success stories

B.J. Graf

An idea for a mystery novel bit me while working on my doctorate in Classics. I started writing it down, but it was a shapeless baggy thing, so I set it aside and took a job out west. I worked as a V.P. of Development in Hollywood for the better part of fifteen years before transitioning back to academia. During all that time I kept writing.

Not an Overnight Success Story

BEVERLY GRAF (AKA B.J. GRAF)


An idea for a mystery novel bit me while working on my doctorate in Classics. I started writing it down, but it was a shapeless baggy thing, so I set it aside and took a job out west. I worked as a V.P. of Development in Hollywood for the better part of fifteen years before transitioning back to academia. During all that time I kept writing. But while I was confident in pitching other writers’ stories, I didn’t have the confidence to pitch my own. The people I worked with in Hollywood firmly believed writing talent was something you’re born with, not a skill or set of skills you can learn. And if you haven’t made it by thirty, forget it. Thirty was definitely in the rear-view mirror for me.

But I kept writing because when a story grabs me and won’t let go, I have to pay attention. GENESYS X was that kind of story. I joined a writing group which offered support for the writer and ruthless criticism of the writing. I started going to writers’ conference and got a few short stories published.

But Thrillerfest really helped me make the leap to the next level. Craftfest was very useful in teaching me some new skills that helped unwind some of the techniques necessary in academic writing, but deadly in fiction. Using what I learned, I completely rewrote my first mystery-sci-fi novel GENESYS X.

At Pitchfest I pitched my book to fifteen agents. All but one, who confessed to a secret hatred of sci-fi, said yes to the pitch. But as the months went by after sending them the manuscript and agent after agent told me they liked the writing, but the darker than dark noir tone of my book would make it hard to sell, I figured GENESYS X would stay in the drawer.

A little depressed, but determined, I was already one hundred pages into a very different book when I got the call from Sandy Lu, then a senior agent at the Perkins Agency. She wanted to know if my novel was still available. Sandy now represents me. GENESYS X was published November 2020 at Fairwood Press and we’re currently out to publishers with the new book as I work on the next in the series. I’m not an overnight success, but I’m a writer and I’m on my way. Thank-you, Thrillerfest and ITW! I’m so grateful for everything you do.

Back to Success Stories


ITW Community

  • patrons
  • sponsors
  • supporters
  • Actives

    • Sandra Brannan

    • Clive Cussler*

    • Dirk Cussler*

    • Shane Gericke*

    • Faye and Jonathan Kellerman*

    • John Lescroart

    • Joanie McDonell

    • Karin Slaughter

    • Larry D. Thompson

    Associates

    • Tucker Andersen

  • Actives

    • Kathleen Antrim*

    • David Baldacci*

    • Neal Baer

    • Steve Berry*

    • J. Jackson Bentley

    • Gary Braver*

    • Sandra Brown*

    • Dale Brown*

    • John Case*

    • Lee Child*

    • Michael Connelly

    • Glenn Cooper

    • Richard Curtis*

    • Jack F. Du Brul*

    • David Dun*

    • Joseph Finder

    • Brian Garfield*

    • Tess Gerritsen*

    • Leslie Glass*

    • Jeff Gunhus

    • Vicki Hinze*

    • Lisa Jackson

    • Alex Kava*

    • Raymond Khoury

    • Deborah LeBlanc

    • Eric Van Lustbader*

    • D. P. Lyle M.D.*

    • Gayle Lynds*

    • Steve Martini

    • Brad Meltzer

    • David Morrell*

    • Katherine Neville*

    • Michael Palmer (2004-2013)*

    • James Patterson*

    • Andrew Peterson

    • Douglas Preston*

    • Lissa Price

    • Keith Raffel

    • Christopher Reich*

    • James Rollins*

    • M.J. Rose*

    • JoAnn Ross

    • Hank Phillippi Ryan

    • John Saul*

    • Andy Siegel

    • Susan Arnout Smith

    • R.L. Stine*

    • Brad Thor*

    • Lisa Unger

    • Paul Vidich

    Associates

    • Maria Carvainis

    • Leisure Books*

    • JK Franko*

    • Ed Mitchell*

    • Henry Morrison*

    • Adrian Muller*

    • Bill Sewell

    • Tor/Forge Books*

  • Actives

    • Steve Alten*

    • Ashok Banker

    • Ted Bell*

    • Emily Benedek

    • Janet Berliner-Gluckman*

    • Gary Birken

    • Mike Bond

    • Sandra Brannan

    • Allison Brennan

    • Mike Brogan

    • Jan Burke*

    • Lorenzo Carcaterra

    • Lincoln Child*

    • Stephen Coonts*

    • Brian D’Amato

    • B. J. Daniels

    • Nelson DeMille

    • Eileen Dreyer*

    • Joanna Elm

    • Linda Fairstein*

    • Vince Flynn (2004-2013)*

    • Chris Fox

    • Joel Goldman*

    • Howard Gordon

    • Heather Graham*

    • Thomas Greanias

    • Gary Grossman

    • Humphrey Hawksley

    • Bonnie Hearn Hill*

    • Alan Jacobson

    • Judith Kelman*

    • Harley Jane Kozak

    • Jon Land

    • Dennis Lynds (2004-2005)*

    • Patricia McLinn

    • Michael McMenamin

    • Francine Mathews*

    • Kyle Mills*

    • Twist Phelan

    • Christopher Rice*

    • Wendy Roberts

    • John Sandford

    • James Siegel*

    • Carl T. Smith*

    • Deborah Smith*

    • Taylor Smith*

    • L.A. Starks

    • Mariah Stewart*

    • Peter Straub*

    • Lee Strobel

    • M. Diane Vogt*

    • Thomas Waite

    • Stuart Woods*

    Associates

    • Linda Adams*

    • Brilliance Audio*

    • Mike Brogan

    • Steve Hadden*

    • Emory Hackman

    • Inkwell Management, LLC*

    • Jennifer Kreischer

    • Mario Mastro*

    • Amy Rivers

*original member joined by June 4, 2005