Tuesday, September 18, 2012

There’s No Downside to Being a Finalist!

The fate of A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit in the novel category in 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition has already been decided—a finalist.  The final verdict for The Girl in the Bathtub in the novel-in-progress category is still out there.  It can still win or it can be a runner-up.  But it can’t lose!  It’ll merely remain where it is, as a finalist.  There’s no downside to being a finalist!  

For six weeks now, I’ve been a finalist.  A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit will forever remain as a finalist in the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition.  If The Girl in the Bathtub fails to advance, it too will remain a finalist.  I can live with that.  That’s still quite an achievement.  Last year it was a short-list finalist, a big improvement already.

Sure I would like for it to win.  Being a runner-up sounds pretty nice, too.  Everyone who enters a competition wants to win.   Starting out everyone has an equal chance in winning.  But once they announced the finalist, only those select few who had advanced have a chance to win.  I’m still in the running with The Girl in the Bathtub and that feels pretty good. 

Yes, I’ve been checking the Faulkner-Wisdom website for updates pretty much every day.  But I also like the fact that a decision has not been made; therefore every day, I still have a chance to win, just like all the others finalists.  Win or lose, no one can take that away from me.  Again, there’s no downside to being a finalist.  At this level, you’re locked in as a finalist, with the potential to go higher but never lower.  It’s a sure thing—I’m a finalist!

As I wrote in an earlier blog, this year's novel competition had a record 406 full manuscript entries, of which 14 are finalist.  A third novel of mine, The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady, a recent Quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, was a short list finalist a for the second year in a row.  I’m pretty proud of that, too.   It wasn’t a finalist, but it was short-listed, which meant it looked pretty good.  14 novels, including A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit, just looked better. 

The fact that both of these novels are set in Penang, Malaysia, and both feature the same expat character, Steve Boston, though set nine years apart, means I got something here.  It means that the success of one novel will help sell the other, possibly in a two-book deal (and before Christmas would be rather nice—Santa, I have been good this year.)

But in the meantime, until the announcement is finally announced, I’m more than content being a finalist—that’s what we are finalist.  Not a bad place to be.  We can only go higher and never lower in this year’s competition.  Right now that decision rests in the hands of the judge, Deborah Grosvenor, and that decision will be based on both the quality of the manu­script and bias of the judge—what she likes and doesn’t like to see when she reads manu­scripts.  Hopefully, she’ll see a lot of what she does like in The Girl in the Bathtub.

Update:  Here are the winners and runner-ups.

Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:

Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.

Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.

Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day

Chuah Guat Eng,  author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change. 


Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I 

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