Sylvia, in 2011, your book, A War of Her Own, won the Texas Press Women Award, then you went on to Nationals. What was that like?
Helen, so glad you asked! And to clarify—I not only went on to nationals but I placed 2nd there—to a Fulbright Scholar and head of the Fulbright Scholar program at her university, and who wrote her book while on a Fulbright-Scholarship-funded sabbatical—that made second place a little sweeter.
These were my first state and national awards so I wear them proudly! When I received word that I’d won the Texas Press Women Award, I thought, oh well, not a big pool for them to draw from. But national certainly eradicated that notion. Bells, whistles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, grenades, air to ground missiles? Nothing holds a candle to what I felt.
Did you submit your book for consideration by TPW? Did someone else? What was it about your book that caught the eye of TPW?
A War of Her Own, supposedly due to word count. Talk about disappointed! I always enjoyed that magazine, but now, when it comes in the mail, I smile and dump it in the trash unread! (only half-joking!)
Anyway, Ginger suggested I submit the novel to the annual Communications Contest for Press Women of Texas, and the rest is history. (A first place state win leads to the state submitting it to the national contest.)
Do you know if every state in the U.S. has a Press Women’s Association? How could other writers get recognized by their state’s PWA?
NFPW was founded on May 6, 1937. The national organization is the hub for the state affiliates. Join the national and you automatically become a member of the state organization. If there is a state that does not have a branch, then you join as a member-at-large and may still compete in the national competition. The National Federation of Press Women at http://www.nfpw.org is the place to start. (And if you join, tell them Sylvia sent you.)
Nothing could keep me from attending the national conference in Council Bluffs, Iowa last year. Although I was a stranger amidst hundreds of women, some who have known each other through the organization for fifty/sixty plus years, I have never felt more among friends. They INTENTIONALLY create an attitude of inclusiveness. Next year the conference is in Arizona, and I plan to be there—with a win, hopefully. They have over 80 something categories all available on the web site under Competitions. I hope to win in 2012 with my upcoming book, The Swamp Whisperer!
Here’s a brief synopsis of Sylvia’s award-winning book:
A War of Her Own: In the summer of 1943, Orange, Texas, is a sleepy little town overrun with tens of thousands of new workers. With jobs galore at the wartime shipyards, the workers are rich with cash and looking for a good time. Bea Meade, mother of an infant son, finds her life shattered when her philandering husband announces he is leaving her for another woman. To make ends meet, Bea takes a job at a shipyard as a riveter. Bea has to fight her own battles against a no-good husband, the prejudice facing women in the workplace, and the mysteries of her own past. Bea's journey to discover who she really is, a vibrant woman of her times, serves up an entertaining story of the World War II homefront you'll remember long after the final pages.
Note from Helen: There are awards out there that you may never have heard of. You’ve heard about this one now and later this month you’ll learn about more awards. Leave a comment if you know of an award you or other writers have won or could win.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Helen Ginger is an author, blogger, freelance editor and writing coach. She teaches public speaking as well as writing and marketing workshops. In addition, her free ezine, Doing It Write, which goes out to subscribers around the globe, is now in its twelfth year of publication. You can follow Helen on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn.