Ten finalists have been chosen from a pool of nearly 5,000 qualified writers in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA), a contest in search of the next popular novel, sponsored by Amazon.com, Penguin Group (USA), and HP. From now through March 31, the public can go to http://www.amazon.com/abna and vote for their favorite work by reading, rating and reviewing excerpts of the Top 10 finalists' submissions. The winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award will be unveiled in New York City on Monday, April 7, 2008 and will be awarded a publishing contract with Penguin Group (USA).
The Top 10 finalists and the titles of their respective novels, are (in alphabetical order):
-- Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan, Ypsilanti, MI Mr. Dolan edits an academic journal by day but yearns to publish mysteries like his favorite authors Harlan Coben and Raymond Chandler.
-- The Butterflies of Grand Canyon by Margaret Erhart, Flagstaff, AZ Ms. Erhart teaches creative writing through the poetry of Pablo Neruda to middle schoolers on a Navajo reservation.
-- Casting Off by Nicole Dickson, Greensboro, NC Ms. Dickson completed her manuscript while commuting to and from her job at Macy's.
-- Fresh Kills by Bill Loehfelm, New Orleans, LA Mr. Loehfelm is a retired high school English teacher who currently bartends at night and writes by day.
-- The Hellraiser of the Hollywood Hills: A McAfee Twins Novel by Jennifer Colt, Santa Monica, CA Ms. Colt is a former screenwriter for Miramax.
-- Motherless Children by Randall Luce, Montgomery Village, MD Mr. Luce is a paralegal with an advanced degree in Anthropology, who based his manuscript on the deeply stirring research and interviews he had conducted while writing a thesis on social change in the Deep South.
-- The Prospect of My Arrival by Dwight Okita, Chicago, IL Mr. Okita works as an office manager for a non-profit in Chicago and is a playwright on the side.
-- Ring of Lies by Karen Laugel, Woodbridge, CT Ms. Laugel is a pediatrician who conceived her medical thriller after- hours.
-- The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer, Carrboro, NC Ms. Eisdorfer is the longtime manager of a college bookstore in North Carolina, whose historical novel was inspired by her literary heroes Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.
-- Wrecking Civilization Before Lunch by John Ring, Shawnee, KS Mr. Ring is a computer programmer who's been writing on the side for the past 20 years.
The 10 finalists' work represents a diverse range of genres, perspectives, themes and literary styles. Although the 10 writers come from across the country, they all share the common dream of having their manuscript chosen by Amazon customers as the Grand Prize winner on April 7 and having their novel subsequently published by Penguin Group (USA).
The grand prize winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award will receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group (USA), which includes a $25,000 advance. In addition, HP will provide the winning author with an entertainment technology package that will include an HP 50-inch Plasma TV, Digital Entertainment Center, HP Pavilion Notebook, HP LaserJet All-in-One and HP Photosmart Digital camera. All runner-up finalists will be offered a "Total Design Freedom" BookSurge self-publishing package from Amazon worth $2,400.