The Great Novel Contest is underway! Each year we receive tons of submissions from talented authors who have worked hard to perfect their manuscript. We recently had a chat with CCC Member Christopher Stollar, who is submitting his first novel to The Great Novel Contest this year.
CCC: Did you submit to last year’s novel contest?
Christopher: I didn’t submit to last year’s contest because I wanted the writers at Columbus Creative Cooperative to critique my manuscript first — and hopefully find all of its flaws before the judges do.
CCC: Why did you decide to submit to TGNC 2015? Did you have any reservations?
Christopher: I didn’t have any reservations. In fact, I wanted to see how well my novel could fight among the competition.
CCC: What are you submitting?
Christopher: I’m submitting my first book, The Black Lens. It’s a dark psychological mystery about a teenage girl and her sister who fight back at the pimp that forces them into sex trafficking in a small American town.
CCC: That sounds really interesting! What did you do to prepare your novel for submission to The Great Novel Contest?
Christopher: I have spent the last three years researching, writing and editing my manuscript. That includes interviews with prostitutes, police officers and social workers. Most recently, I have spent the past three months making dozens of edits suggested by the writers at Columbus Creative Cooperative.
CCC: Have you submitted to any novel contests in the past?
Christopher: This is my first novel and contest.
CCC: What part of the contest are you most excited about?
Christopher: I’m excited to see if my book makes it into the top 10. That would give me an objective sense of encouragement, which my mom just can’t provide.
CCC: Have you shopped your novel around to publishers?
Christopher: I have pitched my manuscript to 44 agents since Aug. 29. So far, 17 have gotten back to me with rejection letters. However, I did receive one encouraging comment from an agent: “Your book has an interesting synopsis, exploring the shady world of sex trafficking and using photography as a weapon against it.”
CCC: If you win, how will you spend your prize money?
Christopher: I will donate a portion to a nonprofit organization that fights sex trafficking. Then I will put the rest of the prize money toward a trip with my wife. she has spent the past three years both encouraging and critiquing my work — and she deserves a break.
CCC: Who has helped you along the way with your novel?
Christopher: I have relied each day on God, the Great Author, my mom, who kindled my love for writing, my wife, who kept those embers burning, and more than a dozen writers who torched my drafts until one survived the fire.
CCC: Why do you write?
Christopher: I love the thrill of creating a new world, one that belongs just to you, your characters — and any reader who wants to join.
Find rules and instructions for entering The Great Novel Contest here. Submit your novel before January 31, 2015 for a chance to win $1000 and priority consideration from four independent publishers.