I’m home from the Surrey International Writers Conference. There are two parts to any conference: the workshops and the people. The people are the fun part. The workshops are the necessary evil. I’m going to break this report into two parts accordingly.
I’ll be honest. I had a couple fan girl moments. The first was with DD Barant. When I read the first Bloodhound Files story, I was so freaked and outraged by a specific scene in it, I had to set the book down for a week before I could go back to finish it. The idea presented blew my mind. This is an excellent thing – it means Don did the job well. I got to tell him so. He said that he took comments like that as compliments. I also learned that he has a new series coming out (the Whiskey, Tango and Foxtrot Mysteries) that I’ll have to look into.
Then there was Jim C. Hines. I follow Jim online and he gave some excellent workshops but I enjoyed his keynote speech even more. Jim spoke about how stories matter. The content and the genre are not the important things. You shouldn’t be afraid to write because you are afraid what a critic will say. Somebody out there needs your story. It was a great keynote. I needed to hear that. Speaking of serious, important tomes, now I have to find his second Goblin book if only to read about a nose-picking injury. How could you NOT want to read about that?
Then there were the authors I hadn’t read before arriving in Surrey but that are now topping my To Be Read pile. I bought one of Mark Zuehlke’s WWII non-fiction books because they look amazing. I’m very interested in that time period so I “sampled” the books and they were very well written (meaning they both provided a lot of information and were entertaining. That is exactly how I like my history). It’s been a while since I’ve read a good legal thriller but I bought one of Robert Dugoni’s books because if it’s half as entertaining as he is in person, I’ll be purchasing his five other books immediately. (He also puts on a hell of an editing workshop.) I met Roxanne Snopek at a workshop and was pleased to find another romance writer. Then I found out her books are available digitally and liked her even more because I could buy them for my Kindle and not add more weight to my luggage!
(At this point I’d like to point out that although I write romance, I obviously read anything and everything.)
Then there were the attendees. Writing is a pretty solitary experience so it’s always great to meet other people who understand what it’s like to argue with the people in your head or who can properly sympathize when you’re mired by a plot point and can’t figure out why it’s not working.
Holli Moncrieff is a long-time friend and I’ve already have the privilege of reading her paranormal mysteries (Boy, are you missing out. Publishers, get on that right away!) Shannon Peel writes middle grade fiction. Laura Koster has a WWII idea that I adore. Morgan Chojnacki has a Canadian fiction title that I could see in my head as she spoke about it. Mike Sheridan has zombies (okay, this story I’m kinda leery about but only because I’m scared of the shambling dead.) Crystal Bourque has UF/demons novel that sounds incredible. Kate Rooper and Leah Rooper have a YA. Cassandra Griffin works in fantasy.
These are my people! The best thing in the world for a book lover is to meet other book lovers and nobody loves books more than writers. My bank account is going to take a terrible beating by all these talented people but all the time and effort and learning and passion they’ve put into the craft will ensure I enjoy the sacrifice. The best part is that I know they have put time and effort and learning and passion into their stories because I met them at SIWC.
It’s a wonderful circle.