Friends and neighbors,
The Barry Awards are presented every year at Bouchercon, the world’s largest gathering of mystery and thriller fans. Bouchercon this year will be held in October in Toronto, Canada, and more than 2500 mystery fans will gather to see the Barry awards presented.
I can’t tell you how proud I am of this nomination. Out of the more than 300,000 English-language paperbacks published all over the world in 2016, THE GIRL IN THE WINDOW, the fourth title in my Inspector Tay series, emerged as one of the six books selected as the very best.
That’s the good news. Now here’s the bad news.
I have absolutely no chance at all to win.
All of the other five nominees are titles published by major American publishing houses. All of the other nominees were widely distributed through bookstores, at airports, and everywhere else that books are sold. All of the other nominees are supported by large marketing and public relations staffs provided by their publishers that will be working tirelessly to promote them as worthy selections to receive the Barry Award.
THE GIRL IN THE WINDOW wasn’t published by any American publishing house, major or minor. THE GIRL IN THE WINDOW has never been sold in any bookstore or at any airport or anywhere else other than at Amazon and a few signed editions for collectors at Mystery Mike’s, an online specialist dealer in rare and out of print books. THE GIRL IN THE WINDOW is supported and promoted by no one at all other than me.
Believe it or not, I’m not complaining about any of that. I mention it at all only to underscore one thing: it just makes this nomination all that much sweeter for me.
For THE GIRL IN THE WINDOW to be the only book nominated for a Barry Award in any category that isn’t supported by a big publisher feels to me like an even bigger accomplishment than actually winning an award. THE GIRL IN THE WINDOW got there all by itself. It got there, not because it had a publisher’s marketing staff lobbying for it, but because a bunch of readers really loved it and pushed to get it nominated.
There is no award I could ever receive that could top that for me. And that’s why right now I couldn’t feel any prouder if I had just won the Nobel Prize.
A few weeks ago I did an interview for a podcast that has a huge audience among younger expats living in Thailand and its neighboring countries as well with as quite a few who are thinking about living there. The site has the wonderful title of Thailand Starter Kit, and it’s well worth a look.
The interviewer was a very pleasant young man who seemed to me both bright and perceptive. So when I saw the introduction he wrote for our interview, I was more than a little taken aback…
It wasn’t an easy decision to make how I was going to include his more provocative statements in the final cut of this episode. I don’t share my guest’s opinion on a number of topics, often to the point of polar disagreement. It’s easy to say you just want to show a person’s story when it fits your own narrative. It’s harder when there are bumps that sometimes rub you the wrong way. In the end, I opted for a pretty much unedited take. I do think he genuinely expressed his thoughts. Controversial as these are, he’s not alone with them in Thailand’s expatriate population. What do you think? It is one of the most controversial podcast episodes I’ve done so far.
Provocative? Controversial? Moi? Oh hell, I thought when I read that, what in the world did I say to this guy?
Then I sat down and listened to the interview and discovered that… uh, I said pretty much the same thing I’ve said in every other conversation I’ve had with any foreigner living in Thailand for at least a decade or so. Controversial? Good Lord, I really do think this young man needs to get out more…
Anyway, judge for yourself if you’re inclined. You can hear my entire interview with THAILAND STARTER KIT RIGHT HERE.