Why Yawatta Hosby Loves Writing Thrillers

WHY I LOVE WRITING THRILLERS
Guest Post by Yawatta Hosby

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Image: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Here’s a secret: I love horror movies. I’m talking Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Wrong Turn, basically anything that’s gory and disturbing. I also love suspense movies that have betrayal and mind games, like Mindhunters, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Straw Dogs. I’m not going to lie—I have to watch during the daytime. Even so, I end up getting nightmares for two weeks straight.

Being interested in those types of movies naturally led me to wanting to write those types of books. At first, I was too terrified of reading horror or thriller books until a few years ago. In movies, you’re warned that something morbid is popping up by the creepy music in the background. In books, not so much.

That’s what I admire about the thriller genre. There are no warnings when a scene or image will make readers jump out of their seats. It’s fun creating scenarios that will give readers goosebumps. In thrillers, you’re allowed to make characters unlikeable. For me, the villains are very fascinating to write. It’s a good feeling when readers send you messages of how much they despised a person in your story and was looking forward to their karma. Or to receive messages that they fell in love with a person in your story and wept about the outcome. That means readers felt passion for your book, and you can never go wrong with that.

I write books in different genres, without using a pen name, but I’m confident that I’ll always find my way back to creating thrillers. In fact, I have a couple of books I’m hoping to publish by the end of this year:

  • Plenty of Fish is a short story. A stranger approaches a local celebrity. It’s definitely not a love story. Is he crazy? Lonely? Dangerous?
  • My novella is about an obsessive man willing to do anything to get the family he deserves.

I’m hoping these two stories will be published next year:

  • The sequel to One By One, revolving around Detective Brown’s daughter. (Some people have hinted that they’d like to see the story continue, so I’m up for the challenge). :)
  • A story about a crazed ballerina who terrorizes her younger sister because she feels that her sister is responsible for their brother’s death.

For all the writers out there, why do you create thrillers? For all the readers out there, why do you love scaring yourself?

Keep smiling,
Yawatta Hosby

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With a desire to escape every day life, YAWATTA HOSBY creates stories. She’s always had a fascination with psychology, so she likes to focus on the inner-struggles within her characters. Her short story “Room For Two” is published in the online literary magazine The Write Place At the Write Time (Spring/Summer 2013 edition).

Yawatta Hosby Online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Interview

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Writing about Guns in Fiction

START WITH HAND SIZE (for Matching Handguns to Characters)
Guest Post by Ben Sobieck

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Image by Andy Warhol (1981-2982)

My father in-law bought a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol the other day. It’s a nice handgun for sure. It fits comfortably into his holster. The lightweight design makes it a breeze to wear. The caliber is exactly the one he wanted. Even better, he bought it at a terrific price. So why does he hate it?

As it turns out, my father in-law didn’t shoot the pistol before putting down the dough. He pulled the trigger for the first time at our recent trip to the gun range. Thing is, his hands are too large for the grip. This made it difficult to shoot, and his accuracy suffered as a result. (Although, hey, I’m no dead-eye myself.)

What does this have to do with writing fiction? It highlights an important point about matching handguns to characters. Some writers get caught up in gender, caliber, availability, gun type or looks when selecting a handgun for a character. While those are important factors, I wouldn’t recommend starting with those things.

Instead, start with hand size. How small or large are the character’s hands? Smaller hands should go with smaller handguns. Larger hands would go with larger handguns.

By “small” and “large,” I mean the physical dimensions, not the caliber. There are small handguns that fire large calibers, and vice versa.

Most handgun manufacturers seem to agree with this approach. They break product lines down by size first, then address the other features. Smith & Wesson, for example, offers small, medium, large and extra large lines of revolvers (called J, K, N and X). Each of those sizes (called “frames,” as in “J-frame” or “K-frame”) comes in small and large calibers.

With the hand size identified, start picking out similarly-sized handguns suited for those other important factors, such as caliber.

There’s plenty to consider. That’s why I developed a step-by-step process to making the right match in my book, “The Weapons for Writers: A Practical Reference for Writing Firearms and Knives in Fiction.” It’ll hit shelves in late 2014 from Writer’s Digest. Pre-orders are available at Amazon now if you feel like saving a buck ahead of time. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Weapons-Writers-Practical-Reference/dp/1599638150)

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BENJAMIN SOBIECK is the author of “The Weapons for Writers” (Writer’s Digest, late 2014), the Maynard Soloman detective series and numerous short stories graffitied throughout the Internet and crime anthologies. His website is CrimeFictionBook.com.

Benjamin Sobieck Online: WebsiteAmazon | TwitterGoodreads | Interview

Interview: Tatiana Boncompagni

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I am pleased to present Author Interview #2 with Tatiana Boncompagni: a New York-based journalist and author of the Clyde Shaw mystery series!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

TB: Curious, Athletic, Impatient, Outgoing, Resilient.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your latest book:

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Excerpt: People cheat and people lie. It’s a fact of life I never found particularly newsworthy, except when someone ended up dead. That’s usually where I came in, turning betrayal and blood splatter into TV ratings gold. No Emmys yet, but that just kept me hungry—hungry enough to pick up my phone on a Sunday morning in early November when I ought to have been in deep REM.
Social Death, by Tatiana Boncompagni

Social Death is a breathless thriller that takes the reader deep inside the worlds of television news and glitterati New York.”
— Stuart Woods, New York Times bestselling author of Unintended Consequences

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

“The old saying that some people are ‘born in the wrong cradle’ applies to me. Early on I knew I wasn’t destined to spend the rest of my life in Oklahoma City, where I was born and raised. Still, my steady progression from student to restaurant hostess to salesgirl to collector and philanthropist and, finally, to one of the grande dames of New York is a pretty remarkable story, even if I do say so myself.”
Social Crimes by Jane Stanton Hitchcock

What do you enjoy about the genre in which you write?:

TB: My latest book, Social Death, is a mystery but my past novels, Hedge Fund Wives and Gilding Lily, were women’s fiction. What I like about writing mysteries is that there isn’t so much pressure to make the female protagonist likeable. You hear that word all the time from agents and editors, “Is she likeable?” And while it is true that there are good reasons for a main character to be appealing, I’m more inspired to create characters who aren’t straight-up nice. I like writing characters who are troubled and make flawed decisions, but whose reasons and behavior are still believable and, more importantly, relatable. I think there is more freedom to do that in the mystery genre than in traditional women’s fiction.

It can be very nice to be free from genre tropes and conventions. What is your definition of “good writing”?

TB: Good writing has two components. First are your sentences and second is how you arrange them. Some writers create sentences that convey emotions or atmosphere in a way that is beguilingly beautiful, poetic really. And other writers craft very good stories, often with an interesting or inventive plot structure. Really good writing has both of those components—sentence and structure—down. I think mysteries tend to be better plotted than they are written, but that’s just a generalization. I can name several authors that bowl me over just with their words. Megan Abbott and Lisa Unger are but two examples.

Please share your #1 tip for writers in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre:

TB: Everyone has a different process, so I think it is often hard to give advice. For me what seems to work is allowing myself to write freely just to get into the story and then take a step back to rework the beginning and hammer or plot out the middle and ending. But first, before chaining myself to any given ending or plot twists, I like to give myself the freedom to see where the story and characters take me.

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TATIANA BONCOMPAGNI is an award-winning journalist and the author of Social Death, Hedge Fund Wives and Gilding Lily. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and three children. Her writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Town & Country, InStyle and Vogue.

* Social Death is free on Amazon till May 2nd!

Tatiana Boncompagni Online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | The Book Designer