Stefanie Freele was born and raised in Wisconsin.  She currently makes her home on a river in the Northwest US.   She holds an MFA in fiction from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts: Whidbey Writers Workshop in Washington.  She received the Kathy Fish Fellowship ‘Writer-in-Residence’ in 2008 and shortly thereafter joined the editorial staff of Smokelong Quarterly. In addition, she is the fiction editor of The Los Angeles Review.   She will be the 2010/2011 Healdsburg Literary Laureate.

Short Story Collections

Feeding Strays
(Lost Horse Press, 2009)

reviewed by Michelle reale

Interview with Stefanie Freele

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

Stefanie Freele: Around three years of writing and a bunch more of collecting character traits, scenarios, and all that dysfunctional life stuff that it takes to be a writer.

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

SF: Not at all. At first, I never thought I'd finish one story enough to call it finished. Then I never thought I'd have enough for a collection. Then, the stories kept multiplying and I'd go through phases of writing 3-4 stories a week. All of a sudden, I had a collection. Now I have enough for perhaps two more. Never ever thought that would happen.

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

SF: That was difficult. I messed with it a long time and finally wanted to break the stories up. I didn't want too many serious stories in a row, or too many in first person, or too many with death or motherhood or anything similar. I juggled them around for quite a bit and then decided to end with humor, begin with a strong story. I don't know if I ordered it perfectly, but finally I just puzzled it together intuitively until the order felt right.

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

SF:  No, I don't. However, I often picture my brother when I'm writing something funny because I know he will find absurdity where I do.

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

SF: I'd selfishly like to ask them to spread the word if they dug it - write a review or get a copy for a pal etc. Authors who publish with small presses can always use a hand with marketing.

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

SF: Cool and strange at the same time. I'm greatly honored when anyone buys a book, but I'm also fearful they won't like it - but on the other hand if they don't, I do know that people have varied tastes. I've decided though that I can't please everyone and there are over fifty stories in the book, so I don't expect people to love them all. It is interesting to hear what story in the collection is someone's favorite - people tell me all the time things like "story x was my favorite" and I always think that is so fascinating because someone last week said story y was theirs and the week before someone said story q was the one that meant the most to them.

TSR: What are you working on now?

SF: A novel that jettisons right off one of the stories in Feeding Strays. I'm not telling which one - don't ask me.

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

SF I love short story collections. Here are a few I've loved of late: The Lives of Rocks - Rick Bass, In An Uncharted Country - Clifford Garstang, Refresh Refresh - Ben Percy, Elephants In Our Bedroom - Michael Czyzniejewski.
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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 >>>

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