Photo by Matt Chamberlain
Kathryn Mockler: What is your first memory of writing creatively?
Amelia Gray: My mom let me use her typewriter and I typed a story about Snoopy. I must have been 5 or 6. The story was heavily illustrated. I can't remember for sure, but I think some pretty bad shit happens to Snoopy.
KM: Why did you become a writer?
AG: It made me feel better when I was feeling low.
KM: What influences your writing the most?
AG: It's a toss-up between men, god and the internet.
KM: Could you describe your writing process? (For example, do you write every day? When? Where? How do you approach revision, etc.)
AG: I generally write in the morning, at my computer, in my little windowless office, in a WordPad file. I like to write every day, though sometimes when I don't have any projects going, I'll take some time off or stare at something in the morning or afternoon with the intention of revising it.
KM: Rejection or criticism can often stop new writers before they start. Do you have any advice on how to deal with rejection?
AG: Develop an ugly, unstoppable ego.
KM: What writers would you recommended to an aspiring writer? Or what writers were influential to you when you first started out?
AG: Barry Hannah, Flannery O'Connor, David Foster Wallace, James Joyce, Vanessa Place, Russell Edson, Sylvia Plath, James Tate, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, Denis Johnson, Shirley Jackson.
KM: What is the best literary advice you've gotten that you actually use?
AG: Denis Johnson says you should write ten minutes a day.
KM: What are you working on now?
AG: Collecting short stories. Some other things.
THREATS, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
Description from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
David’s wife is dead. At least, he thinks she’s dead. But he can’t figure out what killed her or why she had to die, and his efforts to sort out what’s happened have been interrupted by his discovery of a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden in strange places around his home—one buried in the sugar bag, another carved into the side of his television. These disturbing threats may be the best clues to his wife’s death:
CURL UP ON MY LAP. LET ME BRUSH YOUR HAIR WITH MY FINGERS. I AM SINGING YOU A LULLABY. I AM TESTING FOR STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS IN YOUR SKULL.
Detective Chico is also on the case, and is intent on asking David questions he doesn’t know the answers to and introducing him to people who don’t appear to have David’s or his wife’s best interests in mind. With no one to trust, David is forced to rely on his own memories and faculties—but they too are proving unreliable.
In THREATS, Amelia Gray builds a world that is bizarre yet familiar, violent yet tender. It is an electrifying story of love and loss that grabs you on the first page and never loosens its grip.
Read an excerpt from THREATS here.
Read a new short story by Amelia Gray here and more short stories here.