Short Story Month: But When We Look Closer

May 24, 2017

Susan E. Lloy's  But When We Look Closer (Now or Never Publishing) is a collection of eighteen short stories that feature characters in search for buried treasure, for new homes, for escapes. Their struggles and obsessions allow us snapshots of strangers who live and walk beside us. Below we share an excerpt from "Playing Cards on Sunday" included in the collection, and an interview with Susan.

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This Short Story Month, we're interviewing short story writers every Wednesday, here on the All Lit Up blog.

 

Susan E. LLoy's  But When We Look Closer (Now or Never Publishing) is a collection of eighteen short stories that feature characters in search for buried treasure, for new homes, for escapes. Their struggles and obsessions allow us snapshots of strangers who live and walk beside us. Below we share an excerpt from "Playing Cards on Sunday" included in the collection, and an interview with Susan.

But When We Look Closer_Excerpt

 

 

ALU: If you had to describe your collection in 12-15 nouns only, what would they be?

SEL: Lust, sauciness, edginess, compulsion, spirit, struggle, transgression, humour, sorrow, human, memory, past, journey, ocean, art.

 

ALU: Who are your favourite short story writers and why?

SEL: Flannery O’Connor, J. D. Salinger, William Faulkner, Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, Andre Dubus, Mary Gaitskill, Bonnie Jo Campbell. I lean towards writers whose characters struggle, characters that are driven by their weaknesses. Fractured individuals who are awash with troubles: addiction, poverty, lust, self loathing. Everyday folks whose very marrow is laced with conflict and are in possession of unstable cores.

 

ALU: What do you like most about the short story as a form?

SEL: I find that the short form is challenging. It doesn’t allow for fluff or filler. It is especially relevant in this hurried time we live. A small, but efficient escape in a world overloaded with information.

 

ALU: Have you ever written a story you would develop into a novel? If so, tell us about it.

SEL: I think most of them could be developed into a novel, however, this is not my strength. Initially, this book was a novel. A series of short stories weaved around a central theme, which is now titled "Blue Hunger" in this collection. The concept was interesting and attracted various publishers for a peek. But, I was unable to link it together and that novel was deconstructed and the central theme was reworked into a new short story. I shall stick to the shorter form.

 

 

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A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University, Susan honed her perceptual skills handling nitro and dynamite in the Canadian North and slinging drinks in Halifax before coordinating a Cardiac Surgery Unit in Montreal, where she now resides. A writer of short fiction, she has published stories in a variety of periodicals and magazines including Beecher's, The Prague Revue, and Amsterdam Quarterly.

 

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Thanks to Susan for answering our questions, and to Chris at Now or Never Publishing for making the connection. For more Short Story Month reads, click here.


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