Monday, March 24, 2014

Simon & Schuster's Incite-ful authors show me The Dark Side

The Dark Side:  An Evening with Mystery and Thriller Writers

Last Wednesday, March 19, I travelled by ferry from Mayne Island to Vancouver to visit my in-laws and to attend The Dark Side (a free literary event—part of the Incite series).
I walked into Vancouver’s central library and felt a change—it was no longer intimidating. I descended the stairs and walked into the Alice McKay room. Even though I was fifteen minutes early, many of the chairs were already occupied. I claimed a chair at the side of the room but decided to move so I could take better photos. Surprisingly, I ended up sitting right behind Robin Spano (yes, this Robin Spano).

Simon & Schuster had published all of the authors involved in this event.

The evening began with author readings. 

Sean Salder a.k.a. Sean Slater read the first two chapters of his book

Deryn Collier selected a reading that served as a introduction to her protagonist

Andrew Pyper read an exchange between two characters 

Nick Cutter a.k.a. Craig Davidson read the last two chapters of his book.

Q. & A..
The audience was engaged and questions flew around the room. Here’s what I heard…

How did you start to write?
I wrote fan fiction.
Writing crime fiction was a desire I had since childhood.
My passion for reading inspired me to write.

The problems involved in writing under a pen name were discussed—especially in light of offering an author reading. (i.e. Who is on the stage?)

Is it easier to write your second book?
In certain ways, yes, because now I know my strengths and can rely on them.
Now I have confidence in my ability to write.
I find that it’s easier to structure my novel but I face more doubts and I impose higher standards on my writing.

When asked which book is their favourite, one author said that it was the one that was in the trunk. He was waiting for the best time to start a project that was dear to his heart. Most of the authors said that it was impossible to pick one favourite—they liked all their books, but for different reasons. “And all come home with different report cards.”

On the subject of formal training in writing, all authors agreed that it wasn’t necessary.
Reading is your education.
Seek out master storytellers and study their craft.
Attend writing events.
The lone author who was working on completing his PhD said that even though formal training wasn’t necessary it could prove valuable if looked at as working on your writing for two years in a supportive environment. Would-be students was cautioned against buying into one-upmanship.

The topic of research was discussed.
I draw on my life experiences.
I’m not writing a procedural.
I don’t hesitate to call up anybody—to answer my research questions.
I try to get the basic details.
Remember that there will be variances between professionals.
It’s the culture of the profession that is most important for me to capture.

When do you write?
Full-time 9 to 5 Monday to Friday
I write when I can. When my children were young, I woke at 4 a.m. and wrote until 7 a.m.
I write before I read emails.
I do what’s working when it’s working and that can vary.
I always leave something exciting to working for the next day.

The evening concluded with book signings.
Sharing my author journey...

Well, after all my stopping and starting I'm making steady progress on my revisions. And I'm hopeful that I will be finished this week. Get ready to cheer. : )
Next post:  Interview with thriller author Michael W. Sherer