David Morrell, author of FIRST BLOOD, the novel which was later made into Rambo movies, has 25 books, 18-million copies in print. Morrell says, “The index of a good novel can be measured by how much the reader feels compelled to turn to the next page.”
Jonathan Kellerman, has 37 published books including 4 non-fiction titles. Kellerman says “When a thriller is done poorly it is because writers fail to set up characters or threat.” In his presentation on suspense, he gave as an outstanding example THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (an Alfred Hitchcock movie starring Jimmy Stewart & Doris Day).
Tony Hillerman, author of Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn series, has 27 books, four have been made into TV movies and broadcast on PBS. Hillerman says the essence of a good mystery/suspense is two things: (1) characters that the reader cares about and (2) the troubles that these characters are struggling to overcome.
by Harry Haines, (taken from notes at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference a few years ago.)