I don't get much sleep after the party, but am still on a performance high so I fly through the all-too-short last morning on a cloud.
I get to talk to everyone, now - it is just thrilling how much people enjoyed the show and how much fun they had. I am asked to sign T-shirts and programs and even THRILLER, which makes me feel a little odd, as I did nothing to contribute to the book. ("Oh, you'll be in it next year", people assure me. These people clearly have no idea that I've never written a short story in my life. The concept of "short" has always escaped me.). One lovely man with a wheeled cart full of books even thrusts a bottle of wine at me -"For your performance!" he beams. I like this concept. No applause, please, just throw alcohol.
I barely make it to the panel I want to see, "Walking on the Dark Side", with J.D Rhoades, Blake Crouch, Bette Golden Lamb, J.J. Lamb, David Terrenoire, Louise Ure. Reverend Rhoades runs the show as a revival meeting, which is funny, sinister, and weirdly befitting of the topic. Undoubtedly I have gone both farther and not as far in my own exploration of the dark as these panelists. It's interesting to me what I find myself flinching away from in the discussion. We all have our lines. Generally, though, I am so much at home it's, well, scary. And - I find out Rhoades and Terrenoire are practically my neighbors, now. Even scarier.
I dart into the dealers room to load up on books from our lovely conference booksellers, Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy, John Neri of The Well Red Coyote, and Mike of Legends Fine and Rare Books, all lovely people and passionately supportive of authors. I then run around frantically looking for band members to sign the books. In the process am reminded of what giants I've just been playing with.
The John Lescroart brunch is the perfect close to a perfect convention. I am now so used to thinking of John as a rock god that it takes a moment for it to sink in who he ALSO really is. Interviewed by the great (and sleepy!) Gayle Lynds, John gives some writing advice I will pass on as close to verbatim to everyone who asks me from now on:
1. Write one page a day and at the end of the year you will have a novel. It doesn't have to be a good page, it just has to be a full page. If you can't write a page a day, then do something else and be happy, because there are plenty of other people who can write a page a day and will.
2. Finish. Just FINISH. Get to the end. Everything from there is gravy.
At brunch I felicitously sit next to Karen Dionne, founder of Backspace, a private message board for authors and aspiring authors, the literary equivalent of our WriterAction.com for pro screenwriters. (Backspace is a phenomenal resource I never knew about until I met Karen here and I'll post about it in depth tomorrow.)
And now our time really is running out. I would be heartbroken to leave everyone - I am not good at goodbyes - if I had not already realized one truly tremendous thing. You don't have to say goodbye. You get to take everyone home with you - you have their books. Even as I write this, I have all my new friends lined up on my shelf, and I'm so looking forward to getting to know them better.
As I am saying my final goodbyes I notice a tall, now familiar figure in my peripheral vision. Wait - could it be... yes!!!! It's Lee Child waiting to talk to me.
I'm here to tell you - go ahead and dream. Dream big. Because at Thrillerfest, ANYTHING is possible.
For more information on the Interational Thriller Writers, click here: ITW.