The Great Novel Contest 2019 Finalist Spotlights – Jonathan Rosen

Jonathan Rosen is one of The Great Novel Contest 2019’s finalists for his manuscript, The Museum of an Extinct Race.

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Jonathan Rosen is a family physician and heads a non-profit, The Connecticut Center for Primary Care. On top of that, he’s the Vice Chairman of ProHealth Physicians and still manages to make time to write. He earned his BA in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Sometimes he wonders if he leans more towards the role of writer or doctor. So far, he’s written six novels with the most recent being The Museum of an Extinct Race.

The Museum of an Extinct Race takes place in a dystopian society where Hitler won WWII by developing the atom bomb before the US. Four decades later, “The Museum of an Extinct Race” was erected in Prague to celebrate the elimination of Judaism from the planet. In the midst of this world run by Nazis, a tour guide and museum curator begin to fall in love as they strive to resurrect an extinguished religion.

The start of Jonathan’s literary journey began with The Catcher in the Rye, which first introduced him to “the magic of the written word’s ability to link imagination to reality.” From there he moved on to Catch-22 and fell in love with reading and writing. For all writers, Jonathan recommends reading Haruki Murakami “for mind-blowing inventiveness and audacity,” as well as anything by Philip Roth and Michael Chabon.

His wife supports him in his writing endeavors, and he receives some critiques from his son who is an English professor. Creating a book is difficult, and Jonathan suggests that anyone who has trouble finishing a novel should “keep going back to why [they] wanted to write the novel in the first place.”

He initially discovered The Great Writing Contest 2019 through Poets & Writers, which collects a host of submission opportunities and contests into one convenient resource. Looking into the contest, Jonathan thought OWA “seemed amazingly well organized and receptive” so he submitted The Museum of an Extinct Race.

He plans to try and publish the manuscript once more after going through another round of edits, and he hopes to find a “small press with enough cache to get [his] foot in the door and enough freedom to promote the novel as [he] would hope to.”


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The Great Novel Contest 2019: Mike Sieminski — Finalist

Mike Sieminksi’s fantasy novel Paralith was one of the top ten finalists in The Great Novel Contest 2019.

The Great Novel Contest 2020 is live! Find the details here.

Paralith is a coming-of-age story that follows two brothers as they seek a set of powerful stones on an epic quest. Along the way, they’ll encounter new allies, confront old wounds, and start to unravel a long-held family mystery. Paralith combines the fantastical with the growth of a sheltered teenager into a young man.

Mike Sieminksi lives in Westerville, Ohio, with his beautiful wife and wonderful six-year-old twins. He is a licensed dietitian with degrees in medical dietetics and communication from The Ohio State University. Mike knows that life is precious, so he’s always looking for ways to better himself whether it is at his job, with his family, or through his writing. 

As a kid, Mike didn’t like to read unless it was a Dungeons and Dragons manual, but he always knew that he wanted to write a book. As an adult, Mike finds inspiration in Harry Potter. He also enjoys classic stories by Isaac Asimov, H. G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, Lovecraft, and Stephen King. He encourages writers to read things that inspire them. 

Mike heard about The Great Novel Contest during the Columbus State Writers’ Conference and decided it was a fantastic opportunity to get his writing out into the world. With the support of his wife

Prior to entering The Great Novel Contest, Mike struggled to find someone to read his work and provide objective feedback. Traditional publishing required him to summarize his 74,000-word book in a 200-word query letter, and then hope the agent requests the manuscript. “I liked that the OWA contest guaranteed a reading of each manuscript, giving each one a chance,” Mike said. He also thought it was a great chance to gauge the quality of his writing against other writers.

If you are struggling to complete your novel, Mike has some advice. “Don’t think. Write. Sometimes the brain can interfere with your writing. Let your hands and fingers be the unfiltered translators of your brain’s deep, dark thoughts. Also, enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, stop.”

Mike is currently querying agents and publishers in hopes of being published. “I’ve always envisioned my book being sold at Barnes & Noble, featured on the bestseller rack as you walk in the store, then made into a blockbuster movie.” He is open to self-publishing and plans to look into it in the future if the traditional publishing route doesn’t work out.


We’d love to read your manuscripts! Submit them to The Great Novel Contest 2020 for a chance to win $1,000 and a publishing contract with Bellwether.

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