Monday, September 25, 2006

The Killer Collective

Crime-fiction fans who’ve been off-planet for the last few months and haven’t heard a peep about the Killer Year might be forgiven for thinking there’s something in the water. There’d have to be, right? What else would account for this groundswell of interest in a bunch of writers that no one has ever heard about? The answer, really, is in initiative and cooperation.

“Fiction is a crowded market,” says J.T. Ellison, one of the founding members of Killer Year. “By working together, we hope to reach a larger audience than we could alone.”

It’s working. Though it started simply enough this past May, with four fledgling authors--Brett Battles, Ellison, Jason Pinter, and Sandra Ruttan--the Killer Year collective has grown in both size and sophistication.

There are now 14 Killer Year authors and the collective has evolved to include a mentoring program that is fostered under the sheltering arm of the International Thriller Writers, itself a young organization that has quickly grown to wield a great deal of influence.

In a well-considered posting today on her blog, M.J. Rose, ITW’s marketing chair, says that, from first blush, she identified strongly with the Killer Year concept. “Once upon a time--be it 25 years ago or last year--each and every one of ITW’s more than 400 members was [a] debut novelist.”

According to Rose, ITW has essentially adopted the Killer Year authors and 14 ITW members--Allison Brennan, Ken Bruen, Lee Child, Douglas Clegg, Jeff Deaver, Anne Frasier, Tess Gerritsen, Harley Jane Kozak, Joe R. Lansdale, Gayle Lynds, David Morrell, Cornelia Read, Jim Rollins, and Duane Swierczynski--have each committed to mentoring one of the fledglings. Other ITW initiatives will follow, including a Killer Year breakfast at the ThrillerFest 2007 in New York City.

The current Killer Year 14 are:

Brett Battles (The Cleaner), Robert Gregory Browne (Kiss Her Good-Bye), Bill Cameron (Lost Dog), Toni McGee Causey (Bobbie Faye’s Very (very, very, very) Bad Day), Sean Chercover (Big City, Bad Blood), J.T. Ellison (All the Pretty Girls), Patry Francis (The Liar’s Diary), Marc Lecard (Vinnie’s Head), Derek Nikitas (Pyres), Gregg Olsen (A Wicked Snow), Jason Pinter (The Mark), Sandra Ruttan, (Suspicious Circumstances), Marcus Sakey (The Blade Itself), and Dave White (When One Man Dies).

It will be interesting to watch the development of this collective over the coming years. In the meantime, a newly polished Killer Year Web site launches today.

1 comment:

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Thanks for the nod, Linda. The Killer Year crew is looking forward to a wonderful 2007.