Back in January, I received a phone call from the Washington D.C. area while I was driving. I remember exactly where I was when the call came in. I was on State Route 91 in Summit County, Ohio, driving by my favorite park where I hike as often as I can. It was oddly warm day, like much of the winter had been, and the sun was shining. As soon as I saw where the call orginated I knew what it was. I knew it was a member of the Malice Domestic board and I knew I had just been nominated for an Agatha Award. I answered and the board member told that Andi Unstoppable the third mystery in the Andi Boggs series was nominated for the Agatha for Best Children’s/ YA Novel. This wasn’t my first call like this. It was fourth. I had been nominated three times before. This call wasn’t any less thrilling than it had been the first time. I squealed and thanked the board member repeatedly just as I had when my first novel, Maid of Murder, had been up for best first five years before. To be nominated, not once but four times, was a greater gift than I could ever imagine, a bigger dream than I could have conjured.
And then at the Agatha Awards banquet on April 30th, Andi Unstoppable won, and if it wasn’t for the Agatha teapot, which is the trophy for the award, sitting on my mantle at this moment, I still would have trouble believing it. When my name was called as the winner, I stood on shaky legs, and I continued to shake the entire walk to the stage, up the stairs to the platform, and as stood at the microphone to deliver a speech I had written on a scratch piece of paper just a couple of hours before but never expected to recite.
Although not verbatim because I did ad lib some of it, here is my acceptance speech.
This is such and enormous honor. I’m so grateful to the Malice community and the readers. I wrote the Andi series because at a young age I was reading Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, and Marcia Muller and I saw that there was a gap I could fill. I wrote it because it was a character that wouldn’t let me go. I never expected it to be published. I have my agent Nicole Resciniti–who is going to freak out when she hears that I won– and everyone at Zonderkidz and HarperCollins Chrisitian Publishing to thank for making that possible.
I also have to thank my family and friends, especially my brother Andy and my sister-in-law Nicole, who came all the way from Ohio to be with me tonight. And to my niece and nephew, my great joys; we call each other super besties. They support and encourage me and feed me when I am on deadline.
However, my biggest encouragers were my parents, and I accept this award in their memory. When I was a little girl and told them I wanted to be a mystery author when I grew up, they never said that was impractical, they said what can we do, how can we help and I am so very grateful. Thank you.
Like Andi Boggs, who is an orphan in the series, my parents are gone. Although, I was not twelve when they died but a young adult, the loss of them was no less great. There was much that they didn’t see, that they won’t see like this moment when I won the Agatha. That is heartbreaking, but it makes moments of pure happiness like winning the Agatha more meaningful too. To have suffered great loss makes me appreciate great joy that much more; to know deepest pain allows me to recognize greatest happiness. It has made me a better writer, a better Christian, a better person. I learn something new about myself and the world from every novel I write. Like Andi in the series I have made a conscience choice to hold on joy and seek out new adventures and challenges. God has taught me through writing the Andi series that pure joy with no baggage to hold it here on earth is still possible. I’m so very grateful for that lesson, and so very grateful that He’s blessed me beyond measure. All I can do to show my thanks is the work I have been assigned for my time here on earth: to write books that glorify Him and bring joy to others.
Enjoy these photos from the awards and convention.