Friday, September 23, 2011

"Start the Fans Please!"*

By Russel D McLean

So yeah I’m a little late this week. And yes I missed the last two weeks. Mostly because I was away. Away on tour of Scotland and then St Louis. Normal service will resume when jetlag sorts itself.

But meanwhile…

Ahhh, St Louis.

This year’s Bouchercon was one of the slickest yet; brilliantly planned and executed by the Clan Jordan once again, with Jon Jordan taking the head this time after Ruth did Baltimore. But more than anything this year I realised how much Bouchercon is a group effort. The chair is vital and important in the feel and atmosphere of the con, but it’s the teams of volunteers who really get things swinging. I only helped out a little this year, but I could see precisely why these guys deserve far more credit than they get. From swinging several thousand bookbags to dealing with jerky moderators (like me) on the panels, they do a lot of work for a little reward. And we should thank them for it.

So part of this post goes out to Jon Jordan, without whom there would have been no Bouchercon 2011 at all. Part of it goes to David Thompson, who was supposed to be co-chairing this year before he tragically passed away a little under a year ago now. Part of it goes to Ruth Jordan and Judy Bobalik who do so much work and make everything seem so effortless.
But most of it goes to the volunteers. The fans. The people whose passion and dedication mean that authors like me can, for at least a few days, feel like what we’re doing means something to people. The people who we really write for. The people who challenge us as much as they validate us. The people without whom there would be no panels, no audiences, no sales figures, no nothing.

I was delighted this year to meet far less “wannabe” writers than usual, to meet people who really just wanted to read, love and enjoy the works produced by the writers present. After all, if we're all writers, then who are we writing for?

I’m going to talk about the experience of Bouchercon over on my own blog
( very shortly, but in the meantime, I just wanted to say how much all authors appreciate the fans who do so much for them and ask so little in return except for us to do what we set out to do in the first place; entertain them.

So to the readers, the volunteers, the fans, I say, thank you. Without you, there would be no point and no reason to attend Bouchercon or any other event.

Above, a picture of me and two spectacular readers I met at this year's con – Dan and Kate Malmon. And yes, I think they were having to prop me up after a long session at the bar…

*Anyone from the UK of a certain generation will be tempted to yell that title in an imitation of Richard O Brien on The Crystal Maze. Anyway from the US will probably just be confused.

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