ThrillerFest XIII • July 10 – 14, 2018 • Grand Hyatt • New York City

Spotlight Guests

2018 ThrillerMaster: George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer, working on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilots that were never made. In the mid ‘90s he returned to prose, his first love, and began work on his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. Whenever he’s allowed to leave, he returns to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives with the lovely Parris, and two cats named Augustus and Caligula, who think they run the place.

 

2017 ThrillerMaster: Lee Child

child_spotLee Child was born in 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV’s “golden age.” During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars’ worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series.

Killing Floor was an immediate success and launched the series which has grown in sales and impact with every new installment.

Lee has several homes—an apartment in Manhattan, country houses in England and the south of France, and whatever airplane cabin he happens to be in while traveling between the two. In the US he drives a supercharged Jaguar, which was built in Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant, thirty yards from the hospital in which he was born.

Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.

2017 Silver Bullet Recipient: Lisa Gardner

gardnerLisa Gardner, a #1 New York Times crime thriller novelist, began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, her work as a research analyst for an international consulting firm parlayed her interest in police procedure, cutting edge forensics and twisted plots into a streak of internationally bestselling suspense novels, including her most recent release, Find Her.

With over 22 million books in print, Lisa is published in 30 countries. Her success crosses into the small screen with four of her novels becoming movies (At the Midnight Hour; The Perfect Husband; The Survivors Club; Hide) and personal appearances on television shows (TruTV; CNN).

Lisa Gardner’s novels have also received awards from across the globe. Her novel THE NEIGHBOR was recognized as the Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers in the United States and Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle, prix du policier in France. She was also recognized with the Daphne duMaurior Award presented by RWA in 2000 for THE OTHER DAUGHTER.

Readers are invited to get in on the fun by entering the annual “Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy” Sweepstakes at LisaGardner.com, where they can nominate the person of their choice to die in Lisa’s latest novel. Every year, one Lucky Stiff is selected for Literary Immortality. It’s cheaper than therapy, and you get a great book besides.

Lisa lives in New Hampshire with her auto-racing husband and black-diamond skiing daughter. She spends her days writing in her loft with a young silly sheltie and a adventurous terrier.

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2016 ThrillerMaster: Heather Graham

hgraham_300_550New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write, working on short horror stories and romances.

After some trial and error, she sold her first book, WHEN NEXT WE LOVE, in 1982 and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. She wrote the launch books for the Dell’s Ecstasy Supreme line, Silhouette’s Shadows, and for Harlequin’s mainstream fiction imprint, Mira Books.

Heather was a founding member of the Florida Romance Writers chapter of RWA and, since 1999, has hosted the Romantic Times Vampire Ball, with all revenues going directly to children’s charity.

She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty languages, and to have been honored with awards from Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times, and more.

She has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, People, and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including local television and Entertainment Tonight.

Heather loves travel and anything having to do with the water, and is a certified scuba diver. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift, and she is grateful every day to be doing something that she loves so very much for a living.

2016 Spotlight Guest: C.J. Box

cjbox_300C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 21 novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel (BLUE HEAVEN, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award, and the 2010 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award for fiction. He was recently awarded the 2016 Western Heritage Award for Literature by the National Cowboy Museum. His novels have been translated into 27 languages. Over ten million copies of his novels have been sold in the U.S. alone.

In 2016, OFF THE GRID debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in March. Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he owned an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. In 2008, Box was awarded the “BIG WYO” Award from the state tourism industry. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and currently serves on the Wyoming Office of Tourism Board. He and his wife Laurie split their time between their home and ranch in Wyoming.

2016 Spotlight Guest: Gillian Flynn

gflynn_300Gillian Flynn was born in Kansas City, Missouri to two community college professors—her mother taught reading; her father, film. Thus she spent an inordinate amount of her youth nosing through books and watching movies. It was a good childhood. Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, the literary mystery SHARP OBJECTS, was an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain’s Dagger Awards—the first book ever to win multiple Daggers in one year. Flynn’s second novel, the 2009 New York Times bestseller DARK PLACES, was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice.

Flynn’s third novel, GONE GIRL, was an international sensation and a runaway hit that has spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists. GONE GIRL was named one of the best books of the year by People Magazine and Janet Maslin at the New York Times. Nominated for both the Edgar Award and the Anthony Award for Best Novel, Flynn wrote the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of GONE GIRL for the big screen, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Her newest release, THE GROWNUP, is an Edgar Award-winning short story and an homage to the classic ghost story. This is the first time it is being published as a standalone. Flynn’s work has been published in 41 languages.

2016 Spotlight Guest: Walter Mosley

wmosely_300_newWalter Mosley is one of the most versatile and admired writers in America today. He is the author of more than 43 critically acclaimed books, including the major bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins.

Mosley’s work has been translated into 23 languages and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The Nation, among other publications.

He is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City.

 

2016 Silver Bullet Recipient: John Lescroart

johnl_300John Lescroart (pronounced “less-kwah”) is the author of twenty-six novels, eighteen of which have been New York Times Bestsellers. Libraries Unlimited has named him among “The 100 Most Popular Thriller and Suspense Authors.” With sales of over twelve million copies, his books have been translated into twenty-two languages in more than seventy-five countries, and his short stories appear in many anthologies.

John’s first novel, SUNBURN, won the San Francisco Foundation’s Joseph Henry Jackson Award; DEAD IRISH, THE 13TH JUROR and THE KEEPER were nominees for the Shamus, Anthony and Silver Falchion Best Mystery/Crime Novel, respectively; THE 13TH JUROR is included in the International Thriller Writers publication “100 Must-Read Thrillers Of All Time.”

HARD EVIDENCE appears in “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List.” GUILT was a Readers Digest Select Edition choice. THE MOTIVE was an Audie Finalist of the Audio Publishers Association. THE MERCY RULE, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, THE SUSPECT, and THE FALL have been major market Book Club selections. THE SUSPECT was the 2007 One Book Sacramento choice, and the American Author’s Association chose it as its 2007 Book of the Year. THE OPHELIA CUT, BETRAYAL, and A PLAGUE OF SECRETS were each Top Five selections of Strand Magazine’s “Books of the Year.” Several of John’s books have been Main Selections of one or more of the Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, and Book of the Month Club.

He lives in Northern California with his wife, Lisa Sawyer.


2015 ThrillerMaster: Nelson DeMille

ndemilleNelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille. He moved as a child with his family to Long Island. In high school, he played football and ran track.

DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the Army and attended Officer Candidate School. He was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army (1966-69) and saw action as an infantry platoon leader with the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam. He was decorated with the Air Medal, Bronze Star, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

DeMille returned to the States and went back to Hofstra University where he received his degree in Political Science and History. He has three children, Lauren, Alexander, and James, and still lives on Long Island.

DeMille’s earlier books were NYPD detective novels. His first major novel was By the Rivers of Babylon, published in 1978 and still in print, as are all his succeeding novels. He is a member of The Authors Guild, the Mystery Writers of America, and American Mensa. He holds three honorary doctorates: Doctor of Humane Letters from Hofstra University, Doctor of Literature from Long Island University, and Doctor of Humane Letters from Dowling College.

Nelson DeMille is the author of: By the Rivers of Babylon, Cathedral, The Talbot Odyssey, Word of Honor, The Charm School, The Gold Coast, The General’s Daughter, Spencerville, Plum Island, The Lion’s Game, Up Country, Night Fall, Wild Fire, The Gate House, The Lion, The Panther and The Quest. He also co-authored Mayday with Thomas Block and has contributed short stories, book reviews, and articles to magazines and newspapers.

 

2015 Silver Bullet Recipient: Kathy Reichs

kreichs_spotlightKathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Her other Temperance Brennan novels include Death du Jour, Deadly Décisions, Fatal Voyage, Grave Secrets, Bare Bones, Monday Mourning, Cross Bones, Break No Bones, Bones to Ashes, Devil Bones, 206 Bones, Spider Bones, Flash and Bones, Bones Are Forever, and Bones of the Lost, and the Temperance Brennan e-short, Bones In Her Pocket. In addition, Kathy co-authors the Virals young adult series with her son, Brendan Reichs. The best-selling titles are: Virals, Seizure, Code, and Exposure, along with two Virals e-novellas, Shift and Swipe. These books follow the adventures of Temperance Brennan’s great niece, Tory Brennan. Dr. Reichs is also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.

From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, as a forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her mesmerizing forensic thrillers. For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec. Dr. Reichs has travelled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC (Formerly CILHI) she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

 

2015 Spotlight Guest: Mark Billingham

mbillingham_spotlightpage Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor and more recently as a TV writer and stand-up comedian his first crime novel was published in 2001.

Sleepyhead was an instant bestseller in the UK. It has been sold widely throughout the world and was published in the USA in the summer of 2002.

The series of crime novels featuring London-based detective Tom Thorne continued with Scaredy Cat and was followed by Lazybones, The Burning Girl, Lifeless, Buried, Death Message, Bloodline, From The Dead, Good As Dead, The Dying Hours and the most recent, The Bones Beneath. Mark is also the author of the standalone novels In The Dark and Rush Of Blood, as well as a series of children’s thrillers – Triskellion – written under the pseudonym Will Peterson.

An acclaimed television series based on the Thorne novels was screened on Sky One in Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne. Adaptations of both In The Dark and Rush Of Blood are currently in development at the BBC.

Mark lives in London with his wife and two children. He is currently writing his next novel.

 

2015 Spotlight Guest: Charlaine Harris

charrisCharlaine Harris is a New York Times bestselling author who has been writing for over thirty years. She was born and raised in the Mississippi River Delta area. Though her early works consisted largely of poems about ghosts and teenage angst, she began writing plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She switched to novels a few years later, and achieved publication in 1981 with Sweet and Deadly.

After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris launched the lighthearted Aurora Teagarden books with Real Murders, a Best Novel 1990 nomination for the Agatha Awards. Harris wrote eight books in her series about a Georgia librarian. In 1996, she released the first in the much darker Shakespeare mysteries, featuring the amateur sleuth Lily Bard, a karate student who makes her living cleaning houses. Shakespeare’s Counselor, the fifth—and final—Lily Bard novel, was printed in fall 2001.

By then, Harris was feeling the call of new territory. Starting with the premise of a young woman with a disability who wants to try inter-species dating, she created The Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series before there was a genre called “urban fantasy.” Telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse works in a bar in the fictional northern Louisiana town of Bon Temps. The first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001. Each subsequent book follows Sookie through adventures involving vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures. The series, which ended in 2013, has been released in over thirty languages.

Professionally, Harris is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the American Crime Writers League, Sisters in Crime, and the International Crime Writers Association. She is a past member of the boards of Sisters in Crime and MWA, and she has served as president of the MWA. She is also a member of Science Fiction Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and Romance Writers of America, just to make sure she’s covered.

Personally, Harris has been married for many years. She’s the mother of three wonderful children and the grandmother of two. She lives in central Texas, and when she is not writing her own books, she reads omnivorously. Her house is full of rescue dogs.

 

2015 Spotlight Guest: Greg Iles

gilesGreg Iles was born in Germany in 1960, where his father ran the US Embassy Medical Clinic during the height of the Cold War. Iles spent his youth in Natchez, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983. While attending Ole Miss, Greg lived in the cabin where William Faulkner and his brothers listened to countless stories told by “Mammy Callie,” their beloved nanny, who had been born a slave. Iles wrote his first novel in 1993, a thriller about Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess, which became the first of twelve New York Times bestsellers.

Iles’s novels have been made into films, translated into more than twenty languages, and published in more than thirty-five countries worldwide. His new epic trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and New York Times #1 bestseller The Devil’s Punchbowl.

Iles is a member of the legendary lit-rock group “The Rock Bottom Remainders.” Like bandmate Stephen King, Greg returned to the musical stage after recovering from his injuries, and joined the band for their final two shows in Los Angeles in 2012. A nonfiction memoir by the band, titled Hard Listening, was published this past summer. Hard Listening also contains a short story Greg wrote as an homage to King.

Iles lives in Natchez, Mississippi. He has two teenaged children, at least one of whom aspires to both literary and film endeavors.

 


 

Spotlight guests for ThrillerFest IX (July, 2014) include:

2014 ThrillerMaster: Scott Turow

sturow_sidebbarScott Turow is a writer and attorney. He is the author of nine best-selling works of fiction, including his first novel Presumed Innocent (1987) and its sequel, Innocent (May 4, 2010). His newest novel, Identical, will be published by Grand Central Publishing in October, 2013. His works of non-fiction include One L (1977) about his experience as a law student, and Ultimate Punishment (2003), a reflection on the death penalty. He frequently contributes essays and op-ed pieces to publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Playboy and The Atlantic. Mr. Turow’s books have won a number of literary awards, including the Heartland Prize in 2003 for Reversible Errors, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 2004 for Ultimate Punishment and Time Magazine’s Best Work of Fiction, 1999 for Personal Injuries. His books have been translated into more than 25 languages, sold more than 30 million copies world-wide and have been adapted into a full length film and two television miniseries.

 

2014 Silver Bullet Award Recipient: Brenda Novak

bnovak_sidebarIt was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s career as a bestselling author–she caught her day-care provider drugging her children with cough syrup to get them to sleep all day. That was when Brenda decided she needed to quit her job as a loan officer and help make a living from home.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda says. But she sold that book, and the rest is history. Her novels have made the New York Times, USA Today and Borders/Waldenbooks bestseller lists and won many awards, including three Rita nominations, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Book Seller’s Best and the National Reader’s Choice Award.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are proud parents of five children–three girls and two boys. When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes research–an online auction held on her Web site (www.brendanovak.com) every May. Brenda has raised over $1.6 million to date.

2013 ThrillerMaster: Anne Rice

arice_sidebarAnne Rice is one of America’s most read and celebrated authors. She is known for weaving the visible and supernatural worlds together in epic stories that both entertain and challenge readers. Her books are rich tapestries of history, belief, philosophy, religion, and compelling characters that examine and extend our physical world beyond the limits we perceive.

Anne lives and works in California. Anne’s life experiences and intellectual inquisitiveness provide her with constant inspiration for her work.

 

 

2013 Silver Bullet Award Recipient: Steve Berry

sberry_sidebarSteve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. His books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 15 million printed copies in 51 countries. They consistently appear in the top echelon of The New York Times, USA Today, and Indie bestseller lists.

 

 

 

The following FACEOFF contributors were showcased at ThrillerFest IX:

David Baldacci, Linwood Barclay, Steve Berry, Lee Child, Lincoln Child, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Linda Fairstein, Joseph Finder, Lisa Gardner, Heather Graham, Peter James, Raymond Khoury, Dennis Lehane, John Lescroart, Steve Martini, T. Jefferson Parker, Douglas Preston, Ian Rankin, James Rollins, M.J. Rose, John Sandford, R.L. Stine, and F. Paul Wilson.

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Spotlight guests for ThrillerFest VIII (July, 2013) include:

2013 ThrillerMaster: Anne Rice

Anne Rice is one of America’s most read and celebrated authors. She is known for weaving the visible and supernatural worlds together in epic stories that both entertain and challenge readers. Her books are rich tapestries of history, belief, philosophy, religion, and compelling characters that examine and extend our physical world beyond the limits we perceive.

Anne lives and works in California. Anne’s life experiences and intellectual inquisitiveness provide her with constant inspiration for her work.

 

 

2011 ThrillerMaster: R. L. Stine

rlstineR. L. Stine is the author of over 330 books for children. His Goosebumps, Fear Street, and other book series have sold nearly 400 million copies around the world, making him one of the best-selling children’s authors in history. Stine is a three-time winner of the Nickelodeon Children’s Choice Award and a recipient of the American Library Association Award.

 

 

 

Spotlight Guest: Michael Connelly

mconnellyMichael Connelly is the author of the recent #1 New York Times bestsellers The Drop, The Fifth Witness, The Reversal, The Scarecrow, The Brass Verdict, and The Lincoln Lawyer, as well as the bestselling Harry Bosch series of novels. He is a former newspaper reporter who has won numerous awards for his journalism and his novels. He spends his time in California and Florida.

 

 

 

Spotlight Guest: T. Jefferson Parker

tjparkerT. Jefferson Parker is the bestselling author of twenty novels, including L.A. Outlaws and Storm Runners. His novels, Silent Joe and California Girl both won the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Along with Dick Francis and James Lee Burke, he is one of only three two-time recipients of the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Parker lives with his family in Southern California.

 

 

 

Spotlight Guest: Michael Palmer

mpalmerMichael Palmer is the author of 18 novels of medical and political suspense, all New York Times Best Sellers. His books have been translated into forty languages. Palmer was educated at Wesleyan University and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. His most recent novel, Political Suicide was released in December, 2012. His book Extreme Measures was made into the hit film of the same name starring Hugh Grant, Gene Hackman, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Palmer also works as with the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Physician Health Services, helping doctors with physical and mental illness, as well as drug dependence and alcoholism.

 

 

 

2013 Silver Bullet Award Recipient: Steve Berry

Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. His books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 15 million printed copies in 51 countries. They consistently appear in the top echelon of The New York Times, USA Today, and Indie bestseller lists.

 

 

 

 


Spotlight guests for ThrillerFest VII (July, 2012) include:

2012 ThrillerMaster: Jack Higgins

jhigginsJack Higgins is among the world’s most popular authors. Since the publication of The Eagle Has Landed–one of the biggest-selling thrillers of all time–every novel he has written has become an international bestseller, including The White House Connection and Day of Reckoning. He has had simultaneous number-one bestsellers in hardcover and paperback, and has been published in thirty-eight languages worldwide. Many of his books have been made into successful movies, among them The Eagle Has Landed, To Catch A King, and The Valhalla Exchange. He lives in Jersey in the Channel Islands.

 

 

 

2011 ThrillerMaster: R. L. Stine

rlstineR. L. Stine is the author of over 330 books for children. His Goosebumps, Fear Street, and other book series have sold nearly 400 million copies around the world, making him one of the best-selling children’s authors in history. Stine is a three-time winner of the Nickelodeon Children’s Choice Award and a recipient of the American Library Association Award.

 

 

 

Spotlight Guest: Lee Child

lchildLee Child was born in 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV’s “golden age.” During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars’ worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series. Killing Floor was an immediate success and launched the series which has grown in sales and impact with every new installment.

 

 

Spotlight Guest: John Sandford

jsandfordJohn Sandford is the pseudonym of John Roswell Camp, an American author and journalist. Camp won the Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1986, and was one of four finalists for the prize in 1980. He also was the winner of the Distinguished Writing Award of the American Society of Newspaper Editors for 1985.

Camp is the author of thirty-one published novels, all of which have appeared, in one format or another, on the New York Times Best-Seller lists. He is also the author of two non-fiction books, one on plastic surgery and one on art. His books have been translated into most European languages, as well as Japanese and Korean.

 

 

Spotlight Guest: Catherine Coulter

acoulterCatherine Coulter wrote her first novel to pass time aboard the ark. She realized writing novels was not only fun, it had the added advantage of earning enough money to feed the cats. She alternates writing suspense thrillers with historical romances to keep her brain unconstipated. To date, she’s written 67 novels, 62 of which have hit the New York Times bestseller list. Her wildly popular FBI series now includes 16 thrillers and thankfully, she says, she sees no end in sight.

Given the incredible insanity of the publishing industry, Coulter thinks the best antidote is a lot of drinking and a big sense of humor.

 

 

2012 True Thriller Award Recipient: Ann Rule

aruleAnn Rule is the author of 30 New York Times bestsellers, all of them still in print. A former Seattle police officer, she knows the crime scene firsthand. She is a certified instructor for police training seminars and lectures to law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and forensic science organizations, including the FBI. For more than two decades, she has been a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. She has testified before U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittees on serial murder and victims’ rights, and was a civilian adviser to the VI-CAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program). A graduate of the University of Washington, she holds a Ph.D. in Humane Letters from Willamette University.

 

 

2012 Silver Bullet Award Recipient: Richard North Patterson

rnpattersonRichard North Patterson is the author of The Devil’s Light, In the Name of Honor, The Spire, and sixteen other bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. Formerly a trial lawyer, he was the SEC liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor and has served on the boards of several Washington advocacy groups. He lives in Martha’s Vineyard, San Francisco, and Cabo San Lucas with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.

 

 

 

2011 Silver Bullet Award Recipient: Karin Slaughter

kslaughterKarin Slaughter is the number one international bestseller of several novels, including the Grant County series. A long-time resident of Atlanta, she splits her time between the kitchen and the living room.

The Silver Bullet Award was created by the International Thriller Writers in conjunction with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) to recognize outstanding and meritorious achievement in the pursuit of literacy and the love of reading. Past recipients include authors Sandra Brown, R.L. Stine, David Baldacci, publisher Tom Doherty, actor Tony Plana (UGLY BETTY), the Nestle Company, Capital One, and Macy’s.

 

 


These are the special guest who were featured at ThrillerFest VI (July, 2011):

2011 Thrillermaster: R.L. Stine

rlstineR. L. Stine is the author of over 330 books for children. His Goosebumps, Fear Street, and other book series have sold nearly 400 million copies around the world, making him one of the best-selling children’s authors in history.

He was born Robert Lawrence Stine on October 8, 1943 in Columbus, Ohio. Stine started writing when he was 9 years old. He wrote stories and jokes on a typewriter and handed them out at school. He graduated with a B.A. in English from Ohio State University in 1965. Stine taught social studies after college, then moved to New York City to become a writer. He married Jane Waldhorn on June 22, 1969. Jane is an editor and publisher. Their son, Matthew Daniel Stine, was born on June 7, 1980.

Stine’s thrillers and horror tales have proven to be great reading motivation for young people. The YA series, Fear Street, started in 1989 and was followed in 1992 by Goosebumps, which quickly took off around the world. Goosebumps has been translated into 35 languages. These days, Stine continues to add books to the Goosebumps series, scaring a new generation of kids.

He has had three TV series based on his works– Goosebumps, The Nightmare Room, and R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, which is currently being seen on The Hub Network. In addition, several TV movies have become perennial Halloween favorites.

Stine has published three thrillers for adults– Superstitious, The Sitter, and Eye Candy. The Sitter is currently being developed as a feature film by Sam Raimi’s company. In 2012, Touchstone Books will publish a new R.L. Stine adult horror novel.

Stine is a three-time winner of the Nickelodeon Children’s Choice Award and a recipient of the American Library Association Award. For his work in promoting literacy, he was also a recipient of the ITW Silver Bullet Award.

2010 Thrillermaster: Ken Follett

Ken Follett is one of the world’s best-loved novelists. He has sold more than 130 million copies. His latest book, Fall of Giants, went straight to the No.1 position on bestseller lists in the USA, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.

He burst into the book world in 1978 with Eye of the Needle, a taut and original thriller with a memorable woman character in the central role. The book won the Edgar award and became an outstanding film starring Kate Nelligan and Donald Sutherland.

He went on to write four more best-selling thrillers: Triple; The Key to Rebecca; The Man from St Petersburg; and Lie Down with Lions. Cliff Robertson and David Soul starred in the miniseries of The Key to Rebecca. In 1994 Timothy Dalton, Omar Sharif and Marg Helgenberger starred in the miniseries of Lie Down with Lions.

He also wrote On Wings of Eagles, the true story of how two employees of Ross Perot were rescued from Iran during the revolution of 1979. This book was made into a miniseries with Richard Crenna as Ross Perot and Burt Lancaster as Colonel ‘Bull’ Simons.

He then surprised readers by radically changing course with The Pillars of the Earth, a novel about building a cathedral in the Middle Ages. Published in September 1989 to rave reviews, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for eighteen weeks. It also reached the No. 1 position on lists in Canada, Great Britain and Italy, and was on the German bestseller list for six years.

It was voted the third greatest book ever written by 250,000 viewers of the German television station ZDF in 2004, beaten only by The Lord of the Rings and the Bible. When The Times of London asked its readers to vote for the 60 greatest novels of the last 60 years, The Pillars of the Earth was placed at No.2, after To Kill a Mockingbird. (The sequel, World Without End, was No.23 on the same list.) In November 2007 ‘Pillars’ became the most popular ever choice of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, returning to No.1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The miniseries, produced by Ridley Scott and starring Ian McShane and Matthew Macfadyen, was broadcast in 2010.

For a while he abandoned the straightforward spy genre, but his stories still had powerful narrative drive, strong women characters, and elements of suspense and intrigue. He followed Pillars with Night over Water, A Dangerous Fortune, and A Place Called Freedom.

Then he returned to the thriller. The Third Twin is a scorching suspense novel about a young woman scientist who stumbles over a secret experiment in genetic engineering. Miniseries rights were sold to CBS for $1,400,000, a record price for four hours of television. The series, starring Kelly McGillis and Larry Hagman (and with Ken appearing briefly as the butler), was broadcast in the USA in November 1997. In Publishing Trends’ annual survey of international fiction bestsellers for 1997, The Third Twin was ranked No. 2 in the world, beaten only by John Grisham’s The Partner.

The Hammer of Eden, another nail-biting contemporary suspense story, came in 1998. Code to Zero (2000), about brainwashing and rocket science in the Fifties, went to No.1 on bestseller lists in the USA, German and Italy, and film rights were snapped up by Doug Wick, producer of Gladiator, in a seven-figure deal.

Ken returned to the WWII era with his next two novels: Jackdaws (2001), a World War II thriller about a group of women parachuted into France to destroy a vital telephone exchange – which won the won the Corine Prize for 2003 – and Hornet Flight (2002), about a daring young Danish couple who escape to Britain from occupied Denmark in a rebuilt Hornet Moth biplane with vital information about German radar.

Whiteout, a contemporary thriller about the theft of a dangerous virus from a laboratory, was published in 2004, and made into a miniseries in 2009. Set in the remote Scottish Highlands over a stormy, snow-bound Christmas,Whiteout crackles with jealousies, distrust, sexual attraction, rivalries, hidden traitors and unexpected heroes.

World Without End, the long-awaited sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, was published in October 2008. It is set in Kingsbridge, the fictional location of the cathedral in Pillars, and features the descendants of the original characters at the time of the Black Death. It was a No.1 bestseller in Italy, the USA, the UK, Germany, France and Spain, where it was the fastest-selling book ever published in the Spanish language, outstripping the last Harry Potter book.

A board game based on The Pillars of the Earth was released worldwide in 2007-2008 and won the following prizes: Deutscher Spielepreis 2007; Game of the year 2007 in the USA (GAMES 100); Jeu d’annee 2007 (Canada); Juego del ano 2007 (Spain); Japan Boardgame Prize 2007; Arets Spill 2007 (Norway); Spiele Hit 2007 (Austria). It was a nominee in Finland, France and the Netherlands and got a recommendation in Germany by the Jury “Spiel des Jahres”.

In 2008 Ken was awarded the Olaguibel Prize by the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos Vasco-Navarro for contributing to the promotion and awareness of architecture. A statue of him by the distinguished Spanish sculptor Casto Solano was unveiled in January 2008 outside the cathedral of Santa Maria in the Basque capital of Vitoria-Gasteiz in northern Spain.

His current project is his most ambitious yet. The Century Trilogy will tell the entire history of the twentieth century, seen through the eyes of five linked families: one American, one English, one German, one Russian, and one Welsh. The first book, Fall of Giants, focusing on the First World War and the Russian Revolution, was published worldwide simultaneously on 28 September 2010. He is already at work on the second, provisionally titled The Winter of the World, about the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, and the development of nuclear weapons.

Ken Follett is married to Barbara Follett, a political activist who was the Member of Parliament for Stevenage in Hertfordshire for thirteen years and Minister for Culture in the government of Gordon Brown. They live in a rambling rectory in Stevenage and also have an eighteenth-century town house in London and a beach house in Antigua. Ken Follett is a lover of Shakespeare, and is often to be seen at London productions of the Bard’s plays. An enthusiastic amateur musician, he plays bass guitar in a band called Damn Right I Got the Blues, and appears occasionally with the folk group Clog Iron playing a bass balalaika.

He was Chair of the National Year of Reading 1998-99, a British government initiative to raise literacy levels. He was president of the charity Dyslexia Action for ten years. He is a member of The Welsh Academy, a board director of the National Academy of Writing, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Literature (D.Litt.) by the University of Glamorgan, and similar degrees by Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan, where his papers are kept in the Ken Follett Archive; and (in 2008) by the University of Exeter. He is active in numerous Stevenage charities and was a governor of Roebuck Primary School for ten years, serving as Chair of Governors for four of those years.

He was born on 5 June 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector. He was educated at state schools and graduated from University College, London, with an Honours degree in philosophy. He was made a Fellow of the college in 1995.

He became a reporter, first with his home-town newspaper the South Wales Echo and later with the London Evening News. While working on the Evening News he wrote his first novel, which was published but did not become a bestseller. He then went to work for a small London publishing house, Everest Books, eventually becoming Deputy Managing Director. He continued to write novels in his spare time. Eye of the Needle was his eleventh book, and his first success. Around 130 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide.

Spotlight Guest: Robert Crais

Robert Crais is the author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels. A native of Louisiana, he grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a blue collar family of oil refinery workers and police officers. He purchased a secondhand paperback of Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister when he was fifteen, which inspired his lifelong love of writing, Los Angeles, and the literature of crime fiction. Other literary influences include Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Robert B. Parker, and John Steinbeck.

After years of amateur film-making and writing short fiction, he journeyed to Hollywood in 1976 where he quickly found work writing scripts for such major television series as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice, as well as numerous series pilots and Movies-of-the-Week for the major networks. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on Hill Street Blues, but is most proud of his 4-hour NBC miniseries, Cross of Fire, which the New York Times declared: “A searing and powerful documentation of the Ku Klux Klan’s rise to national prominence in the 20s.”

In the mid-eighties, feeling constrained by the collaborative working requirements of Hollywood, Crais resigned from a lucrative position as a contract writer and television producer in order to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first efforts proved unsuccessful, but upon the death of his father in 1985, Crais was inspired to create Elvis Cole, using elements of his own life as the basis of the story. The resulting novel, The Monkey’s Raincoat, won the Anthony and Macavity Awards and was nominated for the Edgar Award. It has since been selected as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Crais conceived of the novel as a stand-alone, but realized that—in Elvis Cole—he had created an ideal and powerful character through which to comment upon his life and times. Elvis Cole’s readership and fan base grew with each new book, then skyrocketed in 1999 upon the publication of L. A. Requiem, which was a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller and forever changed the way Crais conceived of and structured his novels. In this new way of telling his stories, Crais combined the classic ‘first person’ narrative of the American detective novel with flashbacks, multiple story lines, multiple points-of-view, and literary elements to better illuminate his themes. Larger and deeper in scope, Publishers Weekly wrote of L. A. Requiem, “Crais has stretched himself the way another Southern California writer—Ross Macdonald—always tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base.” Booklist added, “This is an extraordinary crime novel that should not be pigeonholed by genre. The best books always land outside preset boundaries. A wonderful experience.”

Crais followed with his first non-series novel, Demolition Angel, which was published in 2000 and featured former Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Technician Carol Starkey. Starkey has since become a leading character in the Elvis Cole series. In 2001, Crais published his second non-series novel, Hostage, which was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and was a world-wide bestseller. Additionally, the editors of Amazon.com selected Hostage as the #1 thriller of the year. A film adaptation of Hostage was released in 2005, starring Bruce Willis as ex-LAPD SWAT negotiator Jeff Talley.

Elvis Cole returned in 2003 with the publication of The Last Detective, followed by the tenth Elvis Cole novel, The Forgotten Man, in 2005. Both novels explore with increasing depth the natures and characters of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. RC’s third stand-alone novel, The Two Minute Rule, was published in 2006, and was followed in 2007 by The Watchman, the first novel in the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series to feature Joe Pike in the title role.

The novels of Robert Crais have been published in 42 countries and are bestsellers around the world. Robert Crais is the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award.

Currently, Robert Crais lives in the Santa Monica mountains with his wife, three cats, and many thousands of books.

Spotlight Guest: Diana Gabaldon

Are they histories? Fantasies? Science fiction? Thrillers? While it may be impossible to categorize the books Diana Gabaldon calls historical fantasias, it hardly matters to the author’s huge and loyal fan base, all of whom are just eager to devour Gabaldon s richly detailed, complexly plotted, extravagantly romantic romps through time, space, and breathtaking landscapes.

To millions of fans, Diana Gabaldon is the creator of a complex, original, and utterly compelling amalgam of 18th-century romantic adventure and 20th-century science fiction. To the publishing industry, she’s a grassroots-marketing phenomenon. And to would-be writers everywhere who worry that they don’t have the time or expertise to do what they love, Gabaldon is nothing short of an inspiration.

Gabaldon wrote her first novel while juggling the demands of motherhood and career: in between her job as an ecology professor, she also had a part-time gig writing freelance software reviews. Gabaldon had never written fiction before, and didn’t intend to publish this first novel, which she decided to call Outlander. This, she decided, would be her “practice novel”. Worried that she might not be able to pull a plot and characters out of thin air, she settled on a historical novel because “it’s easier to look things up than to make them up entirely.”

The impulse to set her novel in 18th-century Scotland didn’t stem — as some fans have assumed from a desire to explore her own familial roots (in fact, Gabaldon isn’t even Scottish). Rather, it came from watching an episode of the British sci-fi series Dr. Who and becoming smitten with a handsome time traveler in a kilt. A time-travel element crept into Gabaldon’s own book only after she realized her wisecracking female lead couldn’t have come from anywhere but the 20th century. The resulting love affair between an intelligent, mature, sexually experienced woman and a charismatic, brave, virginal young man turned the conventions of historical romance upside-down.

Gabaldon has said her books were hard to market at first because they were impossible to categorize neatly. Were they historical romances? Sci-fi adventure stories? Literary fiction? Whatever their genre (Gabaldon eventually proffered the term “historical fantasias”), they eventually found their audience, and it turned out to be a staggeringly huge one.

Even before the publication of Outlander, Gabaldon had an online community of friends who’d read excerpts and were waiting eagerly for more. (In fact, her cohorts at the CompuServe Literary Forum helped hook her up with an agent.) Once the book was released, word kept spreading, both on the Internet and off, and Gabaldon kept writing sequels. (When her fourth book, “Drums of Autumn,” was released, it debuted at No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, and her publisher, Delacorte, raced to add more copies to their initial print run of 155,000.)

With her books consistently topping the bestseller lists, it’s apparent that Gabaldon’s appeal lies partly in her ability to bulldoze the formulaic conventions of popular fiction. Salon writer Gavin McNett noted approvingly, “She simply doesn’t pay attention to genre or precedent, and doesn’t seem to care that identifying with Claire puts women in the role of the mysterious stranger, with Jamie — no wimp in any regard — as the romantic ‘heroine.”‘

In between Outlander novels, Gabaldon also writes historical mysteries featuring Lord John Grey, a popular, if minor, character from the series, and is working on a contemporary mystery series. Meanwhile, the author’s formidable fan base keeps growing, as evidenced by the expanding list of Gabaldon chat rooms, mailing lists, fan clubs and web sites — some of them complete with fetching photos of red-haired lads in kilts.

Spotlight Guest: John Lescroart

John Lescroart (pronounced “less-kwah”) is a big believer in hard work and single-minded dedication, although he’ll acknowledge that a little luck never hurts. Now a New York Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into 16 languages in more than 75 countries, John wrote his first novel in college and the second one a year after he graduated from Cal Berkeley in 1970.

The only hitch was that he didn’t even try to publish either of these books until fourteen years later, when finally, at his wife Lisa’s urging, he submitted Son of Holmes to New York publishers—and got two offers, one in hardcover, within six weeks!

But about six years before that first hardcover publication, John’s ambition to become a working novelist began to take shape. At that time, as Johnny Capo of Johnny Capo and His Real Good Band, he’d been performing his own songs for several years at clubs and honky-tonks in the San Francisco Bay Area. On his 30th birthday, figuring that if he hadn’t made it in music by then, he never would, he retired from the music business.

He’d been writing all along, and didn’t stop now, although his emphasis changed from music first, prose second, to the other way around. Within two months of his last musical gig, he finished a novel, Sunburn, that drew on his experiences in Spain. Since John didn’t know anyone in the publishing world, he sent the manuscript to his old high school English teacher, who was not enthusiastic. Fortunately, the teacher left the pages on his bedside table, and his wife picked them up and read them. She loved the book and submitted it in John’s name to The Joseph Henry Jackson Award, given yearly by the San Francisco Foundation for Best Novel by a California author. Much to John’s astonishment, Sunburn beat out 280 other entrants, including INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, for the prize.

Though Sunburn wasn’t to be published for another four years, and then only in paperback, the award changed John’s approach to writing. He started to think he might make a living as an author, something he’d never previously believed possible for a “regular guy with no connections.” He started paying for his writing habit by working a succession of “day jobs”—everything from a computer programmer with the telephone company, to Ad Director of Guitar Player Magazine, to moving man, house painter, bartender (at the real Little Shamrock bar in San Francisco), legal secretary, fundraising executive, and management consultant writing briefs on coal transportation for the Interstate Commerce Commission!!

John moved to Los Angeles and in the next three years finished three long novels, the last of them featuring a private investigator who shared the name Dismas Hardy (and very little else) with the man who would become John’s well-known attorney/hero. Since he’d gotten SUNBURN published without using a literary agent (an old friend had shown it to a secretary at Pinnacle Books in Los Angeles, who bought it), John went on submitting his work to New York over the transom, receiving many kind rejection letters, but no offers. Finally he realized that even if he wasn’t fated to become a commercially successful author, he wanted to be involved in books and literature. So he enrolled in the Masters Program in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

While John and his wife, Lisa Sawyer, were preparing that summer to move to New England, he was paying bills by typing technical papers on coal transportation for a consulting firm. Asked by the boss what he thought of the paper, John commented that the argument it made wasn’t very compelling and that it wasn’t very well-written. His boss challenged him: could he do it any better? In a week, John re-wrote the 400-page draft, which went on to win before the ICC. This led to a “day job” offer that John couldn’t refuse. Graduate school fell by the wayside.

But after a year and a half, even a lucrative day job had become a burden. Nothing would do for John by now but to write, but he had little time for writing with his high-paying, career-oriented job. Lisa suggested taking a look at some of the old manuscripts and submitting them—she remembered reading and liking Son of Holmes. How about that one? There was one 14-year-old yellowed and brittle copy of the manuscript left in the world—in the basement of their best man, Don Matheson’s, apartment. Six weeks later, John had his first hardcover book deal.

Over the next seven years, back in Los Angeles again, John and Lisa were finally ready to start their family. During this time, John wrote several screenplays and published three more books while he held down a job as a word processing supervisor at a downtown law firm. He rose each day at 5:30 and went to a room they’d built in their garage, where he wrote four pages of his latest in two hours. Then he worked his nine-to-five, ate a bag lunch, and stayed downtown, typing briefs and pleadings at various other law firms until 10:00 or 11:00 at night.

Finally he was publishing, but he wasn’t making a living. And then in 1989, at the age of forty-one, he took a break to go body-surfing at Seal Beach. The next day, he lay in a Pasadena hospital. From the contaminated sea water where he’d been surfing, he’d contracted spinal meningitis. Doctors gave him two hours to live.

John now looks back on his 11-day battle with death as the turning point in his career. He quit the last of his day jobs to move back to Northern California and to write full-time, with intense focus and a renewed dedication. The resulting books, richer in terms of theme and story, found a devoted readership and propelled him into the elite circle of bestselling authors—only twenty years to overnight success!