Author Interview – Susan Lin

Her Other Work

Story Art Sneak Peek

Amazing Artwork By Daniela Rivera

"House of Reverie"

Anthology: Paramnesia
Release Date: April 7th, 2023
Preorders: Kindle | Paperback
About the Author: Susan L. Lin is a Taiwanese American storyteller who hails from southeast Texas and holds an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts. Her novella GOODBYE TO THE OCEAN won the 2022 Etchings Press novella prize and is now available to purchase at susanllin.wordpress.com, where you can also find her other published work.
Q & A

How does it feel to have this story published for the first time?

I wrote "House of Reverie" very recently in December 2022, and I'm thrilled that it ended up being a good fit thematically for the Paramnesia anthology. For once, the timing of a submission call worked out perfectly! I always feel a certain validation when a story gets picked up quickly and I don't have to endure a year or more of endless rejections.

What inspired the idea for your story?

Several unrelated things inspired this story: the '80s-themed diner Hungry Like A Wolf in Houston, Texas; the song "Lavinia" by The Veils; my undying love for both cheese and chicken fried steak; my obsession with hotel architecture; my fascination with dreams; and my experiences with sleep paralysis as a teenager. I believe fiction is most unique and effective when the writer has a very personal connection to its many elements. It's highly unlikely someone who has lived a different life is going to approach a similar premise from the same angle.

We know that writing can be a tumultuous journey with a lot of obstacles, what is your kryptonite as a writer?

I've always been dreadful at plotting. More recently, I've made an effort to study story structure more seriously, but that new knowledge evaporates as soon as I sit down to write. Perhaps I should focus on my strengths and stop trying to be the type of writer I'll probably never be.

Clearly, you’ve succeeded at writing a captivating story for GrendelPress, but we all start somewhere. What advice would you give yourself as a young writer?

I think it's important to know what you and your writing are worth. When I was younger, I gave away some of my best stories for free. They were published in journals I loved and admired, but I now regret not getting paid for them. That's why I no longer submit to nonpaying markets no matter how prestigious they may be. Unfortunately, I do think this is a lesson I could only learn from personal experience. But every writer ultimately has to decide for themselves which venue will best showcase each individual work.

We’d like to argue that every good story makes both the author and the readers feel something. What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with your story?

Sometimes we think we're running away from one thing but later realize larger forces are at play and the truth is actually a bit more complicated. The beauty of fiction is that it's open to interpretation, so I'd rather not elaborate in too much detail before people have a chance to read the story for themselves.

Tell us about your favorite author. What about their book(s) call to you and how do they inspire your own writing?

I don't have a favorite. It would be impossible to choose only one, but for the purposes of this question, I'll give Patrick Somerville a mention. He wrote one of my favorite short story collections ever, THE UNIVERSE IN MINIATURE IN MINIATURE, and has thus far had my dream career. I love how his work digs deep into the human condition through the most offbeat and bizarre narratives. I try to do the same with my stories.

What do you love most about your story’s genre?

I love to explore everyday fears outside the boundaries of realism. It can be therapeutic but such a fun ride at the same time.

What are some other genres you’d like to break into and why?

Locked-room murder mysteries are my favorite reads, and I would love to write one someday. My aforementioned weak plotting skills have stopped me in the past, but who knows what the future will bring?

If you had to pick another story of yours to share with your readers, what would it be?

"When I Wassssss Young" is a modern-day Medusa origin story that recasts the infamous Greek Gorgon as an ordinary girl (and abuse survivor) who loves minerals, fears snakes, and has the most beautiful hair.
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