Steamboat writers come up big at EVVY awards

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— Dr. Dawn Obrecht didn’t know book awards existed when she first began to write. But on Thursday in Denver, she and three other Steamboat authors were recognized with the Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association 18th annual EVVY awards.

“It was just awesome,” said Obrecht, whose first book “Mission Possible” won second place in the legacy category in addition to receiving a Montaigne Medal. “It just shows us what we have in Steamboat.”

The four EVVY finalists from Steamboat were Obrecht for her book on medical mission work; Ali Boehm for her late brother’s book “Louie’s Saxophone”; Karen Gilroy for “Discovering the Healer Within”; and Mary B. Kurtz for “At Home in the Elk River Valley.”

Boehm’s book won first in the legacy category while Gilroy’s took first in the diet and wellness category. Kurtz’s work earned a second-place award.

Gilroy said attending the event Thursday, which was hosted by Maggie Roswell, was an illuminating experience.

“It was nice to be around other authors,” said Gilroy, who wrote about the power of alternative forms of healing. “There were a lot of people there who were editors, a good mix of the writing field. It was really exciting for me; it’s the first book I’d written.”

The authors said that many of them never had considered entering their book in a contest, but local independent publisher and author Sue Leonard urged her writing cohorts to go out on a limb.

Leonard leads the SHe Writes Steamboat independent publishing group that has influenced all four authors in one way or another.

“She’s been instrumental in me being able to promote myself,” Gilroy said. “She’s just phenomenal. If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be in the contest. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Boehm agreed.

“She’s done an amazing job of helping foster creativity,” Boehm said. “And showing people avenues for exploring that.”

For Boehm, whose brother wrote a touching children’s book before he passed away, earning the EVVY award was a confirmation of the book’s power.

“It feels like the book has kind of taken on a life of its own,” she said. “It’s been meant for good and it’s really special that people are recognizing the specialness and the message that’s involved with it. It feels really great.”

Obrecht said Thursday’s ceremony was about much more than receiving accolades.

“This is just truly icing on the cake,” she said about the award. “We get to meet each other and be supportive. It was really fun to have several of us there. It’s such a joy to see other people get awards and to know those writers.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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