September 28, 2019: Oh, the Horror…Authors

The last time I was in Westport, Connecticut, I was looking for the graveyard where they filmed some of the grimiest scenes from Wes Craven’s 1972 The Last House on the Left. This time, I was sharing a stage with some big horror authors. Westport is starting to feel like a scary place for me.

I was there for the Saugatuck StoryFest at Westport Public Library, a three-day event with lots of authors from all genres, panels, signings, and other silverfish-food related activities. To give context, this is only the second year they’ve put this thing on, and they got R.L. Stine for a keynote. Next year, they’re getting Neil Gaiman.

I was prepared to be extremely overwhelmed at this event. Especially as I was an invited participant. I have close to zero conference experience, didn’t really know anybody there that well, and—though I didn’t admit it to my hosts—I’d never been on a panel before.

The library is great, with a large, brand-new, open auditorium that seems to be its centerpiece. There’s nothing better than a thriving library.

Instead of giving a full narrative of the day, I thought I’d give my highlights. Mostly because I was so in the moment the whole day (a rarity for me) that I didn’t document anything. Fortunately, the library did, as did my friend Becka, who was nice enough to come support me.

Here were my highlights:
  • Seeing R.L. Stine (my second time; first was at the Edgar Awards)
  • Hanging with horror authors—everybody on that stage in the first photo is somebody whose work I dig, and one of them is my favorite contemporary horror author right now
  • Lunch with Sam Weller, Ray Bradbury’s biographer
  • Signing Death and Douglas for kids (I haven’t done any events that involve D&D or kids, so this was a particular exciting part for me)
  • Both panels I was on (nonfiction and horror) which were filled with way-interesting authors
  • Dumping a glass of wine on the shoes of the executive director of the library
Despite that last bullet, I get to return on October 24 to give a presentation and be part of a Horror Trivia pub night at the library. So, hopefully, I’ll get to see you there!