I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve won the 2012 Daphne du Maurier! This contest has two divisions, one for published writers and one for unpublished writers. I won the unpublished division. (Yes, my novel is sold now, but I sold it in May, and I entered the Daphne two months earlier, in March. Also, the novel that won the Daphne is not the novel that sold.)
This win was a total and absolutely thrilling surprise. The manuscript that won, Flood and Fire, was a new manuscript I’d started only in December of 2011. It was my first attempt at mystery writing, and I do not doubt for a second that I was competing against some very seasoned and very talented mystery writers. Furthermore, its subgenre is fantasy, and fantasy novels rarely do well in cross-genre competition.
It’s a novel I wrote straight from the heart, involving a heroine who has to confront someone who bullied her when they were in school together. She and the bully have to work together to solve the mystery, and to complicate matters, he’s got a most unwelcome crush on her. And all that is set in a Bronze Age river civilization involving magic and goddesses and a complex mythology. My critique partners call it “CSI: Bronze Age.”
The novel is currently unfinished (rough draft complete, polished draft 50% complete) and set aside while I work on my sold and contracted novels. But I love this novel dearly and will absolutely be returning to finish and sell it.