Tips for Writing Thrillers from Chris Karlsen, Author of 'Silk'

Every author has their own rules when it comes to thrillers no matter what period of place they are set. Here are a few I keep in mind.

**Make sure your protagonist and antagonist are worthy of each other in intellect and cleverness—think Professor Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes, or Auric Goldfinger and James Bond.

**Don't rely on a convenient shortcut to get a character out of danger—no suddenly unlocked doors where there hadn't been or would be, no miraculous self defense maneuvers/martial arts abilities not shown or mentioned until the characters life is at stake. No handy nail files discovered on the floor to unpick cuffs etc.

**Avoid two-dimensional villains, the antagonist should be as evolved and complex in his or her own way as the protagonist. They may not share as much page time as the protagonist but they need to be more than just "pure evil." They need some kind of motivation for their actions.

**Let the main characters surprise the reader. The villain can do an unexpected act of kindness and the hero/heroine can lie or do something out of character. Whatever it is that the hero/heroine does should have some negative or dangerous effect on them as a character or on the plot.

**Show the hero/heroine's thought process as they move to capture the villain(s).

**Lure the reader into thinking one thing and then flip it on its head.

**Make the reader wait—don't give them everything up front, make them figure stuff out.


Title: Silk                  
Genre: Thriller
Author: Chris Karlsen
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Purchase on Amazon


London-Fall, 1888

The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum's beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.

Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they'd better be right and have proof.

As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.


Chris is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. Her father was a history professor and her mother a voracious reader. She grew up with a love of history and books.

Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she'd read about and that fascinated her. She's had the good fortune to travel Europe extensively, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States.

After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She currently writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and he latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.

She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.

1 comment:

  1. I want to thank Writer's Life e Magazine for this opportunity to showcase Silk and chat about thrillers.
    Chris Karlsen


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