ThrillerFest '17 Recap & Giveaway

Every year the mystery convention ThrillerFest brings together the biggest and best names in the genre. It's a fun and informative experience for readers and industry professionals alike! This year authors in attendance included longtime friends of RT Heather Graham and Sandra Brown, as well as Jon Land, Lee Child, Lisa Jackson, Lisa Scottoline and R.L. Stine ... just to name a few. The schedule offered something for every interest, from covering how to incorporate current events into a political thriller to looking to social media for inspiration.

If you missed out on this year's ThrillerFest program, don't fret! The RT staff attended to serve as your eyes and ears at this year's conference. Not only will we share some of our favorite moments from this year's conference, but we are also giving away TWO ThrillerFest swag bags that are filled to the brim with books! Join us as we reminisce on the past week's events, then enter for your chance to win a swag bag below.

When we heard that Charlaine Harris, Lisa Jackson and Andrew Gross were to sit on the Unforgettable Characters panel together, we knew we had to attend! The authors spent an hour regaling the audience with tales of triumph, lessons learned, crossed lines of communication and more. The experience was as entertaining as it was educational, with Charlaine reminding the audience that, "You have to do the thing you are scared of." That's pretty perfect advice — both for business and your personal life! And Charlaine's nuggets of wisdom didn't end there. She reminded the audience that resting on your laurels won't get you anywhere; "You need to keep setting goals for yourself, and when you meet one you have to set another one."

Charlaine Harris & Lisa Jackson
From Left: Charlaine Harris & Lisa Jackson

Curious about Andrew Gross's work with James Patterson? Us too! Although it's been quite a few years since Andrew and James have worked together, Andrew was happy to share some of the best pieces of information he learned from the thriller master. One tidbit was to invest in your character's plight within the first 20 pages of your novel. Since the plight often drives the plot, this makes perfect sense to us.

When an audience member asked about including real street names and landmarks in a story in order to add authenticity, Lisa Jackson explained that this is something she does in her writing all the time. In fact, she even gives the famous confectionary Voodoo Doughnuts a mention in After She's Gone and You Will Pay.

Later in the day, we attended Meet the Masters: Past & Present ThrillerMasters Sandra Brown, Lee Child, Heather Graham, Nelson DeMille, David Morrell, and R.L Stine. There were so many amazing stories told, it is hard to whittle it down to a few for the purposes of this post. One bombshell we absolutely must report is that author Nelson DeMille revealed that he is no fan of one of his most famous creations, John Corey!

Friday's Meet the Masters: Past & Present ThrillerMasters panel

At another point in the session, moderator Jeff Ayers asked the authors to recount the first time that they experienced fame. One of our favorite stories came from none other than R.L. Stine. He recalled a book signing for which he appeared destined to arrive late. The traffic backing up his only route to the store was entirely unmoving, leaving the author frustrated and concerned that the store managers would be angry with him for arriving so late. Then he took a moment to look around and observe the other passengers caught in the same predicament. Kids filled the back seat of every car he could see. Since this was the main route to the book store, Stine surmised that many of the cars were also headed to his destination. He had grown so popular, that was caught in a traffic jam of his own making! 

Lee Child also shared an extremely memorable story about a book signing. Toward the back of the line, he noticed a young couple holding a baby. When it was their turn to have a book signed, they slipped a piece of paper across the table to Lee. It was their son's birth certificate. His legal name was Jack Reacher Smith. What a legacy!

Lee also remembered the first time that he saw someone who was not a friend or family member reading his book in public. After what he saw sank in, he thought to himself, "I am now an author."

And now for the giveaway! Two lucky winners will each receive a 2017 ThrillerFest swag bag full of books. Each bag contains 8 thrilling titles— including one autographed book! We won't reveal every author and title included (and each bag is different), but we will tease with a taste of what you can expect:

Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter entry form below. Sorry, U.S. entrants only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That's all on ThrillerFest for now. Be sure to swing by later this week when our Assistant Editor Alyssa fills us in on Karin Slaughter's ThrillerFest interview.