Specials to the Big Thrill

Watchlist: A Serial Interview

By Brett King


Twenty-two thriller masters. Two masterful thrillers. One fascinating experiment in creativity.

It was a bold idea. Gather many of the world’s finest thriller writers and challenge each one to compose a chapter during a two-week window before handing it off, no questions asked or advice given, to the next author. Based on an idea by New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver, Watchlist blends two novellas, The Chopin Manuscript and The Copper Bracelet, into a single book, available in paperback on December 7th. Brimming with explosive twists, one novella deals with a mysterious manuscript containing a deadly secret while the sequel centers on an international terror plot that threatens to escalate into the next world war.
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Going Indie: From Screenwriting to Publishing by Hoyt Hilsman

By Hoyt Hilsman

After a decade as a screenwriter and journalist, writing scripts for the major studios and networks and articles for national publications, and several more years in the world of politics, including running for Congress in California, I decided to write my first novel, a political thriller.  While I never aspired to be a novelist, I was not eager to return to screenwriting – with the endless pitch meetings, rewrites and other disappointments.

More importantly, I had an idea for a series of political thrillers based on a strong central character, and drawn from my knowledge of the world of intelligence and politics (My father had been head of intelligence for the State Department under President Kennedy, and I had grown up in that world).  So I launched enthusiastically into writing 19 Angels, a political thriller set in the Middle East.  Nine months later I had produced what I believed was a strong debut novel — fast-paced, well plotted and full of detail and texture.
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Thriller Writers Meet Real-life Warriors During Operation Thriller USO Tour

By Janice Gable Bashman

“Moving from room to room, hearing their stories…we writers of invented action were humbled by meeting warriors who had lived the real thing, examples of heroism far beyond anything we could imagine,” says David Morrell. For Morrell and the other thriller writers (Steve Berry, Andy Harp, Douglas Preston, and James Rollins) who participated in the recent Operation Thriller USO Tour, the tour was a life-changing experience. It brought them face-to-face with wounded military personnel at hospitals in the United States and with personnel stationed in Kuwait and Iraq. This was the first time in the USO’s 69-year history that authors visited a combat zone, and it was a huge success for both the authors and the men and women they visited.
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Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli

By Aaron Brown

With his new novel, Narrows Gate, author Jim Fusilli has blazed a path that may open up a bold new outlet for writers to share their stories.  He’s done so by becoming the first writer to sell a book to Audible (a large audiobook publisher and distributor) without the book first appearing in print.  And it’s fitting that the book treading this new ground is one described as “outstanding in every way” and “a big, broad-shouldered novel, equal parts Ellroy, Puzo and Scorsese.”
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Thrillers: 100 Must Reads. An interview with Douglas Preston

100-must-reads.jpgThe much-heralded ITW project Thrillers: 100 Must Reads is scheduled to be published by Oceanview this July during ThrillerFest. To whet your appetite for this essential book, The Big Thrill is going to feature a series of short interviews with various essayists in upcoming issues. In our first interview, Hank Wagner, co-editor of the collection, chats with Douglas Preston, who contributed a fascinating essay on Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, hailed by many in 1860 as the first “novel of sensation.”
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Thrillers: 100 Must Reads. An interview with Tess Gerritsen

100-must-reads.jpgThe much-heralded ITW project THRILLERS: 100 MUST-READS is scheduled to be published by Oceanview this July during ThrillerFest.  To whet your appetite for this essential book, we’re going to feature a series of short interviews with various essayists in upcoming issues. This interview by Hank Wagner, co-editor of the collection, is with Tess Gerritsen, who contributed a fabulous essay on Ken Follet’s masterpiece, Eye of the Needle.
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Thrillers: 100 Must Reads. An interview with Gayle Lynds

100-must-reads.jpgThe much-heralded ITW project THRILLERS: 100 MUST-READS is scheduled to be published by Oceanview this July, debuting at ThrillerFest.  To whet your appetite for this essential book, we’re going to feature a series of short interviews with various essayists in upcoming issues.  This interview by Hank Wagner, co-editor of the collection, is with ITW co-founder Gayle Lynds, who contributed a heartfelt tribute to Helen MacInnes in her essay on MacInnes’s classic, Above Suspicion.
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Thrillers: 100 Must Reads. An interview with James O. Born

Special to the Big Thrill by Hank Wagner.

100-must-reads.jpgThe much-heralded ITW project THRILLERS: 100 MUST-READS is scheduled to be published by Oceanview this July, debuting at ThrillerFest.  To whet your appetite for this essential book, we’re going to feature a series of short interviews with various essayists in upcoming issues.  This interview is with James O. Born, who contributed a piece on Joseph Wambaugh’s seminal police procedural,The Choirboys.
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David Morrell: Literary High-Flier

By K.J. Howe

“Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man.  We make ourselves into one or the other.” Carlos Castaneda

If there is one author who has transformed himself into a literary warrior, it’s David Morrell.  David published First Blood in 1970 and he has now written over 30 books.  With 18 million copies in print, our current ThrillerMaster has been published in 26 languages.

Perhaps the best word to describe David is indefatigable.  Relentless in his pursuit of excellence, he has been a trailblazer in the publishing world for four decades.  As Jon Land (Strong Justice, June 2010) says, “David is a true warrior who sets trends and doesn’t please anyone other than himself.  He creates molds, and then breaks them.”  One only has to look at the variety and volume of books David has written to see he has always been ahead of the curve.
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Ken Follett: An Inspiration

By Kathleen Antrim

Ken Follett is an inspiration.  Yes, he’s an internationally acclaimed, bestselling author with 21 blockbusters to his name, and that is definitely inspiring, but it’s his honesty and generosity in sharing his experience and knowledge that is a true inspiration.

Upon visiting his website, the reader will find a wealth of information including a “Masterclass” for writers and a lecture on “The Art of Suspense.”  In an age when almost nothing is free, Follett offers a step-by-step guide to writing a novel, without charge.  It’s concise and dense with fabulous information.
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Gayle Lynds: “To be a writer, you have to want to connect with the reader”

By Matthew Dunn

ThrillerFest forecast: Gayle (force) Lynds . . .

Gayle will readily tell you that her first attempt at writing was dreadful.  It was a poem–one of those feared school assignments that culminated in three minutes of torture standing in front of the entire class. But it rhymed, as only a grade-schooler’s could, and garnered an “A” from her teacher. She was eight years old at the time, living in Iowa, and though the years have passed and she has had countless short stories published and filled her mantle full of awards for her many spy novels, Gayle can still recite the piece line by line. (Due to copyright law and Gayle’s modesty, I cannot reprise it here.) One could venture to guess that the wind starting blowing that day; one that has only gotten stronger. But then one of things Iowa is known for is tornados.
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Linda Fairstein: “There is no more important element than literacy in building strong communities”

By Keith Raffel

Sherlock Holmes said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”   I’ve followed the master’s advice and concluded that-improbable as it may sound-Linda Fairstein has cloned herself.  How else could the 2010 International Thriller Writers Silver Bullet Winner have accomplished so much?

Hell Gate, her latest novel, is the twelfth in the series featuring Alex Cooper, head of the Manhattan DA’s Sex Prosecution Crimes Unit.  And these books are not just run of the mill.  The Daily Beast made Hell Gate “a hot read” and called it “superb, intense, gripping” and “frighteningly realistic.” As is customary for a Fairstein thriller, Hell Gate zoomed on to The New York Times bestseller list when it came out in March.
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Brad Meltzer: “There’s nothing more interesting to me than trying what I’ve never tried before”

By Jeff Ayers

When a person thinks about Brad Meltzer’s career, it’s hard to remember that he has only been publishing books since 1997, when he burst onto the thriller scene with The Tenth Justice.

He started writing after a job fell through. He finished that first novel and started looking to find a home for it.

“I got twenty-four rejection letters on my first novel,” Brad said. “It’s still sitting on my shelf, published by Kinko’s. I had twenty-four people tell me to give it up–that I couldn’t write. But the day I got my twenty-third and twenty-fourth rejection, I said to myself, ‘If they don’t like this novel, I’ll write another, and if they don’t like that one, I’ll write another.’ Why? Because I fell in love with writing. A week later, I started the book that became The Tenth Justice. And then, I got lucky.”
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Harlan Coben: 47 million books, and STILL a cool guy

By Sheila English

Harlan Coben has more than 47 million books in print worldwide. He’s a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author who has won just about every thriller award imaginable.

But when I asked him which of those awards was the coolest, he answered:

“The Dagger.”

Why?

“Because, well, it’s a dagger.”

And immediately I liked him! Often we imagine authors to be bookworm-types or stuffy, especially when that author is also a journalist who writes for such magazines as Parade and The New York Times. But Harlan, creator of the Myron Bolitar franchise and numerous stand-alones, is vastly interesting, with a wonderful sense of humor. If you follow him on Facebook, you already know that.
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Lisa Scottoline: “I Don’t Kill People, My Characters Kill People”

By Julie Kramer

Lisa Scottoline has just one rule when it comes to telling stories: tell them from the perspective of a real-life woman. That tenet has served her well in her author career as she’s enthralled us with tales of women up against danger. She weaves wit with suspense to create award-winning and best-selling thrillers.
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Thrillers: 100 Must Reads – An Interview with Christine Kling

Special to the Big Thrill by Hank Wagner.

100-must-reads.jpgThe much-heralded ITW project THRILLERS: 100 MUST-READS is scheduled to be published by Oceanview this July, debuting at ThrillerFest. To whet your appetite for this essential book, we’re going to feature a series of short interviews with various essayists in upcoming issues. This interview is with the delightful Christine Kling, who contributed a piece on Erskine Childer’s The Riddle of the Sands.
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Thrillers: 100 Must Reads – An Interview with Grant Blackwood

Special to the Big Thrill by Hank Wagner.

100-must-reads.jpgThe much-heralded ITW project Thrillers: 100 Must Reads was published with much fanfare at ThrillerFest early in July, and has since received a lot of favorable attention from critics (we were especially pleased with Michael Dirda’s review in The Washington Post).

To further whet your appetite for this essential book, we’ve been featuring a series of short interviews with various essayists in past issues of The Big Thrill.  Here is the final interview with Grant Blackwood, who contributed a piece on Clive Cussler’s Raise the Titanic.
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Bonus to The Big Thrill: John Sanford’s The Prey,

By Shane Gericke

Fittingly for a master of intrigue, John Sandford (1944- ) really isn’t John Sandford. He’s John Camp, the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper reporter who created one of the most memorable cops in fiction: Lucas Davenport of the long-running Prey series. (Dual-name fun fact: Camp debuted two thriller series–Prey and Kidd–for two different publishers in 1989. Prey’s publisher asked for the pseudonym so Kidd’s publisher couldn’t benefit from Prey advertising.) Sandford was trained as a reporter by the U.S. Army, which sent him to Korea to work for the base newspaper.
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And The Thriller Award Winners Are . . .

thriller-award.jpgDuring a gala banquet and celebration held on Saturday, July 10 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, the International Thriller Writers announced the winners of the 2010 Thriller Awards.

They are:

Best Hard Cover Novel:
THE NEIGHBOR, Lisa Gardner

Best Paperback Original Novel:
THE COLDEST MILE, Tom Piccirilli


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