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 Mitzi Szereto 


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Website: Mitzi Szereto's Weblog

Mitzi Szereto is an author and anthologist with more than a dozen books to her credit. She is a pioneer of erotic writing workshops in UK & Europe. She’s earned the American Society of Authors and Writers’ Meritorious Achievement Award for the anthologies she had edited. She lives in England.

Short Story Anthologies

Getting Even: Revenge Stories
Serpent's Tail, 2007

Reviewed by Avis Hickman-Gibb

 Interview with Mitzi Szereto

The Short Review: How long did it take you to put together all the stories in the anthology?

Mitzi Szereto: Getting Even took about a year to put together - from conception to delivery of the final manuscript. I spent several months looking at work that came in, plus I'd also commissioned a number of writers to contribute stories to the book. Editing is a much more difficult job than most people imagine - or else I'm such a perfectionist and so particular that I labour more than some of my anthology-editing contemporaries. I always write a story of my own for my anthologies too - and that took about a month. It was inspired by real events.

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

MS: I pretty much know immediately if a story has that engagement factor I'm looking for. There must be an edge, a uniqueness to the work, a voice that sounds original. I want the stories to possess a lingering quality - in that readers will remember them after they've finished reading them. As for their order, that's always a major challenge. I tend to place the stories on the floor and work that way, until I find an order that makes sense to me. I prefer to mix longer stories with shorter stories, and also do a mashup of moods - ie having a very dark and grim story followed by something with humour or vice versa.

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

MS:  I've never really thought of it before. But I suppose since you asked, my definition would be "a short self-contained piece of writing that can stand on its own as a literary work." It doesn't need to have the development of say, a novel, but there needs to be something there, even if the work is abstract - something that keeps the reader involved to the end. I do feel the short story is vastly underrated, especially in Britain. If you think about it, the times in which we live are perfect for short stories. People seem to have less free time and a shorter attention span, therefore what better literary form is there for the 21st century than a short story?

TSR: Do you have a "reader" in mind?

MS:  I never have a reader in mind. When I write, I just write. When I come up with a concept for an anthology, it just happens - there is no market, no reader, no nothing. It's only after the project is already clear in my mind that I start thinking along those lines - and that is usually because a publisher might ask for these things.

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

MS: Perhaps if there is anything in particular that moved them, touched them in some way - be it on a lighter level or possibly deeper and more emotional.

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

MS: It's a nice feeling, obviously. There's a lot of satisfaction in knowing that someone thinks your work is worth spending their hard-earned money on. I always try to make sure that my books are worthy of the price - that there is original and quality content in them so that the reader feels she or he has purchased something of value.

TSR: What are you working on now?

DH: I am spending a lot of time working on my blog "Mitzi Szereto's Weblog". I only recently got into this blogging gig, and it's proving extremely popular and is ranked as one of the most popular blogs around. I am looking at taking this to the next level, and that could well be some kind of startup - internet television most probably. I've also become a very heavy-duty social networker. I've become rather famous for my use of Facebook as a marketing and networking tool, and I'm pretty much on every major site there is. I also have a couple of book projects in the works and have been working with Amazon Kindle, which have published my out-of-print M. S. Valentine erotic novels as well as some individual short stories, plus a special short story collection Silk Sheets: Collected Stories of Mitzi Szereto, that's only available exclusively via Amazon Kindle.

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

MS: I'm very naughty - I've not read anything in ages. I seem to spend my life on the internet and at social networking events.