This is sort of a RAQ – That being a Recently Asked Question as opposed to a Frequently Asked Question. Although, I will admit that for some odd reason said question was asked not only recently, but frequently as well, which sort of makes this a one night FRAQ, which I suppose opens up a whole different possibility…but, we won’t go there…
The question in question, that being the FRAQ of whence we now speak, goes something like: Why aren’t you ever on panels at Archon with Laurell K. Hamilton anymore?
I’d like to note, those who have asked the question are in a small minority, as you will see later in this entry…
For those of you who may not know what Archon is, it’s a rather large SF/Fantasy Convention located here in Saint Louis. I am usually there every year as a guest author, signing books and being a panelist on various topics. Laurell is there most years too, and in the past, since we have a crossover in readership, we have had a tendency to be scheduled on panels together.
Up until the past few years, that is… Which brings us back around to the FRAQ…
I’m not on panels with Laurell K. Hamilton anymore because when I fill out my presenter/panelist forms each year, under the NOTES / COMMENTS / SPECIAL REQUESTS section I put in bold, italic, underlined, highlighted, and otherwise offset for maximum “viewage” – DO NOT SCHEDULE ME ON ANY PANELS WITH LAURELL K. HAMILTON.
Now… This answers the question as to why I don’t appear on panels with LKH any longer. However, I realize it begs a new and directly related question, that being: Why do I put such a thing on my presenter form?
Well, allow me to put the nix on any bizarre answer you may have concocted for yourself and others – Laurell and I are NOT enemies. I have absolutely nothing against her at all. She’s a perfectly lovely young lady, and we’ve had many a wonderful conversation at events throughout the years. To my knowledge she doesn’t have anything against me, either. I doubt that she thinks I’m a perfectly lovely young lady, but that’s a different story.
So, here’s the reason – Laurell’s Fans…
I’m sure that sounds like I am dissing folks who are also readers – or potential readers – of mine. Well, I’m not. I have nothing at all against Laurell’s fans either. It’s more the situation. Sort of a “I like ketchup, and I like ice cream, but I don’t like ketchup on my ice cream” thing.
You see, what happens is that any panel where Laurell appears fills up with rabid Anita Blake/Merrie Gentry fans. This is to be expected, and it’s a great thing – for Laurell. For the rest of the panelists, not so much. What ends up happening is that the “rabidest” of the rabid fans end up dominating the panel with their questions and comments. What that means is that no matter WHAT the panel is supposed to be about, how hard the moderator tries to control it, and no matter how hard Laurell herself tries to keep things on track, the rabid horde manages to focus every bit of attention on Laurell and her books. There have even been occasions when they will talk right over the top of other panelists who are trying to answer a question, because they are there to see Laurell, not the rest of us.
Again, this is great… For her. For the rest of us, not so much.
So, I had to make a decision… After twiddling my thumbs and sharing numerous “WTF Shrugs” with other panelists over the years, then LITERALLY overhearing attendees of several of these panels say things akin to, “I don’t know why they put those other people up there with Laurell. Who were they anyway?” I came to the conclusion that maybe we would all be better off if I “Just Said No.”
My time is much better served being on a panel where the attendees are actually interested in what I have to say, and might even remember my name and go buy a book or two – that I wrote, of course. And, Laurell’s fans don’t have me annoying them by expressing my opinion on the topic of the panel, when all they really want to know are things that are LKH-centric.
I get that. No hard feelings. I think my solution makes perfect sense.
And there you have it. Nothing insidious. Nothing horrible and terrible. Just a little common sense in the overwhelming madness of a SF/Fantasy con. Scary, eh?
More to come…