You've heard them all say it, the actors who are nominated for Oscars, Emmys, Peoples Choice etc., that tired old line that sends most people into fits of eye rolling and internal snickering. . . "It was an honor just to be nominated."
Yesterday I was informed that my novel, No Such Thing, was selected as a finalist for the 2015 Book of the Year in the Paranormal/Supernatural category. This same book was, when it was first published in 2013, a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Was I proud? Yes. Was I excited? Yes. Did I think I would win over-all? No, and I didn't. But, just to be acknowledged in such a way gave me a validation I cannot explain. It's always a crapshoot to lay words on paper, arrange them in such a way as to try to tell a story that burns in your gut without becoming gratuitous or out and out raunchy, yet open the collective eyes of readers to the deeply slimy world that exists under our noses.
No Such Thing is fiction. It is based on real life crimes committed by a monster(s) under the moniker Oakland County Child Killer in the late 70s; a series of crimes that have never been solved. It is personal to me but even as I tell you that, I am no one compared to the victim's family members who are still waiting (and fighting) for investigations. The case is still open and ongoing, the possible suspect list ebbs and flows with time. Theories are a little like jello, stable in some states and completely without structure in others and the same theory can be brought from liquid to solid to liquid again on the words and opinions of those in charge. Frustrating doesn't touch the level of angst these families feel.It was my initial desire to write this as non-fiction but, like my jello reference above, the story is like a jellyfish. It floats along guided by currents, but underneath, the tentacles grow, intertwine and tangle. They also sting like hell. It is impossible for me to wrap my brain around all of it - I'll leave that to the journalists who weren't asked to switch majors because they embellished.
And so, I had to write this story. I wrote it because it has been with me since March 16, 1977. I wrote it because, with fiction, I could bring all of these "non-provable" theories and suspects to life. I wrote it because I had to. I will know in mid-August if it is the actual winner of Book of the Year (Paranormal/supernatural). If it is, I will shout it across the cyber world (and probably out in my front yard so, fair warning to the neighbors). If it's not, I can honestly say, it is such an honor to be a finalist but more than that, I hope I can continue to reach people and open them up to these cases that plague Oakland County, Michigan and took the vital, potential-rich lives of four kids: Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich, and Tim King.