Meg Tuite's writing has appeared in over 100 journals including One, the Journal, Berkeley Fiction Review and Epiphany. She has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize. She has publihed a chapbook, Disparate Pathos, (Monkey Puzzle Press, 2012) and an anthology, Exquisite Quartet, edited and co-authored by her, 2012.  She is the fiction editor of Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press.

Short Story Collections

Domestic Apparition
(San Francisco Bay Press, 2011)

reviewed by Bonnie ZoBell

Disparate Pathos
(Monkey Puzzle Press, 2012)

Interview with Meg Tuite

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Meg Tuite: I’d have to go back almost fifteen years. That sounds crazy, but I was putting together the skeleton of these stories at the time. My mother was dying and I was sitting in a room with her, writing like a maniac. I didn't know, nor care that these stories would end up anywhere, but they were cathartic to write and they were pouring out of me. Of course, the process of honing them in for publication was a whole different animal. That's why the many years have transpired. I rewhacked them in workshops and whittled them down. It was a long journey, but I never knew that I was in a process when it was happening. I was just moving along through the wavelength.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

MT: No idea. I was lost in the writing itself. I wrote some of these stories in first person and some in third person. It wasn't until I put together some of the stories and sent them out as a collection last year that I realized they could be a collection. And when San Francisco Bay Press wanted to publish them, we worked on making it into a novel-in-stories. Most of the stories had been published already in literary magazines and so I reworked them so that it was the same narrator throughout and it became a much more cohesive unit.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

MT: I can't remember what order I sent them in as a collection, but once I said yes to San Francisco Bay Press I worked the stories from a girl starting grade school all the way up through high school, college and out into the hellish world of employment. Then I changed the names so that it was more of a novel-in-stories. I would say that all but two of the stories had previously been published in a different form.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

MT:  That's a great question. Now that I've been publishing stories in so many different forms it has taken on new meaning every year. A story can be anything that breathes new life into me. I read something that's anywhere from six words to fifty pages and it transforms me. It deepens that black hole in whatever part of the brain, choose your spot, and I am opened up into another universe or my world as I know it has let go of its borders.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

MT:  I don't think of a specific reader when I'm writing. I am trying to get to a place with the characters. I am trying to bring them alive without the obstacle of cliche. The reader comes in when I edit and read the story out loud. If I don't find it interesting, why the hell would they?

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

MT: My question would be the question I ask myself when I finish a collection. Has it moved you, changed you in anyway? That is the ultimate for me in a book and if I got a yes from a reader, there would be nothing that could bypass that.

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

MT: I'm so thankful that people are buying my books and reading them. That's what it's all about. But, I'm really excited when someone tells me that they finished the book and then their daughter, son, friend picked it up and took it to read themselves. A book that is passed on by word of mouth is a gift for the writer. At least, for me.

TSR: What are you working on now?

MT: I have another full collection that may be coming out in 2013. I have an ekphrastic chapbook that is coming out this summer with one artist and sixteen writers. I am editing it, as well as participating as a writer. I have another chapbook coming out that will be poetry with my own collages included. Very excited about all of these. And I have a novel in the works.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

MT: Baby & other stories by Paula Bomer/Word Riot Press, Jimmy Lagowski Saves the World by Pat Pujolas/Independent Talent Group, Inc. The Odditorium by Melissa Pritchard/Bellevue Literary Press. All exceptional reads!
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Find out what other authors, from Aimee Bender to Sana Krasikov, said about their collections, what the word "story" means to them, and how it feels to know that people are buying your books! More interviews >>>