By Andrew Kaplan
Music is memory. That was the take-away from my first Bouchercon in Cleveland. (Cleveland, really? Yes, Cleveland.) Starting with ceremonies at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’d never been to either Cleveland or the museum and thought it might be hokey, but instead found myself walking through the exhibits and reliving my life in the music. And at the venue, meeting people like Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol, with whom I once did a Connie Martinson TV show (Connie still does the best book interviews in the business). For an author, there were unexpected experiences, like walking down a hall and having someone I had never seen before suddenly thrust mint first edition copies of some of my out of print books at me and ask me to sign as if he’d been waiting for me. I did a regular book signing for Mystery Mike, a panel with some fascinating fellow authors and a packed room who asked really perceptive questions (trust me, that doesn’t always happen), and went to a HarperCollins cocktail party (the one common denominator in all literature is alcohol), because the best thing about these events is getting together with other writers. My agent invited us to a private party at a Slovenian restaurant (pierogies, sausages, kielbasa, and not a vegetable or anything remotely green in sight) complete with a polka band in lederhosen. Many toasts and laughs there with great writers like Bob Randisi and Mister Cleveland himself, Les Roberts. I wound up sitting next to one of my idols, Sara Paretsky, with whom I also danced a brief polka (brief only because I couldn’t keep up with her). My wife and I went to panels, but we got outside too. It was cool and grey in Cleveland, cold at night. We went for a walk by Lake Erie and ate at a great restaurant on East Fourth Street. Cleveland will surprise you. Most American cities will.
So what will happen at Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach? I have no idea, except that it will be unexpected. And this time, I plan to dance a flamenco with Sara Paretsky.