My ThrillerFest schedule today

Today at ThrillerFest I’m taking part in a couple of panels:

Saturday July 12 1-1:50PM
I’ll be talking about young adult fiction along with Janice Gable Bashman, Heather Graham, Allen Zadoff, Lissa Price, and R.L. Stine.

TURNING THE PAGE: Tricks To Get Your Readers Invested
Saturday July 12 4-4:50PM
I’m the panel master for this one. I’ll be grilling Diane Capri, Steph Cha, Mell Corcoran, Allison Leotta, Larry D. Thompson, and Walter Walker.

If you’re around, come join the festing.

Hello from New York City


Live from New York: I’m in town for ThrillerFest, which starts later this week. I’m taking part in a couple of panels:

Saturday July 12 1-1:50PM

TURNING THE PAGE: Tricks To Get Your Readers Invested
Saturday July 12 4-4:50PM

I’ll be the participating moderator for the second panel. It should be fun.

(Obligatory view from my coffeeshop window: North 11th Street and Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn.)

KAZI FM Interview now online


If you’re so inclined, you can now listen to the interview I did on the KAZI Book Review. Host Hopeton Hay talked with me, and with Gale Albright of Sisters in Crime’s Heart of Texas Chapter, and with KAZI Book Reviewer Tim Chamberlain — about Phantom Instinct, thriller writing, and whether this is a good time to be a female novelist. Also about barbecue.

PODCAST: Interview with Meg Gardiner, Author of Phantom Instinct

Where do you get your ideas?

Because my new novel is out, and I’ve been speaking to readers, journalists, radio interviewers, and friends, I’ve heard the question all week long: Where do you get your ideas?

Perplexed relatives ask the question with a tinge of alarm. I sense what’s behind their unease: She seemed like a normal child. What cracked and let all these tense, dark stories pour out?  I simply smile and shrug, and caress the blade of the steak knife in my hand.

(Note: not really.)

In truth, ideas are everywhere. They permeate the air. All I have to do is look around. Or read the news. Or wait for people to offer them to me, free.


1) Last month my daughter took a course on paleography, at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. During orientation, students were given a safety lecture. Right away, the daughter sent me a text: I know how you could kill somebody in a murder mystery.

Paleography is the study of ancient writing. As part of the course, students worked in a subterranean vault with old documents. They were told: If fire breaks out, halon gas floods the vault. They would have 30 seconds to get out before the doors were sealed. Fail, and they’d be suffocated.

As a writer, I was fascinated. As a mom, I was torn between pride at my daughter’s life turning into National Treasure and concern that her first impulse was to text me, instead of planning her escape route.

2) This: Death Metal Band to Play in Soundproof Iron Box Until They Suffocate.

3) And this: Woman charged with arson for setting small fire to kill spider.

I think I could write at least 20 decent pages by combining these three tidbits into the opening of a thriller.

Texas finds Phantom Instinct: KUT Radio, Austin Chronicle

Here are a couple of links to media-type stuff about Phantom Instinct.


KUT Radio, the Austin NPR affiliate, interviewed me about my new novel. The interview will be broadcast next week, but you can listen to it online right now, and read a summary at

Austin Author Meg Gardiner Thrills with ‘Phantom Instinct’:

“Gardiner’s protagonists are usually women.  And these women generally don’t have special training. They don’t have secret weapons. They’re just determined.  ‘I’m an ordinary person. I try to think what would happen if I were faced with the collapse of my world and chaos breaking and bad guys coming after the people I love. I think readers like to see  how ordinary people find the resources to rise to the challenge and that’s what a lot of the heroines in my novels do.'”

And as part of its “July is Crime Month” series, the Austin Chronicle reviews Phantom Instinct:

Austin resident Meg Gardiner is climbing the literary ranks of some pretty impressive company, and die-hard thriller fans aren’t the only readers likely to enjoy her latest crime fiction starring the razor-sharp wit of main character Harper Flynn. Peppered with gruesome henchmen, brutal betrayals, friendships forged in scar tissue, and, naturally, a love triangle, Phantom Instinct leaves the reader questioning her own gut and glancing sideways at strangers…

Gardiner reignites our love for suspense novels with plenty of plot twists and pacing that propels. But it’s Flynn’s tightrope walk between a hard-knock life and her healing heart (plus a notably intricate backstory) that drives through extended scenes of tension and some staccato lines of drama reminiscent of Law and Order: SVU. Fast-paced and fun, we’ll catch our breath and hope Harper Flynn makes a return.

I’m definitely starting to like this town.

Phantom Instinct: Associated Press review & The Big Thrill


Yes, I know that this week I’m talking a lot about Phantom Instinct. The novel has only been published a few days. So if I don’t talk about it, Penguin will release the dogs or the bees or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you.*

Where was I? Right. The Associated Press has given Phantom Instinct a glowing review:

Meg Gardiner’s latest thriller is her best yet.

“Phantom Instinct” is simply a fantastic story, told at breakneck speed. Gardiner is one of the best thriller writers around, and this is arguably her best work yet.

“Phantom Instinct” is full of action and surprises and a few new twists and quirks. For example, the cop, Aiden, has Fregoli syndrome as a result of his injuries. It’s a brain disorder that causes the sufferer to believe that different people are actually the same person in disguise. You can imagine how this might affect his police work. Harper herself has a complicated past, and it appears to not be a coincidence that she was working on the night of the attack. But to say more would ruin the first of many reveals…

Gardiner’s latest stand-alone is one of this summer’s best reads.

To say I’m happy would be an understatement. The entire review is online at ABC News, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Washington Times.

And The Big Thrill, the online magazine of the International Thriller Writers, interviews me about the book.

According to Gardiner, PHANTOM INSTINCT was inspired by the following idea: “What if two people know that a killer escaped from a shootout, and that he will kill again, but nobody else believes them? To catch him they must work together, but they don’t trust each other.” In the story, she said, “the more Harper Flynn and Aiden Garrison learn about the shootout, the more dangerous things get. The more they’re drawn to each other. And the more each of them fears that the other might betray them.”

Hop on over there to read the rest.

The Gardiner Library Big Book Giveaway: The Winner

Thank you to everybody who entered my big book giveaway. I was delighted by your enthusiasm and by the wide array of places you said you’ll be reading Phantom Instinct this summer. If I could, I would give books to all of you.

Alas, that’s not possible. But I have four Advance Reading Copies of Phantom Instinct, and as a consolation prize I want to offer them to these commenters: Mia, Eddie, Victor, and Donna Gilbert.

Now, the winner of the Gardiner Library Big Book Giveaway, who will receive a Penguin USA edition of all twelve of my novels: Siobhan.