I was chatting with Stephen Barr about the informal part of our Crested Butte Writers conference where the A/Es like to meet for drinks for an hour before dinner with specific genre authors to discuss trends or writing in that genre. Stephen’s meeting with our suspense / thriller writers. Here’s what he had to say:
“I’m game to meet with the Thriller/Suspense/Mystery crowd on Friday night, for sure…I have pretty specific tastes when it comes to those genres, and I’ve always been a little nonplussed by the apparent trends in the thriller-ish queries I’ve received thus far, so I’ll be able to learn as much from them as they’ll be able to learn from me, hopefully!”
So I wondered about Stephen’s “specific tastes”. What did that mean? Taking a stab, I responded: Just out of curiosity . . . what have you been seeing that's ho-hum and what would excite you in a thriller/suspense/or mystery?
Personally, I'm more than tired of serial killers and FBI/CSI agent stuff--but apparently that's me, 'cause the bestseller list is full of them. Perhaps that's why Harlan Coben appeals to me--his hero isn't FBI or a cop and his characters are interesting. So what are your specific tastes within those genres?
“I wholly agree with you, actually…I can handle “traditional” detective heroes, noir-ish stuff like that, if it really nails the beats and gets kinda eccentric in the process, but like you said, serial killers and FBI/CSI stuff leaves me as cold as a fish. If a thriller can figure out how to be a thriller with a character whose job isn’t…well, being in thrillers (a government agent, etc.) then I’m all the more impressed…”
What about you? Is anybody besides Stephen and I tired of the same-old same-old, or do cops, navy seals, FBIs, CSIs, PIs—and all those other “I”s , still do it for you?