Today, he saw four crime writers speak. Selby writes: “British crime writer Simon Kernick spoke about getting published, hanging out with criminals, and being selected by the Richard & Judy Book Club. Kernick (pictured) pointed out that ‘in the UK we have festivals for the trade or the public, here there are both. It’s amazing to see so many readers in one place.’
“When he sent out the first three chapters of his first book, Kernick said ‘every last publisher/agent’ in England rejected him. So he wrote another novel and ‘the exact same thing happened. It had one good chapter out of 500 pages.’ Taking that one chapter that he felt good about, Kernick came up with the basis of a third book. He sent one chapter and the first person asked to see the whole book. He then spent the ‘next three months sending in parts, when I sent in the last bit, I got a letter saying he was not interested. I tided it up and got a deal. The moral of the story is you have to be patient if you want to write.'”
Selby’s dispatch continued: “Another British crime writer, Robert Goddard, talked about his many historical crime novels in a discussion with Maria Neij, a Swedish crime writing critic. Goddard’s dry English humor shined when she asked him for his advice for new writers: ‘a good start is to be poor and in a job you don’t like.’ He continued: ‘writing novels is the only thing I could do. I always wanted to be a writer and live in a world I made up. My mother told me I’d never get anywhere living in a made up world. She’s still unsure but did admit she might be wrong.’
“For his research, he always travels to the locations that he writes about. He said that ‘I always go where the characters go. I travel around with a large number of people who can’t be seen.’ Goddard’s favorite book: ‘always that one I’m currently writing. I’m addicted to writing. You can probably tell the writers who are addicted because they write a lot of books.’ He had a suggestion for how to get names for characters as he obtains ‘names from grave stones and since they’re dead, they can’t complain.’
Yet another British crime writer, Simon Beckett, spoke about writing crime fiction and visiting a body farm in Tennessee. Beckett (pictured) started as a journalist which he thinks is a good way for a writer to â€œlearn how to do research and talk to people. I went to the body farm to do an article on it and I talked to the experts.’
Beckett said that he tries to ‘write the sort of thriller I enjoy reading myself.’ He also discussed ‘second album syndrome,’ and the difficulty of working on the second book in his thriller series.
Finally, American crime writer Karin Slaughter talked about her writing career. She’d first written a book about Southern history that nobody bought, but she convinced her agent to send her the rejection letters for it. The letters revealed that ‘they liked my writing and they didn’t like the story.’ So she decided to write a thriller instead as that was the kind of book she loved anyways.
Slaughter (pictured) shared her rule to get readers involved: ‘someone dies in the first twenty pages.’ She also mentioned her rule for endings, ‘I never have a book end with a woman saved by a man. She always saves herself.’
Scott Andrew Selby is the co-author of “Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History”