Bouchercon 2021 Guests of Honor
Photo Credit: Rana Faure
Thriller Guest of Honor
Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Malta Exchange, The Bishop’s Pawn, The Lost Order, The 14th Colony, The Patriot Threat, The Lincoln Myth, The King’s Deception, The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. His books have been translated into 40 languages with 25,000,000 copies in 51 countries. They consistently appear in the top echelon of The New York Times, USA Today, and Indie bestseller lists.
History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It’s his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular writers’ workshops. To date, over 3,000 students have attended those workshops and nearly a million dollars raised.
Steve’s devotion to historic preservation was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve its spokesperson for National Preservation Week. Among his other honors are the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award; the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award given by Poets & Writers; the Anne Frank Human Writes Award; and the Silver Bullet, bestowed by International Thriller Writers for his philanthropic work. He has also been chosen both the Florida and Georgia Writer of the Year. He also is an emeritus member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board. In 2010, a NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.
Steve was born and raised in Georgia, graduating from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years. He is a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of nearly 4,000 thriller writers from around the world—and served three years as its co-president.
American Guest of Honor
Craig Johnson is the author of eight novels in the Walt Longmire mystery series, which has garnered popular and critical acclaim. The Cold Dish was a Dilys Award finalist and the French edition won Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/BibliObs. Death Without Company, the Wyoming State Historical Association’s Book of the Year, won France’s Le Prix 813. Another Man’s Moccasins was the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award winner and the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers’ Book of the Year, and The Dark Horse, the fifth in the series, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. Junkyard Dogs won the Watson Award for a mystery novel with the best sidekick, and Hell Is Empty, selected by Library Journal as the Best Mystery of the Year, was a New York Times best seller, as are the rest of the series. The Walt Longmire series is the basis for the hit Netflix drama, Longmire, starring Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Katee Sackoff.
Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.
Charles and Caroline Todd
Historical Mystery Guests of Honor
Charles and Caroline Todd are a mother-and-son writing team who live on the east coast of the United States. Caroline has a BA in English Literature and History, and a Masters in International Relations. Charles has a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Business Management, and a culinary arts degree that means he can boil more than water. Caroline has been married (to the same man) for umpteen years, and Charles is divorced.
Charles and Caroline have a rich storytelling heritage. Both spent many evenings on the porch listening to their fathers and grandfathers reminisce. And a maternal grandmother told marvelous ghost stories. This tradition allows them to write with passion about events before their own time. And an uncle/great-uncle who served as a flyer in WWI aroused an early interest in the Great War.
Charles learned the rich history of Britain, including the legends of King Arthur, William Wallace, and other heroes, as a child. Books on Nelson and by Winston Churchill were always at hand. Their many trips to England gave them the opportunity to spend time in villages and the countryside, where there’a different viewpoint from that of the large cities. Their travels are at the heart of the series they began ten years ago.
Charles’s love of history led him to a study of some of the wars that shape it: the American Civil War, WWI and WWII. He enjoys all things nautical, has an international collection of seashells, and has sailed most of his life. Golf is still a hobby that can be both friend and foe. And sports in general are enthusiasms. Charles had a career as a business consultant. This experience gave him an understanding of going to troubled places where no one was glad to see him arrive. This was excellent training for Rutledge’s reception as he tries to find a killer in spite of local resistance.
Caroline has always been a great reader and enjoyed reading aloud, especially poetry that told a story. The Highwayman was one of her early favorites. Her wars are WWI, the Boer War, and the English Civil War, with a sneaking appreciation of the Wars of the Roses as well. When she’s not writing, she’s traveling the world, gardening, or painting in oils. Her background in international affairs backs up her interest in world events, and she’s also a sports fan, an enthusiastic follower of her favorite teams in baseball and pro football. She loves the sea, but is a poor sailor. (Charles inherited his iron stomach from his father.) Still, she has never met a beach she didn’t like.
Both Caroline and Charles share a love of animals, and family pets have always been rescues. There was once a lizard named Schnickelfritz. Don’t ask.
Writing together is a challenge, and both enjoy giving the other a hard time. The famous quote is that in revenge, Charles crashes Caroline’s computer, and Caroline crashes his parties. Will they survive to write more novels together? Stay tuned! Their father/husband is holding the bets.
International Guest of Honor
Jo Nesbo is one of the world’s bestselling crime writers, with The Leopard, Phantom, Police, The Son and his latest Harry Hole novel, The Thirst, all topping the Sunday Times bestseller charts. He's an international number one bestseller and his books are published in 50 languages, selling over 33 million copies around the world.
Before becoming a crime writer, Nesbo played football for Norway’s premier league team Molde, but his dream of playing professionally for Spurs was dashed when he tore ligaments in his knee at the age of eighteen. After three years military service he attended business school and formed the band Di derre ('Them There'). They topped the charts in Norway, but Nesbo continued working as a financial analyst, crunching numbers during the day and gigging at night. When commissioned by a publisher to write a memoir about life on the road with his band, he instead came up with the plot for his first Harry Hole crime novel, The Bat.
Kids Bouchercon Guest of Honor
JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator, and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.
He writes in several genres. His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuted in 2018.
Jonathan is the creator, editor, and co-author of V-WARS, a shared-world vampire anthology from IDW, and its sequels, V-WARS: BLOOD AND FIRE, V-WARS: NIGHT TERRORS, and V-WARS: SHOCKWAVES. And he writes a best-selling monthly V-WARS comic. A board game version of V-Wars was released in 2017. A Netflix original series, starring Ian Somerhalder (LOST, VAMPIRE DIARIES) is in production and the first ten-episode season will debut in early 2019.
His novels include the Joe Ledger series from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel; EXTINCTION MACHINE, (2013; now in development for TV by SONY); PREDATOR ONE, and others. His first middle-grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY (Simon & Schuster) was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015. His standalone teen science fiction novel, MARS ONE, is in development for film by Zucker Productions and Lone Tree Entertainment. His upcoming standalone suspense novel, GLIMPSE, is in development for TV with BLACK SWAN screenwriter John McLaughlin as head writer.
His horror novels include The Pine Deep Trilogy from Pinnacle Books (GHOST ROAD BLUES, 2006, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel and named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium; DEAD MAN’S SONG, 2007; and BAD MOON RISING, 2008), as well as DEAD OF NIGHT, 2011 (named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium) and its sequel, FALL OF NIGHT, 2014. He also wrote the movie novelization, THE WOLFMAN, 2010, winner of the Scribe Award for Best Adaptation; and DEADLANDS: GHOSTWALKERS, an original novel inspired by the million-copy-selling role-playing game. He also wrote the official story of teenage Dana Scully in X-FILES ORIGINS: DEVIL’S ADVOCATE.
He is also the editor of the dark fantasy anthology series, OUT OF TUNE (JournalStone); a series of THE X-FILES anthologies which launched in 2015; SCARY OUT THERE, an anthology of horror for teens; and the anthologies ALIENS: BUG HUNT, NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD (with George Romero), JOE LEDGER: UNSTOPPABLE (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt) and two volumes of mysteries: ALTERNATE SHERLOCKS and THE GAME’S AFOOT (with Michael Ventrella). He is also the editor of the highly anticipated middle-grade anthology, NEW SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, a tribute to the beloved series by Alvin Schwartz
Jonathan was an expert on the History Channel documentary series, ZOMBIES: A Living History, and TRUE MONSTERS. He also participated in the commentary tracks for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED.
His many nonfiction works include VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006); THE CRYPTOPEDIA (Citadel, 2007 and winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction; co-authored by David F. Kramer); ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (Winner of the Hinzman and Black Quill Awards and finalist for a Stoker Award; 2008); THEY BITE! (2009 co-authored by David F. Kramer); WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (2010; Bram Stoker finalist; co-authored by Janice Gable Bashman); THE VAMPIRE SLAYERS FIELD GUIDE TO THE UNDEAD (2001, written under the pen name of Shane MacDougall); ULTIMATE JUJUTSU (Strider Nolan, 2001); ULTIMATE SPARRING (Strider Nolan, 2000); JUDO AND YOU (Kendall Hunt 1991); and many others.
He writes a variety of projects for various top comic book companies. His work for Marvel Comics included CAPTAIN AMERICA: HAIL HYDRA, BLACK PANTHER: POWER, DOOMWAR, WOLVERINE: FLIES TO A SPIDER, PUNISHER: NAKED KILLS, the NY Times bestselling MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN; as well as his own franchise within Marvel --MARVEL UNIVERSE vs THE PUNISHER, MARVEL UNIVERSE vs WOLVERINE and MARVEL UNIVERSE vs THE AVENGERS. He wrote the vampire miniseries BAD BLOOD for Dark Horse and debuted V-WARS for IDW in May 2014. He is writing the ROT & RUIN, an ongoing comic for IDW based on his bestselling novels. Adaptations of his short stories have appeared in EVIL JESTER COMICS and GRAVE CONDITIONS. All of Jonathan’s comic book collections are released as Graphic Novel collections within a month or two of individual comic publication.
In the Media
He is one-third of the hirsute pop-culture podcast THREE GUYS WITH BEARDS, along with Christopher Golden and James A. Moore. Their guests include authors, comic creators, actors, producers, and filmmakers. He is also on the board of the Horror Writers Association and president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.
Jonathan has sold more than 1,200 feature articles and 3,000 columns; as well as greeting cards, song lyrics, poetry, technical manuals, call-floor scripts, and two plays, including Tales from the Fire Zone.
Jonathan created the Writers Coffeehouse, a free three-hour open-agenda networking and discussion session for writers of all genres and levels of skill in multiple locations around the country each month. Jonathan has opened Writers Coffeehouses in Willow Grove, PA, Philadelphia, Asheville, NC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and elsewhere.
In February 2016 Jonathan had an award named after him and became the first recipient of The Jonathan Maberry Inspiring Teens Award, presented by the Canyon Crest Academy Writers Conference, the first free teen writers con in the country.
Alafair Burke is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of seventeen novels.
Her most recent psychological thriller, THE WIFE, has been praised as “sneaky” (Lisa Scottoline), “schemey” (Seattle Times), “twisty” (Megan Miranda), and “tantalizing” (Booklist). THE WIFE was selected as a best-of-the-month pick by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Weekly, O (Oprah Magazine), and others. It is being adapted as a feature film by Amazon Studios, with Alafair hired to write the screenplay.
Her previous novel, THE EX, was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel.
In addition to the standalone novels that have earned her a reputation as “a genius for plot” (Oprah Magazine) and “a virtuoso” of domestic suspense (Minneapolis Star Tribune), she authors “two power house series” (Sun-Sentinel) featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. Alafair is also the co-author of the “Under Suspicion” series with Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark.
Alafair was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but grew up primarily in Wichita, Kansas. She traces her lifelong fascination with crime to the fact that a serial killer was active in her hometown in her formative years. In a world where the killer could be anyone, and where an arrest appeared hopeless, Alafair found comfort in crime fiction. Her mother, a school librarian, helped her navigate her way from Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie and eventually to Sue Grafton. In the books, as opposed to Wichita, smart sleuthing always paid off, and order was always restored.
Her interest in crime led her to a career in America’s police precincts and criminal courtrooms. After graduating from Reed College and Stanford Law School and clerking for a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Alafair served as a Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, where she specialized in domestic violence offenses and also served as a liaison to the police department. Alafair decided to write a novel when she realized that her own job was fertile ground for crime fiction. Her first novel, JUDGMENT CALLS, was set in the very office where she worked for several years, and was loosely based on elements drawn from multiple cases she encountered as a prosecutor.
Although Alafair no longer practices law, she remains a tenured member of the faculty at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, where she teaches criminal law and procedure. Her legal scholarship focuses on the discretionary decisions of prosecutors and police, and she frequently serves as a legal commentator for various media outlets.
Alafair is often asked about the origin of her name, especially by readers who are familiar with the fictional character, Alafair Robicheaux, created by her father (author James Lee Burke). Alafair was named for her father’s maternal grandmother. It was a more common name in the United States, particularly the south, at the turn of the twentieth century. Now it is a name that belongs to her, two of her cousins, and, from what she can find on Google, ten cats, two dogs, an alpaca, boat, and at least one very cute little girl.
She lives in New York City and East Hampton with her husband and two dogs, Double and Frannie.
Fan Guest of Honor
Ali Karim - is Assistant Editor at Shots eZine, a contributing editor at January Magazine & The Rap Sheet and writes for Crimespree magazine, Deadly Pleasures, Strand Magazine and Mystery Readers International
2018 Red Herring Award for services to Crime Fiction by The Crime Writers Association [CWA]
2013 Don Sandstrom Lifetime achievement award for services to Crime and Mystery Genre
2011 David Thompson Memorial Award for Special Services to the Crime and Thriller Genre
As a published writer [contributing to]
Dissecting Hannibal Lecter ed. Benjamin Szumskyj [McFarland Press]
The Greenwood Encyclopaedia of British Crime Fiction [ed. Barry Forshaw]
ITW 100 Thriller Novels ed David Morrell and Hank Hagner [Oceanview Publishing].
The Crime Writers Association [CWA]
International Thriller Writers [ITW]
Private Eye Writers of America [PWA]
British Book Awards [Nibbies] 2017- 2018
CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2016 – 2018
Ngaio Marsh Award [New Zealand] 2017 - 2018
CWA Gold Dagger Award 2012 - 2016
CWA Short Story Dagger Award 2009 - 2012
International Thriller Writers Awards 2006 - 2008
Board Member to Bouchercon [The World Mystery and Crime Convention] 2014 - 2017
Co-chaired programming for Bouchercon 2015 [Raleigh, North Carolina].