I received word that I had been nominated for a Whitney award for my book, The Deep End, in early August. Another author for whom I have a great deal of respect had nominated me and e-mailed me to inform me of the nomination. She went on to tell me how much she had enjoyed my novel. I was floored! I didn't know what a Whitney award was at the time, but it sounded good.
While in Utah a week or so later, I met some authors from LDS Storymakers at the LDS Booksellers convention. They explained that the Whitney awards are a new program that recognizes LDS authors. Authors have to receive at least five nominations to be eligible for the award, and then a panel decides which five books in each category will be the finalists.
With that information I pretty much discounted the possibility of becoming a finalist. It was great that I was nominated, especially by another author, but since many people I go to church with don't know that I write (unless they happened to see my name in a catalogue or a copy of my book at an LDS bookstore), I figured I would end up with just the one nomination.
Several weeks later I received some more good news when an e-mail informed me that I was in the top ten of the Deseret Book's bestseller list. I was excited about this milestone even thought I have tried not to let such things take too much importance. Instead I try to stay focused on writing stories I enjoy and hoping that others will enjoy them with me.
This morning I received a string of e-mails relaying the information that the finalists for the Whitney awards would be posted this morning at 7am MST. It was about 8:30 here in Virginia so I went about my business for an hour or so before I got back on my computer and checked my e-mail. I had one from another author who was understandably excited that she had made it as a finalist.
Curiosity got the best of me and I decided I would see who else made the list. Since I didn't really expect to see my book on it, I started looking through each category, noting the books that I have read and others I am considering adding to my list of those I would like to read. I took note of the best novel of the year nominees, then the best new author books. I saw that a book I read this summer, Counting Stars, had also made it as a finalist in the Romance category. Then I got to the Best Mystery/Suspense category and stared. My book was the first one listed. (I'm sure this is because I'm first alphabetically, but I was still shocked!)
The other books in the category are all ones I have heard good things about and I amy truly humbled to find my book displayed beside those of several talented authors. After overcoming my shock of seeing my book on the finalists list, I find myself excited about all of the authors who are undoubtedly sharing the same euphoria that I am, the idea of being recognized for creating something worthy of recognition when the product is simply the result of doing something we love.