Friday, January 29, 2016

My LCC: Glen Erik Hamilton

2016 will mark my third time attending Left Coast Crime, and my third go-round for most other conventions as well. Year Three, I’ve discovered, is the tipping point where I start getting confused about which gathering was where. Was LCC in Long Beach? No, that was Bouchercon, two years ago. Monterey! That’s it! I first joined LCC in Monterey, for Calamari Crime.

By Year Ten, I will need an app to keep track of locations, and perhaps to also gently remind me "No, Glen, you wore that suit last year...and the year before." There’s an app for everything, even suit-shaming.

In Monterey, I was the proud owner of a brand new book deal, but still more than a year away from publication. With nothing to promote, I merrily wandered the halls and cocktail parties, comparing notes with other excited newbies, and steadily adding pounds to my already substantial tote bag full of books. It’s the patented LCC exercise plan: The Biggest Reader. Make sure to shift the bag between arms so you don’t get lopsided.

I tried not to be too star-struck when meeting the various literary luminaries like Sue Grafton and Louise Penny. Happening upon famed author David Morrell, I mentioned that I’d benefited greatly from his non-fiction book The Successful Novelist. “The Professor” proceeded to chat with me for twenty insightful minutes on marketing and promotion in the digital age. I swear on a stack of Hammetts that I didn’t corner the man. That’s just the kind of generous nature that Mr. Morrell and the other headliners at LCC have towards new kids.

Last year at Crimelandia in Portland, it was my honor to be part of a panel on Writing What You Know, moderated by the terrific James M. Jackson. Jim was the first – but not the last – to point out that while many of my fellow panelists were leveraging their professional legal experience, I was writing books about a former criminal. I pretended not to understand his implication. Density is its own reward.

As I look forward to what memories this year will bring, I recall the final night in Portland, when Chantelle Aimée Osman and I poured out a dollop of booze (clear and non-staining, I swear!) on the hotel carpet for our absent convention homies, in true white-bread book-geek fashion. One of my favorite convention photographs comes from that moment, because it reminds me how the laughter is frequently long and loud when hanging with the crime fiction crowd.

Chantelle is this year’s very deserving Fan Guest of Honor. Greet her with appropriate reverence. But please don’t get her shoes wet, even with colorless liquor. Cheers, Chantelle. You really do have great shoes. 
Glen Erik Hamilton's debut Past Crimes has been nominated for Best First Novel at the 2016 Edgar Awards. Past Crimes was given starred reviews by Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal, and called  "an exciting heir to the classic detective novel" by Kirkus. The second book in the Van Shaw series, Hard Cold Winter, will be published in March by William Morrow (US) and Faber & Faber (UK). A native of Seattle, Glen now lives in California but frequently returns to his hometown to soak up the rain. Follow his wet footprints on Facebook and on Twitter @GlenErikH.

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