On Saturday afternoon, I learned that Tidepool made the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Awards preliminary ballot for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.
And I promptly let out a shriek that woke my poor husband up from an afternoon nap. A Stoker Award is a very big deal. Because everything in my life seems to get back to Jeopardy, there have been entire Jeopardy categories devoted to Stoker Award winners. (Scroll down to the Double Jeopardy board and test your knowledge; I ran the category.) I would love to win one. I would love to even make the final ballot for one. And I’m so grateful to be on the preliminary ballot. I was keeping an eye on the 2021 Recommended Works list after Tidepool appeared on it, and every category was wildly competitive.
At this point, I cannot call myself a Stoker nominee or finalist; HWA regulations are pretty strict on that. Each category currently has ten entries, and over the next month those entries will be winnowed down to five finalists. The final ballot will be announced in late February. Eep. Should Tidepool make it to the final ballot, that’s when I can say I’m a nominee.
I know writers shouldn’t focus on awards, but it means the world to me that the horror community has essentially said “Yes, Nicole, we like Tidepool.” Sometimes I want some validation, dammit, wrong though it may be. Getting to see my name listed on the same ballot as some major genre stars is a “Pinch me, I’m dreaming” kind of moment. I spent most of yesterday and a good part of today fielding tons of kind messages from people, even more than when I first announced that Tidepool had a book deal.
What happens next? I’ll be making my work available to active and lifetime HWA members, the only people who can vote on the awards. Beyond that, it’s out of my hands.
Again, I’m so grateful to everyone who has read Tidepool and for all the support my weird little book has gotten over the past several months. As I’ve said before, my worst fear for Tidepool was that it would be published and promptly fall off the radar, unread and unnoticed by anyone outside my close circles of family and friends. I am forever thankful this didn’t happen.
The full preliminary ballot is here. Wish me luck, if you will.