Órfhlaith Foyle was born in Nigeria to Irish missionary parents. She now lives in Galway, Ireland. Published works include Somewhere in Minnesota (2011), Red Riding Hood's Dilemma, a poetry collection (2010), Belios, a novel (2005), and Revenge, an anthology of poetry and short fiction (2005).

Short Story Collections

Somewhere In Minnesota
(Arlen House, 2011)

reviewed by Maura O'Neill

Revenge (Arlen House, 2005)

Interview with Òrfhlaith Foyle

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

Òrfhlaith Foyle: Well, I wrote a few of them a few years ago and they were published in Revenge (Arlen House), an anthology of my poetry and short fiction. The rest I wrote within the past year and a half.

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

OF: No, not really. I just wanted to write them. Then Alan Hayes from Arlen House asked me if by any chance I had some stories. It was just an ordinary conversation and by the end of it, I had a collection to finish!

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

OF: I didn't have to choose really. They more or less all have similar questions and feelings in their stories. I was slightly perturbed as to how violent and dark they are....but the characters also long for love...and they were the only stories I could write. As to why – well, I suppose I have answered that one in the previous sentence but I remember having a conversation with a man who admired my work. I joked and said that my mother would like me to write more like Jane Austen and he said, "Ah well – don't worry...there's still time." I'm not Jane Austen.

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

OF: It means a way of making sense of things or at least finding some way to understand how the world works and how people make the choices they make in order to live their lives. That's why I read stories growing up. Reading a story is never an escape from life. It just brings you in further.

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

OF:  No, I just have the story in mind...the character that is telling the story, and if I am not "seeing" that character or in some way experiencing his/her life through the story....then the story doesn't work for me.

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

OF: Would you prefer Jane Austen? Joke, sorry. I gave a reading recently to very few people and one of them told me "I hate your story" – The Secret Life of Madame Defarge - . I didn't ask her why. People aren't afraid to tell you if they hate or love your work. It's harder for me to ask so I never do....but if I had to, absolutely had to...I'd ask "What do you feel after you read a story of mine?"

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

OF: SSometimes surprised but always happy.

TSR: What are you working on now?

OF:  A couple of stories and my novel.

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

OF I'm actually still reading them. Essential Stories, V.S.Pritchett. A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Flannery O' Connor. This Isn't The Sort of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You, Jon McGregor.
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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 >>>