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The Conventions of Crime

What do you think goes on at a crime writers convention?

I once brought my husband along to one and he reported that he had overheard a group of writers sitting around and discussing poisoning methods. He seemed a bit nervous!

When crime writers get together, of course you're going to get some poison talk, but mostly what you get is a whole lot of camaraderie and conversation about books, the writing process, research, and publishing.

Something that a lot of people don't realize is that these are fan conventions, so primarily they are a chance for passionate readers to meet their favorite authors and find new ones. Many conventions also bestow awards and honor lifetime achievements. I love talking to readers at conventions, and I always come home with lots of new-to-me authors to read.

But like most conventions, (I presume this is true of dentist conventions or accountant conventions?) crime gatherings bring out my inner seventh grader, the one who freezes when walking into a big room and wonders where I should sit and what will I do if no one talks to me. It can be really nerve-wracking to spend the weekend with a lot of people you don't know. It always helps me to remember that everyone is feeling the same way and to look out for others who seem a bit adrift.

And people can be incredibly kind at these conventions. I was at Bouchercon in Las Vegas when my grandfather died and I had to leave to be with him in his final hours. When I returned for the last day of the conference, I found so much sympathy and support. I've never forgotten it. Another year, I attended Malice Domestic six months after my first child was born. I was really struggling with being away from him and the writers and fans who knew what I was going through went out of their ways to offer their wisdom about parenting and writing.

It's been many years since I've been to a mystery convention and I'm really looking forward to getting back out there. I was honored to appear virtually at New England Crimebake and Midwest Mystery Conference this past year. In 2022, you'll find me (in-person, fingers crossed!) at Malice Domestic, Bouchercon, and New England Crimebake, and possibly at some other gatherings. I can't wait to see old and new friends and to discuss books and life and all things crime.

Here are a few of the larger American mystery conventions. Try one out!

International Conventions I really, really want to go to someday!


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