Welcome to the Thrillerfest V Blog!

We hope you'll bookmark us, just as you bookmark so many of the hundreds of the International Thriller Writers that participate in our annual conference, held in New York City in July.

ITW is a youthful organization, always ready for a new way of looking at things. You'll find that dynamism here, in blog posts from authors, agents, editors and Thrillerfest attendees, past and present.

And that same excitement you feel from your favorite reads is evident in everything ITW does, and no wonder--the organization, staffing and publicity for ThrillerFest--including this new blog--is undertaken by volunteers, most of whom are ITW authors themselves.

So pull up a chair and stay awhile ... discover the latest news on what Thrillerfest V--the fifth anniversary of the conference--has to offer. Visit old friends, make new ones, ask questions, and hear about the remarkable things in store for the conference.

Whether or not you can come see us in New York--and we hope that you can!--please join us here. It's gonna be ... a thriller!

Kelli Stanley, Thrillerfest Publicity Committee Chair

Thrillerfest Publicity Committee:
Jeannie Holmes
CJ Lyons
Carla Buckley
Grant McKenzie

Monday, June 8, 2009

Views from a Newbie

OK. I admit it. My first Thrillerfest intimidated me. I mean, who was I to walk among these literary giants? Granted, my plan wasn't to walk among them so much as sit, shut my mouth, and listen to every piece of advice given. Still, when my agent suggested I go, I wasn't sure what to expect. At the time, I had completed four novels, all of which had been summarily rejected by only the finest houses. Some accomplishment, right? But at Thrillerfest it seems that every attendee is either a highly successful or at least a debut author--it's hard not to feel an unsettling mix of envy and awe.

Fortunately, it doesn't take long for that all to dissipate. I quickly leaned that published authors are people too. Craftfest was surprisingly personal, with the lecturers more than willing to answer any question a newbie might have, even the stupid ones (I might have had a few of those). The receptions were even more intimate, and it wasn't long before I felt like I was walking among my kind. Finally, a conference where I wanted to talk about work! Though I was fortunate enough to have representation and did not attend Agentfest, I heard it was very successful and well worth the extra shekel or two to attend. The debut author luncheon was particularly inspiring--here was a first-hand look at those who had finally crossed that line from hobby to profession, to a place where passion was actually rewarded. I sat next to Julie Compton, debut author of the fantastic TELL NO LIES, and soaked up her tale of publishing trials and tribulations. Listening to the excitement in her voice, I wondered how long before I would join the ranks of Julie and the other debut authors in the room.

While the formal events wrapped up in the late afternoon, a sizable literary crowd could be found at night in the hotel bar, where drinks flowed well into the early morning hours and the loosened tongues of storytellers spun one tale after another. At one point I even found myself sitting next to Lee Child, offering another round to a man who could easily dismissed me as a nobody but didn't. How the hell did I get here? I remember wondering.

So what did I get out of Thrillerfest aside from a wicked hangover and a suitcase full of hardbacks? Inspiration. Yes, I made friends and professional contacts, all of which were invaluable, but the inspiration I got from being around such creative energy fueled me for months. Writing is such a lonely and personal affair it's easy sometimes to think you're the only person in the world doing it. Thrillerfest is a cure for that solitude and creative isolation. So this is my advice to any newbie sitting on the fence about going: GO. I know Thrillerfest is expensive, and it might not be something you can do every year, but do it at least once. You'll be happy you did it, and if you're really lucky, you might even get Lee Child drunk enough to tell you the story about the dwarf and the pineapple.

Carter Wilson

1 comment:

  1. Carter--What a great post! I'm sure your agent would agree that it's just a matter of time before you, too, will be sitting at the Debut Author Breakfast, and regaling newbies at the bar with tales of fruit and short people.