Niya C Sisk interviews twenty-year-old-too-young-to-be-genius? think again!
Rich Larson from Alberta, Canada.
N.S. You take risks. I get super excited when I’m confused in a satisfying way. I feel like I’m in the presence of deep art. For instance, in “Monstrously Unfair” the last line makes my brain explode. This story could be so many things. It doesn’t make the mistake of being a simple scene — it turns to story with that last line. Imagination is thrown. Nice! For some, the mystery would create too much of an itch. I’m curious what feedback you’ve been given with your particular style in this regard?
Rich: A friend and reader once compared reading a short story of mine to being dumped into open water and expected to swim. Some people love that; others hate it. It’s a balance I’m always trying to strike: thrusting the reader into a busy world and often a plot in media res, but never completely alienating them.
N.S. It takes quite a listener of life to capture the inner and outer landscape of story so eloquently — a micro version of big transformation detailed with efficient use of language. What grounds you, inspires you to engage your poetic voice in story making?
Rich: What I write is often inspired by my own life. Conversations I have, things that I see, people I meet. The world’s a very interesting place if you give it a chance, and for me trying to capture it often means blending poetry with prose, particularly in flash pieces like these.
N.S. Influences? Poets, fiction writers? Your efficiency and clarity of emotional arc reminds me of Carver. Transformation is very alive in your work. But tell us more.
Rich: I have an eclectic taste in poetry and am generally hard-pressed to pick favorites in fiction, but a few names that always come to mind are Kenneth Oppel, Graham Gardner, Megan Whalen Turner and C.S. Lewis.
N.S. Seems to me you aren’t far off at all from paying your bills with your writing. What then? What are your passion plans/desires for your career?
Rich: My dream is to live off novels and make enough money to travel often. In the near future I’m hoping to go to Spain, France, and West Africa. I definitely feel I’m too young to settle down in one place already.
N.S. What are you working on now?
Rich: Too many things. I have about a dozen inchoate short stories, a play, and a sequel to my last novel currently in the works. I’m also considering releasing another collection of short stories / flash pieces for Kindle via Amazon.
N.S. Why Curly Red Stories?
Rich: Initially I was impressed by the aesthetic of the site—books/covers comment goes here—but as I clicked around through the stories and interviews, and realized the depth of quality writing and the breadth of talented writers being represented, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
N.S. Change and transformation. Such a powerful theme for any writer. We are thrilled to have such a natural talent embrace this theme. Anything else you’d like to add?
Rich: Change is often at the heart of what I write and is often on my mind. Can people affect true change, and to what extent? Can people change who they are? Can better beginnings come from bad endings? It’s something I grapple with in my own life and something I know I’ll keep exploring in the future through my writing.