I attended the Printers' Row Lit Fest here in Chicago this weekend. Here's a picture of the panel I was asked to moderate. From the left: the Outfit's own Kevin Guilefoile, Andrew Gross, me and Keir Graff.
We discussed thrillers, how we wrote them, what we thought of our protagonists and writing and reading. Here are the highlights:
- Andrew Gross met Charles Manson when he was a boy (!)
Andrew's next book, Eyes Wide Open, launches on July 12th. In the book he describes a similar meeting. He told us this mirrors (a bit) of the actual event. Apparently Andrew lived in California at the time that Manson and his crew was wandering around the hills. There are several reasons that you should read Andrew's book, it's a terrifying psychological thriller, but this scene is just one more reason.
- Keir Graff received a blurb from James Grady
The Price of Liberty was not only compared to one of my favorite books: Three Days of the Condor, he actually received a blurb from the author. Keir confirmed that it was a great day when he received that news. (And see the comments below re: Three Days--any input on why all versions now retitled Three Days?)
- Kevin Guilfoile's novel is compared to Katherine Neville's The Eight
I was a huge fan of The Eight and unfortunately mistakenly sent my first edition to a charity donation. (It got caught up in a box of books). Kevin's The Thousand is every bit as good and very cool. Another must read.
- Not surprisingly, Andrew Gross outlines
I say not surprisingly, because he wrote with James Patterson for six books and Patterson is known to outline his novels.
- Kevin Guilfoile outlines as well
- Keir Graff has a simple, three section outline.
This last information about outlining was a bit surprising as I can't remember ever hearing a panel of writers that all outlined. Most of the time writers are evenly split between outliners and seat of the pants writers.
I never outline. I just come up with a premise and go.
The panel was a lot of fun and these panelists were a breeze for me, the moderator. They all are at ease in front of an audience and entertaining as well. Thanks to all who came out to see us!I was unable to attend a lot of the fest this year due to a family graduation party, but I want to thank those readers of this blog who stopped by at the Mystery Writers of America tent when I was there. It's so nice to meet in person.
My next event is in NYC for Thrillerfest and would love to see you there.
Thanks all for your support!