Killer Nashville’s very own Maria Giordano sat down to interview Guest of Honor and best-selling author, M. William Phelps, this week. They discuss the upcoming Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference where Phelps will be speaking on true crime writing, the most recent and early books written by Phelps, and Phelps’ own writing process, and how he remains open to opportunity to write another day.
Happy Reading! And until next time, read like someone is burning the books!
Killer Nashville Guest of Honor M. William Phelps Remains Open to Opportunity
By Maria Giordano
Award-winning investigative journalist M. William Phelps is the New York Times best-selling author of 30 books, winner of the 2013 Excellence in (Investigative) Journalism Award, and now a Guest of Honor at the 2015 Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference October 29-November 1.
Also a crime, murder, and serial killer expert, in addition to creator, producer, writer, and former host of the Investigation Discovery series Dark Minds, Phelps will meet with Killer Nashville Founder Clay Stafford for an interview, and will be recognized during the four-day conference and its culminating Guest of Honor & Awards Dinner October 31 at the Omni Nashville Hotel.
Phelps will be honored alongside authors John Gilstrap and Robert K. Tanenbaum, who are also 2015 Killer Nashville Guests of Honor. The trio of authors join past honored alums such as Peter Straub, Anne Perry, and Jeffery Deaver.
“Just being part of the true crime world, I stay on top of most of the conferences/conventions. And my editor, Michaela Hamilton, has always praised Killer Nashville as one of the top genre conventions of the year,” Phelps said in an interview about the Killer Nashville conference. “Conventions hold a particular place in my heart. Early on, attending a conference changed my focus.”
Phelps will be a featured presenter during a conference breakout session, where he will share how he started down the true crime writing path.
“As I began to work on my first book, Perfect Poison, which is about a female serial killer, it felt as though I had found my place,” he said. “I was comfortable investigating and writing about the subject. I’m a guy from the streets. I grew up hard. I was actually writing about music when I discovered true crime.”
Phelps’ latest true crime novel, To Love and To Kill, will be released by Pinnacle in September. It follows the missing-persons case of Heather Strong, a young, beautiful suburban mother, whose case baffled Florida detectives. The trail leads a veteran investigator to a sordid triangle of relationships further blighted by jealousy and rage.
He is also a regularly recurring expert on two long-running cable series, Deadly Women and Snapped. Radio America calls Phelps “the nation’s leading authority on the mind of the female murderer,” and TV Rage says, “M. William Phelps dares to tread where few others will: into the mind of a killer.”
Phelps doesn’t consider his cable television work a transition; rather, a path for which he made himself available.
“A major part of my career path was listening to the writing gods and knowing where I belonged,” he said. “Passion plays a central role in this. You must be passionate about what you’re doing. I’ve written 31 nonfiction books now…and every morning I still get up at 4:30 a.m. with the same energy and excitement to write another day. I pinch myself. I’m a very grateful guy. The television part comes with being ready and willing to always move forward when opportunity arises. Television is a bonus. The real work is the investigating and the writing about my findings, giving victims of crime their rightful place.”
A respected journalist, Phelps has written for numerous publications, including the Providence Journal, Connecticut Magazine, and Hartford Courant and consulted on the first season of the hit Showtime cable television series Dexter.
Phelps grew up in East Hartford, CT, and later moved to Vernon, CT. He now lives in a reclusive Connecticut farming community north of Hartford.
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(To be a part of the Killer Nashville Guest Blog, send a query to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks to Tom Wood, Maria Giordano, Will Chessor, Emily Eytchison, and publisher/editorial director Clay Stafford for their assistance in putting together this week’s blog. And for more writer resources, visit us at www.KillerNashville.com, www.KillerNashvilleMagazine.com, and www.KillerNashvilleBookCon.com.)