The World of BoucherCon
BoucherCon, the Mystery Conference named to honor Anthony Boucher, takes place every fall. This year’s, the 50th, will be in Dallas. I’ve been to going to BoucherCons since before I was published, starting with London in 1990—and when I count them up, I’m astonished to find adds up to twenty-one of them! I’ve been to gatherings of my criminous clan in—
Washington, DC 2001
Las Vegas 2003
San Francisco 2010 (Guest of Honor)
St Louis 2011
Long Beach 2014
New Orleans 2016
I wrote about my very first, very befuddled, BoucherCon, in London three years before my first book was published:
I remember: P. D. James, the guest of honor, coming out for her interview with a handbag tucked over her arm, looking startlingly like the queen, and answering questions with all the regal aplomb—even the lady in the houndstooth cape whose hand-puppet asked, “Sherlock Hound wants to know, what is the meaning of “Devices and Desires” being used both as the title of a book and as the chapter title in an earlier book?”
I remember: A reference to one of the Goddesses of Crime as “ABC—Agatha Bloody Christie” and waiting for lightning to strike the speaker dead.
I remember: Realizing for the first time the scope of what the phrase “crime fiction” meant.
I remember: Learning that the correct answer to the question, “Are you a writer?” was a firm and unequivocal, “Yes.”
(The full post about my newbie days in London is here.)
In those pre-digital times, when getting photos would have meant hauling a SLR camera around London, I came away with no photographic record. Nor did I have the nerve to take a camera to Seattle in 1994, where Grave Talent was up against Nevada Barr’s Track of the Cat—and lost. (Read about it here.) Though I did see for the first time one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever had:
It wasn’t until 1995 that someone—probably my beloved agent, Linda Allen—was kind enough to take this at the Nottingham BoucherCon:
I’d guess it was a panel about religious mysteries (that being the year To Play the Fool was published) with Michael Anthony, Kate Charles, Allison Joseph, Daniel Williamson—and to my amazement, Steve Steinbock, eminent fellow BSI, which must have been the first time we met.
The point of this being, if you want to befriend writers, you need to go where writers hang out, no matter how uncomfortable you are the first year or three. And in the case of the mystery genre, writers hang out at conferences like BoucherCon.
See you in Dallas!