"Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events" by Kevin Moffett

Harper Collins, Jo Eldredge Morrissey
Further Interpretations, Kevin Moffett
Harper Collins, Jo Eldredge Morrissey

Jeff Glor talks to Kevin Moffett about "Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events: Stories"

Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

Kevin Moffett: Since it's a collection of short stories, the inspirations were pretty manifold. The story of a friend's gray parrot who would harass him whenever the friend left the house, a short passage about John D. Rockefeller from the old WPA guide to Florida. Generally, the book arose out of a vague feeling of not getting it right with my first collection--or at least having some unfinished business with the story form. When that first book was published, there was a huge pull, both from within and without, to follow it up with a novel. Which derailed me for a while. I worked for about a year on a novel that I eventually abandoned and have successfully wiped out from my memory. Once I went back to writing short stories, I felt a palpable calming. It felt like home.

JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

KM: I don't map out my stories at all so I'm constantly surprised. With the endings, with how different a story turns out from how I'd originally envisioned it. Often I was surprised with how the stories for which I'd had the highest hopes fizzled out on page 5 or so, never to be seen again, while the ones I went into with a lot of skepticism and uncertainty ended up lasting for the long haul and found their way into the collection.

JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

KM: I could imagine a pretty distinguished and satisfying career as a stay-at-home dad to an eight-year-old boy. With moonlighting gigs as a sous-chef and/or semiprofessional banjo player.

JG: What else are you reading right now?

KM: A lot of student stories. In my spare time, I've been reading oral histories--Studs Terkel as well as online archives of medical oral histories: polio and AIDS and leprosy. Next up: Adam Levin's new collection "Hot Pink".

JG: What's next for you?

KM: Short term, I'm finishing a collaborative project with editor Eli Horowitz and writer Matthew Derby, called "The Silent History." It's a novel-length narrative meant to be read on iPhones and other mobile devices, with elements of the story that will be accessible only when the reader takes himself (and the iPhone) to certain specific locations related to the text of the story. It should be out by fall 2012.

Long term, I'm in the early-to-middle stages of a novel.

For more on "Further Interpretations" visit the Harper Collins website.