chapbook

The Chapbook Interview: Meg Tuite on the Flash Fiction Chapbook

Tell me about your flash fiction chapbook, Disparate Pathos from Monkey Puzzle Press (2011).

First of all, I want to thank you, Madeline, for inviting me to be interviewed. I so appreciate it. It is a theme of  ‘desire’,  a grouping of flash stories on people either connecting or completely missing the mark.

How much time did you spend to find a home for it?

I sent out a chapbook with fifteen stories, or so, and Monkey Puzzle Press got back to me and asked to publish twelve of them. I believe that Monkey Puzzle Press got back to me within three months. I sent it to seven different presses and forgot about it until I got the contract in the mail from Nate Jordon, Founder and Publisher of Monkey Puzzle Press out of Boulder, CO.

What about the publication of the individual short stories prior to the acceptance from Monkey Puzzle Press? Many of your stories in Disparate Pathos first appeared online in Prime Number Magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, and Journal of Truth & Consequence.

Before I even think of a collection, I publish as many stories as I can. Then when I have a group that seem to have a similar theme I think about a collection and that is how Disparate Pathos came to be. I send the stories out first and waited for individual publication, before I sent to any publishers to consider as a chapbook.

What was the time between acceptance of your chapbook and publication date?

It took about six months from the acceptance letter to actual publication. We had to agree on a cover for the chapbook first and then we agreed on the stories for the collection. Nate Jordon was a joy to work with and I LOVE Monkey Puzzle Press. I think he put together an exceptional chapbook and I only get compliments from all who have seen it, read it. It was a great experience.

I love the cover art of Disparate Pathos and the interior design and logos for Monkey Puzzle Press! How involved were you with that process?

I actually got the cover art from an amazing writer and friend, Michelle Reale, who is a librarian at the Arcadia Library in Pennsylvania. She found an old French illustration and then Nate Jordon worked with it to make the vision pop. I thank them both for an exquisite cover.

Tell me about your novel-in-stories Domestic Apparition (San Francisco Bay Press) that also was published in 2011. You’ve been very successful in getting fantastic book reviews of Domestic Apparition in The Nervous Breakdown, Pank Magazine, Used Furniture Review, and elsewhere.

When Domestic Apparition first came out in June, 2011 I had a launch party in Santa Fe, NM, where I live and had a blast of a launch. We had music and I signed books and did readings and it was a damn good time. That was the beginning. I also sold many books online and did readings across the country from Portland to New York. I think an author of a book published by an Indie press needs to be ready to promote on whatever level they can. I had so much support from local writers and friends as well as all the writers I was in contact with on Facebook and as an editor of two magazines. And then there were the exceptional book reviews that came from many people who’d read my collection. It was quite humbling and a writer’s dream to have so much positive feedback. I still have reviews coming out on Domestic Apparition. I have one that is scheduled for June 2012 that will be up on Psychology Today Magazine’s blog.

What advice would you offer someone about to have their first flash fiction chapbook published?

My first bit of advice for any writer of flash, longer fiction or poetry is to read, read and read. Check out all the magazines online and in print that you might be interested in sending to before you send anything. Make sure that your work might be a good fit for the magazine and then send it when you feel it’s ready to put out there. I always read my work out loud as well as get feedback from a few other writers that I respect before I send a story out.

Once I have accumulated some stories that seem to fit together or have a general theme and at least half of them have been published then I might try and assemble a collection. That’s just my recipe. It may be completely different for other writers.

Has being the fiction editor for The Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press shaped your writing and sense of the publishing industry in some ways?

I have really enjoyed being an editor as well as a writer. And getting the experience of editing a print magazine and a bi-monthly online magazine has been priceless. I have read so many different writers and have had the exceptional opportunity to publish work that I admire. Yes, I believe that my experience as an editor has only enhanced my writing. My truth is that the more you read, the better it is all the way around. And as an editor, you read quite a lot.

What current projects are you working on?

I’ve just sent out a collection of stories to various publishers to read. I’m working on a chapbook for a publisher right now that will be published sometime in the summer, which is poetry. I’m very excited about that! And I have a novel sitting waiting for an ending. I’m almost 200 pages into it and it’s close to the end of the first draft. Just need to get the focus back in that arena again.

Ways you promote other writers

I promote other writers that I love whenever I can. I put their poetry up on my Facebook page. Or excerpts from their novels and collections. I also put the word out when a writer I admire has a new collection coming out. I write book reviews when I read something that moves me. And I publish them and interview them up at Connotation Press whenever I find work that excites me.

Inspirations and influences

I am influenced by SO many writers. I’ll be teaching a flash fiction class this summer in Santa Fe at the college. The students will be reading many current writers as well as some from the past. It’s very difficult to give a list of my favorites. I adore so many writers past and present. A short list would include: Flannery O’Connor, Djuna Barnes, Flann O’Brien, Bruno Schulz, David Sedaris, Michelle Reale, Len Kuntz, Paula Bomer, Melissa Pritchard, Sara Lippmann, Jen Michalski, Robert Vaughan, Mary Stone Dockery, Susan Tepper, Alex Pruteanu, Julie Innis, Pat Pujolas, James Valvis, Kristine Ong Muslim, James Claffey, Sheldon Lee Compton, David Tomaloff and so many more. I have to stop at some point or this interview will never end.

Residence

I live in Santa Fe, NM.

Bio

Meg Tuite’s writing has appeared in numerous journals including Berkeley Fiction Review, 34th Parallel, Epiphany, JMWW, One, the Journal, Monkeybicycle and Boston Literary Magazine. She has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. She is the fiction editor of The Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press. Her novel Domestic Apparition (2011) is available through San Francisco Bay Press and her chapbook, Disparate Pathos, is available (2012) through Monkey Puzzle Press. She has a monthly column, Exquisite Quartet, published up at Used Furniture Review. The Exquisite Quartet Anthology-2011 is available. Her blog: http://megtuite.wordpress.com.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Meg Tuite
    April 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Thank you so much, Madeline, for sending me your questions. I’m very excited about your poetry collection that will soon be coming out! Keep me posted!

  • Reply
    susan tepper
    April 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I’ve read Meg’s chapbook and her full length collection and both are winners! Meg is a tough act to follow! I am looking forward to her many new books over the years to come.