Although her novel Winterkill is up for a 2015 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award, Kate Boorman is unique to the list of nominees in several ways.
As the lone female and only young adult author to be nominated, the University of Alberta alumnus said it was a pleasant surprise to be shortlisted for the Edmonton Public Library sponsored $10,000 literary prize.
“You never know how (or if) your work will resonate with readers,” Boorman said. “So it was really a lovely honour to have the endorsement of the EPL.”
Nominated books must be written by an Alberta resident and published in 2014. There were no limitations on genre, and both fiction and non-fiction works were eligible. A jury from EPL created the shortlist of five books, which was announced earlier in May. The five titles were then voted on via public ballot from July 6 to Aug. 31, EPL will announce the winner on Sept. 18, 2015.
Winterkill is Boorman’s first ever full-length novel and the first book of a trilogy that will see it’s second entry, Darkthaw released in October. The series’ third book, which is currently unnamed, is expected to be released in fall, 2016. Boorman said she’s excited to be part of the nominees, which include The Social Life of Ink by Ted Bishop, Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer, Who by Fire by Fred Stenson and Come Back by Rudy Wiebe.
“I’m thrilled that my book is among such diverse titles from such well-established authors,” Boorman said. “Maybe the nomination supports the idea that books shelved in the (young adult) section can be enjoyed by a variety of readers.”
Though she said she admits to being a relative newcomer in the Edmonton literary scene, Boorman said that the community is strong, connected, and growing. Community is an important in the writing business, she added.
“It’s critical to have people with which you can commiserate and celebrate,” Boorman said. “And it’s a really good idea to have honest, outside eyes on your work.”
For aspiring writers, Boorman said that there is no perfect time to write a book. Whether it’s scrawled in a textbook margin or typed on your phone in line at Starbucks, Boorman said those who want to be writers have to put pen to paper when and wherever they can.
But when it comes to publishing and releasing a book, Boorman says there is more than one way to do so. Some tend to look to their community for support and critique. Others, such as her, wait until their book is out with an agent and a dozen editors before they tell anyone.
“In retrospect, I’m not sure I recommend the second option,” Boorman said. “But some of us are shy, so do what works for you.”
In terms of her own aspirations for the future, Boorman said that she hopes that each of her new books is better than the one before. Beyond the Winterkill trilogy, Boorman said she intends on taking opportunities as they come.
“I just hope that my agent is able to sell another project of mine, to someone, at sometime,” Boorman said.
“That sounds pessimistic, but it’s not! This business is bananas.”