Winning the Willa

Edna Smith Hiller

We drove three hours from Searcy back home after the White County Creative Writer’s Conference, which was a great experience, by the way. When we unloaded the car so Linda could go on home, my daughter was sitting on the couch, hubby in his recliner. He handed me a scrap of paper and said, “You’d better call this woman. She said it’s important.”

I glanced at the number, couldn’t read the name — he scribbles — he said, “Her name is ___.” Sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place which organization I knew her from.

I sat down and he started trying to get Linda to stay and have a cup of coffee. She said she had to get on home. He took her in the kitchen, they came back and she hugged me and left. I’m thinking something is up, but even though I’d been thinking about the Willa and wondering when they would notify everyone, I really didn’t think I’d win. So many classy writers enter, the best of the best of western women writers. So it never occurred to me to put the two together. I leaned back in the recliner. Hubby says, “You’d better call her.”

How rude, I thought, to call with my daughter there to visit. It could surely wait. I started telling her about the conference.

“Call her,” my husband said.

I gave in and picked up the phone. She answered and yelled my name, scared me out of my wits. “I just had to tell you, Velda. Fly With The Mourning Dove is a finalist for a Willa.”

Then I started yelling. Still not sure what this meant, I only knew I’d been picked out of many great books. “When do we know the winner?” I asked.

“That’s it,” she said. “We have a winner and two finalists in each category.”

It didn’t take long for me to really screech then. It was a sure thing that I was a finalist.

Librarians choose these books out of all the entries. There are many categories. The award, of course, is in honor of the great writer, Willa Cather. And it’s considered a literary award. WOW! I’ve won a few awards in my life, but none that gave me such a thrill as this one.

In October, I will step up and accept my award. I only wish Edna could be with me. If you’ve read my book you know it’s about her from six-years old to adult hood, living on a homestead in New Mexico after WW I. She is 94 now and when I called her, she was ecstatic, but said she was afraid she couldn’t make the trip. Traveling is getting more and more difficult, though she is still a very spry lady.

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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in Fly With The Mourning Dove, librarians, New Mexico, Uncategorized, Willa Cather, Women Writing the West. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Winning the Willa

  1. Congrats on the award, Velda – and a touching end to the post. Take lots of photos and share them with her!

  2. zhadi says:

    Congrats, Velda!!!!!

  3. joyce4books says:

    Congratulations, Velda! I read your comments and reactions with a big smile on my face. I know the thrill. Can’t wait to share the moment when you accept your award in Texas. Way to go!

  4. Audrey says:

    I am an 81 year old blogger. Please take a look at my site on memoirs of my life: http://audreykaminski.blogspot.com/ I grew up in Baltimore with many happy memories. My old neighborhood in west Baltimore is too dangerous to walk through. There was a time when I thought I would never leave the city because of all it’s convenience. If you didn’t have a car you could ride a street car. Going down town was always a great pleasure. There were large Department stores, theaters and museums. Where I lived you could walk to the zoo, movie theater and a roller rink.Audrey

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