ThrillerFest 2011 - Day 1

Before I get to the details of the conference, I need to say a big THANK YOU to Alexia Chamberlynn, who took the cutest photos of CREEP on the beach! Go look! So cute! And I won her contest. Sigh. It doesn't get much better than that.

And yesterday's random winner of a signed hardcover of Creep is... drumroll, please...


(So weird. Yesterday Random.org came up with #1, and today it came up with #2. Will tomorrow be #3?)

Ricky, please email me at jennifer (at) jenniferhillier (dot) ca and I'll send your book out ASAP!

So it's no secret that I love ThrillerFest. Know why? Because these are my peeps. Nobody thinks it's weird that I write what I write. They just know... because they write the same stuff I do.

Friday, the first day of ThrillerFest, was a bit of a blur. I volunteered to help ITW out with a bunch of different things over the course of the day, which kept me busy, and in between I slipped into a few of the panels.

I got to watch my former-Twitter-buddy-now-Real-Life-buddy Dan Friedman speak on his panel called  How Do You Thicken the Plot: Subplots and How to Make Them Shine. It's always so interesting to hear published authors talk about their process – that never gets old for me.

Afterward, I saw a bit of the Scalpel Please: How Do You Find the Heart of Your Story? panel. The panel master was D.P. Lyle, MD (who has a seriously fascinating blog, if you haven't visited it yet), and this one was really fun. There was a lot of discussion about forensics and cool ways to kill people. (Like I said, these are my peeps.)

I volunteered at the "bookstore" (which is a room at the Grand Hyatt on the Conference floor reserved for selling books and hosting author signings), and got to help out with the Robert Crais lineup. I was the girl writing people's names on a sticky note so that Robert wouldn't have to worry about spelling. This was a pretty cool gig, because I got to have conversations with everybody who lined up (and it was a very long line).

And while I was volunteering, Dan was being interviewed on camera, so I snapped a pic:


They had two big bonus sessions at noon. One was called Revolutionary Products in Publishing: A Demonstration of Virtual Signing Products, hosted by Margaret Atwood and Tom Waters. Since I already learned quite a bit about how ebooks are signed at dinner the previous night direct from Margaret Atwood herself (insert SQUEE here!), I thought I'd pop into the other bonus session, Ask the CIA: Insights from the Undercover Life. It did not disappoint.

Volunteering at the bookstore later that day, I got to meet Joseph Finder. He's written one of my favorite thrillers of all time (and no, I'm not exaggerating – Paranoia is a great book!). He just released Buried Secrets, and he signed my copy (and psst... that's Lisa Gardner sitting right beside him). What a nice guy!

Thanks to Dan for snapping this pic for me with my iPhone.
I don't remember doing anything particularly interesting on Friday night, because I was too nervous about my panel speech, which was scheduled for 8 a.m. in the Grand Hyatt ballroom the following morning. Did it go well or did I faint? Stay tuned...

In the meantime, comment on this post to be entered to win a hardcover of Creep!

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