1. If you were reviewing your own work, how would you describe its style or point of view?
Lyrical. Darkly sentimental. Strange.
2. Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors?
Oh! Alice Munro. I feel the strange need to be defensive here—what a very unhip answer—but reading her stories really helped to open up my writing and I’ll just never grow tired of her voice or perspective. Rebecca Makkai, Lauren Groff, Bret Anthony Johnston, and Laura van den Berg write short stories that will break your heart in the best kind of way. Speaking of, Jennifer Egan. Lydia Davis (not at first, but she grew on me). Kazuo Ishiguro. Maggie Nelson (if you haven’t read Bluets yet, drop everything and do so immediately). And cheesy as it may sound, my classmates in workshop. They’re much better writers than I am, which makes me work harder. Reading their work is a privilege.
3. If you were told you couldn't write anymore, what job would you pursue and why?
I think about this a lot, both in terms of something more practical I might have started pursuing in my early twenties, and in the various escape fantasies I nurture when I’m feeling angsty about my work or post grad prospects. If I could start again at, say, 19, and had good advice, maybe I would have channeled my attention to detail and knack for memorization into something economically fruitful like web development or pharmacy. Time traveling into these types of jobs—accountant, anesthesiologist—is what I think about when I get rejection letters or check my student loan balance. But if I had to give up writing now…in my mind, I’d open a Bed and Breakfast. A sweet little place in Portland, Maine, where floral bedspreads are banned and I always overcook the eggs. Though it seems unlikely that I would have the start-up capital or the ability to make endless small talk with strangers. More plausible is that I’d fall into some kind of administrative work, where I’d lazily enter data into spreadsheets and daydream all the stories I could no longer tell.
4. When you think of Austin, what comes to mind?
Heat, Bats, and Music. A friend from college who quit her engineering job at IBM and moved to Austin with her husband, where she began a new life as a yoga instructor. My sister and her beautiful family, who actually live in Houston, but, you know, it’s Texas. And Texas=love.
5. Answer the question you wish we had asked.
Beyoncé (the answer to everything)
About Stephanie Devine
Stephanie Devine is the Fiction Editor of New South and a doctoral student at Georgia State University. Her work has recently appeared in Cheap Pop, Atticus Review, Fiction Southeast, Treehouse, and Glassworks Magazine and is forthcoming in Louisiana Literature and Pembroke Magazine.