Friday, January 15, 2016

My LCC by Mary Anna Evans

I've lived my whole live in the right half of the country...until now. I lived in Mississippi until I went away to Kentucky for college. Then I moved almost to the right coast and spent most of my adult life in Florida, until moving to New Jersey two years ago to pursue a graduate degree. New Jersey is also pretty dang close to the right coast. Despite the twelve years since my first mystery was released, my lifelong geographic situation means that I've only been to Left Coast Crime once.

I had a great time in Seattle at LCC 2007. I met some great people. I had some great food. I got to visit Seattle Mystery Bookshop, where the lovely staff had introduced my books to many new readers for years, without our ever having met. I planned to go to my next Left Coast soon, but life got in the way and nine years went by.

In the meantime, I've taken a major move toward the left side of the country. As of August, I'm living in Norman, Oklahoma, where I teach fiction and nonfiction writing at the University of Oklahoma. This is such a perfect job for me that I sometimes pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming it. (The first thing they asked me to teach was Writing Mystery Fiction. And they pay me for this!)

I would have told you that this move had made me a nominal left-coaster until I looked at the map. I'm still just a smidgen right of the geographic center of the contiguous United States, which is near Lebanon, Kansas. I checked the geographic center of the entire United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, and I'm even further right of that spot in South Dakota. I guess the odds are good that I'll never be an actual left-coaster, but I'm closer than I used to be and I fully expect to take advantage of this proximity. You'll see me at LCC more often in the future.

Since you've read this far, let me ask you a favor. If you see me around the conference, come say hi. I may have been around the mystery world for a long time, but I'm new here and I may not know as many people as you might think. Also, and this is true of most writers, I'm a much bigger introvert than you can probably imagine. Getting ready to come here by taking off my houseslippers and putting on writerly, professional shoes without a soft sole and a fleecy lining will be almost as hard as meeting hundreds of friends whom I don't know yet. But bring it on! There are no better friends than book friends, and I'm heading to Phoenix in February so I can make some more.

I can't wait to see you there!

Mary Anna Evans is the author of the Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries, which have won awards including the Benjamin Franklin Award, the Mississippi Author Award, and three Florida Book Awards bronze medals.  She teaches creative writing at the University of Oklahoma and she holds an MFA from Rutgers-Camden. Her short works have appeared in publications including The Atlantic, decomP, and Saw Palm.

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