As New England writers, the New England Crime Bake is the Wickeds’ “home conference.” Some of us first met there. Most of us have been attending for years. It’s a great little conference, deliberately kept to 250 participants so it feels intimate, even though it sells out every year. The panelists, including the big dogs and the Guest of Honor, and the agents and editors hang out all weekends, so there’s plenty of time for informal conversations.
Barb: As the co-chair in 2012 and 2013, I had two goals for the conference. 1) That it would actually come off. And 2) that I would live through it. I’m happy to report that both were achieved both years. But this year, my duties on the programming committee largely done–barring of course, unforeseen disasters–I’m looking forward to kicking back, seeing my friends, and launching Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave, this year’s Level Best anthology. We’ll have 23 authors signing the book at Crime Bake, a record, I think.
Liz: Crime Bake has always been my fave writer’s conference. Every year I look forward to seeing familiar faces, making new friends, and generally being in the company of writers. The past few years attending as a published author has been so darn cool – I remember all the years I went and looked up to the authors on the panels. Now I’m one of them and it’s even sweeter. I love this job!
Edith: This year I’m moderating my first conference panel, and while I’ve prepared as much as I can, I’m looking forward to it being over at the end of Saturday morning so I can relax. I echo what Liz said: it’s a real treat to attend as a published author. And now, having gone for so many years, Crime Bake is like the first day of summer camp – greeting all my old friends, meeting some virtual friends in person for the first time, and hanging out in the bar with whoever is there (okay – that’s NOT like summer camp…). Sherry will be up from Virginia and Kim from Baltimore. And then there’s the banquet. How can you lose with costumes AND dancing?
Sherry: In 2005 I attended my first Crime Bake. I knew one person — Julie Hennrikus and I didn’t know her well. I was terrified. Now it’s like Homecoming and there’s never enough time to catch up with all the friends I’ve made by attending. By Sunday evening when I return home I’ll be exhausted and have a sore throat from talking so much — it happens every year. But I’m always grinning from ear to ear.
Julie: This year I am the co-chair of Crime Bake. This is a great honor, and I am happy to dig in. I am excited to do my interview with Craig Johnson (the Guest of Honor), though I am also a wreck. I worked on my binder tonight–my script for the weekend, and I have no doubt that Steve Ulfelder (my co-chair) and I will be counting down the speeches over the course of the weekend. I can’t wait to see the other Wickeds (we will all be there!), and to meet new friends.
Jessie: I love everything about Crime Bake! I love the energy of so many like-minded people all in one place. I love the professionalism with which the event is orchestrated. I love catching up with people I only see once a year. I love that even having attended so many times the event still feels fresh while remaining familiar. And I especially love that I get to spend time with all the other Wickeds!
Reader: Do you have a favorite conference? A place that feels like “home”?