Writer with local ties scores big with first novel
I was so excited to get a press release about one of my friends from high school, Meg Mims, whose very first published book, a western historical suspense novel, received a prestigious national award.
The Western Writers of America bestowed its annual Best First Novel award on Meg’s “Double Crossing,” which was published in August 2011 by Astraea Press in both e-book and print.
How presitigious is this award?
Another multiple Spur Award winner is Loren D. Estleman, the Whitmore Lake resident who writes amazing detective and Western novels. Detective fans will certainly recognize Estleman as the creator of the popular Amos Walker series. Estleman is receiving the Western Writers’ lifetime achievement award this year, so my friend Meg is in fine company, indeed.
The Western Writers of America was founded in 1953 to promote literature of the American West. To further that goal, the organization holds an annual contest and presents the Spur Awards for distinguished writing in the field.
The seeds for Double Crossing were planted when Meg saw the original True Grit movie with John Wayne, released in 1969. She loved the sweeping panoramic views of the Ozark hills and the prairie of Oklahoma, a far cry from Michigan’s forests and lakes. Meg read the Charles Portis’ novel in college and was blown away by the authentic dialogue, the in-depth characters and the high-action plot. However, she waited until after marriage and the birth of her daughter to start writing—and kept honing her craft while working as a substitute teacher in the local elementary schools. After a serious foot injury, facing surgery, she wrote the first draft of her novel in the summer of 2007. She then spent two years earning a Master’s degree in the Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University.
Meg decided to revise Double Crossing after graduation, then polished it after earning several finalist berths in RWA chapter contests. In November of 2010, she became a staff writer for RE/MAX Platinum in Brighton, Michigan, and then accepted an offer on her novel from Astraea Press.
“Astraea publishes ‘pure’ fiction—pure in the sense of avoiding profanity and any ‘heat’ of sensuality,” Meg said. “My novel has a blend of history, mystery and suspense, plus sweet romance. Lily Granville is akin to Mattie Ross—she’s determined to track her father’s murderer, but uses the newly opened transcontinental railroad. And she hires a mercenary Texan cowboy, Ace Diamond, who is a mix of Rooster Cogburn and LaBoef from True Grit.”
Meg is heading to Albuquerque to accept her award, and — not content to rest on her first-novel award laurels — she’s now working on “Double or Nothing,” a sequel to “Double Crossing.”
Meg also writes for the RE/MAX Platinum in Brighton’s website. The complete list of winners of this year’s Western Writers of America is available by clicking here. You can also check out Meg’s website by clicking here.