Is it difficult to write characters of the opposite sex? This week ITW Members Raymond Benson, Jean Heller, Colin Campbell, J. L. Merrow, Alex Dolan, Anne Trager and A. J. Kerns join us to discuss how they tackle it.
Raymond Benson is the author of nearly 35 published books. His most recent thriller series is THE BLACK STILETTO; the fifth and final installment, THE BLACK STILETTO: ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS, was published in November 2014. Raymond was the fourth—and first American—official author of James Bond novels, and his works are collected in the anthologies CHOICE OF WEAPONS and THE UNION TRILOGY. Raymond also teaches film history and is a working musician.
Most of Jean Heller’s career was as an investigative and projects reporter and editor in New York City, Washington, D.C. and St. Petersburg Florida. Her career as a novelist began in the 1990s with the publication of the thrillers, “Maximum Impact” and “Handyman” by St. Martin’s Press. Then life intervened and postponed her new book, “The Someday File,” to publication in late 2014. Jean has won the Worth Bingham Prize, the Polk Award, and is an eight-time Pulitzer Prize nominee.
Ex Army, retired cop and former Scenes Of Crime Officer, Colin Campbell is the author of British crime novels, Blue Knight White Cross, and Northern Ex, and US thrillers Jamaica Plain, Montecito Heights, Adobe Flats and Snake Pass. His Jim Grant thrillers bring a rogue Yorkshire cop to America where culture clash and violence ensue.
Alex Dolan was raised in Boston, lived in New York City, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to writing for several publications, he has recorded four music albums, and has a master’s degree in strategic communications from Columbia University. The Euthanist is his first novel.
J. L. Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humor. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.
Translator Anne Trager loves France so much she has lived there for over a quarter of a century and just can’t seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. She founded Le French Book to translate the country’s top mysteries and thrillers, so they can reach new readers. The company’s motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves crime fiction, mysteries and detective novels. The Winemaker Detective series was on of her first choices.
Arthur Kerns is a retired FBI supervisory special agent and past president of the Arizona chapter of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO). His award-winning short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies. He is a book reviewer for the Washington Independent Review of Books. In March 2013 Diversion Books, Inc. published his espionage thriller, The Riviera Contract and in May 2014 the sequel, The African Contract.