Sam Wiebe


Bouchercon, Shamus Awards, and Advice for New Writers

The last two weeks have been busy as hell. I've been in Edmonds, Washington for the Write on the Sound conference, then a week in Toronto and Raleigh for Bouchercon, and then down to Seattle for their first Noir at the Bar. Add to that the panel I was on at Word Vancouver, and the discussion I was a part of at the West Vancouver Library, and it's already been a crazy fall.

Last year at Bouchercon Long Beach, I was a new writer, there for the first time, not knowing anybody. I was shown a lot of kindness by writers like Elaine Ash, John McFetridge, David Swinson, Tanis Mallow, and Brian Thornton. This year I was able to hang out with writers like Michael Pool, Danny Gardner and John Jantunen, who were at Bouchcercon for THEIR first time.

All writers deal with feelings of insecurity and fraudulence. I definitely felt that last year at Bouchercon, less so this year. But in these last weeks I've seen a lot of writers covering for those feelings by exaggerating their own accomplishments, hard-selling their books, or, like I did last year, waiting on the edge of the group for someone to talk to them.

All of them secretly wondering what they can do to earn admission into the group.

This is what I've realized: those feelings of fraudulence and insecurity ARE your ticket in.

When I was starting out I went to an Ian Rankin reading, and afterwards asked him for advice. He said to me, "Just remember, we've all been where you are."

Hopefully realizing that will make those things easier.

One last illustration: Last of the Independents was up for a Shamus award, which are given out at Bouchercon. The awards dinner was nice, and I got to hang with Corky and Dana King and meet Lawrence Block. I didn't win. My next stop was the bar, for obvious reasons. When I walked in the first person I saw was Peter Rozovsky. Peter is the godfather of Noir at the Bar, a critic and crime fiction champion, and overall a very nice and knowledgeable guy. 

As I got my drink, Peter walked up to me, pointed at me, and said loudly:


And I laughed, and felt really happy to be amongst my own tribe.

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