Malice Domestic 25: Interview of a Lifetime, Friends Winning Agatha Awards, and More Fun!

I didn't think the Malice Domestic mystery convention could get any better, but it keeps on surprising me. Here are some photos and highlights from this year:

Me and Aaron Elkins after his Lifetime Achievement Award interview.
One of the things I was most looking forward to at this year's Malice was getting to meet one of my two favorite mystery authors, Aaron Elkins. Even more exciting was the fact that Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters), my other favorite mystery author, was scheduled to conduct his Lifetime Achievement Award Interview.

It turned out Barbara Mertz came down with pneumonia and wasn't able to make it (don't worry, she's doing better now!), so Aaron asked me to fill in for her. As you can imagine, the thoughts running through my brain amounted to the extremely eloquent OMG OMG OMG!

He knew that I was a huge fan of his books, especially the fantastic Gideon Oliver "Skeleton Detective" series, so he correctly assumed that I'd have lots to talk about in the interview. We'd never previously met, but he'd read and enjoyed my debut mystery novel and gave it a blurb—which, until the day of the interview, was the biggest thing that made me feel like I'd made it as a mystery author regardless of what else happened with my books.

The interview was so much fun! The hour flew by, and I was glad to hear audience members tell me they had as much fun as I did.

*UPDATE: Several people who didn't attend the interview have asked me for details about what we talked about, so I wrote up some interview highlights here (including fun facts about Aaron and great photos from event photographer Greg Puhl). 

After the interview, there was more fun to be had. I headed over to my Treasure Hunt panel.

Dorothy St. James, moderator Becky Hutchison,
Penny Warner, me, and Susan C. Shea.

Later that night, Penny Warner was awarded the Agatha Award for best Children's/Young Adult mystery for The Code Busters Club, Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse! Coincidence that she'd appeared on our treasure hunt panel hours before? I think not ;)

Penny Warner with her husband Tom and the Agatha Award teapot.

Susan Boyer won the Agatha for Best First Novel for her wonderful debut, Lowcountry Boil.
The Henery Press crew celebrating with Susan: Christina Freeburn, Diane Vallere,
me, Susan, Kendel Lynn, LynDee Walker, and Larissa Reinhart.

Me and Susan—with her super-cool teapot award.

Additional highlights:

The Sisters in Crime Guppies Chapter lunch.
Lucy Burdette, Shari Randal, Kathy Krevat; me and Edith Maxwell.

Running into writer friends at every turn.
Top row: Barb Goffman and Leslie Budewitz; me and Daniel Stashower;
Bottom row: Maddy Hunter and me; Kendel Lynn, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Diane Vallere.

Kaye George, Tracy Kiely, Larissa Reinhart, Diane Vallere.

Even on west coast time, the early morning breakfasts were worth getting up for.
Top: SinC President Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Bottom: Diane Vallere, one of my fellow debut authors featured at the New Author Breakfast.

I'm looking forward to Malice 26 next year!