Photo: Julie Kramer, Gennita Low, and Barry Eisler
Gennita Low blogs about the allure of the super spy and the phenomenal reader response to the romantic suspense genre.
Bond, the quinessential thriller icon--handsome, deadly, and also seductive. I challenged my writing friends to come up with a slogan like 007's "Licensed to Kill". Barry Eisler, never shy, immediately popped up with a great one (and I'm paraphrasing because I couldn't take notes while moderating, sorry), "He is sexy. He is bad. He is coming (pause) soon to a bookstore near you." Everyone had a good chuckle. I offered mine: "Kill hard. Sex harder." Andrew Peterson's was "Take no prisoner" (his book is about a sniper).
We were off to a good start. All of us on the panel write about dangerous men and women--assassins, snipers, reporters, officers, and spies--talked about how killing could be so much fun. Or at least, from a writer's perspective. After all, as I said in my intro, "we breathe life into characters that take life. How/why do we do what we do?"
The readers had great questions too. How do you (meaning us) make a character that kills likeable? How do you redeem him or her? What gives you ideas (all those killings!)? In fact, I think they did their best to stump us. I was fortunate to have some great unstump-able authors on my panel ;-). Eisler told the audience that it's the character that makes the story; a plot is nothing without a great character. Browne agreed and added that the character didn't necessarily need to be redeemed. Julie focused on balance. Peterson talked about making it personal. I liked to push the envelop and be honest. For example, if you're going to write about a female assasin, well, don't avoid that fact in your book, even if it's a romance.
The hour went by quickly and we ended the workshop by each of us giving away one of our books to a reader. I hope everyone who came had an interesting, informative, and fun time. For more fun, join me on my blog www.rooferauthor.blogspot.com or Twitter @gennita or Facebook. I promise it's not all about killing. There is sex too.