1888 People. Not here, in the Lafayette Cemetery (see picture), New Orleans, Louisiana, but at the Blood on the Bayou World Mystery Convention, Bouchercon 2016.
1888 people (or so I heard) including mystery writers, readers, editors and publishers, attended the convention held at the Marriott on Canal Street last week. I was one of them.
There is so much to tell you about this conference that I’m going to go through, day by day, to fill you in and show you pictures. I’ll be dropping names, but I’m only dropping them because they are people I met or heard speak — and all of them are important names in the mystery world. These are people with creativity and tenacity and courage. They are people who dream up mysteries of all kinds, hard-boiled crime, amateur sleuth, psychological suspense, cozies, political/espionage, thriller, romantic suspense and more.
Bouchercon was named after a famous mystery fiction critic, editor and author, Anthony Boucher. (real name: William Anthony Parker White). The first Bouchercon was held in 1970 in Santa Monica, CA and the guest of honor was Robert H. Bloch. This year’s convention was the 47th. The 2016 American Guest of Honor was Harlan Coben, and the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to David Morrell (Rambo’s daddy).
So let me explain how this convention works. Each day features a series of 50-minutes-long panels of writers, speaking on various topics. Four or five writers participated on each panel, and five or six panels were underway simultaneously every hour for five hours each day. In addition, other events were inserted just to confuse the issue!
Thursday I attended the American Guest of Honor Interview – Harlan Coben interviewed by Michael Connelly. Harlan has just finished his 30th novel, Home. What a treat to see these two heavy hitters from the mystery world chatting on stage! Note: Harlen’s first book to hit the big time, Tell No One, was actually his tenth book. One of his books will soon become the basis for a Netflix series, The Five. And he’s talking with Julie Roberts about starring in an upcoming movie to be made based on his book, Fool Me Once. Coben and Michael were both visible participants at the convention and participated in our mini-Mardi Gras parade Friday night!
Also on Thursday, I volunteered to be a greeter at the Librarian’s Tea, sponsored by Kensington Books. It was an opportunity to have a light lunch while visited with roaming Kensington authors, like Heather Graham, Daniel Palmer, A.J. Tata and Janet Finsilver.
In between these big events I attended panels: Another Tricky Day (panelists Scott Adlerberg, John Billheimer, J.T. Ellison, Sharan Newman, Wallace Stroby, and Peter Swanson); Something To Talk About (panelists Jill Block, Lawrence Block, Bill Crider, Catherine Coulter, Joe Lansdale and S.J. Rozan); and Scooby Snacks (panelists Angela Crider Neary, Margaret Mizushima, J.R. Ripley, Liz Mugavero, Janet Finsilver and Elena Hartwell.
But the convention was in New Orleans, after all. My roomie, LouLou Harrington, and I had to take a walk through the Upper French Quarter! Visit Mary Coley Author to see pics of this afternoon/evening walk. We missed a few events, but we got a taste of mid-September in N’Awlins, humid, but a breeze coming off the Mighty Mississippi!
Day 2 – Friday, is coming this Wednesday!