Wednesday 30 July 2014


Everyone must know by now that because I write romantic suspense, I claim to go to twice as many literary parties - those for romance and those for crime writers. And that applies to conventions too. Last year I went to the ginormous RT Booklovers convention in Kansas City, so this year for my trip across the Atlantic I chose Thrillerfest. Not quite so big, but just as fascinating/informative/enjoyable.

What is Thrillerfest? It's the annual get together of an organisation called International Thriller Writers - which is, you've guessed, exactly what it says on the tin. Thriller writers from all over the world. As well as holding the convention they have an e-magazine, present awards and publish their own anthologies, with contributions from some of the biggest names in the business, which is how the organisation finances itself. The current one is called Face Off  with authors like Lee Childs and Steve Berry donating stories. I'm going to include a fact file at the end of the blog post, and you can get more details from the sites in the links there.

Who attends? Just about everyone, predominantly authors and aspiring authors and mostly from the USA, but with a strong sprinkling from the rest of the world, which this year included me. Plus fans and readers and industry professionals from all branches of the publishing world.

The hotel - on 42nd Street
Where is it held? Always in New York and always at the Grand Hyatt on 42nd Street, which is right next to Grand Central Station - good for fast food and transport links if you are hungry/want to do the whole sight-seeing thing. The hotel's public rooms are impressive and an excellent setting.

What goes on? There are a variety of strands and events - for fans, for aspiring authors who want to pitch to publishers and agents, for authors looking to hone craft skills and for everyone interested in what makes up the thriller scene today. Panels, receptions, a gala awards dinner ...

I signed up for the core conference, which was from Thursday 8th to Saturday 12th July. I was part of a panel. I went to a fabulous 'extra' day, with the New York FBI. I spoke to Ian Rankin in the elevator (and no, I'm sure he won't remember our memorable conversation. Me 'Have you just arrived?' Ian 'Yes'. Then we stopped at his floor, and that was that.) I took a trip to the roof of the hotel. I had lunch at the famous Oyster Bar in Grand Central - and no it was not oysters. I indulged in a little shopping. (Victoria's Secret and Sephora for Bumble and Bumble shampoo, if you must know.) I took pictures of stuff that only a writer would want to photograph and managed not to take pictures of things that I probably ought to have. And I met and/or listened to some amazing people. I had a great time.

Having set the scene I'm going to end there. What I write isn't called 'suspense' for nothing.

Next week - my journey through Thrillerfest. Hanging out with the FBI, meeting some big names in the Romantic Suspense world, talking about strong story lines at 8 am ...

Fact File
This year's Thrillerfest site is here
International Thrillerwriters Organisation is here
The venue - the Grand Hyatt NYC is here


  1. Oh, I loved New York and Thrillerfest sounds amazing! I bet your day with the FBI was fascinating. Lovely to read about your trip, I look forward to the next instalment.