The INSPY Advisory is pleased to announce the 2011 INSPY Award Winners:
Creative Nonfiction: Passport Through Darknessby Kimberly L. Smith
In Passport Through Darkness, Mrs. Smith portrays sacrificial Christian living as the absolutely normal and healthy choice for all Christians. She and her husband are willingly transparent with their weaknesses and present a realistic picture of what a Christian living looks like: hard, messy, and painful, but right and worthwhile. Passport Through Darkness is a powerful story that can change who you are at a fundamental level.
General Fiction:City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell(Henry Holt & Co, September 2010)
We chose City of Tranquil Light because it tells a compelling story with complex characters that feel true to life, characters we care about. Bo Caldwell’s prose is lyrical.
The characters live a very real faith. Everything they do has Kingdom service in mind, yet they never come across as preachy. Their faith is organic. Serving Christ is what they do, it’s who they are. Because of that, this book’s appeal goes beyond that of the Christian community.
Literature for Young People: Saint Training by Elizabeth Fixmer (Zondervan, 2010)
Saint Training is realistic in its examination of religion without stereotype or fundamentalist views. An inspiring read, relevant to young readers and a stand out in its genre. Mary Clare is very down to earth and anyone will be able to relate to her struggles.
Mystery/Thriller: The Bishopby Steven James
Steven James did not shy away from the “tough” questions about God and we appreciate that an author – a Christian author at that, would be up-front and center with the real tough spiritual questions. The Bishop treats the reader as intelligent and with a mind of her own. The plot was engaging and the characters felt real.
Catherine West gives us a gritty and moving account of the Vietnam War as experienced by an intrepid journalist providing innovation of the setting, time period and subject matter. The edgy realism and poignant honesty that flow from West’s pen in Yesterday’s Tomorrow place it head-and-shoulders above some of biggest bestsellers on bookstore shelves today, and it easily fulfills all the requirements set forth to make it the INSPY Award Winner for Romance.
Speculative Fiction: The Falling Away by T.L. Hines (Thomas Nelson, September 2010)
Non-linear plot lines that all converge without being predictable, responsible treatment of mental disorders without cliche; self sacrifice, demonic encounters and the power of Grace; all these reasons and more make The Falling Away by T.L. Hines the speculative INSPY winner. In his own distinctive “noir bizarre” style, Hines explores powerful truths about life, death and redemption. The author managed to tackle a familiar subject (spirituals warfare) in a most unconventional way. Full characterization meshed with a tight plot that is engaging even for newcomers to the supernatural thriller. Ultimately, more than one character learns important truths about the fallen world we live in and the spiritual dangers one may face from without and within. This novel is an embodiment of the concept that God’s power is made perfect in human weakness.