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Jessie Powell has been writing since she was ten years old, when she typed an antique Remington Rand to death. She moved next to a Selectric, but it didn't last the year, and the word processor that followed barely endured a month. She ultimately bought her first computer at a yard sale for fifty dollars. Even though she had to hold it about a foot above the table and drop it to get it started each morning, she still found it an improvement. These days, when the machinery won't cooperate, she is more likely to go after it with a screwdriver. But the net result is the same. She's death to the hardware.

Story: Flori and the Tourist


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?
Butt in chair. I revere Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, and every word of that book is true. And the most important thing a writer can do is write. Inspiration is not necessary. Words, however, are greatly needed.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
If I'm writing a novel, I first write, then I pull back and outline. But I have enough room in my head to hold a short story's shape while I'm crafting it. You'll also find character sketches mixed in with the fiction at
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
I look for common threads. When I see several people saying the same thing, I know I need to change something.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
No. This is the story I meant to submit, and the critique I've received is stuff I can apply to a larger version of it, but not stuff that applies to this version.



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Dawn Beronilla

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Jessie has a way with words and is able to pull you completely into a world filled with amazing creativity and vibrant detail. Absolutely wonderful work.


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I enjoyed reading this story. I did think that it started our a little better than it ended. In the beginning you had my interest from the first sentence, but as the story progressed you started to lose me.


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Jessie uses words so well. Flori is such an interesting character, and the author is so clearly inside her soul. The magic, the casual thievery, the allure of the larte, the social structure—all this hints at a far deeper story, one I'd very much like to see assembled into book form.


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You have a great talent for story telling. Kept me hooked all the way through.

Kathryn McCullough

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Few demonstrate the craft Jessie does in this story-- and many others, for that matter. She creates a wholely believable world simultaneously so like and so unlike our own that readers can't help but read on. Brilliant--especially the use of dialogue.

Lisa H.

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Jester Queen writes here with such attention to detail and technical skill, the reader is coaxed willingly into her story. Though the story is one of fantasy, the care with which Jessie has crafted her world immediately sets the reader at ease. I found this an enjoyable read, and I'd love to read more.


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Jessie's story is just the right mix of fantasy, fairy tale and realism to make this story anybody's genre. Her careful treatment of the characters (the rocking chair included) makes for a believable tale of unfortunate times and hardscrabble existence.

Idiosyncratic Eye

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I'm not into fantasy but Jessie's characters always draw you into their world which is credibly developed even within a short story and there's always plenty of quirks, humour and twists. :)

Andra Watkins

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I love Jessie's writing and am a big fan of Flori. This new story was a treat. I love the mystical details in the transformation sequence and the riveting power of the chase. Most of all, though, I love Jessie's dark bits, the way she makes Flori crave larte like crack. She's always, always looking for it, even though she never quite knows what it will do to her when she finds it. A great metaphor for so many things in life. We give them importance, but are they really? Such depth in such a short piece of fiction. She deserves applause.


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Jessie Powell is one of my favorite writers. Her vivid details, unexpected twists and turns, and memorable characters always draw me in. This story is no exception to that rule. The author drops in details and references that are just enough to convey the other-worldliness of the setting without requiring long exposition or explanation. The main character, Flori, is easy to relate to - a kid with no particular interest in getting in trouble, but who needs to make her way somehow. Readers who enjoy Garth Nix would especially love this story.


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A versatil, well-written tale highlighted by believable characters and detail. I loved the ending. This is a must read and vote.

My Write Side SAM

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From the very first sentence, I was hooked. Right through the chase and the magic, I was riveted. This story made me laugh out loud and is a delightful fantasy even your kids would love. The vivid details, especially when Flori is flying, really bring the story to life.

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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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#ANA2012 | What Fans Have To Say


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