This past weekend I attended the Left Coast Crime Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was a rough gig, but as they say, someone had to do it! I’m so glad I did.

The Conference is primarily a fan and reader event for those who love mystery. Mystery authors of all subgenres – thrillers, cozies, PI, historical and more – attended and held panels where they spoke about different aspects of their work. Faye and Jonathan Kellerman were recipients of life time achievement, and were there, but the list was long of authors in all stages of their careers—debut to multiple series, and of course everything in between.

What struck me the most was the graciousness and generosity of everyone who attended. Whether the individual had a dozen mystery novels out, or their debut was forthcoming, all were approachable and shared their stories, their journeys, and their projects.

The fans of mystery are equally passionate. They know every book of their favorite authors, every nuance, and sometimes remembered details that even the author may have forgotten. It was fun to see the level of commitment and love on all sides of this industry. As a writer of mystery, I am also a huge fan. Spending time with many of my favorite authors was a treat. And having the ability to talk with them about their road to publication and how the landscape has changed so much in the industry was inspiring and eye-opening.

When I boarded the plane Monday morning, I left the islands with a sense of community. That for me is the big take away from this event. I made friends, we exchanged contact information, and I know we will stay in touch. Most important, my weekend reaffirmed what I already knew. Writing mystery is my passion and whether I know every name or face of those attending, the people at this conference are my people. The love of story, of mystery, and of a great puzzle to solve, the tie that binds. I am blessed to have been able to spend time with them and look forward to meeting again soon.

My question for you: Where do you find your sense of community?

P.S. Here are a few fun pictures of people and places I saw this weekend.