Being nominated for a Bram Stoker Award was an honor for local author Mike Collins, but winning left him almost speechless.
Ive spoken in front of groups as large as 50,000 people, but I was terrified, Collins said of his acceptance speech he gave after winning the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement Nonfiction for his book Writers Workshop of Horror, during the awards ceremony in Brighton, England, on March 27. I decided to go because if I had a chance of winning I wanted to be there.
I got to be a finalist and I was totally satisfied and happy being a finalist, knowing that many of these writers who I consider far above me thought the book was good enough to be in contention for this award. I got to sit at the table with two of the guys who were up for the same award as myself and they were both Steven King books. They were really great books and I knew it was going to be a tough category.
I got up to accept the award and being in front of crowds has never been a problem for me. I got up in front of this group to accept the award and I was petrified. I was scared to death. I looked over the crowd and there was Neil Gaiman, Brian Lumley, Ramsey Campbell and F. Paul Wilson and F. Paul Wilson laughed and said But, the cool thing, Michael, was that we were all clapping for you at that moment.
Collins said although he was happy to win the award, he was, at the same time, terrified.
When they called my name and I rose from my seat to start walking, I could feel my legs were wobbly and I was choked up, Collins said. Thank goodness, by the time I got to the microphone, I was over that, but I still cant tell you what I said.
Collins of Chapmanville penned the book under the nom-de-plume Michael Knost, to whom the House of Usher trophy is inscribed. He said the book received a record 72 award recommendations. The previous record stood in the 30s, he said.
The book is a good book, despite my involvement, Collins said. You have Clive Barker in it and Ramsey Campbell and all these guys who contributed and they are all fantastic.
The book is filled with essays by some of the top horror writers on the craft of writing a horror novel. Collins said each writer discussed their strengths in the book.
The book is a collection of essays, articles and interviews by and with some of the biggest names on specific elements of writing dark fiction, Collins said. I took each writer and I asked them to write on a subject they are known for. Every article in the book focuses on something different in the craft of writing.
Collins said the book has been a big success.
The book has done so well and continues to do well, Collins said.
After the ceremony, Collins was congratulated by Gaiman, who is the author of several New York Times best sellers.
We began talking and I think that was a bigger highlight than winning the award, Collins said.
The Bram Stoker Awards ceremony took place at a gala Fish-and-Chips Banquet on Brighton Pier.
The event is considered one of the highlights of the 2010 World Horror Convention, and included several notable guests of honor and past Bram Stoker Award winners as presenters. Also in attendance were Neil Gaiman, F. Paul Wilson, Brian Lumley and several other literary stars.
A Mountain State native, Collins is best known within the state's borders for his popular Legends of the Mountain State series, published by Woodland Press of Chapmanville.
Collins Bram Stoker Award-winning book also won the national Black Quill Award earlier this month, taking the Editors Choice in the Nonfiction category. Dark Scribe Magazine, a trade publication for horror writers and industry professionals, facilitates the Black Quill Award.
Making the final ballot for the Bram Stoker Award is an honor in itself, Collins said.
The Bram Stoker Award is the highest honor in superior achievement in horror and dark fiction genres. The award is named after Bram Stoker, the famed author of Dracula. Writers such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Clive Barker have all won the award in the past.
We are extremely proud to see a West Virginia author win this celebrated international award, said Keith Davis, CEO of Woodland Press. "And we are very grateful to the distinguished authors whose contributions helped make the book the success that it is."
A press release from Woodland Press said the book continues to receive rave reviews and recognition across the country and throughout Europe.
Writers Workshop of Horror is a collection of articles and interviews by/with some of the biggest names in the horror and dark fiction genres, focusing on the craft of writing fiction with a horror slant.
The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is a worldwide organization of writers and publishing professionals dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. HWA was formed in the late 1980s with the help of many of the field's greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon and Joe R. Lansdale. Today, with members all around the globe, it is the oldest and most respected professional organization devoted to the genre.
Collins is scheduled for a book launch party on Saturday at Borders in Huntington Mall, from 4 to 6 p.m., for the release of his new anthology, Dark Tales of Terror, which features 16 West Virginia authors.
Collins said winning the Bram Stoker Award means a lot for the book and for him.
Its a lot for me, especially as Michael Knost, Collins said. Its going to be enormous for the book, because I did pick up a foreign rights agent while I was there and she is going to see that the book will be out with a United Kingdom edition and there will be a Japanese edition and a German edition. That also opens the door because she will probably be my foreign rights agent for all my other projects, as well. The book, itself, because of this, has seen a lot more book sales.
It does open up the awareness to more people and has that credibility of winning and international award. I think it will help that book and will also help me find another agent for a novel Im working on, called To The Place I Belong, which is about the Mothman returning to Logan County. I think having won that award gives you a little more credibility and publishers will take you a little more seriously than before.
Collins said he is not leaving Woodland Press. He has sold the trade paperback rights to Woodland Press for his upcoming novel.
I wanted to be loyal to Woodland Press, Collins said. Woodland Press always does a great job with everything theyve done, so I wanted to make sure they have the trade paperback rights.
To learn more about the book, visit www.woodlandpress.com or www.MichaelKnost.com.