Your Next Best Book

One of the great delights about book signings is talking to fellow readers. Sounds simple enough, but with the right crowd and in the right atmosphere, it can take unexpected turns. So it was that I found myself one early April evening in rural Alabama, half an hour from home in the oasis of a public library. This was a return engagement, having spoken there two years before. Now with the...
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Out of the Closet

In her 1965 award winning performance of The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews crooned to the Von Trapp children, “Let’s start at the very beginning.” Indeed, that’s a very good place to start if you’re singing a Rodgers and Hammerstein song. Or writing a novel. But what if you’re a first-time narrator, steering through the auditory straits of a sound booth? For me, Chapter 13 seemed a very good...
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An Author’s Voice

What does it mean when teachers of writing talk about an author’s voice? Is it style? Word choice? Pacing or prose? And is that something that an author can easily define, or is it best defined by more objective readers? In the summer of 2005, with a stack of pages that comprised the first draft of Control Group, I flew across the country to the Santa Barbara Writer’s conference to find out. One...
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Pick Your Poison

I love drugs. They’re the currency with which I practice my profession. Not a day in the office goes by without completing at least one transaction that involves them. I’ve learned to field questions about the over-the-counter varieties (Which cough medicine do you recommend?). I’ve learned to negotiate the economic value others place them (If I get this one off the $4 list, will it work as...
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A Rose by Any Other Name

A friend of mine won a contest in which the grand prize was to be killed by Lee Child. For fellow fans of the Jack Reacher series, this was just about as good as it gets. I met Andrew Peterson at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference in June 2008, months before Dorchester Publishing published his debut novel, First to Kill. Apparently Lee Child held a character-naming auction in which he chose...
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