By Beth Terrell
It's that time again. That time of year when Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford and I survive on four hours of sleep a night as we chip our way through to-do lists longer than our legs (and Clay has very long legs). It's all worth it, though, because the final result is going to be...well...Killer.
Jeffery Deaver is our Guest of Honor, and I hear Jeff is not only a delightful speaker, but a pretty fair guitar player as well. We're hoping he can be persuaded to join us around the pool for music and conversation. Don Bruns (who won the Silver Falchion Award two years ago for Stuff to Die For) will be there will his guitar, as will Stacy Allen, who sang for us at last year's awards dinner.
Since the conference begins early on Friday, many attendees arrive at the hotel on Thursday night. In the past, there have been no Killer Nashville festivities that night, but this year, Greg and Mary Bruss of Mysteries & More independent bookstore, are hosting Mystery Team Trivia at 7:30. Greg asked me to be sure and emphasize that valuable prizes will be awarded.
On Friday morning, the fun begins with a presentation called "CSI Don't Think So," in which law enforcement consultant Lee Lofland discusses how television gets it right--and wrong. Lee will intersperse interesting forensic science tidbits throughout the presentation. There are five tracks this year, because we had too many wonderful authors coming to fit them into four. Attendees will hear from a Marine sniper/sniper trainer, forensic psychologists, TBI agents, private investigators, attorneys, and police officers, in addition to agents, editors, and a host of terrific authors, including our own Chester Campbell (who won last year's Silver Falchion) and our own Bente Gallagher (aka Jennie Bentley). Among those attending are Charles Todd (NYT bestseller), Steven Womack (Edgar winner), David J. Walker (Edgar winner), PJ Parrish (Shamus and Anthony winner) and Annie Solomon (Rita Award winnier). There are sessions on character, pacing, dialogue, YA, historical fiction, marketing and promotion, and many that are designed to appeal especially to readers. And, oh yes, there's the mock crime scene staged by TBI agents Dan Royse and Mike Breedlove and solved by attendees.
I could go on and on, but I'd be sure to leave out something important; there's a detailed schedule on the conference site. (Warning: it's a slow-loading site.) As you can see, you don't have to be a crime fiction writer--or even a writer at all--to have the time of your life at the Killer Nashville Crime Literature Conference.
Last year, on Sunday afternoon of the conference, one of my fellow conference organizers came to the registration table where I was sitting and said, "Beth, there are writers sleeping all over the lobby."
I knew we'd done our job.