Mendocino (CA) indie-author, Katy Pye, heard recently her 2013 debut novel, Elizabeth’s Landing received its fourth recognition, a Mom’s Choice Gold Award for Young Adult fiction. In January the novel earned a Silver in Young Adult Fiction from the Nautilus Book Awards, known for promoting “Better Books for a Better World.” Previous Nautilus winners include such authors as Barbara Kingsolver, Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth Lesser, and Louise Erdrich. “I’m honored the book’s done so well against international competition and traditionally published works,” said Pye, “Like the story, the awards span three categories. Readers range from ten to ninety-five.” Earlier awards include “Category Winner” for Children’s/Juvenile Fiction in the Next-Generation Indie Book Awards, which she collected on a trip to New York in May. In December 2013, competing with 400 entrees, the book’s digital version earned First Place for Fiction in Writer’s Digest’s “Self-Published e-book Awards.”
Set on the Texas Gulf coast, Elizabeth’s Landing pits fourteen year-old Elizabeth Barker against power, money, and family history in a fight to save sea turtles from beach development and ravages of the BP oil spill. The story idea grew from Pye’s ten-year citizen activism against under-regulated gravel mining in Yolo County, CA during the 1980s. Her passion for the environment led to a degree from the University of California, Davis and a job as Executive Director of a California Resource Conservation District. There, she secured several million in conservation funding for farmers and ranchers, wanting to return farmland to wildlife habitat.
“My experience with the gravel mining conflict and the conservation district,” Pye said, “were perfect presets for writing Elizabeth’s Landing. The world uptick in environmental, social, and economic problems has intensified young people’s struggles, their feelings of vulnerability about their future. The book’s strong story-telling and a diverse set of characters show it’s okay to reach out. In fact, kids today are stepping up, often beyond us adults, as powerful leaders.”
Ms. Pye is a former board member for the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference and belongs to Writers of the Mendocino Coast and Redwood Writers, both branches of the California Writers Club, one of the nation’s oldest literary groups, and the Women’s National Book Association.