I was excited to receive the Gold Medal for Best True Crime in the 20th anniversary Independent Book Publisher Awards, or IPPY Awards, held this week in Chicago. The IPPY Awards are the world's largest international book awards competition.
Familiar Evil was honored at a reception on the top floor of the famous Sears Tower overlooking the City of Chicago, a beautiful setting for the awards ceremony as we watched the sun set and lights come on throughout Chicago. My mom, Dorothy Gray; my sister, Dr. Abigail Stonerock; and Mary Jane Marcantel, who collaborated on the book with me, were all on hand for the awards ceremony and a champagne toast at the historic Palmer House Hotel afterwards.
The reception was held on the eve of Book Expo America, the leading book and author event for the North American book industry. Familiar Evil was featured in the New Title Showcase at the expo, which was held in Chicago's McCormick Place convention center. Familiar Evil was also featured in April at the London Book Fair, so it is getting more and more exposure.
I was invited by the IPPY Awards Program to do a book signing at the Book Expo America and Mary Jane was able to join me. The expo was held in one of the massive McCormick Place exhibition halls where publishers, printers, book buyers and others in the book industry built pop-up displays and stores throughout. PBS had a studio onsite to broadcast interviews with top authors and international publishing interests exhibited their products and services.
Since the expo is for the book trade, with the public only allowed to attend the final day's events, those who came to the Familiar Evil book signing were book bloggers, publicists, rights buyers, distributors and others looking for new books that interest them.
Strange but exciting coincidences always surround Familiar Evil, and the Book Expo America was no exception! One woman who talked to me about the book lived in Bury St. Edmunds, England, where the Scott Rogers story began, in the 1980s. She was aware of his trial and the terrible impact he had on the town, but had not heard what happened.
The world just keeps getting smaller! After trips to San Antonio and Chicago, I'm back in Louisiana to keep promoting Familiar Evil. Stay tuned...