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Author Interview


I am a proud wife to a wonderful, hard-working husband and the mother of 3 amazing boys. I teach middle school Language Arts and am currently pursuing an MSA at A&T State University. Based on a couple of the reviews I've gotten that are truly from literary critics (and not haters), I would like to explain that "The Death of a King" was originally intended to be a short story, but was (at the time of this contest) much, much longer than 5000 words. Even unfinished, I had to reduce it by about 3000 words to make it fit contest guidelines. It was difficult to scale it down that much and not compromise the integrity of the characters or story. Perhaps I should have chosen a different one. I most assuredly will not apologize for or reconsider my is mine and I can't change my "voice." It will appeal to some, and others are free to vote elsewhere. Would any self-respecting writer (who isn't in for the money) change their style based on a few crappy reviews? Would you? Well have your answer. I am the author of the children's book, "Noble McFee and the Jellybean Epidemic" which will be on shelves early next year!

Story: The Death of a King


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?
"WRITE, Devyn!" my old instructional coach used to say. She encouraged me to find time and a place to simply do what I loved to do: put my thoughts down on paper.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
It depends on the story. My short stories come in bursts and put a few lines down before I forget. Currently, I'm working on a novel and I did prepare an outline for that before I began.


Vanessa Carrera

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Creepy story, but very well written. I really loved the first paragraph, the metaphor of the sounds of each house, as a way to tell the history of each one. Also the light memories of her mother and also retained and expressed feelings.

Anne Monique

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Interesting read. Sad, but well written. I love your writing style. You gave away the ending,though, when the store owner asked about the rats.


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You talked about your voice, and I heard it clearly. Your writing is flowing and smooth and you pull a reader in. I especially liked the part where you described the MC's parents' lives as a map of blood and bruises and helplessness: that was poetic. There was a spot or two where the tenses seemed confused. However, it was a well-told story. I did have an inkling of what Nana was doing when the meals were so elaborately prepared, so there was no surprise there. Well done.

Susan Gale Wickes

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You have a wonderful talent for creating emotions with your words. Case in point: "I must have visited the Dan River a thousand times that winter and well into the spring. When you hit my mother mercilessly at night, I’d sneak out and sit at her banks in the moonlight. I never prayed or spoke or thought. I just sat and watched the water." I read that paragraph several times because once just wasn't enough. It's a great story.

A L Motsy

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This story grabbed me from the start and kept me reading! I love the ease of your voice in this piece. Truely well done and entertaining. A good read; one of the best I have seen so far.

Lisa Rose

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Loved it. I knew what was happening when Grandmother started scrubbing the dishes right away and I had a smile on my face as I read the rest of the story. What I liked best? "How are the rats?" "Almost gone." I have had some not-so-favorable reviews myself. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, (as I have just given mine) but the story belongs to you. If you have the time please read my story, 'Drift Away' and leave a review to let me know if you liked it.

Lori Paris

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I was not very impressed from the get go. I found the beginning a bit inconsistent with run on sentences and I just didn't feel like it flowed. Then you hit it girl! I was immersed into the story and the main character reminds me of my Charlotte I was getting where you were going....and I REALLY liked it! I definitely don't like the ........ between paragraphs and have to agree with another author's previous review that I don't feel these are appropriate in a short story. Maybe it is part of a longer piece....I don't know. If it isn' should be. I LOVED the "his presence could no longer be ignored or bothered. Haven't we all known someone like that! Maybe that's what I get. Are you my sister from another mother?? lol I did like the part with the hum of the house but it seemed disjointed to me. I think more action at the beginning would have helped your audience get "in there" a bit earlier. Great Job. I am impressed.

Summer Beth

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I really enjoyed this story, your wording is a bit unique and like it. Usually, I like to know more about the main character, but the mystery of who she is works well for this story. I really like the way you tied the "hum" of the house to the end and the rat poisoning bit was an excellent add in. There seemed to be a lot of fast forwarding in time, which I'm not a big fan of when it comes to short stories, and I would have liked to have seen more dialogue. Other than that, I thought this to be a good read.

best student EVER!

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this book was amaing


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Your hook, the "voice of a house", is cliche. It did not draw me in. I forced myself to keep reading. There is some good description such as "In the summers, she sprayed me with the hose until the Virginia heat rose off of my body like happy ghosts and she commissioned my grandmother to make homemade cakes for the holidays instead of buying them from stores." Unfortunately, that is a run on sentence. The main problem, however, is with the narrative. It is past 3rd person but switches without reason. I guess you were going for a journal-train-of-thought narrative. I couldn't really bare to give this a serious read. You lost me at hello.


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The story seems unoriginal. The writing style is okay, but kinda boring.


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First of all I don't like that this author seems to have mobilized all her students to vote for her. Second, from someone teaching Language Arts, I'd expect less editing mistakes. The writing is not bad, but the story is not very original. Not a winner in my book.

Wendy S

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I really did like this story it was well written and the characters came to life! I read it until the very end and rejoiced with the women. Very well done indeed!

The reader

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This is boss like clearly worthy of a gold star!!!!!!!!!!

The One Who Talks Alot

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Really good book but needs something more. It needs a little bit more of us going outside PS this is yacob

abudujar(abudu) ABDEL

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love it love it-we should go outside now


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abu likes dis

Epic student of 2012

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GREAT Story Mrs. Cannon. -Kevin

Your student

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Mrs. Cannon your story is awesome. I hope you win. 7A1 loves you :)

Great book

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Great book

Mr. Bishop

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A spin on the movie "The Beguiled." Not bad, but there were too many initial editing issues, a missing apostrophe, misuse of commas, and mispelled words to include a missing -ed at the end of a word all at the very beginning. I would give the benefit of the doubt and attribute the techinical issues to possible haste. I didn't keep track after the first few paragraphs. Try the online tool: While the story was predictable, you did a good job in focusing attention on the food itself, what it represented, and how this catalyst was multi-faceted. It served to propagate feelings from animosity to peace. I'm not a fan of justifiable homicide stories, but the writer has enough talent to carry the story. If anything, I would suggest making it an even greater personal tragedy for the daughter with comparing her situation to the lives of her peers. Kids always comapre their lives to that of their friends. You kept these feelings primarily within the family. There was nothing wrong with that, I think it just helps to show the abomination you wished to portray by showing that not only is everyone in the household against his behavior, but everyone outside of it as well; building somewhat on the minor sympathies experienced with the doctor/hospital visit.

Fav. Student

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This is a very great story i love it alot.

your favorite student (adam)

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best book ever


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This is a very intelegent book if this was a short story i wonder how much better the longer part of the book would be. (You did a great job)

student wanting to go outside

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this is great! we shold go outside on friday!

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Not a great read
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
America's Next Author

#ANA2012 | What Fans Have To Say


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!