When I was 12, my bedroom walls were covered in magazine pictures and posters of Marlon Brando and Mickey Rooney. (Yes, really, Mickey Rooney.) I used to spend hours imagining that I was a reporter. I was eventually invited over to M & M's houses for dinner. I became their friend, their confidante, and I was the one who got the big stories.
When I was 17, I tried to leave high school at Grade 12 and go to Ryerson College to study journalism. Marlon and Mickey were no longer on my bedroom wall, but they were still waiting for me to come and interview them. That idea got shot down by my parents based on advice from my school counselor.
As a result, Marlon and Mickey never met me.
These days, I have different idols. They are writers. Mainly female, because I not only love their novels, I love their personalities. They are feisty, attractive, thin, well spoken, smart, and confident. Their books are instant best sellers. They write mystery, the genre I love, the genre I write. I adore their characters. They take their plots into very dark territory sometimes – another technique I admire (and write).
So attending a conference like Bouchercon transports me back to the days of posters all over my walls. Back to a time when I believed I would become friends with my heroes (in this case, heroines; goddesses of creativity). As a writer, with a panel listing of my own, I must, however, remain dignified. I must remember that half a century has gone by since I was twelve.
I arrive early at the panel for Elizabeth George and sit not too close, but not too far away. Very quickly, the room fills up. A woman sits to my right, but suddenly gets a text from her sister, and has to leave. By then most of the seats are taken, so a fit, good-looking gentleman in glasses asks if he can take her place. Of course I nod and smile.
He has an uncapped coffee cup in his hand and says, “I hope I don’t spill this on you. I almost spilled it on Elizabeth George and she got really mad at me.”
“Oh my god,” I respond with a laugh, thinking, but you were that close to her, you lucky...
“But it’s okay,” he continues, “I’m her husband.”
I try not to throw myself at him, but I do gush, and we end up having a fabulous conversation about the creative process. He’s not a writer, but he watches carefully as his wife goes through book after book. He’s friendly, has a great sense of humour, and is obviously an admirer of both his wife and writers in general. He takes one of my bookmarks. I think I love him.
I don’t wanna grow up. My Author's Page