Every Story Is a Mystery


Dale T. Phillips
A Memory of Grief, Sunday, October 17 | virtual

Dale Phillips has published novels, story collections, non-fiction, and over seventy short stories. Stephen King was Phillips's college writing teacher, and since then, Phillips has found time to appear on stage, television, radio, in an independent feature film, and compete on Jeopardy! (losing in spectacular fashion). He's a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. He's traveled to all fifty states, Mexico, Canada, and through Europe.

Sarah Smith
Crimes and Survivors, Sunday, October 17 |Sunday, October 24 | virtual

"When my niece went to college," Sarah Smith says, "she had to deal with being African American but not brought up in a 'normal' African American culture. I listened to her talk about stereotyping. Being me, I wrote a book." In Crimes and Survivors, set in 1912, a young woman who has always thought she was white finds out that her grandfather may not be. She follows her grandfather onto the newest, biggest steamer in the world, hoping to learn an easy truth. But what she finds on Titanic is not what race she is, but who she might be—and what she has to do about it. Smith's internationally bestselling mysteries have won the Agatha and the Massachusetts Book Award. They've been named New York Times Books of the Year twice, Waterstone's Book of the Year, Entertainment Weekly Editor's Choice, and many other things that make her happy. She's happiest when she's writing or meeting readers.

Steve Rogers
Shot to Death, Sunday, October 17 | virtual


Stephen D. Rogers is the author of Shot to Death and more than eight hundred shorter works. His website includes a list of new and upcoming titles as well as other timely information.

Joanna Schaffhausen
Gone for Good, Sunday, October 17 | virtual

Joanna Schaffhausen wields a mean scalpel, skills she developed in her years studying neuroscience. She has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain―how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. Previously, she worked as a scientific editor in the field of drug development. Prior to that, she was an editorial producer for ABC News, writing for programs such as World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and 20/20. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter.


Crafting suspense novels doesn’t have to be a mystery! In this session sponsored by Mystery Writers of America–New England, mystery authors Dale T. Phillips, Joanna Schaffhausen, and Sarah Smith will break down the elements of compelling fiction and creative nonfiction, including the lure of the unknown, the urge to find solutions, and the craving for answers. They’ll share their techniques for hiding and revealing secrets, creating suspense, using plot reversals and twists, and misleading through point-of-view characters. Bring your notebook (detective or otherwise) and your questions for this panel of experienced mystery writers, led by host Steve Rogers.

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