I met Martin Edwards at BoucherCon last year, in Toronto, and he convinced me that attending CrimeFest in Bristol this year was The Thing To Do. Mr. Edwards is considered something of an authority on the Golden Age of detective fiction, the sort of thing I’m trying to emulate, so I guess I’m more inclined to listen when he tells me what would be good for my career. It didn’t hurt that my visit to the UK earlier last year only inflamed my latent anglophilia. Cornish pasties ahoy!
Well, I can tell you that CrimeFest is somewhat more intimate than BoucherCon. There’s really a sense of the crime fiction community being like a village where everyone knows everyone else. I was a little worried because I was going into this with no one to depend on for moral support. I knew Mr. Edwards and Cathy Ace to talk to, thanks to BoucherCon, but we’d only just met and hadn’t yet moved any bodies together, as it were. (I was very lucky at BoucherCon to run into Jim Napier on the first day; I knew Mr. Napier from an earlier Crime Writers of Canada event for the Arthur Ellis Awards shortlist, and he was kind enough to take me under his wing.) I suspect I may have come across as something of a creepy spook hanging about the periphery of everybody’s conversations–always wanting to talk but never having anything to say. Maybe once I’ve got my own address in this crime fiction village, and the self assurance that comes with it….
People do seem to agree that the crime fiction community is Really Nice and Friendly. I am pleased to say that, personal creep factor notwithstanding, I have Met People and Made Contacts and all that community integration goodness.
Also, on the second day, I got a twitter notification for a tweet about ME: a picture of my business card, and “Doesn’t hurt that the author (@misericordius) is strolling around #crimefest18 looking terribly dapper in a three-piece suit.”
My twitter handle isn’t on my card, but I guess it figures that crime fiction enthusiasts like to do a bit of detective work on the side. More important is the realisation, that I can never appear at these things dressed in anything else, ever again.
Well, author branding is a thing, and I guess I’ve found my brand. I wonder if I can claim the cost of a new waistcoat in my taxes.
So, what else have I garnered from CrimeFest? I have a stack of books–anyone attending CrimeFest or BoucherCon would be wise to travel light–and I owe Mik Brown a beer. I’ve learnt that apparently I was totally entitled to being on a panel, despite my book not being out quite yet–important thing was that it be in production with an officially scheduled release. Next year, perhaps.
I think I’d like to end with a mention of “Guess Who?” by Chris McGeorge, coming out this September. It strikes me as being a distilled version of exactly the sort of puzzlebox-whodunnit I like, a suspicion bolstered by the fact the guy has a hamster named Agatha Christie.
EDIT: It turns out that “Guess Who?” actually came out on 03 May, and the September thing is (I guess) a second edition. It seems Amazon defaults to the September edition, hence my confusion.