does the word "story"
mean to you?
MS: A means of self-expression and a form of inspiration. Nothing more
formulaic than that. Although I wouldn't necessarily put my own stuff in
this category, I love work that really seeks to challenge the common
'beginning, middle and end' convention of what a story is about. To me,
it can be just about anything, so long as it expresses and inspires.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
MS: Because Fryupdale is modelled loosely on the
place I grew up, I feel I'm writing from within that community. So in
some sense I'm acting as a guide for those readers for whom the idea of
heading out to shoot pheasants or tip cows or whatever is entirely
alien. I'm asking them to pop in and pay us a visit and see how we live.
I love the idea of a sharp-suited business guy high in some Manhattan
office block reading Loonies in his lunch break. Eating a foccacia and
furrowing his brow.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
MS: I'd ask them to be as blunt as the characters in the book when they tell
me what they think. I'd like to know in particular which stories they
think work and which don't, and why. I don't encourage them, but I
relish constructive bad reviews more than anodyne average ones. I hope I
haven't just dug myself in a big hole saying that.
TSR: How does
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
MS: It's like I've declared an open day on my own mind, and people are
rolling up to camp out inside my brain. It's not an all together
unpleasant feeling. It's a little weird, though.
What are you working on now?
MS: I've expanded one of the stories from Fryupdale into a novel. I'm
editing it now. I may be some time. After that, I want to write another
loosely connected short story collection. It's definitely my first love
and I'm convinced it's where the future is at. It won't be another
Fryupdale though. I need to stretch my boundaries.