BANGOR â€“ A Connecticut small-church pastorâ€™s first novel, FreeK Camp, set in rural Bridgton, Maine, has won the 2010 Beach Book Award (www.BeachBookFestival.com) for Best Teen Book.
The Rev. Dr. Steve Burt of Norwich, Connecticut, accepted the honor at the New York Book Festivalâ€™s awards ceremonies (www.NYBookFestival.com), held at New Yorkâ€™s famous literary landmark, the Algonquin Hotel, on June 11. In presenting the award, festival director Bruce Haring of JM Northern Media told the audience that, of all the category winners, FreeK Camp most destined for a movie.
A 280 page paranormal thriller, FreeK Camp is a â€ścrossoverâ€ť mystery, meaning it satisfies the appetites of a wide audience–adults, teens, and tweens. The story revolves around Free Camp (the K is graffitied onto the camp van), a former church camp in rural Maine thatâ€™s been re-tooled to help â€śspecial kidsâ€ť discover and develop their psychic abilities. The action pits 11 teens and their three adult mentors (former circus side show workers) in a battle of wits with a psychotic militiaman who has kidnapped and imprisoned half the kids with the intent of sacrificing them.
Dr. Burt, a small-church minister for more than 30 years, has served parishes in Vermont, Connecticut and Maine (Brewer, Thorndike, Madison, North Anson, and Edgecomb). So unusual is the dual career combination of pastor and dark fiction writer that he was profiled in a Connecticut Magazine article, â€śThe Sinister Ministerâ€ť (Feb. 2009). Rev. Burt, a 1983 Bangor Seminary graduate who remembers when Stephen King moved in next door and built the bat-and-spider gate, and is no stranger to dark fiction or writing awards. His weird tales collection, Even Odder, was runner-up to J.K. Rowlingâ€™s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the 2003 Bram Stoker Award for Young Readers, horror/dark fictionâ€™s top prize, and in 2004 his Oddest Yet beat out Dean Koontz to win it. And the Bram Stoker trophy is something he and Stephen King and King’s son (who writes as Joe Hill) have in common–they’ve all won it.
Asked about his success with dark fiction, Dr. Burt shrugged, smiled, and said, â€śI canâ€™t explain it. Maybe Steve King, Joe Hill, and I all tapped the same Bangor water supply. Who knows? And as far as a minister writing good horror and mystery/suspense–why not? Who says God doesnâ€™t have a sense of humor?â€ť
Contact Name: Rev Dr Steve Burt
Telephone Number: (860)405-5183