Wednesday, June 13, 2007


One of the highlights of ThrillerFest ‘06 was the auction. Brad Meltzer was the auctioneer and people walked away with baskets of goodies donated by some of the biggest names in the thriller community – Steve Berry, Sandra Brown, Lee Child, Linda Fairstein, Tess Gerritsen, R.L. Stine and many others. Baskets were filled with amazing one-of-a-kind items like rare manuscript pages, a handwritten letter, photographs, signed books and even a beautiful gold & diamond butterfly ring, courtesy of MJ Rose.

But this year ThrillerFest is promising to be even bigger and better. They are not just having an auction, there are going to be two auctions! I checked in with the committee in charge, Shane Gericke and Britin Haller, and they were happy to answer my questions.

BB: I understand you guys are in charge of the auctions. There are two? What's up with that?

SHANE: We’re aiming at two different audiences this year—CraftFest, for writers working on their craft, and ThrillerMaster, for fans, authors and general attendees. So I asked everyone to consider making two separate donations. The level of “yes” was remarkable. I still don’t know how we got so many world-class authors to make such superb gifts.

BRITIN: We blackmailed them with pictures.

SHANE: Oh, right. And it worked so well, too . . .

BB: I know the schedule is up, but the authors are busy looking to see what panels they're on, and the fans are busy trying to figure out how to be in three places at once. So when and where are the auctions?

BRITIN: The CraftFest auction will be held on Thursday, during the Dangerous Vegetables and the Simple Truth luncheon.

SHANE: Saturday afternoon plays host to the big ThrillerMaster Reception and Charity Auction, and features our ThrillerMaster 2007 himself, James Patterson.

BB: What kind of stuff are you auctioning off?

SHANE: Take home your bite of the Big Apple by becoming a character in a thriller! Imagine yourself as a spy in a Gayle Lynds espionage tale. A tough guy in a Lee Child extravaganza. Sinner, saint, or something else, courtesy of David Morrell, M.J. Rose, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, James Rollins, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child or other world-class author. And in a “two-fer” exclusive to ThrillerFest 2007, Jon Land will make you a character in a thriller and in his next movie screenplay.

BRITIN: But character namings are only part of the fun. You’ll win “something special” from Brad Meltzer. Share a drink with R.L. Stine of Goosebumps fame, break bread with the editor of a big New York publishing house. Win a character naming plus meal with Grant Blackwood . . . see your own manuscript reviewed by Shirley Kennett . . .

SHANE: . . . win a sunset cruise with Douglas Preston, in Maine, on his very own lobster boat . . . er, yacht! Take home an original, signed, Joseph Finder manuscript . . . let all thirteen Killer Year 2007 authors sign and ship their debuts to you when they’re hot off the presses . . . chat with your favorite author over a meal or drinks . . . learn book-promotion secrets from the master, M.J. Rose . . . have a sailboat named after you in a Christine Kling novel. And that’s not all! Call in the next ten minutes and we’ll include a free set of ginzu knives just for ordering. But wait! Call in the next three minutes and . . .

BRITIN: Down, boy! All kidding aside, Shane's a machine. He's done a terrific job on this auction, and he's just getting started. I take off my crown to him.

SHANE: Oh, no, you have to keep it, Britin. You look so regal it in, and besides, I don’t have enough hair to hold the pins any more . . .

BB: Are you looking for more stuff, and if so, like what?

BRITIN: Donations are coming in as we speak, and we have several big-name authors we're still hoping to obtain commitments from. We're also seeking a behind the scenes—


BB: Will there be a fast talking auctioneer? Care to drop names?

BRITIN: Of course. The one and only Jeremiah Healy will be doing the honors at both auctions.

BB: What are you going to do with all the money you raise?

BRITIN: I've always wanted to go to the South Seas, and Shane does still have that pesky gambling debt, so if there's any left over....

SHANE: Hey, I paid my bookies just this week! So all the money can go to our favorite literacy programs.

BB: And they are?

SHANE: ITW will donate a portion of the proceeds to the James Patterson PageTurner Awards (, which grants $500,000 in cash prizes to “celebrate the people, companies, schools and institutions who find original and effective ways to spread the excitement of books and reading,” and Reading Is Fundamental (, the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization.

BB: Anything else you'd like to share?

BRITIN: Bid High and Bid Fast.

SHANE: Just bid high. Auctioneer Jerry will take care of the fast!

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