Thrillerfest 2012: Authors Reveal What Makes Their Characters Extraordinary

It’s no mystery why the staff of RT BOOK REVIEWS was excited to attend last week’s ThrillerFest in New York City. From July 11th to July 14th, the International Thriller Writers society hosted some of the industry’s top thriller, mystery and suspense writers as they pulled back the veil and gave us a glimpse into their shadowy worlds.

This week we will be posting coverage of ThrillerFest and all the exciting things we’ve learned. But first, we had a chance to interrogate some of our favorite authors as they signed copies of their latest books for fans. With no hope for escape, we grilled them mercilessly until they spilled their deepest, darkest secrets…or until they answered the one question that had us burning with curiosity: When faced with adversity, what tools/skills does their hero or heroine use to get out of trouble?

Click through for their highly confidential answers ...

Through Allison Brennan, we get to see the evolution of Lucy Kincaid as she progresses from scared young victim to a no-nonsense FBI agent. The latest book in the series, Silenced, was a Top Pick! this May and the author recently discussed juggling writing and motherhood in our June issue. While standing in line to get our copies of her series signed, we asked Allison what makes Lucy such an exceptional mystery solver. The author revealed that it’s “her ability to read people” and that she “trusts her instincts” that keeps this heroine going strong!

Allison Brennan

In addition to writing great urban fantasy stories, author Sophie Littlefield is also known for infusing her mystery series with a light touch of humor. Her Bad Day series features the lovable, middle-aged vigilante heroine Stella Hardesty. The latest addition, A Bad Day for Mercy, hit the market just last month, and when asked what Stella’s most unique crime-fighting skill is, the author replied, “ … middle-aged determination. She’s too old to give a shit.”

Sophie Littlefield talking with fans

With an exciting paranormal twist, Alma Katsu’s thrilling series about a pair of otherworldly lovers earned The Reckoning a Top Pick! from RT. Her smart heroine, Lanny, has readers on the edge of their seats as she runs from Adair, her cruel possessor. When asked about how Lanny escapes Adair, the author emphasized that “[Lanny is] a realistic woman, and she looks at every option she has. She uses her wiles and is very cunning.” We love a resourceful heroine who makes the most of what she has!

Alma Katsu

William Dietrich’s protagonist, Ethan Gage, stumbles from one intrigue to another. But with his best friend by his side, Benjamin Franklin, how much trouble can one man get into? To find out, grab a copy Dietrich’s latest historical mystery in the Ethan Gage series, The Emerald Storm, which received 4 ½ stars from RT. When we asked Deitrich about how his hero escapes sticky situations, the author told us that Ethan Gage relies on electricity, once even going as far as connecting a metal sword to a generator, shocking his opponent into submission!

William Dietrich

Tosca Lee is known for adding the element of faith to her thrilling tales. She describes her upcoming novel Iscariot, releasing in February 2013, as a “bromance” between Judas and Jesus. The author shared that her characters rely on “deep-seated belief” to help them get through tough times and ultimately persevere. You can pick up the latest in her Books of Mortals series co-written with Ted Dekker, Mortals, available in stores now.

Tosca Lee signing autographs

Joan Johnston’s leading ladies need to be made of tough stuff — especially as they tackle the Wild West. The next installment in her Bitter Creek series, Wyoming Bride, features Hannah Wentworth McMurtry, a pregnant widow facing death, only to be rescued by the sexy Flint Creed. When Hannah faces the depths of despair, the author says it is her heroine's resilience that pushes Hannah onward. In Johnston's own words, “It’s all about getting back up again.”

Joan Johnston

Come back all week for more from Thrillerfest 2012. And for more genre news make sure to check out RT's Everything Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Page!