On Wednesday, January 19, 2011 -- Edgar Allan Poe's 202nd birthday -- my thriller The Queen of Patpong was nominated for an Edgar by the Mystery Writers of America as Best Novel of 2010.
I've argued with myself over whether to write about this here, and I'm happy to say I won the argument. This kind of thing doesn't happen all that often, and it's easily the most interesting event of my week.
It's especially interesting because it follows my being dropped by HarperCollins, which had dampened my spirits substantially. It also follows my agent's brilliant inspiration to ask HarperCollins, who were feeling a little guilty, to return to us the audio book rights, with which they had done nothing. Within 24 hours of the Edgar nomination, we signed a very sweet deal for the audio. And we get to keep all the money.
Now I want to know who's going to be reading the books aloud.
So as of today, Poke is Edgar-nominated but homeless and about to make the transition to audio.
One other thing HarperCollins hadn't done much about was foreign rights. The day after the Edgar nominations were announced, an international e-newsletter called "Publishing Perspectives" led its front page with a suggestion to publishers all over the world that they take a look at The Queen of Patpong and three of the other nominees in different categories. I hope somebody reads the newsletter in Japan and Germany, because those are the two "big" markets (in terms of advance) where Poke has not been sold.
The full list of Edgar nominees in what I like to think of as "my" category is:
Caught, Harlan Coben Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Tom Franklin Faithful Place, Tana French The Queen of Patpong, Yours Truly The Lock Artist, Steve Hamilton I'd Know You Anywhere, Laura Lippman
That's a strong list, although I have no idea why all seven of the writers on this site aren't on it. Year in and year out, there's one book that didn't get on many people's radar and makes them scratch their heads and go, "Huh?" and this year I wrote it.
If I'm going to be honest, I have to say that the nomination completely and totally blindsided me. I hadn't given it a thought. The world is such a small place these days that the first person to send me congratulations was Ken Bruen, over in Ireland. Then the e-mails came in twenty and thirty at a time, and all my friends at Murder Is Everywhere were among the early responders.