We can’t let Thanksgiving week go by without a nod to gratitude. All of the Miss Demeanors are involved in the writing community in one way or another – officers of regional or national organizations, podcasters, conference faculty/chairs. It’s pretty clear we each enjoy giving back yet we’re all very busy people. How did you get started down that path?
Robin: It was that intersection of right place & right time. The first time I attended the Mystery Writers Conference in Corte Madera, CA, there was a talk about cyber crime. Cara Black sort of interviewed former FBI agent & author George Fong. I say “sort of” because audience participation was highly encouraged. It was more of a moderator-led discussion helmed by Cara. So I chimed in with the “industry” (not law enforcement) perspective on some of the topics they touched on. Afterward, I volunteered to join them for a “cyber crime 101” panel the following year. I’ve been on the faculty for that conference ever since. This year, I also gave a solo talk for the NorCal Sisters in Crime to give writers (and other attendees) the opportunity to ask me anything. Now, I’m a nominee for Vice President of the chapter (yay!). I love talking to writers about my day job – they ask the most interesting questions. It’s also extremely gratifying to hear the authors of my crime fiction heroes tell me that I scare the crap out of them 🙂
Tracee: Wish I’d been there to listen to the cyber crime discussion… always on our minds these days.
I suppose I came to “involvement” early on, probably weaned on it. When I ran a non profit I understood how comply many valuable organizations depend on volunteers. In that vein I’m excited to start my year on the national Sisters in Crime board as membership liaison.
Susan: I vividly remember the first thing I volunteered for because it was how I met fellow Miss Demeanor, Michele Dorsey. It was not long after my first mystery, Maggie Dove, was published and I signed up to be on a panel on Malice Domestic. For some reason they asked me to be moderator, and the panel was about murder on the beach, which had nothing at all to do with Maggie Dove. But it was great fun and we all wore beach hats, and it brought home to me what a warm and friendly community this is.
Connie: Besides serving on the board of Buckeye Crime Writers, our local chapter of Sisters in Crime, my favorite way to give back has been the Fantasy Agent program of MWA. Reading a new writer’s work and offering encouragement and (hopefully) helpful comments is a joy.
Michele: I was “persuaded” by Hallie Ephron to join SINCNE and to come to Crime Bake. Her warmth and generosity was all the encouragement I needed to become a member of a writing community that has inspired and sustained me ever since. One person can make such a difference!
Paula: I’d moved to New a England and was missing the company of my fellow writers back West and a friend of mine, the Edgar winner Trish MacGregor, told me to join MWA. I did and met Al Blanchard, president of the New England chapter at the time. He was a big crusader for all things mystery and MWA and New England and before I knew it I was helping out at MWA NE chapter meetings and joining SinC and the New England Crime Bake committee. Nearly twenty years later, all of my best friends here are writers I’ve met through these organizations. Thank you, Al. If there’s an afterlife, I’m sure he’s running a mystery group of angels.