Best Novel of the Year- Traitor by Sandra Grey
Best Novel by a New Author- Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom
Best Romance- Spare Change by Aubrey Mace
Best Mystery/Suspense- Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black
Best Youth Fiction- The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dasher
Best Speculative- The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Best Historical- Abinadi by H.B. Moore
(Sorry, for some reason Blogger wouldn't let me upload this image. Sigh.)
Best General Fiction- Waiting for the Light to Change by Annette Haws
There were only a few wins that surprised me. I didn’t always pick the winner myself, but I had a good idea which titles those winners would come from. Some of them were very tough choices.
Even if you aren’t particularly interested in World War II Traitor is an excellent novel with a very compelling story question. When Sandra Grey’s husband challenged her by saying “You can write better than that” (referring to a national title) he wasn’t kidding. She’s an excellent writer and though I never thought I say it about this type of novel, I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.
I didn’t pick Bound on Earth as my top choice from a new author, simply because the style of the book didn’t appeal to me. That said, Angela Hallstrom has an excellent storyteller’s voice and I expect to see great things from her in the future.
Best Romance was probably my toughest category to judge. Which is weird, since I’m not normally a romance person. I was hard pressed to pick my favorite between: Seeking Persephone, Servant to a King, The Sound of Rain, Spare Change, and Taking Chances. They were unique and filled a certain niche given the type of romance reader you are. If you get your hands on any of these titles you’re in for a treat.
In the end I had to choose Seeking Persephone. You see, each of these titles kept me coming back and putting off things I should do to spend more time in their pages, but only Seeking Persephone compelled me to refuse to put it down when I really should have. I mention this specifically because Seeking Persephone is a self-published title. This is one area of publishing that can get a bad name very fast. But, Seeking Persephone was a real treat. There were very few editorial problems and the story was sweet and compelling. If I were asked to name titles from this market that show it is possible to be an excellent writer but still not publish in a traditional manor, Sarah Eden’s book would definitely make the list.
Best Youth Fiction was another category that really spoke to me. If you have a child interested in fantasy you can hand them any of these titles with confidence that they’ll find a great story that you don’t have to worry about. Though it didn’t win my top vote, the “Hambo” story in Alcatraz vs. The Scribner’s Bones made the whole book for me. My husband was looking at me funny again as I giggled delightedly. He’s such a patient man to tolerate all my weirdness. ;)
Anyway, this is only the second year for the Whitney Awards and I see wonderful things in its future. I’m sad to see Rob Wells step down as president. Don’t let him kid you, this program is his brain child and no one put more heart and soul into it than he did. But, he left it in very capable hands. Kerry Blair is one of the sweetest and most selfless people I know. She’ll do a great job.