MysteryPeople, Austin Mystery Writers, and Sisters in Crime Host Free All-Day Workshop

To celebrate Texas Mystery Writers Month, MysteryPeople, along with Austin Mystery Writers and Sisters in Crime, is holding a free workshop for the public on Saturday, May 23rd, starting at 10 AM and going till around 5 PM.  Three of Texas’ top talents of crime fiction will each focus on a certain topic of writing crime fiction.

reavis worthamKicking off the knowledge at 10AM is Reavis Wortham. Reavis is a rising star in the mystery scene, due to his Red River series featuring a group of lawmen and their families in a small Texas town during the Sixties. He’ll be covering the subject of story and plot. You can find copies of Wortham’s books on our shelves and via

les edgertonAt 11:30 AM, we turn it over to Les Edgerton. Les has had stints as a burglar, convict, teacher, and hairdresser as part of his rich life. He’s put many of those experiences to use in his gritty crime novels like The Bitch and The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping. He’s the perfect person to explore the relationship between protagonist and antagonist. You can find copies of Edgerton’s books on our shelves and via

george wierAt 2 PM, after a lunch break, George Wier will take us through the editing process. George has made himself  an online success with his Austin “fixer” Bill Travis. His latest, Murder In Elysium, gives us West Texas sheriff Shane Robeling. You can find copies of George Wier’s books on our shelves and via

At 3:30PM there will be a panel discussion with Les and George to cover any other topics that those attending would like to learn more about. You can come in for individual portions of the workshop or stay the whole day. Books by the authors will be available for sale and signing. Join up and let these professionals teach you some of the tricks from their trade.

All MysteryPeople events are free and open to the public. Check out our newly updated upcoming events list on our blog to find out more about our summer line-up!

Hard Word Book Club takes on Samuel Fuller’s BRAINQUAKE



The Hard Word Book Club will wrap up this year with a hard boiled master of the screen and page, Samuel Fuller. Fuller was best known as a filmmaker with tough guy classics like Pick Up On South Street, Shock Corridor, and The Big Red One. He also wrote several novels, including The Dark Page. Hard Case Crime recently brought one of his last books, Brainquake, to the U.S. for the first time. We will be discussing it and all things Fuller.

Brainquake begins in classic Fuller fashion with a murder by baby. That odd rub-out starts a series of events that put a syndicate bag-man, who suffers from odd brain seizures, and a mob widow on the run from Father Flannigan, a hit man who dresses like a priest and crucifies his victims. It gets even more outrageous with the action moving from New York to France , with several reminders of Fuller films.

We’ll be starting our discussion of Brainquake on our third floor, October 29th at 7PM. After the discussion we’ll be screening The Typewriter, the Rifle, and the Movie Camera, a documentary on Samuel Fuller featuring Tim Robbins, Samuel Fuller, Quentin Tarantino, and Fuller himself. Books are 10% off to those who attend.

We will be taking a break for the holidays, but get ready to come back in January for our discussion of L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy.

MysteryPeople Q&A with Matthew Quirk

matthew quirk
Tonight at 7PM, Matthew Quirk comes to the store to discuss and sign The Directive, the pulse-pounding sequel to The 500. He will be joined by David Hansard for what is sure to be a thrilling evening. Prior to the event, MysteryPeople had the chance to catch up with our author.

MysteryPeople: For you, is The Directive more about Mike Ford being forced to commit a crime or about him trying to get married to Annie?

Matthew Quirk: For a thriller, the main action plot always drives the book, but I was glad I could tightly weave what is going on in Ford’s life into the crimes. I started this book with a challenge for Mike: what if the only way to keep the honest, decent, respectable life you’ve worked so hard to win was to return to the criminal past you left behind? Could he and Annie survive?

MP: A major part of the novel involves ripping off the Fed. How did you prepare for your characters taking on such a high security area?

MQ: I learned to pick locks myself. To map out the main action, I spoke with red team security experts, hackers, lockpickers and Fed insiders to map out what a true-to-life 21st century heist would look like. I also “cased” the Fed in person, and was able to access a high-security floor without being challenged. I was surprised I managed it, and then had one of those moments where you say, “Oh damn. This isn’t a novel. I’ve got to get out of here.”

MP: You’ve always put Mike with his family. What attracted you to this aspect of him?

MQ: It makes the novels much more real, and the suspense more grounded, when the main character has a family and an everyday life that readers and I can relate to. It also lets me draw on what I have happening in my own life for the books.

MP: What do you enjoy most about writing in the genre?

MQ: In college, my creative writing courses were mostly literary, domestic realism, the kind of fiction you see in The New Yorker. Then when I went to The Atlantic, I was surrounded by a lot of incredibly compelling stories from politics and foreign affairs and rediscovered how great a thrilling, fast-paced narrative can be. That turned me on to writing thrillers, which I had grown up reading. I love being able to blend action and real-life reporting to make a compelling story.

MP: As a writer what makes Mike Ford worth coming back to?

MQ: I like that he’s an everyman for the most part. He reacts to these dangerous situations in the same way I think a lot of us would. He doesn’t go on and on about what a tough guy he is, but always steps up when things get dicey. He also has these cool skills of confidence games and lockpicking which are fascinating to research and write about and learn how to do myself. Writing in his voice is very easy and natural for me. In the end, I just like hanging out with him and seeing what sort of trouble he gets into.

Matthew Quirk will be here TONIGHT, 6/5 at 7PM speaking and signing copies of The Directive. Books are available on our shelves at BookPeople and via

Austin Mystery Writers to Host Free Writing Workshop

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.