writes and blogs on the coast of southern New England. Her work has
been featured in the 2006 anthology Horror Library, Volume 1,
and has appeared online and in print in Insidious Reflections, Wicked
Karnival, The Lightning Journal, Lamoille Lamentations, The Eldritch
with Fran Friel
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Fran Friel: The
title novella, Mama's
Boy, was originally written and published in 2006 by
Insidious Publications and I was very honored at that time to have
received a nomination for the Bram Stoker award for Long Fiction. So
technically, I guess you could say that this collection has been in the
making for three years, with a few of the short pieces like Under the Dryer, Mashed, Orange and Golden, Close Shave,
at the Hip appearing in other venues before the collection
idea came about.
TSR: Did you
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
FF: The longer fiction
in particular was written with the collection in mind. A few had been
in the works prior, but the book gave me a venue to stretch out a bit
and write purely for the joy of it. Beach of Dreams, The Sea Orphan,
and Fine Print are
among those pieces. You'll also see a number of flash fiction stories
previously unpublished, as well.
TSR: How did
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
FF: I know it
sounds a crazy, but it was an intuitive process for me. There was
little to no literary analysis in the process, just an angel on my
shoulder whispering in my ear.
TSR: What does the word "story"
mean to you?
my immediate reaction to that question is a free-association answer:
Story = Fun. I could give you an academic answer and I'm sure your fine
readers know what story is from that perspective, but for me, as a
writer and a reader, story is about taking a great ride, having an
adventure in new places, meeting interesting people. It's the process
of discovery of self, of the world, of others. And nerdball that I am,
that's seriously fun.
TSR: Do you
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
like to say no, but I suspect there's a subconscious reader I'm writing
for, but consciously, I'm writing for me. It goes back to that last
question. Writing a story is about discovery, for me, and I pursue that
discovery because I find the process invigorating, fun and often,
revealing. So I write for me first, and if I like what I've written, I
hope there will be others who like it, too.
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your
anything at all?
FF: Hmm...for my
ego, what, if anything, brought you joy or satisfaction about the
collection? How were you left feeling after each story? And for the
taming of my ego and the improvement of my work, what didn't work for
you and why?
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
FF: Truthfully, it
brings me joy. Like I said earlier, I write for me first, but
ultimately, what brings me some of my greatest happiness in life is to
know that other folks enjoy my work. Even after years of writing,
hearing from happy readers still makes me a little giddy.
TSR: What are
you working on now?
FF: Well, I've
recently had the extraordinary fortune to be chosen as the first
recipient of a mentorship program started by best selling author,
Douglas Clegg. The program is designed to help the mentoree write and
publish a novel, so that is exactly what I'm working on now. The
mentoring isn't about the writing of the novel itself, but more the
process and business of writing, as well as studying the craft through
literature and film. In only a few weeks working with Doug, I've made
huge strides in my process, as well as deepening my appreciation and
understanding of the craft.
One major tip that's changed my work (and my
life) is staying off the Internet. I only allow myself email during the
week, and I save my Internet browsing, message boards and networking
for the weekend. It's like dessert at the end of a productive work
week. If you're a web junkie or even a casual "user," give it a try for
two weeks. You'll be amazed how hard it is to do, but so happy with the
TSR: What are
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
FF: A Separate War by Joe Haldeman (Ace),
Fourtold by Michael Stone (Baysgarth),
The Jack Vance Reader by Jack Vance (not short stories, but some of the best storytelling I've read in ages) (Subterranean)