Yesterday’s Mystery Writers of America symposium at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan got me all fired up and ready to go – I’m good for another month or so.

The panels on Crossing Genres, Location, and Research were excellent and a lot of informative fun but the highlight was octogenarian Grand Master Lois Duncan in an amazing interview by Laura Lippman. Duncan was a riot, such as when she said she used her first big writing check ($200) to get married but she should have bought a car, instead because “it would have lasted longer.” Her biography of a single mom with three kids – writing fake confessions of “sins” for True Confessions Magazine was a hoot. After inventing the Y-A novel and becoming an icon, her life turned tragic with the murder of her daughter twenty years ago. Morphing into a true crime crusader for Justice, Duncan maintains her upbeat outlook and continues to inspire. Her modesty, impish wit and wry smile managed to charm even more than the brilliant and brash hard bop Grand Master James Ellroy, who’s life was also shadowed by the murder of his mother.

Best Southern drawl quip of the conference? Charming MWA 2015 Best Novel nominee Karin Slaughter’s quip on an aspect of writing that jes `cause the cat gives birth to kittens in the oven, don’t make `em biscuits.

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