What a lovely way to welcome in March! There I was... stuck in bed with blocked ears, shivers, shakes and The Throat From Hell when I noticed that the red light on my phone was flashing. I reached down to the floor, picked up my phone and illuminated the screen. Apparently I'd been mentioned on Twitter. I clicked on the icon of the little bird. To my surprise, I noticed that I'd been mentioned a LOT on Twitter. @EssexSLS (Essex Library Service) had tweeted: 'And the Essex Book Award winner is.....'
I shook my minging head and scrolled to the next tweet.
@EssexSLS had tweeted: '....What's Up With Jody Barton?'
I put my phone down.
Was I delirious?
My phone started flashing again. I stared at it and picked it up. Tweets were coming thick and fast and all with the same message: Congratulations.
I wasn't delirious. I HAD won! I'd actually won!
I was SO CHUFFED, I actually dragged myself out of bed and went downstairs and opened a can of chicken soup to celebrate.
And today, I'm feeling quite a lot better and I'm STILL massively chuffed. I really hadn't been expecting to win this award. For three reasons: One, look at this shortlist; the real triumph is getting selected to be amongst this lot in the first place.
· Mortal Chaos by Matt Dickinson
· Messenger Bird by Ruth Eastham
· Cracks by Caroline Green
· What's Up with Jody Barton by Hayley Long
· The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters
· Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
Two, I’ll be honest; I was getting cosy with the role of being a shortlist kind of girl ;-) And three, this award is decided for by votes from Essex School kids. And What's Up With Jody Barton? isn't an obvious vote winner because it addresses a subject which some people still get a bit hung-up about. But clearly, not those cool kids in Essex. No hang-ups there!
So I want to say thank you to everyone who voted for me and thank you to the Essex Library Service for organising this fantastic award and thank you to the other shortlisted authors for putting me in such good company. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of those Essex students later on in the year. And as a final celebration, I thought I’d round this blog post off with a storming boy/girl mash-up of a tune from Colchester’s finest son and his mates. Any old excuse….