I’m happy to say MMC exceeded my expectations on both counts. The organizers (with Lori Rader-Day—one of my previous online-only acquaintances, now a real-life friend—and Dana Kaye at the helm) put together panels of authors, publishers, publicists, agents, librarians, and booksellers to talk about a well-thought-out mix of crime fiction and publishing topics.
The first panel of the day, Violence in Crime Fiction, played beautifully into my first goal. Panelists Lucy Kerr, Elizabeth Buzzelli, Nic Joseph, and Michael Harvey, moderated by Lynne Raimondo, unanimously agreed that violence is not the most compelling component of crime fiction, an opinion I hold as well. The aftermath of crime, the human reactions to violence are what make crime stories gripping and relevant.
New publications from conference
organizers Dana Kaye and
As I listened to the panelists, I thought about my current work in progress, in which a young woman is murdered before page one. The story follows the tendrils of consequences and devastation her death causes in her small college town, especially how her murder affects her roommate, the cops who investigate her death, and her family.
One of the panelists mentioned the classic Raymond Chandler essay, The Simple Art of Murder. I’m a bit ashamed to admit I hadn’t read it in full before, but when I rectified that oversight, I recognized this famous passage:
But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything…He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him, I think the world would be a very safe place to live in, and yet not too dull to be worth living in.
Of course I indulged in
Chicago-style pizza, too.
The folks who put together this first MMC are already planning the second and beyond. If you’re looking for an outstanding experience filled with fun people, I give MMC my highest recommendation.
Do you attend writer/fan conferences? If so, what’s your favorite conference, favorite brush with greatness, or favorite story?
|Chicago started celebrating St. Patrick's Day early. Shout out to this terrific Irish band at The Gage, a lovely, lively venue.|