by Paula Gail Benson
|KN Court Procedures Panel|
|KN Thriller Panel|
As usual, KN was a terrific experience. I always advise people, if you want to leave a conference with a boost to your writing, then go to Killer Nashville. The event is very open -- facilitating communication among the participants. The encouragement and support comes in welcome waves. The sharing of information about the publishing industry is invaluable as are the discussions about craft and the forensic presentations. I had the privilege of serving on three panels: (1) the court procedure one I mentioned, (2) a consideration of legal and political thrillers, and (3) a conversation among short story writers. Not only did I learn a lot, but I made and renewed some terrific friendships.
|KN Short Stories Panel|
Also, and I’ve admitted this to KN’s founder Clay Stafford and his lovely wife, Jacqueline, I did something I usually don’t do at a writing conference: I played hooky. On Saturday, I wasn’t scheduled for any panels, so I took the opportunity to explore nearby Franklin, Tennessee, and visit its farmers’ market. It was an amazing experience. Musicians entertained those who purchased their breakfast from food trucks. I met a lady who sold chess pies based on a family recipe. I also had some incredible seafood, fresh from the Gulf.
|Franklin, TN, Famers' Market|
In the evening, I had dinner at a wonderful French restaurant with Debra H. Goldstein, who I convinced to play hooky with me. Then, we went to Garth Brooks’ late show at the Grand Ole Opry. Watching the audience was as interesting as the performances. Garth was truly magnificent, returning to play a half hour encore.
I arrived early, and can you believe, Miller came into the venue right behind me. I stood gawking like a true fangirl as I heard the event coordinators talking with her about her leaving soon after the presentation to catch a flight. When they asked if she would like to sign books in advance, I spoke up, asking if I could follow, holding up my copies, then babbling, “You’re the reason I’ve come. I love your work!” The most gracious Ms. Miller offered to sign mine on the spot, so I was able to get a seat up front while she signed for others.
Later, I returned to the same venue to hear Karin Slaughter, who drew a crowd of about 400. I had not heard her speak before, but she was captivating and seeing her in Decatur made up for the fact that I wouldn’t be attending Bouchercon in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she was one of the honorees.
Then, on the way home, I got to spend time with two of my favorite retired booksellers, Fran and Don Bush. There’s no better way to enjoy time with readers and authors!
What conferences and festivals have you attended and which ones do you recommend?