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thriller-roundtable-logo5Everyone loves a good underdog story. Underdog characters are popular in American thrillers. This week, ITW Members Blair McDowell, Brendan P. Rielly, Toby Tate. A. J. Kerns and Steve P. Vincent discuss whether or not they are as popular in international plots?




unbeatenAn Unbeaten Man is Brendan Rielly’s first thriller. Brendan is a member of ITW and Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance and studied advanced fiction writing while attending law school. Brendan is chair of Jensen Baird’s litigation department and lives with his wife and three children in Westbrook, Maine, where he is the City Council President. Brendan is the middle of three generations of Maine authors with his father and son (as a high school senior) also published.


perf5.000x8.000.inddBlair McDowell spent several years as a university professor and author of six books still widely used in her field. She traveled extensively as a part of her work, studying in Hungary when it was still under the Russian boot, teaching in an Australian university, collaborating with co-authors in Iceland, researching in the South Pacific. And always she wrote.   When she retired, she turned to writing fiction. Her recently released fifth novel of romantic suspense, Where Lemons Bloom, is set on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, and just two weeks before the attack she was in Paris working on her sixth, Fatal Charm. Blair is a firm believer in on-site research.


diableroToby Tate has been a writer since about the age of 12. Inexplicably drawn to all things dark and macabre, he began penning short stories and publishing his own movie monster magazine. An Air Force brat who never lived in one place more than five years, Toby joined the Navy soon after high school and ended up on the east coast of the U.S. He has since worked as a cab driver, a pizza delivery man, a phone solicitor, a shipyard technician, a government contractor, a retail music salesman, a bookseller, a cell phone salesman and a recording studio engineer. Owing to the inspiration of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, Toby became an author of what he likes to call “high-octane sci-fi, fantasy and horror” and has published several books.


nations dividedSteve P. Vincent lives with his wife in a pokey apartment in Melbourne, Australia, where he’s forced to write on the couch in front of an obnoxiously large television. When he’s not writing, Steve keeps food and flat whites on the table working for the man. He enjoys beer, whisky, sports and dreaming up ever more elaborate conspiracy theories to write about. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Political Science and History. His honours thesis was on the topic of global terrorism. He has travelled extensively through Europe, the United States and Asia.


africaArthur 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.