Friday, February 29, 2008

Bouchercon Memories-

Today featuring Cornelia Read

Cornelia Read is the author of Two Novels. Her Debut Novel FIELD OF DARKNESS was nominated for every major mystery award and her second, THE CRAZY SCHOOL is a must read.

My very first Bouchercon was Toronto. I had an agent, but I hadn't been published yet, so it seemed like a lot of money to be spending, especially since my husband was a bit snarky about watching the kids for five days in California, so I booked myself a private room in the local youth hostel about nine blocks away from the convention center.
The place was actually terrific: mil-spec coinop computers in the lobby, and each and every wall throughout painted a different dayglo color. My room was tiny, with a bathroom down the hall, but it was comfortable and clean and about a tenth of the price of the main hotel rooms.
I remember being absolutely terrified, walking over to the main event that first morning. Would I know anyone? Would anyone talk to me? Would I barf in public? But the very first person I saw was Elaine Flinn, whom I'd known back in Carmel when I was a kid, and she immediately took me under her wing and introduced me to all the cool smoker chicks.
Then we went inside and took that escalator down into the main hallway of the convention, and all I could see was a see of thousands upon thousands of people--the number inflated by terror the same way the cafeteria is on your very first day of high school.
The only person I recognized in the crowd was Lee Child, whom I'd met the previous summer at the Book Passage Mystery Conference the summer before--mostly because he was the tallest person in the room.
He was surrounded by so many people, though, that by the time I was halfway down the escalator, I figured I'd wait to say hello until later in the conference. He saw me when I got to the bottom, however, and waved me over to introduce me to everyone.
After that I figured that between Lee and Elaine, even if I was struck dead by lightning indoors before I sat in on my first panel, it had been worth the trip, so I relaxed and had an amazing time for the next four days--despite the trolley-car turnaround directly below my hostel-bedroom window (thank GOD for earplugs).
There was of course the moment at which the zipper of my Salvation-Army orange leather pants imploded, halfway through the banquet, but that is no doubt a story best kept for another time.


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