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

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sample the Thrill - A Touch of Evil

One of many great articles that you can find each month in The Big Thrill!

Colleen Thompson and I sat down at a virtual coffee shop to chat about her upcoming book, Touch of Evil. With readers clamoring for her latest, I wanted to find out a little more about Colleen and what drives her. Twice nominated for the Rita for Best Romantic Suspense, Colleen has also been honored with the Texas Gold award, multiple Romantic Times Top Picks and KISS awards, and nominations for RT Reviewers Choice, Daphne du Maurier, and Dorothy Parker Awards of Excellence, along with a starred review from Publisher's Weekly. A former teacher married to a Houston firefighter, Colleen brings emergency responders and her Texas home to life.

So of course, we want to know about the new book, Touch of Evil. What's the book about?

Recently elected to complete her late husband's term of office, Sheriff Justine Wofford is boxed in on all sides, investigating a series of gruesome hangings everyone else considers suicide. Hospitalized by a severe blow to the head, unable to remember the details of the attack, under fire from her own department, she reaches out to the man she's sworn to avoid at any cost.

Is there a theme in your books, a thread that you see coming up in your stories often?

I would say that most of my books feature "regular people" forced by horrendous, unexpected circumstance to find a hidden reservoir of strength that changes them forever.

I'm always interested in what draws a writer to the dark side? Ever since I was a kid, my stories leaned to the dark side of human nature. Do you know why you were drawn to suspense?

I've always been attuned to real-life stories with powerful emotional resonance, particularly tales of survival in the face of seemingly-insurmountable odds. There's something deeply cathartic about watching someone who seems quite ordinary find the courage and resilience to fight her way from hell to heaven. This type of story gives us faith that we, too, can overcome the tough stretches that are a part of every person's journey, and suspense may be its most powerful form.

You wrote seven historical novels under Gwyneth Atlee and Colleen Easton. What made you change direction and focus on romantic suspense?

As a reader, I started devouring suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense novels. I was soon drawn to the challenge of weaving a mystery plot into my stories, along with the driving action and heightened romance that can occur in these kinds of books. The balancing act was the hardest thing I've every attempted, but it was so satisfying, I quickly became hooked. And I was happy to find that the same research skills/enthusiasm that made writing Civil War-set romances such a pleasure came in really handy when it came time to learn the ins and outs of modern emergency services, law enforcement, and judicial matters.

I know writers aren't supposed to love any of their "children" more than the others, but some of our characters just reach out and grab us by the heart. Is there one character who did this to you?

I have to admit, I absolutely adore Sheriff Justine Wofford, the heroine of Touch of Evil. One of the things I love about this character is that she's a single mom - a recent widow -- struggling to raise her autistic son alone while dealing with the challenges of stepping into her late husband's role. Her "everywoman" worries about balancing financial, emotional, and family needs, along with the possibility of new love, collide head-on with a situation that could easily cost her life.

Is there a book you're longing to write that you haven't had the opportunity or time to yet? Something completely different from what you're writing now?

I was so drawn into Justine Wofford's life in Touch of Evil (and in my previous book, Beneath Bone Lake, where she was introduced as a secondary character) that I could easily imagine making her a mainstay in a mystery/suspense series with a long term romantic arc. Which got me to thinking it would be really intriguing to stay with one couple and watch their relationship slowly unfold throughout a longer span of time. It would be the same sort of book, but would allow to layer in more complexities with both the main and secondary characters.

But I have to say, I'm thoroughly hooked on contemporary mystery/suspense with a relationship angle. I love exploring the world in which we live through the lens of my characters.

Do you have any writing rituals before you begin a book or begin working every day?

I often begin by reading research books and materials surrounding the premise I have in mind. Much of my fiction is informed/inspired by real-life events, which I start playing with as I wonder how a person might react and learn to overcome such harrowing circumstances.

What does your writing space look like?

My writing space is most often a very cozy chair in my family room, off of the kitchen. It's usually a bit messy, with assorted books and notes stacked on the lamp table, but it's very comfortable.

What's the best way for reader's to get in touch with you? Do you Tweet/blog/etc.?

I'm always happy for readers to contact me via my website. In addition, I blog about the writing life at www.boxingoctopus.blogspot.com or you can find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/AuthorColleen.

Thank you, Colleen, for filling me in on your latest book and your life. Can't wait to read it!

Thanks you, Jaime, for taking the time to chat with me!

For more on Colleen and her books, visit her website at: http://www.colleen-thompson.com

Missing the romance, relationship drama, and action of her favorite television shows, X-Files, Roswell, and Highlander, Jaime Rush created her own mix in the Offspring series, from Avon Books. Jaime Rush is a pseudonym for bestselling Tina Wainscott, author of eighteen novels for St. Martin's Press and Harlequin. Contests, sneak peeks and more at www.jaimerush.com.

Find out more about great authors at ThrillerFest 2010!

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