Monday, September 15, 2014


By Nancy Allen, Author of The Code of the Hills: An Ozarks Mystery (HarperCollins/Witness Impulse, 2014)

It hardly seems possible that almost a year has passed since I arrived in Albany for my first writers’ conference, as a new HarperCollins/Witness Impulse author with my debut novel still in edits. I was a Bouchercon virgin, and like all virgins, I was pretty nervous.

What a glorious initiation it was! Crowds of talented authors, throngs of their enthusiastic fans; laughs at the panels all day, parties every night. And books. Books everywhere, by all of my favorite authors.

Award for best panel? For my money, there’s no contest: it was the legendary ladies of the Jungle Red. The dynamic of the group was a marvel, and the way in which they interacted with their devoted readers was an education in itself. I’ll never forget the gracious courtesy demonstrated by Hank Phillippi Ryan to all of the fans who clamored for a word with her, and I took note: if I ever had any fans, I would certainly follow the example that Hank Phillippi Ryan set.

I was already over the moon, but then I really scored: I was invited to a HarperCollins party that evening and got to hang with Elizabeth Haynes and Lou Berney. And Hallie Ephron was there, in the flesh! I followed her around like a stalker on crack. It’s a wonder she didn’t dial 911. Maybe she didn’t have her phone on her; I dunno.

So I’m counting the days until Bouchercon 2014, which features another stellar list of attendees: my Jungle Reds will be back, as well as Lee Child, Karin Slaughter and J.A. Jance. It’s time to mingle with the stars. And though I’m dead certain that Lee & Karin & J.A. will be begging for a spot on my dance card, when the hour comes for the Jungle Red panel, they need to move out of the way, because I want a front row seat. Baby, I’m baaaaack!


  1. Nancy, looking forward to meeting you. This will be my first Bouchercon. My first book came out in June with Witness. I'll help you stalk the other HC writers if you want! I'm good at that! xo

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