Austin Mystery Writers is a group that has been operating in our city under the radar for some time. It made some major strides in the last few months, launching a brand new website and putting together a free writing class with three acclaimed Texas authors. That class is happening here at BookPeople this Saturday, November 9 at 9:30am. We talked to spokesperson Lara Oles about the group.
MYSTERYPEOPLE: In a nutshell, what is Austin Mystery Writers?
LARA OLES: Austin Mystery Writers is dedicated to creating, promoting and exploring the craft of crime fiction. Acclaimed author Karen MacInerney founded Austin Mystery Writers in 2003 when she submitted an ad to the Writers’ League of Texas newsletter at two in the morning and hasn’t stopped writing since. The group has since grown to include a tight-knit group of writers meeting weekly to discuss, critique and analyze their currents works in progress.
MP: What are some of your goals?
LO: First and foremost, we are committed to strengthening our story-telling skills and learning the art and science of creating crime fiction. Gathering as a group is important, as writing is largely a solitary existence. We keep one another accountable and the momentum helps us move our projects forward, in part, because we know our members are counting on us to produce work regularly.
We also strive to support the writing community and local authors whenever possible. We’ve recently expanded our efforts to include special events and will also work to support other groups and conferences in any way we can.
MP: Will this be helpful to writers who are not Austinites?
LO: Absolutely! Even though we are based in Austin and support local writers and events, our focus includes outreach to mystery readers and writers everywhere. We enjoy conversing with other writers and writing groups regardless of their location. Thanks to social media and online networking, we enjoy being able to share ideas, tips, interviews and anything related to crime fiction with others who wish to hone their craft or simply search for a new talented author to read.
We also hope to share information regarding writers’ events including courses, workshops, conferences and other happening in the Lone Star State and beyond.
MP: You have an event you’re presenting with three authors here on November 9th. Could you tell us about that?
LO: Our first event involves hosting a free crime-writing workshop at BookPeople, our favorite fiction haunt, and we’re so pleased to have secured Karen MacInerney, Reavis Z. Wortham and Janice Hamrick as expert instructors. They each bring a great deal to the table and we know our attendees are going to take home practical tips and advice they can put to use immediately.
Each author will be sharing a specific specialty and the program is designed to appeal to both mystery readers and writers. Our panel of highly-acclaimed mystery novelists will give attendees the inside scoop on what it takes to create some of today’s most memorable mysteries. Janice Hamrick, Karen MacInerney and Reavis Z. Wortham will cover topics ranging from plotting and characterization to how to balance action and humor in crime fiction.
We also have some special goodies for our guests. The first 25 attendees will receive a free Austin Mystery Writers notepad and pen set. We will also have a raffle for other items including signed books, AMW tote bags and more. It’s a half-day event–perfect enough to still fit in a busy schedule–and what better way to spend the first half of your Saturday?
It’s scheduled for Saturday, November 9th. Doors open at 9am and the first class starts at 9:30. You can see the entire schedule and our workshop flyer on our Facebook page.
MP: What is the best way to stay updated by AMW?
LO: We’re just getting our communication efforts off the ground since we have previously been a small private group of writers, but we are updating our Facebook page regularly and we also have a blog that includes event updates, book reviews and convention coverage (Malice Domestic 2013). We will continue to add articles, tips and other content from our members. It can be found here.
The free writing workshop will be held in BookPeople’s third floor event space on Saturday, November 9 at 9:30am. All are welcome to attend, no registration is necessary. For more information, visit BookPeople’s website.