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(July 13, 2015) – The Parable Group, a leading retail and marketing services provider, and WestBow Press, the self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, the world’s largest Christian publisher, today announced William Thorton as the Grand Prize winner of the 2015 Aspiring Authors Writing Contest. Thorton’s manuscript, Set Your Fields on Fire, was selected from several hundred entrants. His winning novel will be self-published through WestBow Press and reviewed for possible traditional publication by Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.  

In addition, upon publication, Thorton will receive a free marketing package from The Parable Group to promote the prize-winning book in catalogs and in bookstores across the nation. 

Thornton, a newspaper reporter living in Southside, Alabama, entered the contest after seeing a promotional tweet. Set Your Fields on Fire is a comic novel about a group of “mystery worshippers” – a firm hired to evaluate a church’s services and ministries – and the lengths to which they will go to do their jobs. Alex Alterman and his group of committed zealots descend on a Florida church at the same time as others, all interested in whether the church will survive their scrutiny. How long before they crack under their own pressure?

“We are very pleased with the quality of the finalists for this year’s Aspiring Authors Writing Contest,” said Pete Nikolai, Publisher of WestBow Press and Director of Publishing Services for HarperCollins Christian Publishing, the parent company of WestBow Press. “The reach of The Parable Group and their partner stores provided a great opportunity for hundreds of writers to make their dream come true. We congratulate William Thorton for writing such a great story and encourage all the entrants to keep writing and sharing their stories with the world.”

Additional winners included First-Place winner, Gretchen Rodriguez, who will receive a free Pro Format publishing package for her book, Aegis. Second-Place winner, Rhonda Brunea, will receive a free Essential Access publishing package for her book, In the Dim of Grimmelings. The complete list of finalists can be found here.

The Aspiring Authors Writing Contest was open to authors who were at least 18 years of age and had written an unpublished manuscript. 

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WestBow Press is a strategic supported self-publishing alliance between HarperCollins Christian Publishing, the world’s leading Christian publisher, and Author Solutions, LLC, the world leader in supported self-publishing. Titles published through WestBow Press are evaluated for sales potential and considered for publication through Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. For more information, visit or call (866)-928-1240. For WestBow Press news, click “Like” at and follow @westbowpress on Twitter.

The Parable Group is a data-driven, results-oriented marketing agency that connects retailers, brands, products and services to faith-based consumers everywhere. The Parable Group has been measuring what motivates the Christian consumer for 30 years. They leverage their unique consumer data to drive measurable results for clients across various marketing platforms—from traditional print to next-gen digital technologies—for Christian retailers, publishers, ministries and non-profits. From acquisition to advocacy, The Parable Group fosters interactions and engagement that builds brands and drives customer loyalty. For more information, contact or visit The Parable Group is based in San Luis Obispo, CA