Yesterday, those fine folks at Simon & Schuster opened their doors to a group of bloggers for a panel discussion with four authors. I don’t think I’ve ever seen four more different (and yet similar – in, for example, the sense of craft underlying their work that came across from all) writers together on the same panel. Here’s who they were:
I’ll read most sorts of fiction, but it is fair to say that Rebecca Chance writes the kind of books that aren’t for me. She was fabulous in the discussion, though.
The other writers on the panel were all first-time novelists. Penny Hancock’s book is a psychological thriller about a middle-aged woman who becomes infatuated with a teenage boy, to the point that she holds him captive in her garage. I read about half of Tideline on the train home, and it’s intriguing so far.
Lloyd Shepherd piqued my interest in his historical mystery The English Monster when he talked about being influenced by horror/speculative fiction; though his mention of Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Trilogy made me a little wary – the proof will be in the reading.
The Bellwether Revivals was a book I’d already pegged as one to read; if it hadn’t been, I suspect that hearing Benjamin Wood speak here would have encouraged me to pick it up. Comparisons with Donna Tartt, and a synopsis mentioning a brilliant student conducting medical experiments with Baroque music, sound promising. It’s a very nicely designed volume, too.
After the panel came an opportunity to mingle… and browse a few books. As well as the Hancock, Shepherd, and Wood books, I earmarked copies of Edward Hogan’s The Hunger Trace (about which some of my fellow-bloggers have been very enthusiastic); Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles (a hotly-tipped title which falls squarely at the mainstream-speculative intersection that interests me); and The Humorist by Russell Kane (who I’m hoping will, like Mark Watson, prove to be a comedian with a flair for fiction).
Thanks to all at S&S, and the writers, for a fine event!