Sunday, July 12, 2015

ThrillerFest X-ploits (Part Two)

We've just crossed the finish line at ThrillerFest, the annual convention for ITW (Int'l Thriller Writers).  The festivities wrapped up (late late late) last night.  Here's a rundown of the last two fun and frazzled days.

Although the entire week is called ThrillerFest for convenience, Friday and Saturday are T-Fest proper, and aimed at the genre's fans.  Since most of us writers are also fans, it's huge fun for everyone.  We get to see and often chat with leading authors like Lee Child, Gayle Lynds, Steve Martini, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter, Douglas Preston, John Lescroart, Tess Gerritsen, and David Baldacci, among many many others.  My first year, David Morrell talked to me (I didn't corner the man reverently called the Professor, I promise!) for twenty minutes about the journey to first being published.  

Their are panels on various topics, like this one hosted by Peter James on International Thrillers.  Panelists from left to right: Kathleen Antrim (USA), Mark Billingham (England), Eric Giacometti (France), Maria Gustafsson (Sweden), David Khara (France), Mark Leggatt (Scotland), Chris Pavone (USA), and Anne Trager (USA and France, and publisher of mysteries translated from French.)

There are interviews with and by famed authors.  Here's the crowd for this year's Thriller Master honoree, Nelson DeMille, being interviewed by David Morrell.

For authors like me who have publishers in New York City, there's even more fun.  HarperCollins hosted a giveaway and signing for us.  Handing out free books to book lovers is one of the great joys of writing.
Here I am with friend and fellow HC author Simon Toyne, who is making sure I spell my name correctly.

For authors in their debut year, ITW hosts a breakfast banquet on the final day (just this morning; I'm still decompressing!) Last night, we met for a much more relaxed dinner of genuine NYC pizza.  

And this morning, each of the thirty or so authors had a chance to stand up in front of the very large audience and promote their book, ideally without freezing up and falling over.  Here are SJI (Susi) Holliday, me, and Simon Gervais, all putting on brave faces before the carnage begins.

One true cliche of writers: we like a good drink, and the conversation that comes with it.  Most nights there is a cocktail reception thrown by a publisher or literary company...

...HarperCollins hosted a reception for their authors at the famed Algonquin Hotel...

...and when those are over, the bars are still open.  Yes, that is the hugely popular and successful author F. Paul Wilson on the left...

Finally, there is the annual Thriller Awards banquet, where we all get dressed up to celebrate the year's honorees, and cheer on the friends nominated for ITW awards.  For a large event, it's very informal and welcoming.  Which is true of the mystery and thriller community in general; it's the company that keeps us coming back.

Of course, the banquet is preceded by, and followed by, (what else) cocktail receptions.   

with Jay Shepherd and James Ziskin (author of the Ellie Stone mysteries)
Jamie Mason (Monday's Lie), Nancy Matuszak, and my amazing wife Amy
Amy and me with Liz Nemeth, Ursula Ringham, and Cara Brookins (Little Boy Blu) 

It may be a shock after all of the carousing mentioned above, but I'm not writing this while in the grips of a hangover.  I've learned to pace myself at these things.  

It's worth mentioning that while ThrillerFest is one of the more expensive conventions (adding up registration, NYC hotel, and the general cost of Manhattan) that it's also an entirely volunteer shindig.  The authors and supporters donate their time and energy to make TFest one of the biggest and brightest gatherings, and also to keep ITW a dues-free organization.  

Okay, enough of this online stuff.  We're off to enjoy a last day in NYC.  See you soon!  


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