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Why are authors compelled to tell stories? Why are readers compelled to read them? Here’s what ITW members Matt Lynn, Amy Robertson, Teresa Burrell, Lisa Black, Pam Callow, Steven James, and Karen Dionne had to say on the subject.

Matt Lynn is the author of a best-selling series of military thrillers, featuring a group of special forces soldiers working for a Private Military Corporation. ‘Death Force’ was published in 2009, ‘Fire Force’ in 2010, and ‘Shadow Force’ will be out in 2011. He is currently working on ‘Ice Force’, which will be out in 2012. Interviews and free short story at

Amy Dawson Robertson writes the Rennie Vogel Intrigue series, thrillers featuring the self-reliant operative Rennie Vogel in action-packed stories drawn on current events. Amy is a native Virginian and graduated from St. John’s College in Annapolis. She lives in the Washington DC area and her writing interests include genre fiction, short stories and graphic novels.

Teresa Burrell has dedicated her life to helping children and their families in both the courtroom and the classroom. As an attorney in San Diego, Burrell maintained a private law practice for twelve years, which specialized in domestic, criminal, and civil cases. Her work in juvenile court focused on representing abused minors and juvenile delinquents. Burrell has received several awards and special recognition from the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program for her countless hours of pro bono work with children and their families.  Burrell has also enjoyed a satisfying career as a teacher. She has taught children of all ages with diverse backgrounds and special needs. After creating an after-school program that kept kids off the street, she received a community service award.  Now in semi-retirement in California, Burrell continues to educate groups about social issues impacting children and write novels, many of which are inspired by actual legal cases.

Lisa Black is a latent fingerprint examiner in Florida and a former forensic scientist for the Cleveland coroner’s office. She is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and has testified in more than forty-five homicide trials. Evidence of Murder is her third Theresa MacLean novel.

Pam Callow is the author of a new legal thriller series featuring thirty-something lawyer Kate Lange. DAMAGED, the first novel of the series, was a Levy Home Entertainment “Need to Read” Pick for June, with Top Ten Bestseller placement in Target and Wal-Mart. Two more Kate Lange thrillers will be released in 2011: INDEFENSIBLE (January, 2011) and TATTOOED (Summer, 2011). A fourth will be published in June 2012. Prior to making writing a career, Pamela studied English Literature, became a member of the Nova Scotia Bar, completed a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and worked as a strategy consultant at an international consulting firm. She lives in Halifax with her husband, two children and a pug.

Steven James is the award-winning, national bestselling author of four critically acclaimed thrillers: The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight and The Bishop. He has a Master’s Degree in Storytelling and has taught writing and creative communication throughout the world since 1999. When he’s not writing and speaking he’s playing basketball, rock climbing or eating pepperoni pizza with his three daughters.

Karen Dionne is the internationally published author of Freezing Point, a science thriller nominated by RT Book Reviews as Best First Mystery of 2008. A second environmental thriller, Boiling Point, about an erupting volcano, a missing researcher, and a radical scheme to end global warming is forthcoming from Berkley December 28, 2010. Karen is cofounder of the online writers community Backspace, and organizes the Backspace Writers Conferences held in New York City every year. She serves on ITW’s board of directors as Vice President, Technology. She is also Managing Editor of the International Thriller Writers’ newsletter and webzine,  The Big Thrill.