The Emerging Writers Network, where National Short Story Month takes two months to wrap up. There are as many posts to go for last month as have been posted to date--going to do my best to get them all in this upcoming week and not do a half-ass job with them because I'm trying to get them all up. Andrew Roe has published a couple of titles the past couple of years and Where You Live, the short story collection of the duo, was published by an EWN favorite, Engine Books, last year. Andrew was kind enough to write us an NSSM essay as well (about Joy Williams) as answer some questions!
EWN: Your short story collection, Where You Live, was published in 2017. What story within the collection had the earliest publication history outside of being in the collection, and what was that history?
AR: My memory continues to alarmingly erode, but I’m pretty sure the first published story was “Rough,” which appeared in Glimmer Train back in 2004. I submitted the story through the slush. And I’ll never forget coming home one day and listening to a message on my answering machine from Linda Swanson-Davies (one of Glimmer Train’s editors) saying the story had been accepted. It was a long time before I erased the message.
EWN: How did the publication of this particular collection come about? Were you solicited by the publisher, win a contest, agent submission, etc.?
AR: I published my first novel, The Miracle Girl, in 2015. That took a while to write. And all along I was writing stories too. Since my novel didn’t exactly set the world on fire, my agent (Michelle Brower) and I thought it would be best to send the collection to smaller, independent publishers.
Victoria Barrett, the publisher and editor of Engine Books, knew my work because she’d published one of my stories—which is included in the collection—when she edited, along with Andrew Scott, the online literary magazine Freight Stories.
We had also met in person at AWP. I think I was supposed to buy Victoria and Andrew a drink but somehow got the time wrong. Anyway, when Michelle and I were putting together a list of publishers to submit the collection to, I made sure to include Engine Books, and they made an offer.
EWN: Where do short stories fit within your life as an author? Primary form to work with, or something you write when an idea hits, or …?
AR: That has varied throughout the years. There was a time, after my wife and I started having kids, when I was writing only short stories. But the past five, six, seven years (maybe more than that, actually) I’ve gravitated toward novels. I did recently write a few flash fiction pieces, but before that it had been a while.
EWN: Where do short stories fit within your life as a reader?
AR: I’m always reading short stories. Even when reading a novel I’ll take a break and read short fiction. It’s sustaining for me. And I find great, reliable, always-there, go-to inspiration in two writers known for their short fiction: Charles D’Ambrosio and Joy Williams.
EWN: How will you be celebrating National Short Story Month this May?
EWN: Thank you very much for your time!
AR: Thank you, Dan! I really appreciate all you do for writers—and especially for shining love and light on short stories.
Andrew Roe’s latest book is Where You Live, a collection of short stories. His debut novel, The Miracle Girl, was a Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist. His fiction has been published in Tin House, One Story, The Sun, Glimmer Train, Slice, The Cincinnati Review, and other publications, as well as the anthologies 24 Bar Blues (Press 53) and Where Love Is Found (Washington Square Press). His nonfiction has been published in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon.com, and elsewhere. He lives in Pleasant Hill, California, with his wife and three children. Find out more at andrewroeauthor.com.