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.