Wednesday, November 5, 2014
By Rachel Howzell Hall
Yeah, yeah, traffic and smog and organic-vegan-gluten-free-blahblahblahs. You’re not coming to Southern California for that. As an L.A. native, and a three-year former resident of Long Beach, I know why the good folks in the Bouchercon offices are bringing us Los Angeles County for this year’s conference.
6. Big. This place is HUGE. With 527 miles of freeway and 382 miles of regular highway, you can drive and drive… and STILL be in Los Angeles County. Live here forever—and never visit 60 percent of it (our unofficial, provincial motto)! Mystery writing is about discovery—and Southern California boasts enough towns and burgs with their own rules and their own cultures for you to never be bored or see the same thing five times.
So. Enjoy the weather. Wiggle your painted toes. Find inspiration on the 405—you’ll be sitting there long enough. Move to the right. Oh, and welcome to the LBC.
RACHEL HOWZELL HALL is a writer/assistant development director at City of Hope, a national leader in cancer research and treatment. She lives in Los Angeles.
Meet Rachel and many other great Forge authors at the hospitality suite on Friday afternoon, where there will be coffee, author signings, and fun giveaways!
Monday, November 3, 2014
By Mary Vesel White
Author of THE QUALITIES OF WOOD
I didn’t know what to expect from my first mystery convention. I often tell people, after all, that my first novel is a mystery that’s not really a mystery. When I wrote The Qualities of Wood, my idea was to play around with the genre a little, by writing a story with a mystery in it that would end up being about discoveries of another nature. Some called it a literary mystery, so I took the opportunity to dip my toes in the mystery pond by signing up for that first convention. I wondered if I’d feel like a fish out of water, whether I’d be accepted amongst the writers of “true” mysteries. This was a couple of years ago, a gathering much smaller than Bouchercon. But to me, it still felt like a pretty big crowd. It was also the first fan get-together I’d attended. I’d been to several conferences—some of them geared towards aspiring writers, almost all of them inclusive of all types of books. I’d never seen a group of readers gathered to celebrate a certain type of story. Because mystery readers love them some mystery, don’t they? Everywhere I went at that convention, I met readers who were so enthusiastic, so welcoming and curious, I couldn’t help but feel at ease. And most of them read A LOT and not just mystery, but all sorts of things.
I discovered that mystery didn’t just mean one thing, not at all. In fact, there are so many subgenres, it’s hard to imagine you can ever know all of them. From cozy to historical, from romantic suspense to police procedural, from crime to noir to legal to amateur sleuth, and the endless variations if you decide to mix these sub genres—I discovered the world of mystery is a wide and deep one, and pretty inviting even to someone like me, who had written a literary novel with a mystery in it. I learned so much at that first conference, made new friends and discovered new writers, and I can’t wait to test of the waters of this larger pond, Bouchercon. It’s another first time, but I know there will be room for me, room for all of us. Aside from the panel and signings I’ll be participating in as an author, I imagine it’ll be difficult to plan the rest of my time as a reader, because of the variety of presentations, interviews and panels, and the many, many types of mystery books to learn about. But this is one mystery I’m glad to solve. Counting down to next month, can’t wait!