How to Write a Thriller That Sells

14 October 2023

Course details

Course begins: 14 October 2023
Course ends: 14 October 2023
Venue: Online
Location: Online
Provider: Aevitas Creative Management
Capacity: Unlimited
Fee: $35 – 89

Course description

Do you want to transform your thriller ideas into finished manuscripts that win publishing deals and sell?

Explore the art of writing a compulsively readable novel in this Thriller Writing Seminar led by Catherine Ryan Howard, the award-winning author of six bestselling thrillers.

Writing a gripping thriller that achieves publication success often hinges on the execution of a killer idea. But the gap between concept and execution can be daunting. In this Thriller Writing Seminar with Catherine Ryan Howard, internationally bestselling author of six novels including The Trap, 56 Days, and The Nothing Man, you’ll be guided through the mechanisms that create a truly compelling read, from crafting your suspenseful storyline to delivering it effectively to the reader.

During this seminar, Catherine will share tips on her approach to writing and her creative process. Sara O’Keefe, literary agent at Aevitas Creative Management, and Tim O’ Connell, Editorial Director of Fiction at Simon & Schuster, will also share their perspective on what agents and publishers are actively looking for.

This seminar, full of helpful insights, practical advice, and industry intelligence, will equip you with the knowledge and motivation you need to transform your ideas into bestselling books.

Seminar hosts

Catherine Ryan Howard (Bestselling Author)

Catherine Ryan Howard is an award-winning, internationally bestselling writer of seven novels. 56 Days, her lockdown thriller, was named Best Thriller of the Year by the New York Times and the Washington Post, who called it ‘as good as suspense fiction gets’. It was chosen as Barnes and Noble’s Mystery and Thriller Monthly Pick in August 2022 and is currently being developed for screen by Amazon Studios/Atomic Monster. Her other work has been shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Crime Writers Association (UK) John Creasey New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, and longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, the world’s most valuable annual literary prize. Her thriller Run Time was an Indie Next Pick in September 2022. She is published in 19 languages and has had three no. 1 bestsellers in her native Ireland. Her latest novel, inspired by a series of real unsolved disappearances in her native Ireland, is The Trap.

Sara O’Keeffe (Agent, Aevitas Creative Management)

Sara O’ Keeffe is a literary agent at Aevitas Creative Management representing literary, reading group, and genre fiction authors. She has twenty years of experience in the world of publishing, having worked with a host of major brand name novelists. She worked on Kevin Kwan’s international bestseller, Crazy Rich Asians, as well as Robert Ludlum’s hugely successful Bourne series. She acquired and published the bestselling cult hit Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell which spent six weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and has worked with Catherine Ryan Howard since her debut hit, Distress Signals.

Tim O’ Connell (Editorial Director, Fiction, Simon & Schuster)

Tim O’Connell joined Simon & Schuster (S&S) in 2021 as Editorial Director for fiction. Prior to joining S&S, Tim worked in the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for more than fifteen years. While publishing across genres and formats, he has sought to champion unique voices from a wide spectrum. He has edited numerous bestselling and award-winning authors including Charles Yu, who won the National Book Award for Fiction for the novel Interior Chinatown and Omar El Akkad’s What Strange Paradise, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Award—as well as Naomi Alderman, Chuck Palahniuk, Ted Chiang, Clémence Michallon, Jennine Capó Crucet, Shaun Hamill, Kyle Dillion Hertz, and Sergio de La Pava, and many others.

This seminar is for …

– Writers of any skill level and with any amount of experience in the craft
– Aspiring authors seeking to understand the perspectives of thriller agents, editors, and publishers, and the creative process of a successful thriller author
– Published authors who want to hear leading industry experts’ cutting edge-advice in order to improve the quality and commercial success of their book writing


– Introduction to the thriller seminar [2:00PM – 2:05PM, EST] – Kate Mack (COO, Aevitas Creative Management)
– How to structure thriller writing that sells [2:05PM – 2:30PM, EST] – Sara O’Keefe (Agent, Aevitas Creative Management)
– Lessons learned as a bestselling thriller author [2:30PM – 3:00PM, EST] – Catherine Ryan Howard (Author)
– Secrets to writing thriller fiction that gets published [3:00PM – 3:20PM, EST] – Tim O’Connell (Publisher, Simon & Schuster)
– Audience Q&A (Moderated) [3:20PM – 3:50PM, EST]

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