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Author Interview

Kellene Killmer

Finals will be starting soon, and I'm really excited to see who the final nominee and all of the wildcards will be! This contest has done so much for me, not only as a nominee, but as an ambitious writer in general. It has made me realize that I don't need to suffer through query after query during this time of belt-tightening among publishers, and that I am inventive and boisterous enough to promote myself. Therefore, I invite you all to check out my new home on the web, inspired and fueled by all that I have learned through ANA! is live in both web and mobile versions, and features a bio, ebooks for sale, and an excerpt of my soon-to-be-released novel. Please take a gander, get to know who I am and what I write beyond "Ambient Light", and consider me as your well-rounded and ambitious choice for America's Next Author! I have widely varied interests, and as such I have intended throughout my life to be a teacher/nurse/actress/lawyer/interior designer. In actuality, I have been a nanny, barista, secretary, nursing assistant, communications technology salesperson, and other sprinklings or smatterings of this and that. Only one ambition has remained constant throughout all of these occupational wanderings: to be a writer. Not the kind of writer who tells people they've just met "oh, I'm a writer," to which the new acquaintance raises a quizzical eyebrow and says "Oh, really? That's cool," suspecting that it's probably one of those things where this "writer" won a poetry contest in 3rd grade by rhyming something about white flowers, then started a novel in 8th grade that she's still "polishing." Nope, I'm not planning on being that kind of writer. I'm planning on being the kind of writer from whom you always want to see more. I'm planning on being the kind of writer who captures genuines voices in the capsules of her characters and watches them effervesce with life as her readers give them faces. I'm planning on being the kind of writer who challenges social norms, forces family dramas to deal with themselves, and enchants with lively dialogue.

Story: Ambient Light


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 Every Day. It keeps your mind flexible, your fingers nimble, and your imagination fluid. These things contract and become less pliable the longer they are left unused, so daily writing is crucial to any writer.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
The one time I outlined a story I couldn't finish it. It was told in twelve chapters with each chapter representing one hour, and it was too rigid for my characters to be comfortable enough to tell me what they wanted from it.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
Even the gentlest criticisms can be hard to hear, but the important thing to remember is that an outside perspective is the one thing you can never provide yourself. I try to apply constructive criticism when I realize how others perceive my work.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
I would have tightened up the narrative and balanced the dialogue more; perhaps bringing it in earlier. I don't think Jerry would have been inclined to say much, but he might have eavesdropped on Elena talking to other party guests.



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The strength of this story is in the writer's command of dialogue. As a stand-alone piece, the character actions/feelings can seem confusing or disjointed, with some inconsistencies, but in the context of a larger piece, this might be a scene that works very well and makes sense.


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This was very easy to get into... the dialogue was amazing!!


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Very funny their witty exchanges, I liked how the story progressed, the more I read the more it engaged me. What could have been the ultimate bad first impression turned into something almost magical. Nice story.


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I found the subtle details to be very well written into the flow of this story. When a story reads like a visual piece of media I know I'm going to enjoy it. I could see the close ups and angles of the descriptions and was emotionally invovled in the interactions between the characters. I enjoyed the wit and humor in their conversation. Kelley displays her ability to guide us though the scene with well balanced action and descriptions allowing the reader to evolve the setting into the storyline. This story leaves us with an impression of reality and a memory of events that call out for more.

New Suitor

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Fun story that reads like two old flames reuniting on the street. The teasing the playfulness and general tone leave you with a great feeling of experiencing their moment together.


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Very easy read. Teh dualoguie is snappy and romantic. I liek the characters. This feels larger but in the space you wrote, I was engaged the whole time. Good work.

HM Gruendler-Schierloh

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Interesting story, intriguing setting, very good characterization of the two protagonists. However - although the dialog was clever, sassy, and witty in parts, I thought it dragged on a bit. I loved the first few paragraphs. The descriptions of the setting leading into the story were superb.


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This story is beautifully written, it has real depth to it with an excellent use of words. I felt I knew what the characters looked like and were like even though it is a short story with a limited amount of words. You are a master of the English language and should be very proud of what you have written. Good luck in the competition, if you have time could you read my story and give me a honest review please. D.S. Laboure


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Great writing! I didn't much care for Jerry's foot-in-mouth, but I liked the way it ended! Well done.


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Let me start of by congratulating you on getting to #1. I have no intention to ruin that. With that said, the majority of your sentences all into three categories: tri-clausal/ phrasal, semi colon, and imbedded clause. My biggest suggestion is to experiment with short sentences. While you did lay in the short sectioned off sentence "He remembered why he loved her," and it was effective because it was the first short sentence, most sentences in your story, like this current sentence, were packed with multiple clauses/ phrases/ segmented by commas. Style variation and limiting the amount of clauses/phrases per sentence will increase the quality of your stories. The semicolon sentences practically have the same effect that the average sentence in your story delivers. For examples of what I am talking about please refer to the first three paragraphs, or nearly any sentence before the dialogue breaks in. You have a knack for compound sentences and ongoing description, but with a few simple sentences they will be all the more effective.


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Amazing Story I enjoyed every minute of it. Great Job Kellene :)

Erin Grady

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I enjoyed the story - the banter between the characters was believable, and I liked the characters. When you "meet" people in a short story, you don't always have time to get to know them, but Jerry especially with his wit and Elena with hers? Lovely. Also, it was a good romantic story without being super and vulgar, or being too sugary sweet. Thanks for a good read Kellene!

Sparrow Hawk

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I was hesitant to read this, due to the mixed reviews it's been getting. I went for it anyway. Now... I'm confused. Not by the story, not at all. It was phenomenal! I'm confused by the lower ratings and reviews. Especially those that claimed that this story wasn't visual enough. Not only is it remarkably visual, it's incredibly refreshing. Brava! Brava! Well done, Kellene. It's been a long time since I have been able to lose myself in dialogue. Brilliant.


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This story has a very poetic and magical quality to it. The descriptions are vivid and wonderfully portrayed - I felt like I was right there at the party with these characters. I loved the sweet, playful, flirty banter between Jerry and Elena near the end, it flowed in a natural way and showed the intense chemistry between them. I do agree that the piece feels a bit split, with narrative in the beginning and all dialogue at the end. But each section is done so well, showcasing that Kellene has a real talent for telling a story. I look forward to reading more of your work!

Angelina Dees

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Absolutely adorable. There were the few struggles with too long of sentences at the beginning but all in all a delightful read.


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Awkwardly fun! Geeks everywhere have hope!

Lisa Rose

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Jerry certainly has an interesting way of introducing himself. Loved your story! If you have the time please read my story, 'Drift Away' and leave a review to let me know if you liked it.


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Enjoyable read. Understand why you've been ranking very well and hope you'll make it into the finals!

Deborah Too

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Neat little tale, with interesting dialogue. Overall the writing needs work as yet: overwritten, especially at the start with over-long sentences and too many descriptive words where economy would serve better.

A L Motsy

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I enjoyed this read very much. The light banter and the comically inept Jerry was delightful and real. Well written and enjoyable to read!


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I found the story to be quite enjoyable and once the dialogue began, it tumbled forward with a believable rhythm. You couldn't help but read each line with anticipation. My favourite part is the end, tying in the Shakespearean reference with the character's embarrassing accident. If I had to name a critique-worthy moment, I would say I wish the story picked up speed a bit faster, but not everyone would agree with that. One thing is certain: Kellene Killmer knows how to write a scene as if you were truly witnessing it firsthand.


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Well-developed characters and quick-witted dialogue that flows effortlessly.

Susan Gale Wickes

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I enjoyed the awkward moments and the witty banter. In one way or another, we've all been there. Good job of bringing it to life!


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A little awkward but overall not bad.

Summer Beth

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Very good read! I was entertained throughout the entire story.
Week 7 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. [...]
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!