Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bouchercon 2015 Wrap Up White Collar Panel

Kerry Hammond is here for the post-Bouchercon wrap up to tell us about a panel she attended at this year's Bouchercon in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bouchercon is the world's largest mystery convention. It will be held in New Orleans in 2016

What do you get when you put John Hart, Alafair Burke, Joseph Finder, Harry Hunsicker, and Michael Sears together in the same room? A wonderful panel at this year’s Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The topic: The White Collar Criminal in Mystery and Thriller Fiction.

The panelists talked about their portrayal of crime and criminals in the books they write. Each of the panelists had a different personal background that led them to be writers, and it was interesting to hear how these differing backgrounds are portrayed in the type of books they write and the characters they create.

When the moderator, Michael Sears, introduced each panelist, he told a little known fact about them. It was interesting to learn that Joe Finder sang next to Ella Fitzgerald, that John Hart is the only author in history to win the best novel Edgar for consecutive novels, that Alafair Burke once received a handwritten letter from a serial killer, and that Harry Hunsicker has never been convicted of a crime… this hemisphere.

The panelists discussed how they make their stories compelling and write the characters in such a way as to drive the story forward. They also discussed the use of research to gain authority but not to overstate facts in a novel. The reader doesn’t want to be told too much. I think John Hart, a former attorney, said it best when he explained that research seems like work, and he got into fiction so he didn’t have to work.

When the panel ended and the audience shouted out for Joseph Finder to sing, I am happy to report that he immediately leaned forward and sang us a few lines into his microphone. He didn’t even need to be asked twice. You don’t become a best-selling novelist by denying your fans. Another great panel at a great conference.

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