It’s Tuesday morning, and I am still on my ThrillerFest XI high! I’M NOT EVEN JOKING!
Where do I even begin? There were so many great panels, inspiring moments, and amazing people. I ran into old friends, cyber-friends and made new friends. My “To Read” list has once again, grown exponentially.
Here’s a list of some (but not nearly all) of the highlights (in no particular order).
TWO FABULOUS PANELS ON WRITING YA THRILLERS
On Friday morning I attended a panel entitled CHARACTER, PLOT OR LANGUAGE? This panel featured Cara Brookins, Elle Cosimano, Janice Gable Bashman, Sharon Linnea and Megan Miranda and was moderated by James R. Hannibal. Saturday morning’s panel was called CHILLS, THRILLS OR TEEN HEROES? Moderated by Lissa Price, this panel featured Kelley Armstrong, Alan Gratz, Ann Redisch Stampler, Margaret Stohl, Kara Thomas and the incredible R.L. Stine! Since I write YA, it was awesome to hear how other authors approach the craft and discuss what they think are the most important elements of YA. They also talked about the arcs of their careers, which were all very different.
A DEBUT AUTHOR MEETING WITH STEVE BERRY
What a fabulous experience to be able to sit with a successful writer for two hours and soak in his wisdom! The main takeaway: WRITING IS A BUSINESS!!! And as Steve Berry said, and I might be paraphrasing here, “The goal of a writer is to keep writing.”
PIZZA DINNER WITH MY FELLOW DEBUT AUTHORS
What an interesting and amazing group of people. I can’t wait to read all of their books! Seriously. More on this later. (And I think you might see some of these debut authors appearing on this blog in the near future.) Learn more about the ITW Debut Class of 2015/2016 HERE.
ELLROY, HIGHSMITH OR HAMMETT? NOIR AT THE BAR
This intriguing and entertaining panel on Noir covered everything from antiheros, to sex, to violence. Moderator Gary Grossman kept the conversation lively with panelists Meredith Anthony, E.A. Aymar, Rhys Ford, Rick Ollerman, Kenneth Wishnia, and Rich Zahradnik.
PAIN, HEARTACHE OR ELATION: DON’T MURDER YOUR NOVEL BEFORE YOU FINISH IT
This was exactly the panel I needed to attend. Moderated by Bryan Robinson, and featuring Sandra Brannan, Carla Buckley, John Connell, Glen Erik Hamilton, Jenny Milchman and Wendy Tyson, this panel discussed all those ups and downs authors feel. And it gave some practical tips on how to stay inspired and keep writing.
TWO LADIES HAVING AN ADULT CONVERSATION: SPOTLIGHT GUEST GILLIAN FLYNN INTERVIEWED BY KARIN SLAUGHTER
This was so amazing. Karin Slaughter is sooooo funny! And Gillian Flynn was just so cool! She might be my favorite author ever, so needless to say, I was in awe. My biggest takeaway: Gillian Flynn didn’t know she was writing GONE GIRL while she was writing it. Think about that for a moment…
SILVER BULLET AWARD RECIPIENT JOHN LESCROART INTERVIEWED BY R.L. STINE
I was thoroughly entertained by this interview. They shared ups, downs…yes, even hugely successful authors sometimes have a book signing where no on shows up. And I was incredibly moved by hearing John Lescroart’s story of his near death experience that changed his life.
THRILLERMASTER HEATHER GRAHAM INTERVIEWED BY LEE CHILD
Wow, wow, wow! I especially loved hearing about Graham’s background in theater and learning more about how she generously gives back to other authors. And she confirmed with Lee Child the inspiration for Jack Reacher’s name. (Hint: It has to do with the fact that he is so tall.)
THE DEBUT AUTHOR BREAKFAST
I had tears in my eyes for much of this. What an honor to be introduced by Steve Berry! What an honor to be able to share a little bit of my book to a room full of amazing writers and reader. What an honor to sit beside my fellow debuts!
There was so much more that I just don’t have time to write about and/or couldn’t attend. (One of these years, I will make it to the banquet!)
But here are my biggest takeaways:
- It’s really, really important to know the business of writing.
- Everyone—even those famous authors you worship—have moments of doubt.
- Successful authors all had to start somewhere.
- Keep learning craft and keep writing.
A HUGE thank you to the International Thriller Writers and everyone involved in organizing ThrillerFest XI! And specifically, a big, big thank you to Glen Erik Hamilton for all his work with the debut authors!