The Things You Learn Doing Research

Guest Blogger: DP Lyle Writers are constantly doing research to make the story at hand more realistic, or at least more believable. That “willing suspension of disbelief” thing. One false move can yank the reader right out of the story and that’s never good. The reader loses confidence in the …

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5 Best Books of 2013


There were a ton of books I wanted to read this year, but I couldn’t get to them all. Here’s my five favorites of those I enjoyed (in no particular order). 1. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson — “Lennie plays second clarinet in the school orchestra and has always …

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What to Do When You’re Stuck (Or How Scorpion Deception Almost Didn’t Get Created)


Guest Blogger: Andrew Kaplan You know you’re in trouble when you’ve got a contract to write the next book in a popular series (OK, not top of the NY TIMES bestseller list popular, but Bookscan and Amazon top 20 popular), a looming deadline, and you don’t have an idea in …

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An Obsession with the Past


Guest Blogger: David Morrell Novelists sometimes find themselves stuck with what John Barth calls “fill in the blank” writing. A character walks into an office, which needs to be described. If it’s an attorney’s office, there’ll probably be law books and photographs of the attorney’s family or maybe of powerful …

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When did you first make Miss Dickinson’s Acquaintance?


Guest Blogger: Michaela MacColl I have to admit that poetry has never been my thing. I’m a prose girl. I like plot and character development. All too often when I read poetry I feel as though the writer is scoring points off me – I’m just not as clever as …

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The Secret Lives of Characters


Guest Blogger: Hilary Davidson While I while writing my first novel, I discovered that characters and their histories take up as much real estate in my brain as close family and friends. More, really, because I didn’t have to think about the long-simmering antagonism between two friends unless I’m inviting …

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Trust A Cop? Not The Amish!


Guest Blogger: Karen Harper Unless you know Amish thinking as well as I do, after studying and visiting them for twenty years and writing nine suspense novels set among them (or, OK, unless you remember the classic movie WITNESS,) you probably don’t realize the Amish usually “have no truck” with …

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How Characters Change With Real Life


Guest Blogger: Eric Van Lustbader When I created the character of Jack McClure for FIRST DAUGHTER, I made him very much like me. He was a dyslexic. My dyslexia is far less severe than Jack’s is, but nonetheless it created both challenges and advantages for me. I kept exchanging letters …

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Guest Blogger: Tess Gerritsen When I was ten years old, I got a fingerprint kit for my birthday. I’d been obsessed with Nancy Drew mystery novels, and I was convinced that I, too, could be a spunky girl detective and track down all the dangerous criminals lurking in my suburban …

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Sex and Secrets: THE OTHER WOMAN


Guest Blogger: Hank Phillippi Ryan Who would be “the other woman?” The dentist’s office was a strange place to consider that. I was in having a root canal—sigh—and reading an old PEOPLE magazine in the waiting room. (That’s what you do, right, when your face is puffy and the dentist …

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