Monday, May 2, 2011

The Edgar Awards, Part 1: Breakfast with the Stars

At left, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Editor Janet Hutchings.
At right, some dude I don't recognize wearing my name tag.

After arriving in the Big City on Tuesday evening, my wife Irene and I were up and at ‘em on Wednesday morning. First up, we took in the first panel at the Edgar Week Symposium. With Larry Light moderating, the panelists were Robert Goddard, Laura Lippman, David Morrell and S.J. Rozan.

One topic of discussion was what inspired these folks to become writers. For Morrell, it was the TV series Route 66. For Rozan, Howard Pyle’s stories of Robin Hood. Goddard cited the works of Wilkie Collins, and Lippman (no fan of Nancy Drew) recalled a fondness for Harriet the Spy. Yeah, they talked about other stuff too, and whole thing is now available in either mp3 or DVD format on the MWA website. My favorite bit was a story Robert Goddard told about a reader who insisted on believing one of his protagonists was real. It furthers his contention, Goddard said, that “fiction is a higher form of fact.”

Doug Allyn. And no, that's not an Edgar design on his vest.
That's the real thing!

At 10am, we had to bug out of the Symposium and head for the Tramway Diner for breakfast with several soon-to-be friends. The soiree was hosted by EQMM Editor Janet Hutchings and AHMM Editor Linda Landrigan, and the freeloaders, along with me and Irene, were Doug and Eve Allyn and Stephen Ross. Doug and Stephen were two of the five nominees for Best Short Story, Doug for “The Scent of Lilacs” in EQMM and Stephen for the AHMM story “Monsieur Alice is Absent.”

Much witty chitchat followed, most of it of a non-professional sort. I did learn, though, that both Janet and Linda personally lay eyes on every story submitted to their respective magazines - and that’s a lot of stories. I admire their dedication, and sympathize with their eyestrain.

Direct from New Zealand, it's . . . Stephen Ross.

Doug, who has now written 105 short stories and at least seven novels, unwitting revealed the answer to that age-old question, Where do you get your ideas? The answer is . . . he pulls them out of thin air. Even during breakfast, he couldn’t resist stopping to write them down. And Stephen, who had come all the way from New Zealand, spilled the beans that on the heels of his Edgar nomination an enterprising agent tracked him down and signed him up. I have no doubt editors will soon be fighting over his first novel.

In other news, Eve Allyn informed Irene she is now a Fish Wife. That's the price she pays for being (like Eve) hitched to a Robert L.Fish Award winner. 

After Janet and Linda left (no doubt to peruse more submissions), Doug graciously hung around to share some of his insight on the writing biz with Stephen and I. Thanks again, Doug! And thanks again to Linda and Janet for the hearty breakfast (I had my first ever pizza omelette).

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Editor Linda Landrigan
with that same Evan Lewis impersonator.

When the party broke up, Irene and I returned for another session at the Symposium, an entertaining and advice-packed presentation by MWA President Lisa Scottoline called How to Write a Novel. Shucks, I thought I knew, but I learned stuff. Thanks, Lisa.

A note about the photos: I was too star struck to even think about taking pictures at breakfast, so these are mostly from the reception and banquet on the following evening. I say mostly, because one of the photos is a phony. I wanted to have my picture taken with both Janet and Linda after the banquet, but one of them had to hotfoot it out of the hotel to catch a train. So three of these photos are real, and one ain’t. Can you spot the fake?

Tomorrow: The Agents and Editors Party


Ann Littlewood said...

Can't wait for tomorrow's post! You look very dashing in a suit.

Charles Gramlich said...

That guy wearing your name tag is getting your face all wrinkled, man. Better file a restraining order on him.

Deka Black said...

Your impersonator made a mistake. he lacks your really cool hat!

Unknown said...

Congrats again on the award, and I'm glad you got to go to NY.

Anonymous said...

Swell report, and it seems a good time was had by all. The first photo must be the fake, but I'm only guessing. I'm delighted that you won the Robert L. Fish Award and hope it leads not only to a Hobbs novel, but a printed collection of the stories.
Great seeing you at SGS.

Evan Lewis said...

Fine detective work by Mr. Robinson. Yes, the pic with Janet Hutchings is the fake. Clues: The plaque and name tag are fuzzy, because they were imported from other photos. Janet has no name tag. The guy in the background is wearing his tag on the wrong side, because the pic was flipped. And my hair is parted (sort of) on the wrong side. In the real photo, Janet was accepting a 2010 Derringer Award from Jim Doherty on behalf of Doug Allyn.

Cap'n Bob said...

Both of the photos purporting to be you are fake. That's actually Robert B. Parker with Janet and Linda. If it were you you'd be wearing a Sherlock Holmes tie.

Evan Lewis said...

Jeez, there's just no fooling Cap'n Bob.

Cap'n Bob said...

Why bother? I'm self-delusional.

Cap'n Bob said...

And I agree with Ann, you clean up nice. I've never seen you in a suit before. Did you bring your fedora?