Only Ever Always has won an Aurealis Award! This is an award for excellence in Australian speculative fiction and I way so chuffed to have won it, not the least because I was up against some pretty tough competition. I have a big soft spot for the Aurealis Awards, not least because they recognise books that might get overlooked otherwise. "Truth may be stranger than fiction," wrote Frederic Raphael, "but fiction is truer." And I think that is especially so of fantasy, where there is a breach between the interior and the exterior worlds and one leaks into another, because fiction is about our inner selves and our inner worlds, and the border territories where the inner meets the outer.
I went to the Aurealis ceremony seven years ago when my first novel Undine was shortlisted. I was a newly franked author who was still getting used to being a mother, in fact it was one of the first times I had been separated from Frederique (she came with us to Brisbane but stayed with a friend while Martin and I went out to the awards). I was mildly pregnant with Una, maybe about five weeks, so I couldn't drink...I think I was still learning how to manage social situations without alcohol (a steep learning curve for many mothers I am sure). I was very shy. I didn't win, but I don't recall being particularly upset. Scott Westerfeld won, I think it was for So Yesterday. Nearly everyone seemed to know each other. I remember seeing another shy author in the audience and thinking 'if I was braver I would go and be her friend.' These days I am much braver, I would definitely approach a loner at an awards ceremony. But also thanks to festivals and other writing gigs, and of course Twitter and blogging, I now know have lots of Aurealis-type friends.
I wish I could have been in Sydney on Saturday but the logistics of managing Small Person Who Still Breastfeeds was all a bit much. And of course I would have missed my mother's day morning cuddles and delightfully odd presents. And witnessing Avery discover his inner dinosaur. RAWR, complete with rabbit/Tyrannosaurus Rex hands and a convincing knee crouch and shoulder hunch.
An Aurealis on the eve of Mother's Day, as Carole Wilkinson pointed out on Twitter, is a very nice confirmation that I am doing okay at both jobs (Carole Wilkinson has done a pretty good job at both herself). As I drove home last night through the green hills and the weather, I saw a mother cow licking the head of her calf with a big raspy tongue. And I thought "Happy Mother's Day to us, Mama Cow.' Because she was doing a pretty good job too.