Bouchercon Memories- An ode to 1981
Today's guest is Max Allan Collins. What can one say of this man that hasn't been said. Having just finished STRIP FOR MURDER I felt this was a great time to put his memory up. You see, he did it to me again. I finished an entirely satisfying mystery and then had to go and google the protagonists in a quest for the parallels between the actual history and the fictional. As a result I now know more about the Joe Palooza strip than I ever intended. My question for Al as he stumbles upon this intro is what happened to the real Moe after he left the strip, I'm not finding anything. Okay so this intro was really an unnecessary tangent.
Collins memory is an example of just what can happen at Bouchercon... How life long friendships are formed and can last beyond the grave. So enjoy and remember you don't want to miss this year's event. See you next time,
Max Allan Collins
Here, predictably, is my biggest Bouchercon memory:
In 1981, because of my longtime defense of Mickey Spillane in mystery fandom, I was asked to be the con's liaison between it and Mickey when he was a special guest there, his very first appearance not just at a Bouchercon but at any mystery-fan event. I was very nervous, because Mickey had only answered one of my many, many letters to him, starting back in my junior high days. The one time he responded was when I sent him BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY, in 1973 -- my first two novels (published simultaneously); he dropped me a warm letter welcoming me into the business as a fellow pro.
I'd heard some stories about Mickey being a handful, including turning on an interviewer who asked him something on a touchy subject, and also shooting up first editions sent to him for autographs and sending them back instead pocked with .45 slugs. The night before I barely slept -- if my idol had feet of clay, like the rest of us, I would be crushed.
So I was taken by Con organizers to Mickey's hotel room, where Mickey came out -- looking shorter than I'd expected but broad-shouldered and an intimidating figure -- and the con rep said, "Mickey, this is Max Collins." And Mickey said, "I know Max -- we've been corresponding for years!" To which I said, "That's right, Mickey -- one hundred letters from me, one letter from you." He roared with laughter and our great friendship began.