Synchronicity at ThrillerFest X

Leo

Leo

A few days before ThillerFest X began, I was dog-sitting in Brooklyn. As I walked Leo around the neighborhood, I found the charming community bookstore Terrace Books. Leo agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to wait outside while I took a quick look. Almost immediately I found a novel I’d been hearing a lot about in the last year: The Fever by Megan Abbott. I met the author when she was on a panel with my editor at Bouchrcon 2013 in Albany.  So I bought it and began reading in Prospect Park. Preparation for ThrillerFest, I told myself. I whipped through the book in two days – not so much devouring it as it devouring me. Wow!

The evening I finished The Fever, it won the Strand Critics Award and three days later it won Best Hardcover Novel at ThrillerFest. Preparation indeed!

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A Little Metathesiophobic by David Swatling

Somehow between Book Expo America and the Lambda Literary Awards, I managed to squeeze in some time to write this short reflection for the Bold Strokes Book Festival in Nottingham, where I’ll be on a couple of panels June 6 & 7 at Waterstones. More on the Lammys later – probably while I’m on a plane, train or bus in the next couple of weeks!

Bold Strokes Books, UK

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Metathesiophobia: fear of change. It’s something we all share to some extent. Humans like routine. It’s a natural survival instinct that’s ingrained in us. We resist change so that we always feel in control.  Fear of change isn’t a bad thing – unless it results in full-blown anxiety attacks, which can paralyze us, force us to reject anything and everything new.

Like most of us, I’m seriously resistant to change; and yet, I adapt to it quickly – almost seem to embrace it. What’s more, I’ve always been a huge fan of reinvention. “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” (A timely shout out to Walt Whitman, today being his birthday!)

For me there’s a subtle difference between reinvention and change – one is a choice, while the other is thrust upon us. I choose to become something new, when I’m…

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Tennessee in New Orleans

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

Birdsong greets the dawn in my friend’s back garden. No matter that clouds mask the rising sun. I’ve a party to get to, so I don’t have much time. It’s Tennessee William’s birthday and I’m celebrating in his “spiritual home” – New Orleans, that is – at the literary festival named in his honor. I don’t want to be late.

I attended the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival back in 2001, covering the event as a journalist for Radio Netherlands. It was my first visit to the city known as the Big Easy and I immediately fell under its spell, much like the young writer who arrived in 1938. Tennessee wrote his Mama: “I’m crazy about the city. I walk continually, there is so much to see.”

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My Bloody Valentine

Vondelpark GateOn Tuesday I got a message from a friend asking if I could account for my whereabouts after the book-signing event on Sunday. He attached a link to a local news story. A body had been pulled from the water in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark, very near the site of a similar crime scene almost twenty years ago – a crime scene that inspired my debut thriller Calvin’s Head. The book I spent Sunday afternoon signing. The book that begins with the grisly murder of a man called Valentine, whose remains are discovered in a Vondelpark pond.

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A BSB AUTHOR INTERVIEW with DAVID SWATLING

Bedtime ReadingSo much has happened since I did this interview six weeks ago for Bold Strokes Books Authors Blog – not least of all the official release of Calvin’s Head. I had to give it a read to remember what I talked about. But as it happens, I did delve into my darker side, which is appropriate for this particular time of year.

Early readers tell me it gave them a scare or two. So, maybe it’s not the ideal bedtime reading for the faint of heart. Or maybe you’ll need to keep the lights on!

Trick or Treat!