Anyway, I was sure I would not win. I didn't prepare any remarks. I didn't put the champagne in the fridge. I almost wore a bathrobe to the event. (See, they said to wear business attire. Well, for a writer, business attire = bathrobe and giant mug of coffee. I would have done it, too, but my wife, Margaret, said I'd be sleeping in the guest room until New Year's Day if I did.)
But somehow I wound up lugging this giant glass book-shaped trophy home. My name is on the spine in gold leaf. Pretty, huh?
I'm not going to lie, the best part about this award is the check that's attached. Five years ago when I was writing ASHFALL, Margaret and I were so poor that we thought we might lose our house. Things are immensely better now, but $5,000 is still enough to make a big difference for us. The second best part of winning is the opportunity to make a $2,500 gift to a library of my choice. I woke up in the middle of the night last night with an insanely awesome idea for using that gift. Now I just have to see if the library will go for it.
The third best part of winning the award was, without question, the other emerging author finalists, Tricia Fields and Kelsey Timmerman. You can see their pictures to either side of mine in this photo:
|Photo by Peggy Tierney|
One of the first things I did after learning that we were all finalists was to rush down to Central Library and check out their books. Here's Tricia's debut:
It's a crime novel set in a remote town on the Mexican border. Tricia's prose is spare and lovely, and the novel moves along at an electric pace. Tricia is married to an Indiana State Police investigator, and every detail of the book rings true--at least in my admittedly inexpert ears. If you enjoy crime fiction, police procedurals--heck, if you've ever seen CSI--buy a copy today. Margaret tells me that the sequel, Scratchgravel Road, is every bit as good. I haven't read it yet, but the copy we bought on Saturday is perched atop my teetering to-be-read pile.
I'm insanely jealous of Kelsey Timmerman. He has traveled all over the world to satisfy his insatiable curiosity about the people who make the stuff we wear and eat. Take this book, his second:
He wrote this book in less than a year while traveling to four continents to research it. It took me two years to write SUNRISE and I traveled to . . . Iowa. I have no idea how he managed to write such a lucid and empathetic account of how the other 95% of the world lives while spending much of his life on the road. I certainly couldn't do it. If you enjoy travel books, want to know more about the food we eat, or more about how those who produce it live, buy a copy of Kelsey's book.
I was also thrilled to spend some time with family I see too infrequently, so I'll leave you with this picture of my sister-in-law Caroline, her daughter Anna, and her son, Max. As you can see, it was a memorable Saturday night for all of us.
|Photo by Peggy Tierney|