The Write Place, located in Pella, Iowa, has named Michael Van Natta of Knoxville as the winner of its 2012 Book Contest. “We had so many great entries that it was difficult to make a decision,” said Hannah Crawford, book division coordinator. “But Mike’s novel stood out—I was hooked from start to finish. We’re excited to work with him to publish it.”

The novel is an insightful exploration of the intertwining worlds of law and medicine, and investigates the terrible consequences of greed and betrayal. It’s only when Maria gets caught, and only when Leo gets a grip on his life, that justice, relief and rebirth become possible.

Van Natta is a physician in Knoxville and the facilitator of the Marion County Writers Workshop. He has written six novels, but this will be the first one he has published.

“I’m ecstatic!” said Mike. “Leo’s Birds has been like a child to me—a novel I have fed and clothed, worried over and watched grow. I’m very grateful to The Write Place for helping it spread its wings.”

The Write Place anticipates that the novel will be published as a paperback and e-book in the summer of 2012.

The book division of The Write Place is dedicated to helping authors self-publish their books. The Write Place also has a business division, which provides professional writing, graphic design and project coordination services to authors and small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as internal communications assistance to corporations. Learn more about their business and book services at www.thewriteplace.biz or give them a call at 641-628-8398.

Photo: Michael Van Natta of Knoxville, Iowa.The novel, Leo’s Birds, tells the story of Maria, a small-town family doctor wrongly accused of murdering two of her patients, and Leo, a construction worker trying to overcome the ghosts of his past. After Maria makes a daring escape from jail, her path crosses with Leo’s in unexpected ways.

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