An Interview with Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller is a writer and editor born and raised in West Philadelphia. Kyle has been a freelance journalist since 2014 and is the Associate Editor at Broad Street Review. He published his first novel, The Recital, in 2016 and his second novel, Project Anjou, is slated for 2020. He’s one of the hosts of the podcast Casual Misfit Radio and co-founder of Angelella Editorial. When he’s not doing writerly things, he’s listening to ’80s Japanese city pop, improvising culinary adventures, geeking over video games, and contemplating the mysteries of space and the ocean. If you’re bored, you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram and his website.

When did you discover your passion for the publishing industry?
Did the writing come first or was it editing?

Writing definitely came first! My mom tells me that I was writing before I even knew how to write. My scribbles on random sheets of paper told stories, and she said that I wasn’t improving: those scribbles meant something to me because when I retold the story from the same scribbles, it was still the same story. When I got to pre-school and kindergarten, I would take paper, fold the sheets in half, staple them in the middle, and write and draw picture books. I still have all of them in a box, and they are the thing I’d save in a fire. Especially because my kindergarten teacher volunteered me to read one of those stories to the first graders because she thought it was so good. I remember that day quite vividly, actually.

Editing didn’t come until much later. I’d become good friends with the editor of my first novel, The Recital, and around the same time, a great friend of mine (and now co-host of my podcast Casual Misfit Radio) asked me to read over one of her WIPs. I did and gave her thorough feedback, and she really responded to it. I felt joy because I had helped a friend see their story better, and it drew me closer to her.

Editing is a collaboration for me, and at a time where I was reconstructing my professional life, editing became a means for me to find a new community, deepen my relationships, and better understand my own writing vicariously through helping others.

The end of #RevPit is drawing near. What was your experience like?
Would you consider participating in future editing contests?

RevPit is quite demanding, if I’m being quite honest. To volunteer your time in midst of spring when everything seems to be blossoming and filling your busy calendar, it can be daunting for both the editors and the writers. To give that time and energy is not something I take lightly. And while it’s challenging, nothing worth having is ever easy, and RevPit serves as a reminder for me to keep pushing myself and the writer I’m working with. When you get that final query letter and first five pages and you read it together and you both get chills? That’s a wonderful feeling that makes all the work well worth it.

When did you begin working with Angel Editors?
Does the team have a different approach when it comes to editing and critiquing?

I’m a co-founder! Remember the editor friend I mentioned? We’re basically a team, live Liv and Ravi in iZombie. Seriously—that’s what we call each other IRL. We work so well together that it just made sense to pool our resources, knowledge, and energy together to build something that served the writing community. Our mission is really to make clear what the editing process is like as the gap between writer and editor (and sometimes agents and publishers) continues to blur with the advent of social media in the last decade. The publishing industry is changing rapidly, and we want to build a platform that ensures that everyone is accounted for, especially for those who may not have the financial means to do so.

Everyone in the Angel Editors team goes about things a little differently, for sure. And I think having our Twitter chats (#wordnerdchat) and our YouTube videos helps writers and potential clients find out a little bit about who we are, who the writers themselves are, and knowing what the process is like and who would work best with them. We aren’t just trying to build an editorial team, we’re trying to build a community.

And now for some Quick Questions!
Answer with the first thing that pops in your mind:

Tea or Coffee: Coffee! But I love tea, too. I was a barista for ten years, so I can go on and on about my feelings on both, but maybe another time!

Hot or Cold: Depends. Summer is dumb. I hate heat. Hot food is overrated. Cold water is unnecessary. I love a hot bath. And ice cream is best served in the winter time. Favorite flavor of ice cream, you ask? Black Raspberry.

Movie or Book: I went to film school—and I do consider myself a filmmaker and a writer. I have appreciation for both. I can’t choose, if I’m being honest, but I will say: Perks of Being a Wallflower was a much better movie than it was a book.

Coke or Pepsi: Pepsi. But only a swig, I’m not big on soda (though I was as a kid).

Morning or Evening: I have sleep inertia, so this often shifts. I’m definitely a morning person in the spring and summer, and an evening person in the fall and winter. I consider myself a morning person, but really, it’s all about that 11am-3pm time frame. Reminds me of walking home from school or spending time with my grandmom at her house in the summer.

Shower or Bath: Shower, but I schedule one bath a month, usually during a social media cleanse.

Star Trek or Star Wars: Oy. Star Wars is cool, but I don’t love it. Never watched any Star Trek. Love me some Battlestar Galactica though.

City or Country: I’m unabashedly a city kid. But I’m at a point in my life where I’m very interested in traveling regularly just as a reset. Sometimes that involves non-city escapes.

Beach or Mountains: Beach! Especially in early fall or late spring when there’s hardly anyone there.

With so many misconceptions on when to look into editing,
do you have any advice for those just beginning their publishing journeys?

Talk with people. Ask questions. Be candid about where you are with your own writing journey. I think so much of it has to do with self-awareness, and understanding what your reservations are and why you have them. You’ve got to find yourself before you can work with others, but that does mean being able to say to the right someones: “hey, I don’t know. Can you help me?” But also recognize that you will never be 100% ready. Such a thing is impossible and has never happened in the history of people.

Any final thoughts?

Writing is scary. Writing is lonely. I’m glad that I live in a time where people can come together through social media and express themselves. To work together. To collaborate. To have access. It’s so important, and I don’t know what I’d be doing with my life if it weren’t for the internet—if it weren’t for the people that have come into my life because of the internet. I hope that anyone reading this understands that we’ve all got the gift of each other and we need to use that more as writers, as editors, as readers, as publishers, and so on.

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