shining the spotlight on short story collections
Interview with Rusty Barnes, author of Mostly Redneck, reviewed by Carol Reid
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Roughly fifteen years, counting from when I wrote the first one, but I wrote a couple hundred stories or more in that time, mostly flash fiction.
Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
Not really, though I knew I would try to publish some kind of collection some day. I didn’t know it would take so long. I’m grateful it happened at all.
How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?
I tried to vary content and tone, and I tried to begin and end strongly. What that says about the middle stories I’m not sure, except that I didn’t want to overthink it, as I sometimes do.
What does the word “story” mean to you?
Oh lord. Nothing and everything–how about this–a series of events in which something happens that enterprising writers interpret as meaningful in some way?
Do you have a “reader” in mind when you write stories?
Is there anything you’d like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
I hope you liked it. Now would you like to preorder my novel, which comes out in late 2013?
How does it feel knowing that people are buying your books?
Feels great, honestly. Anyone outside my immediate family buying and reading me feels like winning.
What are you working on now?
Staying alive and upright, mostly. I am ticking slowly away at a crime novel and writing occasional poems. I’m most excited by my forthcoming novel, as that’s yet another thing I never expected to do. I thought, for some reason, it was beyond me. I’m glad to know, 25 years after I began writing seriously, that I am indeed capable.
What are the last three short story collections you read?
Court Merrigan’s Moondog over the Mekong; Bonnie ZoBell’s Whack-job Girls; Bull Head, by John Vigna.