The very first Bouchercon I attended was in 1990 in London, England. I wasn’t writing at the time, although lurking in the background was probably the desire to do so. But I had heroes! And there they were: P.D.James; Colin Dexter; Michael Innes, among others. What a thri
ll to hear and see them chatting about the genre that I loved so much.
After that, I attended regularly. Not only was it an opportunity to visit different cities I might not necessarily visit, such as the glorious Pasadena, it was also the chance to mingle with other people – both fans and writers – who loved to read the kind of books I loved to read.
Along the way, perhaps without quite realizing it, I was picking up tips about the writing process itself. All most helpful when I began my first novel.
I made friends that I have kept over the years. I met my first editor Ruth Cavin at the Nottingham Bouchercon and got launched as it were. We sat next to each at the banquet, fell into a great conversation (topic forgotten now). I mentioned I had sent along a manuscript to St. Martin’s Press. It was no doubt sitting in her slush pile. After this evening, I was a face attached to a name. She read the manuscript and made an offer. Except the Dying saw the light of day two years later.
Long may the lovers of this genre gather together.
Maureen Jennings is the author of the Murdoch Mysteries series, the Christine Morris books and the Tom Tyler books. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel for her Tom Tyler book, Dead Ground In Between, just one of the awards for which her work has been shortlisted, and which it has won. Maureen was President of Crime Writers of Canada 2003-2004.