Well, there were five folks in the audience for my talk. One of them was Lana. Nevertheless, I thought it went pretty well. Everyone seemed interested and involved, and there were a lot of good, fun questions after. The entire audience was female as well. Maybe I need to redirect my writing focus. Some would say that my stuff appeals more to males than females, although I believe women often enjoy a good adventure tale as much as any man. As I was talking about my books, the eldest lady there, who was probably in her sixties, commented that Cold in the Light sounded like her kind of book, and she bought a copy after. I told her it was pretty gory so I hope she doesn’t blanche too hard when she gets to some of the slaughtering.
One thing I talked about was how it’s OK to open books with what I call “Quick” suspense, but that to keep the reader very long you soon have to introduce “Slow” suspense. Quick suspense is when you open with an action scene like: someone (often a child) is trapped in a burning building and another person is rushing into the flames to try to save them. Although the reader may be caught by this scenario, they won’t be held long because they don’t know anything about the characters. Slow suspense comes about when people care about the characters, and then anything—even something small—that threatens the character will create suspense.
Under certain circumstances, the kind of Quick suspense I just described can also produce a sense of Slow suspense. But only if the reader already knows and likes the character. This means that sequels or series can have a built in advantage in the suspense department. At least it seems so to me.
I’ll leave you with a couple of pics of my talk. I tried to get Lana to photoshop some pictures of folks like Steve Malley and Wayne Allen Sallee and Sidney Williams into the seats to make it look like my audience was bigger, but she said her computer couldn’t handle the visual overload. I understand. I understand.