BE WARNED! THIS DAY MAY CONTAIN DARK MATTER!

We are absolutely thrilled to showcase this incredible lineup of writers and publishing industry professionals for our How To Write Crime, Thriller and Mystery day!

It’s no secret that this genre has proved popular for decades but sales for this range of fiction leapfrogged all others during lockdown. Whether Cozy Crime or a more psychological thriller we ask why readers are drawn to it and why more and more authors turn to crime fiction to whet their own creative appetites. This day is PACKED with advice and will appeal to discerning sleuths everywhere whether you are a fan of the genre or plotting your own standalone novel or police procedural series.

We’ll investigate why these books appeal to our curiosity, what types of crime sell well, how the face of crime has changed, how you pitch your own novel to an agent or publisher, and remedies for coping with rejection when the going gets tough. And remember, anything you do learn may be taken down as evidence for your own manuscript. 

There are many elements in how a book comes together: the killer hook, twisty plot, tracking your storyline, relatable dialogue, the choice of setting, and even the crime scene itself. Are villains all bad? How do we develop characters with series potential? And are we really influenced by the colour on a front cover? All these questions, and more, will form part of our investigation throughout the day.

AND THEN THERE WERE NINE…

This is our biggest How To Write event yet with NINE SESSIONS across the day! You can choose from our lineup and pay for individual guests OR take advantage of the All Day Pass to access ALL live sessions and replays up until 30 November 2021!

To miss this day would be a crime!

CRIME, THRILLER AND MYSTERY ALL DAY PASS

How To Write Crime, Thriller and Mystery

INCLUDES ACCESS TO ALL 9 SESSIONS

SESSION 1 – 09:00am to 09:45am GMT

HOW TO THRILL A PUBLISHER

KESHINI NAIDOO – PUBLISHING DIRECTOR AT HERA BOOKS

Whether it’s gripping psychological suspense, serial killer thrillers, police procedurals or cozy crime, Hera Books is definitely on a mission to tell you the best commercial thriller stories. But just what is a Publishing Director looking for in a crime, thriller or mystery novel? Keshini Naidoo unravels the mysteries behind the crime genres and offers advice on what to consider when pitching your manuscript.

WHAT KESHINI WILL COVER:
  • Crime, thriller or mystery? What does a publisher look for within each genre?
  • Digital first, traditional paperback or self publishing? The benefits of each method
  • Market trends. What genres are selling well?
  • Editing tips. How to sharpen your manuscript
  • Blog tours. Make best use of blog tours to sharpen your readership

SESSION 2 – 10:15am to 11:00am GMT

INTERNATIONAL MURDER

KAREN HAMILTON

With an early childhood spent abroad and a career flying around the world as cabin crew, Karen Hamilton was well-placed to begin writing about worldwide travel. How she came to texturise her writing with murder and mystery we have yet to ask, but write about it she did, and with three books published to date is established as a Sunday Times bestseller. As a graduate of the Faber Academy Karen will take your questions on how her writing has changed since she struck gold with her debut, The Perfect Girlfriend, through to her latest addictive thriller The Ex Husband. And with such devious characters and immersive plots we want to know just how far Karen will go in the name of research?

WHAT KAREN WILL COVER:
  • The importance of setting. English country or luxury cruise ship? How to bring your setting to life
  • Character development. Nice or nasty? How to make your characters believable
  • Writing styles. What styles are there and how might we learn them?
  • Rejection. Ways to combat multiple rejection and still find your agent
  • Writing competitions. Which competitions are valuable and what are the true benefits?

SESSION 3 – 11:30am to 12:15pm GMT

GETTING YOUR FACTS RIGHT

STUART GIBBON AND NEIL LANCASTER

FORMER DETECTIVES TURNED AUTHORS

Two former detectives turned authors join forces in this session to help you get your crime facts straight. Neil Lancaster‘s law enforcement experience ranges from specialist surveillance in the Forces to Metropolitan Police detective. While in the Met he crossed paths with Stuart Gibbon, former Senior Investigating Officer in the East Midlands Special Operations Unit and Met Office detective in charge of murder investigations. Now, both established authors, Neil and Stuart are here to help you take the reality of a crime scene to the page. Each with 30 years crime investigation experience they are well placed to answer questions that will make your crime writing authentic, from theft to murder.

WHAT STUART AND NEIL WILL COVER:
  • The changing face of crime. From historical to contemporary crime, how are cases solved?
  • Hypotheses to forensics. Mistakes writers should avoid and how the victim holds the key
  • Tracking your antagonist. Tactics, weapons and the ‘Golden Hour’ principle
  • Criminal relationships. Detectives and informants, offender and victim, how do they interact?
  • Police Constable to Special Forces. Things to consider in the field

SESSION 4 – 1:00pm to 1:45pm GMT

PITCHING WITH PASSION

JULIET MUSHENS – LITERARY AGENT

As “one of the 150 most influential people in publishing” (The Bookseller, 2021), Juliet Mushens has sold millions of copies of her clients’ books around the world. Her enthusiasm and love of stories coupled with her industry experience make her agency, Mushens Entertainment, highly sought after, and her bestselling and critically acclaimed clients have nothing but praise for the way she takes an author’s career from strength to strength. But just what does being an agent involve? And what should you look for in your agent-author relationship? Join us as we demystify publishing and hear what happens when an agent pitches books to sell around the world. We’ll also ask Juliet what crimes occur in the submission process and gather evidence on how to perfect your letter, synopsis and opening hook.

WHAT JULIET WILL COVER:
  • Agent care. How an agent nutures a writer
  • The language of agenting. From pre-empts to major deals, just what does it all mean?
  • Crime fiction and non-fiction. Which genres are popular in the current market place?
  • The same but different. How to make your story original
  • Pitching with passion. Advice on your complete submission package

SESSION 5 – 2:15pm to 3:00pm GMT

AS THE PLOT THICKENS

T M LOGAN – AUTHOR

With over 1 million copies of his books sold worldwide, Sunday Times bestseller T M Logan is acclaimed for his assured writing style and ability to keep his readers on their toes until the final page. His debut Lies was one of Amazon’s top e-books of 2017 and his bestselling Richard & Judy Book Pick The Holiday will be on our screens in a four-part drama this autumn, starring Jill Halfpenny. His books explore themes of loyalty and betrayal, secrets and revenge, but how easy is it to keep coming up with killer plots? Tim talks us through how he keeps track of his characters and their wrongdoings and how eeking out tension is key to earning your place at the top of the book charts.

WHAT T M LOGAN WILL COVER:
  • Point of view. Add texture to your narrative through multiple techniques
  • Plotting. How to employ the Three Act Structure
  • Software packages. Track your storyline and its key turning points
  • Structural editing. Consistency, clarity and content
  • Pacing and tension. Keep your reader guessing

SESSION 6 – 3:30pm to 4:15pm GMT

JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

STUART BACHE – COVER DESIGNER

With over a decade of experience working for a host of indie publishers and top traditional publishing houses such as Hodder, Puffin and HarperCollins, and designing book covers for bestselling authors including Steven King, L J Ross, Dreda Say Mitchell and Mark Dawson, Stuart Bache is the perfect designer to talk us through how the cover completes the story. Founder and art director of Books Covered, Stuart and his team work on 200-300 projects a year! But how does the cover come together and just how much does the psychology of cover design influence our buying choices?

WHAT STUART WILL COVER:
  • Digital or Traditional. How the introduction of e-books has influenced cover design
  • What’s the brief? Pitching your book to a cover designer in a commercial market
  • Typeset. Fonts and their influence on a reader
  • The psychology of colour. The colour wheel and its emotive effects
  • Familiarity and fashion. Considerations when bringing the design together

SESSION 7 – 4:45pm to 5:30pm GMT

A WRITER’S LIFE SENTENCE

MARION TODD – AUTHOR

A passion for writing has been with Marion Todd since childhood. After writing competitions and short stories she went on to write for her local newspaper. But motherhood took over and it wasn’t until 2019 that Marion found her publishing home with Canelo. Marion’s first novel, See Them Run, was shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year 2020 and the fifth in her detective series will be out this autumn! Since we interviewed Marion back in 2020 she has gone on to amass thousands of reviews for her brilliant detective series and now writes full-time. But what makes her main character, DI Clare Mackay, so utterly believable? Marion offers advice on how YOU too can develop a character arc with series potential and is an expert on writing “local crime” in her native Scotland. With lots to say on the subject of building your author brand for life, tune in for this Q&A with Marion, one of the genres up-and-coming stars  – it would be a crime to miss it.

WHAT MARION WILL COVER:

  • Landscape to language. Creating fiction with a local feel
  • Dialogue. How to use it appropriately to drive your story
  • Character arc. Developing your characters across a long-running series
  • Research. What to research and what not to!
  • Building your author brand. Interviews, blogs and social media, the importance of being ‘you’

SESSION 8 – 6:00pm to 6:45pm GMT

CHARACTERS ON THE COUCH

ARABEL CHARLAFF – PSYCHODYNAMIC PSYCOTHERAPIST

It’s time to relax, take a deep breath and begin your session with Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, Arabel Charlaff. Before founding Characters on the Couch, Arabel had an established career in the NHS, higher education and private practice. And she’s here today to walk us through the minds of our most complicated villains. What turning point drives a person to commit a crime? Which emotional drivers are involved? And what makes us the reader love to hate our antagonists? In this session we dive deep within your character’s psychology to truly make them have a long-lasting impact.

WHAT ARABEL WILL COVER:
  • What’s the backstory? Early childhood to adulthood, what might have gone wrong?
  • Character development. Are villains all bad? Tips to make your character well-rounded
  • Motive before means. What is a viillain’s motivation before they commit the crime?
  • The meaning of crime. With different crimes commited, what might your chosen crime mean?
  • Relationship dynamics. Whether victim and villain or police and perpetrator, what’s the story?

SESSION 9 – 7:00pm to 7:45pm GMT

THE RABBIT HOLE OF CRIME WRITING

MARK BILLINGHAM – AUTHOR

Award winning, bestselling author Mark Billingham has had a long and very varied career entertaining people all over the world. A former actor, comedian and screenwriter, Mark turned his hand to crime writing and his debut novel Sleepyhead was an instant bestseller in 2001. With his London-based series featuring detective Tom Thorne firmly established, Mark has gone on to write standalones too, with his latest chart-topping Rabbit Hole receiving much acclaim. So with millions of books sold, and lots of writing experience under his belt, we have SO much to ask Mark – and we know you will too – so please join us as we take to the stage and ask Mark to give you as many tips for your own mystery writing as he possibly can.

WHAT MARK WILL COVER:

  • A question of trust. Craft your killer hook to gain your reader’s trust and investment
  • Essential ingredients. Factors to consider when writing your crime, thriller or mystery novel
  • Don’t be lost in translation. What you can do to make your character have international appeal
  • Pull back and reveal. Misdirection techniques to throw your reader off the scent
  • Comedy and crime. How humour and wrongdoing fit together

CRIME, THRILLER AND MYSTERY ALL DAY PASS

How to write crime, thriller and mystery

INCLUDES ACCESS TO ALL 9 SESSIONS