Wednesday, April 9, 2014

BEST OF TIMES... WORST OF TIMES

by Clare O'Donohue


My first convention was Bouchercon, San Francisco. Shout-out to Robin Spano! I guess we were newbies at the same one. Like Robin, I was deer-in-a-headlights overwhelmed. Which is the same as everyone at their first mystery convention - especially if it's Bouchercon. It's big and full of people who all seem to know one another. The new person standing on the edge unsure of how to join in.

Luckily for me, for everyone, who goes to Bouchercon, no one is alone for long. My first convention friends were our own Catriona McPherson and Ellen Crosby, who were fellow panelists early on Friday. After that, I met a few more people, and then a few more people. And now Bouchercon feels like home. I can't pick a favorite so I'll say all of them have been my best convention experiences.

My worst? That's easy and has absolutely nothing to do with the convention itself. It was Malice Domestic several years ago. After several amazing Bouchercons, I was spreading my wings and trying to hit all the conventions. Problem was, I was also working a lot, tired, and not feeling myself. It was my first Malice and I didn't want to miss it. so I went  - and arrived knowing I didn't have the energy for a full weekend of activities. I did my panel, said hello to a few friends, and retreated to my room. When I got home my doctor determined I was anemic. Lesson learned. I was taking on more than I could handle and not paying attention to my body.

This year I'm going back to Malice, but feeling healthy and ready to hang out. If you're there (and especially if you're a newbie) come over and say hi.

5 comments:

Catriona McPherson said...

You've sparked off a new daydream, Clare: the conventionless convention. How it works is writer X goes to a strange city for three nights, with no expectation of getting any work done, registers for a bag full of free books and retires to her/his room. I'd go.

Robin Spano said...

I'm glad you're getting back on the Malice horse. And next Bouchercon (I mean the next one we're both at; I'm skipping this year), we have to hang out.

Clare ODonohue said...

Catriona - I hadn't thought of it that way. It was pretty genius, and I did get lots of rest! And absolutely Robin - a 7 Criminal Minds get-together!!

Meredith Cole said...

It's always so much fun to finally meet everyone in person at conventions! But every writer I know has to retreat to their room to recharge at one point or another...

Robin Spano said...

Or retreat to the workout room. I think the need for hard core solitude is what keeps me in shape at those conferences.