America's Next Author background
ErikGustafson writing contest
Tweets by ErikGustafson
Watch the Video:
Author Interview


I spent 20 years serving in the United States Air Force, and have lived all over the world, including Iceland, Germany, and in a tent for a year in Saudi Arabia. Always an artist at heart, I produced many paintings during my adventures. After my service, I settled down with my family (wife, two great daughters, 2 cats and a little white fluff dog) in small town Iowa, where I love to volunteer at the antique carousel. Now, I help people with intellectual disabilities to reach their potential and teach psychology classes at a local college. I switched from a paint brush to a pen and I am now a horror writer, by night. I am working on my third novel. I have had short stories published by Visionary Press, The Horror Zine, Crypto and Co., and several horror anthologies.

Story: My Friend, the Dark


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
Someone told me to write what you know. Someone else told me to write what I can imagine. Or research. I like that idea much better.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
I write down all the weird, twisted little bits of nonsense in my dreams and go from there. I do like to start with a simple outline, but never stay chained to it. Things chained up tend to rot and die.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
As long as the criticism is constructive, bring it on! That's how I learn. I grow as a writer from each person who takes the time to offer help.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
My writing is always evolving with every story I write and from all the feedback I receive from readers, so yeah things would change. Darker moods, deeper characters. And clean up a few things here and there!


S. MacLeod

Rating starRating starRating starRating star
Fast-paced, creepy read. Looking forward to more from the author.

Wendy Siefken

Rating starRating starRating starRating starRating star
Wow! that was a very scary story but I couldn't help myself but to continue! Very nicely done Erik! I would love to see this made into a longer story. Very nicely done!

Leave a review

You have to be logged in to comment. Log in
Not a great read
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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!