So there's this glass obelisk in my house now. And I keep looking at it to make sure the universe isn't in a state of quantum flux and suddenly another book's name will appear on it.
I, um, won the Andre Norton Award.
I went to Florida perfectly happy to wear an awesome dress and watch a spaceship fly and lose this award. Because I was obviously going to lose it. Fairyland is a web-published novel, self-published, despite now having a contract and a publisher. It is a good book, yes, I know it's good, I love it so hard and I see that people love it. But up against NYT bestsellers and Newbury Medal winners and extremely popular authors--I knew I had no chance.
And I didn't care. Because the nomination was all I really wanted. It made history, it was a huge deal for me. I could not ask for more, as the song goes. I was totally zen about losing--and utterly unprepared to win.
Until about two hours before the ceremony when I had way too much coffee--like six shots of espresso--because I was exhausted from carousing with my friends the night before and all the nerves hit me along with the espresso and I felt like I was going to throw up all the way through the speeches and service awards. I still didn't think I was going to win but you do this thing (and I feel justified that I do it because we were talking to China Mieville in the dinner line and he basically narrated my internal monologue) where you say it's ok to lose, the nomination is enough, but then you think: what if I won? And then you go: oh man, don't do that, it'll only make you crazy. And so you just try to control the part of you that really wants it.
See, I've done the thing where you go to the banquet in a sparkly dress and hope and hope and think you have a good shot and then they say another name and dude, grace or no grace, it sucks. And since my body knows it sucks I was way more nervous because I was preparing myself to hit that brick wall. Or, possibly, it was the six shot of espresso. And three Cokes.
But it didn't happen. When Tom Doyle was saying the names of the nominees my heart was beating so fast I could hear it in my temples, and then...well, you can watch it here if you skip to minute 27:00. He got through about two words of the title before everyone started cheering and I just sort of shut my eyes and put my hand over my mouth and teared up. I was shaking so hard I could barely hold my hastily scribbled just-in-case-wrote-this-in-the-lobby-an-h
It was a total Oscars moment. I've won awards where you get an email and that's AMAZING. I never thought I'd win where you sit and wait and your dress glows and there's this bizarre time stretching action and then your whole head buzzes with your friends cheering...good god.
Twitter seems pretty sure this is the first time a self-published book has won a major literary award. Hollaback if you know otherwise, but one way or another this was highly against the odds, and I'm still in shock. Still not quite believing that happened. I'm so terribly grateful to everyone who believed in Fairyland and supported it, who made it this thing that no one judged for being self-published online, and to those who voted for it without prejudice. What an amazing world. This is not what usually happens when you put up a story on your website to pay the rent. Thank you to everyone who has said congratulations over the last couple of days, there are far too many to reply individually, but omg, love.
Afterwards we went out to Waffle House, and everything was beautiful and nothing hurt and I got to hang with paolobacigalupi who OMG WON and scalzi and maryrobinette and 2muchexposition and saladinahmed and so many others. It was like going to Denny's after a play when I was a dorky drama kid, but different because I wasn't on the outside anymore and I love my friends so much and I love my life and the luck, she beggars the mind, and here's a picture of a major literary award chilling at the 'House:
PS, if anyone has pics from the awards please point me to them!