Alum wins Amazon writing contest to get novel published

first_imgFor Notre Dame alumnus Jim King, a long-awaited dream came true last May when he received an unexpected call from Amazon on a train ride into New York City. King, a member of the Class of 1977, was one of three finalists for the second annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, an international competition seeking the “next popular novel.” He would later be selected as the grand prize winner out of more than 6,500 manuscript entries.“I got a call one day from a guy from Amazon and he told me that I was one of three finalists,” King said. “Of course I just wanted to scream because I [have been] trying to get a novel published ever since I graduated from Notre Dame in 1977.”As the winner of the competition, King landed a $25,000 publishing contract with The Viking Press to publish his novel, “Bill Warrington’s Last Chance.” The novel is due for release in August.“The total number of manuscripts was around 6,500 and I had entered the contest almost on a lark,” King said. “I almost forgot about it because I didn’t think I stood a chance to win.”The panel that reviewed the top three manuscripts included “Secret Life of Bees” author Sue Monk Kidd, “Alphabet Mystery Series” author Sue Grafton, literary agent Barney Karpfinger and Penguin Press Vice President and Editor-in-Chief Eamon Dolan.King’s novel is the story of a man, Bill Warrington, who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, although King never explicitly mentions the disease in the book. Warrington is trying to reconnect with his three adult children who want nothing to do with him.“The main character was inspired by a neighbor of mine who had lost his wife shortly before I met him,” King said. “Over the years the house he built with his own hands was falling apart around him.”In the novel, Warrington decides the only way to bring his family back together is to kidnap his 15-year-old granddaughter April, who dreams of becoming a rock star. The two of them take off across America. Warrington forces his children to come together and talk to one another in order to locate April and him.“The book is about a man trying to bring the family together before it’s too late,” King said. The novel took King about a year and a half to write. He began writing the novel in a masters program he had entered after nearly 30 years of being away from school.“I found out about [the contest] on an agent’s blog and decided to investigate it and found out I was a day or two from missing the deadline,” King said. “I put together a pitch, description and manuscript and sent it in.” “Bill Warrington’s Last Chance” was already complete when King spotted the contest. King had previously written two novels that were not published. Winning the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award was truly King’s “first chance.”“I majored in American Studies. [Professor] Elizabeth Christman, who recently passed away, really encouraged me. She was confident that one day, I would have a novel published,” King said. King is currently a freelance corporate writer but hopes his breakthrough novel will lead him into a career of fiction writing.“I’ve already started on another novel, and I’m hoping this is beginning of a different kind of writing career,” he said. King tells aspiring writers getting published may take awhile, but the key to success is just to keep trying.“It helps to be a stubborn Irishman — which I am. It may take you awhile but keep writing, keep submitting, and don’t give up on the dream.”last_img read more

Who is Junior Firpo? The Arsenal and Man City-linked left-back who scored vs Barcelona

first_imgThere is little doubt that Real Betis full-back Junior Firpo has been one of the revelations of the season in La Liga.The 22-year-old Dominican Republic-born player was only handed his first-team debut in February but he has quickly made himself at home and has attracted the interest of many of Europe’s top clubs. Having spent the first half of the 2017-18 season with the ‘B’ team, he was promoted to the senior squad for a Primera Division encounter with Deportivo La Coruna and provided the assist for the only goal of the game.A week later, he was handed another start, this time against Real Madrid, and another assist followed, albeit in a 5-3 defeat.“I still can’t believe I played in that match,” he said in the aftermath to El Decano Deportivo.Until he sustained a ligament injury a fortnight before the end of the season, he played every minute for the Seville side, showing formidable versatility by turning out as a defender and a midfielder on the left, while also starting four games as a centre-back in a three-man rearguard.“Dani Carvajal seems like a good player to mirror my game on: he attacks, defends and is very intense,” he said. “He’s what I’d like to become someday… And in the 2010 World Cup I really liked Brazil defender Michel Bastos because he was a winger turned into a full-back. These are my references.”After a rather slow start to the new season, he has burst back into consciousness thanks to three goals in four matches. Indeed, he particularly stood out in Betis’ stunning 4-3 victory over Barcelona at Camp Nou, opening the scoring then providing the assist for Sergio Canales to score that proved the winner.WHICH CLUBS ARE INTERESTED IN JUNIOR FIRPO? A glut of clubs have taken an interest in the rangy runner, whose desire to get forward makes him ideal as an attacking left-back or wing-back. Indeed, he has admitted that his defensive work is not entirely polished as he must improve his positional sense.Arsenal and Manchester City have both been linked with a potential swoop, but perhaps more realistic is the interest coming from Newcastle and Crystal Palace on a player who has a release fee of €50 million (£45m/$57m) written into his contract.Firpo, meanwhile, has committed his future to his current employers, signing two new deals in 2017 and yet another in 2018, and indicating that he enjoys the lifestyle in Seville.“My thoughts are now with Betis and I am very happy in Seville,” he told Real Betis media.“My girlfriend is pregnant, we are going to have our child here in Seville, I am close to my family and my parents who are from Malaga – that is where I grew up.“And Seville as a city, today in December with 18- or 20-degrees Celsius training, it is a marvel. Betis fans should be relaxed – I am very happy, calm and I want to continue here for a long time.“It is true that there is interest from other clubs, but this does not concern me.”CAN JUNIOR FIRPO PLAY FOR SPAIN?As for his international future, that would appear to lie with Spain, despite the fact he has turned out with the Dominican Republic national team once in 2015 against a Brazil Under-23 side and that he became the first player born in the country to play in La Liga.“I’ve dual citizenship because I’ve been here for 15 years. It’s not that I consider myself more Spanish that Dominican – I’m very proud of my country – but I’ve been here a long time and also consider myself Spanish,” he said. Indeed, his entire education in the game came since moving to Malaga aged seven. Getty Images “When I arrived in Spain, I didn’t know what football was,” he said, having pointed out that baseball and basketball are the two crazes in the Dominican Republic. “My father pointed me towards football to make friends at school.“I had problems integrating at school because I was very shy. My father’s friends told him to sign me up for football. In the first few months I used to go home crying because I didn’t like it, I didn’t know how to play.“I had to see a lot of my first coach, whose name is Vera. He integrated me very quickly and taught me how to play. And in the end, I loved it and it’s what I do!”last_img read more