By now you may have heard, or you may not, that the Ursa Major Awards were announced at Califur on Saturday. I am delighted and deeply honored to say that Isolation Play won for Best Novel, and “How To Get Through The Day” won Best Short Fiction.
(Blotch’s smart and lovely “Across Thin Ice” won an award for Other Literary Work, and for the stunning cover; Rukis’s “Red Lantern” was recognized with the first ALAA’s Choice award, selected by the board rather than popular vote. My guess is that this is the board’s way of recognizing a work that they felt deserved an award but did not win the popular vote, which is awesome–I subscribe to the “list” type of awards anyway. These were my personal favorites, but congratulations are due to all the winners.)
I have difficulty really conveying to people how much this does mean to me. People think I must be used to it, must care less about it, but that’s not true. There is no momentum with these awards–much the opposite, I think, as more people grow tired of seeing my name up in the Fiction categories–and every year you people out there all have to sign up, log in, and vote, and I feel that the standards every year are higher and higher as fiction in the fandom improves. Every year I spend some part of the night before rehearsing what I’ll say when my work doesn’t win (which has happened, back in ’07) and I think that this will be the year you guys get tired of voting, or find something else you like more. And it turns out that being prepared to lose is one of the best ways to appreciate winning.
Because I know from experience that you guys are doing this because you love the books and the stories. Reaching people in that way is what makes writing worthwhile to me, and this is just one indicator of that, but it’s a nice one. It drives me to keep getting better, to keep writing works that matter, to give back to you all.
Isolation Play had the unenviable burden of being the sequel to my most popular book, and surpassed all my expectations for it. It feels somewhat fitting that this award comes a couple days after I sent out the first draft of book 3 for the first time; Dev and Lee have many words left to live through, and you will be seeing them on Sofawolf’s shelves for years to come. And yet, still, with the first-year sales behind it, I see more traction for OOP than IP, and I think that is perhaps normal–Volle continues to sell more than the rest of the Argaea books–but it still makes me worry. And yet, the feedback has been positive, and it is because OOP did so well that I have had the confidence to go ahead and tell their story fully. Isolation Play was a huge novel, planned and plotted out as a novel, and I loved writing it. I am so, so happy that everyone loved reading it (and one of the best compliments, I think, was getting e-mails from people who said that after reading it, they got in touch with their parents again after months or even years of estrangement).
And “How To Get Through The Day” was written for you guys, because you went out and bought Bridges up, and because you asked for more Fin and Amir. For the longest time, I put off writing this story because I didn’t know what angle I would take. And then I remembered a comment my good friend and writing colleague foozzzball made about Fin’s use of antidepressants, and I started researching things people did to cope with depression even when taking medication for it, and the story blossomed out of that.
I say often, but probably not often enough, that I have the best fans, and you all just prove it every day, with comments, with e-mails, with requests for sequels, with votes for awards. You guys fill me with wag, and I hope to continue to be worthy of your fandom (fanship? fanhood?) for many years to come.
This is a really wonderful gift you’ve given me. Thank you, every one of you. *hugs*