Below is the article just posted in my local paper “The Republican Journal” about my advancement in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
Searsmont — Danielle Bannister of Searsmont entered Amazon’s 2012 Breakthrough Novel Award contest on the advice of a friend earlier this year, and so far, the competition has provided a big push for her debut novel, “Pulled.”
Bannister’s book, a fictional story for mature young adults that was released last fall, has advanced to the next phase in the competition that aims to introduce readers to up-and-coming authors. March 20, Bannister learned her work had been selected as one of the top 250 young adult fiction novels out of a field of 1,000.
When Bannister first saw the news, she thought she made an operator error while checking on the status of her entry on her husband’s new iPad.
“I couldn’t believe it until I saw it on my own computer,” she said with a laugh. “I was a little floored to say the least.”
Because “Pulled” has reached this phase in the contest, Bannister said the book will now be available at Amazon to Kindle users, free of charge. (Get it free HERE)
“If you go to Amazon and you do a search for my name or the title, you’ll see the Breakthrough Novel Award version,” she said.
Bannister hopes that will help introduce more readers to “Pulled,” and she has reason to believe it will — Bannister herself recently offered free electronic versions of “Pulled” to readers in an effort to get more exposure for the book, and that resulted in the worldwide distribution of 5,500 additional copies.
“Pulled” details the relationship between theater majors Naya Adams and Etash. The two are immediately drawn to one another by a magnetic-like sensation that pulls the initially unwilling pair toward one another. Neither understands what is happening, and Naya tries to avoid the mysterious situation by staying close to her abusive boyfriend Seth.
But when Naya and Etash win the lead roles in their school’s silent production of “Romeo and Juliet,” avoidance becomes nearly impossible, and as Bannister explains in the plot summary for the novel, “fate has other plans for these star-crossed lovers, for this is not the first time they have been pulled together, nor will it be their last.”
Bannister, who has a background in theater, said she never thought much about writing until she had a dream that included a familiar brick building she recognized from her days as a theater major at the University of Southern Maine. Nearby there was a man and a woman hovering in the midst of a rain storm, and both were surrounded by what looked like lightning bolts.
She was so moved by the image, she immediately put pen to paper in an effort to keep the idea fresh in her mind. That was more than two years ago.
In February, “Pulled,” was chosen from 5,000 entries to move into the second round of the contest. At the conclusion of the competition, Amazon will award each of the grand prize winners in the young adult fiction and general fiction categories a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.
Bannister won’t know if her book makes the cut for the next phase until mid-April, but even if it doesn’t advance any further in the contest, Bannister said she has been pleasantly surprised at how well “Pulled” has been received.
“It really has just snowballed,” said Bannister.
Reporter Tanya Mitchell can be reached at 338-3333 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.