers like candy, there are so many writers who have inspired me. Here’s a partial list: Gillian Flynn, Harlan Coben, Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen, Laura Lippman, Jessica Knoll, A.J. Finn, Paula Hawkins, Shari Lapena, Karin Slaughter, Mary Kubica, Lisa Lutz, Ruth Ware, Linwood Barclay, Fiona Barton, Lisa Jewell, JP Delany, and Hollie Overton.

Last book read:

The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

The book that changed your life:

Swag by Elmore Leonard: It was the first Leonard novel I read, and the beauty and simplicity of the language took my breath away. Also, it’s a terrific tragic story about two armed robbers who do extremely well because they follow the “ten rules of success and happiness” that one of them has devised. These rules include “Always be polite on the job,” “Never use your own car,” and “Never flash money in a bar or with women.” If they just continued to follow these rules, they’d be fine. But their tragic flaw is that, even though they know the right thing to do, they can’t do it. They begin breaking one rule after another, and they get caught. I think this is a great metaphor for humanity: we often can’t do what we know in our hearts is right.

Your favorite literary character:

So many to choose from: Holmes and Watson, Bertie and Jeeves, Pogo the Possum … I’ll go with Elwood P. Dowd from the movie Harvey, played by Jimmy Stewart. It’s kind of an odd choice for me, because I come from a hyper-intellectual family — physicist father, physicist brother, mathematician/doctor sister, and I tend to have my head in the clouds myself. But Elwood is a nice counterweight to all that. He’s anything but intellectual, and some of his ideas are clearly inaccurate, for instance, his belief that he’s accompanied by a six-foot-tall rabbit. My favorite quote from the movie is: “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be’ — she’d always call me Elwood — “in this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

Currently working on:

A new novel called Clickbait about a podcast reporter who’s investigating a cold-case murder.

Words to live by:

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Mark Twain: “I have known many terrible things in my life, most of which never happened.”

Advice for aspiring authors:

Write! And also read.

Articles and Reviews:


“This is as fast and tense as a great thriller should be, but it’s full of warmth and humanity too – one small-town woman’s quest for the most poignant kind of justice you could imagine.  Buy it today and read it tonight!” — Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels.

Thelma and Louise meets The Green Mile in this unique and powerful thriller following one mother’s cross-country journey to find the truth.” — Lisa Gardner, bestselling author of the Detective D.D. Warren series

“Matt Witten has always been one of the smartest, most inventive writers I know … and he proves it with this gripping crime novel. The Necklace’s brave, truly unforgettable heroine grabbed my heart as she sought justice for her daughter — fighting the FBI, her ex-husband, and even her own mother along the way. This compelling, powerful read will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.” — Lee Goldberg, bestselling author of the Eve Ronin series.

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