Full of Lit: Nicholas Ruddock Delights With His New Short Story Collection

May 12, 2014

It finally feels like spring has sprung (at least in this part of Canada) and in publishing a new season means lots of new books to read and talk about. We're lucky this new season came with so many great short story collections, including today's featured Full of Lit contributor, How Loveta Got Her Baby by Nicholas Ruddock (published by Breakwater Books). Short stories are perfect to read in the spring and summer when things start to get really busy. Full of Lit, our epub sampler, in celebration of Short Story Month, is a perfect way to dip your toe into the short story genre!

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It finally feels like spring has sprung (at least in this part of Canada) and in publishing a new season means lots of new books to read and talk about. We're lucky this new season came with so many great short story collections, including today's featured Full of Lit contributor, How Loveta Got Her Baby by Nicholas Ruddock (published by Breakwater Books). Short stories are perfect to read in the spring and summer when things start to get really busy. Full of Lit, our epub sampler, in celebration of Short Story Month, is a perfect way to dip your toe into the short story genre!

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How Loveta Got Her Baby is a set of linked stories about growing up unsure of the world and trying to stand up straight, about love from afar and love up close, love imagined, love going right and wrong and sideways, about being young and imperfect. Stories that are by turns, funny, tender, sexy, painful, passionate, heartbreaking, and joyous: Ruddock writes with deft insight into who we are, and how we change.

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“Nick Ruddock’s How Loveta Got Her Baby is an antic collection of homespun stories of squids and chainsaws, far-fetched plans and less than immaculate conceptions. Characters appear and vanish and appear again in interlocking tales that open and close like a possessed accordion.”
--Mark Anthony Jarman, author of My White Planet and Dancing Nightly in the Tavern

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We asked the author…  Nicholas Ruddock

 
Tell us what your collection is about in 140 characters or less.
25 love stories linked together by setting, optimism, tenderness, sexuality, sadness, resilience, humour and death. That covers it.

Do you have a favourite story in your collection?
I like the title story for its utter simplicity and suggestiveness and madness, but every story has something special for me. The stories that are only one or two sentences long, like “Summer” and “Shuffle” and “The Alchemists”, I love them and could read them all day. Readers will bring whatever they have to those, connect them to their own lives.

One that gave you more trouble than the others?
“Mistaken Point” was my first story ever and I kept it to myself for eight years, long after all the other ones were out and doing well. I wouldn’t call it “trouble” though, just a beginner’s uncertainty and, perhaps, fondness for the firstborn.

Did you consciously decide to be a short story writer -- or did the format choose you?
I started with the one-sentence short story, consciously. I never imagined that I could write 2000 or 4000 or 6000 words, but soon enough I did. Then 100,000 words for a novel. So I chose the format, but the format then swept me along on its own.

Who is your favourite short story writer and why?
Chekhov for his humanity. Pretty common choice, but I might mention Mavis Gallant, William Trevor, V.S. Pritchett, and nowadays George Saunders. All for the same reason, a recognition of the toughness of the times but a refusal to bow down.

What makes short stories so different (besides the obvious) than other writing formats?
I don’t think they’re very different, technically. If you break down most novels, they’re short stories run together in a relaxed way. Chapters in a novel are short stories in themselves, the same techniques are there. “But novels have a grand design,” my wife says (reading this) “while short stories are intimate”. That’s true.

What would be the title of your memoir, if you were ever to write one?
Miriam Toews stole my title with her “Summer of My Amazing Luck”, to which I would have to add “Spring, Fall, and Autumn”, for I’ve been lucky with the people in my life. See also “The Alchemists”, in this book, which could be a memoir of sorts for me, although it’s fiction, fiction, fiction.

Nicholas Ruddock’s award-winning poetry and fiction have been widely published in Canada and abroad. His story “How Eunice Got Her Baby” appeared in the Journey Anthology 19 (2007) and was produced by the Canadian Film Centre. His novel, The Parabolist (Doubleday, 2010), was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. Ruddock lives in Guelph, Ontario.

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Established in 1973, Breakwater Books was founded on the principle of preserving the unique culture and stories of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritime provinces. Since that time, Breakwater has developed into a high-quality trade publisher, releasing twelve to sixteen titles a year – including children’s picture books, young adult fiction, educational curricula, literary and commercial fiction, non-fiction, and poetry – while continuing to support its culturally significant backlist titles. Breakwater takes pride in fostering the careers of emerging and established writers alike. Many authors and titles maintain strong links to Newfoundland and Labrador and the North Atlantic, while other Breakwater authors hail from all parts of Canada.

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Thank you to Nicholas for answering our questions and to Breakwater for sharing this lovely collection of stories, one of which is featured in Full of Lit. Pick of your own copy of our epub sampler in celebration of Short Story Month by clicking below. If you want even more Canadian short story collections, check out our Pinterest board!


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Edited from the original post, published on the LPG blog


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