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Author Interview

Alyce Wilson

Alyce Wilson is the editor of the weekly literary magazine Wild Violet ( and in her copious spare time writes humor, non-fiction, fiction and poetry, keeps an online journal, and is working on a book, "Belated Mommy: How to Cope With Being an Older Mom." ( Her first chapbook, "Picturebook of the Martyrs," her e-book/pamphlet, "Stay Out of the Bin! An Editor's Tips on Getting Published in Lit Mags" and her book of essays and columns, "The Art of Life," can be ordered from her Web site, She lives with her husband in the Philadelphia, Pa., area and takes far too many photos of her attractive cat, Luke, and handsome toddler, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda. You can view her trailer for this story on YouTube:

Story: Dating Safari


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!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
As a teen, I heard poet Maya Angelou read. Then, while she signed my book, I told her, nervously, that I wrote poetry. She looked at me with kind eyes and said, "Read everything."
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
Generally speaking, I reserve outlines for longer works. When writing a short story or essay, I don't commit an outline to paper, but I do work out exactly where I want to go. Taking a walk or swimming laps helps me think and plan.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
Criticism helps me understand how readers respond and if they get out of it what I'd hoped. Sometimes it prompts me to revise a piece, and other times it helps me to craft future projects. Knowing your audience is invaluable!
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
Since the most common suggestion is to make the story longer, I would continue a little further at the end, providing more about what happens between Sloane and the man she decides is her perfect match.



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hai alyce, i now understand what you want to tell me in your review at my story "somewhere in Bali" after i read your story. ya i should be cut some dialogue and try to explain with beautiful word like you do. but actually my short story can't explain how is beatifully balinese tradition, but it will be explain well in the book. this is my firs book, and i really glad you give me really subjective review. and now you're my first inspiration writer. you do good write. in 3 month later you should come to bali and my book already avaliable. see you soon


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I think it is a very fast paced and easy read, besides being an amusing one at that. You are a terrific editor and that shows in the way, it had been so tightly written. The only thing that would stop me from calling it a master piece would be that: I felt, may be a slight sense of deja-vu, with the story. The surprise element was missing I think, that is all... This is how stories should be written, I think, if I would minus the last mentioned point. A big thank you for reviewing my story and thank you for your comments, I am very honoured, by getting those inputs from you. very kind of you to have gone beyond seeing just my grammatical flaws, which was how most of my reviews had been.


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Fast-paced and delightful.


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Brilliant!! I loved this story, even though it is not the genre I would normally read. Clever, sweet, and a gentle, pleaseing twist at the end. Bravo!

Peter Lahanas

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Thank you for your kind review. I really enjoyed your story and found it fun to read with the animal comparisons. At first, I assumed Sloan compared the speed daters to animals because of the suggestive interior design of the Jungle Room, but the clever subtle hint that it could have been due to the pendant her friend loaned her, was a nice touch. I particularly like that it's completely open to speculation. The only thing I can suggest is perhaps making it clearer as to why she thought Barry seemed familiar to her in the end. I didn't get that part. And although I did see her ending up with Barry from the beginning (when she was flattered by his compliment and had turned around to find he'd left, was kind of a give away) but I still wanted to find out how they'd end up. Over all, Great job.


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Thanks for reading and reviewing my story; it meant a lot to me. I liked your story, too. It was very interesting, and I liked her animal metaphors.


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First I want to thank you for taking out time and reading my story, "Missy's New Home”; and I’m glad you liked it :) and I think the children of the world will love it. I did enjoy reading your story. And of course love animals. It takes a lot to pull me into a story, and I liked your thought/concept, a short adventure, it was good. Although I did get a little confuse with the “I” word in the beginning, outside of quotes from characters; e.g. I continued or I admitted. Unless I guess the writer is also the character(s). Otherwise, choice of, she continued or there name. The other thing is if using short hand e.g. ANA, it is good insert meaning, e.g. ANA (Americas Next Author), giving the reader power to not stop and/or guess, I was told long ago to assume that not everyone knows terms. Thanking you for your story, and please keep writing. :)


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Reminded me of my own dating misadventures. Maybe a bit too much!


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I loved it! It was fresh and fun and amusing. Well-written, and the animal slant was beyond unique. I thought the length was fine, though, and that you ended it well. Great story! If you've got time, please read my story, Double Take, and let me know what you think,


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This is a well crafted, smoothly flowing story with believable characters and authentic dialogue. Her description of potential dates as animals is inventive and elicited more than a few chuckles as I read it..."obsessive-compulsive raccoon, washing his hands repeatedly" is hilarious. I can see this piece as the opening of a longer work. Thank you for gifting us with your story.

Addai Agyemang

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That was a great read! I loved Sloan's personality and I loved how you framed the speed dating so that the people there would be compared to animals in the Safari. The title went really well with the story but for some reason I also thought of the events like a "Mating Game" of some sort. People looking their best and showing off in order to hopefully find the perfect mate. I also like the theme of the story, at least what I perceived it to be that is: that sometimes what your searching for is right in front of you, you just have to realize it. And happily Sloan did realize it, she just needed a little prompting to do so. Great story. I thought it was amusing and exciting. I could really see this getting published!

Margaret Alice

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I thought this was a really fun and cute story. Sloan's personality was witty and I enjoyed the humor with the animal comparisons. Great Job! Could you read my story, "The Fate Continuum?" Good Luck!

Frances Bell

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Now see, I loved this. Perfectly constructed, paced and with just the right amount of humor with very well-developed characters. Well done, five stars - I would have given you six if I could! It's clear you know you stuff, read widely and interpellate well. Thank you! If you have the time or the inclination, please read 'Solophyst' and let me know what you think.

Victoria Riley

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I rather liked this story,it fell in between cute and uplifting for me.The Author did a great job in describing some of the characters and the interesting choice of words kept me reading. Such as "She opened her palm and revealed a pewter pendant with intertwined animals surrounding a full moon" . The Ojibwe Shaman blessed it. and I especially liked the description of the caramel colored skin of the gazelle like guy. This story was fun to read while using my "minds eye" to imagine all the characters. Good read. Mine is "The Moccasins" hope you enjoy it.

Lisa Rose

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A really interesting and amusing story. I was rooting for Sloan to just turn around and see Barry (kind of the guy next door). Very good. If you have the time please read my story, 'Drift Away' and leave a review to let me know if you like it.

Summer Beth

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I thought this was a cute story and being a woman, of course the whole dating dilemma interested me. The comparison of each male dater to animals was humorous and unique. I would have liked to have had more background on the main character as well as a little more detail on the dates. Great read!

Susan Gale Wickes

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I liked the underlying message that sometimes what you're looking for is right in front of you if you only take the time to stop and focus. I also enjoyed the humor and felt the animal themes added an interesting twist to your story. An imaginative, enjoyable read.


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I liked the story's pace, it didn't lag like some romantic shorts. The animal imagery was well thought out and not the standard person/animal analogies, instead I liked that some of those given animal icons also had animal personalities, fascination with prey species etc. The IT guy worked well without being the stereotypical nice guy (TM) found in a lot of the genre. I also liked the nonintuitive choice of the narrator as a bear.


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I liked this story, and agree with others that it left me wanting more. I think Alyce did an amazing job of descriptive writing which made me able to visualize the main character, Sloan, well (her clothing being tight on the hips, her tortoise-shell glasses, her honey-brown highlighted hair). I liked, too, that the story in and of itself sort of snuck up on me ... she mentions the necklace and the animals ... and it actually took me a minute to think "a-ha! that's what's making her see her potential dates as animals ... I want to read more!


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I enjoyed this and wish it were a little longer. It was a fun and enjoyable read.

Rebekah C

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See, the only problem with this is that it's an excellent introduction to what SHOULD BE a longer story. Hmph. Got me all interested and then it ended. I'd say that's a winner!


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Very cute story! Haha! Love the coconut tree images for the men's and women's room doors! Great use of light humor and effective dialogue. P.


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I found this story to be technically perfect, but sterile in its delivery. I felt nothing for the characters... well maybe a little something for the big IT guy. The dialog was very believable. But, I'm drawn to stories that pull some kind of emotion from me whether it's laughter, fear, hate, repulsion, love, and this start just left me feeling like- hmmm

Mike Wise

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Very fun, enjoyable read. I felt as though I was reading a personal account which the best fiction always does. I also learned that bears and ferrets have differing worldviews. Thanks for writing such a great story.


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This story is funny and whimsical. I love how Alyce threads the jungle/animal theme throughout the story, and her assignment of animals to bachelor male stereotypes is hilarious.

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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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