Looking Back

As an author, one of the biggest rewards for me is all the wonderful people I’ve met over the year. Famous authors, not so famous authors, and so many wonderful readers who’ve become my friends.

On the famous author list is Mary Higgins Clark who I met at my first mystery weekend, a small conference at a rustic venue in the hills. She seemed a bit out of place dressed stylishly in a suit and high heels. Didn’t matter, she was charming and friendly and willing to share so much with the handful of hopeful writers. I didn’t see her again until years later at an Edgar award cocktail party. She greeted me with a big hug and treated me like an old friend as she introduced me to her—at the time—new husband.

Another famous author, Ian Rankin, invited my husband and me to sit with him and his two agents, and various others of his entourage when we couldn’t find seats at a Bouchercon luncheon. He included us in his conversations.  Charming man.

I was a panelist with Lee Childs at another big mystery convention (why I was put on it I’ll never know) and it was nearly impossible to understand the questions asked by the moderator. It was obvious, the panelist were having troubles. When it was my turn, I just said whatever came into my head. After it was over, I was in an elevator with Childs and he asked me how I knew what he was asking. I told him what I’d done. He laughed, and said he wished he’d thought of that.

Me and William Kent Krueger

Wonderful writer, William Kent Krueger, became friends with my husband and me at Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha. Hubby and he competed several times to be the best actor (over acting) in the annual mystery play sponsored by the Omaha Library.

Before Craig Johnson became as popular as he is now, I was on a panel with him and the room overflowed. Some of the other panelists had no idea who he was and thought people had attended because our topic was writing about Native Americans. Johnson was oh so charming and made sure everyone on the panel had their time to shine.

Twist Phelan and I connected at a mystery conferences in Idaho. We had a great time, and I remember we laughed a lot. At other conventions where she was on several panels, she always made sure to point out my husband and I were in the audience.

There are so many other not quite as famous mystery writers I’ve become friends with over the years, some were roommates at conferences and conventions. I met several publishers who became friends. Some I’m still in contact with—though Covid put a halt to a lot of opportunities to reconnect with these folks.

Best of all are the readers I’ve made friends with over the year including the wonderful Alaskan who invited me to stay with her when I had several days after a Bouchercon and was supposed to visit schools but somehow was left out of the planning. And another woman from Alaska found a school for me to talk to, drove me around, and showed me the sights.  What started out as a disaster became a wonderful adventure. Husband and I connected with so many other mystery lovers and hung out with them at other conventions, and are still in touch with a few.

I have lots of wonderful memories of time spent with mystery writers and readers.


Back to Normal for Mystery Writers—Mostly.

The big mystery cons are ready and waiting for writers and fans to enjoy mingling, meeting authors and readers, and enjoying being together.

I have wonderful memories of the Bouchercons and Left Coast Crimes I attended over the years. Sometimes going to one of these events was like attending a family reunion. Often I was greeted with a big hug by someone I’d met the year before, and we’d have a wonderful time chatting.

There were also several smaller mystery conferences I attended that are no longer happening. My favorite was Mayhem in the Midlands, which happened in Omaha. I met so many wonderful people there, fans and authors. It’s where I first met Wm. Kent Krueger and his wife. And it’s where my husband and Kent vied for the best actor at the mystery dinner and play. Sometimes Kent won, and other times it was my hubby.

Once Kent’s wife and my husband were on a panel with Jan Burke’s husband and another spouse I don’t recall right now. The moderator asked great questions, and it was a hilarious panel.

My husband and I had a wonderful time hanging out with the most interesting people, and also traveling to many places in the U.S. we’d have never visited if it had been for these mystery events.

Now, hubby and I no longer fly, and I am only planning on attending one writing conference, the one put on by the Public Safety Writers Association in Las Vegas. (My daughter will drive me there.) This conference is small, attended by many still active and retired persons in all different types of law enforcement and other fields of public safety who are writing or aspiring to write, and mystery writers. The speakers and panels are a mixture of writing and publishing, and law enforcement information. Four publishers are expected to attend. https://policewriter.com/

What was once my normal, attending many mystery cons during the year, is no longer possible for several reasons, but I encourage those of you who can. And my advice to those of you who attend one or more event, don’t merely hang out with those you know, reach out and talk to everyone. Yes, I always did and shared some wonderful conversations and meals with interesting people for all parts of the country. You might become friends with a reader who will become one of your biggest fans.

Marilyn who also writes as F. M. Meredith

The latest and last book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series if Reversal of Fortune. And I’ve received lots of help for this series from folks I’ve met through the Public Safety Writers of America.