Over at her blog the other day, Sarah Weinman posted a lovely congratulations for my Nero Award.Â I was delighted to see it.Â But thenÂ one of herÂ blog readers followed up the announcement with the sort ofÂ commentÂ that always seems toÂ dog me:Â
“There were no other nominations? It seems that this year Nero Award just gave the prize to justÂ (one) nominee. And I think there is no any traits of Nero Wolfe mystery tradition in Gerritsen’s work. Hmm….”
“Hmmm” indeed.Â (Forget the fact this personÂ was ignorant of the hard work of the Nero Awards committee.Â )Â The message was clear: That hack Gerritsen must be paying off judges again.Â Why else would a prize committee throwÂ an award at her?Â
I’m reminded yet againÂ ofÂ all the snarkyÂ commentsÂ made about my Edgar nomination, andÂ how my book VANISHÂ was the “wtf?” nominee.Â Even the Macavity nomination for VANISH hasn’t quieted the doubters.Â Â
It’s an interesting contrast to the world of romance publishing.Â Romance readers seem to be a far more inclusive bunch.Â No matter what the sub-genre –Â historical,Â paranormal, thrillers, fantasy, or futuristic — Â romance readers welcome any and all variations on theÂ love story.Â Which may explain why romance isÂ where you find some of the most innovative trends in fiction, and readers who embrace them all.Â When THE SURGEON won theÂ Rita award in 2002, for best romantic suspense,Â all I heard were sincere congratulations.Â
So are mystery readers just a particularly cranky bunch?Â How does one getÂ into theirÂ “approved” club?Â How does one escape “wtf?!” status?Â Does anyone ever tellÂ Pelecanos or ConnellyÂ that theyÂ don’t belong?