Fortunately the Hugo people are kind; they don’t make you sit for very long on the news that you’ve been nominated. 😀
That’s right, ladies and gentlebeings: the Memoirs of Lady Trent have made the Hugo Award ballot for Best Series! (This was announced on Saturday, but I didn’t post about it here because I was incredibly busy that day, and then Sunday was, y’know, April Fool’s. Not a good day to announce real and major news.) And of course here we say the usual modest things about being so pleased and excited, but —
— look, can you keep a secret? Just between us.
I am beside myself over this. Because while I am proud of all the individual books, it is as a series that I think they truly shine. I did everything I hoped to with them and more — because while I planned a lot of things about the character arc and the exploration of the world and the discoveries Isabella would make along the way, the story also sprouted all kinds of thematic depth, above and beyond what I intended to include. I wound up saying things about women, and science, and women in science, motherhood, social class, romance, grief, being an outsider in a foreign land, the price of technological development, and and and. What I originally thought of as just kind of some fun pulpy adventure about studying dragons instead of killing them and taking their stuff — well, it’s still that, but it grew so much richer along the way.
And now it’s nominated for a Hugo.
I owe thanks to everybody who helped make this series what it is: Paul Stevens, the editor for the first three books, and Miriam Weinberg, the editor for the last two (herself nominated for Best Editor – Long Form!); Rachel Vater, who suggested I make Isabella an artist, and Eddie Schneider, who has championed these books the whole way through, and all my foreign agents who have brought them into French and German and Polish and Russian and Romanian; Todd Lockwood, whose art helped inspire the series and has graced its covers and interior pages throughout; Alyc Helms, who helped bail me out of plot tangles on all five of these books and more besides; and all the women, past, present, and future, whose determination and ingenuity and intelligence inspired the character of Lady Trent. Every year when I invite people to send her letters, I get missives from women working in various scientific fields, telling me about their dreams and their discoveries, and every year I have to sniffle back tears because the ink I use for Lady Trent’s replies isn’t waterproof.
It has been an honor and a privilege. And now, as the saying goes: before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. I’ve been nominated for a Hugo; now it’s time to go back to what I was doing before that happened, which is polishing up the tale of Isabella’s granddaughter and carrying it through to the end.