The Morris Award.

It was 9 a.m. on Friday morning for me, which is like 5 a.m. on Saturday morning for people who do not have my strange schedule and weird sleeping patterns.

The phone rang.

I woke up and stared at it.

It kept ringing. I kept staring.

Why was this happening to me?

“Answer the damn phone, Karen,” my brain told me.

My mother, in her infinite wisdom and somewhat limited patience, had drilled me in the proper manner of answering the phone until I could literally do it in my sleep. This once, the training abandoned me. Instead of a polite, if less than perky, “Hello, Karen speaking,” I picked up the receiver and growled, “Yes?” My brain gave a little sigh and threw up its cerebellum.

There was a pause. “Hello?”

“Yes.” It seemed the only word my mouth was capable of making.

“… is this Karen?”

There was something familiar about the voice. If one of my friends was calling me at nine am… “Yes.”

“This is [US editor] Alvina and I’m with [agent] Barry and [library services manager] Victoria and [publicist] Ames…”

KAREN’S BRAIN: Wake the hell up RIGHT NOW.
KAREN’S MOUTH: I’m trying, I’m TRYING!

“…and we are delighted to tell you Guardian of the Dead is a William C. Morris Award finalist.”

My brain and my mouth both froze. I think I made some sort of noise, because everyone laughed, but it really felt as if time had paused while the news percolated through my awareness.

The William C. Morris Debut Award. No more than five young adult books by first time authors, selected by librarians from the American Library Association, are finalists every year.

And my debut novel was one of them.

KAREN’S BRAIN: Holy. Crap.

Everything after that is a blur. I think I managed to convey how excited I was – and yes, it was totally okay to wake me up with this news, thank you, oh my god, thank you – and it was impressed upon me with much seriousness that I could not say a word to anyone until the official announcement was made*, and then Barry was like, and now you can go back to sleep!

“Oh, I couldn’t do that! I’m too excited!” I assured him, and fell into bed twenty minutes later.

I woke fuzzy-headed. I’d had some sort of dream, a good dream, about an award. How lovely! Okay, get on with the day, roll out of bed, check email, oh, something from Alvina…

Oh. Holy crap.

And then I spent the next five days walking around with a huge grin I couldn’t explain to anyone, the end!

Except now I can explain, and I am so delighted, and so honoured. Congratulations to my fellow finalists, Eishes Chayil (Hush), Lish McBride (Hold Me Closer, Necromancer), Barbara Stuber (Crossing the Tracks) and Blythe Woolston (The Freak Observer). That is some excellent company right there!

Oh, librarians. I’ve always loved you. This is just another reason why.

* KAREN’S BRAIN: Wow, five days of not talking about exciting things and being patient.
KAREN’S MOUTH: Those are CLEARLY our strong points.

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  • Congratulations. Its well deserved. Guardian of the Dead is a great book. I love how the Morris sticker looks on the cover. The color contrast is perfect.