I've been writing professionally for 30 years. But I was in the book business, as a bookseller, for years before that, since 1980. And I started attending conventions of various kinds even before that, in college. During those decades, I've made it to just about every kind of book-related event there is, from local or regional comic-cons to gigantic international expositions like the San Diego Comic-Con, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, science fiction and fantasy's WorldCon, the mystery and thriller world's ThrillerFest, and the big book industry show Book Expo America.
But my favorite of all these events is the one coming up this weekend: the Tucson Festival of Books, held on the beautiful University of Arizona campus.
It'd be a hard one to top. It features hundreds of authors, working in every genre. It encompasses what must be many hundreds of booths, offering everything a reader could want. Best of it, it attracts a crowd of some 175,000 people who love books and reading, and want to share that love with one another. This year is its 10th anniversary. Over those years, it's raised $1,650,000 for literacy organizations.
Some of the marquee names appearing this year (there are way too many to list, but you can find them here) include: Mitch Albom, Paolo Bacigalupi, Dave Barry, Philip Caputo, Billy Collins, Robert Crais, Jenna Fischer, Greg Iles, Craig Johnson, Nancy Kress, T. Jefferson Parker, Thomas Perry, Douglas Preston, James Rollins, R.L. Stine, Amy Tan, Katy Tur, Scott Turow, and Luis Alberto Urrea,
Of more immediate interest to this blog is that my beloved wife and writing partner Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell and I will, once again, be there all weekend. We will, of course, have a selection of our books with us to sell and sign. We're located in Booth 109, except when we're trying to catch up with other favorite authors or appearing on our panel.
Said panel is called "Spies, Assassins, and Special Ops." It takes place on Saturday, March 10, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, in the Student Union's Santa Rita Room. We'll be signing afterward in the UA Bookstore Tent, on the mall. Our fellow panelists are Gail Carriger, Myke Cole, and Jonathan Maberry, and our moderator is the ever-thoughtful Lupita Chavez.
I hope you can join us in Tucson for 2018's best book event!