Friday, July 20, 2012

Notes on Thrillerfest 2012, NYC

by Jodie Renner, freelance editor

Steve Berry
I attended Thrillerfest in New York City July 11-14, for the third year in a row. Had a blast! As always, it was highly informative, stimulating, fun, inspiring, and exhausting! A whirlwind of attending workshops and panels and madly taking notes, chatting with others, buying the latest books at the bookstore and lining up to get them signed, and just generally bustling around trying to make the most of a high-powered, jam-packed experience!

Donald Maass
I usually just attend the first two days, Craftfest, which is more bang for your buck for aspiring authors and even published fiction writers, with its in-depth workshops presented by bestselling writers on every aspect of writing fiction that sells - especially suspense-thrillers. This year I added a day of Thrillerfest. The Craftfest seminars I attended included excellent presentations by Steve Berry, James Scott Bell, Steven James, Donald Maass, Robert Dugoni and others. I also did some volunteering, including for Agentfest.

Right off the bat, I want to recommend a nearby hotel that will save you hundreds of dollars. Thrillerfest is at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on East 42nd Street, right beside Grand Central Station. Even with the special rate for conference attendees, it's expensive to stay there. I found a much more reasonably priced hotel, the Bedford, on East 40th, just two short blocks from the conference. My normal-sized, clean hotel room had a small fridge, a microwave, a coffee-maker, a safe, free Wi-Fi, a desk, a closet (of course!) and even a big, deep bathtub -- a rarity in NYC hotels! I had no complaints whatsoever about the Hotel Bedford and recommend it for future Thrillerfest attendees who'd like to save a bit of money.

Jodie Renner & Beverly Purdy
But back to Craftfest and Thrillerfest, the workshops and panels were excellent (more on those in future posts), and the cocktail parties were a blast! I really enjoyed networking with writers and others in the writing biz, especially the thriller-writing industry. I met and spent great times with three of my thriller-writer clients, California psychiatrist Beverly Purdy, Ian Walkley, author of action-thriller No Remorse, and Dara Carr, a very talented new thriller writer, all of whom very successfully pitched to many agents at Agentfest. I really enjoyed hanging out with Beverly Purdy (right) at the conference! Such an awesome person! Watch for her upcoming psychological thriller!

Jodie and Doug Lyle
Also enjoyed chatting with award-winning writer DP Lyle, Craftfest Director and VP, National Events for ITW, whose blog, The Writer's Forensics Blog, I guest-post on a lot.

Jodie with Shane Gericke

And overall friendly guy, thriller writer Shane Gericke, organizer of Agentfest and general "ambassador" of Thrillerfest.

Also enjoyed talking with James Scott Bell, writer and presenter extraordinaire, whose how-to books I'm always quoting, especially Revision and Self-Editing.

Robert Dugoni

Went to two excellent workshops by excellent thriller writer and engaging writing instructor Robert Dugoni, and chatted with him for a while.

Also met and chatted with "recovering lawyer" Diane Capri, author of the riveting Don't Know Jack (The Hunt for Jack Reacher series) and other crime fiction. And networked with many more authors and friends/colleagues from Facebook, Twitter, and various blogs. Highly stimulating!

Lee Child
Kathleen Antrim's interview of Lee Child was jam-packed and centered mostly around the controversy of casting Tom Cruise to play Jack Reacher in the upcoming movie entitled Jack Reacher. Lee Child was intelligent and very down to earth, friendly and approachable - and an inspiring speaker!

Sandra Brown

At the Love is Murder Cocktail Party, I got one of my all-time favorite authors, Sandra Brown, to sign the anthology she edited, and pose for a picture with me.

I'll definitely be heading back to Thrillerfest again next year, especially since I discovered that more reasonable hotel close by!

Jodie Renner is a freelance editor specializing in thrillers, romantic suspense, mysteries, and other crime fiction. Please check out Jodie’s website and blog, as well as her group blog, Crime Fiction Collective.
Jodie’s craft of fiction articles appear regularly on various blogs, and she has published two popular craft-of-fiction e-books in the series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing a Killer Thriller and Style that Sizzles and Pacing for Power.

Both are on sale at Amazon, and you don’t need to own a Kindle to buy and read Kindle e-books – you can download them to your PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone. Style that Sizzles will be out in paperback soon.


  1. Hey Jodie - what a great recap of ThrillerFest! You captured the buzz for sure. It was a busy, educational and exciting event, with so many activities going on. But even more special was being with so many nice people. In fact, spending time with you was one of my favorite... Thanks for the tip on alternate hotels! Shane Gericke and Doug Lyle, MD did a fantastic job at keeping things running smoothly, and I thought it was very generous of you to volunteer and help them out too. Well, now its time to get back to writing and put all of these new skills to work! See you next time, Beverly Purdy

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment, Beverly! For sure, one of the best parts of Thrillerfest was meeting you in person and hanging out with you! We'll have to figure out a way to get together again soon, even though we live on opposite ends of the country. Now get back to that awesome novel of yours - gotta get it out there!