I attended my first Thrillerfest convention this past week and thought I’d wandered into a three-day cocktail reception. I’m sure I spent more time standing around in small groups talking to other writers and readers with drinks in their hands than I did going to panel discussions.
Of course, that’s exactly why I went to Thrillerfest—to connect with other writers and readers!
What a kick it was to meet some of the authors I’ve been reading for twenty years or more. R.L. Stine. Ridley Pearson. John Lescroart. Ken Follett. Tess Gerritsen. Michael Palmer. David Morrell. Harlan Coben. And many others.
Even more exciting was getting to know some writers, published and for-now-unpublished, at the beginning of their careers. (I’d name them, but I’m sure I’d leave some out.) As part of the International Thriller Writers’ Debut Author class, I participated in the appropriately-named Debut Authors Breakfast. Twenty of us newbies got 60 seconds to pitch ourselves and our books to a full banquet hall of convention-goers. One of us even sang! To top off the event, Brad Melzer gave a very funny, very inspiring speech.
The panels and interviews I attended were, without exception, quite good. I learned a lot, about writing, but I think listening to the writers talk about themselves and what drives them was even more rewarding.
And did I mention the parties?
After spending three days with thriller writers, I can say this definitively: They are the nicest, most generous bunch of people I’ve ever met. And that makes me happy!