Alexander book nabs award

Hannah Gross

Hannah Gross

NLJ Correspondent 


Earlier this year, Newcastle High School English teacher Michael Alexander actively pursued his passion for writing by publishing his first book, “Dead Leaves, Boarded Windows.” He submitted it to Indies Today, which provides editorial reviews for independently published books using a five-star scale, and not
only did his work receive a five-star review, but the book was awarded the 2020 Best Horror Award.

“Michael Jess Alexander possesses a frightfully captivating writing style. Imbued with humor and wit, ‘Boarded Windows, Dead Leaves’ is a perfect blend of humor and horror that is equal parts dread and delight,” said Steve Quade in his online book review on Indies Today. 

The way the contest is set up, all books reviewed by Indies Today are automatically submitted into the annual book-of-the-year competition to be assessed by a panel of judges. There is a round of semifinals before selecting the finalists. In the end, the top 20 books — one for each genre — earn book-of-the –year awards. Although Alexander’s book scored high in the short stories category, he ultimately won in the horror section. 

“This I am quite proud
of,” Alexander said. “It just gives my book a little more exposure.”

Now, when purchasing a paperback version of his book, gold and silver badges are displayed in the bottom left and right corners, notifying readers of his book-of-the-year award and five-star review. 

Alexander smiled.

“I guess I now get to refer to myself as an award-winning author,” he said. 

Before the contest results were announced, Alexander read some of the other submitted books and knew that he had tough competition, books that were also deserving of the award, so he didn’t set his hopes too high.

“I was especially pleased that they ultimately chose mine,” Alexander said. 

Two days after winning, he published another short story, so overall, he said, it was a good week for him. Receiving this honor inspires Alexander to keep writing and publishing, and although he already had hopes of pursuing another book, this “gives me that much more fuel to pursue that,” he said. 

The process of compiling and publishing “Dead Leaves, Boarded Windows” took approximately a year, but his second book might take a little longer because his teaching “eats a lot of (his) discretionary time,” he said, due to the added teaching work that COVID-19 has presented.  However, this recently published short story, “Quiet Mimicry,” might be the first of his new collection. 

Anyone interested in reading the full review or some of his other published short stories can check out the author’s website at michaeljessalexander.


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