Tag Archives: Creative Writing

Coming up: BAD Sydney, Book People with Jeff Abbott

I have a couple of virtual events coming up:

BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival
INTO THE MIND OF A PSYCHOPATHIC KILLER
Meg Gardiner in conversation with LA Larkin
FRIDAY JULY 17 5PM Pacific / 7PM Central / 8PM Eastern / SATURDAY JULY 18 10 AM Sydney, Australia
The event is free, but click the link to register for the video via Zoom.

Book People virtual event — Jeff Abbott, Never Ask Me
Jeff Abbott discusses Never Ask Me in conversation with Meg Gardiner
Monday, July 27 at 7PM CDT

I hope you’ll join me!

DARK CORNERS: Q&A with Go Into the Story

This is the week, folks. The Dark Corners of the Night is published February 18. That’s twelve hours from the time I’m writing this.

I’m hitting the road for the book tour to launch the novel. I hope I’ll see some of you along the way… in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Virginia Beach, Austin, or Houston…

In the meantime, have a look at this Q&A I did with Scott Myers for Go Into the Story. It’s the official blog of the Black List, the hugely influential screenwriting organization that “connects writers, filmmakers, and cinephiles around the world.”

Let me lead with this because given your background in writing award-winning crime thrillers, I can think of no better person to ask than you. Books, both fiction and nonfiction, TV, movies, documentaries, podcasts, our culture seems to be absolutely steeped in crime stories. What do you think drives this seemingly insatiable thirst for these type of stories?

We thrill at stories of light versus darkness. We like a vicarious trip to the dark side. And we appreciate tales where right prevails and order is restored.

We like stories of transgression. Especially stories where the transgression is big and obvious — and breaking the law isn’t subtle. Crime stories are vivid, high-stakes, often told in a way that’s powerfully emotional. They also embrace the idea that morality exists. They assert that justice is worth pursuing. That wrongs should be righted, or at least reckoned with. People hunger for that.

There’s plenty more at the link — about writing, winning Jeopardy! three times, my escape from the practice of law, and The Dark Corners of the Night.

And don’t forget: Buy the book!

The Poisoned Pen | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Apple

November 10: Texas Writes in ATX

This weekend I’ll be speaking at Texas Writes in ATX. It’s going to be a great two days of presentations on writing, and I hope I’ll see some of you there.

Texas Writes in ATX
Sunday, November 10, 2019
ACC Riverside Campus
1020 Grove Boulevard, Austin, TX 

My schedule:

Sunday, 2:55-3:25pm: 
HARD CHOICES: PUTTING YOUR CHARACTERS TO THE TEST
How do you create compelling characters and put them in memorable conflict? Meg Gardiner, author of fourteen acclaimed thrillers, will talk about heroes, antagonists, and how, by forcing them to face hard choices, you can ramp up the suspense and tension in your story. 

Sunday, 4:10-4:55pm: 
Panel discussion

Come on down, y’all!

July 10 — 13: ThrillerFest 2019

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Next week I’ll be teaching and speaking at ThrillerFest in New York City. If you’re around, here’s my schedule:

ThrillerFest XIV
July 10 — 13, 2019
Grand Hyatt, NYC
New York City

  • Thursday, July 11 | CraftFest Instructor | PLOT TWISTS | 8:00 am – 8:50 am
  • Thursday, July 11 | CareerFest Panelist | DISCOVER THE ROAD TO HOLLYWOOD | 11:10 am – 12 pm
  • Friday, July 12 | ThrillerFest Panelist | FAULKNER, HEMINGWAY OR LUDLUM? Greatest Writing Influences | 9:00 am – 9:50 am
  • Saturday, July 12 | ThrillerFest Panelist | DARK, UPBEAT OR UNHINGED? Voice In Thrillers1:00 pm – 1:50 pm

I hope I’ll see some of you there!

My next novel: The Dark Corners of the Night

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At BookExpo America last week, my publisher, Blackstone, announced my upcoming novel in exciting fashion. That’s me, standing next to a banner at the entrance to the convention, at the Javits Center in New York City.

The Dark Corners of the Night is the third novel in the UNSUB series, featuring FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix. It will be published in early 2020. I’ll have plenty more to tell you about it in the coming months. For now, know that I’m thrilled you’ll be reading it next winter.

Pen, paper… writing

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Earlier this week, I posted this photo on Twitter, with the caption: “Today’s writing tools.”

Novelist and screenwriter Howard Michael Gould responded with a question. Are pen and paper “outside your usual MO?”

Here’s how I answered him, for anybody out there who’s interested in my writing process.

Maybe it’s quirky, but it works for me.

Deadly Ink: August 10-12

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The weekend of August 10-12 I’ll be at the Deadly Ink mystery conference in New Jersey. I’m delighted, and excited, to be this year’s Guest of Honor.

I’ll be speaking on several panels, talking about thriller writing, and generally hanging out with folks who adore crime novels as much as I do. And I’ll be crossing my fingers for UNSUB, which is nominated for Deadly Ink’s David Award along with a host of wonderful novels.

I hope I’ll see some of you there.

Thriller Time: New York Times Book Review & Book Podcast

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I’m pretty excited — okay, very excited — to be included in the New York Times Book Review and Book Podcast this week. When I was in NYC for Thrillerfest, I was interviewed by Tina Jordan about writing thrillers. It’s a joy to be included in the podcast with Lee Child, Megan Abbott, Lisa Gardner, and Lisa Scottoline. Check it out:

Making a Killing: Top Thriller Writers Talk about Their Craft

And this weekend’s NYT Book Review includes Into the Black Nowhere in “It’s Thriller Time / Lights Out!”

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The Times says: “We’re hereby calling the next title trend: thrillers that stoke our fear of the dark with titles that play on words like ‘black’ or ‘night.'”

Yeah, pretty excited.

Reminder: Writing requires more than inspiration

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Once, at a book event, a man asked me how long a novel takes to write.

I told him that for most of my career I’ve written one novel a year.

He stepped back like I’d hit him in the forehead with a spitball. “No way. A book every year? That’s impossible.”

I assured him it was extremely possible. “Deadlines are fantastically motivating.”

He frowned and shook his head. “You can’t write to a schedule.”

“Professional writers do it all the time.”

His expression shifted toward disdain. “But you can’t schedule inspiration.”

As I started to reply, he went on. Writing regularly? Ridiculous. “That’s not how inspiration works,” he said. The idea that I would deliberately sit down to write, when inspiration hadn’t driven me to the keyboard… His lips pursed.

I realized: He thinks I’m a hack.

He thought that to have imaginative value, every word an author writes must originate in an ineffable bolt of creative lightning. Unplanned. Uncontrollable. That crafting a piece of writing renders it crass and somehow inauthentic. He was a businessman, not a novelist; he admitted that the writing process was entirely foreign to him. But no matter how I explained it, he couldn’t abandon the idea that I was doing writing wrong.

I’d been invited to this event to give a speech. I’d been flown across half a continent, actually, to tell an audience of 500 people how I came to be an author with more than a dozen published novels to my credit. By pure coincidence my talk, which I gave shortly after this conversation, discussed the interplay between inspiration and craft. Inspiration is wonderful, I said. But when you’re in the trenches writing a novel, constant inspiration is neither necessary nor sufficient. Grab it when it strikes. But when it doesn’t? That’s when experience, and discipline, and a knowledge of dramatic structure, along with an understanding of plot and character and suspense — in other words, craft — will carry you across the finish line. Then you can recharge. And revise.

Inspiration, I said, looks a lot like work.

I don’t know if the man who challenged me heard the speech. Our conversation had wrapped up when he commented that he guessed publishing is a business, so he supposed that writers need to supply it with material. Then he shrugged.

“What do I know about it? I don’t read.”

My AMAfeed event: read my answers

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Yesterday I did an Ask Me Anything event at AMAfeed.com. I answered questions about writing, writer’s block, story structure, characters, research, talent, and the worst review I ever received. Head on over and check it out.

Meg Gardiner — award winning thriller writer. Ask me anything!

May 21: Ask Me Anything at AMAfeed

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Monday, May 21, I’ll be hosting an AMA event on AMAfeed.com. That means you can head over and ask me anything. You can even ask your question right now. When the event goes live, I’ll reply.

Meg Gardiner — Ask Me Anything
May 21, 2018
2 P.M. Eastern

Check it out!

Upcoming Events

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In the next few months I have a number of events — a mix of talks, book signings, workshops, seminars, and conferences. Check ’em out.

David Ricciardi in conversation with Meg Gardiner
April 20, 2018
6:30 p.m.
Murder by the Book
2342 Bissonnet
Houston, Texas

Books on the Lake
In support of the Grosse Pointe Library Foundation
May 5, 2018
Noon – 3 PM
Grosse Pointe, Michigan

Texas Writes at the Bonham, Texas, Public Library
May 19, 2018
10 a.m. — 1 p.m.
Writing seminar and panel discussion with Meg Gardiner and David Eric Tomlinson. Free and open to the public.

Thrillerfest
July 10-14, 2018
Grand Hyatt, New York City
I’ll be teaching at Master Craftfest and Craftfest, and speaking at Thrillerfest.

Bouchercon
September 6-9, 2018
St. Petersburg, Florida

I hope I’ll have a chance to see some of you along the way!

I’ve been talking… to Texas Monthly, Seattle Review of Books, and more

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As part of the launch of Into the Black Nowhere, I did a bunch of talking. To readers, radio hosts, and magazines. Here’s a roundup. Just in case you want to know more about the novel, or my writing process, or which tunes I listen to when I write. Bonus: click through to enough articles, and you’ll see what I look like when I go axe throwing.

Meg Gardiner’s Dark Past — Texas Monthly

How Author Meg Gardiner Gets Into the Mind of a Killer — Austin Monthly

The Quintessential Interview: Meg Gardiner — Seattle Review of Books

Tracking the Darkness — The Big Thrill

The Kindle Chronicles Podcast

My Creative Mornings talk: Mystery & Storytelling

A while back I gave a talk to Creative Mornings, “a breakfast lecture series for the creative community.” Every month Creative Mornings picks a topic, and groups in 183 cities around the globe bring in local speakers to lecture on it. Earlier, I posted some of the artwork that people drew at the talk.

I spoke to Creative Mornings/Austin on the topic of Mystery. The video of my talk is now online. Here you go.