Tag Archive for: Nelson DeMille

Conferences for Writers—Part II, ThrillerFest

By Kay Kendall

differences make ThrillerFest stand out from other conferences that are offered
to crime authors. This annual conference of International Thriller Writers is
held at the same time every year and in the same hotel. It begins right after
Independence Day at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City and includes a full
six days of activities, each one priced separately. If you attend everything
that is offered, then your conference fee will be much higher than any other in
your whole year.
Rambo’s creator, David Morrell

ThrillerFest stands out because of its cost, it is also worth every one of your
hard-earned dollars. You will see more star power on one stage or at just one
of the many cocktail parties than you will ever hope to see in your whole life.
The literary energy and brilliance just zing. What’s more, all those big-name
authors are helpful and supportive to hopeful writers.
If you
are a debut author and get published by a press on the approved list, then you
can join the ITW Debut Author program in that year and receive even more
support and applause. I was urged to participate in 2013 when my first book Desolation Row launched. I figured I’d
go once and be done with such a pricey gathering. I was wrong. I returned in
2014 and again this year. Here are just a few of the reasons why—bestselling
authors who participated in this year’s programs.

Spy novelist Gayle Lynds

  • 2015 ThrillerMaster Nelson DeMille plus
    2015 Silver Bullet Recipient 
    Kathy Reichs
  • 2015 Spotlight Guests Mark Billingham, Charlaine Harris, and Greg Iles
  • 2014 ThrillerMaster Scott Turow and
    2014 Silver Bullet Award recipient 
    Brenda Novak
  •  Lee Child interviewed Billingham–they both grew up in Birmingham, England.
  • Rambo’s creator David Morrell interviewed DeMille—they
    both have long and stellar careers.
  • Gayle Lynds introduced her newest thriller THE ASSASSINS
  • Anne Perry flew over from the UK to talk about her historical mysteries.
  • Steve Berry moderated several panels.

Other favorites were Catherine Coulter, Clive Cussler, Jeffery Deaver, Joseph Finder, Heather
Graham, Laurie R. King,  CJ Lyons, Daniel Palmer, Chris Pavone, Hank
Phillippi Ryan, MJ Rose, Karin Slaughter,
and RL Stine. Each has at least one huge bestseller, and most have many more.
This conference is only ten years old. The genesis came from successful authors
who wanted to help budding writers learn the ropes and get ahead. Co-founders David
Morrell and Gayle Lynds both attended this year as usual and remain always
supportive to other writers. The learning opportunities at ThrillerFest are
endless. If you are an aspiring or newly published crime writer and have not
yet attended this magnificent event, I encourage you to save up so that you too
can attend in 2016. I hope to see you there!


Kay Kendall is a long-time fan of historical novels and writes atmospheric mysteries that capture the spirit and turbulence of the sixties. She is a reformed PR executive who lives in Texas with her husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. Terribly allergic to her bunnies, she loves them anyway! Her book titles show she’s a Bob Dylan buff too. RAINY DAY WOMEN published on July 7–the second in her Austin Starr Mystery series. The audio-book will be out soon. 


The Long of It!

When I was a child I wanted my favorite books to go on forever – the longer the story the better. Short books were like eating one potato chip – tasty but not enough to satisfy. I wanted to get lost in a book and stay there for days. And I hated reading books piecemeal. Someone was always telling me to turn out the lights and go to sleep, put down the book and go play outside, or warning me that I was ruining my eyes with all that reading.

As I got older I read faster so I could get through more of the story without being interrupted. In college one of my favorites was Stephen King’s The Stand. The original hardback had 823 pages. I’ve read all the Tom Clancy books, lugging them through airports like fat infants straining my arm muscles.

I loved Carl Sagen’s Contact and Colleen McCullough’s The Thornbirds, but at just over 400 pages they were practically short stories compared to two of my later favorites: Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove weighing in at 864 pages and a book that remains in my top ten – Antarctic Navigation by Elizabeth Arthur.

This 798 page book fascinated me. The heroine, Morgan Lamont, had been obsessed with Robert Scott’s 1910 Antarctic Expedition from childhood. The author takes us through Morgan’s early days and her quest to visit the South Pole and retrace Scott’s footsteps. By the time you finish the book, you feel like you’ve made that icy journey with Morgan. It’s not a book that will appeal to everyone. Elizabeth Arthur has been to the South Pole and she uses her knowledge of that remote locale. She makes the South Pole and its harsh weather a major “character” in the book. The plot is dependent on the place as much as Morgan’s need to achieve something Robert Scott did not.

From a recent discussion on the DorothyL internet group, I’ve read with great interest reader opinions on “long” vs. “short” novels. Many seemed to find places in long novels that “sag” or move forward only sluggishly. I confess that with some of Tom Clancy’s descriptions of the inner workings of ships and subs, I only half absorbed the paragraphs the first time through (yes, I’m one of those people who read books over and over.) But Clancy’s books have great plots and more often than not, the technical information he conveys lends depth and atmosphere to his thrillers.

I’m a fan of Nelson DeMille’s books. I just finished his newest, The Gate House. DeMille is great at creating interesting tough-guy characters and exciting plots based on real events. Sometimes the backstory runs a little longer than suits my taste, but as with Clancy’s books, I know the payoff will be well worth the slow bits. My favorite DeMille book remains the first one I ever read, The Charm School – a book I picked up in a hurry in an airport bookstore. A mere 544 pages long, it’s a true page-turner with a Cold-War plot. American MIA pilots from the Vietnam War have been taken to Russia and installed as unwilling teachers in a KGB “Charm School” for Russian agents. Two U.S. diplomats find out about the school and the game is on.

Short books are wonderful and fun – but for books you can literally lose yourself inside, give a longer book a chance.

Evelyn David