One RITA , Two Carries, and Many Good Friends
Absurdly brief, after all the elaborate preparation. But it was as long as I could stand. And, well — I won, that’s all. I mean, sometimes life is like that, you know: no complications, no reversals. Later for the intricacies...
That's Carrie, the intrepid girl heroine of my Molly Weatherfield erotic novels, speaking from the midst of a deeply compromised situation at the far reaches of my sexual imagination.
But what she has to say will serve quite well for how I felt two weeks ago in Washington DC, when (if you don't already know) my most recent romance novel, The Edge of Impropriety, was awarded Romance Writers of America's RITA® Award for Best Historical Romance, at our annual National Conference.
Joyous, amazed, and exhausted. And (like my overeducated, motormouth heroine) willing, just this once, to let complexity and unlikelihood pass without brow-knitting analysis.
And perhaps also little bit like Stephen King's Carrie before the bucket of blood descends -- which might seem an outré comparison unless you remember the movie really well. I searched YouTube for clips, but everybody only wants to show you the carnage.
What I remember best, however, is the moment of happy triumph, done in silent slow motion, as she makes her way up through a sea of smiling faces and applauding hands to the microphone to be crowned prom queen.
Swear to God, that's what it felt like.
Some hints for future RITA® hopefuls:
It's best if your book has a long title: I was so dim-witted and slow on the uptake that I might have missed my name being announced if the awards presenter hadn't had to make her way through the thicket of syllables in Impropriety.And that's all, folks, at least for now. No complexities or reversals. I've got my ass back in the chair (which is what you want, as a writer, qua Nora Roberts in that delightful New Yorker feature story in the June 22 issue) and am happily back to work on the new book. Because the real -- the maddening, exhilarating, scary -- fun has got to be in the everyday work of writing. But I'd be lying bigtime if I said that all the smiles, hugs, applause and congratulations weren't a huge encouragement.
You'll feel less like an idiot afterwards (take it from me) if you haven't repeatedly assured every last one of your wonderful, long-suffering friends (see below for pix) that you have absolutely no chance of winning.
There's bound to be someone you forget to thank -- my mea culpa is author/blogger Lisa Dale (check her out at Book Anatomy 101 or at her smart, wonderful, inquisitive interview of me). Online thanks aren't as good, but they'll have to do -- Lisa, thanks again.
As are the friendships. So here are the pix I promised.
Hoydens at lunch in DC:
That's Janet Mullany and me seated, and (left to right), Lauren Willig, Mary Blayney, Diane Whiteside, and Kathrynn Dennis standing.
And hoydens over drinks in San Francisco:
(left to right) Me and Tracy Grant in back, and Amanda Elyot, Kalen Hughes, and Doreen DeSalvo in front.
No Lynna Banning, I'm afraid. We're going to have to do something about that. How about some more celebrating? I know there's lots of good news from the just- and soon-to-be-published among you.
And hey, thanks everybody. Again.