Our favorite characters in crime, mystery, thriller, and horror writing often go above, around, or beyond the law — some also breaking the “laws” of nature. In this panel, former and practicing lawyers turned crime writers, and writers with deep understanding of criminal and natural law, discuss their research and process for writing believable, compelling crime. Join scholar of Native American issues, law and political science, and author of the multi award-winning debut Winter Counts, David Heska Wanbli Weiden; novelist and lawyer best known for the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas Adventures series of romantic, humorous mystery novels, Deborah Coonts; 25 year L.A. trial lawyer turned writer of the Jack MacTaggart series of legal mysteries, Chuck Greaves; New York Times best-selling author of the Detective Betty series, Kathleen Kent; and author of the forthcoming Unweildy Creatures, a queer gender reversal retelling of Frankenstein, Addie Tsai in getting the goods on lawlessness, villainy, misdeeds, and justice in some our favorite books.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is author of the novel WINTER COUNTS (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020). WINTER COUNTS, an IndieBound bestseller, is a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Amazon, Sun Sentinel, LitReactor, CrimeReads, Deadly Pleasures, Air Mail, MysteryPeople, and BOLO Books. The book was also selected as an Amazon Best Mystery and Thriller of the year, an Indie Next pick, Best Noir Fiction and Best Debut of the Year as well as a Notable Selection for Best Crime Novel by CrimeReads. The novel was a main selection of the Book of the Month Club, Best of the Month by Apple Books, and was the November choice of the BuzzFeed Book Club and the AWP Virtual Book Club.
Kathleen Kent is a New York Times bestselling author and a two-time Edgar Award Nominee for her contemporary crime novels, The Dime and The Burn. The Washington Post writes of the series, “Raymond Chandler praised Dashiell Hammett for taking crime fiction out of the drawing room and into the streets. With Betty Rhyzyk, Kathleen Kent brings those mean streets to life as excitingly as anybody has in years.” The third Det. Betty book, titled The Pledge, will be released Nov. 2021. Ms. Kent is also the author of three award-winning historical novels, The Heretic’s Daughter, The Traitor’s Wife, and The Outcasts. She has written short stories and essays for D Magazine, Texas Monthly and LitHub, and has been published in the crime anthology Dallas Noir. In March 2020 she was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters for her contribution to Texas literature.
Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear Twin. Unwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.
Deborah Coonts swears she was switched at birth. Coming from a family of homebodies, Deborah is the odd woman out, happiest with a passport, a high-limit credit card, her computer, and changing scenery outside her window. Goaded by an insatiable curiosity, she flies airplanes, rides motorcycles, travels the world, and pretends to be more of a badass than she probably is. Deborah is the author of the Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure series, a romantic mystery romp through Sin City. Wanna Get Lucky?, the first in the series, was a New York Times Notable Crime Novel and a double RITA™ Award Finalist. She has also penned the Kate Sawyer Medical Thriller series, the Brinda Rose Humorous Mystery series, as well as a couple of standalones. Although often on an adventure, you can always track her down at www.deborahcoonts.com.
Chuck Greaves has been a finalist for most of the major awards in crime fiction including the Shamus, Macavity, Lefty, and Audie, as well as the New Mexico-Arizona, Oklahoma, and Colorado Book Awards, the CAL Award for Fiction, and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. He is the author of six novels, most recently Tom & Lucky (Bloomsbury), a Wall Street Journal “Best Books of 2015” selection, and Church of the Graveyard Saints (Torrey House), the six-city “Four Corners/One Book” community reading selection for 2019-2020. Chuck’s screenwriting debut “Badwater” is currently in production in Los Angeles. You can visit him at www.chuckgreaves.com.