Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bouchercon - Day 3

Sorry for the gaps in between posts here; I've been finishing up work for the next issue of Crimespree, which is going to be STELLAR by the way - make sure you pick up a copy when it comes out if you don't have a subscription already.

But now back to Bouchercon. I believe I left off at Saturday, which also happened to be Alafair Burke's birthday! More on that later.

I started Saturday at the panel "In the Midst of Strangers." This panel dealt with the question, "Is the serial killer overdone?" On the panel were Jonathan Hayes, Chelsea Cain, Joel Goldman, and Wendy Corsi Staub. It was moderated by Con Lehane. The conversation was an interesting one and the question always intrigues me. There are so many things that question could be aimed at, why serial killers? Personally, I ask that regularly of memoirs, but I digress. The serial killer, like most anything else, can get old if it becomes formulaic and redundant. But as long as writers are taking a unique stab at it (ha!), putting their own twist on the plot it can and does continue to work. Jonathan Hayes is an absolutely fascinating person, and witty. I enjoyed being able to see him in action on this panel.

After the first panel, I headed down to the dealer room to hang out with Alafair while she was signing at the Bouchercon 2011 table. So I was able to wish her a happy birthday again. And as an extra special treat, I was able to meet her sister and her mother. I am now officially a fan of the entire Burke family!

The other panel I attended on Saturday was called "Monkey is Back." Maybe I was going with a theme for Saturday because the topic of "Monkey is Back" was "Are there no new stories?" This panel started out a little rough because it was scheduled to be moderated by David Thompson. His absence was felt and recognized; the panel was outstanding in his honor. On the panel were Steve Hamilton, Val McDermid, Reed Farrel Coleman, Daniel Woodrell and Michael Wiley. Talk about feeling utter fan girl! All of these authors are witty and charming and engaging. They were fascinating.

Each author started out talking about his/her setting. Then they moved on to theme. Val McDermid admitted she doesn't really know what her books are about until after she's finished it. But an idea that runs through all of her books is the gap between "justice" and "the law." Michael agreed with Val and said he tries not to think about theme at first but rather telling a story. And many times he focuses those stories on people, intelligent people, making very bad decisions at important points in their lives. Steve explained that this was actually the first time he looked back at THE LOCK ARTIST to discover it was, in essence, a WIZARD OF OZ story, a story of going home. But that concept didn't occur to him as he wrote; he didn't consciously include the parallels. How fascinating. Daniel said it was with the assistance of others after several books that he discovered his books deal with making some sort of family out of whatever you have.

Everyone contributed on this panel and their enjoyment in what they do came through so strong and clear. This was an amazing line-up of authors. If you haven't read someone on this panel, I encourage you do to so. They all contribute an amazing amount to the genre.

This was my final panel for Saturday. I attended a small event with the folks from Harper Collins and William Morrow. Very nice gathering, wonderful people, enjoyable time. Then our little posse made our way to a sports bar called Harringtons. Happened to be one of the nights the Giants were playing. It was a raucous crowd, but it was also amazing the way baseball brought all these people together, even us outsiders.

And we ended the night once again back at the hotel bar with everyone. It's such a great time to share stories and meet new people. We all share a common love of crime fiction and that...like baseball at Harringtons....is magical.


Naomi Johnson October 26, 2010 at 9:59 PM  

Still so envious of you...

Beth F October 29, 2010 at 1:24 PM  

I'm so behind -- but I'm reading your Bouchercon posts backward -- yea, evious.

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