I won’t lie. When I was notified that Snowed had received an Anthony Award nomination for Best Children’s/YA Novel, I got a bit emotional. I was just coming off the high of the book winning the 2016 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel, which was awesome enough. But the Anthony’s speak to a whole different part of me as an author.
Mysteries: My First Literary Love
When I was a child, we didn’t have much money, and only very few books at home. My elementary school here in Los Angeles didn’t have a library, but it did have a Book Mobile that restricted me to books in my age group. That was extremely frustrating because I was easily reading six grades above that. My friends in first grade teased me for reading “grownup” books because they didn’t have pictures in them.
Those “grownup” books I was reading? My mother worked as a clerk at Thrifty Drugs. I was in first grade when a coworker, who’d heard that I liked to read, gave my mother the first 50 Hardy Boys books. I was in heaven! I quickly moved onto Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe, buying Christie paperbacks with birthday money. I also loved the more “age appropriate” mysteries of Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Although I saw The Fly at three years of age (thanks, big brother!), I didn’t discover monster movies, vampires, and ghost stories until a few years later. But meanwhile, I devoured Encyclopedia Brown and The Great Brain books. I loved puzzles, and mysteries scratched that itch.
How it Started
Part of my love of crime stories in particular came out of my troubled childhood. My father was an investigator for the Franchise Tax Board. While my mother worked weekends, he used to make my baby sister and I scrunch down in the back seat of his Dodge while he went dumpster diving in the Hollywood Hills. I thought it was terribly exciting. When I told my mom, she thought it was entirely TOO exciting. Those trips ended there. We wound up leaving Los Angeles just after my dad helped bring down a major narco in L.A. by getting him on tax evasion. I never understood half the things my parents talked about until many years later as I was watching Narcos on Netflix. Boy, was that a surprise.
Anthony Awards and Bouchercon
But I only started writing mysteries and crime fiction myself in the last few years. Being involved in the mystery writing community has been a pure joy. At my first Bouchercon, I found vintage Sherlock Holmes novels in the dealer’s room and quickly discovered the rapture of reading Arthur Conan Doyle, something I’d somehow missed growing up. I quickly became a fan of many modern mystery and noir authors such as Megan Abbott, Laura Lippman, J.C. Lane (nom de plume of Judy Smucker Clemens), Kelli Stanley, Thomas Harris, Donna Moore, and others.
As you might guess, it boggles my mind to be on an awards nomination slate with Megan Abbott, Laura Lippman, and JC Lane. To say it’s an honor just to be nominated is an understatement. Here are my fellow nominees in the Best Children’s/YA Novel category:
- Snowed – Maria Alexander [Raw Dog Screaming]
- The Girl I Used to Be – April Henry [Henry Holt]
- Tag, You’re Dead – J.C. Lane [Poisoned Pen]
- My Sister Rosa – Justine Larbalestier [Soho Teen]
- The Fixes – Owen Matthews [HarperTeen]
I wish everyone the best of luck! And I thank the Bouchercon attendees for this enormous honor with all my heart.
Goodreads Giveaway and Kindle Sale
In celebration, I’m offering a Goodreads giveaway of a hardcover copy of Snowed. Please enter and share with your friends!
And the publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press is offering the Kindle for only $2.99.