Thanks to everyone who joined us recently at this year’s Books in Bloom Festival!
This year was actually my first time attending, and I’m already looking forward to going back next year!
So many of the author sessions looked interesting that it was hard to pick which presentations to attend. Ultimately, I decided to attend one for an author whose work I haven’t read yet and one from an author whose book I did read recently.
The first session I attended was E.A. Allen’s “The Mean Streets of Edwardian Mystery.” I have not read Allen’s series, set in fin de siecle Paris, but I like history, I like mysteries, and I also liked the humorous description of his talk, so I figured I’d hear what he had to say on the topic. I’m glad I did because his talk was engaging, hilarious, and quite informative, as he covered a range of topics, including his influences, the elements he likes to include in his books, his philosophy of what makes a good mystery, and his research process. I’m definitely going to give his books–of which he says “there’s nothing as inviting as a good corpse!”–a try now!
After recently reading Ghost of the Ozarks, I was also excited to hear author Brook Blevins talk more about the book at his presentation “Murder in the Ozarks? Crime and Stereotype in an American Region.” Blevins was just as engaging, hilarious, and informative as Allen. (He was also very personable when I chatted one-on-one with him for a few minutes before his talk!) Without giving away too many spoilers about the case covered in his book, he elaborated on the regional studies issues at play in the Connie Francis story and its subsequent media coverage, as well as the challenges he faced in researching the case, which is still a sensitive topic for participants’ descendants. Or, as he explained to us in his session, his next project, rooted very firmly in the 19th century, means that, unlike with his work on this book, “I don’t have to worry about anyone calling me up and cursing me out. Unless they’re a hardcore genealogist.”
Though those were the only sessions I attended, my coworkers listened to Sanderia Faye Smith, Leo Mazow, Laura Lippmann, and Mary Nida Smith and reported that they enjoyed those presentations just as much as I enjoyed the ones I went to. Brian Biggs was also an absolute delight to talk with and was sharing previews of his new work that will be out very soon now!
We also got the chance to talk to over 80 people about this blog, so thanks to everyone who stopped and chatted with us!
Did you attend Books in Bloom this year? Which authors did you get to talk to? Which presentations did you attend? Is there an author you would love to see at next year’s Books in Bloom? Tell us in the comments!