Like many newish authors I'm excited enough about the concept of having books out in the world that I actively look for references to them in pop culture. Later in my career—should there be a later—I expect I will run and hide from reader comments after my ego has been crushed by years of critical abuse, or worse, neglect. Jonathan Franzen has a cautionary quote about the perils of paying too close attention to your reviewers:
Basically...with very few exceptions, I stopped reading my reviews after James Wood’s piece on The Corrections. I’d looked to forward to it because he can be a very perceptive reader, and I knew that we had some common enemies and enthusiasms. And what he wrote was a quibbling and carping and narrowly censorious thing, with a willfully dense misreading of my Harper’s essay. That disappointment, along with fifteen unwisely spent minutes of Googling myself in 2001, pretty well cured me of the need to read about myself.
I will confess that I still Google myself, or rather I have an alert that does it for me. Today, an item popped up titled Finding the Next Hot Mystery Writer: The Top of the Thriller Class 2010/2011 by Clair Lamb. It was a rundown of the nominees for this year's Thriller Award, of which I was one. Here was Lamb's section devoted to The Poacher's Son:
The Poacher’s Son (Minotaur) is the first book in a new series, introducing Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch. Bowditch is “the poacher’s son” of the title, and his rocky relationship with his father, a roguish hunting guide, drives the action of this book. Doiron is editor-in-chief of Down East magazine, and a registered Maine guide himself; the book is full of vivid depictions of the Maine wilderness, and offers a balanced, clear-eyed take on issues of development, tourism, and conservation. The book, which has been compared to C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett novels, may be the year’s most-nominated book. It won the Strand Critics Award for best first novel, and was shortlisted for the Anthony, Barry, and Edgar Awards, as well as for the Best First Novel Thriller. Mike Bowditch returns in Trespasser (Minotaur), published in July 2011.
Having your name come up in a post about hot mystery writers is cool enough, but the sentence that stopped me was: "The book, which has been compared to C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett novels, may be the year’s most-nominated book." Objectively I know that The Poacher's Son has received a number of prize nominations, but that doesn't mean the reality has fully penetrated my thick cranium.
It wasn't so long ago that the manuscript of The Poacher's Son was sitting in a box in the back of my desk drawer because I had decided it would never be published. I feel gobsmacked to think about all the good fortune that has come my way since those dark days. Grateful, too, of course.