Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, was one of my late dad’s favourite books. As a result, many ‘Alice’ expressions became part of our family’s life.
I’ve thought of my dear dad even more than usual recently, as the past two weeks have had a decidedly ‘Alice down the rabbit hole’ quality. As many of you know, my manuscript, Port Fairlight Summer, has been nominated as a Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Finalist 2015 in the Contemporary Romance category.
The Golden Heart® contest recognizes excellence in manuscripts by unpublished romance authors, and to final is an honour that’s gratifying and humbling, as well as exciting and scary. Like Alice following the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and discovering a fantasy world, the Golden Heart® nomination has catapulted me into a new, and somewhat surreal journey of discovery, learning and adventure.
Although this experience may give me new opportunities as a writer, the sense of community with my Golden Heart® sisters, the women with whom I’m sharing this journey, is an even greater blessing.
I’ve already discovered these women are a lot like me, juggling families, care giving, and day jobs, and squeezing writing into odd moments. Like me, they write because they have to. We are writers so we write.
They’re women who have the same insecurities as me, and who experience many of the same doubts about their writing. Yet, like me, they’ve persevered, often through tragedy and unimaginable life challenges, and kept writing.
They’re also women who’ve transported kitchen appliances across the continental United States to whip up cocktails in writing conference hotel rooms. They’re women who share my brownie obsession, both baking and eating them. And they’re women who post pictures of posh frocks and sparkly shoes as we ponder that most essential question, what to wear to the awards ceremony when the eyes of thousands will be on us.
On the map, we’re a scattered community, stretching from New Zealand to England, and across the United States and north to Canada. But in our hearts, we’re already close in ways not defined by geography.
When we meet at the RWA National conference in New York City in July, there will be hugs and maybe even a few tears.
Unlike Alice, though, we won’t wake up from our adventure to find it’s all been a dream.
Congratulations to the Golden Heart® class of 2015. I’m honoured to be amongst you.