Lilianne Milgrom, winner of the 2021 US Selfies Book Award for adult fiction, on why she has no regrets about going it alone
Anyone who attended the virtual event in June, when BookBrunch and Publishers Weekly announced the winners of this year’s US Selfies Book Awards, can testify to the fact that I was completely blindsided when my debut novel L’Origine appeared on the screen as adult fiction winner. I remember being totally speechless (I’m pretty sure I was gaping like a fish). Then came the tears. This may sound melodramatic but any writer who has put his or her blood, sweat and tears into their literary baby understands the powerful emotions that come with that sort of validation.
As a general rule, we writers are a sensitive bunch. We labour over our keyboards in solitude, alternating between thinking that our words will change the world, and being convinced that those very same words have no business ever seeing the light of day. That’s why book awards – especially for self-published authors like myself – are a critical litmus test in the writing journey. They provide an impartial, objective barometer of where your book stands relative to other books and, more importantly, whether your book connects with seasoned judges who wade through hundreds of submissions.
I spent 10 years researching and writing my award-winning historical fiction novel L’Origine: The secret life of the world’s most erotic masterpiece. I was passionate about introducing the world to a painting so scandalous it was kept hidden for a century and a half! The odyssey of the painting’s adventures over centuries and continents is a story of survival, but it also lays bare society’s ambiguous relationship with female nudity.