Best-selling author shares writing tips at UNA

Critically acclaimed author Justin Cronin speaks in the Guillot University Center Performance Center March 10. The event was part of UNA’s Writers Series.

New York Times best-selling author Justin Cronin shared information about his book series and writing techniques he uses as part of UNA’s Writers Series March 10 in the Guillot University Center.

Faculty, staff, students and community members listened as the Harvard graduate spoke about his vampire trilogy, “The Passage Trilogy.”

UNA is the first audience to hear a reading from the third book of the trilogy “The City of Mirrors,” Cronin said.

The event was a part of UNA’s Writer Series. The goal of the Writer’s Series is to introduce students to authors from different genres, according to UNA’s website.

Cronin explained the origination of the trilogy, read excerpts from “The City of Mirrors” and discussed some of his writing techniques during the event.

He began writing “The Passage” after his 8-year-old daughter told him she was afraid his books might be boring, Cronin said, so they began working on a story together.

“We had two rules,” Cronin said. “One rule was that everything in the story had to be interesting. The second rule was that we had to have one character with red hair because my daughter’s a redhead.”

Cronin started writing the novel based on what he and his daughter had come up with, he said.

“(‘The Passage’) started writing itself,” Cronin said. “I never looked back, and 11 years have passed.”

Cronin did take a look back to discuss his writing techniques for the trilogy during the event.

Cronin said he pays attention to two specific things when developing his characters.

“One is, because this is true in human life, everybody is carrying a stone,” he said. “Everybody’s got something they’re not talking about, but it’s the stone they carry for life. The other thing I do is, I’m attentive to human contradiction because nobody is just one thing.”

He does not begin writing a book until he plans it from beginning to end, Cronin said.

“I knew what the end of the third book was before I started the first book,” he said. “The ending should actually be embedded in the beginning, and by that I mean the first sentence. If you go look at the first sentence of “The Passage” the end of the whole thing is in that sentence.”

Cronin’s information about character development was helpful, said junior professional writing major Stephanie Preslar. She said she struggles with character development.

“I really enjoyed the reading,” said senior Katie Lindsay. “(Cronin) was well-spoken and eloquent, while at the same time being very conversational about his writing style. I really appreciate writers like that.”