Another mad month... I seem to spend my life hurtling these days. The second half of the year is always particularly busy for me. I usually have a book coming out and the months before are filled with all those precedent things like copy edits and cover finalisation.
It's also award season. Now, awards are a funny thing... a book honoured with an award is still the same collection of words and ideas that it was before the award was made. You haven't actually achieved anything more than when you first wrote the novel... and yet there is something undeniably heartening about having your work recognised.
I know myself that I often feel like a pretender in the writing community... like I accidentally walked into a gathering of the extraordinarily talented and erudite without the requisite security pass. And so being included on a shortlist is for me a kind of relief... it says, they know I'm here and they want me to stay (or they're not goign to kick me out, at least). It's silly, I know.
Anyway, the last couple of weeks have found A Murder Unmentioned on two shortlists. The first to be announced, was the Davitt Award in which it was shortlisted for Best Adult Novel by a woman. The award is presented annually by the Sisters in Crime Australia. I'm joined on that shortlist by two of my very talented writing friends, Honey Brown and Malla Nunn.
A Murder Unmentioned was also shortlisted for a Ned Kelly Award in the Best Book category. It's the first time any of my books have been recognised by the Neddies, and Malla Nunn joins me on that shortlist too.
It's very cool. And particularly lovely to know that despite being the sixth book of the series, the Rowland Sinclair Mysteries is not losing momentum. Let the tail wag!
My other brilliant news is that I've been offered (and have accepted) the Eminent Writer in Residence Fellowship at the Museum of Australian Democracy. For those of you who don't know, the Museum of Australian Democracy is at Old Parliament House in Canberra. Six years ago (in September in fact) when Pantera first offered me a publishing contract, they proposed driving to Batlow to meet me and sign the necessary documents. Afraid it would mean I'd have to clean the house, I suggested we gather in Canberra instead. I chose Old Parliament House as the venue because the building seemed to embody a lot of the themes about which I wanted to write... I thought it would be somehow symbolic to meet my publishers for the first time and sign a contract there (Yes I know...debut authors are ridiculously romantic about such things!) So now, I'm returning to research and begin writing what will be my thirteenth novel. There's a rather wonderful circularity about it, and despite having become a hardened veteran, I can't step into Old Parliament House without recalling the excitement and happiness of that time. I am very grateful for the selection panel's broad interpretation of the word "eminent" and to the ACT Writers' Centre and the Museum of Australian Democracy for this opportunity. I am also in awe of the generosity of my husband, Michael, who is once again picking up the slack as I wander off to write.
National Bookshop Day was spent in Jindabyne with Snowprint Bookshop who invited not only me but Michael and the boys for a wonderful booksy weekend in the mountains which included a specially created Rowland Sinclair themed game of Murder!
We returned home to more snow! It's been a gloriously cold winter.
And of course, Give the Devil His Due was copy-edited and the cover finalised... ta da!