Announcing the Second James Patterson Co-Author Competition

When we first introduced the James Patterson Co-Author Competition, we had no idea we would receive such incredible submissions. We were blown away by your passion (and your writing)! We weren’t the only ones. James Patterson was so impressed, he wants to do it again. So, we are!

The competition is only open to MasterClass students. So if you haven’t already, enroll in James Patterson’s MasterClass.  After taking the class, you can submit a two sentence book hook for your idea (maximum 100 words) and a sample chapter (maximum 1,000 words). Patterson himself will hand-pick the top 3 proposals. There is no additional fee after enrollment and submissions are limited to one per student.  The competition opens February 1, 2017 at 9:00am PST. The submission period ends March 1st, 2017 at 11:59pm PST.

The top 10 semi-finalists will be awarded $1,000 and from there, the selected 3 finalists will be asked to provide an outline for the story by April 13th and will receive an additional $2,500. The final winner to co-author a book with James Patterson will be notified by May 31, 2017, and we will officially announce the winner in June of 2017.

You can find all the details of the competition at

Good luck!

Meet Semifinalists EJ Flynn & Veronica Forand

Thank you to everyone who participated in the James Patterson Co-Author Competition and congratulations to the semifinalists! Today, we’d like you to meet MasterClass students and semifinalists EJ Flynn and Veronica Forand!

EJ Flynn
Mamaroneck, NY

EJ FlynnHow long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was fifteen, so nearly thirty years. I started writing because I wanted to imagine my life as an adult, so I wrote about myself and my best friends in our late twenties.

Which writers do you aspire to be like?
My favorite authors (other than Mr. Patterson) are Stephen King, John Saul, Dean Koontz, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Michael Connelly and Danielle Steel. If I could be half as talented and find half as much success as these authors, I would be blessed.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from James’ class so far?
The most important thing I’ve learned is to write everyday. Find a way, no matter what, to write for at least an hour every single day.

Who has been the most supportive of your writing? How do they help you?
My family has been the most supportive of my writing. My sister Lisa gifted me the James Patterson MasterClass because she truly believes in my writing and encouraged me to enter the contest. My cousin Patti is my fellow writer. She and I send each other our work for critique and motivation. My husband and my eight year old daughter support me the most everyday.

Veronica Forand
Newtown Square, PA

What drivVeronica Forandes you to write?
I love thinking up ideas for books I’d love to read. If I don’t enjoy reading my own book, no one else will either. Once an idea takes hold in my imagination, I sit down and plot out the story. Plotting a thriller is my favorite intellectual activity; a puzzle that has an infinite number of solutions, but only a few possibilities that will engage a reader all the way through. After I write the dreaded first draft, I dive into the language. I rewrite often so the words flow, allowing a reader to become absorbed in the story and not be bogged down by vocabulary or grammar.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from James’ class so far?
His focus on hard work and creating habits that will enhance his career really made sense to me. He spoke about writing at five am while working in advertising full-time. No excuses. By making writing a priority every day, my productivity has increased, but even more important, my enjoyment of writing has increased. This is not a chore, nor is it a hobby that I fit into a busy  schedule. This is my passion, and I take all the time I need to create stories others will want to read.

How do you plan to keep readers engrossed in your story?
My story follows two completely different women investigating a murder. One was raised on  Southern manners and charm, while the other is a gritty New Yorker who has no problem breaking the law to solve a crime. They need to work together despite their mutual hatred for each other. I hope the conflict between them and the outside forces working against them will  create a story that is hard to put down.

Who has been the most supportive of your writing? How do they help you?
My biggest support is the romance writing community. As a brand new writer, my local writing group, the Valley Forge Romance Writers, offered advice, looked over my early manuscripts,  and offered a shoulder to cry on. These remarkable women are always available to celebrate  successes and to commiserate over failure. I love them all.

Meet Semifinalists Kecia Bal & Lynette Eason

Thank you to everyone who participated in the James Patterson Co-Author Competition and congratulations to the semifinalists! For the rest of the week, we will be featuring two of the ten semifinalists each day, so that you can get to know them and learn about their backgrounds as writers. Today, we’d like you to meet MasterClass students Kecia Bal and Lynette Eason!

Kecia Bal
Somerset, Pennsylvania

KeciaWhat drives you to write?
A desire to make people care, make them feel something. And stubbornness. I’m going to show up and write, even when it’s not flowing because I know the reward: that rush that comes when something aligns – in a way that feels like magic – and it is working and I’m there, ready. There’s nothing like that.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing stories since I was able to draw pictures. Professionally, I sold my first story (a piece for a travel website) at age 17 for $50. I was a newsroom intern by 19 and a full-time journalist by 21.

How do you plan to keep readers engrossed in your story?
I’ll keep a heart-racing pace with high stakes, swift twists, compelling questions, and, eventually, satisfying answers. I want readers to feel bound to the characters, and I want to surprise them – or scare them or charm them – on every page and keep them guessing until the last page.

Who has been the most supportive of your writing? How do they help you?
I am blessed with loving, supportive family – but you never really know whether you’re on to something until someone who doesn’t have to love what you make says you’re on to something. I have honest teachers and friends who helped me most by being editors – telling me what’s not working and where to cut to let what is working shine. My sons remind me daily that playfulness and curiosity are what shine brightest.

Lynette Eason
Simpsonville, South Carolina

LynetteWhat drives you to write?
Writing started out being a way to ease the loneliness that was the result of a hard-working and traveling husband. Since then, it’s become my passion. It’s my job, and I love it.

If you could spend 5 minutes with James, what questions would you ask him?
What’s the one book that’s been written that you wish you’d thought of?

Which writers do you aspire to be like?
I admire and have learned from John Grisham, Debbie Macomber, Lee Child, James Patterson, Terri Blackstock, Dee Henderson and others. I don’t really aspire to be like them. I want to be myself. 🙂

Who has been the most supportive of your writing? How do they help you?
My family has been super supportive. I’m so thankful for their understanding when I need to write–and the fact that they like take out, know how to do laundry, and don’t hate me when I forget they’re in the room.

James Patterson’s Co-Author Semifinalists

“There are a lot of people who have the talent, but haven’t been shown the door to walk through.”—James Patterson

James Patterson has been so impressed by students in his MasterClass that 8 weeks ago he announced that he would pick one student to become his newest co-author.

We received thousands of submissions for the James Patterson Co-Author Competition. We are blown away not only at the quality of the submissions, but even more importantly the encouragement, advice, and collaboration we saw in the class community.

Today, we’re excited to announce the 10 semifinalists who have been selected based on their submissions. These semifinalists will receive a $1,000 cash prize and 3 will move on to the final round where they will receive $2,500 and submit an outline for a chance to become James’ co-author.

So, without further ado, here are the ten semifinalists for the James Patterson Co-Author Competition!

  • Kecia Bal
  • Lynette Eason
  • EJ Flynn
  • Veronica Forand
  • Jeff Gunhus
  • Michael Hilliard
  • Ellery Kane
  • Theresa Schultz
  • Sarah Smothers
  • Jacob Turner

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the competition and to our semifinalists! It was an incredibly difficult decision, and we’ve been amazed by the number of great submissions. Be sure to come back to learn more about the semifinalists. Tune in on April 12th when we announce the top three finalists and on May 24th when we announce James’ newest co-author!