Surrounded by many of my favorite authors, I'm the antithesis of cool. It's embarrassing: I gawk. I gape. I stammer and blush. The signs say "No Hand Shaking," and it's a good thing, because mine are clammy. I'm a total fan-girl -- and I'm in my element.
My very first day at Bouchercon, I attended a writing workshop and met two stars of the mystery world, Carolyn Hart and Nancy Pickard - and that was just the beginning. On Wednesday, I also met Roberta Isleib, past president of Sisters in Crime and a featured author at B&N's Mystery Book Club a few months ago, and Hallie Ephron, author of THE BIBIOPHILE'S DEVOTIONAL. All of these authors are multipublished, wonderful writers.
Thursday morning, there was a mini Mystery Book Club reunion as I caught up with past Mystery Book Club guests Ken Isaacson, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Rosemary Harris - whose first book, PUSHING UP DAISIES, is nominated for an Anthony Award for Best First Novel. Later, I sat with another friend from the Mystery Book Club, Kate Carlisle, as we attended a panel discussion on "Love, Murder, Romance and Suspense" with don't-call-them-cozy-authors Maris Soule, Laura Caldwell, Jordan Dane, Casey Daniels and Judi McCoy.
I babbled like a fool when I met the creator of Jack Reacher (and one of my favorite authors), Lee Child, after attending a panel discussion on "The Fixers" which featured Child (real name: Jim Grant), his brother and fellow author, Andrew Grant, plus George Easter, Mike Lawson and Bret Battles - whose heroes are all "fixers" of one kind or another. Child explained why he doesn't like sidekicks and told us about the toothbrushes and other, less innocuous, items his fans send by the hundreds.
I met Sheila York, whose first novel, STAR STRUCK DEAD, was nominated as Best First Mystery by the Romantic Times and won a Daphne du Maurier award as Best Mainstream Mystery/Suspense novel. The sequel, A GOOD KNIFE'S WORK, will be published in 2009. I also chatted with Daryl Wood Gerber, who is a "a writer, actress, wife, mother and gourmet cook." The first of her new Cheese Shop Mysteries, THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE (written under the pen name Avery Aames), will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in July 2010.
I was excited to run into fellow Cincinnatian Jeffrey Marks, whose book, Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography, is nominated for a 2009 Anthony Award in the category of Best Critical Nonfiction Work. I ran into Jeffrey as I was filling out a subscription form for Mystery Scene magazine. I had been chatting with a woman at the booth and when I glanced at her name tag, I realized she was the fabulous Kate Stine, Mystery Scene's editor and co-publisher. She's also a serious Agatha Christie fan, and was an extremely popular guest at - you guessed it - B&N's Mystery Book Club. The holiday issue of Mystery Scene will have something for fans of Hercule Poirot. I'm hoping Kate will visit the Mystery Book Club to tell us all about it!
It's not so much "whodunnit" here as "who is it" - everyone I see reminds me of a face on the back covers of a book. I'm star struck - bedazzled - to meet the people who created my favorite heroes and heroines out of their own imaginations. True, they're a little dark and twisted, and they kill people at the drop of a hat. Despite that minor detail, I've found them to be really friendly and amazingly accessible to fans. Mystery authors -- gotta love 'em!