Sunday, October 4, 2015

Star Struck at Bouchercon

by Kristi Belcamino

In a few days I'm going to be at my second Bouchercon and I can hardly wait.

I've had my suitcase packed for three weeks. Not really. Well, maybe.

It'll be a little bit different than my first Bouchercon last year.

This year, I'm nominated for two awards - which is totally unreal - and this year, I have four books out instead of one.

But I know I'm still going to be that same star struck nerd fan girl I was last year.

I've been studying the attendee list for months. So many authors I admire will be there this year.and even though I've interacted with them online and in some cases, briefly met in person, I know I'm going to be tongue-tied if I come face to face with them. Sigh.

For instance, last year, when I came down from my hotel room to the dining room that first morning, I saw MEG GARDINER sitting alone at a table eating her breakfast!!!! I gave a timid smile and SHE SMILED BACK and I was completely embarrassed and star struck and couldn't have struck up a conversation with her if I had a gun to my head. Yeah. (Sorry Meg if you ever see this!)

Let me put some of this in context -- I'm not NORMALLY a celebrity star struck girl.

Journalism knocks that shit out of you. For instance, I've been cussed out by Tone Loc. Eddie Van Halen spilled his drink on me. Jerry Seinfeld rolled his eyes at me during an interview. Clint Eastwood called me. (Okay, he left a message, we didn't actually get to talk. Damn it.) Dennis Hopper once talked my ear off - although I still haven't figured out what he was talking about. I once hung out with Edward James Olmos in a prison. The Reverend Jesse Jackson called me from his limo. I got to shake President Bill Clinton's hand (Okay. I lied. TOTALLY star struck by meeting the prez.)

So, I'm not normally star struck. Except when it comes to authors I admire!

This year, I'm going to be a bit more brave than last year. Instead of smiling shyly at an author across a table at the bar, I'm going to go strike up a conversation and buy them that drink I promised to buy online. 

I'm going to walk up and thank the authors who have inspired me or helped me along the way. I'm going to try not to be intimidated by them and walk that fine line between fan girl stalker and admiring fellow author.

If only it were as easy as meeting Hank Phillipi Ryan, who joined us walking between hotels one night last year, struck up an easy, natural conversation with us and then gave us her card, offering her friendship. (Hank is such a class act, we should all aspire to be like her!)

I won't call them out here but just suffice it to say that there are at least a handful of authors attending Bouchercon who will probably leave me star struck. I'm going to try to put on my Extrovert Hat and not be a fan girl nerd. Please wish me luck.

And if you want to name names of the authors who render you speechless, feel free!


Dana King said...

I used to be much more the way you describe yourself, but not so much anymore. Raleigh will be my sixth Bouchercon, and I've seen too many of the best-known and -respected writers hanging out at the bar like everyone else to be very intimidated. And as for that minuscule handful who are hard to approach? The hell with them. There are too many others who swhow how this should work.

Kristi said...

Maybe I should hang out with you the entire time! ; )

Kristopher said...

I can count the negative interactions have had at Bouchercon and Malice Domestic on two hands. For the most part, writers are lovely people and they know these conferences are for fans (and yes, even other writers can and should be fans).

I'm generally a very shy person and there are still some folks I likely wouldn't be able to walk up to and start a conversation. I know things would be fine if I did, but sometimes you just can't change who you are inside.

I do think it gets easier every year you attend. And this year, there will be folks shy about approaching you, so keep that in mind and just have a fun time.

Dana King said...

Excellent point, Kristopher. Kristi's success has definitely placed her into the "I wonder if I should approach her" category for some readers. We know you're approachable, Kristi, so switch the roles a little and you'll see those you're fans of almost certainly are, too.

Kristi said...

Again, if only we could all be Hank! But good advice I'm going to try to be approachable myself and smile as much as I can.