America's Next Author background
America's Next Author
America's Next Author is the first real social writing contest. Winners will be chosen based on a unique combination of votes from readers and publishing industry experts.

Nerds are cool now, right?

Read our interview with J.R. Verwey, the Round #8 nominee.

Since you joined near the end of the nomination rounds, how did you manage to quickly get a lot of votes?

I would like to think it was the explosive popularity of my story. I did get a lot of assistance from family and friends, but I also promoted my page on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter,, LinkedIn etc. I spammed tirelessly. I actually didn’t even know about the contest until I got a Facebook invite to support Jill Amber Menard.

When you were little, did you want to be an author when you grew up?

My imagination has always been extremely active. My mother will tell you I was always able to entertain myself as a child. I don’t believe I knew I wanted to be an author; I just wanted to create. I always enjoyed literature and I have written a few unfinished manuscripts since junior high. I became an artist and started playing dungeons and dragons in college. That’s when my imagination really took off and I now have stacks of papers and notes on characters and story arcs.

Who is your all-time favorite author?

Maurice Sendak would be my favorite author with Shel Silverstein as a close second. I have a list of authors that I love and read regularly and I thought this answer would be a lot more difficult at first. Honorable mentions would be Shakespeare, Dr Seuss, JRR Tolkien, RA Salvatore, Robert Jordan, Terry Pratchett, Robert E Howard and Monte Cook.

Name a book that you'd be embarrassed to be seen reading.

Fifty Shades of Grey. Sorry. You won’t catch me reading that.

Are all D&D players nerds? ;)

Ha! I think it would have been the case in the past, but not anymore. Would you call Vin Diesel a nerd? He wrote the introduction for ‘Thirty Years of Adventure: Celebrating Dungeons and Dragons.’ Maybe you would, probably not to his face though. I would say there’s probably a higher incidence of nerds playing. I certainly thought it was for nerds before I got into it. Now I’m proud to be a nerd!

Do you ever base characters on real people that you know?

I definitely do base some characters on real people. Mabel, the heroine of ‘Harbinger’, is based on my mother but is a conglomeration of all the strong women in my life. Mabel’s husband, Routh, was named Paul originally which is my brother’s name. Paul as a name wasn’t “fantasy” enough for this story but he’s based on a mix of characteristics from my brothers and my grandfather. There is a character in my world that is based on me; I will never tell who it is though. 

If you could choose one superhero power, what would it be?

Mind control or some sort of psionic ability. I think it would probably be the most useful. Invisibility would be cool but if I had mind control I could probably make those looking at me believe I was invisible. I wouldn’t need super strength if I could lift things with thought. If I could lift objects with thought, I could lift myself, effectively gaining flight. Okay, I’m a nerd; point proven.

December 18th, 2012
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When I first got the email notifying me that my story was accepted for America's Next Author, I was really excited and even a little nervous. [...]
America's Next Author

#ANA2012 | What Fans Have To Say


America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!