Homer resident and New York Times best-selling author Dana Stabenow has collected another award for her work – the 2012 Nero Award for “Best American Mystery.” The award honors “Though Not Dead,” Stabenow’s 18th installment in the popular Kate Shugak series.
The award is given out every December by the Nero Wolfe Society, so named for its devotion to the fictional detective Nero Wolfe, a character created by author Rex Stout and used in 33 novels over a period of 41 years.
"I feel humbled," said Stabenow of the honor.
Stabenow and her character Kate Shugak – an Aleut crime-solver who lives on a homestead in a national park in Alaska – are on a course to someday challenge the longevity of Nero Wolfe. The next Kate Shugak novel – entitled “Bad Blood” – is scheduled to hit bookstores in February and will be the 20th book in the 20th year of the series.
Stabenow says that when she sold the first Kate Shugak novel – the Edgar Award-winning “A Cold Day for Murder” – she had no idea the journey that lay ahead.
"They told me they wanted to buy three of them and I had only written one," she said. "I don't think that when I started ... that I thought I was going to still be writing them 20 books later ... but it keeps on ticking."
The Kate Shugak series is published worldwide and is also in development to become a television show.
Stabenow says that although the series features a number of memorable characters and strives to accurately portray life in remote Alaska, she thinks its Kate Shugak herself that is responsible for the longevity of the series.
"She's a strong woman," says Stabenow. "She's independent and capable. She's loving and lovable, too, I think."
Stabenow says she is presently working on subject matter that is quite a departure from Kate Shugak – a historical fiction novel about Marco Polo’s granddaughter traveling the Silk Road from China to England in the 14th century.