Mary Dutta

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

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This is the story of a journey. 

Travel with me, if you will, to October 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am at my very first mystery conference—Bouchercon. The conference name itself is a bit of a mystery at first. Anthony Boucher was a mystery writer, editor, and reviewer and for over forty years mystery writers and fans have gathered in his name to celebrate the genre.

The fact that I was able to drive to that first conference and stay with friends eliminated enough of my apprehensive excuses that I couldn’t talk myself out of going. I didn’t know anyone. I only knew I wanted to start writing mystery fiction. But once the conference started, I met people. I got inspired. I scored some free books and gained some confidence. I came back and joined a critique group. I wrote and wrote some more. And I got published.

I’ve been to a number of conferences since then, meeting wonderful readers and writers, gaining friends and fans. I started appearing on panels as well as listening to them. I got to connect with people who loved creating and consuming mysteries as much as I do. And it all started with the leap of faith I took down to Raleigh.

Now travel with me, if you will, to September 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I will be at my first Bouchercon since that original event. This time, however, I’ll be on a panel talking about short stories and signing copies of the conference anthology, Land of 10,000 Thrills, which includes one of my stories. I’ll be celebrating the mystery genre with some of its greatest creators and fans, connecting with friends old and new, and remembering where it all began.

Share your own conference experiences in the comment section below.

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