ThrillerFest 2017 // July 11 - 15
New York, NY
It’s ThrillerFest week here in New York! This week, crime writers from around the world descend on Manhattan to attend a weekend of crime fiction panels, lectures, and interviews at the Grand Hyatt in NYC - a weekend known as ThrillerFest. I’m beyond excited because this year, I’m going to be attending ThrillerFest and covering the conference’s panels and events on Crime by the Book! Many thanks to Meryl Moss Media who is handling PR for ThrillerFest, and has been so generous in facilitating my upcoming ThrillerFest experience, and to the ThrillerFest organizers for welcoming me to the conference.
In this post, you’ll learn all about ThrillerFest: which panels and author appearances I’m most looking forward to, who the guests of honor are, what exactly the ThrillerFest banquet is all about - and how to follow along with my adventures this weekend!
ThrillerFest 2017, here I come!
Background Information: What Exactly is ThrillerFest?
ThrillerFest is the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers! ThrillerFest had its first conference in 2004, and has continued to grow ever since. There are a number of components to ThrillerFest - many of which are aimed at helping aspiring crime writers hone their craft, connect with agents and editors, and learn from masters of the industry. The actual “ThrillerFest” portion of the conference refers to the conference’s final two days, which are dedicated to giving readers a glimpse into the industry’s top talent and rising stars! During these two days, readers can attend panels, listen in on interviews, and more. To wrap up the whole week, ThrillerFest concludes with a fancy banquet - everyone gets dressed up, has some drinks, and gathers for a meal and awards ceremony in which the Thriller Awards are given out.
Each year, along with the Thriller Awards, ThrillerFest also honors two writers with the ThrillerMaster award and the Silver Bullet Award. This year, Lee Child will be the 2017 ThrillerMaster, and Lisa Gardner will be the 2017 Silver Bullet recipient. These authors will be honored at the award ceremony that concludes the weekend.
For more information about the history and components of ThrillerFest, check out the ThrillerFest FAQ’s page!
Preview: CBTB at ThrillerFest
There’s so much to see and do over the course of ThrillerFest weekend, I quite literally had to make myself a Word document schedule to keep track of the panels and events I want to attend! ThrillerFest has panels that range across every topic imaginable: from panels detailing how to craft characters to a focus on international thriller writing and even a panel with a topic “how to kill off your characters” (seriously!), there’s something for everyone.
I’ll be attending a different panel pretty much every hour that I’m at ThrillerFest, so you can expect a whole lot of information coming your way as I recap what I’m learning, but below you’ll find some of my most-anticipated panels of the weekend!
CBTB’s Most-Anticipated ThrillerFest Panels:
Flawed, Down and Out, or Too Perfect? Crafting Memorable Characters
Featuring: Michael Koryta, Gayle Lynds, David Morrell, and Karin Slaughter
Booze, Unemployment, or Drugs? Developing Flawed Characters
Featuring: Paige Dearth, Mark Leggatt, William Nikkel, Daniel Palmer, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Carrie Smith
Newspaper, Magazine, or Blog? Stories Ripped from the Headlines
Featuring: Fiona Barton, Sara Blaedel, Rick Mofina, Susie Steiner, David Swatling, Lisa Unger
Deceived, Tricked, or Surprised? Writing a Killer Plot Twist
Featuring: Karen Dionne, Joseph Finder, Charlaine Harris, Shari Lapena, John Lescroart, F. Paul Wilson
Hola, Hallo, or Ciao? International Thrillers
Featuring: Sara Blaedel, Martina Cole, Maria Gustaffson, Peter James, Val McDermid, Michael Niemann
I’ll be recapping each panel that I attend here on Crime by the Book after the festival, but if you’re interested in live updates, make sure you’re following CBTB on Twitter and Instagram!
You can also view the full weekend schedule here.
CBTB’s Most Anticipated ThrillerFest Author Appearances:
Along with its fantastic panels and events, ThrillerFest also presents great opportunities for readers to meet authors, both debut and big-name. There are so many authors I’m looking forward to meeting or seeing again - I also have a few author interviews set up which I’ll be thrilled to share with you next week.
Below are a few of my most-anticipated author appearances at this year's ThrillerFest. I can't believe how many CBTB favorites will be in attendance, and I'm also so looking forward to the new authors I'll be able to introduce you to post-ThrillerFest!
SARA BLAEDEL: One of my favorite Scandinavian crime writers will be at ThrillerFest, and as always, I’m so excited to learn from her about her career! Sara will be appearing on two of my most-anticipated panels, discussing "ripped-from-the-headlines" thrillers and international crime writing. Sara always brings personality and so much knowledge to her interviews, and I know these panels will be the same!
Newest US Release: THE LOST WOMAN (Amazon)
YRSA SIGURDARDOTTIR: Another brilliant Scandinavian crime writer! Yrsa hails from Iceland, and writes very dark and creepy crime fiction that I just love. I recently read and fell head over heels in love with Yrsa's standalone thriller THE UNDESIRED—it's a crime book, but it blurs the lines between reality and the supernatural in a truly spine-tingling way. As a bonus, Yrsa has a new series out in the UK which will be coming to the US soon—I cannot wait to read it, and am just dying to ask Yrsa some questions about it! You can read about the first book in that series here.
Newest US Release: THE UNDESIRED (Amazon // CBTB Review)
KARIN SLAUGHTER: I'm a newcomer to Slaughter's work, and I've been so impressed with what I've read of hers so far. After reading Karin’s forthcoming THE GOOD DAUGHTER just about a month ago, I absolutely cannot wait to listen to Karin be interviewed by Lisa Gardner at one of the conference’s big interviews! I was utterly blown away by Slaughter's August release, THE GOOD DAUGHTER. It's visceral and gritty, and also emotional and complex—a brilliant, character-driven psychological thriller.
Upcoming US Release: THE GOOD DAUGHTER (On sale August 8th - Amazon // CBTB Review)
FIONA BARTON: I loved Fiona’s latest US release, THE CHILD, and have had the pleasure of meeting her before! I’ll also be moderating an event with Fiona at Barnes & Noble on Thursday, 7/13 - so I’m looking forward to all things Fiona over the ThrillerFest week! THE CHILD is a layered and character-driven psychological thriller that follows a journalist who picks up on a story about an infant's skeleton, discovered at a construction site. This story is all about its characters: women with hidden secrets and personal tragedies that become interwoven.
Newest US Release: THE CHILD (Amazon // CBTB Review)
J.D. BARKER: The author of serial killer thriller THE FOURTH MONKEY will be speaking on a panel about the publishing industry. I’m looking forward to hearing from him! THE FOURTH MONKEY is perfect for fans of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and Se7en - this serial killer thriller is cinematic, in-your-face twisted, violent, and just a bit over the top in the best way. To make this read even better, Barker puts a unique spin on the serial killer thriller by actually having his killer die at the beginning of the book, and keeping him "alive" through a journal he leaves behind.
Newest US Release: THE FOURTH MONKEY (Amazon // CBTB Review)
SHARI LAPENA: The author of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR will be speaking on a panel about writing killer plot twists! Lapena has a new release out this August, which I absolutely can't wait to read—I have an ARC sitting on my to-read pile! You might remember THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR as last summer's hot domestic thriller about a young couple whose infant goes missing. THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR had an utterly jaw-dropping and contentious ending—I had so many debates with friends about it! Personally, I was a huge fan of the shock value and drama of the book's ending, and I loved that even for those who didn't like it, it got us all talking!
Upcoming US Release: A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE (On sale August 15th - Amazon)
How to Follow CBTB at ThrillerFest
During ThrillerFest weekend, I'll be posting live updates on my Twitter and Instagram! Following the conference, I'll be writing up a Crime Festival Journal recapping my weekend, and I'll be sharing author interview posts and much more. Be sure to follow Crime by the Book via the below social media links for up-to-the-moment ThrillerFest updates!
Many thanks to Meryl Moss Media for facilitating my ThrillerFest 2017 experience, and to the ThrillerFest organizers for welcoming me to the conference. I’m so looking forward to sharing this weekend of crime fiction activities with you!