Monday, October 8, 2012

Bouchercon--Rhys tells all

After a horrible flight via Chicago that took forever I'm back from Cleveland with a bag full of books and terrific memories of the Bouchercon world mystery convention. You'd think that people who kill for a living would be mean and anti social but one look at the bar at the convention hotel would prove that we really love hanging out together (and drinking). Many of the big names of our profession were there--mingling with us lesser mortals--Mary Higgins Clark, Lee Child, Elizabeth George, Robin Cook, Michael Connelly, Sara Paretzky, Charlaine Harris--who delivered my favorite line of the convention. She said her husband used to look upon her writing as a little hobby he had to subsidize. Then she paused and smiled. "He doesn't say that any more," she added..

My Cleveland experience started with an interview for NPR, after which they asked me to do an i and mpromptu plug for public radio for an upcoming fund drive. I love public radio but wish that I'd had some time to prepare something witty!
Then the convention kicked off with opening ceremonies at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As you approach the building you are greeted by row after row of giant guitars. Inside it's glass and steel, lots of neon lights--and loud with several hundred people crammed into it. John Connelly, the toastmaster, introduced guests of honor and the MacAvity and Barry awards were presented (I didn't win this year). Then I had to rush back to the hotel to rehearse for the famous Jungle Red Writers Family Feud. The rehearsal was a disaster and my Jungle Red sister Hank Phillippi Ryan suggested it might be a career-ending move.

However on the day it was a huge success. The ballroom was crammed to overflowing. The audience laughed and called out answers and got prizes. I was on a team with Red Julia Spencer-Fleming's adorable husband Ross, who kept calling out really weird answers--resulting in my wrestling the buzzer away from him (which the audience loved!).

The panels at these conventions are usually earnest and sober affairs so the chance to laugh was good for everybody. The next day I moderated one of these in depth panels when I hosted "Across the Pond" with British superstars Val McDermid, Stuart Neville and Peter James. We discussed the roots and differences between crime and crime writing in Britain and the US, and my favorite line was Vals. She described Scotland as having Iraqi weather: "Occasionally sunny but mostly Shiite."

There were receptions hosted by publishers, a chance to meet the Canadian writers and an Anthony awards ceremony that was preceded by the longest raffle in the history of mankind. Next year's crew please note--DO NOT REPEAT.

So I had a great time meeting old friends, making new ones and putting names to faces of fans who have written to me. And now I'm back to reality and laundry waiting to be done. Cinderella has left the ball.

1 comment:

  1. What a fun time! I've always wondered what it would be like to be amidst a crowd of murder mystery writers. Reassuring to hear what they are NOT like. :-)