The chance to meet and hear some favorite authors always is the first—and best—reason to attend a mystery writers' conference.
But the second best reason—at least for me—is the city in which the conference is held.
Killer Nashville ties up both reasons quite well.
The seventh annual conference will be Aug. 23-26 at the Hutton Hotel in, naturally, Nashville, Tenn.
Three best-selling authors will be the guests of honor. C.J. Box, left, Peter Straub, center photo, and Heywood Gould, bottom photo, will speak at the popular weekend conference for writers and readers of mystery, suspense and thrillers.
In addition, more than 85 authors and publishing professionals, both from the U.S. and international, will attend.
And then there is the city of Nashville. I have been there a few times and Music City is a lovely, interesting place to visit. Yes, you have tons of venues offering live music. And while it's known for country music, Nashville also draws its share of musicians of all genres, jazz, rock, pop, blues, and more.
The city also has numerous historical sites, including several related to the Civil War, beautiful gardens, art museums, good shopping and more.
Located on the Cumberland River in the north-central part of Tennessee, Nashville is a lovely city.
Killer Nashville has much to offer.
Loads of panel discussions and seminars will cover all phases of the publishing industry. These will include authors, agents, editors, publishers, publicists and law enforcement/forensic officials, and a staged crime scene by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations. There also will be agent/editor roundtables, and critiques on manuscripts and marketing plans.
And you don't have to go outside the conference hotel to hear good music.
During the Saturday night awards banquet, Jeffery Deaver’s XO Band will perform cover songs based on the lyrics in Deaver’s summer bestselling novel XO. Nashville performing artist Treva Blomquist will provide the vocals.
Deaver also will be speaking at one of the breakout sessions. Deaver is the author of 29 novels, including his two series on Lincoln Rhyme and the Kathryn Dance and the new James Bond novel, Carte Blanche. Deaver was the guest of honor at the 2012 Sleuthfest and I can attest first hand that he is a thoughtful, intriguing speaker who leaves the audience wanting more.
For more information and registration, visit www.killernashville.com. The author book signings are free to the public.
The three guests of honor are interesting speakers and each has a different approach to the genre. Here's a quick look at them:
C.J. Box's 15 novels are known for their vivid view of the Wyoming landscape, tense suspense and a precise look at people. His Blue Heaven won the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Novel; Box also has won the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award, and the 2010 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award for fiction. His newest Joe Pickett novel, Force of Nature, debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times Best Sellers List when it came out in April. Box's novels about his native Wyoming have become favorites both in the US and internationally, and are translated into 25 languages. His 2008 novel Blood Trail was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin (Ireland) Literary Award.
Peter Straub is known for his dark, scary horror novels and, indeed, he has kept me up more than one night. But Straub's work embraces several categories and he has also received praise for his poems, literary novels, and thrillers. He has written more than 17 novels, several poetry and short story collections, seven novellas, and a collection of nonfiction essays. He has received the Bram Stoker Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the International Horror Guild Award, among other awards. Straub's fifth novel, Ghost Story, put him on best-sellers lists, especially when Stephen King called it one of the best horror novels of the latter half of the 20th century. Straub and King collaborated on two fantasy novels: The Talisman and its sequel, Black House.
Although Heywood Gould is a novelist, most people know him as a screenwriter and filmmaker. He is the author of 13 books and nine screenplays, including Fort Apache – the Bronx, Boys From Brazil, Cocktail, and Rolling Thunder. He has directed four features, One Good Cop, starring Michael Keaton, Trial By Jury with William Hurt, Mistrial starring Bill Pullman and Double Bang with William Baldwin. His script for Fort Apache – the Bronx is a fine piece of work that continues to hold up. The movie Fort Apache – the Bronx pinpoints a specific place in time when parts of the Bronx had stooped to a high rate of crime and violence. Gould's novel Leading Lady (2008) won the Independent Publishing Award bronze medal and was a finalist for the Hammett Prize. His last novel is Serial Killer's Daughter (2011).
Sounds like this will be a good time to be in Nashville.
Photos: Top: C.J. Box; Center: Peter Straub; Bottom: Heywood Gould