Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bouchercon: Day 1

By Jaden Terrell

Several years ago, I attended my first Bouchercon. It was wonderful, yet overwhelming. Somehow, in my mind, it expanded to a convention of 7,000 people, a vast swarm of humanity I could hardly even fathom. Today, I arrived at the St. Louis Bouchercon. Turns out it's about 1500 people and has ALWAYS been about 1500 people. Somehow, the huge, scary con became a huge, not-so-scary con in just a few years.

I was lucky enough to share the drive from Nashville and a hotel room with another Nashville author, Jennie Bentley )aka Jenna Bennett). Jennie writes a cozy series for Berkley Prime Crime and an e-series of real estate mysteries. If you like well-written, well-crafted light mysteries, you'll like Jennie's books.

I started the day at a panel called "Laughter of the Clowns," moderated by Jerry Healy and featuring Allan Ansorge, Alan Orloff, Gary Alexander, Jack Frederickson, and Robin Spano. Parnell Hall, one of my all-time favorite writers of humor, wasn't on the panel but got a tip of the hat from the panelists. If you've never seen his videos about the writing life, check out "Signing in a Waldenbooks," "Kill 'Em," and "The King of Kindle." Funny guy. Funny panel. I've read Allan Ansorge's books, since he's a beloved member of the Killer Nashville family, but I hadn't read the others. Obviously, I'll have to remedy that.

The panel by the guests of honor was remarkable--at times serious, at times hilarious, at times enlightening. At one point, a humorous and slightly off-color anecdote by Val McDermid rendered the panel speechless as the room erupted in laughter. Add Colin Cotterill, Charlaine Harris, Robert Crais (I heart Joe Pike), and moderator Oline Cogdill, and it was one of the most entertaining panels I've seen. I also enjoyed seeing Charles Todd on the military panel moderated by Matthew Funk.

I've heard a lot of Irish, English, and Scottish accents already and am looking forward to the panel of Irish authors on Saturday. I'd like to pin some of these folks down and just have them talk to me for about a year. Especially John Connolly, whose Charlie Parker series is among my favorites. I just finished The Reapers a few weeks ago and am in awe of the man's talent. And did I mention the accent?

I also got to see one of my favorite authors in the world, Timothy Hallinan. Tim's graciously agreed to let me pump him for information for my third book. As several people today have said, "Mystery writers are some of the nicest people in the world."

To top it off, I finally got to meet our own Leighton Gage. After reading so many of his charming posts, it was a pleasure to see him in person.

Having a great time. Wish you were here!


Jean Henry Mead said...

Sounds wonderful, Beth. I wish I were there. Say hello to Leighton and Tim for me and have a great time!

Leighton Gage said...

Ain't Bouchercon great?
Every year, just before the event, I promise myself that that I'll go that year, and skip the one after that.
But then I always wind-up having such a good time.
And register for the next one in succession.
Mostly, because I get to meet people like you.
Thank you for helping to make my Bouchercon 2011 something really special.

Jaden Terrell said...

Jean, next year's is in Cleveland, Ohio. Any chance we could persuade you to come?

Leighton, it was great to meet you. It was a very well-run event, and I loved every minute of it. I try to go when it's close enough and I can afford to go, but this was only my second. (The first was in Chicago.) See you in Cleveland!