Solomon was born in New Zealand, where she has published
two novels. Her second play, Sprout,
based on a short story in the collection reviewed here, was part of the
2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
with Laura Solomon
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Laura Solomon: Four years. I wrote the stories between 2003 and 2007 while working full-time in IT.
TSR: Did you
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
I was simply entering competitions and sending stories away to
magazines. By 2007 I had enough for a collection, so thought I should
shop it round the Independent Publishers in the UK.
TSR: How did
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
LS: I had twice as many stories written as are in Alternative Medicine. I picked what I thought were the strongest to include in the collection. I wanted to start with the story Alternative Medicine'as it is the title of the collection and one of the stronger stories. I wanted to end with Halloween in the Antipodes, as I feel that the image of the Jack O'Lantern trying to find his way home is a good/vaguely haunting way to end.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
decent story should hook the reader in, deliver something new, and
hopefully deliver some "truth" (disguised as a lie). And be well
written, of course.
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
When writing AM, I was writing the kind of stories that I would like to
read. Now, however, I am working on a book for young adults, so I am
bearing a young adult audience in mind.
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
LS: Did you enjoy the stories? What did you like/dislike? Which was your favourite story?
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
LS: Good. I hope they're selling. It took me 10 years to get a book published in the UK. I hope people are enjoying it.
TSR: What are
you working on now?
LS: A novel for young adults, set in Peckham.
TSR: What are
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
LS: Instruction Manual for Swallowing
by Adam Marek, Words from a Glass Bubble
by Vanessa Gebbie and The Blue
by Maggie Gee. All brilliant.