I have to tell you, I was just as excited to see some of the authors at DragonCon as I was to see most of the tv and film celebrities. I got to sit in sessions with Jeanne C Stein, Laurell K Hamilton, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, JF Lewis, Charlaine Harris, Jonathan Mayberry, Larry Correia, Faith Hunter and Sherrilyn Kenyon. I wasn’t familiar with everyone. In fact, the only authors I had read were Hamilton, Hunter, Harris and Keyon. But each panel was wonderfully entertaining.
The first session was called “Vampires are the New Vampires” and it focused on the history of vampires in literature and how it has evolved. LKH was the most vocal in this group. (OK, she was the most vocal in every group.) She drew a lot of parallels between vampires and sexuality and how it can be seen as a metaphor for rape. The authors talked about the allure of vampires and the taboos. They also chatted about their typical writing schedule, about how social media is a time sucker, and how Charlaine enjoys watching people in Romania trying to buy homes on HGTV. Themes for each author were also addressed. Harris said that hers was tolerance. Hamilton said hers was to let people know that no matter what others think, you are ok.
Saturday’s first panel was “Hunting Vampires for Fun and Profit” and, theoretically, all of the authors had characters who hunted and killed vamps. But the moderator tried too hard to come up with questions that were all encompassing for the panel. The characters were simply too diverse for this approach to work. Kenyon often had to pass on the questions because there are simply too many characters in her many works to even identify a “main protagonist.” But one of the most interesting tidbits that came out of this panel was Hamilton acknowledging that even more unlikely than the supernatural elements of her books is the fact than one woman could pull off relationships with 15 different men. (Duh!) She also talked about how Anita has never regretted anyone she has ever killed (though I would have thought she felt some remorse about Haven.) And she discussed whether she was accruing bad karma for all of the deaths in her book.
I got a chance to visit some of the booths on Saturday, and they were so awesome. I got to meet Faith Hunter and see the cover for the new Jane Yellowrock book. I also visited Kenyon and Hamilton’s booths (and I met her sister who was very nice.)
Later Saturday, Kenyon did a great Q&A session, where I got to vent my displeasure about the whole Darling mess. She promised me that I will be ok with it once I read it.
She also talked about her movie and tv show deal. She doesn’t know what channel the show will play on but she retains some power in how it all will play out –and she swears the woman behind the project is a huge fan of the series herself. She never came out and said it wouldn’t be changed (a la True Blood) but it was implied. And she says she would like to write a book about Otto, one of the Squires.
The last big panel was Sunday where “Best Selling Authors Tell All” and it was really more about the writing process and what life is really like for a best selling author. The bottom line is that they work all the time. Their lives are decidedly unglamorous and they are very committed to their craft.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the sessions was getting a feel for the authors’ personalities. Charlaine was like a charming, but strict Southern aunt. She was soft-spoken and funny, but was very clear that this is a business to her and that while she is committed to doing her best work, she is just as committed to a paycheck. Hamilton came off as very self-assured and dominating. And Kenyon was very down to earth and seems to care deeply about her characters, her fans and her family.
I also met some other fans in line for one of the panels. It was so much fun chatting about books with them. It was all truly a great experience.