Editor’s Note: This week we’re catching up with last year’s Debs and seeing what they’ve been writing, publishing and working on since they were last on the Ball. Today, we welcome back Lori Rader-Day, author of THE BLACK HOUR and the upcoming LITTLE PRETTY THINGS.
Busy and happy. Can I just say that if there’s anything I like better than being a debut novelist, it’s being a sophomore novelist?
Technically, that’s a milestone still ahead of me. My second mystery, LITTLE PRETTY THINGS, will be released July 7. Lucky number seven-seven. But even though the second book is still a thing of the future, this non-Deb season has been action packed. It’s been full of promotions for THE BLACK HOUR, of course, because my debut actually launched deep in the Deb Ball calendar. It’s also been a revelation to see some of the mileposts of my debut year come back around for the next book. I’m a second-time novelist! I’m not a complete idiot about how things work this time around!
My last post for the Debs was a top ten list, a la David Letterman. I won’t bore you with ten things this time around, but how about just a few of the top things that have happened since I was a Deb?
I finished edits on LITTLE PRETTY THINGS! The thing you may not know if you haven’t been through this process is that it’s a long one. I typed “the end” on the first draft of the book back in August—and just finished the last of the edits with my publisher a couple of weeks ago. “The end” is very satisfying, but so is that final “OK” from your proofreader.
I won the Lovey Award for Best First Novel! The Lovey Awards are handed out by the Love Is Murder Conference near Chicago (which will be known as LIMCon starting next year). Being nominated for awards is icing on a very yummy cake—almost too much, you know? THE BLACK HOUR also won the Illinois Press Woman’s Association Mate E. Palmer Award for Fiction and has been nominated for the Left Coast Rosebud Award for Best First Novel, the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original, and…
I’m a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award! By the time you read this, a winner will have been chosen, but even if it’s not me, I feel as though I’ve won a prize for being on this list of tremendous authors. Also, Mary Higgins Clark had a lot to do with the kind of writer I turned out to be. Also also? I get to go to the Edgar Awards and meet some amazing writers, including Lois Duncan, who also had a lot to do with the kind of writer I am.
I sold another book! My third novel, tentatively titled AN ELEGANT HAND, will be published by Seventh Street Books in 2016! This is what it’s all about for me: looking at the long road of writing books I have ahead of me, and getting excited about the writing. Not the promotions, not awards, not even meeting these heroes of mine. To have the chance to write what I love is the biggest reward of all.
I miss being a Deb, but I got all the benefits from the experience: new friends, new readers, new experiences, and a chance to document a year that might have otherwise—yep—whooshed by way too fast. For that and for everything that happens in the future, I’m truly grateful.
Lori Rader-Day is the author of THE BLACK HOUR, a mystery set on a university campus in Illinois. Lori works on a university campus in Illinois, but not the made-up one. “Lori Rader-Day is the author” is Lori’s new favorite thing. Her favorite other things are tacos, 11, Radiohead, BBC’s Sherlock, and blue. She is from a minuscule town in Indiana, but now lives in Chicago with her husband, Greg, who will be pleased to see his name mentioned for once above the dog’s. (Ursa.) Her latest novel LITTLE PRETTY THINGS will be published on July 7. Find out more on her website or follow her on Twitter and Goodreads.