Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Christy Awards

The photo shows me (on the left) with my remarkable Aussie friend Lisa McKay, in the interview room after the Christy dinner. It was a joy to reconnect with her. We met in Camy Tang's LONG book-signing line a year ago at ICRS.

Here's my impressions of my first experience at the Christy dinner.

I hadn't planned to attend ICRS this year, but when I received the delightful shock of learning The Restorer was named a Christy finalist, I wanted to show my respect for the honor by trying to get there. My agent also encouraged me to attend, and said it was a very special experience.

Then my church small-group all chipped in and gave me a check to send me. So I went with a sense of all of them experiencing this with me. They have believed in this book since the first manuscript and prayed over it for many years. So I enjoyed celebrating this for all of us.

The warm camaraderie in the room was energetic and sincere. Authors, editors, publishers, publicists and agents greeted each other and buzzed from table to table. I was delighted to get to meet my author relation's contact, Kris Wallen, in person for the first time.

I also enjoyed seeing familiar faces. Looking around the room, I felt surprised by how many people I've gotten to know in the last two years since my first book, The Secret Life of Becky Miller, released. I kept thanking God for the dear friends and acquaintances that have enriched my life.

All too soon, we had to take our seats. I wanted many more hours of chatting. :-)

Phyllis Tickle made a beautiful presentation of the Christy Legacy Award to honor Carol Johnson who has semi-retired from her position at Bethany House. It was a beautiful tribute and heart-warming to see the whole room give her a standing ovation for all she has contributed to Christian fiction in our lifetime.

Somewhere early on (it's a bit of a blur) all the nominees were asked to come stand by the side of the stage. Each was called on stage to receive the finalist medal. Amazing how gawky a person can feel standing in front of so many people in your field that you admire and respect. I loved how they made each of us as finalists feel special as we dipped our heads like Olympic athletes to receive the ribbon and medal.

The dinner was delicious, but each time I'd take a bite, someone new would come over to say hello, and I'd forget all about food in the joy of interacting. Someday I need to learn how to eat and fellowship at the same time.

Karen Ball, Carol Johnson, Dave Lambert, and Michelle Rapkin did a sort of panel discussion, answering questions about Christian fiction, about their own experiences (projects they passed on, some they fought for that didn't do well financially, but they were still proud of). It was a great behind-the-scenes peek into the Christian publishing industry. As they discussed the history of key events, authors, and books that have been significant, it was like a retrospective of my own life. When CBA stores had one shelf of fiction (Grace Livingston Hill, Eugenia Price, Catherine Marshall, and a few others) I read those books. Then Jeanette Oke, then Frank Perretti, Bodie Thoene, Jan Karon. And I felt incredibly grateful to be a very tiny piece of this ministry of stories.

They announced the top winners quickly, and speeches were brief and heartfelt. I had expected Stephen Lawhead to win in the Visionary category, and could only feel that it was appropriate when it was announced. He has been the inspiration to so many for decades. As my adult son said, "Mom, I'll always respect you for being on a list with Stephen Lawhead."

After a prayer, quick photos and chats with friends, the finalists were all directed upstairs to do a few media interviews. I was having so much fun, I once again forgot all about decorum and being concise. I babbled like the giddy person I was.

Altogether an uplifting and fun evening, including sitting in the hotel lobby chatting and giggling with a large group of writing friends afterwards. My tap shoes remained comfortable. (Those of you who read my blog know that since I haven't found any high-heel shoes that are comfortable except my tap shoes, he kindly removed the taps for me so I could wear them). I felt relaxed and at ease most of the time. (Thanks, I'm sure, to the prayers of my friends). And the evening was everything an awards event should be -- a celebration of God's goodness and hand in our lives, and the multiple and diverse talents He has given the Body of Christ.

Sharon Hinck


Rel said...

Lovely to see you and Lisa looking gorgeous! Did the ring look good??? LOL!!! Hi Lis if you are reading this ;-)

I really enjoyed my experience of the Christy Awards through your eyes :)

Many hugs,


Smilingsal said...

Something's wrong with the computer because the blog is so dark that I have to highlight it in order to read it! However, I muddled through and want to say, Congrats!