|Moderating a panel at this past spring’s Left Coast Crime in Vancouver, BC. That’s me at the end staying out of the way, then Steven Buehler, Renee Asher Pickup, Amy Peele, and Sam Wiebe.|
By Claire Booth
I’m getting ready to leave for Bouchercon in a few days. It’s the biggest crime fiction convention in the world, and this year’s fiftieth anniversary in Dallas is expected to be larger than ever. I’m one of the panelists on Southern Charm: Books Set in the South on Friday, but the real prep work is for my Saturday assignment. I’ll be moderating The Postman Always Rings Twice: Desire as Motive. We’ll be talking about love, romance, and sex as motives in crime fiction, and how using those in novels has changed over the years. It’ll be juicy!
I love moderating. It’s basically interviewing, and I love interviewing. The whole reason I went into journalism (aside from getting to write all the time) was to be able to ask people questions. Moderating a convention panel is obviously not the same as grilling a politician (which is its own spectacular kind of fun). With a panel, you’re asking questions in order to start a conversation among other people—not with you. You need to make sure all the participants get equal time. You need to keep the discussion rolling, and you need to stay out of the way.
I’ve been lucky enough to have some great moderators when I’ve been one of the panel guests. One of the best is DSD favorite Josh Stallings. His prep work and thoroughness is legendary and being on a panel that he’s running is a ton of fun and completely unstressful, because you know you’re in good hands.
I’m aiming to provide the same experience Saturday. Some of my discussion starters include:
- How do you personally write desire as a motive? Do you decide on that beforehand, or does it develop as you go along in your writing process?
- How does desire compare with other criminal motives, like greed or power?
- What novels have influenced you in this respect?
If you’re attending Bouchercon, come find me and say hello. I’ll be around all week and I'm hoping to meet as many new people as I can, including fellow DSDers Scott Adlerberg and SA Cosby.