Lee Child and Laurie R. King with Gary Phillips and Jacqueline Winspear - How to Write a Mystery (Online Event)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 6:00pm

Tuesday, May 4th • Online

Live • 6:00pm PT/9:00pm ET • $40

In conversation with Gary Phillips and Jacqueline Winspear

Purchase a ticket for this event and receive a complimentary signed copy of How to Write a Mystery, delivered right to your door!


From the most successful mystery writers in the business, an invaluable guide to crafting mysteries—from character development and plot to procedurals and thrillers—a must-have for every aspiring mystery writer.

Mystery Writers of America (MWA) is known for providing unparalleled resources on the craft, art, and business of storytelling, helping writers of all levels improve their skills for nearly a century. Now, this new handbook helps authors navigate the ever-shifting publishing landscape—from pacing, plotting, the business side of publishing, to the current demand for diversity and inclusivity across all genres, and more.

Featuring essays by a new generation of bestselling experts on various elements of the craft and shorter pieces of crowd-sourced wisdom from the MWA membership as a whole, the topics covered can be categorized as follows:

  • Before Writing (rules; genres; setting; character; research; etc.)
  • While Writing (outlining; the plot; dialogue; mood; etc.)
  • After Writing (agents; editors; self-pub; etc.)
  • Other than Novels (short stories; true crime; etc.)
  • Other Considerations (diverse characters; legal questions; criticism)

Also included is a collection of essays from MWA published authors—including Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, and Charlaine Harris—selected by bestselling authors Lee Child and Laurie King and arranged thematically answering, “What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d had at the beginning of your career?”

Highly anticipated and incredibly useful, this new and trusted guide from MWA’s experts provides practical, current, easily digestible advice for new and established authors alike.

Previously a television director, union organizer, theatre technician and law student, Lee Child is the author of the bestselling Jack Reacher series.

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes novels, five Kate Martinellis, two Stuyvesant-Greys, five standalones, various short stories and novellas, and edited a number of anthologies and nonfiction works.  She has won the Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, Lambda, Wolfe, Macavity, Creasey dagger, and Romantic Times Career Achievement awards, has an honorary doctorate, and is a Baker Street Irregular.

Jacqueline Winspear is author of the New York Times bestsellers A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, Among the Mad, An Incomplete Revenge, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Journey to Munich, In This Grave Hour, To Die But Once, and her latest in the Maisie Dobbs series, The Conseqeunces of Fear; as well as What Would Maisie Do?, a non-fiction book based upon the series; and her memoir, This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing. In addition, her recent published essays include "Writing About War," for which she interviewed writers including Kate Atkinson, Rhys Bowen, Jeff Shaara, and Adam Hochschild, exploring the impact of writing about war on the author; and "Women On Fire," about women working in wildfire management. Her essay on writing the historical mystery will appear in the upcoming anthology/handbook from Mystery Writers of America, How To Write A Mystery, edited by Lee Child (April 2021). Winspear has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for Maisie Dobbs, which was also nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book.

Gary Phillips is the son of a mechanic and a librarian. He was weaned on too many comic books, Dashiell Hammett stories, reruns of the original Twilight Zone, and experiences ranging from community organizer to delivering dog cages. His 1950s-set graphic novel the Be-Bop Barbarians riffs on race relations, jazz, police brutality, and the Red Scare. His novel Violent Spring was the first such mystery set in the aftermath of the 1992 civil unrest, and he edited the Anthony award-winning anthology, The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir. He is story editor on FX's Snowfall, about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central where he grew up. Visit him at gdphillips.com.


Lee Child photo by Tasha Alexander; Laurie R. King photo by Josh Edelson; Gary Phillips photo courtesy of author; Jacqueline Winspear photo by Stephanie Mohan