Thrillerfest quickie

You may be wondering why I haven’t blogged lately.  Well, the photos below explain my silence!  Late last night I got home from the second annual Thrillerfest event, which was held in NYC.  I spent the week before that preparing for my one-hour workshop on thriller writing, as well as for my onstage interview of bestselling writer Lisa Gardner (below), which was the opening event that kicked off the weekend.  Lisa was the world’s easiest interview — she’s so bright and well-spoken that all I had to do was pitch a question and she took over from there.

tess and lisa

So what is Thrillerfest?  Simply the best writers’ party of the year!  It was four days of workshops, interviews, dinners and luncheons.  But I didn’t really go for the workshops — I went to hang out with people I hadn’t seen since last year in Arizona.  It’s still small enough so that it feels intimate, and you can find the time for conversations in the bar, in the lobby, in the hallway. 

This year, having it in NYC had its pros and cons.  The pros: we were in publishing central, so agents and editors were available to scoop us off to dinner.  There were plenty of good restaurants to choose from, the city was a great place to keep family members entertained, and it was easy to drop into publishing houses. 

The great location was also, strangely enough, one of the cons. Easy access to publishers meant that we writers didn’t get as much time to just hang out with each other.  We were too busy doing business with our editors and agents.  Another problem was that Romance Writers of America was also having its annual conference the very same weekend, in Dallas, and that conflict meant a lot of people had to choose which meeting to go to.  (Rest assured, THAT won’t be happening again.)

On Sunday, I was lucky enough to be one of the panelists on a workshop about how publishers sell books, moderated by Neil Nyren, one of the true authorities on the subject.  It was so well-attended that people were standing in the aisles and they had to prop open the doors so people could hear while standing out in the hallway.  (Note to workshop organizers: we need a bigger room next year for this topic!)  By the hour’s end, audience hands were still raised with questions, we’d barely touched the subject, and we still had enough material to go another two hours.

Of course, the big event at Thrillerfest is the awards banquet.  Appearing onstage was the Thriller band (below, with Gayle Lynds, Michael Palmer, Harley Jane Kozak, and Alex Sokoloff.   The winners this year included Joe Finder for best novel, PJ Parrish for best Paperback original, and Nick Stone for best debut. thrillerfest band

My only regret?  I didn’t get to wear my glamorous black and white ballgown (a surprise Goodwill find!) because the suggested attire was “cocktail” and I was too chicken to be the only gal to show up with a floor-length gown. Oh, well.  Next year, can I get my sister thriller writers to join me in dressing to kill?


7 replies
  1. Allison Brennan
    Allison Brennan says:

    Hi Tess! I’m really bummed that I missed TF this year, but it conflicted with RWA. Next year I’ll be there! And I’d love to have another opportunity to wear the gown I wore to the Ritas this weekend (because I was up for an award and no, didn’t win, but still thrilled to be nominated). I’d love another excuse to wear it 🙂

  2. JD Rhoades
    JD Rhoades says:

    Tess, you nailed the Big Paradox that makes New York both a good and bad place to hold T’fest. I didn’t go to nearly as many panels in favor of doing business outside the hotel, and I blew off the banquet completely. Sit for four hours in a ballroom with Noo Yawk flowing by right outside? Please.

    But I did miss hanging with you. Next time, perhaps.

  3. april
    april says:

    I have to admit I was in Dallas myself.

    It sounds like a great time. The conferences are never long enough it seems.

    Thanks for sharing the photos!

  4. gregory huffstutter
    gregory huffstutter says:

    Your Sunday panel with the booksellers’ perspective was fantastic, and obviously needed a bigger room. I’m glad I had a chance to stop up and say ‘hi’ in person beforehand, because it was too packed afterwards.

    Also glad you were able to throw in the “three times” rule-of-thumb when discussing negative reviews vs. impressions.

    Hope to see you again at next year’s event.

  5. DanaKaye
    DanaKaye says:

    It was great to meet you (if only briefly) at TFest. Looks like it’s going to be in NYC again next year, but I hear San Francisco is on deck.

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