Episode 157: The Debut Author’s Life – Interview Live from ThrillerFest 2017

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

In today’s episode I bring you live to ThrillerFest 2017 where I have assembled a panel of five, that’s right five, debut authors. Not only are all these fabulous authors debuts, they are also all women and represent different sub-genres in the broad category of thriller.

I am so excited to be speaking with Jennifer Soosar, Christina Kovac, Lili Wright, Shelia Sobel, and Alexia Gordon, and sharing our panel discussion on the show!

Listen in as we discuss the publishing process and life of a debut author. Plus, you can take away some nuggets of wisdom for your own debut experience.

This episode is brought to you by our amazing word nerd fans and supporters on Patreon. If you’d like to help support this show, hop over to patreon.com/DIYMFA.

In this episode Jennifer, Christina, Lili, Sheila, Alexia, and I discuss:

  • What sub-genre they each tackle in the broad scope of the thriller genre.
  • What the best and worst parts of being a debut author are.
  • How to use writing conferences to your best advantage to network and find your publisher.
  • How to navigate both the expected and unexpected hurdles of first time publication.
  • How to tackle marketing and self-promotion as a debut.

Plus, the #1 tip for writers from each of these talented ladies.

About The ThrillerFest Debut Authors

Jennifer Soosar watched too much ‘America’s Most Wanted’ growing up and has been writing about shady characters ever since. She was born and raised in Toronto and has a degree in Anthropology. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers of Canada, and Sisters in Crime. To connect with Jennifer check out her website at www.JenniferSoosar.com

Christina Kovac managed Washington, DC, newsrooms and produced crime and political stories in the District.  Her career as a television journalist began with Fox 5’s Ten O’Clock News, followed by the ABC affiliate in Washington.  For the last nine years, she was employed at NBC News, where she worked for Tim Russert and provided news covered for Meet the Press, the Today show, Nightly News, and others.  Christina lives with her family outside of Washington, DC.  The Cutaway is her debut novel. To connect with Christina check out her website at www.christinakovac.com

Lili Wright is the author of the Mexican thriller Dancing with the Tiger, which was nominated for a 2017 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, is a semi-finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novel Award, and has been optioned for a feature film by The Mark Gordon Company. Wright’s essays have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, and dozens of other publications. Her first book was the Learning to Float, a women’s road book. She teaches English at DePauw University. Wright lived in San Miguel de Allende for a year and spent another year in Oaxaca. You can check out her books, comic essays, and Mexican mask collection at www.liliwright.com.

Sheila Sobel as a Senior Auditor for Warner Bros., oversaw production costs for films including “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the “Matrix” trilogy, and “The Dark Knight.” After working on 70+ Independent and Studio movies, Sheila stepped away from the film business to complete her first YA novel. Sheila is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW), Sisters in Crime (SinC), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Children’s Book Writers-LA (CBW-LA), and Women in Film (WIF). She was nominated for UCLA’s 2016 Allegra Johnson Prize in Novel Writing and is nominated for Killer Nashville’s 2017 Silver Falchion Award in Young Adult Fiction. When not writing, Sheila volunteers her time walking dogs rescued by the Amanda Foundation from local shelters. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. To connect with Sheila check out her website at https://www.sheilasobel.com/

Alexia Gordon has been a writer since childhood, and continued writing through college but put her literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. Her medical career established, she returned to writing fiction. Alexia completed SMU’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. Henery Press published her first novel, Murder in G Major, book one of the Gethsemane Brown mysteries, in September 2016. Book two, Death in D Minor, premiers July 2017. Alexia is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers’ League of Texas, and she listens to classical music, drinks whiskey, and blogs at www.missdemeanors.com To connect with Alexia check out her website at http://alexiagordon.net/

About the Books

These are all such wonderful books and we hope you’ll help support these fabulous debut authors. If you decide to check out one (or all!) of these, we hope you’ll do so via the Amazon affiliate links below. This means that with every purchase purchase DIY MFA makes a small commission at no cost to you. It’s a great way to support these debut authors and DIY MFA at the same time. Thank you for being awesome!

Parent Teacher Association by Jennifer Soosar

Fresh out of a mental hospital, Lizanne Demeter is thrilled to get a second chance at her career when she’s hired to teach third grade in the backwater town of Splinter Wood, Pennsylvania.
But hopes for a peaceful new life are ruined when Naomi Seabrook, a demanding ‘helicopter parent’, pushes Lizanne to the brink.

While struggling to maintain control of her classroom, Lizanne begins to unravel the secret behind Naomi’s hell-bent agenda. As deadly clues emerge, Lizanne suspects Naomi is guilty of more than just overindulging her child.

With her life teetering on chaos, Lizanne risks everything to expose the shocking truth. But first, she must race against her own spiraling sanity to prove herself a more dedicated teacher than anyone dared imagine—the kind who makes ALL the difference.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

It began with someone else’s story. In the beginning, a woman went out to meet a man, and on her long walk, she disappeared . . .

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright

It begins when a meth-addicted grave robber unearths the death mask of Montezuma, setting off a violent struggle for its possession. There is the drug lord who employs him, who would kill for that mask. There is the expat American collector, sinister and possibly mad. There is the greatly respected curator, who for a fee will provide provenances for his country’s looted artifacts, and his long-suffering housekeeper, a deeply religious lesbian in a culture of machismo, who despises her patron. And there is the looter himself, who has stolen the mask and is now running for his life.

Above all, there is Anna Ramsey, an American with a history of bad choices, who has hidden behind a mask all her adult life. A deeply wounded woman, Anna knows that masks protect and conceal. Anna is a heroine for our times, as she searches for the courage to remove her mask and show her true face.

Color Blind by Sheila Sobel

April was an infant when her teenage mother abandoned her and disappeared. With the sudden death of her father, seventeen year old April is devastated and feeling abandoned once more. With nobody left to take her in except her mother’s sister, a woman she has never met, April has no choice but to move to New Orleans, a city that she has never been to. After a cryptic conversation with her Aunt Kate about family secrets and lies, April is more lost than ever before.

It’s Miles, a handsome tour guide, who brings April into the heart of the Big Easy. When his cemetery tour takes her to the tomb of Marie Laveau, April senses a spine tingling connection with the infamous 19th century Voodoo Queen.

When a mysterious Voodoo shop owner suggests she can help April find peace amid the chaos, April must decide—is the woman crazy, or is the haunted city of New Orleans a place where the impossible comes true?

The Gethsemane Brown Mysteries by Alexia Gordon

Murder in G Major

Stranded in Ireland after losing both a gig and her luggage, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown hopes to win her way back to the States by accepting a challenge: turn rowdy school boys into a champion orchestra. She’s offered lodging in a beautiful cliffside cottage once owned by her favorite composer. The catch? The composer’s ghost. He can’t rest in peace until he’s cleared of false charges of murder-suicide. Desperate after a quarter-century, he begs Gethsemane for help. A growing friendship with the charming ghost spurs Gethsemane to investigate. Her snooping provokes a long-dormant killer and she soon finds herself on the wrong sort of top ten hit list. Will Gethsemane uncover the truth as she races to prevent a murderous encore or will she star in her own farewell performance?

Death in D Minor

Gethsemane Brown, African-American musician and expatriate to an Irish village, solved a string of murders and got used to living with a snarky ghost. She can rest easy now. Right? Wrong. The ghost has disappeared, her landlord’s about to sell to a developer, and her brother-in-law is visiting. She scrambles to call her spectral roomie back from beyond and find a way to save the cottage from destruction. But real estate takes a backseat when her brother-in-law is accused of stealing a valuable antique. Gethsemane strikes a deal with the investigator to go undercover at a charity ball and snoop for evidence of a forgery/theft ring in exchange for her help. At the party, she accidentally conjures the ghost of an eighteenth-century sea captain, then ends up the prime suspect in the party host’s murder. She races to untangle a web of phony art and stolen antiques to exonerate herself, then the killer targets her. Will she bring a murderer to justice, or will her encore investigation become her swan song?

Link to Episode 157

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