Tag Archives: Writing

Q and A with the Walmart blog

A little while ago I talked to the Walmart blog, Favorite Reads, about the inspiration for my UNSUB series, the research that goes into the novels, and why mystery writers don’t necessarily make good real-life detectives.

Q&A with Meg Gardiner, author of The Dark Corners of the Night

We sat down for an exclusive interview with Edgar Award-winning author Meg Gardiner to discuss her latest release, The Dark Corners of the Night, one of the most highly anticipated thrillers of 2020, that is already garnering rave reviews as her best thriller yet. In The Dark Corners of the Night, FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix returns to hunt down a terrifying new UNSUB—unknown subject—The Midnight Man, who Gardiner based on the real-life serial killer, The Night Stalker.

Check out the whole thing at the link.

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!

Coming Feb. 18, 2020: The Dark Corners of the Night

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Hey, I have news! My next novel is now available for preorder. The Dark Corners of the Night comes out February 18, 2020. Here’s a taster:

I am the legion of the night.

He appears in the darkness like a ghost, made of shadows and fear — the Midnight Man. He comes for the parents but leaves the children alive, tiny witnesses to unspeakable horror. The bedroom communities of Los Angeles are gripped with dread, and the attacks are escalating.

Still reeling from her best friend’s close call in a bombing six months ago, FBI behavioral analyst Caitlin Hendrix has come to Los Angeles to assist in the Midnight Man investigation and do what she does best — hunt a serial killer. Her work is what keeps her going, but something about this UNSUB — unknown subject — doesn’t sit right. She soon realizes that this case will test not only her skills but also her dedication, for within the heart of a killer lives a secret that mirrors Caitlin’s own past. Hesitancy is not an option, but will she be able to do what must be done if the time comes?

You can preorder it in hardcover, digital, and audio. And preorders make an author, and her publisher, extremely happy. But don’t just listen to me. The Real Book Spy lists The Dark Corners of the Night as one of “15 Thrillers Coming Out in 2020 that Should Already be on Your Radar.”

Why you should be excited about it: Meg Gardiner’s scary-good new series is one of the best in crime fiction today, and after switching publishers—a move that resulted in delaying its publication to 2020—absence has surely made hearts grow fonder, making her next UNSUB book one of next year’s most anticipated new releases.

Preorder:

Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

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.

Question Time 2019: Ask Me Anything

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As we dive into 2019, it’s time for a fresh round of Ask Me Anything. Leave your questions in the comments — about writing, publishing, books, TV, movies, the squirrel apocalypse foretold in Revelation — whatever you’re interested in. I will endeavor to answer.

Photo: Kermit the Frog, the dashing greeter at Herman Brown Free Library in Burnet, Texas. Yesterday I had a great time speaking at the library’s Coffee Talks author series. Thanks to everyone who turned out!

Coming up: Bouchercon 2018

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This coming week, September 5-8, I’ll be at Bouchercon 2018 in Tampa. Here’s my official schedule:

A Martini with a Twist of Plot: Thrillers
Thursday, September 6
2:00-2:45 PM

Women Who Thrill
Saturday, September 8
10:00-10:50 AM

Interview: International Guest of Honor Sean Chercover
Saturday, September 8
3-3:50 PM

I’ll also be crossing my fingers for UNSUB, which is nominated for a Barry Award. I hope I’ll see some of you in Florida!

Thanks, Deadly Ink!

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I spent the weekend as the Guest of Honor at the Deadly Ink mystery conference in New Jersey. I had a blast, felt very honored, and got to enjoy a huge weather show on the flight back to Austin.

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Now I’m diving deep into finishing the first draft of my next novel. Even while I was at 36,000 feet, I was digging through the manuscript word by word.

Yep, UNSUB 3 is coming. Catch you again when I come up for air.

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!