That's what happened last Friday when the RWA RITA Award finalists were announced. Our very own Linda Goodnight finaled with not only 1 book, but 2!
I may be speaking out of line here, but I'm fairly sure that there wasn't a Love Inspired Author who was still sitting in her chair when word got out that Linda Goodnight was a double finalist. (I know my chair few back, I scared the cat and the dog ran out of the room. Of course, it could have been from the Yippee! I hollered, too.) I caught up with Linda Goodnight over the weekend and asked her to share a few thoughts with us on being a DOUBLE RITA finalist. Here is what she had to say...
1. Where were you when you got the RITA call and what were you doing?
After going to the gym with my husband and home-schooled daughter, I had just opened my computer to get to work. Turns out, the gym was the only productive thing I accomplished all day. But that's a good thing!
2. Who was the first person you called/emailed?
My awesome, supportive editor, Allison Lyons. She was beyond excited, too, as I knew she would be. We laughed and squealed together.
3. Did you hear about both books in one phone call? Or two different phone calls? And what was the first thing that went through your mind?
I heard in two separate calls which made the news twice as thrilling. When the first call came, I wasn't even thinking about RWA. The caller ID was unfamiliar and I usually don't answer my phone when I'm sitting down to write but for some reason, I picked it up. SO glad I did. It was Terri McLaughlin with RWA. Instantly, a chill went up my back. I asked if she was calling for the reason I thought. When she said yes, I started laughing and crying like a baby. Poor woman almost never got me shut up long enough to read the official spiel, of which I remember absolutely nothing. Good thing they send a back-up email.
As soon as I hung up, I bolted from my office in search of family to squeal and jump around with. I made it as far as the living room when the phone rang again. My first thought? "Uh-oh, they made a mistake. I'm not really a finalist. " When the caller told me why she was calling I screamed, "No way!" I hope she doesn't sue me for rupturing her eardrum.
4. Do either of the books (or both) have a special meaning to you? If so, tell us about it.
Both these books in my Redemption River series are really special to me. The first, FINDING HER WAY HOME, is about a rape victim, fighting her way out of the darkness and depression, distrust and guilt. I received so many wonderful letters from readers who had suffered abuse, and those letters mean the world to me.
THE WEDDING GARDEN is one of those books in which the hero lived in my heart and I had to give him a story. Having spent my entire life in a small town, I understand the way people you've known forever can surprise you, hurt you, and heal you. Besides, I'm just plain in love with Sloan Hawkins!
5. Did you celebrate in any special way with your family and friends?
My family took me out for dinner last night. I really want to lose some weight before conference but who can resist food, especially chocolate, during a celebration?! And all my amazing friends Facebooked and emailed all day. It was wonderful, encouraging, and joyous.
6. Can you give us a little rundown of what each of the books is about?
Since I've already discussed a little about FINDING HER WAY HOME, I'll tell you about THE WEDDING GARDEN.
Sloan Hawkins grew up as the bad seed, the abandoned son of Redemption's only convicted murderer. Falling in love with the police chief's daughter cost him more than he ever knew when he was run out of town at eighteen. Now he's reluctantly back, attitude and all, because of a dying aunt who gave him hope and a home when he had nothing else. Chief Dooley Crawford isn't happy to see him. Neither is his daughter. Both hide secrets that will shake Redemption and change Sloan's life forever.
A little mystery, a dab of murder, family turmoil, and lots of love on many levels. I LOVE this book! lol
Thanks so much Linda! From all of us at the CRAFTIE LADIES of Love Inspired Romance, CONGRATULATIONS!
Many blessings, Lisa Mondello