Beyond the Walls: The Plusses and Perils of Setting A Novel Outdoors

  •  6/16/2015 12:00:00 AM
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Beyond the Walls: The Plusses and Perils of Setting A Novel Outdoors According to a story about Ian Fleming, he asked his friend William Plomer how you got smoke out of a girl.  That's when Plomer knew he was writing a novel—Casino Royale, it turned out, the first in the James Bond series.  If memory serves me, Fleming had the girl exhale.  Not a particularly elegant word, and I'm not sure there is one.  Smoking was sexy on the silver screen, not so much on the page. I had a similar problem ...
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Top Ten Country Mysteries

  •  6/12/2015 12:00:00 AM
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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier Although it will never again have the impact it did when I was a teenager reading it for the first time (and innocent of the big twist), Rebecca has an insidious charm. Much like its narrator, who tells us so much when she herself seems to know so little. Gauche and engaging, we see the country “set” through her bedazzled eyes and begin to suspect the worst long before it lands. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain Sex and violence—and banned in Bosto...
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I Want It All

  •  6/9/2015 12:00:00 AM
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I’m going back to the dark side. After fifteen years of writing traditional, cozy mysteries, I’m starting a dark series featuring death investigator Angela Richman. Death investigators work out of the medical examiner’s office. At a death scene, the DI takes charge of the body, photographing it, documenting the wounds, and more. The police investigate the rest of the crime scene. Why return to this gritty world? Because I never left. My first mystery series featured Francesca Vierling, a s...
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Top Ten Heist Novels

  •  6/3/2015 12:00:00 AM
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When The Strand asked me to put together this list, I realized that my definition of “heist” was both more and less flexible than the dictionary’s. The dictionary says a heist is a robbery from an institution such as a bank or a museum with the objective of stealing a large amount of loot. To that definition I’d add: a heist has to be planned, and it doesn't necessarily involve a bunch of guys with masks and guns. Nor does the loot need to be money.   Here, then, is my list of favorite heist no...
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Nelson DeMille on Writing, John Corey, and Digital Publishing

  •  5/27/2015 12:00:00 AM
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TSM: Your books often have a great feel for the ongoing political climate—where do you get your news and sources of info on current events? ND: My novels have been described as geo-political thrillers, which sounds impressive.  I’m a news junkie and my major in college was Political Science and History, so I come to this subject with some knowledge and a lot of interest and curiosity.  As for my sources, I have a few friends on Capitol Hill and a few friends in the New York Joint Terrorism Task...
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Eureka by Tess Gerritsen

  •  5/23/2015 12:00:00 AM
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It invariably happens to me about halfway through a manuscript.  Inspired by an intriguing premise, I launch straight into the story, set my characters into action, throw in a few initial twists…and then I smack into a wall.  Because I have no idea what happens next in my story.  Or I don’t know who the real killer is.  Or I’m simply bored, and I don’t care what happens to my characters.  Whether you call it writer’s block or plot block, it happens to me every single time.  And every single time...
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