Diana Brawley Sussman
I am a librarian by trade. Unlike "success as a writer," my "success as a librarian" is in some casual simple corner of my ego, so it's easy for me to publish in library related journals and anthologies, and I've published a little bit of poetry in magazines. Still, I've been writing fiction since I was four years old, since before I could write a word. I told my mother a series of stories about a duck and she dictated the spelling of each word, letter by letter, so I could put those stories on paper. My undergrad degree was in English with a focus on creative writing. I've workshopped in school, at The Loft in Minneapolis, at the Iowa Summer Writer's Festival, with friends, and at my own library. Still, the process of submitting fiction for publication freezes me. But I've been working daily on several short stories and more than one novel for the past few years and if any of that work will ever have an audience I've got to start treating the publishing process more like I treat my job--more systematically, and less like it's some precious piece of me.
Some favorite books are: Flesh and Blood by Michael Cunningham; The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver; You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon; Bee Season by Myla Goldberg; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon; The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall. I like prose that reads like poetry, but doesn't bog the reader down. I like the poetics of quantum physics. I'm inspired by brain disorders like those described in books by Oliver Sacks, such as "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat." I see a lot of character potential in perception that's skewed in some bizarre but possible way. I like straight up realistic literary fiction, and I also like realistic literary fiction that has some magical element to it (as in The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem).
Diana Brawley Sussman's Last Word
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