And I'm never speechless.
Moody had told me to have a one-minute speech ready, just in case. As I looked at the books I was up against, I honestly didn't expect to win, but I crafted one anyway, because I'm an obedient author.
Thank you to Moody, to Sarah & David Van Diest and Wendy Lawton and Wynn-Wynn Media for believing in this book. Special thanks to my OCW, ACFW, Redeemed Writers Critique Group and Donna Fleisher for clarifying my words. To my mother, Sherrie Ashcraft, best friend, fellow writer, and constant supporter.
Out of the three books in this category, we have Scared by Tom Davis, a book about a country in Africa, convicting us to feed God's sheep. Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent, a book about a community, convicting us to deal with the cultural issue of racism. And my book, The Familiar Stranger, a book about a couple, hopefully convicting us to live transparently, forgive extravagantly.
This book came from deep personal pain, the idea birthed from lessons of forgiveness I learned when there was unfaithfulness in my marriage 7 years ago, but truly forged when the 13-year marriage ended over the same reason during the editing process.
I gladly accept this award on behalf of an industry that attracts such caliber of writers in all categories being honored tonight, that publishes books of such varied scope and purpose: country, community, and couples.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gifts!
Yes, amazingly, I could fit that all into a minute.
If you haven't yet heard, ACFW is renaming their Book of the Year awards. This year, the first Carol Awards will be presented by Carol Johnson herself. Janette Oke will first present Carol with a lifetime achievement award. If not for Carol contracting Janette's books, some of the first Christian fiction, this industry would not be what it is today.
I'm thrilled to be feeling a change of heart. I had planned on missing the conference for the first time in four years, but God seems to be making a financially-feasible way for me to go! Time to write another non-speech! ;p
See the list of finalists here:
Oh, and here's a link to an interview Casey Herringshaw did with me.