Local author Lori Roy makes history at the Edgar Awards
The Edgar Awards love Lori Roy.
"It was a very fun night," Roy said, with considerable understatement, of the Mystery Writers of America gala on Thursday night in New York City, where she won the best novel Edgar for her third book, Let Me Die in His Footsteps. Roy, who lives in Tierra Verde with her family, was speaking by phone just after her plane landed in Tampa on Friday.
This wasn't the first Edgar banquet for Roy, 50. Bent Road, her first book, won the 2012 best first novel Edgar. Her second, Until She Comes Home, was a best novel nominee in 2014.
Her win this year makes Roy the only woman to have won both best first novel and best novel Edgars, and only the third person ever to have done so. (The others are Ross Thomas and Steve Hamilton.) The Edgar Awards, named for Edgar Allan Poe, have been given annually by the MWA since 1946.
Roy said she was "very surprised" by her win for Let Me Die, a wonderfully dark Southern gothic mystery. (Click here for my review.) "I try to write the book I want to read," she said. "I try to bring a voice to the book, and to create a plot that actually propels the action."
Her first three books all had historical settings. "I like to write about the past in a way that we see our own present in things that happened 60, 70 years ago. I hope that resonates with people."
Roy's next book, though, is set in the present day. "I just finished it," she said. "The Edgars were my self-imposed deadline." It's also her first book set in Florida, in a fictional town called Waddell in the Panhandle. "My husband and I spent some time traipsing around in the swamps up there, visting small towns and historic plantations." The book doesn't have a title or publication date yet.
Roy was also happy that Sisters in Crime, an organization of women crime fiction writers for which she serves as treasurer, won a Raven, a special Edgar award for achievements other than writing. And she was pleased to have met another banquet guest, athlete and activist Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who published a mystery novel, Mycroft Holmes, in 2015.
Another somewhat local writer picked up an Edgar, too. Stephen King, who has a home in Casey Key, won best short story for Obits, one of the stories in his collection Bazaar of Bad Dreams. (It was King's second Edgar; he won best novel in 2015 for Mr. Mercedes.) "He wasn't at the ceremony," Roy said, "but he sent a nice speech."
Find a complete list of 2016 Edgar nominees and winners here.