Tell us which conferences are your favorites and why you like to attend them.
I’ll take the chance to consider this third type of “get together”, because it’s what I’ve attended most of to date.
So far I’ve attended Bloody Words (now defunct…nothing to do with my appearance there, I don’t think!), Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime and Malice Domestic. I’ll be attending CrimeFest in the UK for the first time this year. Each is different and all have their plus-points, so being asked to choose a favourite is like being asked to choose a favourite child. I’ll therefore (wimp that I am), give that part of the question a miss and focus on each in turn (this might help readers of this blog who are considering attending a conference and need some insights).
|With Sue Grafton at Bouchercon|
Bouchercon is the biggest annual international convention focusing on crime fiction, and non-fiction. It moves to a different venue each year and, while it’s usually held within the last three months of the year, the exact dates vary. Because it’s the biggest (around a couple of thousand delegates sometimes) it can feel overwhelming (the first ever conference I attended was a Bouchercon and I certainly felt a bit nonplussed at first). However, because it’s so big it gives authors of many different types of sub-genres the chance to meet each other, their readers, and new potential readers. From cozy to noir, historical to espionage, YA to forensic (if you can imagine those as being on any sort of spectrum) authors and fans are represented, so it’s a wonderful melting pot for all things criminal. I met people at that first Bouchercon who have become friends I now keep in touch with on an ongoing basis, learn from as I read and admire their work…and I had the chance to become a complete fangirl when I met many of the Big Names whose work has given me joy over decades – Sue Grafton and Katherine Hall Page to name just two. Here’s a link to the website: http://www.bouchercon.info/
|With Louise Penny|
|With Catriona McPherson at LCC|
Left Coast Crime is, for me, a great balance: its focus is any sort of crime fiction/non-fiction but with a slant toward the West Coast of the USA and Canada. Around five hundred authors and readers attend, and it’s held in different venues in the “Left Coast Crime” region at slightly different times of the year (usually February/March). Authors who either live in the region or set their work there (the location on the temperate West Coast attracts many from the chillier East) enjoy the relatively relaxed atmosphere, and there’s a lot of mingling with readers and fans. I’ve attended a few of these and have also planned my time to be able to indulge in “side-trips” (this year it was held in Phoenix, AZ, so I took the chance to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West – next year it’s in Honolulu so I dare say a bit of time on Waikiki Beach will be called for!). Because it’s a multi-genre conference the mix of readers and authors is similar to Bouchercon, but on a smaller scale. Even so, with four or five tracks of panels running for the whole conference there’s no shortage of places to be, and people to meet. Here’s a link to the site: http://leftcoastcrime.org/
I don’t know what to expect of CrimeFest. Because I have a UK publisher for my WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (which are set in Wales) I felt I should find out more about UK authors and readers, and attending CrimeFest seems to be a good way to do it. I’m thrilled that the two panels I’ve been selected to appear on will have me sitting down with, in one case, James Runcie the author of the books featuring Sidney Chambers upon which the TV series Grantchester is based, and, on another, with Felix Francis, who has taken up the reins of his father’s hugely successful domination of books set in the world of horse racing. It’s also got an international slant that veers toward the European and I know I’ll get to meet Icelandic, Scandinavian and French etc. authors as well as others from the UK (Ian Rankin included – WOOT!). It should be exciting! Here’s a link: http://www.crimefest.com/
Cathy Ace writes the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (book #2 THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER was published in hardback in February, and book #1 THE CASE OF THE DOTTY DOWAGER was published in trade paperback on March 1st) and the Cait Morgan Mysteries (book #7 THE CORPSE WITH THE GARNET FACE was published in paperback in April). Find out more about Cathy and her work, and sign up for her newsletter at http://cathyace.com/