Richard Lange was born in Oakland, grew up in various small towns in California’s Central Valley, and attended film school at the University of Southern California.  He has, among other jobs, edited the heavy-metal magazine RIP.  In 2009 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.  His novel This Wicked World was published in June, also by Little, Brown.

Short Story Collections

Dead Boys
(Little, Brown, 2007)

Reviewed by Scott Doyle

Interview with Richard Lange

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

Richard Lange: The stories in Dead Boys were written over a period of eight years.

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

RL: Not at all. I was just writing stories and sending them out to journals with no thought of them ever being presented together.

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

RL: I included every mature story I had written up to that time in Dead Boys. Ten of them had appeared in various magazines and journals, and two appeared for the first time in the book. My editor chose the order. My drawer was empty after that, and I’ve just recently started filling it again.

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

RL:  I’m still figuring that out. In my short pieces I often try to see how little plot I can get away with, offering the reader an emotional experience instead. I used a different strategy in my new novel, This Wicked World, opting to do something plot-oriented there. The plot stuff is much harder for me than the emotional stuff.

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

RL:  Yes: me. I write things I’d want to read.

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

RL: Did you tell ten of your friends to buy the book? Would you, please?

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

RL: It’s fantastic. I’m still waiting to wake up from this dream.

TSR: What are you working on now?

RL: A new collection of stories and a new novel.

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

RL: I don’t read many story collections. I’m pretty picky. Right now I’m reading Bleak House by Dickens, Imperial by William Vollmann and a Library of America true crime anthology. I’ve also been dipping into Maupassant’s stories.
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