shot at loveThe Christy Award has been around since 1999. And while I try not to put too much stock in winning awards, I’ll confess to really, really hoping for a Christy.

And last week A Shot at Love from The Christmas Heirloom novella collection was nominated.

The award, intended to honor Christian novels of excellence, imagination, and creativity, is named for the novel Christy by Catherine Marshall. It’s my kind of story. The heroine, Christy Huddleston, lives in Asheville, NC, and feels led to become a teacher at a mission school in Cutter Gap. She packs up her ideals and takes the train into the Great Smoky Mountains in the early 1900s. Of course I love this story!

And, of course, things don’t go quite as Christy imagined. They never do! But she becomes fast friends with Fairlight Spencer (LOVE that name) and must choose between two suitors–the pastor or the doctor? Not to give anything away, but the doctor is an agnostic Scottsman named Neil MacNeill. Sigh.

But I digress!

Having a story nominated for this award is not only affirmation of my writing, but also a reminder that my fiction is following in the footsteps of another Appalachian author. Catherine Marshall is considered the mother of Christian fiction–writing it before it had a name. She was born in Johnson City, TN. From the age of nine until she graduated high school, she lived in Keyser, WV. The novel Christy is based on her mother’s experiences teaching the impoverished children of Appalachia.

If you know anything about me and my writing you may notice some elements that resonate. I feel such a kinship with Catherine and her characters. To be nominated for an award she inspired . . . well. It’s a dream come true.

“Dreams carried around in one’s heart for years, if they are dreams that have God’s approval, have a way of suddenly materializing.” ―Catherine Marshall