Winners' Circle: Shelley Jones Clark

July 10, 2020

Welcome to the Winners' Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we're celebrating Shelley Jones Clark whose entry America, Scarpello Style came in Second Place in our Middle Grade Historical Fiction Contest!

What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
Middle Grade Historical Fiction Story

How many writing contests have you entered?

Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
Book Title: America, Scarpello Style
Entry Title: Chapter 16
Summary: After her mother's untimely death, Anzi Scarpello and her family immigrate from Italy to Arkansas where they struggle to build a new home for themselves as sharecroppers.

What inspired your winning entry?
I read an article about Italian sharecroppers in the South and, in particular, a group of Italian immigrants that built their own town in Arkansas. I think everyone envisions Italian immigrants coming to New York/east coast so I found this bit of history very interesting.

How has entering this contest helped your writing?
It's given me confidence to keep writing and the workshop of my chapter was excellent.

How did the critique in the Winners' Workshop help you?
I made two suggested changes which were needed, but I didn't realize it until the critique pointed out the problem spots.

Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your "day job"?
Emergency Room doctor by day, writer by night...or visa versa.

How long have you been writing?
Since I was in grade school

What will you do with your piece now that it's been recognized?
I'm finishing revision and will turn it over to my agent, Erzsi Deak, at Hen and Ink Literary.

What do you do when you're feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
Read a good book. Write something different. If you normally write novels, try some poetry, e.g. Listen to a webinar, go to a conference. Treat yourself to a weekend with writing friends.

If you could go to the yard sale of any character in the history of children's literature, whose would you go to, and what would you buy?
Lyra Belacqua. The alethiometer, of course.

What do you like ICL and our opportunities for writers?
Love the ICL webinars/workshops. Some incredible instructors.

Are you our next contest winner? There's $1,300 of prize money up for grabs! Check out our current contests on our Contests Page.


Meredith Rancourt
January 21, 2021


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