Yesterday I woke up to some totally awesome, amazing, incredible news. What, you may ask, was this stupendous event? On Monday night, 2nd of June 2014, the Lambda Literary Foundation held their annual awards event in New York. My novel, Clean Slate, had—by some miracle–made the finalists list in the Best Lesbian Romance category alongside some wonderful stories and incredibly talented writers. I woke up to find that my book won!
I’m trying to play it cool and not run around the house shouting ‘I won, I won, I won’ but part of me is still waiting for the results of the recount–that must surely be underway–and I don’t want to look like an idiot when the powers that be politely inform me that I shouldn’t have gotten myself all excited in the first place. I have conversations like this with myself in my head all the time. Yes, I have spoken to the doctor about it, and the shrink…and the next shrink…and then her replacement, her boss, and all the orderlies holding that white coat. Not that comfortable I’ve got to tell you, and murder when you’ve got an itchy bum. I digress.
Clean Slate is the story of Morgan and Erin Masters; a married lesbian couple with two children. At the beginning of the story, Morgan has left her family for reasons she didn’t feel able to explain but felt was for the good of her family. Rapidly approaching her fortieth birthday she meets someone tall, dark, and dangerous in a dimly lit car park and wakes up in hospital. Convinced she is nineteen, still at university, still in the closet, and demanding to see her mum. What follows is a story that is achingly funny on one page and heart-breaking on another. We follow Erin and Morgan as they try to navigate the murky waters of coping with memory loss, betrayal, and pain. Where forgiveness is elusive and a family secret threatens all that the two women had built and any chance they have of a future together.
When I was little, all I ever really wanted to be, was a writer. Winning an award–any award, but especially such a prestigious one as a Lammy–is the culmination of so many years of striving to achieve my dream in writing a good book, getting the book published, and getting it to market. It’s validation of the hard work, not just mine, but that of the editors, proofreaders, typesetters, beta-readers, publicists, cover designers, and marketers who are involved in the whole process. Getting Clean Slate to market is a team effort and one that deserves recognition. Vic Oldham, who’s patient tutelage and sarcastic humour have made the editing process a little easier to deal with than I ever expected it to be. Cindy Cresap, your attention to detail have been an example I’ve tried to follow in an attempt to further improve my writing. Radclyffe, your writing has been an inspiration for many years, and your professionalism and advice have been much appreciated. As has your confidence in me and my writing when you took a chance on me and signed me to Bold Strokes Books. Thank you all.
So, while I’m trying to play it cool, keep calm and wait for the recount, I’ll prepare myself for the upcoming weekend and the annual Bold Strokes Books UK event in Nottingham. Some delusional person has assigned me as moderator on a panel…big mistake.
No news on the recount yet. I’ll let you know when the Miami results come in!