Aames reminded everyone that cheese is alive, and you shouldn't wrap it up, but keep it so air can get to it, and it won't turn. She told us if a Brie is too young, it will be too hard, and if it's too old, it will be runny. Jamie Freveletti did the research for her first book by flying to Colombia. When she first told her husband she was going to do that, he said no she wasn't.
They solved that. He went, too, and they stayed in Cartegena, in a beautiful hotel with guards with dogs.
She couldn't go to Somalia to research Running Dark , so she consulted a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. And, remember that Carnival Cruise lines refused to help? She contacted Commodore Warwick, who had been captain of the Queen Mary II for twenty years before retiring, and he helped her.
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The drugs she used actually cause an addiction. She wanted one that would cause people to turn to gambling, or another addiction, and this one actually exists. And, she consulted a scientist about the jellyfish in the book. Box jellyfish are one of the most venomous species. Jamie went on to discuss winning one of the Thriller awards, as a woman. She said it was the night of the woman that evening. Lisa Gardner had warned her they weren't going to win, because women didn't win thriller awards. But, that night, Gardner, Freveletti, and Twist Phelan all won.
Tom Piccirilli was the only man to win. Freveletti said she's hoping Angelini Jolie's movie, Salt , does well. If Salt does well, Jamie's books might be optioned for film.
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The theory has been that thrillers featuring women don't do well in movies. This isn't a pairing with a man, and it doesn't involve a superhero. So, if the movie is a hit, it may indicate a trend, that a thriller can be a hit with a female lead. It might start a trend if Angelina can carry it off in Salt.
She was on Cloud 9. It was like a Cinderella story.
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The story has a male protagonist. It was inspired by her nephew, who was her sister's son. Aames' sister was a drug addict. Aames recommends that thriller writers go to New York to Thrillerfest because a thriller might be picked up there. She said her real name, Darryl, might be helpful in the thriller market, since it can also be a man's name. In the meantime, Aames considers herself as a writer for hire, working for Berkley, since they asked her to write a cheese shop mystery.
Berkley looks for a hook for a traditional mystery. They want a series that will run for three to twelve books. With the right hook, readers will read everything in the series. They've covered subjects such as scrapbooking, knitting, catering. They wanted to cover the cheese shop niche. Aames took the job. She had written a thriller about a woman in Lake Tahoe who was an ex-soap actress, and it didn't sell. Then, she wrote another one, a Lake Tahoe thriller about a costume designer. She thought she had a hook for a series set in - Lake Tahoe! It was to be a gem series, featuring pottery and jewelry made with glass.
A hook can be a city or town, but in Berkley mysteries, it's usually a profession. Freveletti said a thriller has to be high concept. Her first book went to a bidding war before being bought in a pre-empt by HarperCollins. Some of the suggestions, though, from other publishers helped her define her character. She knew she didn't want to write about a damaged heroine, as someone suggested. The high concept for book 2 was the Somali pirates.
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Book number one was down in the Colombian jungle. Since there were a number of writers there from Sisters in Crime, one question was whether you should compare your book to others while pitching it. Jamie answered that it doesn't hurt to define your book in the genre.
Tell publishers what it's like. Avery said she compares hers to Lisa Gardner's. According to Freveletti, the next big hurdle, after acceptance of the first book, is to get a second contract. The first contract was for books one and two. Then, you hope books three and four will be picked up.
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For her, it didn't hurt that Running with the Devil was a bestseller in Germany. Aames said her Berkley contract was for three books. Hopefully, they'll pick up books four through six. Jamie's HarperCollins contract was for books three and four in the Emma Caldridge series. They have right of first look at the book, but she can send it to another house if she chooses. Asked about getting a lawyer for the contract, Freveletti said you don't need one if your agent has a good template for contracts.
She said the publishers are business people, and hers has been wonderful to deal with. Both authors stressed that writers need to be persistent. Don't give up. And, they need to belong to a group such as Sisters in Crime.
The Guppies are unpublished writers who are members of Sisters in Crime. Jamie joined Sisters in Crime. Asked how her kids saw her career, Jamie said her youngest asked if she could get a pony. But, now that she's older, thirteen, she said she doesn't have time for a horse.
Avery warned that everyone doesn't get Jamie's contract. Freveletti agreed. You're Not Safe. Mary Burton. Jeremy Robinson. Agent in Place. Mark Greaney. Friendly Fire. John Gilstrap. Shooting Gallery. Ben Coes. Black Skies. Leo J. Patrick Lee. Independence Day. Andrew Britton. Paul Doiron.
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