Notes from Thrillerfest

I just returned from my first Thrillerfest–it was a fantastic conference! Fellow Killers John Gilstrap, Joe Moore, and James Scott Bell were there, and it was great to see them. Thanks to everyone here for holding down the blog-fort while we were in NYC.

A few notes from the Thriller front:

Drumroll, please!

As a former journalist I know better than to bury the lead. During the conference it was announced that our own Joe Moore is the incoming co-president of ITW!

Joe moved onto the board of directors last October as Vice President, Technology, and will officially take over the co-presidency on October 1st 2009. He replaces James Rollins as he steps down due to term limits. Joe’s fellow co-president is Steve Berry. Joe and Steve are in charge of setting the direction for the future of ITW as well as acting as executive directors.

Congratulations, Joe! You deserve the honor; we’re proud to be your blog-mates.

Star power
Thrillerfest ’09 featured some of the brightest lights in the thriller-writing cosmos: Sandra Brown, Clive Cussler. Robin Cook, David Baldacci, David Morrell, and many more! We got to ask them lots of questions during the breakout sessions. I brought home many writing tips that I’m already putting into practice.

Panel fun

I was on a panel with NYT bestselling author Peter De Jonge and Kathleen Sharp, where we shared stories about what it’s like to jump from journalism to a career in fiction. I got a lot out of all the panels I attended, especially “Can you cross genres?” with James Rollins and Jon Land. I hate to miss anything, so I brought home CDs of many of the panels I was not able to attend.

Goin’ to the dogs

There was a dramatic K9 demonstration of “tactical” dogs (the preferred term instead of attack dogs) and explosives detection. The very brave Panel Master, Andrew Peterson, put on a padded sleeve to demonstrate how the tactical dog takes down a suspect. An ATF officer explained that the dogs think they’re playing a game when they attack. But this is one game that the criminals are bound to lose!

To sum up, Thrillerfest ’09 was indeed a thriller–I can’t wait until next year!

13 thoughts on “Notes from Thrillerfest

  1. From all accounts another great Thrillerfest.

    Congrats to Joe. All the best.

    Promise I’ll be over there next year – officially my debut author year with ITW. See you all then.


  2. I couldn’t agree more, Kathryn.

    I, too, was a ThrillerFest virgin this time last week, but after those few blisteringly quick days, I’m a different writer and a different person.

    The camaraderie and genuine warmth of EVERYONE in attendance created one of the most productive atmospheres I’ve ever seen at a writing conference.

    I look forward to working with the ITW this year and at the risk of wishing my life away, I can’t wait till ThrillerFest10.

  3. And the New York weather couldn’t have been nicer. Had a great chat with Joe and his writing partner, Lynn. Enjoyed a street hot dog with John (with onion sauce, oh yeah…) and the amazing Cipriani dinner with Kathryn. In addition to the Fest, my wife and I scored orchestra tix to see the legendary Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit. So a great trip to the Apple all the way around.

  4. JJ, see you there next year! Don, I agree with you about the warmth and comaraderie. At one point my (nonwriter) husband mused, “How come bestselling authors give away their writing secrets to everyone else?” Indeed, writers at the conference were incredibly giving in terms of sharing their “trade secrets.” James, that was indeed a fabulous banquet at Cipriani’s. Once I heard it was the restaurant where the Obamas had their recent “date night,” I knew it was going to be great!

  5. Woo Hoo! Big congrats to Joe (that should get the cabana boy out of the pool and to work!).

    All kidding aside, Joe deserves it.
    I’m proud to be his co-writer!
    Lynn Sholes

  6. Thrillerfest was awesome. I’ve never met so many great writers, bonded with aspiring authors, and attended such informative sessions at any other writing conference.

    Agentfest was by far the best pitch session ever. The quality of the agents was head and shoulders above any other conference, bar none.

    I can’t wait for next year.

  7. Hi Kathryn, it was great to meet you there! I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet Joe as well.

    As I’ve said before, Thrillerfest is my favorite conference, and this one didn’t disappoint. And next year, I get to sit on the dais at the debut author’s breakfast!

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