For novelists, must religion always be a clash?

I’m a member of International Thriller Writers which is a group of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as thrillers. At last summer’s Thrillerfest Conference in New York City I had a chat with Nelson DeMille and was astonished to learn that he writes his books in longhand. But hey, it worked for Hemingway who apparently wrote all his description in longhand. Belonging to ITW is an opportunity to mix and learn from other writers, including some of the biggest-selling writers in the world.

The genre is pretty wide and goes well beyond what you might think as the typical thriller. It includes everything from murder mysteries to crime, and from suspense to horror. Every week the ITW website hosts a dialogue called The Thrillers Roundtable about a certain topic, and for the week of March 14-20 I’m taking part in a discussion that focuses on this question:

“Must religion, as described in thrillers, always be a clash?”

There is a large religious component to my last book Qumran which is about an archaeologist – a man who is an atheist – who makes a startling discovery in the Holy Land. And, of course, my Holocaust-themed novel The Last Witness has obvious religious foundations as well.

Other writers taking part in this Roundtable are Heather B. Moore, Libby Hellmann, Susan Froetschel, J. H. Bográn and Jean Heller.

Comments will be posted on an ongoing basis through the week and it should be an interesting discussion. You can catch it all at

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