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Sunday 18 October 2015

Post Bouchercon - Raleigh 2015

Back home after my trip to Bouchercon in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The journey there was something of an odyssey for reasons too lengthy to report here, but which involved, among other things, having my case removed from the plane before take-off and – wait for it – the confiscation of my pedometer. Didn’t realise that it was a potential lethal weapon. But twenty three hours after starting out, I finally made it. And I have to say, the people in Raleigh - the airport staff, in the hotel, restaurants and bars - are all exceptionally friendly and helpful and that was true throughout my stay. And the weather was gorgeous – warm and sunny!

After a few hours’ sleep, on Wednesday morning I headed off to the Sheraton and immediately bumped into Ali Karim, our tireless , tremendously warm and welcoming Bouchercon programmer, who introduced me to, among others, the lovely George Easter, editor of Deadly Pleasures   

In the afternoon, I met up with my friend Nancy Bilyeau – we had met online, but not in person. We went for an enjoyable dinner together and chatted away as if we had known each other for years.

On Thursday I had my first panel, which I was moderating, with Elly Griffiths and Susi Holliday, Anne Cleeland and Deborah Crombie
Anne and Deborah are American but set their books in the UK. The title of the panel was ‘Stiff Upper Lip: British Investigations are Murder’. This was an interesting panel for me to  moderate as I have set two of my books in the USA. Plenty of opportunity for discussion there, and everyone was on great form. You can listen to a recording of the panel here.

My other panel was on Saturday with Maria Hudgins, James R Benn, Caroline Todd and myself, moderated by Brendan DuBois,– see the photo above. All of us are historical novelists and it was interesting to hear everyone's views and approaches.

It was great to meet all these writers and get to know something of their books. Thanks to all those – readers, fellow writers, agents, editors, and reviewers, who came to listen to us or who came over to the signing room or stopped me I the lobby for a chat. I have a pile of cards to sort through! Among these: Anne Saller from Book Carnival, L. J. Roberts from uk  , Kathy Reel from The Reading Room Blog and also historian and historical novelist Brigitte Goldstein, who attended the historical panel, and won a copy of The Maze of Cadiz in the quick fire historical   trivia questions.

But as everyone knows, the panels are only a small part of Bouchercon.  I spent time with a lot of different people who contributed to a memorable week but a special mention here for Nancy Bilyeau, Annamaria Alfieri, ZoĆ« Sharp, Maggie Topkis, Adrian Muller, Caro Ramsay and her husband, and the very perfect gentleman John Quin-Harkin, who was sitting opposite Caro and myself at dinner one evening.

I also have to mention two restaurants – the absolutely fabulous Oro, where executive chef and founder Chris Hilton came out several times to talk to us  and Buku . Both well worth a visit if you are ever in Raleigh.

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