As I write this post, it is two weeks since Bouchercon, the international mystery writers conference, began, and over a week since I returned to beyond-chilly southern New Jersey from not-quite-but-near-enough balmy Long Beach, CA. The details have blurred, but the impressions remain.
The main impression was size. This was my second B’Con (the first a few years ago in Indianapolis), so I was prepared for how many people attend. Yet, in some ways, it felt smaller than before, possibly because I was more at ease, knew what to expect, and saw more people I knew. (There were some who I know attended, however, that I never did bump into.) And I knew to sit down ahead of time with the schedule and decide on the panels I wanted to attend. A great feature was a free app with a personal calendar for listing one’s choices.
The panels I attended were a mixed bag. Some were interesting, with a moderator who asked intriguing questions and panelists who gave insightful answers. A few (very few) were duds, with moderators who spoke about themselves, lectured instead of questioned, gave little time to the panelists, allowed panelists to go off-topic. (The panel I was on, of course, was in the first category!)
The one thing that remains with me are the new connections I made and the older ones I renewed. What surprised me was not the number of people I knew, but how many knew me. As I posted on FaceBook, “I can't hide. A large number of people came up to me (even ones I'd only met on FB before) and said, ‘I recognized your hair.’ Good thing I never tried to become an undercover cop or a spy.”
I would list all the OTP authors I met, but I know I’ll leave someone off the list. You know who you are!
Will I attend again next year? I’m undecided at this time – I attend quite a few conferences every year and realize that I most enjoy the small (PSWA, Deadly Ink) and medium (Left Coast Crime, Malice Domestic) size ones. Should you attend? It depends on personal preference, but if you are a mystery writer or fan, it is an event you should experience at least once.
Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Ed.D.