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 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.
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
Yesterday was the third day of ThrillerFest, and last night was FanFest – a time for fans to spend time with the authors they love, get books autographed and have drinks. After FanFest, I had the honor of having dinner with one of my favorite authors, Andrew Gross. Below are photos from both events.
This July I’m attending my first ThrillerFest, and I can’t wait! What is ThrillerFest, you ask? According to the website, it’s “a four-day celebration of thriller books, the authors who write them, and the fans who read them.” This year’s event features an endless list of bestselling authors, including Anne Rice, Michael Connelly, R.L. Stine, Lee Child, and, Andrew Gross, just to name a few.
The conference is broken into different parts. The first day-and-a-half is CraftFest, which is essentially a writing school featuring top authors, agents and editors. These individuals lead educational panels and workshops about almost any topic a writer could be interested in when it comes to writing fiction. Whether you’re looking to learn about blogging as a novelist or what point of view you should write from, CraftFest has you covered. Since I’m working on a novel of my own, I’m looking forward to soaking up all sorts of good information during CraftFest.
Starting Thursday afternoon (July 11), AgentFest begins, which is best described as speed dating for agents and authors looking for representation. While my novel is nowhere near being finished, I still look forward to observing these interactions and speaking with a few agents and authors about their experiences during this event.
Thursday night, once AgentFest has come to a close, the ThrillerFest opening reception takes place. Then the following two days (July 12 and 13) are filled with panels from bestselling authors about a variety of interesting subjects. Last year some of the topics covered included:
- Writing Opposite Sex Characters
- Is Indie Publishing For You?
- How Do You Build A Thriller Brand?
- What Makes Them Scream?
- Is It Really That Hard To Be Funny?
I’ll also be attending the first-ever FanFest on Friday, July 12. It’s a two-hour portion of the conference where fans can drink and chat with a roomful of bestselling authors. I look forward to speaking with many authors whom I’ll be meeting for the first time, including Andrew Gross, who I recently interviewed for my blog.
ThrillerFest is bound to be a terrific experience that will yield fascinating stories, photos and advice. Stay tuned to my blog for extensive coverage of the event. It’s going to be something special.