The John Esten Cooke Fiction Award is given annually to encourage writers of fiction to portray characters and events dealing with the War Between the States, Confederate heritage, or Southern history in a historically accurate fashion. The award shall be in the amount of $1,000 paid directly to the author. The winner shall receive an engraved trophy denoting that he/she was the recipient of the award. All books to be considered for this year’s award shall be submitted to the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award Committee by April 1st.
Invitation to participate in the contest is extended to any person who has written a book-length work of fiction published between May 1st, two years prior and April 1st of this year. All entries must be accompanied by a letter from the publisher stating the official date of publication. Each entry must be accompanied by a biographical sketch of the author. The judges will consider the effectiveness of research, accuracy of statement, and excellence of style in selecting the winner. All entries must be book length. If the winning book goes to a second printing, it shall contain the acknowledgment that it was selected as the winner of the Cooke Fiction Award along with stating the year the award was made.
Beyond the Wood by Michael J. Roueche, 2012 Winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award
“An anything-but-simple story of treachery, peril, slackening resolve and thwarted romance . . . and a little War Between the States.”
Hank, a Union Soldier, refuses retreat from his first bloodied action without proof he has been there, and he takes it from a dying enemy. Fed by the compassion he finds in the Confederate’s last letter and his own unsettled dreams and troubling memories, Hank imagines a romance that drives him relentlessly toward an impossible rendezvous. All the while, Elizabeth, the widow, struggles with burdens left by her husband, even as neighbors conspire against her. And what is she to make of this Yankee, this enemy, so set on coming to her?
Beyond the Wood, published by Vesta House Publishing, is set amid Virginia’s social, political and military events, from John Brown’s raid to the foreboding battle silence that welcomes 1864.
It’s available in paperback and for Kindle (Amazon) and Nook (Barnes and Noble). Michael is currently editing the sequel due out late 2012 or early 2013. For signed copies of Beyond the Wood and special prices for book clubs, visit him at www.michaeljroueche.com.
Michael grew up in Virginia and spent most of his adult life in the Old Dominion. Always a romantic, only in more recent years did he discover the Civil War that always had surrounded him, thanks to Bruce Catton books from his father’s library and a good friend who gave him a copy of Michael Schaara’s Killer Angels. He and his wife of 35 years now live in Colorado. They have five children and several grandchildren.
Recent Praise for Beyond the Wood
“In the midst of the chaos of the Civil War, the author has told a story of love and redemption. While recounting the adventures of one Union soldier trying to deliver a message from a fallen enemy, he was able to depict the attitudes and feelings of soldiers on both sides as well as the struggles of civilians living along the border. Roueche captures the Civil War in a well-told exciting adventure and romance.”
Dr. James W. Finck, Assistant Professor of History, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
● Finalist, 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, a non-profit awards program “judged by leaders in the indie book publishing industry to identify indie books that deserve to reach a wider audience.” It is sometimes considered “the Sundance of the book publishing world,” says Catherine Goulet, Chair of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards program.
● 2011 Silver Medalist: Historical Fiction, eLit Book Awards, “a global awards program committed to illuminating and honoring the very best of English language digital publishing entertainment.”
● 2012 Merit Book, EVVY Awards; recognition from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.