At ThrillerFest IX I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Fairstein, the best-selling author of the Alexandra Cooper crime novels. The 16th book in the series, Terminal City, is now available and receiving rave reviews so make sure to pick up a copy. Below is my interview with the author where we cover a wide variety of topics – everything from her inspiration for Terminal City to her friendship with Lisa Scottoline. I hope you enjoy it.
T. Jefferson Parker is a three-time Edgar Award-winning author of 21 novels, including his newest book, Full Measure, which comes out October 7. He also recently collaborated with John Lescroart on a short story for the terrific thriller anthology, FaceOff.
Last week I attended ThrillerFest IX in New York City. This annual event is held by the terrific organization International Thriller Writers, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. While at ThrillerFest IX, I had the opportunity to attend FanFest, a portion of the week-long event where fans get to meet and spend time with a multitude of authors over cocktails. Picture it: There’s a large room with Lee Child, Michael Connelly, David Morrell, and countless others at tables waiting to sign your book, take photos with you and chat. It was a great way to cap off my week at ThrillerFest IX. Below are several photos of myself and authors whom I spent time with during the conference or at FanFest.
Last week I attended ThrillerFest IX in New York City. This annual event is held by the terrific organization International Thriller Writers, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. While at ThrillerFest IX, I had the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the best in the business. Friday and Saturday were comprised of panels about a variety of topics. I couldn’t stick around for Saturday but below are photos and highlights from some of the sessions that took place on Friday.
Last week I saw and met Night Ranger. I also saw and met Foreigner and Don Felder, in addition to seeing Styx perform. How could I possibly top this? Well, this week I’m going to New York City to spend time with and learn from some of the greatest writers in the world at ThrillerFest IX.
Summer is almost upon us and it’s one of my favorite seasons. What’s not to love? If you’re a music fan, there are a million concerts to go to. If you’re a foodie, you can eat outdoors at a myriad of restaurants. And, of course, if you’re a book lover there are numerous titles you can read in bed, on the beach or at the airport. To help you decide which books are worth reading, I’m going to share with you a few titles that I’m either currently reading or will be reading very soon.
I just finished watching the pilot episode of Bosch on Amazon Instant Video where it can currently be viewed for free. This show, which is based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling books featuring the character Harry Bosch, has a stellar cast of top-notch actors that have appeared in shows such as The Wire, Lost and The Killing. The plot is compelling and extremely well paced, and the ending left me smiling because it was so well done. If you enjoy police procedurals, mysteries or thrillers, you absolutely must watch this show.
After doing so, please make sure to fill out Amazon’s survey. This is one of 10 pilots that was just launched by Amazon Studios and the shows that are the most watched and most well received will get the green light for a full season. The good news is – it’s completely up to us whether or not Bosch lives to fight another day. Trust me, after watching it, you’ll be glad to fill out the brief survey and give the show a five-star review – it’s that good.
To whet your appetite, below are three clips from the pilot:
The fourth and final day of ThrillerFest was just as enjoyable as the ones that preceded it. As you can see from the photo above, I left the conference with a ton of books. Below are highlights, photos and videos from the final day of ThrillerFest, including the entire 43-minute interview with Michael Connelly. I’m attending next year’s conference, which I’m sure will be even better. Now I have to try and finish these books before next July. Wish me luck!
Does Speed Kill?
- “Writing expository material in my books makes me feel like I’m running in mud.” – Andrew Gross
- “I don’t like to write books that feel like screenplays.” – A.J. Hartley
- “If you have a sprint from the beginning of the book to the end, without slowing down, there’s no depth to it at that point.” – Sheldon Siegel
- “If my wife stops reading my book in the middle of a chapter, I ask her why.” – John Gilstrap
- “I love to go to plays to see where the acts end and whether or not people get up from their seats during the intermission. It’s a great way to learn about pacing.” – Heather Graham
T. Jefferson Parker Interview
- “I decided to be a reporter so I could pursue my passion for writing and in my free time work on novels.”
- “I didn’t want to be a series writer. I didn’t see myself in that place, at that time.”
- “The great thing about being a writer is you can be sitting on the boardwalk in Laguna Beach, minding your own business, and the main character in your next novel can walk right in front of you.”
- “When it comes to the writing process, I’m a Monday through Friday kind of guy, from 7 to 5 pm. If I can get five pages done, it’s a good day.”
- “The hardest part for me is not writing. It takes me three months to come up with an idea good enough to start writing. Then it takes me about six months to finish the first draft, and another three months to make it as good as I can before I send it off to my agent.”
- “The shortest outline I wrote was on a bar napkin. After explaining the outline to the publisher, my agent called me the next day and said, ‘I don’t know what you wrote on that napkin but the publisher just bought it.’”
- “For Laguna Heat, I threw away 2,500 pages over a five year period. I never worked so hard to make a book readable. In total, there were six drafts.”
- “I love to read; it’s nourishment for me. I usually have two or three books going at a time. If I didn’t read while I write, I’d never read.”
- Young writers’ first goal should be to find their own voice, and stop trying to write like their heroes.”
- “I still feel that my best work is ahead.”
Are Young Adult Novels Meant For Adults?
- “A lot of my readers are adults because they grew up with me. I’m nostalgia to them. I’m Hall & Oates.” – R.L. Stine
- “There was a statistic saying that 52% of YA readers are adults. But if you remove The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, I’m not sure that’s true.” – Michelle Gagnon
- “I wrote my first young adult book in five weeks.” – Barry Lyga
- “I write YA because that’s what I like to read.” – Linda Gerber
- “Young adult novels have a direct, powerful and emotional point of view.” – Allen Zadoff
- “On social media, 30% of my followers are adults.” – Lissa Price
- “I don’t think it’s so remarkable that adults read YA. We all used to be teenagers.” – Kat Rosenfield
Today was the start of ThrillerFest, and I had the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the greatest writers in the business. Below are photos and highlights from some of the sessions.
Steve Berry – Six “C’s” of Story Structure
- “In Act 1 you establish the character and create conflict.”
- “Then you introduce the crucible – the reason why the character is willing to do something he wouldn’t normally do.”
- “Act 2 is when you introduce complications and focus on no more than two subplots.”
- “At the start of Act 3 is the crisis point. By the time this takes place, there should only be 50 pages left in the book.”
- “After you’ve hit the crisis point, bring it home with a satisfying conclusion.”
Steve Berry – Point of View
- “When you start your book, you need to decide who’s going to tell the story.”
- “Point-of-view characters are precious because they’re the only people’s heads we go into. You have a lot of characters in a novel, but you only go into the heads of a handful of them.”
- “Some writers don’t feel this is important, but I respectfully disagree.”
- “First person is the hardest point of view. Don’t even try it until you’ve written a million words; it will put pressure on you and tax your creativity.”
John Sanford – How to Tighten Your Manuscript
- “The first and last chapters are the most important ones in your book.”
- “The first chapter needs to be emotionally engaging. The action needs to start in the first paragraph.”
- “The last chapter is critical. You want it to go out with a bang and for people to leave with a smile on their face.”
- “If you make too many unnecessary changes after you’ve finished a book, they’ll come back to bite you in the ass.”
Michael Connelly – How to Write a Good Series
- “Forget about writing a series. Just write the best book you can write.”
- “I’m a visual writer. I see scenes in my head and I write them down.”
- “You want to move forward and backward at the same time. You have to work in the backstory so people know where the character came from.”
- “I’m writing for the people that have been riding with me.”
- “I don’t outline, I just write.”
Lincoln Child & Douglas Preston – How to Have a Great Collaboration
- “A writing partnership is like a marriage. Unfortunately, in our case, the sex is no good.” – Douglas Preston
- “You need to determine the potential partner’s strengths and weaknesses to see if he or she would be a good fit for you.” – Lincoln Child
- “Lincoln writes vicious murder scenes. Underneath that white jacket beats a black heart.” – Douglas Preston
- “The editing process is like putting a literary zamboni over the manuscript.” – Lincoln Child
- “I’ll write a series of chapters from one character’s point of view, and Lincoln will write a series of chapters from another character’s point of view, and then we’ll merge them.” Douglas Preston
- “Writing, by its very definition, is an egotistical act.” – Lincoln Child
Here’s an interesting interview with best-selling author Michael Connelly about writing: