Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dispatches from Bouchercon: Day Three #Bcon2013

Laurie R. King signs 2013 Anthony Award winner Dana Cameron's copy

Kim Hammond & Tracey Loh report from Albany, New York from the world's largest mystery fan convention, Bouchercon. This is the third report from this year's convention.  

Today was all about book signings. I'm serious. We got to see so many favorites: Harlan Coben (OK, that was yesterday, Sue Grafton (she signed books for more than an hour), Laurie R. King, Lawrence Block and Tess Gerritsen (love Rizzoli and Isles).

Harlan Coben 

Tess Gerritsen

Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton's very long signing line

Mr. Lawrence Block

We also went to a great panel this morning on Young Adult Mysteries, called Root Beer Rag featuring Joelle Charbonneau, Charles Benoit, Cara Brookins, Harlan Coben, Chris Grabenstein, Beth Kanell and Lea Wait. 

Harlan Coben - Harlan is new to writing young adult mysteries. He said he writes like he does for adults but his protagonist is a teenager. Why did he turn to YA with Myron Bolitar's nephew Mickey? He was writing a Myron book and discovered he had a nephew. He also always wanted to write Myron when he was in high school. This was a compromise. 

Chris Grabenstein - He a wrote book aimed for adults and then someone said that they would make good kid's books. He writes middle grade, and says he never mentally matured past age 12 (Ha!). Chris' editor said in children's books you can only kill off someone who really deserves to die. His goal is to get kids to read. His proudest moment is when a kid tells him I read your book in 2 days or my mom took my flashlight away while I was reading your book.

Lea Wait - She says it's hard to define YA, middle grade 7-12 but then you have to consider the reading level of the kids. Middle grade there's a prohibition on bad language and sex can't be overt. Librarians and teachers have to defend buying certain books so they look at that kind of stuff.

Beth Kannel - She told us that a kid is an unreliable narrator. The protagonist is less experienced. This opens new possibilities for a plot. 

Cara Brookins - She pointed out that kids are naturally more curious and experimental. This make them good protagonists.

Charles Benoit - Young adult as a category didn't exist when he was growing up. He writes dark noir with typically sad endings. He wanted to write a book that covered adult topics but with a kid protagonist.

Sex in YA books? Some of the authors do up to a certain point. Little or no swearing. Possible drugs to teach a lesson. 

Four out of five authors on this panel write from a boy's point of view, Why? They've found a girl will read a book from a girl or boy's point of view, but a young boy typically won't read a book from a girl's point of view. 

It was a great and fun panel.

The Anthony Award Winners were announce tonight, congratulations to all the winner and nominees: 

The Beautiful Mystery – Louise Penny 

The Expats – Chris Pavone 

Big Maria – Johnny Shaw 

“Mischief in Mesopotamia” – Dana Cameron

Books to Die For: The World’s Greatest Mystery Writers on the World’s Greatest Mystery Novels 


  1. Thanks for coming to the panel this morning!

  2. I read Chris Pavone's the Expat and he had me paranoid. I enjoyed it very much. Did he attend?

  3. I'm loving these updates. I had no idea Harlan was writing a YA.

  4. It sounds like such a wonderful convention! Love all the signing photos.

  5. Rebecca- Chris was there and he signed an ARC of his new book for Deb. He was very nice. When we met him he was volunteering at the bag check booth.

  6. Chris- you guys were fabulous and the live auction was great too.