I just don’t read thrillers, I devour them.
Thrillers are not only my favorite book genre, but the most popular in the country, so every year I look forward to Thrillerfest, a conference which author Steve Berry famously described as “summer camp for thriller writers and enthusiasts.” While that still remains true, like most other businesses, publishing has been demonstratively affected by technology, so as a writer and a reader I’m more interested than ever in attending Thrillerfest July 9-13 in New York City.
“Thrillerfest is like holding a mirror up to the publishing industry. It reflects the time in which writers and readers currently live,” said author Jon Land when we spoke on the phone last week.
Thrillerfest has always offered a wide range of speakers and panels with writers like Lee Child, Anne Rice, R.L. Stine, and Heather Graham and discussions have always covered style and craft, however this year subjects like ebooks, Twitter, and audiobooks will also be included as panel topics.
What’s unique about the conference is that not only are emerging authors given an opportunity to launch their careers, but fans get to interact with the world’s most famous writers as well. There are no VIP areas at Thrillerfest, it’s a totally relaxed, unpretentious environment. Among the many authors attending this year are Harlan Coben, Karen Dione, Peter Blauner, and Stephen Hunter, all of them walking the halls and attending functions with fans and other writers.
“There is fan-author interaction you can’t get at any other conference,” said Land.
Every year, Thrillerfest awards an author the prize of Thrillermaster, and this year it goes to John Sandford, who happens to be one of my favorite novelists.
Like Stephen King, Sandford creates a reality so convincing, it’s like being transported to the Minnesota and Wisconsin towns he writes about despite having never been there, and although the closest I’ve gotten to Minneapolis is a layover at the airport, his characters and stories make me feel like I am imbedded in the city’s culture.
Sandford is remarkably prolific, yet he does not write with a rubberstamp. His characters change and grow with every book and they have real problems that readers can relate to and this is what makes his books so compelling. Another unique aspect of Sandford’s work is that he has created two very successful series: the “Prey” books featuring Lucas Davenport and the Virgil Flowers series. Land praised Sandford for this, commenting that it’s rare for an author to have one successful series, let alone two.
Sandford has written more than forty novels, and most of them have been on the NY Times bestseller list.
“Sandford has the remarkable ability to sustain interest and energy in a formula where the structure is basically the same,” said Land. “What distinguishes a great writer from a good one is the ability to make every book in a series feel like it’s the first, and Sandford does that consistently.”
“More books are being published today than ten years ago,” said Land. “There were more than one million books published last year, and Thrillerfest — like the great authors who attend — continues to grow and evolve. It’s a dynamic entity that changes to reflect the times.”
See you there.
Rob Taub works as a broker at CORE in NYC, where he hosts a weekly podcast. He has enjoyed an eclectic career in film, television, radio, and journalism. Rob has interviewed everyone from pop stars to presidents and has written for People Magazine, FoxNews.com, SI/Cauldron, The Huffington Post, and Thrive Global. Rob is a respected Diabetes Advocate and Obesity Ambassador, writing and speaking regularly about Type 2 diabetes and health. Follow him on Twitter @robmtaub or at www.RobTaub.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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