Author Archive: ITW
International Thriller Writers Inc represents professional authors from around the world. Learn more about them, their work, and the sources from which they draw their inspiration at the Official ITW Organization Website.
Can there be too many surprises in a thriller plot? Must each thrill help move the plot? These are the questions posed to this week’s ITW Members Paul McGoran, Arlene Kay, Judy Penz Sheluk, Ron Parham, Wendy Walker and Maynard Sims. You won’t want to miss it!
Social media is all the rage (and sometimes causes rage), but has been proven to bring authors and readers closer together. This week we ask ITW Members Judy Penz Sheluk, Sheila Lowe, Wendy Walker, Robert Dunn and Don Helin: Do you interact with readers on Goodreads, or any other social media?
Have you created characters with moral ambiguity? This week ITW members Paul McGoran, Arlene Kay, Shannon Baker, Judy Penz Sheluk, Michael J. Martinez, Ian Truman, Ann Parker, Wendy Walker and Charles Salzberg discuss writing characters with moral ambiguity and how difficult are they to make believable?
What is the best point of view for a thriller? This week we’re joined by ITW Members Paul McGoran, Judy Penz Sheluk, Sheila Lowe, Ron Parham, Wendy Walker and David McCaleb as they discuss the best point of view for a thriller.
The September issue showcases writers who tackle topics of real meaning. Yes, these books are page-turners, and they’re written with depth and heart too. Andrew Gross, our cover story, talks about what path he followed that led to The One Man, his thriller set in World War II. Karin Slaughter talks about The Kept Woman and how humor helps when she must travel to dark places of the soul. Other must-reads: Brenda Novak, Reed Farrel Coleman, Clare Mackintosh, and the trio of Tim O’Mara, Charles Salzberg and Ross Klavan on their book of crime-fiction novellas. Plus, Dawn Ius on her young adult car-heist thriller and Donna Galanti on her middle grade suspense adventure. It’s one of our favorite times of year: Kimberley Howe’s report on more »
BLOOD OF BROTHERS, recently released by Black Opal Books, is set in the steamy jungles of Nicaragua during the country’s civil war. Fortunately for us, Richard Edde had not tucked himself away in such a secluded location, and willingly talked with The Big Thrill about his latest work. What got you interested in the Nicaraguan civil war? I have always been interested in jungles. As a child I was fascinated by the Tarzan movies. Still watch them as a matter of fact. I’m intrigued by their exotic locales and the danger that lurks within them. During the Vietnam War, my friends returned with tales of the jungle. Civil wars are always interesting—people struggling for democracy and freedom, for a better way of life. In writing more »
Industry Focus: On the Frontlines By Kimberley Howe ThrillerFest attendees are still buzzing from this year’s memorable conference. We kicked off the week with a day at the FBI where participants were fortunate to meet canine agent, Iris, a specialist in discovering electronics and computers, along with several human agents whose expertise ranged from counterterrorism to gangs to cyber crime. We held a record eight classes for Master CraftFest where authors studied with New York Times bestselling authors Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood, David Corbett, Meg Gardiner, Heather Graham, Andrew Gross, and Gayle Lynds, in addition to screenwriting instructor Richard Krevolin. And we have exciting news to share from CraftFest Director D.P. Lyle M.D. about next year: “Master CraftFest will again offer eight classes, each with more »
Exploring the Inevitability of Fate By Joanna Penn Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel, I Let You Go, was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller for 12 weeks, and was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in the UK in 2015. It also won the Theakston Old Peculier crime novel of the year award for 2016. Translated into more than 30 languages, it has sold over 500,000 copies. Clare’s latest book, I SEE YOU, is for sale now. You were in the police for 12 years. How does that experience shape your crime writing? I loved my police career, particularly the variety. I spent time as a community beat officer, a detective, a custody sergeant, shift sergeant, and operations inspector, including qualifying as a public order more »
A Rich History, a Vibrant Culture By J. H. Bográn Honduras’ flag inspired a motto used during the 2010 Fifa World Cup: “Un país, una pasión, ¡cinco estrellas en el corazón.” The rough translation is: “One country, one passion, five stars in the heart!” I like to refer to my birthplace as a five-star country. When I released my novel Firefall, I posted a blog entry titled “Take a tour to Honduras.” To this date, it remains the most visited page. In the still-unnamed sequel, my main character—insurance fraud investigator Sebastian Martin—returns to Honduras in spite of the stinging torture he had to endure during his last visit. The city that Martin travels to? My nation’s capital: Tegucigalpa. The Andrews Sisters were a popular all-female signing group of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Among their hits they released a song dedicated to—you guessed it—Tegucigalpa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhJm1Ps6vdM The core of the city is nestled at the bottom of a valley. more »
Paul McGoran’s chronicle of the elegant but toxic Chitworth clan continues in THE BREASTPLATE OF FAITH AND LOVE (New Pulp Press)—his follow-up to the 2015 noir thriller, Made for Murder. The action begins in old-money Newport, then shifts to a contrasting pair of upscale and hardscrabble neighborhoods in San Francisco. While the new novel stands alone as a psychological thriller/murder mystery combo, it also marks the start of a series featuring P.I. Stafford Boyle, a small-time gumshoe from Rhode Island. His keynote is a kind of sophisticated naivety. He’s the kind of fellow who relates his clients and their cases to his favorite film noir plots and the actors who starred in them. He’s also a dogged sleuth. Stymied at first by a job that more »
By Michael J. Martinez Humanity has always embraced new and exciting ways to inflict harm upon itself. How long did it take for the first bow-and-arrow hunters to turn their aim against a fellow Stone Age man? The over/under has to be measured in months, if not weeks. Which came first—the ploughshare or the sword? And let’s not even get started on atomic energy. We embrace the new with gusto and quickly turn it against one another, even if we don’t know all that much about it. Remember, there were a few scientists out there who thought there was a chance, however small, that the A-bomb would fry the world’s atmosphere. We used it anyway. These themes of novelty, responsibility, power and destruction were all more »
By Sheila Lowe In the sixth book of the Forensic Handwriting mysteries, what should have been a routine afternoon on the witness stand for handwriting expert Claudia Rose turns into a shocking assault that leaves her traumatized. Then her getaway to the UK lands her in trouble with the FBI and New Scotland Yard—Detective Joel Jovanic’s homicide case has followed Claudia to London where she finds herself unexpectedly allied with the chief suspect. I’m not a good traveler. More to the point, I’m a hermit who is happiest home alone behind my computer keyboard. But last year, when I learned that my younger son was getting married in Germany, of course I had to leave my hermitude and make the trip. Ben, who was a more »
Marissa Garner is celebrating the release of WANTED, the third book in her sexy, edgy FBI Heat series. Although each story stands alone, readers will enjoy reconnecting with several favorite characters from Hunted and Targeted. In WANTED, Special Agent Dillon O’Malley teams up with a fascinating heroine, Kat MacKenzie, the woman who left him at the altar (literally) two years ago. The thrilling action revolves around the sabotage of a nuclear power plant, but readers will also be holding their breath to see if Dillon discovers why Kat originally abandoned him, and whether their second chance at love will lead to a happy ending. Like Hunted and Targeted, WANTED required careful balance of the suspense and romance. Garner’s editor—who’s been in publishing far longer than more »
By Jaden Terrell Grant McKenzie’s book blurbs read like a Who’s Who in the thriller world, earning high praise from the likes of Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, and Andrew Vachss, just to name a few. Naturally I picked up his latest, THE BUTCHER’S SON, with high expectations. It didn’t disappoint. The voice is strong, a distinctive blend of blunt force and poetry that perhaps should come as no surprise from a man who grew up in Scotland, lives in Canada, and is currently writing about a child protection officer living in Oregon. Asked about his writing journey, McKenzie says he was always naturally curious and imaginative, fascinated with the “What If” hook of mysteries. As a child, he devoured Enid Blyton’s Famous Five YA mystery more »
By Ron Parham FESTIVAL OF FEAR is my third novel in the Paxton Brothers Saga, a series about an ordinary American family who find themselves caught up in extraordinary circumstances. FESTIVAL OF FEAR is actually a prequel to the first two novels in the series, a story about the Paxton brothers as kids growing up in rural Iowa in the early sixties. It’s unusual in that the protagonist in the first two novels, Molly’s Moon and Copperhead Cove, is only three years old in FESTIVAL OF FEAR. Thus, the reader of the first two novels starring Ethan Paxton will get to witness what his childhood was like. Confused? Let me explain further. Molly’s Moon, my first published novel released in 2014, takes place during 9/11, more »
Post Hill Press released David M. Salkin’s twelfth novel in July of this year. The fourth novel of The Team series, SHADOW OF DEATH, has reached Amazon’s Top 100 military thrillers, where the first three stories remained for almost a full year. The Team series has been your most successful books to date. Why do you think this series has been so well-received? The Team books are espionage/military thrillers, but they also contain plenty of action and adventure. Combine that with a cast of characters that reminds you of your friends in the military, and you have full-emersion into interesting places and exciting plotlines. Although book one was based on a real covert CIA mission run in Vietnam, the stories are all fictional. The stories more »
August 29 – September 4: “Do thriller writers have a responsibility not to put ideas into the heads of would-be criminals?”
This week we’re joined by ITW Members Lynn Cahoon, Michael Byars Lewis and Christina Hoag to answer the question: Do thriller writers have a responsibility not to put ideas into the heads of would-be criminals?
Where there’s smoke… Andi Comstock has grown used to smelling the smoke that pervades her office every time a cremation takes place in the mortuary next door. She even enjoys the moment or two when each soul stops to chat with her on the way to the Pearly Gates. But one day, a Smokie says something that leads her to believe he may be headed in the other direction. “I did something bad, Andi, and I don’t know how to fix it.” Sometimes, it means murder… Andi isn’t a person who can let a plea for help go unanswered. Her sleuthing cohort, Father Riley, sometimes compares her to St. Jeanne d’Arc, fighting battles on behalf of others. Andi knows she’s no saint, but she doesn’t more »
Geologist Trace Brandon has been in Mali less than two months. He’s nearly been killed twice, lost a drilling rig to a well-placed RPG, and fallen for Peace Corps volunteer Molly Wainwright. All pretty much SOP for West Africa, until his friend Gordon Watson is brutally kidnapped by Al Qaeda. Running out of time to meet the ransom demands, Trace turns to a Malian arms dealer and a French-Canadian ex-mobster for help. Together, they come up with a risky, highly illegal scheme to rescue Gordon. If the plan goes south, Trace knows he could end up in prison—or the Bamako expatriate cemetery on Rue de Dakar…
There are two types of people: those who have been hacked and know it, and those who have been hacked and don’t know it. Former Naval Intelligence Officer turned secret operative Jake Pendleton finds himself in a pulse-pounding race to stop a cyber-terrorist from releasing a string of the most heinous cyber-crimes the world has ever seen. Crimes that could render the world’s advanced technology useless. Jake teams with his partner, Francesca Catanzaro, to track down their only lead, a white-hat hacker in Italy known only as The Jew. A man who might hold the key to stop a group of black-hat hackers from causing worldwide chaos—tag named Disruption. After a search of the hacker’s flat in Rome turns up empty, Jake and Francesca follow more »
Murder of the Hula Dancers is the third book in the popular Leila Kahana series of Maui mystery and suspense novels, following Murder in Maui and Murder on Kaanapali Beach, by bestselling crime writer R. Barri Flowers. Maui County homicide detective and composite sketch artist Leila Kahana and her partner Detective Jonny Chung investigate the murders of beautiful hula dancers by a serial killer dubbed the, “Hula Killer.” Each victim was stabbed to death. As they chase leads and suspects, Leila starts to believe that Chung might be a dirty cop. But should she act on her suspicions and report it to her boss Lieutenant Blake Seymour? In the meantime, Leila is in the midst of a new relationship with handsome restaurateur Maxwell Kishimoto. When more »
Once again CIA operative Hayden Stone has his work cut out for him. Abdul Wahab seeks to make a power grab in the exotic land of Yemen and establish a terrorist base from which to launch an attack on Europe. Wahab lures Stone to Yemen by kidnapping his partner CIA officer Sandra Harrington in Sicily. Stone comfortably operates in the mysterious, exotic world of Yemen where tribal leaders vie for power with the central government, al Qaeda exerts its influence through murder and mayhem, and double-dealing among Bedouin and townspeople is a national pastime. The cat and mouse game goes from the capital Sana’a, to the deserts in the far east of the country, and to the mountain villages in the north. Stone has a more »
New York, present day. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – elimination by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe. Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety and a ready-made family – at a price. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, the fascinating but arrogant Special Forces officer Conrad Tellus, who rescued her in America, isolates her. Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes more »
‘The second fall of Rome?’ Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and imperial councillor in early 1980s Roma Nova, scoffs at her intelligence chief when he throws a red file on her desk. But it may be too late to save Roma Nova from meltdown and herself from destruction by her lifelong enemy.… Early 1980s Roma Nova, the last province of the Roman Empire that has survived into the twentieth century, has problems – a ruler frightened of governing, a centuries-old bureaucracy creaking for reform and, worst of all, a rising nationalist movement with a charismatic leader who wants to destroy Aurelia. Horrified when her daughter is brutally attacked in a demonstration turned riot, Aurelia tries to rally resistance to the growing fear and instability. But it may more »