Re: The Cybils

courtneycracked up to be, omg

Wow, I did not expect to be updating my blog before my next book was in my editor’s inbox (gettin’ close!), and also before I could catch up on eleventy billion emails and blogs, but something very unexpected and also amazing happened yesterday and I would be remiss not to blog about it and that is that Cracked Up to Be won the 2009 Cybil Award for YA fiction.

So I do the night owl thing and yesterday I woke up (in the afternoon) to a flurry of @ replies on Twitter (my Twitter is active when my blog is not!) and emails and notifications in my inbox asking me WHY WASN’T I AWAKE and when I read why it was so urgent that I be awake, I was not really sure I was awake anymore.

I always make that joke about possibly of being in a coma when I get good news but the thing about that is it isn’t a joke because when I get good news I do really honestly have that fear that I am actually dreaming it and when I wake up it will be very sad. Also I have a fear that because I have received good news something terrible is about to happen to me but ENOUGH about the weird way my brain works.

This means a lot to me. Being nominated meant a lot to me (thank you to Robin Prehn for the nomination!) and being a finalist was beyond anything I expected. I spilled coffee on myself after I found out Cracked Up to Be won. I was excited and thrilled and shocked and my hands were like AAAAH! [THROWS COFFEE]. I don’t usually love spilling hot coffee on a shirt I am planning to wear for the rest of the day but I did yesterday! Thank you to everyone who has emailed, tweeted and messaged their congrats. You made me cry. Lots.

And I’m humbled. What can I say about authors like Michelle D. Kwasney, Brent Crawford, Natalie Standiford, Julie Halpern, Justina Chen and Laurie Halse Anderson that has not been said? They are a fantastically talented bunch of authors and what they bring to the YA table is inspiring and it makes me want to work harder, to make absolutely sure I’m giving my best when I sit down and write. Honestly, I feel that way looking at all the nominated titles. It is an incredible list of books. In short: YA/kid’s lit authors are freaking awesome and that is that. CONGRATS to all nominees, finalists and winners.

And The Cybils themselves. I cannot IMAGINE what an undertaking it is, but what it does for this community, for books, is incredible. Team Cybils!: you are a wonderful bunch of people and your time and your passion makes all the difference. It must be hard, but also fun. But also HARD. Thanks in particular to the YA Fiction Panel. 2009 was a great year for YA books and I came out of it with a lot of favourites, personally, so I can’t begin to guess what the judging and selection process feels like (and that goes for every panel), and to do it all in a limited amount of time, ohmygoodness basically. I hope you are patting yourself on the back right now. Also putting your feet up and indulging in something DELIGHTFUL. As a reader and writer, thank you for the work you do.

And not to be nostalgic every time I bring up the Cybils but, as I said earlier in the year, I will never be able to articulate how much of a driving force the YA blogosphere was in my own pursuit of publication. Once I knew I was writing YA–something I’d always loved to read–blogs like Bookshelves of Doom and Little Willow’s Bildungsroman (my very first book blogs–I will never forget this!) were my introduction to this community…

And though I lurked for quite a long time, Willow and Leila’s passion and interest and opinions of books for and about YA audiences helped inform ME as someone who wanted to write those books, and directed me to other bloggers who were also passionate and interested and informative. This helped me connect, to work hard, and that made a significant difference for me and my writing and it continues to, and when I think of the Cybils, I always think of this. I love the way the the book blogging community has evolved and continues to inform and connect and engage readers and writers out of a sheer love of books. I have a great deal of respect for it.

Thank you.

And now back to writing, but I do not know how I am going to make my characters miserable when I am feeling so happy.