The annual mystery writers’ convention, Bouchercon, is going on this weekend in Indianapolis. Author Laura Caldwell, who writes a series of mysteries starring red-headed lawyer Izzy MacNeil for MIRA, gives The Book Case an inside look at the what it’s like to be on an author panel—and reveals the power of a perfectly chosen outfit.
It’s All About the Hat
By Laura Caldwell
The night before I left for Bouchercon (the world’s largest mystery conference, which features authors, fans and publishing folk) I met the hat. Well, I should back up. I met a man with a hat. Men don’t wear hats anymore, unless they’re baseball caps, but this lovely man wore a fedora—a real one, made of soft gray fabric. I knew when I saw it I had to wear it. And not just anywhere, but to Bouchercon.
The man in the hat was kind, and by the end of the night, it was mine. The next morning, I left Chicago for Indianapolis (swearing the whole way because I screwed up the time change and was almost late for my panel). I valeted the car, ran into the hotel and found the ballroom where my panel was being held. Already on the dais were authors Maris Roule, Jordan Dane, Casey Daniels and Judi McCoy. My super-agent, Amy Moore-Benson, was standing there, ready to give my name tag. She was with Ben LeRoy, publisher extraordinaire from Bleak House Books, which has morphed into Tyrus Books.
“You ready?” she said.
“Ready,” I answered. I held out the hat, then put it on my head. “Do you think I can get away with this?”
Ben LeRoy grasped my arm. “You own that hat.”
I headed for the dais. The panel, “Love, Murder, Romance and Suspense” was a hit. And so was the hat. I might never take it off. Mickey Spillane would be proud.