About James Riordan

biophoto     Rare is it that any author will have one of his books described as the definitive work on a particular subject, but such a distinction has been bestowed by critics on no less than four books written by James Riordan.  The New York Times Bestseller Break on Through, Riordan’s biography of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, has not only been called “the most objective, thorough and professional Morrison biography” by the Times Book Review but also named as one of the Ten All Time Best Rock Biographies by Amazon.com.  Riordan’s The Platinum Rainbow  (written with Bob Monaco) was called “One of the best how-to books ever written” by the Los Angeles Daily News and “The ultimate career book on the music industry” by Recording, Engineer & Producer.  Critics described Riordan’s The Bishop of Rwanda as “one of the most important books you’ll ever read.” and The Coming of the Walrus, Riordan’s novel about the 60s as “the definitive book on the era” and “a hilarious tale of a harrowing search for the greatest truth of all”. With the release of A Well Thought Out Scream and Madman in the Gate, Riordan pushed the boundaries again with poetry/song lyric books that contain hundreds of stunning, beautiful and poignant images from artists and photographers from all over the world

The author of 45 books, James Riordan’s career began in the music industry where as a songwriter, manager, producer and concert promoter he worked with several well known artists.  In 1976 he began writing a newspaper column on popular music, Rock-Pop, which he later syndicated.  Riordan soon became one of America’s premier rock journalists with articles reaching millions of readers including those of Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, Circus, Musician, The Chicago Daily News, The Kansas City Star, and many others. His reputation for relating on a one-to-one level soon led to interviews with George Har-rison, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Zappa, The Doobie Brothers, Barbra Mandrell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and count-less others. His first book, The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco in 1980) became the largest selling book ever written about the music business. The guide to “succeeding in the music business without selling your soul” was praised by Variety ,The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Las Vegas Sun, The Minneapolis Tribune, Billboard, Record World and many more.  The Platinum Rainbow became an industry wide phenomenon and interviews with James Riordan were aired on over 1200 radio stations and numerous television talk shows.  Next Riordan collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winner Jason Miller on a mini-series for network television (The Irish) and a movie of the week for CBS (Bless Me Father).   In June 1991, William Morrow published Break On Through to outstanding sales and reviews. Riordan was a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film , The Doors, which led to his writing Stone’s biography.  Published by Hyperion in December 1995, Entertainment Weekly called STONE “an unflinching biography… enough spectacle to fill a month of daytime-TV talk shows.”  The New York Post said reading the book was like “the sensory overload of watching all of Oliver Stone’s movies back to back.” Riordan was interviewed by Inside Edition, People Magazine, Tom Snyder, and many others.  From 1997-2000, Riordan created and co-starred in a local TV program, Kankakee Valley Prime Time, which won six Crystal Commu-nicators, three Tellys, and a Chicago/ Midwest Emmy Nomination for Writing.  In the summer of 1999, James Riordan wrote, directed and starred in Maddance, which won Crystal Communicators for Drama, Writing, Acting and Directing.  He has written several screenplays since including John Horse (Best Screenplay at the San Antonio Film Festival in 2018).

On April 9, 2000, James’ 16 year old son, Jeremiah, was killed as a passenger in an accident that involved three drunk drivers. Shortly after this, James founded Make it Stick which works to warn teens of the dangers of substance abuse and publishes a magazine distributed to high school students. In 2001, he founded  Jeremiah’s – A Place to be Yourself to give teens a place to hang out away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol.  Forced to close by its incredible growth, Jeremiah’s was recognized as one of the fastest growing and most successful teen centers in the United States.  In 2004, Toastmasters International named Riordan Communicator of the Year for Central Illinois, the YMCA gave him their Service to Youth Award and the United Way named him the Outstanding Volunteer of Kankakee County. Returning to writing, Riordan went to Africa to write The Bishop of Rwanda, (with an intro by Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren).  In November of 2006, Harper Collins released a new edition of Break On Through followed by The Coming of the Walrus  in December and The Bishop of Rwanda (Thomas Nelson) to rave reviews (“Powerful…plumbs the depths of God’s forgiveness and finds no bottom – Publisher’s Weekly).  In 2011, he won the Pledge For Life Harold Award for his work with area youth.  In 2012, Lee and Shane Stanley (Gridiron Gang) optioned Maddance and Apothecary Films optioned The Kill Switch. Riordan joined the Mancow Syndicated Television and Radio show in 2014 and was seen and heard across America on a weekly basis. In 2018-2019 he developed three new books, two screenplays and a cable series. He has also written 7 private biographies and is included in Who’s Who in Entertainment , Who’s Who in Poetry and Contemporary Authors of America and in 2019 he was selected for the Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award along with Colin Powell and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

James Riordan – Works


My Name is Two Wolves, with Palmer Tolly, 2019

The Kill Switch, novel with Andrew Dahlmaine, Stonegate Ink, 2013, Option by Apothecary Films

The Coming of the Walrus, Trade Paperback Edition, Image Workshop Press,

Springboard To Heaven (The Jojo Sayson Adventure) w. Jojo Sayson, Image Workshop Press, 2012

The Elijah Collection, novel collection with Bill Myers, Zondervan,  2011

The Well Thought Out Scream (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009

Madman in the Gate (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009

The Deadly Loyalty Collection, A Forbidden Doors Collection, Zondervan, 2009

The Ancient Forces Collection, A Forbidden Doors Collection, Zondervan, 2009

The Enemy Strikes with Bill Myers (Book 1 in The Elijah Project series. Zondervan,  2009

Deception with Bill Myers (Book 2 in The Elijah Project series. Zondervan,  2009

The Bishop of Rwanda (Finding Forgiveness Amidst a Pile of Bones) Thomas Nelson, March 2007/ Paperback Edition May, 2012

The Coming of the Walrus (What Really Happened in the ’60s) Image Workshop Books, 2006

Break on Through (The Life & Death of Jim Morrison), William Morrow, 1991.(New York Times Bestseller, Published in 5 languages, Hardcover, 3 Paperback Editions, New

Harper-Collins Trade Paperback Edition, November, 2006)

Stone (The Controversies, Excesses & Exploits of a Radical Filmmaker), Disney/Hyperion,1995. (Published in 3 languages, Hardcover, Paperback Edition).

Making It in the New Music Business, Writers Digest Books, 1987, (Second Edition 1991)

The Platinum Rainbow with Bob Monaco, Swordsman Press, 1980, Twenty-Three Editions, 250,000 copies sold, 25 Year Anniversary Edition, 2005

Capture the Wind (Microphones) with Tom Lubin, Literary Mouse Press, 1989

Private Biography of  Russ Kalvin, founder of Kalvin Corp., 1990

Private Biography of Steve Stefano, founder of Joico Hair Products, 1993.

Mystery of the Invisible Knight (Book 2 in the BloodHounds Series) with Bill Myers, Bethany House,1997.

Matters of the Heart (The Life & Times of Edgar Cullman), CulbroPress, 1997.

The Curse (Book 7 in the Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale House, 1997.

The Undead (Book 8  in the Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale House, 1996.

The Scream  (Book 9 in the Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale House, 1998

The Ancients (Book 10 in the Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale House, 1999.

The Cards (Book 11 in the Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale House, 2000.


John Horse with Walt Alexander, Best Feature Screenplay Winner, San Antonio Film Festival 2019, Nominated for Best Feature Screenplay, Las Vegas Black Film Festival 2019

Violation, Feature Film Screenplay, optioned by Wax Recordings, Ltd.

12 South, Cable Series, with Clark Erickson, optioned by Apothecary Films

Bad Decisions, Feature Film with Clark Erickson

Maddance,  Optioned by Lee and Shane Stanley, and David Michaels for Apothecary Films Writer/Director/Lead Actor, Search Engine Films, SimmComm, 1999. (Winner of Crystal Communicators for Best Drama, Screenplay, Director, Male Actor – Austin, TX.1999)

Shadowdancers, Story & Screenplay, Story with Bill Myers, 1997

Dr. Babylon, Story 1996.


Kankakee Valley Prime Time, Writer, Director, Producer, 1997-2000. (Nominated for Midwest/ Chicago Emmy for Writing, 1998, 3 Telly Awards, 4 Crystal Communicators 1998-2000).

Angels Among Us (The Amtrak City of New Orleans Train Disaster, Co-Producer, (Telly Award, 2000).

River Valley Sports Authority, Producer, 1999-2003.

I Hate The World (Hypnoises Music Video), Writer/Director/Producer, Crystal Communicator for Best Music Video Concept, 1998).

The United Way (Video) Crystal Communicator for Best Video for a Charitable Organization, 1998.

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