I am submitting my first two books to the RITA Awards, which means that I also get to be a judge for the competition. While both of my books, HEARTSICK and RED BLOODED, have mystery elements, I actually chose to submit them in other categories that I thought were better fits (Paranormal and Mid-Length Contemporary Romance), which means that I can still judge Romantic Suspense!
Now, I know that doesn’t necessarily mean my judging packet will contain mystery/suspense books, but my fingers are crossed and I’m already pondering the best mindset to be in when reading these. For example, a suspense that surprises me is always welcome, as long as those surprises make sense. But, sometimes, especially with a cozy mystery, it’s fun to guess early on who the murderer is and get that satisfying feeling when you’re right (no surprises!).
But, then again, maybe I should be focusing more about the overall writing quality, the romances, or other elements. Having never judged before, there’s a good chance this will all be well explained to me in the judging packet. However, if you have judged before and you have any thoughts on the process, I (and I’m sure other newbies) would love to hear them!
(Friendly reminder: RWA asks that you not talk about any specific book you may have judged, so please keep that in mind. But, again, general/overall advice and thoughts would be great to hear!)