ThrillerFest is the premier conference for thriller writers and readers. ThrillerFext XIII marks my fourth time at this event and it fittingly kicked off on Friday the 13th. Over two days, numerous panels took place on a wide range of topics – everything from how to best execute a fictional character to how to handle sex scenes in thrillers. These panels were comprised of new, best-selling, and seasoned authors, all offering a unique perspective on myriad issues and trends.
The star of this year’s event was George R.R. Martin. While I’ve never read any of his books or seen an episode of Game of Thrones, I enjoyed his one-on-one interview with his editor. It revealed his great sense of humor, our mutual interest in rock music, and how he’s been writing for decades prior to his fame and fortune. When I met him afterward, I asked him about his favorite rock music and he told me that he really enjoys artists from the 1950s and 1960s, including Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Beatles.I also made a point of seeing and spending some time with Lee Child, whose Jack Reacher books I enjoy a great deal. As always, he was funny, charming, and insightful. I mentioned to him that I have an advance copy of the next Jack Reacher novel, Past Tense, and that I look forward to reading it soon. And I had him autograph a special copy of a Reader’s Digest anthology that features my first published work – an interview with Lee from a few years ago. He was happy to oblige.ThrillerFest XIII was excellent. I learned a great deal about writing and what appeals to readers, and I left with additional books for my to-read list. If you have the opportunity to attend this event next year, you should do so. In addition to ThrillerFest itself, there are days dedicated to honing your craft (i.e., CraftFest), finding an agent (PitchFest), and more. It’s a one-stop-shop for anything and everything related to thrillers and I always look forward to attending this great conference.