The Virginia Festival of the Book was held in Charlottesville this past weekend, and I was one of the lucky ones. I got to be on a panel. Not just any panel. A panel consisting of Babes of a Certain Age Who Write Mysteries and are Funny and Wise. That wasn't the name of our panel but it should have been. Observe:
That's Joanna Campbell Slan, Meredith Cole, Yours Truly, and Ellen Crosby. We talked about the amateur sleuth heroines who propel our plots, and the challenges of writing a book that readers won't throw against the wall. We packed the room, then made 'em laugh. Then we gave each other pedicures and dished about writers who weren't there.
Not really. We traded shoes and swapped husbands.
Here's the thing. Book festivals (and conferences) are great for meeting like-minded peeps who get you. Joanna Slan endeared herself to me forever when she introduced herself and told me she was reading (and liking) ASHES TO WATER. Even though she comprises 50% of my entire readership (not counting my mom), she talked to me like I was an equal, which I clearly am not. These authors are all blazing impressive paths to success. Joanna has a successful mystery series starring Kiki Lowenstein. Meredith is a major award winner, now writing her third novel. Ellen writes (and yes, SELLS) a novel a year, which all take place in Virginia wineries. Me? I've written two books in as many decades, and I was honored to be in their company.
And with that festival, I pretty much wrapped up my scheduled book events. So I'm, like, totally available to talk to your baby sitting co-op about how I get my ideas, or how to kill an agent. (Oh, sorry. I meant, how to employ an agent.) I also do high school reunions and foreclosure auctions. But you better act now. Because unlike my new friendships,
This offer won't last long.