Rebecca Cantrell is the author of A Trace of Smoke, which won the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award at Left Coast Crime 20, earlier this month in Los Angeles. I asked Rebecca to share with us how she felt when she won the award.
Thanks, Marlyn, for asking me to blog here today!
I met up with Marlyn again at Left Coast Crime where she, and a couple of hundred other people, witnessed something rarely seen even by my nearest and dearest: me speechless.
That almost never happens, but it did at Left Coast Crime on Saturday, March 13, 2010. I’d been nominated for the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award, along with the very talented Rhys Bowen, Tasha Alexander, Gary Phillips, and Jeri Westerson. I was absolutely thrilled to be part of that list, but I genuinely believed that I would not win.
Thinking you are not going to win is a great strategy throughout the weeks before and the long banquet where everyone waits for the awards to be announced. I sat there calmly watching my friends get more and more nervous. “What are they worried about?” I thought. “I won’t actually win.” So I ate my delicious meal with a minimum of fidgeting and fuss.
Thinking you are not going to win becomes a terrible strategy if you actually DO win. Because at that point my brain effectively shut down, along with my speech centers. I was so dazed that many, many people kindly pointed me in the direction of the stage as I stumbled across the room. It was clear to everyone that I wasn’t getting there without outside assistance. I mounted the steps, said something, almost fell down the stairs, and somehow made it back to my seat.
My friend, Eric Beetner--also a wonderful writer, whose ONE TOO MANY BLOWS TO THE HEAD is just out, sneakily filmed the whole thing. I think the video speaks louder than I can.
Indeed you don’t.
If I win anything again, I promise to acquit myself better.