No one was more surprised than I when I was chosen for a panel at this year’s Bouchercon. Not a traditionally published book to my name, and the contract I signed in May won’t will have no physical manifestation for a year and a half. Still, there I was, listed with my betters on the “Murder In Small Town USA” panel set for Friday at 11:30. Moderated by Sandra Parshall, the other panelists are Brenda Chapman, Erika Chase, Jess Lourey, and Mary Saums. (Part of me suspects someone thought I was a woman. Are they in for a surprise.)
How did I get chosen? Beats me. I can think of other writers of mysteries set in small town with far better track records than mine, and much higher profiles. If I’m guessing, the major thing in my favor was I had already committed to attend, registering well in advance of June 30, the date they asked people to register by if they wanted a panel. I suspect it didn’t hurt when I responded to a broadcast email to help promote Bouchercon by posting about it, and adding a link to the blog. (Look up and to the right on this page.) Being mistaken for a woman probably didn’t hurt.
Whatever the criteria, I’m grateful for the opportunity and am already in the midst of reading a book by each of my co-panelists, so as not to come off as the clueless boob I too often prove to be in public. I’m looking forward to having some fun and meeting some new people, though it’s a tough time slot. (Other panels at the same time include Mark Billingham, Michael Connelly, Zoe Sharp, Andrew Grant, John Gilstrap, and Max Allan Collins.) If you’re coming to Bouchercon this year and have an opening Friday at 11:30, stop on by. Ask embarrassing questions, snicker at my answers, whatever. Have a good time. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ll be the one with the beard.