Friday, July 16, 2010

Guest Blogger: LISA BLACK on ThrillerFest!

I couldn't get to ThrillerFest this year, but Lisa Black, author of the terrific TAKEOVER and EVIDENCE OF MURDER plus the upcoming TRAIL OF BLOOD (this September,) was kind enough to share her some of her thoughts on her experience at ThrillerFest

Thoughts from Thrillerfest, 2010

I attended the expensive but star-spangled conference of the International Thriller Writers last weekend and came to recall why it’s well worth the money. Writers are fun, funny and endlessly approachable. I think it has something to do with spending copious amounts of time alone—a conference, in essence, crams half a year’s worth of socializing into one weekend and we instantly become giddy with adrenaline and the unaccustomed use of our vocal chords. (There is, of course, the inevitable crash—about halfway through Saturday I might go into a Garbo-like I vant to be alone stage, though more likely I just get tired. It is a marathon of social networking—but I paid for this, dammit. A nap is not an option.

And authors can be so funny. They have a Debut Authors Breakfast on Saturday, where all the first-time authors have a minute to stand up and talk about their books. A participant named Brad Parks, instead of introducing his book, started to talk about how wowwed he still felt to meet all these famous authors, and then he burst out into excellently rendered lyrics that went "Brad Meltzer, I'm sharing a stage with Brad Meltzer" to the tune of "Maria" from West Side Story.

But I know how he feels. At the group signing Harper Collins arranges for its authors at Otto Penzler’s Mysterious Bookshop, I met an older gentlemen who had worked for Agatha Christie’s publisher and had gone to England to meet with her later in her career. Let me reiterate: I conversed with a man who had conversed with Agatha Christie. Agatha freakin’ Christie. Is that cool or what?

At a conference you can pitch to an agent, meet one of your idols, and listen to session after session on writing, aspects of writing and methods of writing and the serendipity of writing. But most of all, more than anything, these conferences are a morale-boosting exercise to get us through the rest of the year when we’re locked in our rooms in front of our keyboards. Over and over the panelists confirm two things: First, that no matter how big you get, you will still secretly think that you suck. It’s normal. Don’t let it bother you and don't let it make you give up, which leads into the second point: Never give up. We all have stacks of unpublished novels and their attendant rejection letters. The sweet and very funny Brad Meltzer told a story that when Harper Lee was halfway through To Kill a Mockingbird she decided that it was terrible and never going to work. She opened her window and threw the entire manuscript out into the snow. Then she called her editor. No one knows what her editor said to her, but after she hung up the phone she went out into the snow and picked up all the pages, went back to work and finished the book.

Never give up.

Reporting in retrospect from Thrillerfest, Lisa Black.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2010 Top 50 Crime Fiction Blogs award!


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