Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Next Great Writer's Conference ....


It’s your first writer’s conference after the Covid-19 crisis has been contained – what are the first three things you do after checking in to the hotel?

Brenda Chapman here.

It's difficult to believe in attending another writer's conference in person as the pandemic drags on into its second year. I've just begun rebooking our holiday to France for the second time because this September is not looking like a healthy time yet to travel overseas. But a girl can dream of better days.

I've been to several conferences over the years, sometimes flying and other times driving to the destination hotel. Usually, I'm there with other crime writers from Ottawa, with one of them being my roommate. So let's assume that this is a typical conference and we arrive and check in together.

The first thing we usually do is go for a walk around the hotel to orient ourselves and then take a walk around the neighbourhood to check out restaurants and shops and get the lay of the land. Upon returning to the hotel, we go to check in at the conference and pick up our name tag, program and free books. Often, we meet up with old friends from previous conferences or from Ottawa. This usually leads to meeting up in the hotel bar for a drink followed by supper somewhere nearby. And this takes me to three things :-)

So rather than try to describe all the wonderful times I've had and places I've visited and people I've met, I'll post a few photos to give you some of the highlights (going backwards in the timeline). If you've never been to a writer/reader conference, plan to put one on your bucket list when we're able to travel again. Be sure to look me up and say hello if I'm also there. 

Always a panel! This was a great one. We met in the bar the night before & are still in touch to this day - Vancouver Bouchercon 2019 - Corey Fayman, me, Barbara Nickless, Catherine Maiorisi

And always opportunities to meet & mingle with readers & other authors.

I was on a panel with Ann Cleeves at Left Coast Crime in Monterey & we met up again at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix - having lunch at a pub. (Note: The conferences are all about eating out with friends, old and new and gathering in the hotel bar at the end of the day) (or during the day :-)

With my regular Ottawa crew - Linda Wiken, me, Robin Harlick &Mary Jane Maffini - Cleveland Bouchercon 2012

At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a wine & cheese evening - I'd love to go back for a longer tour - so much to see! Cleveland Bouchercon, 2012.
With Anthony Bidulka, Robin Harlick, Mary Jane Maffini & Linda Wiken

On the ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island - Victoria Bloody Words 2011

Katherine Hobbs & Darlene Cole travelled with me to many conferences - Vancouver 2011

One of the best road trip conferences was to Murder in Muncie with my good friend Mary Jane Maffini. We stayed with Shelley Costa in Chagrin Falls outside Cleveland coming & going. Here we are having breakfast in a diner on our way home. 

You meet some great writers at these conferences! With Denise Mina, Bloody Words, Ottawa, 2009.

With Louise Penny, Bloody Words, Ottawa 2009

Getting together with the 7 Criminal Minds bloggers at Bouchercon in Vancouver, 2019 - first time meeting this lovely gang (with a few missing)!

I have so many photos and memories from all the conferences I've been to since my first book was released in 2004. Looking back through the photos, I realize how many terrific, interesting people I've met through these gatherings, many good friends today. Let's hope we can soon get back on the road again.


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Catriona McPherson said...

Lovely! I really hope things look better in September than you're foreseeing right now ... Cx

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Catriona - Yes, let's hope this pandemic is over soon!

Catherine Maiorisi said...

Ah, yes, the good old days. I loved our panel at Left Coast Crime in Vancouver. It was great meeting you there. Hopefully 2022 will be a time for conferences and renewed friendships.