First-time mystery novelists talk about how they got published (good, bad, and amusing stories about the road to publication), how the experience differs from what they expected, and the most startling or amusing reviews. Panelists include Kathleen Barber (Follow Me, Are You Sleeping), Mark Bergin (Apprehension), Tara Laskowski (One Night Gone), Patrick Hyde (The Only Pure Thing), and Grace Topping (Staging Wars, Staging is Murder).
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PANELISTS & MODERATOR
KATHLEEN BARBER is a former attorney, incurable wanderer, and yoga enthusiast. Originally from Galesburg, Illinois, she is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Northwestern University School of Law. Her first novel, Truth Be Told (originally published as Are You Sleeping), has been adapted as a series starring Octavia Spencer for Apple TV+ by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine media company. Follow Me is her second novel.
MARK BERGIN retired from the Alexandria, Virginia Police Department as a Lieutenant in 2014 after 28 years and, in the end, two heart attacks. He was twice named Police Officer of the year, for drug and robbery investigations. Prior to police service he was a newspaper reporter in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in Northern Virginia where he earned the Virginia Press Association Award for General News Reporting.
PATRICK HYDE worked for 25 years as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor with several years in the Solicitor’s Special Litigation Division in a Las Vegas case against figures with organized crime ties who received huge illegal pension fund loans. Also, as a private criminal attorney, he litigated hundreds of cases and served as the President of the D.C. Superior Court Trial Lawyers Association. Michael Connelly endorsed Patrick’s debut novel THE ONLY PURE THING as “a legal thriller full of grit and charm and telling details from every link in the justice system food chain.” Patrick is also the winner of the ITW’s 2016 Best First Sentence Contest—which is the first sentence of his second novel.
TARA LASKOWSKI is the author of One Night Gone, which won the 2019 Agatha Award for Best First Mystery Novel and was a finalist for the Lefty Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She also wrote two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, which The Guardian named a best book of 2017. Her Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine story, “The Case of the Vanishing Professor,” won the 2019 Agatha Award and her Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine story, “The Long-Term Tenant,” is a finalist for the 2020 Thriller Award. Visit her website at TaraLaskowski.com or on Twitter, @TaraLWrites.
GRACE TOPPING is a USA Today bestselling author and Agatha nominee. A recovering technical writer and IT project manager, she was accustomed to writing lean, boring documents. Let loose to write fiction, she is now creating murder mysteries and killing off characters who remind her of some of the people she dealt with during her career. Fictional revenge is sweet. Grace is the former vice president of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SINC), and a member of the SINC Guppies and Mystery Writers of America.
CATHY WILEY is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Short Mystery Fiction Society. She’s written two mystery novels set in Baltimore, Maryland, and has had several short stories included in anthologies, one of which was a finalist for a Derringer Award. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, with one spoiled cat and an equally spoiled husband. For more information, visit cathywileyauthor.com.