Aaron Gilbreath interviewed Stacey Richter, author of the story collections Twin Study and My Date with Satan, for The Portland Review.
The opening exchange:
Aaron Gilbreath: Many of your book’s stories start with incredible first lines. “We must love nature, and we must rape nature for Satan!” in “Goal 666;” “She smiled when she saw me coming, the Bitch, she smiled and stuck her fingers in her mouth.” in “The Beauty Treatment;” “It’s a boozy night, and the regulars are practically dry-humping the bar –” in “Rules for Being Human.” As a reader, how quickly do you lose interest in a story when the intro fails to move or pull you in?Read the entire interview.
Stacey Richter: I like things to start well. It is important to me. I think the first page or first paragraph should contain everything that’s in the story thematically, and lots of times when I read a story I love I go back and read the first page again. And although I’ll almost always finish a story once I start it, I do form an impression quickly. I can bore easily, but I usually try to keep going and let the writer redeem herself. I’m more likely to get angry at awkward grammar or something that doesn’t sound musical than a subject that’s not interesting to me. I’ll get more frustrated with the writer if there’s a long sentence with too many clauses and awkward descriptions than if it seems like a story I’ve read before; I’ll think, “Oh, that’s ok, let’s see what this writer does with it.”
The Page 99 Test: Twin Study.