Sunday, February 17, 2013

Award Season ... But Hardly Ever For Cozies

by  Leann

We've seen Golden Globes, People's Choice, Grammys, SAG Awards, MTV, Tonys and of course, the Academy Awards. It's also time to hand out trophies to mystery authors with the Edgars and the Agathas. Will a cozy--or as I like to say, a gentle mystery--win awards? Well, yes for "best first" at the Agathas, but that's about it.

Cozies just aren't considered "serious" or "important" enough to be consistently honored. There was a time this unpsoken attitude bothered me, but as time has passed, I have accepted this and moved on. For me, it really is about writing, about creating a world where my readers can escape and about not letting them down. (Do not, however, get me started on the gender issue in this whole award thing. That's quite another kettle of fish.)

What does thrill me is the consistent and amazing success of cozy mysteries, The latest NY Times Bestseller list for mass market paperbacks is LOADED with cozies. I am so thrilled for my fellow authors. We are selling books, we are reaching people and I have an idea why. We bring social issues to light in ways that are relate-able. We also know how to make people laugh. (Notice how "funny" movies don't win awards, either?) We don't think violence and profanity need as much time on the page as the time such things receive in the news. We respect our readers will understand what's "between the lines." We make them think about solving the mystery if they so choose, or they can just go along for the ride. Vampires and zombies come and go, but ever since the Agatha Christie era, in one form or another, the cozy mystery has remained consistently popular.

Does that mean the books that gather in all the awards aren't worthy? Certainly not. There are books out there for everyone. That's what's so amazing and wonderful. But are they "better" than a good cozy? Some folks may think so, but I don't believe that. Why? Because we all have books we love that others do not. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

What are your thoughts on this topic and on awards in general? I'd love to hear your opinions!