To my very pleasant surprise, I learned this week that Losing Elizabeth has been nominated for Storytellers Campfire’s prestigious Voyager Marble Award. I am deeply grateful that this literary organization has recognized Losing Elizabeth for its contribution to society. Here, a list of all of their awards and nominees, as well as a slideshow presentation.
I really shouldn’t remain so hushed about it, for I strongly desire to help others, and I really do believe in the message in Losing Elizabeth. In fact, I’m proud of it. When I was a high school teacher, I had so many students, both male and female, become trapped in toxic, unhealthy, or even abusive relationships. I wanted to write a simple little story to illustrate to illustrated the dangers of such relationships. So that’s what I did.
I always have anxiety about what I write, though, and I worry that this one was too simple. I worry that it’s not in my genre – how can I promote both adult and YA/middle grade books? And really, I’m not a YA author. There are so many elements in Losing Elizabeth that I know I could have done better. Really, though as humans, don’t we all strive constantly for improvement?
Despite the fact that I’d make changes, I do love its message. I want middle and high-schoolers to read it. Many do, for it’s in some school libraries, and I receive positive feedback, including professional reviewers and readers alike.
Life is about owning what we do. Life is about believing in what we do and doing what we believe in. Whether I’m writing about mental illness or emotionally abusive relationships, I love writing about making the human condition better. Life is also about gratitude. I’m grateful that I have the chance to write what I do, and I’m grateful for Storyteller’s Campfire for existing to promote literacy and storytelling and for welcoming me to their fire.
When the school year begins, Elizabeth Carter’s life is fantastic, and she is a happy, confident, well-adjusted teenager. She and her best friend Meg are not only on the school tennis team but are even candidates for the varsity level. Elizabeth is in advanced classes and already planning for a bright future. She is ecstatic when greatly-admired Brad Evans asks her out. Slowly and insidiously, though, Brad takes over her life. Readers will find themselves on a tumultuous journey filled with both joy and pain that ultimately is a search for love, friendship, and identity.
Losing Elizabeth addresses the very core of teen life experience, which is learning to engage in meaningful relationships at the same time as an independent sense of self is developing. The novel reaches the young adult reader deep inside her heart and soul and speaks not only to what she likes but to whom she is and what she is becoming.