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How Libraries Create Authors

Stalking Susan I was one of five authors selected to speak at the Library Journal Breakfast at the Public Library Association Conference in Minneapolis March 27. I used the example of my debut novel, STALKING SUSAN, to talk about how libraries create authors. Because this is National Library Week, I thought I'd share some of it with you.

Books were important to me growing up along the Minnesota-Iowa State Line, and I wanted to be like Phyllis A. Whitney. When I first became serious about writing a book, I went to the library, There I reread debut novels by my favorite thriller writers and tried analyzing what made them so good. That took about a year. And that was my favorite part of writing a book.

But I found writing fiction harder than my day job as a journalist writing news, so I started checking out books about the craft of fiction. One of the most useful, WRITING MYSTERIES, had advice from famous authors, including a chapter on pacing and suspense written by Phyllis A. Whitney. I took her advice about curiosity, emotion, viewpoint and giving every character a secret. Eventually I had a big pile of pages.

Next I started checking out books about researching agents. And it worked. Elaine Koster agreed to represent me.

Then I checked out books about the publishing industry, all the while revising and improving my manuscript. Before long I had a two-book deal with Doubleday. And my editor, Stacy Creamer, decided to market my book under suspense. Just like my childhood idol, Phyllis A. Whitney.

Click here to read the entire speech on Phyllis A. Whitney's website.