About the Book
There is nobody better equipped to give an aspiring author advice than another writer who has gone through the trials and tribulations of seeing their literary dreams through to completion. In Their Own Words: Twenty Successful Writers on the Craft and Business of Writing gives readers a direct line to the thoughts and experiences of some of the most successful writers on the scene today. From award-winning suspense and horror authors like Jonathan Maberry and Alexandra Sokoloff to mystery masters like J.A. Jance and Neal Griffin, In Their Own Words shares insights and firsthand knowledge from writers who simply know how to get it done.
The perpetually busy Maberry – a five-time Bram Stoker Award winner and a frequent NYT bestseller – is the author of, among many, many things, the Joe Ledger thriller series, the Rot & Ruin YA series, the Nightsiders series, the Dead of Night series and the Pine Deep trilogy, as well as comic books, short stories and scores of nonfiction books and magazine articles.
Every writer dreams of having the kind of success Ellison Cooper has had with her debut novel “Caged,” a dark but fast-paced and engrossing tale of an FBI agent’s frantic race against time to track down a serial killer who has a real issue with twins. The first of a three-book deal, Caged has received wide acclaim, including being named by Publishers Weekly as one of their “Best Summer Books of 2018.”
For award-winning author Terrence McCauley, noir’s the thing. From his fast-paced University series of techno-thrillers to the prohibition gangster tales of books like “Prohibition” and “Slow Burn” – all via some of the best short crime fiction you will ever read – noir is the backbone of everything McCauley writes.
It took a while for Judy “JA” Jance to be able to fully pursue her ambition to become a writer, but boy when she did she made the most of it. Since publishing “Until Proven Guilty” in 1985 she has become one of the most successful and prolific authors in the world. She produces four – yes, four! – different mystery series featuring a collection of very different but equally engaging characters: J.P. Beaumont, Joanna Brady, Ali Reynolds and the husband and wife team of Brandon Walker and Dianna Ladd.
These days, most writers are loathe to take a stand or say anything that might alienate any part of their audience. Not so for Alexandra Sokoloff, the author behind the brilliant Huntress /FBI series, which deals in explicit detail with the horrors of sexual abuse and human trafficking…and the bloody comeuppance for the monsters who commit such heinous acts.
Every mystery and suspense writer dreams of creating characters so compelling they form the backbone of a series of stories their fans devour as soon as they are released. Paul Levine is just such an author, the man behind the fantastic – and bestselling – Jake Lassiter legal thriller series.
Readers of the fun and funny Chet and Bernie mystery series know that author Spencer Quinn is one of the most clever and interesting writers out there. But they may not know that Quinn is the pen name for Peter Abrahams, the bestselling author of thrillers like The Fan, The Tutor, Oblivion and the Edgar Award-winning Reality Check for young adults. Peter is the man Stephen King has called “my favorite American suspense novelist”.
To millions of kids and teens, R.L. Stine is synonymous with a good – but still totally fun – scare. The author of beloved franchises like Goosebumps, Fear Street and others, Stine is has been called “the Stephen King of children’s literature.” But Stine is anything but scary in person.
If there is one thing longtime New York City journalist and suspense master R.G. “Dick” Belsky knows, it’s how to produce a real page turner. Many of those have starred intrepid reporter Gil Malloy, a hard driving newspaper guy with a penchant for breaking the biggest stories…and a lot of the rules along the way.
Newcomer Kellye Garrett had the kind of debut most authors can only dream of. Her first novel in the Detective by Day series, “Hollywood Homicide,” not only garnered gobs of great reviews but also won a handful of prestigious awards and earned nominations for several more.
Lisa de Nikolits
Since breaking onto the scene with her first novel (The Hungry Mirror) in 2010, suspense author Lisa de Nikolits has turned out one compelling page turner after another, most dealing with the darker aspects of human behavior. Originally from South Africa, de Nikolits lived and worked in Australia, the UK and the United States before becoming a Canadian citizen in 2003, gaining experiences and sensibilities that have greatly influenced her work ever since.
Author Tracy Clark is testament not only to great writing but also the power of determination and persistence. After years of fits and starts, her novel “Broken Places” – the first in the new Chicago Mystery series – debuted this year to rave reviews.
Author James L’Etoile spent a big chunk of his adult life in prison. Thankfully, he did so on the correct side of the bars as a probation officer, corrections counselor, hostage negotiator and associate warden. Now retired, L’Etoile uses that wealth of experience as a basis for his excellent John Penley mystery series, once of the best out there.
To many, Jess Walter is the quintessential American author. Be it crime novels, satire, short stories, non-fiction or even a big sweeping quasi romance like his 2012 NYT #1 bestseller Beautiful Ruins, few can tell stories as darkly funny, observant and with characters as real and as enjoyably human as can Walter.
Libby Fischer Hellman
For someone who never intended to become a writer, Chicago-based Libby Fischer Hellmann has done a pretty good job of it. After years in TV news and then public relations, Hellman penned her first novel in 2002, “An Eye for Murder,” the first in the Ellie Foreman series. The book was nominated for several awards, and it set Hellmann off on a whole new path. Fourteen more books followed, as have many more awards and nominations. In recent years she has also significantly grown her profile in the crime fiction world, hosting writing-centric radio and television shows and serving a term as president of Sisters in Crime, a national organization dedicated to supporting the growing number of women who write crime fiction, mysteries and thrillers.
With the success of “The Pocket Wife” and the recently released “The Other Widow,” Atlanta-based psychological suspense writer Susan Crawford showed she really knows her way around writing a riveting suspense novel with strong female characters.
If any writer has paid his dues, it is Richie Narvaez. From men’s magazines to kid’s books, from his award-winning short story collection “Roachkiller” to the buzz of his new novel, “Hipster Death Rattle,” from aspiring student to respected writing teacher, the Brooklyn-born Narvaez has covered a lot of ground in his career.
The morning of August 4, 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts started out like most any other warm summer New England day. But before noon, the prosperous mill town would be rocked by two horrifyingly brutal murders that continue to fascinate and mystify the American public and the world to this day. More than a century later author Erika Mailman has tapped into the infamous and terrifying legacy of the person accused but ultimately exonerated of those crimes, Lizzie Borden, as a backdrop to her new novel, “The Murderer’s Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel.”
There is not much ground that prolific author, editor and teacher Neil Plakcy hasn’t covered in his career. Mysteries with humans, mysteries with dogs, romance, short stories, comedy and even erotica – he’s written them all.
When we last touched base with crime thriller author Neal Griffin just about a year ago, he still readily described himself as a police officer who wrote crime novels on the side. Well, a lot has changed since then. After more than 25 years on the job, Griffin retired from police work this year and has devoted himself full time to his keyboard. And with good reason – he recently signed a three-book deal with Forge books that will both continue the characters from his very successful “Newberg” mystery series as well as something brand new.
Buy In Their Own Words today.
Learn directly from the masters of horror and suspense about what it takes to write and publish in today’s authoring world.