Everybody’s a Fan at Bouchercon

In 1985, a supergroup of musicians called USA for Africa got together to record the song “We Are the World,” which was sold to raise humanitarian aid for Africa.  And by supergroup, I mean people like Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Willie Nelson, Kim Carnes, Cyndi Lauper, and Bruce Springsteen.

That’s what Bouchercon is like for mystery writers.

This year’s Bouchercon was held in Indianapolis this past weekend. The hotel was a great choice, the outside venues fun and easy to get to, and the area was saturated with good restaurants. The panels were great fun, and how can you argue with honorees like Michael Connelly, S.J. Rozan, Wendelin Van Draanen, Al Hubin, and Kathryn Kennison? The convention committee did a terrific job.

Of course, the way I approach Bouchercon is not the same as that of the average fan. I spoke on a panel, went for drinks with an editor, went to my publisher’s cocktail party, ate lunch with two other editors, signed books, attended award ceremonies for the Macavity and the Anthony, recorded a podcast, met with a book packager, and discussed a forthcoming anthology. The other writers were just colleagues, so of course I didn’t take any particular notice of them.

And if you believe that, I’ve got some swampland in Florida up on eBay…

My gosh, do you know was there?  If the honorees weren’t impressive enough, there was C.J. Box, JoAnna Carl, Carolyn Hart, Lee Child, Charlaine Harris, Harlan Coben, Max Allan Collins, Heather Graham, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Loren Estleman, Dana Cameron, Peter Lovesey, Mary Saums… And that’s just a start. Do you seriously think I could wander through a hotel filled with talented writers like that without wanting to pinch myself? I was in heaven.

The fact is, I was a mystery fan long before I was a mystery writer. And one of the best parts about being a pro is the endless opportunities it provides for being a fan, for meeting these people at conventions and cocktail parties and panels. So you can bet that I brought home a load of autographed books, just like any other fan.

Come to think of it, I understand the musicians of USA for Africa signed autographs for one another, too…