The Thrill Begins

I'm a regular columnist at International Thriller Writer's The Thrill Begins, so if you're a debut thriller author, or you want to be a debut thriller author, or you're a veteran author of any genre and enjoy reading about other authors' experiences in the world of publishing, then this is the site for you. All of the columnists are tremendously talented, hardworking writers who have a lot of stuff to say.

Here's a roundup of the articles I've written so far:

The Necessity of Running Away from Your Region (part of the Meet My Region series, published December 15, 2016)

"I jumped at the chance to start a new life somewhere I had never even visited, where I knew absolutely nobody. It was an opportunity at reinvention, a chance to do that complete 180 without anybody watching or offering an opinion about how my time might be better spent."

A Tale of Woe (published July 14, 2016)

"I lost a good writing friend after I got my first book deal. Let’s call her Gloria. And I don’t mean I “lost her” in that she died; she basically dumped me, and I didn’t see it coming. Gloria and I were in the trenches together. We met on a popular writers’ forum and instantly clicked, as much as two people – two straight women, anyway – can click online."

Meet Your Heroes: Jennifer Hillier Interviews Joseph Finder (published June 28, 2016)

"Don’t pin all your hopes on the inevitable massive success of your first novel or your next book. Don’t spend all your time and energy promoting it — some, sure, but not all. Make sure you’re onto the next novel by the time your first one comes out. The biggest contribution we writers can make to our careers is to keep turning out the best possible books we can. Give your publishers something really good to work with."

My embarrassingly inefficient (but surprisingly effective) writing process (published May 12, 2016)

"I was whining the other day to a non-writer friend about my work-in-progress, and how I wished (for the umpteenth time) that I could outline a novel. As a “pantster,” it feels like I spend so much time getting lost in my own story. After five minutes of venting, when my friend didn’t say anything back, I asked her what she thought. And her response was, “What do I think about what? Your process? Because you do this with every book.”"

For the Good of the Story (published March 10, 2016)

"I may write books alone, but I sure as hell don’t edit them by myself. Even the best and most experienced novelist needs the critical eye of an editor whose sole job is to make the book the best it can be. Editors, even if they totally understand the vision you have for your book, still see it in a way you never will." 

A Conversation with Benoit Lelievre of Dead End Follies (published February 1, 2016)

"Anytime I’ve tried to plan a story, I’ve killed it and lost interest. With Wonderland, it just fucking grew. I like intimate stories, two or three characters, that I can really dig into and expose, and Wonderland wasn’t like that at all. The setting made it so challenging – it’s hard to have an amusement park that’s creepy as hell and not have a cast of characters to go along with it."

Let's Talk About Sales, Baby (published January 14, 2016)

"“I really think I can sell it,” my agent said to me back in 2010, “but my job is also to manage your expectations. It’s very difficult to sell fiction, especially debut fiction. And even if we do get an offer, a typical advance is between two and five thousand dollars. So don’t quit your day job.”"

How It Happened (part of the publishing journey series, published November 10, 2015)

"Query Hell was a totally miserable, stressful, awful, soul-sucking experience and it was the greatest day when I signed with my agent because it meant I could get off the merry-go-round of “your writing doesn’t resonate.” I don’t know if I can make this funny because my How It Happened really wasn’t funny, or even interesting. Honestly. It was statistics and tracking rejections on a spreadsheet and endless tweaks of my query until I got plucked out of the slush pile."

What I Wish I'd Known (published October 29, 2015)

"Your published book, even if it’s a fictional story, is a part of you. Once it’s out in the world, you can’t help but feel naked and exposed, and do any of us really want to know what other people think about how we look, naked? Does someone pointing out that I have jiggly thighs make me want to do more squats? No, it does not. It makes me want to camp out on the sofa and eat chocolate until I vomit."