I’m always envious when I read about “The Big Sisters in Crime Chapters.” You know the ones where best-selling authors are members and crime specialists belong who actually write books. The Upstate South Carolina Chapter, on the other hand, occupies a tiny corner of the state, and we have used all our powers of imagination and perseverance to keep coming up with great guest speakers. Somehow, we manage.
We try to alternate between crime professionals and published authors. We love writers with a sense of humor. Those who tell us about their failures before achieving publication give the unpublished among us hope as we strive to connect with an agent or editor. Yeah, they can do it—well, so can we. We’re energized and empowered by their stories. One of our latest guests, A.J. Hartley, kept the group amused with his wonderful sense of British humour as he described all the things he did wrong before becoming a New York Times best-selling author.
|Linda Lovely, Carla Damron and Polly Iyer|
Our group is supportive of the authors who visit, and we buy their books. Real paper books, with covers and everything. And they sign them. Writers are just so darn nice.
We love authors, but I have to admit, we’re a bloodthirsty group. We love gore. No, really. Give us a PowerPoint presentation with dead bodies, blood spatter, and decomposition, and we’re riveted to the screen. Our guests have included medical examiners, coroners, and a prosecuting attorney who trashed the major network investigation show that covered his case because it distorted the facts. One arrogant defense attorney turned down a case because the client couldn’t pay. Hello, public defender. We’ll never have him back. Conversely, a federal public defender kept our group enthralled past the time limit, and our bookstore had to kick us out. We’ve had him twice and hope to have him again.
We’ve hosted sheriffs, P.I.s, male and female FBI agents, forensic specialists, medical examiners, cops dealing in human trafficking, fraud investigators, the first woman cop in the county, a forensic psychologist, a weapons expert, a campus security cop, and an arson inspector, among others. We’ve even had an arson-sniffing dog. All shared their experiences, took our questions—except for the dog—and taught us a thing or two we didn’t know before.
We’ve seen changes this year. Our indie bookstore closed, leaving us scrambling to find another venue. We did. It’s not the same, but we eat better because the meeting is at a restaurant. Things are happening in our little corner of the world. So I guess we’ve done okay.
For more information on the Upstate South Carolina Chapter, please contact Polly Iyer.