I am so beyond happy to announce that, this past Saturday, “The Song of the Sea” won TWO Goldies! It won in the category of contemporary romance (mid-length) and debut novel.
I remember the first lesbian fiction novel that I read. It was “Behind the Pine Curtain” by Gerri Hill. I don’t remember how I came across that book, but I devoured it, and then read everything else Gerri Hill had written. I found Radclyffe’s books, and started working my way through all of those. Then, Georgia Beers’ novels… Soon, I had a bookshelf filled with lesbian fiction by many different authors. I was dabbling in writing lesbian romance novels, and dreaming of the day when I could be an author on such a bookshelf.
I wrote my first novel in 2006. It’s a disaster of a novel that I have no intention of ever editing for publication, but it was the first step on my journey to becoming a writer.
By the time I started writing “The Song of the Sea,” I already had a handful of finished first drafts of other practice stories. With each book, I learned a little more, but none were worth seeing through to publication. The first draft of “The Song of the Sea” was also a mess, but there was something about the characters that resonated with me, bringing me back to revisit them for a second draft, a third draft, a fourth draft…
Meanwhile, I kept reading lesbian fiction, and I studied the craft. I knew about the Golden Crown Literary Society, but I hadn’t joined yet. I wrongly thought that I needed to be an established writer in order to join GCLS. (As an aside, even if you read lesbian fiction without ever wanting to write a single word, you should join GCLS – they do an amazing job of connecting readers and writers) I hadn’t joined yet, but I knew that my favourite authors were winning Goldie awards for their novels, and I set that as my absolute dream goal.
I wrote and rewrote “The Song of the Sea.” I tried to figure out what exactly the book was about, and when I eventually figured that out, I got lost in a sea of doubts. Am I really going to write a book that deals with a character losing a child? Who am I to try to tell that story? Who is going to read that story? So many doubts that it seemed easier to set the novel aside. Start a new project. A less messy project.
And then I decided to join the Golden Crown Literary Society. I applied for the writing academy, and was thrilled to be accepted. I was encouraged to apply for the Sandra Moran Scholarship, submitted what I’d finished of “The Song of the Sea” and was surprised and elated to find out that I had won the scholarship. I attended that summer’s GCLS conference in Chicago, and I heard feedback from those who’d read those opening pages, telling me that they wanted to read more. I still had all of my doubts, but I pushed through them, and I finished the manuscript.
2 years later that book was published.
And now that book, that little project that I dabbled with when I had spare time throughout university, has won that award that I always dreamed of being able to win one day.
I consider it such an honor to have my book recognized with the Goldie awards.
So, in celebration, I wanted to offer a signed copy of “The Song of the Sea.” All you have to do is reply to this post with a comment about what joining GCLS has meant for you or if you haven’t joined yet something you think you could gain by joining GCLS.
I will enter all the names into a draw and pick a winner on Friday, July 24th.