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Spotlight: Thrillfest 2009 coming to New York!

Hey guys and girls, here’s something to look forward to for those of you who call the Big Apple home! 🙂 Author Shane Briant (reviewed his novel, Worst Nightmares, here and interviewed him here) will also be attending! Here are the details:

The city’s dark alleys will get even darker when the most spine-tingling and pulse-pounding event of the year for fiction’s most popular genre returns to the Big Apple. ThrillerFest 2009 promises to be the biggest yet with over 200 of the best-loved and bestselling authors invading The Grand Hyatt in New York from July 8-11 for a four-day extravaganza to mix and mingle with fellow shock-smiths, budding writers and fans.

Now in its fourth year, ThrillerFest is the brainchild of International Thriller Writers, Inc. (ITW). According to Jon Land, Vice President of Marketing for ITW, ThrillerFest is unique for its spirit of camaraderie and openness. “Where else can fans and aspiring writers mix and mingle with some of the biggest names in the business?” he says. “Not only can writers further hone and develop their craft, but they can also learn the ins and outs of the entire publishing business.” Land adds how meeting his own idol, David Morrell, at the first ThrillerFest in Phoenix, inspired him to no end, calling it “a dream come true.” Land stresses the friendly, informal atmosphere makes ThrillerFest a special experience for readers and fans.

One of the highlights of the event is the coveted ThrillerMaster Award, recognizing outstanding contribution to the thriller genre. This year’s winner is noted author David Morrell, widely considered the “father” of the contemporary action novel with his 1974 debut First Blood (which introduced the character of Rambo to the world). The award celebrates Morrell’s amazing career, spanning 37 years and 28 novels published in dozens of languages across the globe. “He’s the finest thriller writer working today,” says Steve Berry, one of ITW’s current co-presidents. “Every one of us owes him a debt of gratitude and many, myself included, learned how to craft a novel from studying his work. He is, quite simply, the best.”

The prestigious Silver Bullet Award, recognizing outstanding achievement in the encouragement of literacy and the love of reading, will be presented to the #1 New York Times bestselling suspense novelist Brad Meltzer (The Book of Fate). Recipients are chosen on an annual basis representing the corporate, literary and entertainment worlds with past winners including authors David Baldacci and R.L. Stine, publisher Tom Doherty, actor Tony Plana (Ugly Betty), the Nestle Company, Capital One and Macy’s.

Additional bestselling spotlight guests that will attend are last year’s ThrillerMaster award recipient Sandra Brown as well as Robin Cook, Katherine Neville, and David Baldacci.

The four-day event includes numerous author signings, a complete bookstore on premises, a cocktail party and reception for readers, a roasting of Clive Cussler, and a breakfast featuring first-time authors. The highlight is the annual ThrillerFest Awards Banquet, which this year will take place at Cipriani, one of New York City’s most spectacular event venues.

Some of the biggest names in the genre will be holding court with interactive panel sessions, including Kathleen Antrim, Steve Berry, Peter Rubie, William Bernhardt, James Rollins, Barry Eisler, Andrew Gross, David Hewson, Jon Land, Eric Van Lustbader, Gayle Lynds, Steve Martini, Donald Maass, Joan Johnston and many more.

ThrillerFest runs in conjunction with AgentFest, in which aspiring writers pitch their work to more than forty top literary agents, and CraftFest, offering workshops with best-selling authors. Some CraftFest workshops presented this year are “Living on the Ritz – How to Hit the Times List in Five Years or Less” with Lisa Gardner; “Creating a Series Character” with Lee Child; and “How – and Why – to Write Thrillers for Young Readers” with R.L. Stine.

Registration for ThrillerFest is open to everyone (ITW members and non-members alike). There are three separately-priced packages: CraftFest/AgentFest on Wednesday July 8; the ThrillerFest Conference from July 9 – July 11; and the Thriller Awards Banquet at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. A complete events package is also available as well as day passes. Details and a date/rate schedule can be found at www.thrillerfest.com.

    About ThrillerFest

ThrillerFest was established to bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through the Active Members of ITW; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.

The nominations for 2009 are as follows:

      Best Thriller of the Year

    Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
    The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver
    The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver
    The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross
    The Last Patriot by Brad Thor

      Best First Novel

    Calumet City by Charlie Newton
    Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
    Criminal Paradise by Steven Thomas
    Sacrifice by S. J. Bolton
    The Killer’s Wife by Bill Floyd

      Best Short Story

    Between the Dark and the Daylight by Tom Piccirilli (Ellery Queen Magazine)
    Last Island South by John C. Boland (Ellery Queen Magazine)
    The Edge of Seventeen by Alexandra Sokoloff (The Darker Mask)
    The Point Guard by Jason Pinter (Killer Year Anthology)
    Time of the Green by Ken Bruen (Killer Year Anthology)

    Thrillfest 2009 will be taking place at the Grand Hyatt, July 8-11, so if you’re in New York at that time, go check it out and take a bag-full of books with to get them signed! 🙂

    Be EPIC!

     
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Posted by on June 18, 2009 in Spotlight

 

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An Interview with Shane Briant

You all know how much I enjoyed Shane’s excellent thriller, Worst Nightmares! 🙂 So, thanks to Shane and Imran (the reason I got the book in the first place) I now have an interview with Shane for you! 🙂 Enjoy!

ShaneBriant

First of all, would you please tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to choosing writing and story-telling as a career?

I’d been a film actor since leaving Law School in Dublin in 1971. I’d taken part in a play, which was the hit of the Dublin Theatre Festival and transferred to the West End. I was nominated for the London Theatre Critic’s Best Newcomer Award. After that I started in on movies and never looked back. My father was novelist and biographer Keith Briant, so writing was probably always in my genes. In 1994 I started in on my first novel while touring Europe with a television series. I never looked back.

Worst Nightmares – how did the idea come to you?

It occurred to me one day how we’ve become accustomed to dealing with the Internet in such a cavalier fashion. There are clearly people ‘out there’ hoping to harm us in some way; either to steal our identity, bank balances, our love and affection — our lives! Yet we deal with them without caution, revealing aspects of ourselves we wouldn’t do face to face. We reveal intimate secrets with our doctor but not at the dinner table – so why do we do so on the Internet. Hence the idea of an Internet psychiatrist – someone who wants only to track you down and kill you?

In Dermot Nolan, you’ve created a character that’s successful and well-loved, and you’ve also given readers an insiders view into certain aspects of the publishing industry – were Dermot and the story’s setting there from the beginning, or were there some changes that had to be made?

They were there from the beginning. In some aspects there’s a lot of autobiographical material there. But what I found interesting was to think “how far would I go personally to create a huge career for myself if I had writer’s block? What would the average man or woman do to achieve success?”

The thriller genre continues to evolve – what, in your opinion, makes thrillers so addictive and violence so commercial? Is the world a bit nuts? 🙂

I find thrillers addictive because they are purely escapist and take me places I’ve never been and show me people I never met before. This is in sharp contrast to reality, where I have to watch or read about what actually happened – man’s inhumanity to man; something I find deeply disturbing on a daily basis.

How did you go about balancing the tension within the unfolding tale while also keeping the characters engaging?

This seems to come naturally once I have established who the characters are and what makes them tick. If you read a book and bond with a character initially, you are more likely to understand and forgive his/her moral transgressions when they occur. That way you are on their side regardless of their transgressions (within limits, of course!)

Did you do any research before or during the writing of the novel, and did the research end up changing any aspects, such as events or characters?

Research is everything! I hate it when people tell me things that aren’t true, such as a supermarket in Paris being open at ten in the morning when I know it opens at midday. Silly things, but they make you lose belief. So all the most interesting aspects, such as gun calibres, how long before flies inhabit a dead body, etc are important. Vital!

In Worst Nightmares, one of the themes you deal with is the theft of intellectual property – did you want to explore that theme from the beginning or did it grow out of telling the tale?

This was merely the device that led to the discussion of what people will do for money and success. It could have been anything. Stealing is stealing; a lover, money, intellectual property – you name it.

In this age of You Tube and blogs, how important is non-publisher marketing, and do you see the publishing industry having to evolve to incorporate these mediums in their efforts to reach a wider audience?

Yes, absolutely. I believe the Internet is paramount. One strong video on YouTube that’s passed from one person to another can receive a million hits in a week. How many people look at an advertisement in a national newspaper and buy a book based on it? Very few. Cyber space is a huge marketing tool now. And it provides me as an author with a direct line to my readers – which I love.

How is work progressing on the sequel to Worst Nightmares, and can you whet out appetites with some info about the book? Same characters, etc? 🙂

The sequel is already written and in the editing process. I found it HUGELY enjoyable to write and went that extra mile into the darkness. It was great fun (because it is fiction!) I could be really inventive and very cruel yet maintain some humour within the writing.) It was a blast. It takes over directly from the last page of Worst Nightmares and takes us on another horror ride of mayhem from Los Angeles to Paris and back.

Finally, any advice for budding writers out there? Any important points to keep in mind while writing or building a tale?

Try to have an original concept. By that I don’t mean the basis (mine was the theft of intellectual property – something that’s been done a thousand times.) It’s the ride you take the reader on that’s important. Keep up the pace. MAKE the reader turn that page, and then REALLY surprise him.

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions! 🙂 We all wish you nothing but continued success and many more nail-biting thrillers on our shelves!

Many thanks for showing such interest in my book. I’m really pleased you liked it!

worst-nightmares

Many thanks to Shane for answering these questions and to Imran for getting the ball rolling and my foot in the door. 🙂 I’m sure we’ll be hearing much, much more from Shane Briant in the future and I can assure you, I’m looking forward to the sequel to Worst Nightmares with great anticipation! 🙂 It’ll definitely be one of my must-reads as soon as its available!

For more info on Shane, check out these details on IMDb, and don’t forget to check out the Worst Nightmares website! There’s also a chance to win a signed, personalized copy of Worst Nightmares! 🙂

And for those who want to order the book (it’s an excellent book! Read my review here), here are the links:
UK & US. No info yet on availability in South Africa, but since the book is available, get onto your closest Exclusive Books branch and get them to order it for you! 🙂

This novel is published by Vanguard Press.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2009 in Interviews

 

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Review: Worst Nightmares by Shane Briant

I’m putting the review in a non-SFF category because it isn’t SFF at all – just a bloody good thriller! 🙂

Let’s get the intro out of the way so I can get to telling you why you should buy this book as soon as you see it and read it as soon as possible! 🙂

Worst Nightmares follows Dermot Nolan, a Booker-prize winning author and darling of the literary scene, who needs to come up with another wonderful novel before, his agent drops him, his publisher demands the advance that they paid him back, and he loses all credibility in literary circles. Throw into the mix a wife (and editor) who is ready to have kids and a best friend who is doing better, financially and in almost every other aspect, than his best-selling friend, and you’ve already got a brew of plotlines that would suit any novel. But when a crazy homeless guy shoves an envelope into Dermot’s mailbox and he discovers a macabre diary in it, that’s when things start getting really interesting – because Dermot takes the diary, detailing horrific murders by someone called the Dream Healer, and begins thinking that he could just adapt the diary and publish it as his own book….

You see, the Dream Healer finds out what your worst nightmare is, tracks you down, and visits that worst nightmare upon you – but surely it can’t actually have happened? Surely all the murders in the diary are made up! After all, what does a crazy homeless guy know about writing a book? Dermot begins investigating some of the ‘murders’ and as he discovers that the diary is not just a diary, he realizes he may just have written himself into his own worst nightmare.

It took me a few chapters to warm up to this book, I’ll admit that. Why? Well, I just couldn’t shake the ‘Saw” vibe (and I am a big fan of the Saw story, as well as the traps, of course), and as I read, I guess I was hoping so much that the book wouldn’t be just another ‘Saw’ that I didn’t enjoy the first 2 ore so chapters as much as I could have. But trust me on this one: there comes a point, early in the book, that an event takes place that really makes you sit up and take notice! By then you’ll be hooked, just as I was, and this speaks to one of Shane’s greatest strengths as a storyteller – the ability to lull you into thinking exactly what he wants you to think before snapping a surprise out at you! Shane’s talent at creating thrills and ramping up the levels of those thrills is something to behold – you may just find yourself staying up wayyy past your bedtime! 🙂

Shane also creates believable characters, people in their own right who we can sympathize with, cheer on, swear at – he could have just created flat 2-dimensional characters because, lets face it, the concept of the book is interesting enough that it probably could have worked. But Shane doesn’t write that way – his characters live and breathe, react to situations as we probably would, and above all, make it easy for us to empathize with them. You really do experience the events through them, not just watch, suspended in the air, listening to what they say and watching what they do. So don’t even worry about the characters not being real enough! 🙂

One thing I also have to add – I guessed (I took a wild guess, mind you, not basing it on anything) the identity of the Dream Healer. I worried at that stage whether or not I even wanted to finish the book, whether it was even interesting anymore – but I’m so glad I did finish reading it! 🙂 Trust me, when you reach the final quarter of the book, when all hell starts breaking loose and you can’t put the book down, Shane’s got one more surprise coming that’ll knock your socks off!

…and maybe, just maybe, you’ll have a nightmare. Just don’t tell anyone about it. Okay?

Worst Nightmares

8/10

To read another review with some more info about Shane, check out this link! 🙂

And to order your copy, go here! 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2009 in Non-SFF Reviews

 

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It Came from the Mailbox…

Hehehe couldn’t help it, had to use that title! 🙂

Here are the newest books on my shelf, and I’ll be having reviews for them up soon. 🙂

new-books

I got Terminator: Salvation (by Alan Dean Foster) today thanks to Tom Green from Titan Books and have started reading it (couldn’t help myself, really);

Worst Nightmares (by Shane Briant) is pretty damn good so far – definitely not your average thriller!

And All of Yesterday’s Tomorrows (by Corey Cotta) looks pretty cool, too!

Expect the review of Worst Nightmares first (around 200 pages in), but I will definitely have the Salvation review done in time for the movie. 🙂

Be Fantastic!

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2009 in Announcements

 

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