Woodstock suspense writer Alison Gaylin has won an Edgar Allan Poe Award from Mystery Writers of America (MWA) for her novel If I Die Tonight (HarperCollins, 2018). Popularly known as “the Edgars,” the awards are given annually in a number of categories.
Gaylin has been nominated three times before, but this year’s award, for the category “Best Paperback Original,” was her first win. “I was actually shocked,” she said. “I was all prepared to politely applaud and congratulate the winner, and then they called my name.”
Gaylin’s suspense novels have been on bestseller lists in the U.S., Germany, and Belgium, and she has won Shamus and RT Reviewers Choice Awards. If I Die Tonight, her tenth book, is the first one set in the Hudson Valley. “It’s near and dear to my heart for that reason,” she said. “It’s set in a fictional town called Havenkill, which is loosely based on Rhinebeck.” While doing research for the book, she met with a Rhinebeck police sergeant, who gave her a tour of the local police station.
“Every writer tries do better with each book,” Gaylin said, “and I worked hard on it, so it’s gratifying to finally win. My early books were serial killer stories, over the top. I like to write about what scares me the most, and as I’ve got older, the books have gotten more realistic. This one is about raising teenagers. It’s my scariest book.”
This year’s awards were presented to the winners at MWA’s 73rd Gala Banquet, held on April 25 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.