earned her MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. The
receipient of many grants and fellowships, her short stories have
appearedin journals such as the Alaska Quarterly Review, The New
Orleans Review, and Hayden's Ferry Review. Tracy lives near Boston,
Massachusetts, with her husband. She works with Gaining Ground, an
organic farm that gives all of its produce away for hunger relief.
with Tracy Winn
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Tracy Winn: From
inception to publication, Mrs Somebody Somebody took ten years. That
sounds horrible and people make excuses for ages passing in the
creation of a collection of short stories, but the work becomes
richer and more layered when it goes through many changes and is
allowed to molder in a file in between drafts. Writing a story takes
me about a year, even when the first draft comes fast.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
had a collection in mind, but at first, it wasn’t this one. After I
had three of the ten stories written, I began experimenting with what
happens when a young character in one story emerges in another story
at a different crucial time in his/her life. As I wrote, their lives
accrued and connections between characters developed, which tied the
stories to each other. The result, I hope, is that the reader gets to
know the characters deeply, like friends, over time.
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
Once I started linking the stories, I wrote to fill gaps or expand
narrative threads. I didn’t go through the anguish of cutting any out
of the collection. Putting them into a logical order was tricky because
I had to take a web of interconnections and make something with a
sequential logic a reader could follow. Kathryn Lang, my fireball
editor at SMU Press, helped me push those stories into line.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
That is just about my favorite word. "Story" means reading and being
transported, or writing and being transported, or on the rare occasion
being read to and transported. I love entering an imagined world to
have my curiosity piqued, make discoveries, and to see and understand
in a way not usually available outside the narrative realm.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
short stories are generally such a hard sell in the publishing world
and I didn’t think anyone but maybe my friends would be reading
this collection, I took the liberty of writing a book that I would
like to read. To make it the way I wanted it to be, I read it back to
myself out loud as I wrote. I reworked the rhythms until they
satisfied my ear. I had a lot of fun weaving the stories together in
ways that would surprise and entertain me had I been someone who just
happened to stumble across them.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
it be okay if I ask two questions? 1) Did you see the humor as well
as the sadness and the moments of beauty in this book? 2) Did you
wonder about Franklin’s paternity?
TSR: How does
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
was shocked to realize that other people had access to the private
world I created in the solitude of my study. I am happy to have
adjusted to the fact that more people than I will ever know have come
to know and love my characters.
What are you working on now?
a secret. To tell anyone this early in the process might jinx it.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?