March 23rd, 2009

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One of my publishers had all of their novelists read Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction. Then we had two conference calls to discuss it.

One writing exercise from the book that I liked was this one. I think it would be fun to try with a group:
"Look through a page of newspaper want ads. Imagine the person who placed the ad to sell the ticket, car, unused wedding dress, etc. Conjure up that character and the story line that led him or her to do this. A second group should brainstorm the character who wants to buy the object, along with that person’s motive. Individually, write the scene of a meeting between the two characters.



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Be Afraid! Or better yet, Buy Afraid

I have long been a long-distance admirer of JA Konrath, AKA Jack Kilbron. Now he’s got a new book out called Afraid and I want to help promote it.

About the book
Welcome to Safe Haven, Wisconsin. Miles from everything, with one road in and out, this peaceful town has never needed a full-time police force. Until now . . .

A helicopter has crashed near Safe Haven and unleashed something horrifying. Now this merciless force is about to do what it does best. Isolate. Terrorize. Annihilate. As residents begin dying in a storm of gory violence, Safe Haven's only chance for survival will rest with an aging county sheriff, a firefighter, and a single mom. And each will have this harrowing thought: Maybe death hasn't come to their town by accident . . .

About the author
My name is Jack Kilborn. I'm currently on a blog tour promoting the scariest book of all time. It's called Afraid, and comes out March 31. I encourage everyone to run out and buy 17 copies.

I asked, Jack answered
A. Red Bull? Monster? Meth? How do you do all that you do?
J. I used to be big into energy drinks. Then--true story--I lost feeling in my hands and feet. Some Internet research revelaed that you can overdose on vitamin B6, which causes those symptoms. Since then, I've switched to coffee. I live in some nice suburbs, and meth is too hard to find. Why, you know a guy?

A. I know it was a long road for you to get published. Could you tell me a quickie version of that story and give hope to those who have been trying for a while?
J. It took 12 years, a million written words, and 500 rejections. I've got nine unpublished novels (you can read a few of them for free on my website, www.JackKilborn.com.)

In a nutshell, there's a word for a writer who never gives up... published. You have to persevere.

A. What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you?
J. I've been fortunate to have lived for 38 years without any major tragedies or fears. But if you're a writer, the worst thing that can happen to you is losing your writing. I had a hard drive crash, and spent a very frightened week trying to retrieve a hundred pages from a novel I'd been working on and (stupidly) hadn't backed up.

I did retrieve the novel, thankfully. Now I back things up every seven seconds.

A. Mystery writers often give their characters an unreasoning fear - and then make them face it. Do you have any phobias, like fear of spiders or enclosed spaces?
J. While I don't think I'm fearless, I have no phobias. If given the opportunity to try something scary, even if it's unsafe, I usually try it. But I'm not an adrenaline junkie. Not at all. Coffee is all I need to get my heart racing.

A. Do you have a favorite mystery book, author, or movie?
J. I'm a fan of so many books and authors that I don't even know where to begin.

For movies, my favorite has to be James Cameron. He has complete mastery of the form. I also dig John Carpenter, Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, and Takeshi Miike.

A. Is there a mystery in life that you are still trying to figure out?
J. Naw, I figured everything out already. Now I just need to figure out how to makes things work in my favor...



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