Last weekend was Murder 203, Connecticut's own Mystery festival. Held on Saturday at the Easton Library and on Sunday at the Westport library, it's a wonderful way to re-energize your spirit and your writing. The two-day event is packed with panel discussions, book signings, raffles and a silent auction at Saturday night's cocktail party.
This year's guest of honour was Mary Jane Clark, author of the Eliza Blake and Sunrise Suspense Society series. Hank Phillippi Ryan, put on her reporter "hat" and interviewed Mary Jane. The hour flew by, filled with amusing anecdotes and useful insights.
Mystery 203 draws not only published authors, and the hopeful (like yours truly), but also avid fans who come to meet and mingle with their favourite mystery writers. I was surprised by the number of non-writers, many of whom had driven long distances to be there.
There were lots of great sessions to choose. Topics included:
- Research: balancing facts and fiction,
- Women writing males characters,
- Men writing female characters,
- Amateurs on the case,
- Professionals on the case,
- Contemporary women detectives, and
- Crime fiction ripped from the the headlines to name a few.
Sunday's schedule closed with a presentation by Paul LaRosa, discussing his latest book Seven Days of Rage: the Deadly Crime Spree of the Craigslist Killer, and a panel of book reviewers, including our own Hallie Ephron, sharing their views on the mystery marketplace.
I love attending these conferences. I always come away with renewed energy and resolve to finish my manuscript, helpful hints, and new friends. As I listen to the panelists and speakers, I find myself jotting down notes about my current book: have Kenzi read contemporary mysteries in her spare time and quote her favorite authors. Or have neighbour be an expert in some field that will help solve the mystery.
The authors who give up their time for Mystery 203, and other conferences, deserve a huge round of applause and appreciation. They share their craft and wisdom selflessly with us. You guys are my heroes! Hopefully, some day, I'll pay it forward.