Robert Dugoni Book Signing

Robert Dugoni at recent Book Signing

There were a slew of people killed last weekend at the Oregon Writer’s Colony Spring Conference in Newport, but given the mix of characters, it was inevitable.

The guest author was Robert Dugoni and his appearance inspired an abundance of mayhem in the form of mystery writers killing off innocent victims during late night critique group readings at the Sylvia Beach Hotel at Nye Beach.  Actually there were many other genres represented, but Dugoni’s appearance seemed to bring in a lot of mystery writers.

He was joined by his agent, Meg Ruley, who single handedly (being the only agent at the conference) listened to 30 pitches on Saturday.  I was impressed by both, Dugoni for sacrificing his weekend traveling from Seattle to host three extended workshop sessions (seven hours total) Saturday and Sunday, and Ruley for coming from New York and being so open and helpful to published and non-published writers.

I attended the conference, hoping to network and get plugged into the writing scene a little deeper. Not being much of an extrovert–I can do it, but it’s uncomfortable– I pushed myself to schmooze with people during a wine and dine event Friday.

Later, I decided to sign up for one of two critique sessions and it was the best move I made all weekend. I signed up to read Saturday night and attended Friday night to see how it works. Both nights I offered critiques, got to know people, and spotted writers I wanted to get to know better because I think I can learn from them.  You had to be dedicated to attend the sessions because they happened between 9:30 p.m. and midnight (breakfast was 8 a.m.)

I also remembered why I like critiquing. Aside from getting my work reviewed to make it better, I like listening to other people’s stories.

Meg Ruley talked about her love for reading through slush piles when she first started as an agent. She said her love was inspired by possibly finding that next great author. But I think it’s more than that. I think she too likes to hear other people’s stories.

The conference gave me everything I was looking for. It was small (a limit of 50 people.) I met and got to know several writers, I got some great tips from Dugoni I can use in my current book to make it better, I gained tremendous confidence in reading my work to other writers I deeply respected, and I think I got a spiritual boost in knowing I’m on the right track in my goal to be published.

Dugoni’ writes Legal Thrillers and has been compared to John Grisham. I would say he is where Grisham was in his first three books (which were his best.) I recently read Dugoni’s book, Bodily Harm, a story about a toy manufacturer about to launch a new kid’s toy that has already killed three infants, and the lengths someone in the industry is willing to go to keep Dugoni’s protagonist, lawyer David Sloan, from stopping the toy’s launch into the market. It has all the elements of a great book: conspiracy, murder, suspense,  a flawed protagonist dealing with great personal loss, and an ending that will leave you guessing. His next book, Murder One, is due out June 7th.

Click Here to see his website

  1. Maureen Kay says:

    Thanks for writing about this. I have heard Robert Dugoni speak several times, mainly in Seattle, and have pitched (successfully, but not ready to submit yet) to Meg Ruley. I like them both a lot, and really enjoyed Dugoni’s novel Wrongful Death.

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