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This week ITW Members discuss the pitfalls of using real people as characters. Join Joseph Amiel, Eugénie D. West, Karen Harper and Francine Mathews. You won’t want to miss this!


Joseph Amiel is an internationally best-selling author, whose novels include STAR TIME, BIRTHRIGHT, DEEDS, HAWKS and A QUESTION OF PROOF. He has also won awards for screenwriting and for his comedy-mystery web series Ain’t That Life. A graduate of Amherst College and Yale Law School, he is married and lives in New York City.

Eugénie D. West lives in a rural area of the Northeast and holds an MA from Boston College. She is fluent in several languages, travels widely, enjoys gardening, and is an inventive and intuitive chef. West has reported on ‘hard’ news for her local newspaper for more than 15 years. She has also written entertainment news for regional and national publications, and worked in a branch of law enforcement for over four years.

New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper writes contemporary suspense for Mira Books–not with real people. But she also writes historical novels, most recently MISTRESS OF MOURNING, a Tudor-era murder mystery, for Penguin USA and Random House UK. Each of her historicals centers on a real woman from English history. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award in 2006. A former university and high school English teacher, she has been published since 1982 with over 50 novels, many of which have been translated into foreign editions.

Francine Mathews is the author of 22 novels of mystery and suspense. A graduate of Princeton and Stanford, she spent four years as an intelligence analyst at the CIA, where she briefly worked on the Counterterrorism Center’s investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Publishers Weekly named her previous book, THE ALIBI CLUB, one of the 15 best novels of 2006. As Stephanie Barron, Francine also writes the critically acclaimed Jane Austen Mystery Series. She lives with her husband and two sons in Denver, Colorado.