Tuesday, September 2, 2014
M.P Cooley's First Bouchercon
Today author M.P. Cooley joins us with a guest post all about her first Bouchercon...
I attended my first Bouchercon in 2009 in San Francisco. At that time, I was struggling through a bad first draft of Ice Shear, hesitant to call myself an author. That said, I had no hesitation calling myself a fan, and was dizzy with the crush of fellow crime fiction lovers, authors and fans alike. I attended the conference alone, but after sitting next to the same people in several consecutive sessions, we bonded. The group of us strategized to make sure everyone got to meet their favorite authors. After the parties we’d grab dinner, sharing stories from sessions we attended, and having friendly debates on whether Dashiell Hammett or Ross Macdonald was the better author. (Since I can get the last word in here, the answer is Ross Macdonald. Sorry, Caitlin!)
On day three of the conference, I got my hands on a galley of Lawrence Block’s A Drop of the Hard Stuff. I grabbed a bottle of water, found a bench at the end of a deserted hallway, and proceeded to read half the book in one sitting. After dragging my bag full of books to Caltrain, I read the second half on the ride home. I felt the quiet joy of having found a secret prize, not just the Block novel, but the whole conference.
That sense of quiet joy was present when I attended last year’s conference in Albany. Ice Shear galleys were a few months away, but my publisher William Morrow came up with a genius giveaway: Ice scrapers. At the opening reception curious people came over, and once they stopped laughing, had me sign a scraper. Ice Shear is set in the Albany area during a long brutal winter, and I bonded with the local fans about why the area was a perfect place to set a murder. Several authors pulled me aside, telling me about their own debut year and giving me tips. While there, I met Hank Phillippi Ryan for the first time, and she generously agreed to read the book, giving me my first blurb.
This year, I will be attending with book in hand and will be participating on a panel for the first time. Despite some low level butterflies, I’m looking forward to it. Already excitement is building among all the authors and fans I know, and there is no question for me that I will come home with new friends, new stories, and new books to love.