There are millions of memorable moments at the RT Booklovers Convention every year, but one of the standout panels that I attended this year was the Author Chat with Catherine Coulter, Cherry Adair and Gregg Hurwitz. The three authors candidly spoke about their writing, books, careers and lives in this special hour-long session.
With Coulter's background as thriller and historical romance author, the contemporary and paranormal romantic suspense perspective from Cherry Adair and Gregg Hurwitz's experiences producing/screenwriting and writing mysteries, each author brought different ideas to the discussion. And that was even before they started taking questions from the audience!
The authors each talked about how their writing has evolved since their first books. Cherry Adair said that she thought it wasn't so much of the dynamics between her heroes and heroines changing but what readers now expect in books has evolved since the early 1980s. Hurwitz pointed out that he began writing at a very young age which has definitely had an impact on the focus of his stories, "The things I thought were cool at 19 ... things have shifted." His example is that in his recent books he focused on struggling marriages, something that he never would have been able to write about realistically when he first became a published author. Catherine Coulter, on the other hand, said that technology was something that has evolved in her writing. "Cellphones. You are never out of the loop." And the other two authors agreed that GPS and the Internet really changes how characters interact in a contemporary-set story.
The authors also chatted about their writing styles. When it came to plotting a story vs writing by the seat of your pants, Adair is a plotter while Coulter is a pantser and Hurwitz calls himself a little bit of both.
When it comes to writing environments, Adair writes best at her desk in the quiet while Coulter is a morning writer who says she gets all her writing done before 10:30 A.M. and the process is very "interactive." Hurwitz again bridged the gap saying that he used to only be able to write at his house but James Patterson told him he should learn how to write anywhere because he'd found it was important to be able to write while on the road. Now Hurwitz can write in almost any location but he does prefer that his environment is quiet while he writes. And both Adair and Hurwitz are picky about what keyboards they use to type out their stories. Adair changes keyboards after every book (often giving away the used keyboard to a fan or writing group signing the back of the equipment with her name and the title of the book that she wrote on it). Hurwitz, on the other hand, has found that he prefers writing on the old school keyboards that are super loud, almost type writer-esq.
It was also incredibly interesting to hear about the hands-on way that Hurwitz does his research. He shared, "if there's an explosion in a book, I've probably done it [in real life]." Among his many experiences filed under "for research" Hurwitz went undercover into a mind control cult. The author had this to say about finding reliable sources for research. "The best sources are the ones who don't want to talk to you at first."
Finally each author shared one detail that RT readers can look for in their upcoming novel:
For Catherine Coulter's Split Second, out July 19th, this will be her 15th FBI thriller. She says that unlike her previous novels fans can expect 3 mysteries in this story, and it will be only the 2nd time she's ever written about a serial killer in this series. But she says imagine the most horrific serial killer in the US and her FBI agents are now dealing with that killer's offspring.
Gregg Hurwitz said in his upcoming July mystery You're Next there's a scene where the husband and wife are sleeping but the baby monitor is on even though their daughter is now seven. The hero is worried that there are men circling around the family and he wakes up in the middle of the night thinking that someone is whispering a threat to him over the baby monitor.
Cherry Adair's new novel Hush hits stores at the end of this month and she shares that this novel starts a new series featuring the Loadstone company. The story has just a kiss of paranormal in it and is set in the jungle. The hero in Hush is into extreme spots and the heroine is not. However they have both traveled to Angel Falls in Venezuela and after a night of what the author calls "hot monkey sex" they wake up together the next morning. The heroine is disturbed that the hero is still in her room until she realizes that they are surrounded by terrorists and have been kidnapped.
This was a phenomenal panel full of laughter and interesting questions. For the complete audio recording you can check out www.ConferenceRecording.com and if you weren't able to join us this year, hopefully we will see you in Chicago at the 2012 RT Booklovers Convention!