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Suspense Author Jennifer Mattox
24 Sep 2013
Published To
The Kentucky Foundation for Women provided near-full funding for me to attend the ThrillerFest conference July 10-13 in New York City. As the conference website proclaims, “ThrillerFest brings hundreds of New York Times-bestselling authors to the table, along with editors, publishers, and nearly 50 world-class literary agents.” They do not disappoint.
This conference provided everything I needed as a writer of suspense/thrillers, all in one place. I attended a day and a half of craft seminars focusing on writing the genre well, along with two days of panels and interviews with bestselling and award-winning thriller writers and literary professionals. I participated in a 3-hour pitch session during which I made nine pitches and received nine positive responses from literary agents, a publisher, and a movie producer. There were also networking events tied to the conference, where I could meet other conference participants as well as the featured authors. While there, I saw international bestselling thriller writer Steve Berry and his wife Elizabeth, who is the International Thriller Writer Assoc. Executive Director—both whom I’m met previously at a workshop they taught in Lexington, KY. Elizabeth recognized me at ThrillerFest and acted as my advocate during the conference--introducing me to people, inquiring about my agent sessions, and pointing me out to a room full of 500 people as one of their former students!
This conference has had a profound impact on me as a suspense writer. In addition to the improvements I’ve seen in my writing, some of the authors I met there encouraged me to remain in contact with them after the conference. Since then, bestselling authors Andrew Gross, Heather Graham, and Daniel Palmer have provided writing critiques and advice. In all, I forged important relationships that are extremely difficult to obtain for an aspiring suspense writer.
I’m still waiting to hear from some of the agents and the editor I pitched to at the conference, but in all, I made a significant step toward becoming published.

The attached image is of me with author Andrew Gross, an international bestselling author who, after meeting me at the conference, has maintained correspondence and provided some writer mentoring on my novel’s first three chapters. It's an opportunity that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't gone to ThrillerFest.

The artist or arts organization telling this story was supported in part by a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. KFW is based on the belief that when women and girls advance, so does Kentucky. For more information about the foundation and the social change artmaking being done by the individuals and organizations it supports, visit www.kfw.org." 
Fiction Cross-Cultural Empowerment Rural-Urban Women Books/Writing Conference/Lecture Northeast Southeast Writer Suspense ThrillerFest
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