Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Murder in the Big Easy

            Last week I had the pleasure of attending Bouchercon 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year’s theme was “Blood on the Bayou.”

            Having never been to a Bouchercon, which bills itself as the World Mystery Convention, I had only a fuzzy idea of what to expect. What I found was a huge community of mystery writers and mystery fans, all of whom were supportive, engaging, funny, knowledgeable, and inquisitive.

            If you’ve ever been to a large convention (or a small one, or if you’ve ever met even one writer), you know there’s nothing writers love more than talking shop. And there was plenty of that at Bouchercon. Each day of the convention was jam-packed with panel after panel of fascinating discussion. It was actually hard to prioritize which panels to attend because they all sounded interesting and many of them were scheduled in the same time slots.

            Here’s just a brief glimpse of some of the panel topics:

            Problems All Authors Face
            Captivating the Reader
            Agents & Editors Panel: State of the Industry
            Realities of Death Investigation
            Writing Groups: Our Experience Forming and Running a Group
            Cozy vs. Hardboiled
            Ever-Changing Trends in Genre Fiction

            I wish I could list all the panels here, but it would take way too much space. I participated on a panel called “Take Me Home,” all about setting and its importance or non-importance in different types of stories.

Take Me Home panel

            But the panels weren’t the only things going on; every 15 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., there was a different author in the spotlight to talk about a free-flowing range of topics. There were book signings, readings, publisher events, interviews with the hottest mystery writers today, interviews with the accomplished and lauded guests of honor (including Harlan Coben, David Morrell, and R.L. Stine), and presentations by experts in the field of crime investigation. There was a huge booksellers’ room with thousands of books for sale. There was another room called the Book Bazaar, and every attendee, both writer and fan, had the opportunity to choose six free books to take home from the Bazaar.

            And of course there were the Anthony Awards for different categories of mystery: Best Novel, Best Non-Fiction Book, Best Anthology, Best Young Adult Book, etc. But even more fun than the Anthony Awards was the Second Line parade that wound authors, fans, and guests of honor through the streets from the convention hotel to the Orpheum Theater. Even the rain couldn’t dampen the fun, which included stilt walkers, dancers, performers, and a jazz band.

Second Line Parade

            And it was in New Orleans. I’d never been, but it’s a city that almost defies description. The architecture was gorgeous, the French Quarter and the Garden District were breathtaking, and Bourbon Street was an education in itself.

Bourbon Street
          Did I mention last week was Restaurant Week in New Orleans? Don’t even get me started.

The Scalibut at GW Fins

            I’m already making plans for next year’s Bouchercon, which will be held in Toronto.


Nancy LiPetri said...


jrlindermuth said...

Always wanted to attend one and haven't had the opportunity. You make it seem even greater than I imagined. Glad you had the chance to attend--and in Nawlins yet!

Sharon Aguanno said...

WOW! Would love to attend one of these! Someday maybe! Glad you had a great experience!

Amy Reade said...

Thanks, Nancy!

Amy Reade said...

John, I hope you get an opportunity to go sometime. I don't know where you are in Pennsylvania, but I think Bouchercon has been held in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in the past, and they often repeat cities.

Amy Reade said...

Sharon, I think you would love the convention. So many fans, so many authors. So much to choose from and opportunities to meet new people! Have a great day. And by the way, the year after next the convention moves to Dallas. :)

Maggie King said...

I went last year and it was wonderful, but Nawlins is a lot more exciting than Raleigh!

Linda Thorne said...

Amy, I really enjoyed meeting you and your husband at Bouchercon. It was fun and so was New Orleans (as it's always been for me). There was so much to do, so many panels to choose from, so many people to meet. It was wonderful. I enjoyed every minute of the panel you were on. All of you had interesting things to say.

Amy Reade said...

Maggie, I've heard good things about Bouchercon in Raleigh. I'm sorry I missed it. Maybe we'll see you next year in Toronto!

Amy Reade said...

Linda, it took us a couple days to synchronize our schedules, but we did it! I'm so glad we could meet in person. Thanks for coming to my panel!

Ronqual Williams said...

ive always wanted to attend and considering that im a huge fan it would have been a pleasure maybe ill catch it next year

Joyce Ann Brown said...

It sounds exciting and we'll worth the trip. I hope to attend Bouchercon ome of these days.

Liane Spicer said...

OMG, this sounds fabulous! And Restaurant Week too!