February 2015 / by Kaitlyn Lamb

Two years ago, while I was still a MFA student at Fairfield University, I submitted a copy of Frozen Voices for the Fairfield Book Prize 2013.  I didn’t win and wasn’t even selected as a finalist, but one of the contest readers said that my manuscript had come “very close.”  That was all the encouragement I needed.  Over the next two years, I worked and reworked the story, creating a novel of four interwoven stories, with one chapter from each narrator following each other in sequence, from the beginning to the ending of the book.  During the same time period, I wrote two young adult novels and completed another work of historical fiction.  When it came time for the 2015 Fairfield Book Prize, I was faced with a dilemma: which book should I submit?  Even though I’d completely revamped Frozen Voices, I was afraid that since I’d entered it before, the contest readers might not be interested in hearing the same story again, no matter how different it was in format.  But it was, by far, my most polished piece of work.  I checked the contest rules and found that I could submit more than one manuscript, so I decided to improve my odds by entering both the rewritten Frozen Voices and Letter Boxes, my other historical fiction novel.  (I thought the two young adult novels might not be literary enough for the contest.)  I emailed both manuscripts in February and said a few prayers, mostly asking God to help me accept whatever the outcome.