Bonjour, tout le monde!
Okay, so, you’re probably all wondering how awesome Thrillerfest was. I’ll tell you! It was THIS awesome. Not so much New York City, which was as stinky and hot as being rolled up in the carcass of a Tauntaun, and three times as expensive as back home. Somehow I managed to stay sane and cool in the outrageously expensive Grand Hyatt Hotel, where as luck would have it lots of very nice, incredibly generous writer types were hanging out.
Thrillerfest and the people of the thriller genre itself impressed me in many ways. For one, the attendees were on the balance a little older than those at World Horror, and women were far more common. The latter is particularly significant because many of the people writing thrillers come from professions such as law, law enforcement, medicine and science. I can also attest that the brains of the fest skewed high on the I.Q. and low on the nonsense quotient. I loved that. I could have a great conversation with just about anyone, and did.
I learned a great deal about the genre — mostly that there’s hella more money in it than in horror. That’s good news. More on that in a minute.
I volunteered. I wanted to meet more people and let people get a chance to see that I don’t bite (at least not hard, and not without being asked nicely). I met more incredibly nice people who were tickled to death by Trog. Well, mostly anyway. A couple of folk gave undisguised responses to the negative. (For example, I got an eye-rolling from Harlan Coben when I volunteered to wrangle writers at the author signing. I don’t think was a fan of Trog.)
One woman I happened to be walking with said about Trog, “It’s a great gimmick.”
Whoa! Clearly I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, nor was I even in orbit of the planet that contains Oz. I was at Camp Thrill where no one lives with Wild Things. They live with international spies, renegade cops, lawyers in love, and the occasional Templar running amok. I confess that I felt slightly out of place, even though my books absolutely belong here. And to be fair, she probably didn’t realize that Trog is my full-time purse who is a world traveler. Yes, he gets a lot of attention and he’s very memorable. But the keyword here is he, not me. If they remember me, it’s a bonus. (I have plenty of anecdotes to this end, trust me.) I carry him because, frankly, he’s the fucking coolest thing on the planet. So there you go.
I met writers. Lots and lots of writers. I even mistook Sandra Brown for someone I once knew. (She’s very stylish and gracious, by the way.) I heard Ken Follett speak, which was such a shot in the arm, I can’t even tell you. I was teased by David Liss, sweetly indulged by my fantasy-horror peeps (Chris Golden, Doug Clegg, Nate Kenyon, Deborah LeBlanc, Jonathan Maberry, Paul Wilson and Tom Picirrilli), befriended by Michael Palmer, and I generally felt welcomed. And I must mention meeting my intellectual soul sister, Kelli Stanley*. I can’t wait to see her again in October at BoucherCon. Upon learning that I was making a “genre shift,” people offered all kinds of advice, including and especially the lovely Dakota Banks.
I stalked fellow newbie James Brabson. He put up with me dropping out of the sky in front of him to say, “Watcha doin’ now? Huh? Huh?” like every five minutes. Thanks, James. 🙂
What I savored most about Camp Thrill was the lack of competitive spirit. The pervasive philosophy was that the more good writing there is, the more readers there will be. To that end, I didn’t sense any shortage of publishing resources. And I heard a lot of success stories come out of Agentfest, which was awesome and encouraging. (I didn’t participate in that, as SILENCE OF THE IAMBS and THE BODYJACKER aren’t ready for agent eyes.) So, I’m feeling pretty confident that either or both books will do well, and that’s very exciting.
Bon week-end, tout le monde!