This is... wow. Not just kind of a big deal. This is... whoa. A very big deal!
Last year's winner in my category (genre fiction) was Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series.
I'm up against four other finalists, and I won't know whether or not I've won until the announcement at the awards ceremony itself, which takes place during the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association Conference at the end of July. Robert Dugoni is the keynote speaker for the conference this year.
The award is named for celebrity librarian Nancy Pearl, author of the bestselling work Book Lust and known for having an action figure made in her likeness. Yep, the one with "push-button shushing action."
By the way, as much as Seattleites adore her, some thought the shushing thing perpetuated librarian stereotypes. What has she said about the "shameful" shush? That it would call out "which librarians have a sense of humor."
Two librarians judge the entries for this award.
I entered this contest last year with Cat in the Flock but was not a finalist. I think I remember Dugoni saying that he tried for several years to win. This year will be my fourth attendance at the PNWA conference over a span of ten years, and that has meant a lot of rejections from agents and editors in the game-show-like pitch sessions. So it's not like any of this magic occurs overnight, or not without a lot of anguish before something hits.
Even if I don't win this year, it's a tremendous honor to be a finalist.
OK, so this is happening! Wish me luck!