“Visual artists have found cooperative arrangements for work, studio space and housing; why couldn’t local crime writers find ways to share their expertise and experience and contribute to a rising tide that lifts all boats?” is how Erin Hart, Minnesota author, describes the Twin Cities chapter of Sisters in Crime (TC SinC).
The organization supports the professional growth of women crime writers at all stages in their careers with a high priority on fostering a spirit of camaraderie among its members. As the membership has grown, so have the opportunities for writers to connect and help each other not only to continue to create, but even to make a living.
Reacting to an industry-wide contempt toward female crime writers – who were not getting nominated for top awards or even getting reviewed – Sara Paretsky and other women mystery authors at the 1986 Bouchercon writing conference in Baltimore first met to talk about their experiences. This meeting led to the founding of the first SinC chapter in 1987. The organization now includes 48 chapters around the world. (From the beginning, the organization has been open to brothers in crime, too.)
Members read from their books, listen to speakers from the crime-solving community and share news. The group offers workshops on how to market books and use social media, and it has gone on mystery-related field trips.
According to Hart, TC SinC past president, working together creates more opportunities for everyone involved. (Hart’s latest novel, “The Book of Killowen,” was nominated for a 2014 Minnesota Book Award in genre fiction.) From 2009-2012, Hart and TC SinC connected with the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association to create an event called “Killer Cocktails.” What could be more holistic than an opportunity for authors and booksellers to come together to eat, drink, be merry and talk about books? In 2011 and 2012, with Hart’s help, TC SinCs expanded to include events at Minnesota Library Association annual meetings.
“The group recognizes the value of commissioning speakers with expertise in an array of areas,” said Christine Husom, author of the Winnebago County mystery series. “For example, we’ve had presentations by the Hennepin County medical examiner, a Hennepin County prosecutor, a state trooper, a retired Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension cold-case investigator and a fraud investigator.”
Whether facilitating mock panels to help navigate real mystery panel discussions or workshops on how to utilize social media smartly, TC SinC continues to celebrate the writer, her dreams and the journey.
Mickie Turk (left) is a suspense writer whose novels include “The Delilah Case” and “Made In The Image.” mickieturkauthorandfilmmaker.blogspot.com