Monday, July 31, 2006

Q&A: ALTON GANSKY, PT 2

Today, we conclude our conversation with prolific author Alton Gansky, writer of 20 novels and six nonfiction books. His most recent novel is the thriller Director's Cut (Zondervan), and his most recent nonfiction work is the upcoming 40 Days: Encountering Jesus Between the Resurrection And Ascension (B&H).

Al has made some of early work available as free e-books through his website. The novels, By My Hands and Through My Eyes, are his first two books ("Don’t judge my work too harshly, I was still getting my literary legs"). Plot Line is a supernatural suspense novella that was origjnally published only in Dutch; an American publisher may pick it up, so the novella is only available for a limited time.

Al has also started a weekly audiocast.

* * *

PART TWO.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
1. Don't just read, analyze. What makes a book good? How is the dialog handled? How is the book structured? In other words, ruin your reading.

2.
Know that writing is a craft. It must be learned. It must be practiced. It's not for the faint at heart.

3.
Get over yourself. It's not about the writer, it's about the story. If the story is great and the craft is great, then maybe, just maybe, the writer will be great (but no guarantees).

4.
The business is nutty, often illogical, always frustrating, maddening,
lonely, disappointing and really, really fun. It is worth every bump and bruise.

5.
Writer's write because they have to.

6.
Go to writer's conferences and network. Learn to pitch your ideas.

7.
Think out of the box. Know the rules, but don't be afraid to be a bit of a maverick. If anyone gives you grief, tell them Chris Well told you to do it.

8.
People will love your book but never as much as you do. It's like having kids.

9.
No one ever hit a homerun from the dugout. Step up to the plate.

10.
Failure to try is guaranteed failure. Attempting something great brings at least the possibility of success.

WHAT DO YOU WISH NON-WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
1. The work is hard; often the returns are small.

2.
There's a good chance you and your work will be misunderstood.

3.
It is far easier to tear down someone's work than it is to do it yourself.

4.
I am not any of my characters.

5.
No, I did not model my character on your Uncle_________.

6.
Christians are human and Christian fiction should show that.

7.
Novels are not tracts.

WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
Write what makes your heart sing not what you think the market wants. (This remains a difficult lesson for me to learn.)

FOR THE WRITER WITH A NEW BOOK, WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE BEST THING TO PROMOTE IT?
WOM. Word of mouth is and will probably always will be the best way to promote a book. I use blogs and websites and speaking and more, but the thing that makes the big difference is someone saying, "I just read this book by a guy named Gansky...."

* * *

Many thanks to author Alton Gansky. Be sure to sign up for his newsletter. Find him online at AltonGansky.com or his blog, Imagination@Work. He is also a contributor to the multi-author blog Charis Connection.

Related link: Q&A: ALTON GANSKY, PT 1

More Interviews:
Q&A: WANDA DYSON (Abduction)
Q&A: T.L. HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: CORNELIA READ (A Field of Darkness)
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
Q&A: LORENA MCCOURTNEY (On The Run)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

Saturday, July 29, 2006

THE COMPLETE DICK TRACY


The classic comic strip Dick Tracy is being collected for the first time in a comprehensive series of hardcovers, as reported on comics news sites Newsarama and The Pulse. The first volume will include nearly 500 comic strips, encompassing the series’ beginning, from October 1931-May 1933.

This special volume features an introduction from consulting editor (and longtime Dick Tracy writer) Max Allan Collins, an interview between Collins and creator Chester Gould, and the five sample strips Gould used to sell his groundbreaking strip.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Q&A: ALTON GANSKY, PT 1


Today and Monday, we speak with Alton Gansky, prolific author of several novels and nonfiction works. A fulltime writer living in southern California, Alton has been a firefighter, worked in architecture, been a business man, and served more than 20 years in pulpit ministry.

His latest novel is Director's Cut (Zondervan): Maddy Glenn knows how to play politics. But when Hollywood enters, the game turns deadly ...

* * *

PART ONE.

WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING HABITS?
I'm usually begin my day about 7 a.m. Nothing magical in the time. Some days it's later, some earlier. There's no time clock in my office (I don't even wear a watch). I end my day, when I can't take it anymore. Usually, I'm done by 5:00 but it's not unusual for me to cart my laptop out to the living room and work on a blog posting, or some ancillary part of being a writer.

The first thing I do is answer email and send out the free e-books I offer through my website (AltonGansky.com). This can take an hour or so, but often less. I also review the many e-newsletters that come to my computer. I'm afflicted with a wide range of interests and tend to subscribe to science, writing, and other newsletters I have no time to read. I also scan a couple dozen blog sites.

By that time, my brain is close to operating well enough to do creative work. If I have a deadline, I set about getting a certain number of pages done that day. I like it when I have to write five or six pages a day; I like it less when I have to write fifteen (something that would be far more tolerable if I had someone else to blame).

I take a lunch hour and sometimes nap. Not because I'm weary, but because my eyes need the rest. Reading and staring at a computer screen for five hours tuckers out my poor little orbs. My wife tells me that I'm growing older, but I don't believe her.

Often there will be other writing related work to do such as talking to my agent or editor. There's not much of that unless were in some kind of negotiation. I may go over galleys/page proofs, or do research. Some days, I must spend time on proposals or prepare for a conference.

Most of the day, however is spent writing and thinking. It's hard work but it beats laying asphalt in August.

ARE YOU AN "OUTLINE" OR "MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO" WRITER?
I prefer the term "intuitive writer." I have undertaken a crusade against such terms as "seat-of-the-pants-writer," "non-outliners" and the like. My pants have nothing to do with the way I write. I have worked both ways and each has its benefits. More often than not, I set my characters on the road and follow after them to see what they're going to do. I'm most comfortable with that. Now a confession: It's not a comfortable way to write. It takes a lot of thinking time, percolating on plot and characters. My characters surprise me from time to time, doing things I could never have foreseen. It works for me, but it doesn't work for everyone.

Perhaps this would be a good place for a touch of advice to new writers. In this business, everyone has an opinion about how writing should be done. There are basic elements needed in every novel written for public consumption, but how you write is up to you. Writing is a solitary affair. Write the way that releases your creativity and gets the job done. If an outline frees you to do that, then by all means use an outline and forget about what Alton Gansky does. If you're an intuitive writer (I also like the term "discovery writer"), then kick start the plot, hop on the back seat and see where it takes you. Just make certain that in the end, you have a salable novel.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOKS?
"You owe me a night's sleep." I once had a woman write to complain that she and her husband fought over who would be allowed to read my books first. I suggested they buy two copies of everything...for the sake of their marriage of course.

WHAT IS THE WORST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOKS?
Someone reviewed one of my books for a major magazine. In the review she included a description of my characters and plot, which would have been fine had she used my characters and my plot. I still don't know whose books she read and thought was mine.

HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU READ A MONTH?
Not many. I'm a ponderously slow reader. I once took a speed reading class but it ended before I finished reading the brochure. I've always been slow in reading. Still, I do my best to read as much as I can. I also read a lot of magazines.

AS A READER, WHAT MAKES A BOOK INTRIGUING TO YOU? (WHAT DOES A BOOK NEED FOR YOU TO PICK IT UP?)
It needs to be slightly odd for me to be captivated. I read in several genres from adventure to science fiction, but those books that offer something a few shades off normal get my attention the most. From the secular world, I like many of Dean Koontz's books, some of Stephen King, Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler. Recently, out of the Christian market, I enjoyed Frank Peretti's Monster.

* * *

Come back Monday for the second-half of our conversation with Alton Gansky. In the meantime, find him online at AltonGansky.com or his blog, Imagination@Work. He is also a contributor to the multi-author blog Charis Connection.

Related link: Q&A: ALTON GANSKY, PT 2

More Interviews:
Q&A: WANDA DYSON (Abduction)
Q&A: T.L. HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: CORNELIA READ (A Field of Darkness)
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
Q&A: LORENA MCCOURTNEY (On The Run)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

FIRST Day, August 1st: FULL TILT


Coming up August 1, the next "FIRST Day" spotlight is the first chapter of Creston Mapes' rock 'n' roll crime thriller Full Tilt (Multnomah).

How you can play along: Fiction In Rather Short Takes: FIRST Day, August 1st: FULL TILT by Creston Mapes

Related link: Q&A: CRESTON MAPES (Full Tilt)

LAW & ORDER: MUNSTERS


Been watching season one of The Munsters again. Did you ever notice how many of these episodes are crime stories? Think about it: They were always running afoul of con-artists, gangsters and bank robbers.

It's getting so the streets aren't even safe for monsters anymore ...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Q&A: K.J. KOLKA: The Cardinal

Today, we interview cartoonist K.J. Kolka, creator of Cardinal Adventures, the long-running Christian comic. K.J. has been producing adventures of the high-flying superhero since 1990.

In the latest issue, Cardinal Adventures #16: The Cardinal sees a U.F.O.while foiling a robbery! Is it for real? Is an alien invasion imminent? Hold onto your masks as the Cardinal investigates! Plus, more action with Erica Well’s "The Miller Sisters" and G. Raymond Eddy’s "Galen the Saintly."

New Parable Films is also producing a second direct-to-video Cardinal movie. K.J. supplied the script, based on his story "The Cardinal and the Wrath of the Warthog" (from Cardinal Adventures #8, 1998). In it, an abused teen is transformed into a monster through use of experimental steroids and seeks revenge on those who abused him.

Check out TheCardinal.org for more info.

* * *

Are you an "entertainer" or a "minister"?
Neither. If anything, I’m a teacher. I like to communicate. There’s so much misinformation in the world, especially about the Christian faith and Jesus Christ. I hope that what I write will help clarify that.

But in another sense, to be a Christian writer, you need to be able to entertain the reader as you are educating them or ministering to them. No one wants a boring story.

Who are your literary influences?
Ernest Hemingway. Frank Peretti. Ralph McInerny who writes the Father Dowling mysteries. Lee Falk, creator and writer of the Phantom and Mandrake the Magician comic strips.

Hemingway had people in complex relationships, where there was more going on beneath the surface. You often felt as if you were reading a mystery, trying to assess what was really happening with the characters.

I like Peretti because he has issued in new genres in Christian fiction. Who’d have thought we’d be able to read a book like "Monster" we purchased at a Christian book store? That was one great thrill ride. I couldn’t read that book fast enough.

McInerny writes books about murder. Yet, he writes about his characters with compassion and understanding. He turns his armchair-detective readers into amateur priests in confessionals where we hear first hand how sin has ruined lives and led to desperate moments. And because his main character is a priest, McInerny can talk about controversial moral issues in books which are sold to the general public.

The late Lee Falk is one of the unsung heroes of comic strip writing. His name may not be as recognizable as Charles Schultz or Lynne Johnston, but he has written two of the most enduring adventure strips. Especially if you go back to the 1930s and ‘40s Phantom tales, there were great cliffhanger moments and witty dialogue between characters. Often when the Phantom and his girlfriend parted ways at the end of some wild adventure it was because of some tragic incident which left their relationship itself in a cliffhanger moment that might not be resolved for months. Falk knew suspense.

Who are your spiritual influences?
Currently, Martin Luther, Michael Yaconelli, Bill Gaither. There’s an eclectic lot.

It amazes me how after hundreds of years that Martin Luther’s words on faith and its application still ring true. A very wise man. I think he got his priorities right. We’re saved by faith, but without works how will others know of our faith? We often confuse their importance.

I’ve also been reading Yaconelli’s "Messy Spirituality". It’s about how we often see only one side of people in church. Too often people seem to be so with it, have their spiritual life together and lack troubles in life. It’s easy to think, "Gosh, what’s with me? Why can’t I be that together?" Yet, as we look through the Bible, we see many examples of people who didn’t lead perfect little lives and yet were used of God.

Bill Gaither isn’t exactly a spiritual leader in the traditional sense of the word, but I’ve been reading his autobiography. He talks about the development of his Homecoming concerts and how they are more than about music. It’s about bringing the family of Christ together. Not everyone in his gatherings sings the same type of music, but they find a place for them within the performance. It’s about a spirit of inclusion. Too often we don’t see that today. Christian media and even churches are often aimed at traditional people who are married and have their 2.5 children. Are we even trying to reach beyond our comfort zone and embrace our distant cousins?

What is the best thing anyone said about one of your comics?
I received one email from a young, single mom who was making ends meet by prostituting herself. Evidently, something I wrote touched her heart. She gave up prostitution and said the story gave her "hope."

What is the worst thing anyone said about one of your comics?
"No thanks. I’m not interested."

How many books do you read a month?
I don’t know. I’ve never kept track. I read every night before I go to sleep. My routine is just start a book and read until I’m through. Although, I often mix reading time up with a chapter or two of a good book and then a dose of either a graphic novel or a short inspirational story. If I’m really tired, it’s just the latter.

What are your writing habits?
When it comes to creating a story, first I choose a theme or subject. Which is something I never run out of. I read newspapers and watch the TV news and documentaries for ideas. I have files of news clippings and ideas I’ve jotted down that’re just bulging. As well as some that are lying around on desks, dressers, book shelves. I’m a clutterbug of information.

Then, I get on the Internet or go down to the library and spend some hours researching the subject matter. Sometimes I’ll go out and take photos of places to use as settings for the scenes. I try to draw as much from real life as I can. Then, I sit down and go through everything and decide what can be used. From there, I begin to develop a plot.

Are you an "outline" writer or a "make it up as you go" writer?
I’m an outliner. I have to be. My mind hops from one thing to another otherwise. My train of thought is constantly derailing unless I’m focused. And I get stuck in these tangents.

Having an outline doesn’t mean knowing how a story will end for me though. I often work that out as I get closer to the end. In the most recent Cardinal story I developed four possible endings. I went back and forth among them several times. I even considered drawing up two different endings and blindly picking one and stuffing it into the envelope for the person who scans the artwork, so even I wouldn’t know the ending until it printed. In the end, I simply chose the ending which seemed to fit the story and the direction I wanted to take the Cardinal in in the days to come.

Are you a full-time cartoonist?
I wish. That would make my life much simpler. But then, from what I have read, few comic creators are full-time.

What is your day job?
I’m a proofreader for a local newspaper. I get to make other writers look their best. Actually it’s a good job. I get paid for reading the newspaper from front to back. Who wouldn’t like that? My wife refers to me as her own Gary Hobson, because I do get to check out the "Early Edition."

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Forget about the other aspiring authors around you. Don’t compare yourself. Concentrate on you and your strengths and weaknesses. Work on both.

I had a friend from high school who was extremely talented in writing. The work he did back then was fiction on a deep, philosophical level. He awed the teachers. My work couldn’t even compare to his. I always felt second rate. I caught up with him recently, twenty-some years later. He had stopped writing years ago and didn’t get anything published. It was a sad experience. Meanwhile, I had kept working on my skills and was getting work published. Potential means nothing without dedication.

What one aspect of God do you most hope your readers will take away after reading one of your books?
God is a God of love and mercy. He loves and accepts you just as you are. And he offers you his gift of mercy and forgiveness. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over. Who doesn’t want that?

What about writing do you wish non-writers understood?
Writing is a lot of work. It’s not all fun and games the way writers are often portrayed in movies and on TV. You don’t just sit down and write a final copy off the top of your head. There’s various stages you go through before you get your final product.

What about writing do you wish other writers understood?
Stop using the word "said"! That has to be the most overused word in the publication field today. Think thesaurus!

For the writer with a new publication, what do you consider the BEST thing he or she can do to promote it?
Make a costume of one of your characters and run around in it. Or does that only work at comic book conventions? [laughs]

What has really worked for me is getting the media involved. You have to let people know your product is out there and what it is about. I created a very brief press release for the local newspaper when I released my first Cardinal comic. The paper called me back and asked for an interview. I ended up being on the front page of the feature section. Someone at the local Christian radio station read it and asked for an on-air interview. Within a few days of the radio interview, book stores were calling me up for more copies. All that from a press release that might have been a half page long, double-spaced.

BONUS: "The Munsters" or "The Addams Family"?
Definitely the Munsters. I like my monsters traditional.

* * *

Many thanks to our guest, K.J. Kolka, creator of Cardinal Adventures. Visit him online at TheCardinal.org. Read an early adventure of the Cardinal online, or find more info about the first Cardinal film here.

Related links:
Read THE CARDINAL comics free online!
Read GASOLINE ALLEY comics free online!
Read the REX MORGAN, M.D. comic strip online free!
Read the BRENDA STARR comic strip online free!
Read the DICK TRACY comic strip online free!

"Feel any different?"

The new arc continues with #106 of Erica Well's The Miller Sisters. Julia's inherited superpowers are revealed -- so, what does a Christian college girl do now?

(If you don't see the latest strip, click the "refresh" button on your browser.)

Listing at Onlinecomics.net

Novel Journey: Publicity 101

A quintessential blog for novelists to visit is Novel Journey, for its regular interviews with and advice from working novelists. (And, on occasion, spotlights on people like me, as evidenced here and here and here.)

Every Friday, publicist Jessica Dotta shares advice on getting the word out about your work. To catch you up before tomorrow's installment:

Publicity 101—For the Fiction Writer

Why Publicity

Why Publicity? Part II

I-CAN Publicity

Your Publicist and You

Your Press Release ~ A Reflection of You

Your Press Kit

Starting Your Publicity Campaign

Your Publicity Campaign

How to find Media if you're working your own publicity

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Touring For Cheapskates

In his latest entry from the road, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Tour Day 23, 24, 25, mystery novelist J.A. Konrath shares what he has learned about traveling on the cheap. His stats so far:

Miles driven: 5223
Bookstores visited: 216
Books signed: 2054
Books hand sold: 152
Bookstores remaining: 284

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

BRAINSTORMING YOUR NOVEL

For the past couple of days, Brandilyn Collins (and guest) have been blogging about the idea of a multi-author brainstorming party. It's a great idea (from a lady who is full of great ideas): Forensics & Faith: Writers Retreat Over

Monday, July 24, 2006

Q&A: WANDA DYSON, PT 2


Today we conclude our conversation with suspense novelist Wanda Lee Dyson, author of the critically acclaimed "Shefford-Johnson Case Files" novels, Abduction, Obsession and Intimidation. A Christian counselor, author and speaker, Wanda returned to her roots of writing stories after 15 years in marketing and advertising. She is a founding member of Keep Me In Suspense, a group that promotes inspirational mystery and suspense authors.

From Wanda's official bio:
"Like most writers, I have a past filled with diverse experiences that I draw on when writing. I've worked as a waitress, a cook and a dishwasher; as a cashier, a salesclerk, assistant manager and then manager in the retail business; handled marketing and advertising for volunteer fire companies, which led to a career in marketing for the commercial real estate industry, power/energy industry, ministries, and churches; I've done secretarial work for manufacturers, contractors, landscapers, and even a short stint with Disney. I've had dinner with a quarterback for the 49ers, a pro wrestler, a headlining Vegas singer, and the high priest of the satanic church in Washington, DC., to name (or not name) just a few. I've driven forklifts and Bobcats, baled hay, and flown a plane. I've survived hurricanes, tornadoes, three fires, a plane crash (I wasn't the pilot on that one), barely walked away from a head-on car crash, and was abducted at gun point.

"It was this abduction that led me to my current relationship with the Lord. At one crucial point during the abduction, I knew I was going to die and I had a somewhat typical "foxhole" reaction. I prayed. "God, if you're real and you're listening, if you get me out of this alive, I'll do anything you want." He kept his end of the bargain and now I'm keeping mine ... "

See the whole bio here.

Now, without further ado ...

* * *

PART TWO.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
First—READ. Read it all, read everything you can in the genre you want to write in. I truly believe that you can read books on how to write and still not understand how to write. Read. Pick out the ones you loved best and read them again. And then again. You will absorb the feel, the pace, the structure and it will improve your own writing.

Second—WRITE. It doesn’t matter that it will never see a publisher, just write that novel. Then write another and another. You learn by doing. I read once that writers are the only group of artists arrogant enough to think that the first thing they write is worth money.

WHAT DO YOU WISH NON-WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
That I have no control over the fact that a publisher cancels a series. I get so many letters (and I love you all for it) begging for more about Zoe and JJ, but alas, it is over.

Seriously, I would have to say that I wish they understood that I find mistakes in books, too. Even after multiple editors and readers have gone over a manuscript, chances are, there’s going to be something in there somewhere that someone missed. Once it is in print, there’s really not much any of us can do about it except wince.

WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
Writing that book is only part of the process. There is so much more to being a writer than writing a great story and getting it contracted for publication. Marketing, promotion, endorsements, research, promotion, interviews, conferences, critique groups, website maintenance, promotion, fan mail, book signings, and did I mention promotion? It will be up to you to decide whether you will be a one book wonder or a career novelist and if you’re going to do this for a living, you have to promote like crazy, getting your name out there, getting your books out there, and establishing yourself in the industry.

FOR THE WRITER WITH A NEW BOOK, WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE BEST THING TO PROMOTE IT?
I don’t think you can pick one as the best and rest on that. You have to do everything–call bookstores in your area and try to get book signings scheduled, give away books to people in position to promote you (librarian, receptionist, church libraries, etc), send out influencer copies, get the word out in writer’s groups, leave bookmarks advertising your book everywhere you go, encourage people to recommend your book to their friends, sell autographed copies on your website. I also had pens made with my “Keep Me In Suspense with Wanda Dyson novels” printed up and I leave them everywhere. Drive-thru at the bank? Leave one in the canister. Grocery store? Leave one on the counter. Doctor’s office? Leave a couple with the receptionist. Out to dinner? Leave one on the table for the waitress. Conferences? I put a box of them out for people to take at their leisure. Get your name out there!

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND JOINING AN AUTHOR GUILD?
Or several of them. Not only because you can learn so much from them, but it also gets your name out there. People see you everywhere, they start getting interested in who you are, they buy your book, they read it, hopefully they love it, and then they’re recommending you to someone else and the cycle goes on.

WHEN CHOOSING FROM ALL THE ORGANIZATIONS AVAILABLE, WHAT TRAITS SHOULD A NOVELIST LOOK FOR?
It depends on what you’re looking to get out of it. I belong to some organizations purely for what I can learn from those in it, and another purely for the exposure, and another simply because it has local authors to hook up and network with for local mass book signings. What does the organization have that will benefit you? And how much? If you’re just starting, I would suggest joining a local group and a national/international group.

When you’re first starting out, you want to absorb everything you can as fast as you can, but once the dust settles you realize what you want is to learn from those that are doing what you want to do. I’m not interested in sitting in a class being taught by someone that has written 2 romance novelettes. I want to sit and learn at the feet of someone that has published several suspense novels and knows what works and what doesn’t. Look for organizations that can provide you with the teaching that improves on what YOU are doing.

* * *

Many thanks to our guest, suspense author Wanda Dyson. Find her online at WandaDyson.com and Keep Me In Suspense. She is also a contributor at the Keep Me In Suspense blog.

Related link: Q&A: WANDA DYSON, PT 1

More Interviews:
Q&A: CORNELIA READ (A Field of Darkness)
Q&A: T.L. HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: LORENA MCCOURTNEY (On The Run)
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)
Q&A: MINDY STARNS CLARK (Blind Dates Can Be Murder)
Q&A: GINNY AIKEN (Decorating Schemes)
Q&A: CRESTON MAPES (Full Tilt)
Q&A: BRANDILYN COLLINS (Web of Lies)
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
Q&A: VICKI HINZE (Bulletproof Princess)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

Friday, July 21, 2006

Q&A: WANDA DYSON, PT 1


Today and Monday we catch up with suspense novelist Wanda Lee Dyson, author of the critically acclaimed "Shefford-Johnson Case Files" novels, Abduction, Obsession and Intimidation. Her next book, due out in hardcover in October by Revell, is a gripping real-life thriller that blazed across national headlines and news broadcasts. She is also a founding member of Keep Me In Suspense, a group that promotes inspirational mystery and suspense authors.


* * *

PART ONE.

WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING HABITS?
I work “full-time” at writing, and like most writers, my office is a spare bedroom in the house, so I’m there most of the time. I try to work a basic 8 hour day starting somewhere around 10 am and usually coming back after dinner and working for a while, but it’s not all working on a manuscript. I also have endorsements to write, novels to read, emails to answer, a website to update, articles to write, teaching material to work on for the conferences I attend, as well as working on the appointment schedules for the Colorado, Philadelphia, and ACFW conferences.

When I’m working on a manuscript, everything else takes a back burner. I shut off the phones, turn up the music, and hunker down until it’s time to go make dinner.

ARE YOU AN "OUTLINE" OR "MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO" WRITER?
A little bit of both, actually. I started out as a pure “make it up as you go” writer, but over the years, I’ve found myself plotting more and more of the story ahead of time. While I’m not the type to have a formal outline and long summary written down first, I do have notes all over the place or pieces still in my head that are waiting to make it to paper. I like to write complex story lines, so the fact that I outline a little more is just pure survival for me, I think.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOKS?
One reviewer said that my books “give up none of the pace and terror of the best secular police thrillers” and “a shining example of what Christian fiction is becoming.” That had me dancing on my toes.

But it was a fan that wrote me and told me that he had never been a big fan of Christian fiction until someone gave him one of my books, that I think I still hold most dear.


WHAT IS THE WORST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOKS?
To be honest, I haven’t had any negative reviews, but I guess the worst thing anyone ever said was that one of my books just had too many little subplots.

HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU READ A MONTH?
It depends on my work schedule. Earlier in the year, I was working on a non-fiction project that had a very tight deadline, so for two months, I could only stare longingly at the “to be read” pile, but usually, I’ll do somewhere between 10 and 15 books just for the pure pleasure of reading, another 2 or so for work, and another couple for research purposes.

AS A READER, WHAT MAKES A BOOK INTRIGUING TO YOU?
(WHAT DOES A BOOK NEED FOR YOU TO PICK IT UP?)
Because my time is so limited, I have to be a little more discriminating than I used to be so books are divided into two categories. 1) authors I always read. 2) a novel with an unusual plot twist. I look for something a little out of the ordinary, either in plot or in the character. Not all of them live up to the promise, unfortunately, so I have a stack of books that I lost interest in within the first few chapters.

But while I enjoy most of the books I buy, I’m always looking for that book that will keep me up all night because I can’t put it down. Characters so real I feel I know them and a plot so dire I can’t figure out how the main character is going to survive, pull it off, or win. Luckily, every once in a while, I find one and then I go back and read it again, this time to figure out what the writer did that made it such a good read.

* * *

Come back on Monday for the second half our our conversation with Wanda Dyson. Find her online at WandaDyson.com and Keep Me In Suspense. She is also a contributor at the Keep Me In Suspense blog.

Related link: Q&A: WANDA DYSON, PT 2

More Interviews:
Q&A: CORNELIA READ (A Field of Darkness)
Q&A: T.L. HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: LORENA MCCOURTNEY (On The Run)
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)
Q&A: MINDY STARNS CLARK (Blind Dates Can Be Murder)
Q&A: GINNY AIKEN (Decorating Schemes)
Q&A: CRESTON MAPES (Full Tilt)
Q&A: BRANDILYN COLLINS (Web of Lies)
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
Q&A: VICKI HINZE (Bulletproof Princess)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

Thursday, July 20, 2006

DOES EVELYN WEAR PRADA?

The new hit film (based on the best-selling novel) The Devil Wears Prada is about a really mean lady who runs a magazine. The new hit mystery-thriller Deliver Us From Evelyn is about a really mean lady who runs a media empire. Separated at birth? You be the judge.
In the news:
Curse of the Devil Wears Prada (Reuters)
Tell Us About Your Bad Boss (Salt Lake Tribune)
French Blogger Fired For Blogging About Boss (Web Pro News)

Q&A: JANEL RODRIGUEZ


Today, we check in with Janel Rodriguez, prolific author of several biographies and children's books. (She is also my sister-in-law. But please do not hold that against her.)

Her latest book is Meet Fulton Sheen: Beloved Preacher and Teacher of the Word (Servant Publications):

Fulton Sheen was a not-to-be-missed television evangelist during the 1950s. His weekly TV show, "Life Is Worth Living," was watched by millions. As this biography makes clear, Bishop Sheen was far more than a media personality. He was above all a priest with a single-minded determination to bring people to Christ. He introduced Catholics to the "hour of power," an hour of prayer daily before the Blessed Sacrament. His own life as an evangelist, writer, scholar, bishop and fundraiser flowed from this practice.

"In a very readable and attractive style, Janel Rodriguez presents the main stages of Archbishop Sheen's life and work while interweaving many personal incidents that bring out the true character of this great churchman. She presents Archbishop Sheen as he truly was: a rare but extraordinary blending of natural gifts and supernatural grace. Endowed with a keen intellect, Archbishop Sheen used it to become a gifted teacher, prolific writer and effective preacher."—Father Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R.
Janel is also working on a top-secret mystery series. (But forget I said anything.)

* * *

ARE YOU AN "ENTERTAINER" OR A "MINISTER"?
I am both. When writing a straight biography about an obviously saintly Christian figure and his spirituality (such as Fulton Sheen) I am more of a minister, yet I try to tell the story in an entertaining and fluid way and with a beginning, a middle and an end. If I am writing fiction for children, however, I tend to be more of an entertainer. Either way I am sincerely enthusiastic about my writing and subject matter and can only hope that enthusiasm comes through.

WHO ARE YOUR LITERARY INFLUENCES?
I love children's books, so a lot of my influences were writers of series fiction and British authors of classic books (like the Narnia series, books by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Noel Streitfield, etc., etc.)

I also loved the Trixie Belden Mystery Series and the Ginnie and Geneva books series and must admit that the mystery series I am working on now was definitely influenced by them!

I also love and pick up on the storytelling styles of television shows (I guess you can't call them "literary" influences, but): a good Little House on the Prairie, McLeod's Daughters or Xena episode can be just as influential on my writing because of the whole "show-don't-tell" aspect of TV, as well as the way the viewers, like readers, can emotionally identify with and become attached to characters we watch on a regular basis.

I am also influenced by the advice I have found in books on the art of writing books. A writer should never stop learning and should always strive to improve their craft.

WHO ARE YOUR SPIRITUAL INFLUENCES?
Well, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, of course ... and I would say the spirituality found in the Carmelite tradition: St. Teresa of Avila and many other Carmelite saints were prolific writers. Also, friends of mine -- especially Carmelite friars I grew up with in my parish, who were always so human and down-to-earth in their holiness.

I find that children have been a big influence on me as well. I have been a Sunday school teacher for 15 years and was a nanny for many years, too, and I have found that for me, God is easiest to see in children than anywhere else. They never fail to teach me or bring me closer to God. Last but not least, my parents, who from day one, shamelessly raised me in Christ.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT ONE OF YOUR BOOKS?
I can never hear the phrase "it's well-written" enough -- gotta love that!

I was also amused the other day when a deeply spiritual friend said that when she read Meet Fulton Sheen, she kept thinking, "Oh, Janel will love this, I have to tell her about this" -- only to remember that I wrote it in the first place.

WHAT IS THE WORST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT ONE OF YOUR BOOKS?
There were two. Both were about my first published book for children, a biography called Gloria Estefan. One was how I got the name of her school wrong. At the time, I was 24, and I didn't know that one school, for instance, could go by Miami University and a totally different school could go by the College of Miami. To me, "college" and "university" were synonyms. Sadly, the fact checker did not find this mistake and I learned my lesson the hard way. The reviewer of the book picked up on the mistake as she went to one of these schools and she was angry with the stupidity of the mistake.

Another reviewer criticized my choppy writing style in that book -- and was completely right: I had literally gone around chopping my sentences in half since I had been advised to keep my sentences short. So, while I came away admiring Gloria Estefan, I was not happy with my work on that book.

Happily, I did not take an ax to the sentences in my next book in the series, Nely Galan. I also consulted with Ms. Galan herself to check facts! I am much more careful now with my research (and Servant books, my publisher, is meticulous about that sort of thing. All authors citing from outside sources are asked to hand in their research and try to photocopy all passages they refer to or quote in their manuscripts so that they may be properly cited and credited -- which, in this day and age, is very, very wise!)

As much as the criticisms stung, however, I must admit that they helped me to improve as a writer!

HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU READ A MONTH?
With a twin sister that works for a GIANT publishing company, I would have to say LOTS. :-D But they range from kids' books, to adult fiction (I love reading Indian Writers); books on writing (I cannot stress this enough -- I believe every writer should read books on writing to keep up their art); books for research purposes (depending on what writing project I am working on); books on spiritual topics; books by my brother-in-law -- (cough, cough).

WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING HABITS?
I am, um, a "night person." I like to start writing after 10 PM. This could mean 11. This could mean 12. I often end around 2AM. I try to write more than 1000 words a day. I have been doing rather well with this since January. Sometimes take a break of a block of days here and there, but since sometimes I write 1200 or 1500 or 2000 words a night -- even more sometimes (although rarely) in a sitting -- I can allow myself days off.

ARE YOU AN "OUTLINE" WRITER OR "MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO" WRITER?
Mostly make it up as I go. I have a general idea and just go. This is how I paint pictures as well (literally, I mean -- I'm an artist, too!) I sketch the faintest hint of a composition and then attack the canvas.

I have no patience in blocking out a painting or in plotting out a story. I watch it take shape and then come to understand it. I figure, hey, before this was a blank canvas/sheet of paper/computer screen. Now I've made it into something more. I can always build on it or tear it down afterwards, but better to have made it than to have just thought about making it.

However, I find that usually halfway through a book I am writing, my brain is ends up working so fast that I have to write down where my plotting ideas are going so that I don't lose them, and a sloppy half-outline finally emerges.

In the case of an assignment, such as the Sheen and JP II books, I have to write an outline and submit it to my editor before getting the go-ahead, so I am forced to outline. Since they are nonfiction, though, and about a life that has already been lived, it's not like I can plot "Oh, in my version, the pope DOESN'T get shot ...." (I am not Dan Brown). However, I can arrange vignettes in an attention-holding readable style, which is fun for me. With fiction, though, I prefer to surprise even myself.

ARE YOU A FULL-TIME NOVELIST?
No, but I would love to be. I work two part-time jobs cuz da bills gots ta gets paid, you hear what I'm sayin'?

WHAT IS YOUR DAY JOB?
One job is as a freelance editor (everything from line editing to restructuring, to explaining showing not telling, etc.); my other job is office work helping the manager of a famous jazz musician. Both jobs are with holy, God-fearing Christian women, so I can talk about Jesus during my day job which is such a blessing.

More Authors:
Q&A: CORNELIA READ (A Field of Darkness)
Q&A: TL HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)
Q&A: LORENA MCCOURTNEY (On The Run)
Q&A: MINDY STARNS CLARK (Blind Dates Can Be Murder)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

MORE NOVELISTS, MORE PUBLICITY

A couple more stories about marketing novels:

On the newbie end is T.L. Hines, author of the debut thriller Waking Lazarus. Trade journal Publishers Weekly has a story online about his remarkable concept of "open source publicity." (If I ever get my mind wrapped around this, it's an idea I plan to steal.)

On the veteran end is best-selling novelist Tess Gerritsen, author of several medical thrillers. On her blog, she breaks down for us “Major Marketing Campaign”: where does the money go?

Related links:
Q&A: T.L. HINES (Waking Lazarus)
THE CHALLENGES OF NOVEL MARKETING
SPREAD THE WORD

Sign up for the FREE "Thriller Readers Newsletter" and keep up with the latest profiles, news and reviews in the world of thriller fiction. Subscribers are also entered to win FREE BOOKS!

THE CHALLENGES OF NOVEL MARKETING

In an ever-crowded marketplace for authors, more kudos to suspense novelist Brandilyn Collins and her ambitious multi-person, multi-blog campaign to launch her Kanner Lake mystery series. In fact, they have now leveraged it to get all the participating bloggers coverage in the press—which, of course, extends coverage for the project itself.

(And all for a series not even in stores yet!)

Brandilyn discusses the latest developments (in context of the challenges all us novelists face in today's culture) on her blog today:
Forensics & Faith: Wall Street Journal on Novel Marketing

JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE GAME


Before we were married, my wife, Erica, worked for many years in professional comics. One of her former bosses, Dwayne McDuffie (of whom she still speaks quite fondly), follows up his gig as producer and story editor on the Cartoon Network series Justice League Unlimited with the all-new game Justice League: Heroes.

Comic Book Resources interviews Mr. McDuffie about the new game, due this fall.

Related links:
DEFENDING COMICS AT COMIC-CON
JAMIE COSLEY ON THE PULSE
MARKOSIA TO ADAPT HERETIC

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

SHORT FICTION: "MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS"

I have just had a short-short crime story posted to the crime flash fiction site Flashing in the Gutters: "Mind Your Own Business"

Monday, July 17, 2006

MICKEY SPILLANE DEAD AT 88

Associated Press reports that Mickey Spillane, "the macho mystery writer who wowed millions of readers with the shoot-'em-up sex and violence of gumshoe Mike Hammer," died today. He was 88.

K.A. KONRATH: Tour Day 15

Mystery writer J.A. Konrath's continues to post progress reports on his audacious 500-store tour: A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Tour Day 15.

He takes a moment to share some of the stories -- including a VERY instructive meeting with another author ...

(Thank God it wasn't a story about me.)

Be sure to check his schedule. If Joe is headed your way, be sure to meet him -- and buy one of his books!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Q&A: CORNELIA READ, PT 2


Here is the conclusion of our two-part Q&A with novelist Cornelia Read, whose debut thriller is the much-ballyhooed A Field of Darkness (Mysterious Press). According to the bio on her official website:

Cornelia knows old-school WASP culture firsthand, having been born into the tenth (and last) generation of her mother's family to live on Oyster Bay's Centre Island. Today, her Bostonian Great-Grandmother Fabyan's Society of Mayflower Descendants membership parchment is proudly displayed at the back of Read's tiny linen closet in Berkeley, California. She continues to rebel against familial tradition by staying married to a lovely sane man who is gainfully employed. They have twin daughters, the younger of whom has severe autism.
Cornelia is also a member of International Thriller Writers.

* * *

PART TWO.

WHAT DO YOU WISH NON-WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
That we writers are mostly delicate little flowers, and that needlessly snarky reviews and comments hurt. Honest critique is a great good thing, but scoring wit points off someone’s work just for fun is another matter entirely.

WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
That we’re all in it together, and that kindness counts. If someone badmouths another writer, I always want to deck the badmouther on behalf of the badmouthee, even if I don’t know the latter personally. Luckily, there are very, very few writers in the thriller and mystery community who are not gracious to and supportive of one another.

FOR THE WRITER WITH A NEW BOOK, WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE BEST THING TO PROMOTE IT?
The Internet is a miraculous thing, and it’s a wonderful way to get to know fellow writers and readers, and to get the word out about one’s book.

I don’t mean posting blatant self-promotion. Get out there and have fun! Post blog comments when you run across something interesting. Send emails when you enjoy someone’s work, or think they’ve said something you agree with in a chatroom or on a List-serve. Try to jump into the pond to contribute something wherever you can—most of the nicest things that have happened in support of this debut novel had their genesis in conversations online that had NOTHING to do with the book itself.

I had no idea that would happen—no agenda, no ax to grind. I was just pleased to find a community of articulate, funny, like-minded people out in the virtual universe. My husband makes fun of me for having ‘imaginary friends,’ but I’ve met incredible friends online. People I’d find a place in the lifeboat for, and whom I know would do the same for me. What a thing!

It takes as much of a village to publish and market a book as it does to raise a child, and the net is the best village going. I just hope I can give back as much as I’ve been blessed to receive.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND JOINING AN AUTHOR GUILD LIKE INTERNATIONAL THRILLER WRITERS?
ABSOLUTELY!!! ITW, MWA, SinC … they are ALL tremendous resources, a balm for the troubled delicate-little-flower soul, especially in such a solitary profession.

OF ALL THE FINE ORGANIZATIONS AVAILABLE, WHAT ABOUT ITW SETS IT APART?
I think ITW has an astonishingly hip grasp of promotion. It makes totally brilliant sense to go after sponsorship, co-branding, and marketing that’s piggy-backed onto corporate ad dollars—good for them, good for the writers, if done selectively and thoughtfully.

I’d like to see WRITERS on my Wheaties Box, for a change. I mean, “Jim Thompson: Breakfast of Champions,” how cool would THAT be?

BONUS: THE MUNSTERS OR ADDAMS FAMILY?
Wow, talk about a hardball question!! I adore Morticia and Gomez, but I have to plump for The Munsters. I still love that Marilyn, with that perfect blonde flip ’do, was considered the family weirdo.

* * *

Many thanks to Cornelia Read. Visit her online at CorneliaRead.com or join her Mailing List. Her thriller A Field of Darkness is available at Amazon and many other fine retailers.

CORNELIA READ, PT 1

Related links:
MR. MONK AND THE AMAZON REVIEW
KONRATH IN NASHVILLE
J.A. KONRATH'S BIG ADVENTURE
THE THRILLER AWARDS
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
Q&A: TL HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

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KONRATH IN NASHVILLE

Mystery legend J.A. Konrath gives another progress report for his now-legendary 500-store tour, including dropping the names of several Nashville-are mystery writers. (Actually, I just want you to see that he mentioned me.)
A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Tour Day 10, 11, 12, and 13

Update: Mystery writer Tasha Alexander has posted an interview with Mr. Konrath here.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Q&A: CORNELIA READ, PT 1


Here is the first of our two-part Q&A with thriller novelist Cornelia Read. With her debut novel, A Field of Darkness (Mysterious Press), Cornelia is winning fans from all over: Everyone from Publishers Weekly and Booklist to best-selling authors John Lescroart, Harley Jane Kozak and Victor Gischler are standing in line to sing her praises.

In A Field of Darkness, closet debutante and fledgling journalist Madeline Dare returns to her childhood home to investigate a decades-old unsolved double murder—to prove her cousin innocent. Soon, Maddie’s search for the truth uncovers long-buried family secrets, and triggers a string of grisly new murders …

Cornelia is also a member of International Thriller Writers.

* * *

PART ONE.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
The best thing is still the response I got from Lee Child, after he’d read the first 20 pages for a consultation at the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference two summers ago: "This is excellent, and I’d like to write you a blurb." If I’d been struck by lightning in that moment, I’d have died happy. Not to mention utterly gobsmacked. Really glad I didn’t get struck by lightning in that moment, however.

WHAT IS THE WORST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
A blogger referred to A FIELD OF DARKNESS as both "much-ballyhooed tripe" and "absolute bollocks." I wrote him a thank-you note and said I was touched by "much-ballyhooed."

HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU READ A MONTH?
About 15, when I’m lucky. Wish I could read more.

WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING HABITS?
Horrible. I am a terrible procrastinator, and reading blogs is a horrible vice for me. I try to start writing for the day the minute I get back from dropping my kids off for school in the morning, but sometimes life interferes. Or laundry.

ARE YOU AN "OUTLINE" OR "MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO" WRITER?
I am a "make it up as I go" writer. I envy outliners—it must be endlessly reassuring to know how things are going to turn out!

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
Keep going! If I could finish a novel and get it published is still immeasurably astonishing to me. There is no secret handshake, there’s just reworking it until you get it as right and true as you can.

And, equally as important, that the best critique is often the most painful and the hardest to hear. If someone is generous enough to invest the time to give your work a thorough going over, try to thank them—even if they made you cry. I had a lot of very weepy drives home from writing group sessions when it was my turn in the hot seat, but I am tremendously grateful to those friends who cared enough about my manuscript, and me, to risk telling me what didn’t work.

* * *

Come back tomorrow for the second part of our conversation with Cornelia Read. In the meantime, find her online at CorneliaRead.com or join her Mailing List. Her thriller A Field of Darkness is available at Amazon and many other fine retailers.

CORNELIA READ, PT 2

Related links:
J.A. KONRATH'S BIG ADVENTURE
THE THRILLER AWARDS
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
Q&A: TL HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

MR. MONK AND THE AMAZON REVIEW

I have finally posted my review of Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse at Amazon.com:
Novelist (and TV writer) Lee Goldberg does a remarkable job of capturing the wit and spark of the series, while exploring the possibilities that come with a different medium. The story is told from the point of view of Natalie, adding more layers to the narrative than possible in a regular episode. (And, conveniently, also explains away any discontinuity between the novel and the show.) And, as with his also-excellent "Diagnosis Murder" novels (based on another popular TV mystery series), Goldberg has the uncanny knack of hiding mysteries within mysteries. Just when the reader thinks he or she has something figured out -- and is probably right -- the author often cleverly hides something else in plain sight.

See the whole review here.

Related links:
WATCHING THE DETECTIVES
MORE LAW, MORE ORDER
OFFICIAL MONK
MORE FROM MR. MONK
ARE YOU MONKISH?
MONK RENEWED FOR TWO MORE SEASONS

CHRISTY AWARDS RECAP

Suspense novelist Brandilyn Collins shares an on-the-scene report of last weekend's Christy Awards at Forensics & Faith: The Christy Awards--Part 2.

J.A. KONRATH: 400 TO GO (GIVE OR TAKE)

An update on J.A. Konrath's big bookstore tour: Today he expects to visit his 100th retailer.

Related link: J.A. KONRATH COMES TO NASHVILLE

"AH-HA!"

The new arc continues with #104 of The Miller Sisters, the online comic strip created by my wife, Erica Well. Julia's inherited superpowers are revealed ... but what does she do now?

(If you don't see the latest strip, click the "refresh" button on your browser.)

Listing at Onlinecomics.net

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

J.A. KONRATH'S BIG ADVENTURE

I want to be mystery novelist J.A. Konrath when I grow up. As reported in Publishers Weekly and also reported in Wired Magazine, Mr. Konrath is visiting 500 bookstores in 60 days, give or take.

Today, he stopped in at nearly every bookstore in Nashville. Following his hit-and-run at Davis-Kidd (and the monthly meeting of the Middle Tennessee chapter of Sisters in Crime), my lovely wife and I had the pleasure of his company (and of authors Tasha Alexander and J.T. Ellison) for dinner.

Godspeed and the wind at your sails, Mr. Konrath -- Godspeed and the wind at your sails!*

*(Actually, I have no idea what I'm talking about, either. But the man is hitting 500 bookstores in 60 days. It's hard not to feel dramatic about it.)

Related links:
Booksignings: Everything You Need to Know
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
THE THRILLER AWARDS
Q&A: TL HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

MULTNOMAH CHANGES HANDS

Trade journal Christian Retailing reports that Multnomah Publishers is changing hands. Company president and publisher Don Jacobson has executed a formal letter of intent to sell the company founded by he and his wife, Brenda, in 1987. Jacobson will announce the buyer upon completion of the sale, expected to take place by July 31.

Friday, July 07, 2006

How to Write Thrillers: ITW Workshop With Gayle Lynds

At last week's ThrillerFest 2006, New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds held a workshop on writing thrillers at at the International Thriller Writers 2006 Thrillerfest. Fellow International Thriller Writers member Robert Gregory Browne has posted the workshop as a series of videos on YouTube:

ThrillerFest 2006 - Gayle Lynds - Part One


ThrillerFest 2006 - Gayle Lynds - Part Two


ThrillerFest 2006 - Gayle Lynds - Part Three


ThrillerFest 2006 - Gayle Lynds - Part Four


ThrillerFest 2006 - Gayle Lynds - Part Five


More ITW links:
THE THRILLER AWARDS
Q&A: TL HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)
Q&A: ROBERT LIPARULO (Comes a Horseman)
Q&A: VICKI HINZE (Bulletproof Princess)
Q&A: THOMAS O'CALLAGHAN (Bone Thief)
ITW SPOTLIGHT ON CHRIS WELL (ME)
ITW ANTHOLOGY: STARRED REVIEW

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Defending Comic Books

One of the subplots in Deliver Us From Evelyn has to do with a comic book retailer arrested under false pretenses -- and Detective Charlie Pasch disobeys orders to save his local comic book store from the mob. It is also available online as the self-contained short story "The Golden Age," presented in three different flavors:
Read Online
Download PDF
Print Ready

Sadly, the story is inspired by true-life events. In recent years, authorities around the country have decided to crack down on comics. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund defends First Amendment rights of comic book professionals throughout the United States. The CBLDF's mission is that "comics should be accorded the same constitutional rights as literature, film, or any other form of expression."

Find out more about the CBDLF online. Call (800) 99-CBLDF or write 271 Madison Avenue, Suite 1400, New York, NY 10016.

Related links:
CSI HITS THE COMIC CON
SINISTER SIX: ARE YOU IN OR OUT?
NOVELIST ON "MOON KNIGHT"
STEPHEN KING'S "DARK TOWER" COMICS
COMICS JAM: GOLD!!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

CHECKING IN WITH KANNER LAKE


Thriller writer Brandilyn Collins' ambitious online campaign for her new Kanner Lake series launched this week: Scenes and Beans is a multi-character blog written by the characters who populate Kanner Lake. Starting tomorrow, the first 12 chapters of Violet Dawn will be serialized on the Kanner Lake Web site for seven weeks. Sign up here to receive an e-mail notification when the new chapters are posted each Friday (one to two a week). For every 20 people who sign up, one will win an autographed copy of Violet Dawn.

Related links:
Q&A: BRANDILYN COLLINS, PT 1
ITW: TL HINES, PT 1
ITW: KATHRYN MACKEL, PT 1
ITW: ROBERT LIPARULO, PT 1
Q&A: CRESTON MAPES, PT 1
FLEE THE APPEARANCE OF EVEL (Web Banner)

Interview archive

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

THE THRILLER AWARDS

ThrillerFest 2006, the first convention of International Thriller Writers, took place in Phoenix over the weekend. Here are the first-ever winners of The Thriller:

2006 BEST NOVEL
THE PATRIOTS CLUB by Christopher Reich (Delacorte Press)

2006 BEST FIRST NOVEL
IMPROBABLE by Adam Fawer (William Morrow)

2006 BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
PRIDE RUNS DEEP by R. Cameron Cooke (Jove)

2006 BEST SCREENPLAY
CACHE (Hidden), screenplay by Michael Haneke

2006 ThrillerMaster Award
Clive Cussler

ITW co-presidents Gayle Lynds and David Morrell received Awards of Recognition for "outstanding contribution and service to ITW in its founding year."

More ITW links:
Q&A: TL HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)
Q&A: ROBERT LIPARULO (Comes a Horseman)
Q&A: VICKI HINZE (Bulletproof Princess)
Q&A: THOMAS O'CALLAGHAN (Bone Thief)
ITW SPOTLIGHT ON CHRIS WELL (ME)
ITW ANTHOLOGY: STARRED REVIEW

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Monday, July 03, 2006

"JULIA, DON'T FREAK OUT -- "

The new arc continues with #103 of The Miller Sisters, the online comic strip created by my wife, Erica Well. Julia's inherited superpowers are revealed ... but what does she do now?

(If you don't see the latest strip, click the "refresh" button on your browser.)

Listing at Onlinecomics.net

Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction

SHE'S THE SHERIFF!

A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at StudioWell.com. Watch the trailer on YouTube.