Anne Leigh Parrish
a native of upstate New York but has made Seattle, Washington home
for almost thirty years. Her short stories have won numerous honors
and awards, and have appeared or are forthcoming in The Virginia
Quarterly Review, Clackamas Literary Review, American Short Fiction,
The Pinch, Eclectica Magazine, Prime Number, Storyglossia, PANK,
Bluestem, r.kv.r.y., and many other publications.
with Anne Leigh Parrish
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Anne Leigh Parrish:
about three years, from 2007 through the end of 2010.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
not really. I wrote each story, and then later thought to combine
them all into something book-length. The list of stories changed a
bit over time, however. As I uncovered common themes or situations
in my work, I was able to see a sort of arc or progression that made
sense of the final group.
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
In essence I pulled everything I'd published in that time period with
the exception of one story I didn't think was a good fit with the rest.
Regarding the order of the stories, I led with what I felt was my
strongest piece, which won The Pinch's
2008 Literary Award. After that it was a matter of progressing
generally from mother-daughter stories to parent-child pieces, to
stories featuring couples, and ending with one that depicts an entire
family dealing with a small, quickly resolved crisis.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
means a brief, intense exposure to someone else's fictional world,
where what you come to assume, or believe, is altered by the time you
leave that world. A story lifts off from reality and startles you
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
I do. I'd say my
"reader" is an intelligent, sensitive person who loves
language in general, and tough, pushy characters in particular. My
reader wants to root for my characters, and see them come out on top.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
like to know if he got a sense of place, as informed by landscape or
someone's mood; if she was immersed in a character's world and the
challenges of that world; and this last probably sounds a bit odd,
but I'd like to know if my work either restored or enhanced my
reader's faith in humankind.
TSR: How does
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
feels both amazing and strange.
seldom know who our readers are, so the idea of a complete stranger
getting to know my work isn't new. What's different for me now is
that someone who knows nothing about me, who buys and reads my book,
is going to get a much bigger picture of who I am as a writer simply
by virtue of reading eleven stories, rather than just one.
What are you working on now?
terms of marketing, I'm hoping to find an agent to represent my
The novel takes off from one of the stories in my collection, Pinny
and The Fat Girl. It, too, is set in my fictional town of
Dunston. As to writing itself, I'm completing a collection of linked
stories called Our
Love Could Light
After that I imagine it will be the usual mix of producing
individual stories, while chipping away at a new book-length project,
most likely another novel.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?