Donna Everhart


As I mentioned in the last post, I’m writing about Bouchercon 2015 in three seperate posts.  These comments come mostly from authors or agents.


  • Question from audience:  “In your opinion, what’s the biggest mistake beginning writers make?”  “Too many doorknobs turning, too much looking in the mirror, too much sitting and thinking.” ~Gayle Linds
  • “I know I won’t ever be a bestselling author because what I write is pretty rough and you know what, I don’t give a shit.”  ~Les Edgerton
  • “I’m thinking maybe I’ve done too many searches about anthrax.   And that my phone is being tracked.”  ~Susan Ella MacNeal
  • Me, “So and so author is looking for you.”  Secret Agent, “Yeah, that’s why I’m hiding.”
  • “Is this thing on?  Hello?”  (moves head.  moves body.  moves mic.  Assumes awkward, stiff, uncomfortable position, stares at audience)  “Okay.  I’m not moving.  I’ll just stay exactly like this through the end of the panel.”  ~Lori Rader Day
  •  “There are about 200M readers in the U.S.  As an author, with the best case scenario you might get 1% of them reading your books.  That’s 2M people.  And that’s the best case.  Don’t worry about trying to please everyone because you can’t do it.”  ~Chris Pavone, on email criticisms from readers.
  • “My best selling books were cookbooks, and then I decided I wanted to be a thriller novelist.”  ~Chris Pavone
  • On POV and writers using their own beliefs or way of thinking about hot topics in their story, “Writers will sometimes use their writing as a platform,” and “As long as you can write a compelling story without being preachy, I see no reason not to do this.”  (collective response from several authors)
  • “And I read it wondering, does this suck?”  ~Julia Dahl

This is just a snippet of what was said.  I would have had to have a tape recorder, or known shorthand to capture it all.  All the panels were well moderated, fast paced, and those of us sitting in the audience weren’t disappointed.  I’d read some of the information on what to do, not do.  I made sure to sit towards the back in case I wanted to leave because a panel wasn’t all that good.  I didn’t leave.  I stayed and listened and learned.

And swooned.  Just a little.  Okay.  A LOT.


  1. It occurred to me at one point that my phone will record audio, so I could have “taped” the panels (strange how we still use that terminology). But I find taking notes by hand helps my brain engage with what’s being said, and I’m more likely to remember at least the point that was made, if not the exact words.

    These were good comments, Donna. I remembered that advice about sitting at the back, but the only time I did that on purpose was at the Bouchercon Members Meeting. And I ended up staying to the end anyway.

    1. Thanks Colin!

      Of course I heard so much more, but when something struck a chord, I felt compelled to jot it down – unfortunately on receipts, the back of the little Bouchercon book, and at one point, a napkin. Yeah. A napkin. How could I forget my note taking book – which I generally have at ALL times??? That’s what I get for cleaning out my pocketbook beforehand.

      Yep, sat towards the back too, but like you, not once did I want to leave!

  2. Loved “biggest mistake beginning authors make”….doorknobs turning and looking in mirrors. okeydokey. Need to re-look at that scene!

    Thank you for sharing. At least you were able to be there part of the time. Much more than those of us who did not make it at all.

  3. …and, I always, ALWAYS feel somewhat vindicated when I hear a published author say, “does this suck?” just like I do!

    I am lucky to have made it, because it almost didn’t work out due to family stuff, but I got the most important thing done – meeting QOTKU, which was sublime.

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