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Local author wins national writing contest

• Feb 15, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Melanie Hooyenga, author of the young adult trilogy “The Flicker Effect,” won first place in the Writer’s Digest third annual Self-Published eBook Awards for the Middle Grade/Young Adult category for her novel “Flicker.”

“This is one of the top 10 writing awards a self-published, or indie, author can receive,” the Grand Haven native said. “There’s still a lot of stigma with self-publishing, so winning this award is like a stamp of approval for all of us out there who take the alternative route to getting published. Today’s technology and readers’ preference will continue to make this a popular option.”

Judges wrote of Hooyenga’s work: “We are presented with a story that is heavy on the romance and teen drama, while mixing in some supernatural thrills and interesting historical ideas as well. It mines this territory well — rather than seeming like one genre is mashed onto another, the blending works well here and it really feels like a cohesive and necessary story being told in the only way it possibly could have been.”

“Flicker” is about a girl named Biz who uses sunlight to go back to yesterday.

From Amazon: “She takes advantage of flickering by retaking trig tests, fixing fights with her boyfriend (or reliving the making up), and repeating pretty much anything that could be done better. Trouble is, flickering makes her head explode from the inside. Or feel like it anyway.”

The series has received nearly all five-star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon — but, admits Hooyenga, “it’s difficult getting your name out there. I’m a one-woman show with a day job, so I can only spend so much time on marketing.”

In addition to the $1,000 cash prize, “Flicker” will be mentioned in the national magazine.

“This kind of exposure is huge for me,” Hooyenga said.

Hooyenga has published three young adult novels and is currently working on her fourth. You can learn more about her at www.melaniehoo.com.

Last year, Muskegon’s Steve Lebel won the grand prize in the same competition for his young adult novel, “The Universe Builders.”

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