Welcome to the RPLA Showcase
Each year at the Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, authors experience the joy of earning accolades for all the hard work that is often done in the privacy of the home with little to no recognition. Our goal is to showcase the best of the best at the 2015 Royal Palm Literary Awards and provide First Place winners with a well-deserved spotlight. Not only are we recognizing extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.
Now that the 2016 RPLA Competition winners have been announced, upcoming RPLA Showcases will continue as a spotlight throughout the year and into 2017 for those First Place winners.
2015 Published Short Story
Lilith by Antonio Simon, Jr.
Antonio Simon, Jr. won First Place in the Published Short Story category. In Lilith, a hermit’s life is turned upside-down by the arrival of a mysterious woman. Only time will tell if Lilith is a heroine, a victim, or a monster.
Click the link to read a sample:
Q & A with Antonio Simon, Jr.
Q: Where do you get your story ideas?
A: They literally come from everywhere, oftentimes in snippets – an idea for a character here, an interesting bit of dialogue there. The challenge lies in expanding these bits into scenes, and then linking the scenes together in a story. But more to the point, I find most of my ideas come from observing people. If you take a moment to stand back quietly and watch, you may find people are fascinating creatures to observe in their native environments. Best of all, you needn’t even visit a zoo. With just a glance out your window you’ll usually find plenty of people going about their daily lives.
Q: Anything in particular about your award-winning RPLA entry that you’d like to share?
A: People have told me the story is controversial. I won’t deny that. “Lilith” is very different from anything I’d written before. It’s a secular retelling of the Adam and Eve story up through the murder of Abel. Prior to writing it, I had focused primarily on the genres of fantasy and comedy; my novel, “The Gullwing Odyssey” (a 2014 RPLA winner) being an excellent example of my efforts at the time. In “Lilith” I explored some dark paths – misogyny, bigotry, abuse – and how the female protagonist rises above these adversities. I wanted to explore what would happen if an immortal eyewitness with perfect memory shared her version of the creation story, having seen it firsthand, and how her account would differ from the version that has come down to us after millennia of oral tradition and translations. The story incorporates ancient Mesopotamian and Jewish cultural traditions. Readers today might find the characters’ behavior shocking, chauvinistic, and offensive, but, truth be told, this behavior was societally accepted as the norm six thousand years ago in that part of the world.
Q: Who do you credit with inspiring your writing?
A: That’s hard to say because I draw inspiration from so many sources. I don’t think I can pin it down to just one person. I can say that reading books by my favorite authors has influenced my writing. They are: Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft, and Mark Twain.
Q: Any tips for new writers?
A: First: if you want to write, you need to read, and not just books on how to write but everything – novels, magazines, textbooks, you name it. That’s the only way you’ll find your voice. In addition, you never know when what you’re reading will trigger inspiration for a story. Secondly: you’ll need to write, a lot. You can’t fairly call yourself a writer if you don’t write. Besides, that’s the only way you’ll develop your style and get better at writing. Discipline is key here; you must approach writing like a job, because in many respects it is. Third: don’t be a perfectionist. While you should always write the best you can and seek ways to improve, you should also know when to leave well enough alone. Don’t second-guess yourself. Write, proofread, and move on.