One of my favorite aspects of Emceeing the Maui Writers Conference is finding out something new to include in each keynoter’s introduction.

My philosophy is, it’s lazy to simply repeat the list of achievements in the presenter’s bio because participants have already read that in the conference brochure.

Why not introduce something no one knows? This piques curiosity and sets up suspense. Attendees look forward to each introduction because they never know what fascinating tidbit they’ll hear about one of their favorite authors or screenwriters.

Case in point. 18-time New York Times best-selling author John Lescroart (The Suspect, The Hunt Club, The Second Chair and the popular Dismas Hardy-Abe Glitsky series) has had his novels translated into fifteen languages in more than 75 countries.

His newest book Betrayal will be out next year. When I asked John where he got the idea for this book, his surprising answer was, “From my son’s 7th grade teacher.”

He explained, “My son’s teacher is in the National Guard Reserve. Most people think their job consists primarily of emergency domestic duties such as stacking up sand bags to hold back flood water or showing up at demonstrations to keep the peace. Many don’t know that many National Guard Reserve units are being called up on short notice and sent overseas.”

“My son’s teacher, all of 38 years old, was given 6 weeks notice that he would be leaving behind his job and his wife and two children. His unit flew out of Travis Air Force Base in California and arrived in Kuwait to a Catch 22-like chaos. For some reason, their troop wasn’t ‘expected’ so they spent the next 3 weeks in tents on the tarmac awaiting assignment. They were finally assigned to a convoy in Iraq . . . and 11 of his buddies were killed in the first 3 weeks.”

“This 7th grade teacher, the sweetest man, returned home traumatized, suffering from survivors guilt and filled with anger. The first 150 pages of Betrayal tells his story because I think more Americans need to know what’s happening to the young men and women who are representing our country overseas.”

Will you be emceeing a conference or introducing speakers at a business event in the near future? If so, honor the presenters by interviewing them in advance. Feature an “I didn’t know that” insight that delivers an intrigued, “on-the-edge-of-their-seats” audience who can’t wait to hear what the speakers have to say. You’ll be doing everyone a favor.