Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interview with Ben Loory

Yesterday I reviewed Ben Loory's fantastic (and fantastical) short story collection Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day and I'm thrilled to share my interview with Loory today.  Read on to learn more about him, his writing, and what he's reading -- and don't forget to comment for a chance to win a copy of his book!

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

When I was little, I wrote a story about a duck and a man in a hat holding a balloon. Which, when I think about it, is not really all that different from the kind of stuff I write now.

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I try to write a story a day, and I always do it the exact same way: I sit down without any ideas or preconceptions and wait for the first image to come. Whatever that image is, becomes the first line, and then I follow the story through to the end. (And then, when I'm done, I edit obsessively, sometimes for three or four years.)

Was Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day the original title of this collection?

Yes, the title came with the inception of the book, and I never once considered changing it. It helped me focus on what I was trying to do; more than a title, it was a manifesto.

As you write your short stories, are you ever surprised by a particular scene or character, or do you know well in advance how the story will go?

The way I write means everything surprises me, from the first line to the very end. Whenever I try to plan things, the mystery leaks away; I get bored, and the energy dissipates.

According to your website, you're currently invisible. Any chance you'll be on tour sometime soon?

Yes, a book tour is taking shape at this very moment! It should be up on my website soon. I'm in LA July 31, SF Aug 2, then NY, NJ, and Boston. Sept 18 I'll be at Powell's in Portland, and then after that I think in Seattle. More dates will be added as they come in, and I'll also be at Readercon, Comic-Con, and World Fantasy.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I play mandolin and saxophone; that keeps me pretty busy. I also spend a lot of time watching the movie Sneakers and reciting it in my head. I live in LA, so I'm in my car a lot, driving around without any air conditioning. And I read and read like a crazy person (feel free to befriend me on Goodreads).

Read any good books recently?

At the moment, I'm re-reading du Maurier's Rebecca for what must be the seventh or eighth time. And I just finished a great book by Muriel Spark called The Driver's Seat, which was hilariously terrifying. I've been a fan of hers ever since I read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, but this book was almost on the verge of evil, which for some reason always appeals to me…

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My thanks to Mr. Loory for taking the time to answer my questions.  (I'll confess right now: I squee'd at the mention of Rebecca.)

I'm thrilled to offer a copy of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day to one lucky reader.  To enter, just comment with an email address.  Open to US/CA readers, closes 8/26.  For another entry, be sure to comment on my review.


  1. I find it pretty impressive that he writes a story a day, and I love that his stories and characters take him by surprise. Back when I was writing this was often the case for me as well. Wonderful interview today. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. And to think - it all started with a duck and a man in a hat holding a balloon! I keep hearing really good things about this book and I can't wait to read it!
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  3. Count me in please. Thanks so much!


  4. OMG. Fantastic interview and I love the answers...particularly the bit about the title of the book being a manifesto! I'd love for another chance to win this one....

    do I get bonus points for nominating you for best interviews for BBAW 2011?

  5. Serena: !!!!!! Thank you! I just squealed with joy!

  6. I'm also awed by the fact that Loory writes a story a day -- that level of creativity and dedication is very impressive (and awesome)! Love the title and cover of this one, and thanks for a chance to win.

    writing.meg [at]

  7. This is a terrific interview! I am amazed that Ben Loory writes a story a day...and I cracked up when he says he edits for 3 or 4 years sometimes! I also love how he gets his inspiration and how the stories evolve. I'm looking forward to reading the story on his website.

    I admit to get a tingly feeling when he said he's reading Rebecca again.

    Thank you so much, Audra for reading and reviewing Ben Loory's stories!


  8. so excited for this giveaway! And I love that he plays mandolin - original!
    Between this mention and your excitement over it, I might have to read Rebecca one day,