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Edgar & I Have History

Wow. 2014 has started off with fireworks. Big time.

Yesterday I found out that Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking was nominated for an Edgar Award. Most people outside of the writing community aren't familiar with this award--it's not as recognizable as the Pulitzer, or National Book Award, or the Newbery & Caldecott. So a little about Edgar...

The Mystery Writers of America has been giving Edgars since 1945, to honor the best in mystery writing for the previous year in print and television (there used to be film and radio awards, too!). Named for Edgar Allan Poe, who's considered to be the father of the detective story, the award is given at a gala banquet in NYC each spring.

And holy shnikey, Moxie is on their short list! It is one of five novels in the Juvenile Fiction category!

For me, getting the Edgar nomination was a really big deal--not only because OMG IT'S THE EDGARS! (that's a huge part of it!)--but because of my history with mystery. And Poe.

When I was a kid, my family spent swaths of the summer in southern Rhode Island at my great aunt and uncle's beach house. My great aunt's sister (bear with me here), was an avid mystery reader. So was I. Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Nancy Drew...it didn't matter if it was a tea cozy or hardboiled, kids or "adult" fiction, I was in to mysteries (I wanted to be a detective for a little while). So when we'd visit, Charlotte (the sister), would bring me a stack of whatever she'd finish reading that spring--along with her old Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock magazines. I devoured them. And inevitably, there was an article devoted to each year's Edgar Awards in the stack.

How cool, I'd think. All those mystery writers in one place. Together.

It seemed romantic--and dangerous. The perfect place for a crime!

I'd search the names of nominees and winners to see if there were any that I recognized, and I'd be so thrilled if I did. I'd wanted to be a writer since I was six, but when I was deep into my mystery phase, I decided I could be detective on the side. Reading all those mysteries were a great way for a quiet, fearful girl to go on loads of adventures and get into imaginary trouble. Ultimately, I decided that a life solving crime was not for me, but I've never lost my love of the genre.

Fast forward a couple of decades...

Pregnant with my first child, my husband and I were sorting through name options. We didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl, and coming up with first names was proving to be a challenge. But a middle name? We had that set. We wanted to use a classic American poet/author's name (both of us are writers who overthink stuff)--and there was one American writer who we both greatly admired; no question.

Yes. Our daughter's middle name is Poe. We even celebrate Poe's birthday every year...

Last year's party. Yes, we have two Poe action figures. And Poe art. And a lunchbox. Maybe a finger puppet. What?

So we live with Poe. Every day.

Deciding to write MOXIE--which, as a mystery, was a departure from my humorous contemporary novels before it--was a big risk. But it was a story I was dying to tell, about a city that I love (where E.A. Poe was born, natch), and I am so grateful that my publisher supported me in trying a new direction. I got to write about a girl going on adventures and getting in to loads of imaginary trouble. And then the MWA got excited about Moxie and her story.

So Edgar and I...we have history. And when I walk into that room on May 1st, it'll all come full circle. All those mystery writers in one place. Together. And I'm one of them! I honestly don't care if I come out of there with a statue; this is more than I could ever, ever have hoped for.

Thanks, Mr. Poe.

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
Woohoo! Congratulations!
Jan. 20th, 2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Jan. 18th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC)
Yaaaaaaaaaah! How exciting!
Jan. 20th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm thrilled
Jan. 18th, 2014 03:47 am (UTC)
I LOVE the Edgar awards and am super excited by the short list every year -- and was THRILLED to see MOXIE in the junior category! CONGRATS!!!
Jan. 20th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)

Thank you! You are too sweet.
Jan. 18th, 2014 05:22 am (UTC)
Congratulations, Erin! It must be fate. :>)

Edited at 2014-01-18 05:23 am (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Christine. I'm not sure what it is, but I'll take it.
Jan. 18th, 2014 10:27 pm (UTC)
Of all the mystery awards, I think the Edgar is held in the highest esteem - because it's your peers making the decision.
Jan. 20th, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC)
I agree, April. It's so amazingly humbling. I can't quite believe it.
Jan. 20th, 2014 01:54 pm (UTC)
I was very excited when I saw Moxie on the list!! An excellent choice!!

Jan. 20th, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Cindy!! I'm super excited.
Jan. 20th, 2014 03:37 pm (UTC)
I really hope you get that statue for your annual Edgar Allan Poe birthday celebrations!
If anyone deserves an Edgar it's you and Moxie.
Kate Burak
Jan. 20th, 2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
Re: edgar
Thank you, Kate! That is so nice to say. I'm just happy to go to the party.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


• MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING (Dial 2013) was highlighted in the Atlantic Wire's Summer Reading Roundup!

• TOTAL TRAGEDY was named to the master list of Massachusetts Children's Book Awards 2013-2014

• New book alert! MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING will be in stores July 11 2013

• NOTES FROM AN ACCIDENTAL BAND GEEK is out in paperback! And it's on the Texas Lone Star List!

• TOTAL TRAGEDY has been named to the Texas Lone Star list as well as Kansas' KNEA Reading Circle catalog (with a starred recommendation)

• TOTAL TRAGEDY is out in paperback! Ask for it at a bookstore near you.

• TOTAL TRAGEDY has gone into its third printing! Thanks to everyone who bought it!

• MODELS has gone into its fifth printing! Thank you!!

• Have you seen the TT trailer? Go here & check it out:

• Disney's Family Fun Magazine and Girl's Life mag both loved TT! Check out the reviews in their February issues!

• I've signed stock recently at the following stores:
- Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA

• Booklist says, "Some sisterly bonding, the sweet flutterings of a first romance, and a creatively contrived comeuppance for the mean girls make [TOTAL TRAGEDY] a cheerful read for younger middle-schoolers."