Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Four Days to Go!! And Memories to Grow On

Let’s Count Down Together

The Anthony Nominations Are Coming!!!

Sunday, June 1st all will be revealed. Check Back Here Daily for doses of memory and appreciation while we all wait.

Today’s Memory is from American GOH Laura Lippman. I have no huge preamble, I’m glad we met and am excited to read everything she writes. She is someone who inspires me on a lot of levels but mainly I’m happy to call her Friend.

I have attended 11.5 Bouchercons to date; I give myself only half-credit for St. Paul, in 1996, because I wasn't a registered attendee, just a pre-published writer lurking on the fringes -- having a drink with my editor, going to a publisher's dinner where I met some kid named Dennis Lehane. I wonder whatever happened to him?

But of all the outstanding memories -- my bridal shower in Madison, winning the Anthony, losing the Anthony (William Kent Krueger is my kryptonite!), taking Chris Mooney as my Bouchercon husband, laughing late into the night with my frequent roommate, Sujata Massey -- my best memories are what I call the Bouchercon breaks. Because Bouchercon, lovely as it is, can be overwhelming. And to truly enjoy it, you need to remember to take a time-out. To drive to Big Sur, as Sue Trowbridge and I did in 1997, when our futures seemed as winding and unknowable as the road before us. Or even a simple lunch, as Keith Snyder and I enjoyed in Denver in 1999, where we ended up talking about theremins; I could carry my end of the conversation only because a theremin features prominently in Marjorie Morningstar. A bike ride in Anchorage. For the past few years, I've also tried to have dinner with writers I usually see only at Bouchercon -- Mark Billingham, John Connolly, my aforementioned Bouchercon husband Chris, Karin Slaughter. A meal, a drink, a walk -- a few minutes away will actually enhance the Bouchercon experience.

With Mark and me as officiants, if you will, -- hey, it's a kind of religious experience -- that might be hard to do this year in Baltimore. So it goes. As those who have heard my spiel on the road know, I firmly believe that book tours are about readers. At Bourchercon, this is even more true, and it's a delicate balance. As much as we solitary writers delight in the company of our peers, the readers take priority. So while I advocate Bouchercon breaks, it would be a shame to attend only to check-out altogether.

Meanwhile, what Bouchercon memories do others wish they had? I'd give anything to have been there when Ruth and Jon met. (Legend has is that Val McDermid and Ian Rankin did witness this.) Or to have been a fly on the wall when James Crumley and Ken Bruen spent an evening talking in Las Vegas. Also, I recall a rumor of John Connolly wearing a cowboy hat. And Alison Gaylin table-dancing. Or was it Megan Abbott? But now I fear that we are in the territory of Bouchercon myths and legends, perhaps a future topic for this blog.


Anonymous Rebecca Swets said...

Memories, memories...light the cor...oops, wrong movie. Anyway, I have a great memory of sitting up half the night at Bouchercon in Philly, think it was 96...Les Roberts playing the grand piano outside the bar in the lobby area, below the escalators and stairs...Ruth Cavin singing, John Gilstrap nailing the high note on Danny Boy...and Les, and Ruth and I singing songs from Mack and Mabel, which nobody else at the piano knew. I looked at Les, who grinned at me. After all, I WAS wearing my Guys and Dolls T-Shirt (got a local Oscar-type award for Best Supporting Actress for the Salvation Army General). But I digress...I loved being welcomed into the family of mystery writers long before I ever put a story out there to be published. I'll never be the same again.

Friday, May 30, 2008 2:42:00 PM  

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