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Author Interview

Bellakentuky

Bellakentuky is an author of short stories and novellas. The author is a native of the United States but currently resides in Argentina. His stories are often sprinkled with dark humor. His recent award winning work includes a coming of age story about five boys growing up in Brooklyn that learn a lesson in generosity, a short story about an innocent young girl growing up on the prairie that learns to kill, and a science fiction romance with an unusual twist.

Story: The Power of Fine Furniture

Interview

Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

Q:
What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
A:
The Chapter Two Switch-R-Roo by James Scott Bell. The advice? After you finish your first draft throw out Chapter One because the action usually starts in Chapter Two. What did I learn? Start all my stories with some action.
Q:
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
A:
Most of my story ideas come to me just before I fall asleep. Then they ferment in my mind for awhile until one day I sit down and just start writing. From that point on, I'm a total panster.
Q:
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
A:
I embrace it as it provides me with a view outside of my own perspective. Negative criticism has turned me into a ruthless editor of my own work.
Q:
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
A:
Yes, based on the reviews I've received, I would add a little more background about Cleatus and Mabel's relationship to the front end of the story.

Reviews

Jill Amber Menard

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Wow...what a crazy, creepy, intense story! I was definitely on the edge of my seat by the end. A few things...I would have liked to have seen Cleatus have one found memory of his wife, perhaps the time he first met her? Obviously that memory has faded way in the past and he only sees her now, as someone he simply despises. But as the reader I am wondering what brought him to ever marry her in the first place. Also, I was confused as to why she didn't struggle more - it seemed like she simply gave up and there was no screaming or anything. I still think even with those few gaps this is a really compelling, thrilling piece and you definitely do deserve a chance to go on to the final round. I personally would love to read more of your work.

BookCrazyLady

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Truly intense story here! The subtle way the author introduce us to the events, and into the character's mind is what makes it so thrilling. A story about obsession, justice and fine furniture... this is what a good reader appreciates, an author and a story that can take something so common and give you the unexpected. And for other reviewers, be kind and do not spoil the stories in the comments. It's unfair to new readers!

Sungod

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In all honesty, I do not see how this is supposed to deserve five thousand dollars. It's boring. Sure, we see a fat woman get her face smacked into a piece of carpentry, but that doesn't make it interesting to me, just violent. I read through this story -wanting- to enjoy it, I really did, I'm never trying to hate something when I go into it, but this was just resoundingly uninteresting. I read the opening more than once, because I found nothing interesting about the character Cleatus, I thought I missed a paragraph or something. Nope! He's just an old guy with phobias of teenagers, a love of whiskey and cabinets, and homicidal tendencies. The first half is boring, yes. Terribly boring. If I didn't have some lovely string music in the background I'd never have bothered to get through reading this. It didn't hold my attention, in fact, never got a grasp of it in the first place "But hey" I thought " This is supposed to be a prize winning piece! I'm sure something will happen." And indeed, something does. And it's execution is abysmal. Pointing out some of the finer points that don't make sense may be considered nitpicking, but when there is $5000 on the line, I don't think we should allow room for bullshit. "Mable didn't struggle when he pressed the spinning blade down onto her forehead." May I ask, why? I realize the woman was passed out drunk, but this story stretches far the sedating effects of alcohol. When Mable is yanked out of bed and her head dashed against solid wood hard enough to draw blood, she hardly flinches. I didn't even feel or hear and inflection in her voice when she questioned Cleatus about exactly why he had just rammed her head into a dresser. There's a human instinct, referred to as "Fight or Flight" and another, "Self Preservation", which make this highly unbelievable to me. However, if the author had perhaps spent less time having us watch Cleatus making love to furniture and paid more attention to the climax, it would have made sense, and been a decent read. Maybe if Cleatus had slipped a few muscle relaxants into her booze, this would make sense. I suppose I'm asking too much of the author to not just pull murder out of his pocket casually like it's a piece of candy. I realize that this is a short story, but that doesn't need to be an excuse for a boring story, or an empty story. I could summarize this fairly comprehensively in a single sentence, which alone isn't a problem, but when you couple a single-event story with boring writing, it just becomes such drudgery. It seems that simply because, in this tale, a man decides to router a woman's skull open and poke her brain, it's automatically declared to be "Creepy" or "Edgy", but it's just not. I laughed when the aforementioned brain-poke occured. This was not because I'm a psycho who thinks murder is funny, it's because it was just so out of place and silly that I giggled despite myself. I just don't see what's interesting or fascinating about watching this seemingly normal man decide to horrifically murder a woman who was a minor annoyance to him. It's unexpected, sort of, but a surprise alone isn't enough. It has to be well orchestrated, it has to tie together, and it barely, barely does. We see Cleatus grumbling about his scar for a while, which is foreshadowed with all the subtly of a slap in the face, and later it's part of the reasoning behind the murder, or at least it seems so. There are two things that could be here, that would make the story far better, and simply don't exist. If Mable had been really, truly nasty, done something unforgivable, then the revenge for her actions would have felt more just, more right. I might have been able to get into it and say to myself "Yeah Cleatus, router that vile woman!". On the other hand, if it was established that Cleatus had some sort of mental deficiency, some kind of deep madness, then the sudden bloody murder would have made more sense. It wouldn't be so out-of-the-blue, and it would have been scary. Seeing a psychopath committing bloody homicide and loving every moment of it is something that, if written well, can be really unsettling. As it stands, though, we have neither, and the murder just feels so very "bleh", so senseless, so random. This shouldn't win $5000. It shouldn't win $500.

read 4 fun

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This story seemed to lack the elements necessary to keep me reading. I did enjoy the ending once I read the story. It was good, but it would be better if the beginning wasn't as drawn out.

Reading Fan

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Although well written, really quite predictable. Insane, pathetically obsessed man kills wife in weird way. Too gruesome for my taste too!

WiLoveBooks

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A well-written story. The detail and slow build help to show his obsession with his craft and make you wonder where the story is going, building up the suspense.

Madison

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Great story! I loved the twist at the end! You are so creative and talented :)

donnieg

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ahhh, obsession, the creator of murderers. the story was enjoyable, but the beginning was slow and unfortunately stayed that way and it didn't start with something to grab the reader and him reading.

dago6262

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Very interesting short story that took an interesting turn. When I started reading the story I was anticipating how the story was going to go and I was totally caught off guard by the direction it went. I felt the author did a magnificant job in with the descriptive details.

anonymous

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I liked this story, but I found it hard to get into. Nothing jumped out at me in the beginning to make me want to read it. Although, the line about his destiny got me thinking about what was going on, but right after that you went back to the workshop and I got kind of lost. I love twists though, and I loved your ending.

Lisa Rose

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I read this story several days ago and had to think about it for awhile. The best thing I can say about is that... I told everyone who voted for me to read your story. Genuinely creepy! Loved it! I would really appreciate your feedback on my story, 'Drift Away', if you have the time.

Michael C Bernard

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Hi Kent, You have a gift for building suspense, I feel is rare by the many short stories I critque in my folio. I like this for the edge (no pun intended) the familarity with character & stunning conclusion. A good writer captures a moment and makes it a vivid memory, you do it all my friend. I look forward to reading more!!

S. E. Cates

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Wowww. There is so much I love about this story. You have a really economic style of writing that I loved. I was kep interested by the action and not overwhelmed by description. I also love how your MC has such a specific and different view of the world. Plus, you did a really good job showing sort of rational insanity. I could really understand his thought process. The end was great. It really lived up to the suspense you created.

Lannah

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This is GOOOOD, Kent. Well done. Once I actually got to read a bit I couldn't put it down. I just hope I can produce similar with my next two books - well, ALL my books - but the best of luck to you. And well done. Keep it going.

Alissa

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Great story. You really have an amazing talent to write

The Hermit by the lake

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Took you off guard from the start. And spun you down into the tales of Poe.

PennilessWriter

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This is a really solid story with great pacing that really builds a terrific sense of foreboding. It's clear before long that Cleatus has some unprecedented use for his router, and apprehension grows as images come to mind of how he might be using it, and on whom. The story was clearly proofread and edited, which gives finesse to the finished product. Cleatus wouldn't have it any other way!

Bette A. Stevens

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A great story, filled with suspense and fresh imagery!

Buffi BeCraft

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The author pays nice attention to detail. He also does a good job conveying emotional drive.

Oldguey

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I don't recommend reading this on a dark and stormy night. While the structure is choppy, it and the imagery makes for a great read.

patgarcia

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Although I am not a fan of these kind of stories, the story is excellently written. It was engaging, and the author drew me into it quickly. Great Job.

Tracy Leigh Ball

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This was an inspiring short story. The imagery was in great detail and the story was easy to follow. I enjoyed reading this all the way through. Nicely done!

Linda L.

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Unusual story. Kept me involved. My husband would love it as he's a woodworker.

Mariana

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GReat!

Wes

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Very good at keeping me in the moment! Refined techinque as well. This author has definately been doing this a while. Keep it up!
AUTHOR RANK
Week 3 Nominee
DECEMBER 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
DECEMBER 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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About

America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!