I didn't yet have a novel out and didn't know anyone, but found people astoundingly friendly and loved the whole experience. It wasn't until toward the end of the conference that I found out that some people had thought I was someone else altogether.
But it was a great introduction to an event that I've attended every year since - and these days almost no one mistakes me for someone else. This year Bouchercon is in Long Beach, California, Nov. 13-16 - and it's not too late to register. And yes, the other Sara(h), now my friend - Sarah Weinman - will also be there (and in a quirk of fate, we are both up for Anthony awards!).
My post from 2008 Bouchercon:
It is the second day of Bouchercon, the huge mystery convention. Today everyone is extraordinarily friendly, smiling at me as I pass, chatting with me between seminars and at those relatively awkward social gatherings where fans cluster together and the authors and their agents and editors are on the other side of the divide, with one tier for those who are famous and another tier for those who are not. But today I have somehow mysteriously leapt that divide.
It must be my outfit, I decide, the insouciant mix of casual and sophisticated, jeans and white shirt and open black vest and glasses perched just so atop my head. Somehow I am exuding charm and confidence. (Although I suspect this all may be linked to the fact that the pleasant man I met at the end of yesterday's buffet line and kept running into later turned out to be Important Agent Guy.)
As the day progresses more and more people are smiling and nodding at me and saying hello. When I enter the pub party, with a writer I've met at another buffet line (most of my meetings seem to be food-related), I hear "Hello, Sara," but when I turn don't see anyone I recognize. During the evening one woman insists she has met me, and because it seems it would be quite rude to tell her she is wrong, especially as this would involve shouting over the din, I don't.
It isn't until the next day that Special Agent Writer Guy breaks the news to me that they all think I am Sarah Weinman, a writer who reviews and blogs about books and who has been on a panel here.
PI Writer Guy now begins to address me as Sara Who Is Not Sarah Weinman. For the rest of the weekend I am famous for not being Sarah Weinman - except for those who still think I am her.
And note: This year Sarah and I will be on a panel together!
3-4 pm, Friday, Nov. 14
Beyond Hammett, Chandler, and Spillane (Promenade 104 B)
Lesser Known Writers of the Pulp and Paperback Eras
Moderator Peter Rozovsky
Panelists: Max Allen Collins, Sara J. Henry, Charles Kelly, Gary Phillips, Sarah Weinman