Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chatting with Thriller Authors Joe Moore and Lynn Sholes, Pt. II

Interview by Jodie Renner of the co-authors of The Blade and other thrillers.

See yesterday's Part I – The Challenges and Rewards of Co-Authoring a Novel.                                  

JR: Learning to write compelling fiction of the caliber you two accomplish must take years of study and practice – as well as talent, of course! Do either of you ever go back and read your earliest writings?  What’s your reaction?
Lynn: Yuck. Yes. When I first decided to take writing seriously, I wrote a book called TALISMAN ROSE, mostly to see if I could sustain about 100,000 words. I wrote it on a typewriter, which convinced me to get a computer and printer. Well, I discovered that I could write my way through 100,000 words. But that manuscript rests in a box I never intend to show anyone, high in the closet. Every time I write a book, I learn something new. Sometimes I look back in horror and slap my forehead asking myself, Did you really do that?

JR: Did you have any mentors who helped you learn your craft?
Lynn: Hundreds.  Let me explain. One day my husband commented on how many books I have on shelves and suggested I get rid of some of them.  I asked him to follow me, and I led him out to the garage and asked him to look at all the stuff (probably called it junk) he had—all the drills and wrenches, saws, screwdrivers, etc. and politely suggested that he clear out some of that. He was mortified. “But those are my tools,” he said. I answered, “Exactly. That’s what my books are to me. My tools.” There are tons of times I have had a scene in my head but have had no personal experience related to what I wanted to write—like a fistfight, or a car chase, or holding someone I loved in my arms as they bled out and died.  That’s when I go to my shelves and see how other authors handled that kind of scene.  I study the passages for sentence structure, rhythm, word choice, punctuation—all things related to the craft the author used.  I read as many as I can find.  That builds my repertoire that I pick and choose from when I write that scene I had in my head.  Essentially, I have the cream of the crop writers as my mentors and they are available 24/7.

JR: Back to your most recent thriller, THE BLADE – as I was editing it, I could really visualize it as a box-office hit movie. As I mentioned in Part I, I really loved your characters Maxine Decker and Kenny Gates. And Reverend Applewhite was so creepy! If it was made into a movie, who would you choose to play Maxine, Kenny and Applewhite?
Joe: I see Naomi Watts as Maxine, Jude Law as Kenny, and Brian Cox as Applewhite.
Lynn: Maxine –Julianna Moore, Kenny – Hugh Jackman, Applewhite – Tommy Lee Jones or William H. Macy?

JR: You two have published a lot of novels! And they’re selling very well. Do you have any advice you’d give to writers trying to break into the industry?
Joe: There are no shortcuts. No silver bullets. No secret handshakes. Just write the best book you can and once you’re done, find an experienced freelance editor who specializes in your genre, like Jodie Renner, to go over it with a fine-toothed comb while you start planning the next one.
JR: Thanks, Joe! And I agree about the importance of finding an editor who specializes in your genre. A nonfiction editor or someone who doesn’t even read your genre for pleasure is not a good choice to help you fine-tune and polish your novel to captivate readers and garner great reviews.

JR: Joe, as you mentioned in your recent post on The Kill Zone blog, this is your first venture into indie publishing. Joe and Lynn, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of going the indie route? Do you find that authors are doing more and more of the work that publishers used to do?
Joe: With the advent of indie publishing, writers have become a self-contained business and must handle most or all of the facets of sales and marketing. It takes away from writing time, but it’s also liberating and fulfilling. And with publishing The Blade ourselves, we enjoyed the direct contact and ongoing back-and-forth communication with you as our editor.
Lynn: I have found that more is expected from writers now than when my first book came out in 1991, especially in the marketing and promotion arenas. But the entire publishing industry has gone through tremendous change.

JR: And it’s continuing to change. I find more and more of my clients are choosing to publish their novels themselves, and are enjoying the control they have over the process – not to mention more frequent payments! Personally, I love that I can go in and update my e-books on Amazon-Kindle, and in 12 hours or less, the new version is up there for sale!

Thanks for dropping by Crime Fiction Collective, Lynn and Joe. Readers are in for a real treat with this fast-paced roller-coaster ride! Kudos to you both on collaborating together to create a stellar novel! I enjoyed playing a small part in the final editing.
And I can’t wait to see what you two come up with next…

Readers and writers - Do you have any questions for Lynn and Joe?
Lynn Sholes & Joe Moore are the international bestselling authors of THE GRAIL CONSPIRACY (#1 Amazon Kindle bestseller), THE LAST SECRET, THE HADES PROJECT, THE 731 LEGACY, THE PHOENIX APOSTLES (#1 Amazon Kindle bestseller), and their latest, THE BLADE. Their thrillers have been translated into 24 languages including Chinese, Russian and Greek. Visit them at:

Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor specializing in thrillers and other crime fiction, and she also writes craft-of-fiction articles and books. Jodie’s website: Jodie’s books: Writing a Killer Thriller and Style that Sizzles & Pacing for Power.


  1. Thanks again, Jodie, for featuring Lynn and I at the CFC. To answer your question: What's next? Max returns in THE SHIELD. Former OSI federal agent Maxine Decker is recruited by a blacker than black government operation to track down the theft of alien artifacts originally collected from the 1947 Roswell Incident. Stay tuned.

  2. Max is back? Yay! That's exciting news, Joe! I can't wait to read about Maxine's next adventures! (And maybe even edit it too, hint, hint. ;) )

  3. Max is different from Cotten Stone. She's been around the block as an OSI agent and is older than Cotten. She has her own baggage, but she's tough and resourceful.

  4. Lynn, I loved your tool analogy. Gotta remember that one should I need it in the future.

    Continued success to you both!


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