Crime Festival Journal: Bouchercon 2018
Where: St. Petersburg, Florida
When: September 6 - 9, 2018
This past weekend, I had the incredible opportunity to attend Bouchercon 2018! Known as the “World Mystery Convention,” Bouchercon brings together crime writers, readers, industry members, and more for a long weekend of crime fiction fun. One of my personal favorite things about Bouchercon is that it changes location every year; last year, Bouchercon was held in Toronto, Canada, and this year it was held in St. Petersburg, Florida! I absolutely love traveling, and am always game for any reason to visit somewhere new, and Bouchercon is the perfect reason to do so. There’s nothing more inspiring to me than spending time with folks who are as passionate about the crime fiction genre as I am, and I left Bouchercon 2018 feeling totally energized and excited by all that I learned over the course of the conference!
In my Bouchercon 2018 Crime Festival Journal, you will find a day-by-day recap of my time in St. Petersburg, including book and author recommendations from the weekend, recaps of author interviews and panels, and lots of photos! (Note: you can click on any of the photos in this post to see an enlarged version.)
A little disclaimer: I did my very best to accurately take notes on the author appearances and interviews that I listened to at Bouchercon. Any errors are my own.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Crime by the Book is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way impacts my opinions on the books mentioned in this post.
Books I Added to my TBR from Bouchercon 2018:
One of the best parts of any crime conference is the opportunity it affords attendees to learn about new books! I’ve found that not only do I learn about new books from attending panels at these conferences, but I also will find myself reminded of books I’ve been meaning to read for a while—both outcomes are equally valuable, and equally exciting. Here are a few of the books I added to my TBR (or, in a couple cases, bumped up my TBR!) thanks to the panels I attended at Bouchercon!
THE STRANGER DIARIES by Elly Griffiths - on sale March 5, 2019
Of all the books I learned about at Bouchercon this year, this one was hands-down the most intriguing! THE STRANGER DIARIES is a work of gothic suspense from international sensation Elly Griffiths—I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy. Learn more here.
SLEEPYHEAD by Mark Billingham
Mark Billingham is a household name around the world, but I have yet to read any of his books. When he told the story that inspired his debut novel SLEEPYHEAD (learn more later on in this post!), I knew I had to add this one to my TBR. Learn more here.
EVERY SINGLE SECRET by Emily Carpenter
I absolutely loved Emily Carpenter’s 2017 release THE WEIGHT OF LIES, but for some reason I haven’t quite been in the right mood for her 2018 release yet—that is, until I heard her discuss it on a panel at Bouchercon! I can’t wait to dig in this fall. Learn more here.
Bouchercon 2018 Crime Festival Journal
The Vinoy Renaissance / St. Petersburg, FL
Day 1: Wednesday, September 5
I landed in Florida on Wednesday evening, and, thanks to a thunderstorm in the area, had a bit of a wait at the airport before I was able to head back to my hotel. After (finally!) collecting my bags, I headed out into the Florida humidity and caught an Uber to my hotel, the Hollander. The Hollander is a very cute little boutique hotel in St. Petersburg—I’m always looking for good deals, and this place totally fit the bill and had such charm!
After checking into my hotel, I went on a little walk to get a feel for the area - that’s always my ritual the first night I travel anywhere new. There’s no better way to get a sense of a new place than to do a bit of walking! I grabbed some dinner and headed back to my hotel to get a good night’s sleep before the excitement of Bouchercon began.
Day 2: Thursday, September 6
The first official day of Bouchercon 2018! I was up bright and early, ready to tackle the first day of the conference. This year’s Bouchercon took place at the gorgeous Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg—a stunning historic building that made for the most beautiful backdrop to the weekend’s events.
The Vinoy Renaissance
After arriving at the Vinoy, I registered for the conference and grabbed my conference goody bag… and what a bag it was! Of all the many enticing books included in this year’s bag, I was most excited about the new short story by Sara Blaedel that conference attendees received. The Woman in the Hotel is a short story that follows journalist Camilla Lind (the good friend of series protagonist Louise Rick) as her personal life collides with a disturbing crime. Also included in the conference goody bag was something I’m quite proud of: Sara Blaedel was honored at this year’s Bouchercon as International Guest of Honor, and I was asked by the Bouchercon planning committee to write a piece on Sara and her role in the crime fiction community. As many CBTB readers know, I’ve been a fan of Sara’s for years now—and I’ve also been so fortunate to get to know her on a personal level, too. Sara’s passion for the crime community is inspiring and infectious, and I was thrilled to get to write about her for Bouchercon attendees!
Next up on my agenda: it was time to attend my first panel! Panel 1 on my schedule (yes, I did create a schedule for myself just to keep everything straight…) was one of my most-anticipated of the whole conference, and it far exceeded my expectations!
Panel: “Pistols Not Parasols -- Strong Female Protagonists”
Featuring: Nadine Nettmann (moderator), Sara Blaedel, Elly Griffiths, Nic Joseph, Lesley Thomson, Amy Stewart
Tell us about your protagonists - how did you come up with these characters?
Elly: The protagonist of Elly’s series is a forensic archaeologist. In real life, Elly’s husband originally wanted to be an archaeologist, but he abandoned that dream to become a lawyer. Then, after working in law for a while, he quit his job and went back to school to study his true passion - archaeology! Because of Elly’s husband, she became exposed to new places and ideas. One day, she and her husband were walking on a marsh in Norfolk (in the UK), and her husband was telling her how in prehistoric days, marshes were considered sacred - they were seen as an “in between” place, somewhere in between life and death. That idea inspired her to write about marshes in this capacity, and she created a character who was an archaeologist to do so!
Sara: Sara’s series has two female leads, and it was absolutely an intentional choice to craft the series that way. She created two female leads because she wanted to incorporate her personal background as a journalist and a police officer perspective into her series. It was important to her to show cases from two angles: from the investigative angle that comes with writing a police officer, and from the human angle that comes with writing a journalist. She decided to go one step further and make these female leads friends because she wanted them to act as mirrors for one another; she didn’t just want to tell readers about their personalities, but she wanted to show their personalities through their interactions.
Are you like your characters?
Sara: Sara tries not to put too much of herself in her characters - she considers it very important to have that space between you and your character so it doesn’t become limiting. However, over the course of her series she feels that she can see more and more of herself creeping in to her characters.
Speaking of “strong” female protagonists - how has our idea of “strength” changed in recent years?
“In the ‘real world’ we are not always one thing, and there’s strength in acceptance of who you are and where you are in the moment.” -Nic Joseph
Lesley: Lesley’s character’s strength comes from her success in her business, and in her sense of ethics. She has a very clear sense of right and wrong. It’s not about physical strength for her, it’s about her strength of character.
Sara: Louise is a strong character because she stands up for herself. Her strength is in being who she is, and not pretending to be other things—her sense of self makes her strong.
Elly: Her character is a single mother and is very dedicated to her career. Elly feels that one of the most interesting things about female protagonists is that authors do use them as a way to look at kinds of strength other than, or in addition to, physical strength.
Nic: (Side note: I loved Nic’s comments here!) Nic explained that strength in real life ebbs and flows, and we are exploring and recognizing that more and more nowadays. In the “real world” we are not always one thing, and there’s strength in acceptance of who you are and where you are in the moment.
What is the biggest challenge your protagonist has faced?
Sara: In her book THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS, Sara took her protagonist Louise back to a small town in Denmark where Louise grew up. (It’s also the town where Sara grew up, too!) It’s a very small town - everyone knows everything about each other. In this book, Louise is confronted with what is in her past - those dark moments that she has tried to escape. This was a very personal writing experience for Sara; writing this book brought up for her so many elements of small town dynamics and details from her own past that she had forgotten over the years.
Nic: The external challenges that characters face are big, of course, but they can be quite expected. What interests Nic most are the internal challenges - they can tend to be a lot more difficult than those external challenges. To Nic, the most compelling challenges are those that force a character to confront what is right versus what is wrong.
CHeck Out The Latest books from the authors on this panel:
Sara Blaedel: THE DAUGHTER (previously published as THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER)
Nic Joseph: THE NIGHT IN QUESTION (on-sale October 2nd)
This panel was seriously stellar—each of the panelists had such compelling insights to contribute, and their books sounded fantastic! After this panel, I spent some time perusing the Bouchercon book room, which is always such a highlight for me. I had lots of self-control and didn’t buy anything (mostly because I already had limited space in my suitcase!) but I did snap a whole bunch of photos of the fantastic selection…
Then it was time to head over for a video interview with Novel Suspects, a new crime fiction website owned by the publisher Hachette! The Novel Suspects team asked me all about Crime by the Book - I’m excited to see how the video turned out, and I’ll be sure to share it once it’s live! Next up on the schedule was another very highly-anticipated Bouchercon event: a spotlight interview between Lisa Unger and Sara Blaedel! Sara was an International Guest of Honor at this year’s Bouchercon, and each Guest of Honor had a “spotlight interview” in which another prominent crime writer interviewed them on their career, their work, and their latest projects. Sara’s spotlight interview was conducted by Lisa Unger - and what a great pairing it was!
Lisa Unger interviews Sara Blaedel, International Guest of Honor
Highlights from the interview:
Sara struggled with dyslexia as a child, but crime fiction was a major motivator for her working hard to become a stronger reader. She was so fascinated by the plots of the crime novels she read, she just wanted to keep reading them - they became an essential part of her learning how to enjoy reading.
26 years ago, Sara founded a crime fiction publishing company in Denmark! She has always loved crime fiction, and wanted to find a way to support the genre as a publisher. She ran this company for a number of years before closing it down and going into work as a journalist.
She never planned to become a writer. While working as a journalist, Sara found storytelling to be a perfect escape from her stressful job. When things would get really overwhelming in the office, she would let her mind wander for a few minutes, and she soon discovered that she was telling herself a crime story. She eventually became so curious about this story that she wanted to learn more about police work. She wrote to the Police Chief in Copenhagen to ask him if she could meet with him to discuss his job, and when he responded with an enthusiastic “yes” and invited her into the office, she knew that was when the Louise Rick story was becoming something real!
She set her new series (the Undertaker’s Daughter series) in Racine, Wisconsin, because it’s the city with the largest population of Danish people outside of Greenland! She wanted to find a place outside of Denmark where it would still make sense for a Dane to settle.
At the time that Sara was writing THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER, she had just moved into a townhome on the same street in Copenhagen where she grew up. From her new office, she could look across the street and see the window of what used to be her father’s office. That experience brought back so many visceral memories that Sara didn’t even realize she had forgotten. She channeled this experience into writing her protagonist Ilka’s experience with visiting the funeral home she inherits from her own father in THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER. There’s a scene in which Ilka explores what used to be her father’s bedroom, and finds herself brought right back to childhood by the scents and possessions of her father—that was inspired by a very personal experience Sara had.
The Louise Rick series and the Undertaker’s Daughter series are very different - and they’re intended to be that way. The Louise Rick books are distinctly crime novels; they follow a detective working to solve crimes. The Undertaker’s Daughter trilogy, on the other hand, is more of a family saga - in these books, Sara was more interested in exploring family dynamics and the secrets that family members can hide from one another.
As expected, Lisa Unger and Sara Blaedel did a stellar job with this interview! I was completely riveted from the beginning of the interview to the end. Both of these ladies are such inspirations! After this interview, I had a bit of free time to hang out and catch up with a number of my crime fiction friends. Then it was time to grab a bite to eat before the Bouchercon Opening Ceremonies. After the Opening Ceremonies, I spent a bit more time catching up with friends - and then I was off to bed!
Day 3: Friday, September 7
Friday was “interview day” for me! I lined up a couple very exciting author interviews while at Bouchercon - all of which will be shared in separate blog posts over the coming days. In the morning on Friday I caught up with debut crime writer Caz Frear, whose procedural SWEET LITTLE LIES was an instant hit for me! In the afternoon on Friday, I met up with both Ragnar Jonasson (one of my favorite Scandinavian authors) and Lisa Unger (bestselling author of 16 psychological thrillers!) for conversations about their latest projects. It’s truly such fun to speak with talented writers like these about their work, and I was just so appreciative of the opportunity! Stay tuned to read these interviews on CBTB soon!
Friday was also a day for me to listen to interviews, too. On Friday afternoon, both Karin Slaughter and Mark Billingham were interviewed in their capacities as Guests of Honor!
Alafair Burke interviews Karin Slaughter, Guest of Honor
Highlights from the interview:
Karin likes to write standalones when she feels that she needs a break from her series. She doesn’t ever want to get bored with writing; she’s very competitive with herself, and always wants the creative freedom to work through different ideas. That’s where standalones come into play—in a standalone, she can explore different stories without worrying about their implications for series characters. She can experiment with different themes and topics without having to think about how she will carry that into the next series book. And she can kill off any characters she wants!
Karin finds it harder to write the characters that she really likes. When you’re writing series, with each new book you have to find a way to write about returning characters in a way that will fit both longtime readers and newcomers. You want to be able to share new things without confusing anyone, and you want to be able to provide background information without becoming repetitive. It’s a hard balance to strike.
She will never write violence as a punchline. With each violent scene she writes, she is always taking into account the fact that these are real crimes that happen to real people. Writing with that authenticity is crucial.
Karin always wanted to be a writer, and she used to write stories about her sister being murdered!
When she is working on a new book, Karin goes to her cabin in the north Georgia mountains. She locks herself away from the world there. She’ll wake up in the morning and start writing right away, and she will write throughout the day. Her dad lives nearby, so he will stop by the cabin and leave food for her on the porch! She will do that for two weeks at a time. This writing routine is a part of her life she really loves.
Tips for aspiring authors: you have to make your writing believable. Do your research. If you’re going to write about, for example, being at a gun range, go to a gun range. In Karin’s experience, people really appreciate when you get it right. If you approach someone asking for advice and expressing that you want to get it right in your writing, she has found that people will be very willing to give you insights into their world or their work. It’s the details that make the book.
In the midst of all this crime fiction fun, Friday was also a great day because my Grammy and grandpa came to St. Petersburg to have lunch with me! It was an absolute bonus of my Bouchercon trip that I also got to spend a bit of time with my sweet grandparents while in Florida. On Friday evening, I left the Vinoy for a special cocktail hour with one of my favorite publishers - Minotaur! It was such a fun reunion with a number of my favorite authors, publishing folks, and fellow crime friends, including the team from the Mysterious Bookshop, my favorite NYC bookstore. After the cocktail hour, I went to grab dinner with a few friends - and at that point I was just plain exhausted (but in the best way!) and headed back to my hotel for the night.
Day 4: Saturday, September 8
Saturday was the last full day of Bouchercon, which obviously meant I was up bright and early, ready to hit the ground running and make the most of it! This was yet another wonderfully busy day of panels, visiting with author friends, and a very exciting dinner to cap it all off. First up: one of my most-anticipated panels featuring a number of stars in international crime writing!
Panel: “The Stars are Out Tonight -- International Stars”
Featuring: Abir Mukherjee, Ian Rankin, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Sean Chercover, Mark Billingham, Sara Blaedel
When you’re writing, who do you write for? Does location play a part in it when you’re considering your audience?
Yrsa: Yrsa writes for her original audience - Icelanders. She realized as her books were being sold to other countries that people want that authenticity - they don’t want a book that feels like it’s for tourists! The authentic setting and sense of place are incredibly important.
Sara: Sara writes for herself, and what interests her most of all is exploring life in the place she knows best, Denmark.
Would you ever like to write in another setting, but you feel like you can’t?
Ian: Ian has written a few thrillers in a pseudonym set in other countries. He once set a book in America before he had even visited the country for the first time! Ian feels that, as fiction writers, you’re allowed to use your imagination - it’s perfectly okay to write about a different country if it feels right for your story.
Sara: Sara doesn’t feel entirely tied to Denmark. She just set her new trilogy in Racine, Wisconsin! She did extensive research about Racine during the writing process, though, because that authenticity is very important to her. She found it really interesting to send a Danish woman (in this case, her protagonist, Ilka) into that different setting - but she is always going to be true to her Danish roots in the way she writes, even if her protagonist goes somewhere else.
Abir: If you can write well, and write sensitively, about a place that you might not know firsthand, Abir’s experience has been that people will embrace your writing.
Mark: If you write about a city like London, you are almost writing internationally even if you never leave that one locale, because it is so diverse and filled with so many different cultures. Mark loves big cities because of the variety of people you can find within them. If you’re writing in a multi-ethnic city, you don’t have to leave your country to write internationally.
How do you choose where you’re going to write about?
Mark: Nothing beats going somewhere firsthand and soaking up the atmosphere. You learn so much about a place that way - experiencing its sights, smells, sounds firsthand. And you never know what little details you could uncover while you’re there that will add so much to your story, too. That firsthand experience is important when choosing where to write about.
Yrsa: As a writer, you have to be enthusiastic about what you are writing each time. You want to take in new things and explore new ground each time.
Abr: Abir’s books are set in the past. He starts with researching the history of those time periods. That research inspires his writing, and he builds his stories and locations around that research.
If you could collaborate with another writer on this panel, with whom would you want to collaborate?
Sara and Yrsa would want to collaborate together on a thriller! Yrsa said that she loves the idea of working with Sara because then they could write at Sara’s summer cabin in Denmark, and Sara would want to work with Yrsa because Yrsa is such a brutal killer, and Sara could use more of that in her books! (Side note: this is a collaboration I would 100% want to read.)
CHeck Out The Latest books from the authors on this panel:
After this stellar panel, I dashed off to yet another exciting panel - this one featuring psychological thriller writers!
Panel: “Looking Over Your Shoulder -- Secrets from the Past”
Featuring: Gilbert King (moderator), Hannah Mary McKinnon, Linwood Barclay, Riley Sager, Emily Carpenter, Kimberly Belle
Linwood - why do secrets work so well in mysteries?
Linwood: So many categories of fiction can be considered founded on secrets. Any compelling narrative involves peeling the layers of the onion and uncovering what motives people have. Everything in crime fiction is founded on this idea - the idea that something happened and we don’t know why. We all have secrets we don’t want to reveal, but at the same time we want to know everyone else’s secrets! Linwood thinks this is a universal theme, and that’s what makes it work so well.
Riley - both FINAL GIRLS and THE LAST TIME I LIED involve flashbacks. How are flashbacks effective when dealing with secrets?
Riley: We all have those secrets in the past that we don’t want people to know. The past follows us no matter how hard we try to shake it - and that’s why it works so well in mysteries! The past can haunt us, and it can haunt our protagonists, too. When you incorporate flashbacks into your story, there’s that added drama of the past creeping up, and your protagonists possibly begin caught out in their secrets! Flashbacks can cause drama and tension.
Kimberly - how do secrets come into play in THREE DAYS MISSING?
Kimberly: Kimberly’s latest book is based on someone with massive secrets. The mother of the boy who is central to this story is actually based on one of Kimberly’s friends. One day, this friend called Kimberly out of the blue and told her that her husband had been beating her. The worst part of this revelation - beyond the fact that this woman was being physically abused - was the realization for Kimberly that her friend had been alone in carrying this terrible secret. That thought inspired the mother of the boy in THREE DAYS MISSING.
“Any compelling narrative involves peeling the layers of the onion and uncovering what motives people have.” -Linwood Barclay
Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?
Kimberly: Kimberly is a serious plotter! She plots everything out. It takes her a few months to get through the plotting phase, but once she gets through that phase she has a really clear sense of where she is going. Things can change over the course of the writing process, of course, but she always has a clear sense of where she’s going next.
Emily: Emily is jealous of Kimberly’s process! She is the total opposite. She uses a screenplay paradigm when writing - this involves laying out the basic tentpoles of the story (turning points, incidents, etc.), but leaving everything else to be filled out as she goes. To Emily, the fun part of writing is what happens after she has those tentpoles in place! She gets to know what the story is about and who the characters are as she works her way through those major poits.
Riley: Riley is an outliner until about halfway through, when he realizes that his outline is terrible! He said that he starts with the best intentions, but he usually hits a midway point where the course of his story really changes. But he does need that initial outline, even if it turns out to change a lot over the course of the writing process.
Linwood: Linwood considers himself a “plantser”! He starts off with a hook or a “what if” question. Before he can write the book, he needs to know what happened. He will have an outline in his head of the general story, and he’ll know where he wants the story to end up. He needs that foundation, but he doesn’t plot the middle of it.
Hannah: Hannah is becoming more and more structured as she advances in her writing career. At first she was a total pantser, and now she has become much more structured, using character sheets, an outline, everything.
“We all have those secrets in the past that we don’t want people to know. The past follows us no matter how hard we try to shake it.” -Riley Sager
How do you decide how much information to share with the reader along the way?
Riley: The hardest thing for Riley is feeling like you’re giving away everything to the reader. You plot your clues and try to be sneaky - but because you know how it ends when you’re the author, Riley is never quite sure if he is being too obvious in planting those clues throughout the story! He finds it so gratifying when he does manage to trick people, because when you’re that close to the material as the author, you sometimes can’t quite tell if it’s going to work out the way you want it to.
Emily: That’s part of the fine tuning process for Emily. She will have someone else read it and see what they think, because it’s impossible to see your own work with fresh eyes and know if you’ve left the appropriate amount of information.
Linwood: That’s where a really great editor comes into play. You want to give readers enough where when they figure out the solution, they’ll see that you were playing fair - the clues were all there, they just didn’t see it coming. (Sidenote: I agree with this wholeheartedly!)
CHeck Out The Latest books from the authors on this panel:
After a busy morning and early afternoon spent at panels, I met up with Riley Sager for drinks on the patio of the Vinoy, and then went for a little walk in the (very hot!) St. Petersburg sunshine. Then it was time to get ready for what turned out to be an absolute highlight of the Bouchercon experience - a special dinner with Lee Child, Sara Blaedel, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Ragnar Jonasson, Mark Billingham, and Ian Rankin! Talk about a dream lineup of dinner companions - I couldn’t have been more excited to be invited to this very special dinner, and I had such a wonderful time chatting with these incredibly talented writers over the course of the meal. As a super-cool bonus, a photo from our dinner actually made its way to the Icelandic media!
The rest of Saturday night was spent back at the Vinoy, just hanging out with my fellow Bouchercon attendees and soaking up the fun of the conference on its last night.
Day 5: Sunday, September 9
Sadly, on Sunday morning it was time for me to pack up and check out of my hotel. After clearing out of my room, I headed over to the Vinoy to make one last lap around the conference. I happened to run into Ragnar Jonasson and Yrsa Sigurardottir at the hotel, and they very kindly invited me to brunch with them! After a delicious meal, it was time for me to say goodbye to Bouchercon 2018. I left the conference feeling so inspired and energized—there’s really nothing like a weekend spent with your people to leave you feeling recharged. (And, naturally, I snapped a few more photos of my adorable hotel on the way out!)
PLUS: My Top Tips for Book Festivals
Going to a book festival for the first time is always so much fun - but also can be a little bit overwhelming! Here are a few of my top tips for making the most out of your book festival experience.
Drink lots of water! This is such a simple tip, but it’s so easy to forget when you get swept up in the excitement of a festival. Bring a large water bottle with you so you can easily refill it throughout the day.
Bring a tote bag or backpack. There will be so many books in your future. (Plus, you need room for that water bottle, too!)
Wear comfy shoes. Be realistic about what kind of shoes you want to wear. Expect that you’ll be on your feet for pretty much the whole day, and plan accordingly!
Bring an external battery for your phone. If you’re like me and like to take photos on your phone, you’ll want to have an extra battery with you. The money I spent on my external battery was truly 100% worth it - I used it every day of the conference.
Throw a few protein bars in your bag. This is in the same vein as the “drink water” tip - it’s so easy to get swept up in the business of the conference that you forget to eat a decent meal. Protein = important!
Map out a schedule for yourself in advance. This schedule can (of course!) change, but it’s so helpful to have a sense of what panels and author appearances you want to prioritize before you arrive. I make a Google doc of my panel priorities that I can access at any time on my phone.
Take photos of everything. Whether it’s a photo of panels, selfies with your friends (and/or in the case of my trip, goofy selfies proving just what the humidity of Florida was doing to my hair…), you’ll be so glad to have those memories saved once you’re back home from the conference!
I owe a huge thanks to so many people for making my Bouchercon 2018 experience such a memorable one, but in particular I want to thank Sara Blaedel, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Ragnar Jonasson, and Riley Sager for all their generosity! It’s not every day that you get to spend quality time with some of your favorite authors, and I’m truly so appreciative of the time these four spent catching up with me, chatting about crime fiction, and generally inspiring me. Massive thanks are also owed to Lisa Unger and Caz Frear for sitting down for interviews with me (stay tuned for those to go up on CBTB soon!), to the team at Minotaur Books for inviting me to a fantastic cocktail hour, to Lee Child, Mark Billingham, and Ian Rankin for letting me crash their dinner party… you name it, the list goes on and on. But most of all, I’m so thankful to each and every CBTB reader who gives me an outlet through which to share my passion for crime fiction! You make everything I do with CBTB possible. Thank you for following along with my Bouchercon 2018 adventures! xx A