The spotlight was on Kootenay authors Friday night as the Kootenay Literary Competition unveiled this year’s winners.
To submit a labour of love to be judged by one’s peers would be nerve wracking for most, but for the winner of this year’s creative non-fiction category, the experience was rewarding.
“I’m not nervous about sharing information about myself. I’m very nervous about talking in front of people; I’m a very shy person,“ said Cricket Carroll author of Keep your Promises. “I was very surprised. I really didn’t expect to place, honestly. It was a really big honour. Rita Moir was the judge in my category and her comments were just wonderful to get.”
Writing wasn’t something that Carroll was drawn to naturally. Through grade school she only wrote to complete class assignments.
It wasn’t until she enrolled in an English class at Selkirk College that she discovered an interest in sharing her stories through writing.
“My mom passed away — she committed suicide a few years ago — and I was in an English class and Almeda [Glenn Miller] asked for a personal essay. It came out in exactly the same form it was in my mind. It was kind of neat,” said Carroll.
The Kootenay Literary Competition was the first competition that Carroll had submitted her writing to.
Glenn Miller suggested that she enter the first story she ever wrote for class .
“I’ve really only shared my stories in class or with my friends and family. I’ve never even thought of entering in anything really,” said Carroll. “That piece was the first piece that I ever wrote. Almeda suggested that I enter it and I did.”
In Carroll’s story Keep your Promises, she shares an emotional part of her childhood.
Her personal experiences are the inspiration behind most of her stories.
“I kind of grew up in a fairly tumultuous household to say the least,” said Carroll. “My family was kind of blown apart when I was 12. So I have a lot of stories from my childhood. Both from when I was very young to when I was in foster care as well. There is a fair amount of material there and I’m still working through it. It’s almost therapy for me. I kind of turn something really negative into something that I can be proud of.”
With the award under her belt, Carroll is considering writing a novel, although she struggles with whether or not to transition from non-fiction to the world of fiction.
“I’ve tried fiction but I’m not very good at it. Everyone tends to die in my fiction, which is kind of frowned upon,” she said with a laugh.
In addition to boosting her confidence, the competition has helped Carroll connect with the supportive writing community in Nelson and the Kootenays.
“I had no idea there were so many writers in the area,” she said.
“It’s really mind blowing. And there are a fair number of actual published authors here and they’re all very, very nice which is kind of nice. It’s not this group of elitist snobs.”
To pick up an anthology of the competition winners visit Otter Books.