Sassy, Sexy, and Smart Female Protagonists
Elaine Viets (Moderator), Hilary Davidson, Andrew Mayne, Nora McFarland, Diane Vallere, James Ziskin
Mayne: "Smart is sexy". Davidson on sassy: "That's what men call you when you don't do what they want." Davidson was a travel writer (primarily for Frommer's Travel Guides) who was inspired to write mystery after a Frommer's editor vanished while working in Jamaica. Mayne and Ziskin also discussed the issue of men writing female characters and how they had to be more than what Viet described as a pet peeve of hers: Men writing woman = women in drag. The subject of "Cabot Cove Syndrome" came up (as it did on pretty much every panel with cozy authors) and Vallere explained that she coped with this issue by making the small town in her book Suede to Rest big city adjacent, basing it on San Dimas, a small town about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. I used to live in San Dimas and it's actually a pretty brilliant idea, because the town does have a small-town feel, but is definitely a suburb of L.A.
Murderer's Row (Who and Why We Kill)
Harley Jane Kozak (Moderator), Sheila Connelly, Christopher Farnsworth, Jamie Freveletti, Roger Hobbs, Jeffrey Siger
The panel discussed how they create the killers and victims for their books. Connelly wrote her first novel after being fired from her dream job and the boss who fired her became her first victim. Freveletti does a lot of research on terrorists (she mentioned ISIS by name) so she never has a shortage of reasons to kill a lot of bad guys in her novels. Kozak stated that she usually gets stuck around page 200 and ends up killing a character she hadn't planned on killing, which prompted Hobbs to bring up Dashiell Hammett's advice that if you get stuck, bring in a man with a gun.
|"Murderer's Row" panel.|
The Mean Streets of Los Angeles (L.A. Crime Through the Ages)
Linda Richards (Moderator), Kathy Bennett, Jack Bludis, Jennifer Kincheloe, D.W. Putnam, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Rochelle Staab
Bennett is a former member of LAPD who once killed a suspect who got out of a car with a machete and refused to back down. This info came due to a question that all cops have to be able to answer yes to: Are you willing to kill someone? Kincheloe's book is about a society girl turned secret LAPD police matron in 1907. Bludis told an amusing story about how a cover artist included the Empire State Building on the cover of one of his books set in 1940's L.A. The panel also encouraged writers in the audience to feel confident about contacting police for technical assistance - they cited LAPD as being especially used to dealing with writers.
|"Mean Streets of Los Angeles" panel.|
Cute and Sweet, But With a Twist (Cozies With Attitude)
Kristopher Zgorski(Moderator), Judy Clemens, Vicki Doudera, Bharti Kirchner, Wendy Tyson
Zgorski kicked off the panel with the description of the traditional cozy mystery: They generally feature an amateur sleuth, take place in a small, charming and contained setting, and in which sex and violence are downplayed and take place offstage when they do occur. The works of the panel feature a little more edge to their characters and stories. Doudera often ends her chapters with her recurring heroine and her boyfriend going off to have sex. Clemens' heroine is a hot-tempered biker. Kirchner's latest tackles domestic violence and Tyson's books include teen goth suspects, political ambition and sex tapes.
|"Cozies With Attitude" panel.|