Sunday, September 26, 2010

Guest Blogger: U.S. Guest of Honor, Laurie R. King

Note from Rae:  Not only is Laurie R. King a fabulous writer, she's also a long-time citizen of Bouchercon Nation.  Here, she talks about how she discovered Bouchercon.


Photo Credit:  Red Bat Photograp

I first heard of BoucherCon from the woman who was my English agent at the time, when I was planning a trip to England in the fall (pardon me—autumn) of 1990.  At the time I had precisely nothing published.  I had nothing under contract.  I did have an agent—two of them, in fact.

“Boucher what?”

“Con.  It’s a conference.  Of crime writers.”

“An entire conference of crime writers?  Oh, I don’t know about that.”

I wasn’t a conference sort.  I wasn’t a real writer.  I wasn’t even a head-over-heels fan of crime fiction.  Still, an agent had suggested it, and I was going to be in London anyway, so I signed up, and spent the better part of two days wandering around with my mouth hanging open.
A large part of that sense of alienation, I later realized, was because of the setting: King’s College, London is not a space designed for hanging around and schmoozing with people.  As I wrote for the Baltimore BCon—

My first BoucherCon experience was at King’s College London, a cold and confusing building where you had to go down a flight of stairs and around half a mile of frigid corridor to get a cup of weak coffee in the linoleum-and-formica dining hall. These posh English colleges…

A few years later, I went briefly to Seattle for the BoucherCon there, since I had been nominated for their best first Anthony award (my book lost, to Nevada Barr’s Track of the Cat, deservedly) and my most vivid memory is being on a crowded elevator and having a blue-rinsed lady spot my author badge and ask if I wrote serial killer books.  Wondering if I was looking particularly psychopathic that day, I said, Well sort of, but not really as a habit.  She turned away, disappointed, and announced to all, “I just love serial killers.”  The elevator emptied rather rapidly.

My third BoucherCon was in Nottingham, England, where we were greeted for the dinner by knights, blazing torches, jugglers, and Robin Hood, complete with merry men, and women.
Which basically boils down BoucherCon for you: the hero’s alienation, a sense of loss, psychopathic murderers, and the glorification of the criminal classes.

The very essence of crime fiction, in fact.


Blogger Robin McCormack said...

Wow. Sounds fun, but daunting in a way.

September 27, 2010 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Thanks for sharing your Bouchercon experiences with us. I really enjoyed how you boiled it down! Very clever. Congratulations on being the U.S. Guest of Honor.

October 1, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

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