141: From Short Stories to Novels – Interview with Susan Perabo
Hey there word nerds!
Today I am excited to interview author and creative writing professor, Susan Perabo.
Susan is the author of two short story collections and the novel, The Broken Places. Her fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, and New Stories from the South, and has appeared in numerous magazines, including One Story, Glimmer Train, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, and The Sun. She is a writer-in-residence and professor at Dickinson College, and her new book, The Fall of Lisa Bellow, is out now.
In this episode Susan and I discuss:
- How we get to know characters through little glimpses of their lives (in writing workshop terms, we get a lot of “showing” rather than “telling”). We dive into one of those moments in Susan’s process and unpack how writers can give readers a full perspective of the characters by showing them in a scene.
- Why it is important for writers to be able to write short form as well as book-length fiction. We also discuss some of the challenges and some of the advantages that short form brings to the craft of writing.
- The use of imagery (both in simile and metaphor) to convey complex ideas or emotions. When using simile or metaphor in this way, we talk about what writers need to think about.
Plus, Susan’s #1 tip for writers. About the Author
Susan Perabo is the author of two short story collections, Why They Run the Way They Do and Who I Was Supposed to Be, and the novel, The Broken Places. Her fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, and New Stories from the South, and has appeared in numerous magazines, including One Story, Glimmer Train, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, and The Sun. She is Writer in Residence and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. Her new book, The Fall of Lisa Bellow, is out now.
The Fall of Lisa Bellow
When a masked man with a gun enters a sandwich shop in broad daylight, Meredith Oliver suddenly finds herself ordered to the filthy floor, where she cowers face to face with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow, the most popular girl in her eighth grade class. The minutes tick inexorably by, and Meredith lurches between comforting the sobbing Lisa and imagining her own impending death. Then the man orders Lisa Bellow to stand and come with him, leaving Meredith the girl left behind.
After Lisa’s abduction, Meredith spends most days in her room, slipping from her world into Lisa’s. As the community stages vigils and searches, Claire, Meredith’s mother, is torn between relief that her daughter is alive and helplessness over her inability to protect or even comfort her child. Her daughter is here, but not.
Like Everything I Never Told You and Room, The Fall of Lisa Bellow is edgy and original, a hair-raising exploration of the ripple effects of an unthinkable crime. It is a dark, beautifully rendered, and gripping novel about coping, about coming-of-age, and about forgiveness. It is also a beautiful illustration of how one family, broken by tragedy, finds healing.
For more info and show notes: DIYMFA.com/141