Monday, October 18, 2010

When Carol Comes Acalling!

A few weeks ago an organization called American Christian Fiction Writers honored Jill Elizabeth Nelson with an award called The Carol. Jill wrote a fabulous Love Inspired Suspense called Evidence of Murder.
In the inspy world, winning a Carol is high praise. See, Carol is named after Carol Johnson, the editor who discovered Janette Oke and gave readers of Christian Inspirationals something to aspire too. The Carol is important because it’s our equivalent to the Newberry, the Edgar, and the RITA. I don't know about you, but I want want to know more about the author who earned this award. So, let's get to know Jill Elizabeth Nelson.

What did you feel the moment your name was called as a winner?

I was honestly speechless. I sat frozen with my hand over my mouth in utter disbelief. Let me clarify the backdrop of the moment, however. I was in my easy chair at home when I heard the news. My husband and I had just returned from the place we needed to be instead of ACFW that fateful weekend, and I checked the clock. Yup, it was about time for me to log onto the computer and catch the announcement of the winners. I had no inkling that one of them could possibly be me. The thought just wasn’t on my radar.

This was one of the few years I was unable to attend the ACFW conference. But missing my “moment in the sun” as a Carol Award winner didn’t feature as a concern in my head. I know the competition for these awards, and simply being a finalist was awesome. It never occurred to me I might actually win!

All finalists who were not going to be at the conference were asked to designate someone to accept in their place and provide that person with an acceptance speech. While I wrote mine and sent it to my editor, Emily Rodmell at Steeple Hill, I chuckled to myself, certain the words of thanks and appreciation would never be heard. It was beyond exciting that the joke turned out to be on me!

Ever since a goal-setting session at an American Christian Fiction Writers conference a couple of years ago, I’ve carried in my purse a blue, 3 X 5 index card bearing a list entitled, “Five ‘Impossible’ Goals for God to Make Possible.” One of those “impossibilities” came to pass with the receipt of this ACFW Carol Award. I had considered my goal of achieving a Carol to be somewhere in the nebulous cloud of my long-term future. God sure worked fast!

For you, what number published book is this?

My Carol Award-winning book is titled Evidence of Murder. This was my sixth published book. My eighth book, Legacy of Lies, released last month. Readers can find out more about my books, read excerpts, and enter a monthly contest to win a signed copy of my latest release at my web site:

What made this book an award winner?

There are lots of variables in contest judging. As a veteran judge myself, I fully realize that there is a healthy element of subjectivity in the results. However, the plot of Evidence of Murder was particularly poignant in the situation of a survivor of a horrible crime seeking justice, but even more importantly, peace with himself and God. I don’t think it hurt any that I had a couple of cute pets in the story either. LOL.

What are your writing habits (how many hours/pages a day... research tips, etc).

I don’t generally set a daily word count or page count limit for myself—at least not until I’m closer to deadline. Then I do whatever it takes to get the book done on time. I do have the habit of re-reading and editing one or even several previous chapters before starting new material each day. The process allows me to get my head back into the story, as well as giving me a jump on the editorial process. By the time I print “The End,” my book is no longer a genuine first draft. Most chapters have been edited several times already.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’ve dreamed of becoming a published novelist since I penned—er, penciled my first mystery in the sixth grade. Whenever I go out on speaking engagements, I like to tell my audience that if God can bring to pass a cherished dream for this nobody in particular from nowhere special, He can and will do it for them too!


Susan Sleeman said...

Congratulations, Jill. How exciting for you.

PamelaTracy said...

I really enjoyed reading this, especially what set th is book apart. Congrats!