Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Art of the Thriller

Thriller novelist Jamie Freveletti visited the Cagan Crossings Library in Clermont. Her first book "Running from the Devil" was nominated as the best first novel by the International Thriller Writers Association. When I entered the small room, she was talking about research she had done for her second book "Running Dark". This novel is about a cruise ship which is invaded by Somali pirates. To research the book she wanted to talk to cruise directors but they wanted nothing to do with a book about piracy. They said it would be bad for business and she shouldn't write the book. She finally got to talk to a cruise ship captain who was helpful. When she shopped the book around to publishers no one was interested until pirates made the news off the coast of Africa. Suddenly everyone was interested and she landed her deal with Harper Collins.
Jamie and her husband are both long distance runners. When she said she was planning to go to Somalia for research, he said "You can't leave me alone with the kids for that long, I am coming with you." She pointed out that she has always been a woman in a mans world. Her first career as a lawyer toughened her to this reality and now she is one of very few women thriller writers. She is shocked by the stellar success that her books have seen. She got a six figure advance for her most recent book. When asked if she uses an outline to plan her book, she said that she would like the reader to feel the same excitement as she does as she discovers what is going to happen next. Although she has some idea what her protagonist will do, she has no idea how the book will end. She almost excitedly started to tell us what might happen next in the book she is now writing but she held herself in check. Her enthusiasm was contagious.
She offered some advice to aspiring young writers about which publishers to approach when starting out. In all there were maybe 15 people in the small room listening to this talented writer but she was as engaging and excited as if she was addressing a crowd. She is humbles and excited by the success she has worked so hard for. After the talk she signed a few books. I was surprised to find her relaxing in a chair with now one standing around her asking questions. I asked her to sign my sketch.

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