'An excellently, richly imagined and deftly plotted story that keeps revealing new layers as it progresses. The weaving of present and past is expertly done, and the authorial voice is confident and sophisticated. All the different elements are woven together perfectly here: story, character development, setting and atmosphere.' Wow. *blush* And £250 on its way.
The judge was Sophie Hannah, whose work I admire and enjoy. It did kick start the last push to complete the book, and I'm now doing one big rewrite to catch the loose ends, odd story wrinkles and make sure I put descriptions in. It should be ready mid-September for a structural edit, anyway.
My poetry managed the shortlist in the Mslexia poetry prize, which was encouraging, as I don't have much time for poetry at the moment. Nor, sadly, do I have much time for the kids' book, Marley and the Crow, but I'm enjoying the novel writing too much to be diverted.
Sadly, I haven't heard about The Secrets of Life and Death and its weeks at various editors. It's still there, and a lot of people are taking their summer breaks, so it's taking its own time. Frustrating, but the stress just makes me write more, so it's not unproductive time. More news when I have it!