Happy Labor Day! Today we present Susan Woodring, the author of short story collection Springtime on Mars from Press 53, and of the recently published novel Goliath, out on St. Martin’s Press. Susan talks to us about short stories, novels, and guilty pleasures.
P53: Do you prefer the short story or the novel (both in terms of writing and of reading)?
SW: I prefer novels, both as a reader and a writer. I just like the space and flexibility novels allow, and I am ever fascinated by a beautifully and powerfully shaped novel. Having said that, though, I go through seasons when I am all about short stories, both in reading them and writing them. I believe they are the higher art form. As a reader, I marvel at how crisp and perfect they can be. As a writer, I enjoy trying out some different things in them, some tricky points of view and bizarre situations, things I have no hope of sustaining for three hundred pages, but can maybe get away in a shorter form.
P53: What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
SW: Hunger Games. Loved it.
P53: What’s your guilty pleasure?
SW: Peanut M&Ms
P53: What do you have to have in order to make your work space effective?
SW: I need my tiny netbook, some kind of notebook or place to jot notes, and a pen. That’s about it; I like to keep my work space portable.
P53: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
SW: I read an abridged-for-children version of Gulliver’s Travels when I was eight years old and discussed it over chocolate chip cookie dough with our neighbor, who was an English teacher at an all-boys academy. I began making up my own adventure stories and selling hand-written copies to my little sister and kids in my class for a quarter a piece.
Sometime in my twenties, I read Lee Smith’s Fair and Tender Ladies and then Bret Lott’s Jewel. These were the books that inspired my love of language and re-inspired me to get writing.
Three Facts About Susan:
1. I was born in Indiana.
2. I am a middle child.
3. I have that dream where I’m back in college and keep forgetting to go to my Biology or Geology or Physics or whatever-class (always a science class!) all the freakin’ time. I think it betrays my chronic lack of organization. And an unhealthy amount of anxiety attached to said lack of organization.