This is the interview that Kim Martins @Kimmar did with me.
6:57 PM - 16 May 2018
Steve Carr is an American author and I am in several Facebook writing groups with him. He’s always very gracious with his time to group members and I’ve had the pleasure of reading many of his wonderful short stories. A number of these stories have now been gathered into a short story collection called Sand. I’ll review this collection in more detail soon but, for today’s post, here is my interview with Steve.
You can find Steve on Amazon and on Twitter. What’s amazing is that I share so many likes with Steve. Regular readers know how much I love the writing of Pearl S Buck and I have a copy of the under-rated novel Steve mentions.
Enjoy the interview and I hope you go off and buy Sand.
Tell us about Sand, your collection of short stories. What themes run through the collection?
In the thirty stories in the collection that includes literary, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and speculative fiction it’s really difficult to identify any prevalent theme. I try to draw the reader into situations, environments and worlds that evoke emotions, from wonder to sadness to terror.
Sand will appeal to what sort of reader?
Readers who enjoy different genres, different styles of writing by a single author, and stories that are entertaining but thought provoking should enjoy the stories in Sand.
What do you think a reader will take away from completing your story collection?
Hopefully, the desire to discuss the stories with someone else.
Is there a favorite story you can share with us? What was the inspiration for writing it?
That’s a really tough question. The easy answer would be the signature story, “Sand.” It’s a very haunting exploration on the theme of loneliness, an emotion we have all felt at one time or another in our lives. Other favorites include “Tenderloin,” because of its intensity and how it’s structured, “The Tale of the Costume Maker” because of the prose, “Hard Knocks,” because its so uniquely odd, and “The Big Wish” for its whimsy. Favorites by readers has varied widely.
Where are you from? Has this influenced your writing?
I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. The city hasn’t really influenced me, but my family was very poor, and being raised in that environment has influenced me a great deal. As a child I unconsciously tried to escape it every way possible through play and imagination, and that has stuck with me.
Who are your favorite authors? What is it about their writing that speaks to you?
I discovered W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage when I was about nineteen and spent the next several months reading everything he wrote. He only wrote in one genre, literary, but for me every story was an escape into fantasy, taking me to his time and travels. He was a master of observation and understanding of human nature. What spoke to me then, and still speaks to me, is how a complete story can be told based on a very small observable detail or otherwise insignificant event. In no particular order, my other favorite authors include Joseph Conrad, Willa Cather, Pearl S. Buck, Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King and Frank Herbert. Because I was a playwright for a while, I’d add Eugene O’Neil, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and of course William Shakespeare to that list.
What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?
George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides. It’s a post-apocalyptic story written in 1949 and obviously pre-dates, most notably, Stephen King’s The Stand, by decades. This is the most complete story of the near total demise of mankind I’ve ever read, and why it’s not mentioned more often baffles me.
What is your pet peeve in writing?
The pet peeve I have in my own writing is that because I do my own editing and allow no one to read anything I’ve written before it is published, is that sometimes I make really stupid mistakes that editors sometimes don’t catch, like inadvertently switching the name of a character half way through a story. My pet peeve concerning some writers is very simple: they can’t write.
I’m also pretty vocal about my reason for not allowing anyone to read any story I write before it is published, but I always add the caveat that this is my personal belief about writing and not meant to demean anyone who does it differently. I feel that if I allowed someone else to beta read or edit my story before I have submitted it then the story is no longer 100% mine. I’ve allowed someone else’s “voice” to interfere with mine. It’s the same reason I never read any other writer’s work before it has been published. The notion that a writer “has to” have their works edited/beta read by someone else feels like something that has bloomed in recent years as an entire industry of paid editors and paid beta readers has grown from the idea that writers don’t need to learn grammar, punctuation, story construction, continuity, etc. – all of which a short story writer should know – because someone else can be paid to do it. If an editor at a publication likes a story, they will do the editing before it is published as long as there aren’t too many errors. That is their job.
Do you have any tips for flash fiction or short story writers?
Writing for the fun or art of it is satisfying, but the question I’m asked most often is, “How do I get my stories published?” The answer is don’t write a story unless you have a publication in mind you want to submit a story to. It’s no guarantee the story will be accepted for publication, but it’s a lot easier knowing who you’re writing for before writing a story, then trying to find a fit for the story after-the-fact.
What do you have planned to do next in the writing world?
As of today my stories have appeared in 170 publications around the world. My first collection has 30 of those stories, so I have enough stories for a few more collections, so I’m lazily pursuing that. Mostly, my plan is to just continue writing short stories until I write the perfect short story, and then I’ll probably continue writing after that.
What are 10 things we don’t know about Steven Carr?
He prefers to be called Steve.
He spent three years in the Army and spent only about three months on an Army base. The rest of the time he worked in a civilian office and lived in an apartment far from an Army base that was paid for by the Army.
He spent four years in the Navy and other than a half hour tour of a submarine, he was never on a ship.
His two elderly cats, ages 16 and 18, that he had since they were kittens died within six months of each other. He was emotionally shattered by their deaths. The youngest one he found in a gutter and near death and nursed back to health. He believes saving and caring for her is the one thing that will get him into heaven (if there is such a place).
South Dakota is where his heart is, although he hasn’t lived there in years.
He believes every person in the world needs to have one best friend. His is David Harms and he’s been his best friend for almost twenty years.
He wishes he had traveled even more than he did when he was young.
He’s a movie buff and has a DVD collection of nearly 2000 titles of all genres from silents to present day.
He was once a photographer. Ninety of his black and white portraits that were in an exhibition in Pierre, SD, are (presumably) hanging on the walls of ninety families who bought them. He feels pretty good about that.
He detests Donald Trump and feels embarrassed that Donald Trump was elected president of a country that seems to have lost its way.