Last weekend, I attended Malice Domestic, a conference for traditional mysteries in Bethesda, MD, where writers and readers discuss topics related to the genre. If you’re considering attending a conference or wonder what happens during a typical weekend, read on!
Being a relatively new author, I’m always curious about what conferences work, and by “work” I mean add value. Malice Domestic works for me. I’ve attended the conference twice and both times was surprised at how intimate it felt despite the large number of attendees.
Friday morning, I participated in Malice Go Round, which is like speed dating between authors and readers. Each author has two minutes to “pitch” his/her book to a table of ten readers. Despite going too fast, it was a lot fun. I connected with many mystery fans that I never could have reached on my own.
On Saturday, I met more authors and readers during the panel, Bookish Sleuths. Like me, the authors on the panel had sleuths who were bibliophiles, and we answered questions about our protagonists, settings, and bookish indulgences. I listened to a few panels, too, and even met someone in my tea group (Plum Deluxe)! I also met Marie from Cozy Experience who was doing live interviews on Facebook. To listen to my interview, click here.
Rhys Bowen’s late afternoon interview with Louise Penny was a special treat for everyone. Louise Penny, the guest of honor this year, talked about her Chief Inspector Gamache novels as well as her personal triumphs and losses. She discussed writing, alcoholism, fear, and even the loss of her husband. The interview was truly heartwarming.
By evening, everyone had cast their ballots for the Agatha Awards and dressed for the banquet. The winners were announced by category: historical (In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen), contemporary (Glass Houses by Louise Penny), first novel (Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett), nonfiction (From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women who Created an Icon by Mattias Boström), short story (“The Library Ghost of Tanglewood Inn” by Gigi Pandian), and young adult (Sydney Mackenzie Knocks ‘Em Dead by Cindy Callaghan).
The weekend ended as quickly as it began, and Sunday I was on a plane back to South Dakota. For someone living in a rural state, I think attending conferences (when possible) is important. For readers, conferences connect people with similar interests. As one reader at my banquet table said, “I never knew this world existed!” The same could be said for authors. Living in a small city, I don’t meet many mystery writers, nor do I get to talk with them about the writing craft. It’s wonderful to share similar experiences, and I hope to meet more authors and readers next year.
Interested in finding out more about Malice Domestic? Click here.