Old Books, New Life

A cover mock-up I drew long ago, just for fun.

A cover mock-up I drew long ago, just for fun.

A writer’s books are like a mother’s children: she loves them all–mostly equally–even when a new one comes along. That’s why I’m delighted that two of my older books have received some new attention recently.

I completed my first manuscript One Last Time Forever (originally called Literally Everything) about the time the market crashed in 2008. It’s the story of a frustrated writer named Fae Truman who is equally stuck in her art and in her life, her well meaning but distracted husband Michael, and the mystical Theodore Ellston who jumps off a bridge in 1768 and lands in Fae’s life in 2003. When this damaged and enigmatic stranger becomes the inspiration Fae desperately needs, it feels to her like fate. For Theodore, it actually is. Steeped as it is in magical realism, One Last Time Forever is a love story that captures those moments of doubt and fantasy in everyday fairytales and the struggles, heartbreaks, and intimate journeys within a marriage. It’s a story of writer and muse, wife and husband, and the bridges that must be crossed to go forward…and back.

My agent tried for nearly a year to find a home for the book, but publishers were especially risk averse in 2009, and though all were complimentary, none felt confident that it would be a break-out debut. By that time, I’d completed another manuscript, so we shelved the first so she could sell the second. It’s been dormant ever since.

But in May, someone shared news that a new prize in fiction had been announced: The Half the World Global Literati Award, a $50,000 cash prize awarded to a short story, novel or screenplay written in English, judged to have portrayed one or more well-rounded female protagonists as the central character.

“According to 2015 research from author Nicola Griffith, the majority of the significant literary prizes are awarded to works written from a male perspective. The Half the World Global Literati Award is specifically designed to put the spotlight on real female characters and positively impact how women are represented in contemporary writing,” said Caroline Bowler, representative for Half the World Holdings. “This award is a natural fit for us, to support the voices and stories of women as well as play a leading role in developing an ecosystem created by, and for, half the world.”

I thought of Fae, submitted the manuscript for consideration as part of my new year’s resolution to apply for everything, then forgot about it. It was a terrific surprise when, few days ago, I was notified that my beloved first book had been shortlisted for the prize.

A panel of judges will decide the overall winner, but there is also a People’s Choice Award, chosen by…well, people. If you’re so inclined, I’d be grateful if you’d cast a ballot in my favor here. (It requires registration, but it’s quick and non-invasive.) Voting is open until July 13, and the winners will be announced on July 15. Thank you in advance for your support.

And my other favorite novel 11 Stories is featured in a Goodreads giveaway from July 1 – 31. If you haven’t read it, please enter below for a chance to win one of five signed copies. If you’re interested, you can read an excerpt of 11 Stories here and see footage from the launch event at Brazos Bookstore here.