Friday, September 13, 2013

Preparing for Bouchercon

Happy Friday all! It's the weekend before the big party in Albany. I've been reading and listening to audiobooks from the stellar authors on my panels and this weekend will be my final big prep.

I was hoping you all might weigh in with your thoughts today. Many wonderful moderators have come before me, so trying to be fresh and unique is a challenge if not impossible. But I have fun topics and I think there's a lot of opportunity to build an entertaining and informative session in both.

O.k. here's where I'd like your input. And feel free to just respond to what you feel like you can. Any and all input will be appreciated.

1.) What is the foremost quality in any author appearance/event/panel that makes you walk away talking about it?

2.) When you have to choose between two sessions that appeal to you, what's usually the deciding factor?

And some questions that are more specific to my sessions.

3.) The topic of my first panel is "Secret powers and other little known talents that would make us great Super Heroes...or Villains." The idea is to delve into the PEOPLE, kinda like the Five on Friday feature...learn about the talents and skills that maybe aren't writing-relating. But we can also get into writing skills as well. If you were going to attend this session, what kinds of general areas would you hope to hear about in this panel. And remember, I won't ask inappropriate questions of my panelists...that's for a difference conference!

3a.) My panelists for this session are Zoe Sharp, Catriona McPherson, Tom Schreck, Brad Parks, Daniel Palmer and Michael if there's specific things you would be curious about for them...suggest away! I have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to be a super fun group.

4.) The topic of my other panel is "If the IRS asks, it's research: places we've visited, people we've met and boneheaded things we've tried all in the name of a story." Now obviously there are some straight-forward questions that will come with this one, but are there things you've wanted to know about the non-traditional sides of research?

4a.) My panelists for this session are Alafair Burke, Sean Chercover, Chris Holm, Lou Berney and Dana Cameron. Having read their work there are things that intrigue me, but I'm wondering what you all might be curious about with their research. They're such a diverse group that I think this is going to be a fascinating discussion.

O.k. and just a last miscellaneous question...or rather statement...feel free to share any thoughts you have on what you think makes a good panel session. I'm always looking for ways to improve and provide as enjoyable an experience as possible.

Thanks! And have a great weekend, friends! Happy Reading!


Nigel Bird September 13, 2013 at 6:18 AM  

Intesting questions.
The first and biggest answer I have can't be bottled. It's something about the auro of the writer and the atmosphere created.
I like to feel I've been in a personal interaction with a writer in spite of being surrounded by thousands or hundreds or tens.
I love to hear a little reading no matter what as that's often what I'll take away.
I like the idea of 3). It's important that there's something about an event that's fresh and personal and unknown to me.
A daft question for Zoe Sharp - she's such a wee slip of a girl and I wonder if that translated into her being so feisty either in life (I suspect) and/or in her chatacters.
A good panel session - one where the host is invovled enough to control, but invisible enough not to take over. One who makes sure everyone gets a bite at the cherry (if you've only come to see one person and they get swamped it can be disappointing even it it's not the host's fault).
And your panels are so damned strong that you should be at standing-room only and the whole place should be full of satisfied customers who leave buzzing like haircuts.

Les Blatt September 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM  

Hi, Jen. A few thoughts.

1. A lively discussion is key - and humor certainly helps. I'd like to think I learned something about the topics and/or about the panelists - and I'd like something memorable to pass along to the people I talk to later.

2. Choosing at Bouchercon is always a bear, as you know. Ultimately, I'll probably go with the one where I know something about the topic and/or I've heard the panelists/moderator before.

3. Your panel Thursday is an example of my point 2 - while I don't read much paranormal/superhero, I know you, Catriona McPherson and Brad Parks (and have heard something about the other panelosts too), and I'll probably come to learn something and generally enjoy it.

4. I'm really looking forward to the one on Friday, which has the potential to be pretty funny and informative as well. By the way, I'm the "panel room assistant" for that one.

Looking forward to your sessions - and to the whole weekend as well. Leslie and I will see you there.

Jen Forbus September 13, 2013 at 12:08 PM  

Wow Nigel, thank you! That means a lot to me. :-)

Les, can't wait to see you and Leslie.

Thank you both for your thoughts. They are so helpful!

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