Priceless ThrillerFest Moments:
“My best moment came just before the first ThrillerFest in Phoenix – I arrived from Europe a day early because of airline issues and decided to spend the time in the Arizona Biltmore’s famous spa … so there I was, lounging around in nothing but a (very small) towel … and in walks Libby Hellman, also wearing nothing but a (very small) towel … we became friends fast and now when we meet we always say, sorry, didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.” ~ Lee Child
“For me, one of the greatest thrills of last year’s ThrillerFest was interviewing Clive Cussler. He’s been a literary hero of mine going back to Junior High when I first read Raise the Titanic. He was charming, witty, and gracious. It was both an honor and a thrill to share the stage with this literary giant.” ~ James Rollins
“I was at a ThrillerFest reception and suddenly realized how many authors I admired were in every direction around me. The experience reminded me of what MGM used to say about having more stars than there were in the sky.” ~ David Morrell
A Toast to ThrillerFest by M.J. Rose
I was sitting at the signing table on Sunday of ThrillerFest when a gentleman approached with a copy of my latest novel, The Venus Fix and a copy of the ITW anthology Thriller, and asked me to sign both. Of course, I said. I asked him his name and proceeded to inscribe both books. I’m slightly in awe when someone asks me to do this – of all the things that make me “feel like a writer” it’s this moment and I love the chance to stop and talk to readers: find out what they like, what they’re tired of, what else they read, anything — I’d be happy to talk to readers all day.
I handed him back both books and he proceeded to hand me a bottle of wine. A gift he said, for me, and explained that authors give him so much pleasure that he likes to give them something back as a thank you.
The “thank you” I told him is buying the book – but wine too? It was his pleasure he assured me.
I was tired, it was the last day of the conference, it had been a lot of fun and work for those of us who were involved in the event and when this man gave me this gift out of the blue, I was not only blown away, I was speechless.
The cost of ThrillerFest – $300 plus
The cost of the two books – $32.00
The cost of the bottle of wine – $15
The moment: Priceless
Friendships sometimes vanish. Too little time and too much distance are often the culprits, and one mourns for what might have been. How are they now? Who are they now?
We knew the first ThrillerFest was going to be special. After all, no one had ever created an international gathering to celebrate the field. But there were other remarkable bonuses in store….
As I was walking past the Biltmore bar (why do so many interesting moments erupt in or near bars?) when I heard a woman call my name. I spun, and there was Jean Jenkins’s beautiful face. She’s a wonderful writer from San Diego. I’m from Santa Barbara, and here we’d met in Phoenix – at ThrillerFest. I hadn’t known she’d changed directions and was writing in the field. We sat together and caught up on that and five years of life. So beware … it’s not only new friendships one finds at ThrillerFest, but old cherished ones. ~ Gayle Lynds
At the first Thrillerfest, in Phoenix, I got to do a wonderful panel with John Lescroat and MJ Rose, moderated by Steve Berry, called “Sex in Thrillers: With Booze.” To get the audience in the mood, so to speak, we made Screaming Orgasms in pitchers and poured as people entered (damn, you really can’t discuss this stuff without becoming self conscious about word choice, can you? Or at least I can’t) the room. As one woman walked in, I approached with my standard line — “Can I offer you a Screaming Orgasm?” — to which she, with a satisfied smile, replied, “No thanks, I just had one.” I imagine that for her, the panel was anticlimactic… ~ Barry Eisler
“Last year, they gave me a trophy resembling the Stanley Cup. This year, I get to give it to someone else. I love continuity like that. Plus, any chance I get to help someone new, I’m there. I still remember when I was starting and I was searching for that advice. My favorite fan encounter at a conference was the person who told me that they named a character in their own novel after my wife. Was the nicest thing around. And he said it in front of my wife, so I got extra points.” ~ Brad Meltzer
Nearly twenty years ago, when I was hawking my first manuscript to agents, I was addicted to Steve Martini novels. Whenever I read his prose, I’d have to run to the keyboard to write. I heard that he was signing at my local Barnes & Noble, so I bought his new hardcover and asked him for some advice. Seventeen years later, after three published novels, I was at the ThrillerFest opening cocktail party when there was a tap on my shoulder. I turned and saw my publisher, who said, “Alan, I want to introduce you to Steve Martini.” It was an honor meeting him—as a peer, this time. Months later, I asked him if he would read my new manuscript, Crush. Three weeks later, he told me he didn’t just like it—he loved it—and he offered a terrific blurb. The following year, I was back at ThrillFest and waiting for the elevator when I again felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and Steve was standing there holding a copy of the Crush hardcover. “Alan,” he said, “would you sign this for me?” I’d come full circle—and I realized the power of ThrillerFest. Compared to the day when authors were rarely accessible to their fans, ThrillerFest stands in stark contrast. We mingle with our readers and even have drinks with them. When I think about how much publishing has changed during my two decades in the business, the author-fan access that ThrillerFest affords is one thing that often gets overlooked. ~ Alan Jacobson
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