Thursday, December 25, 2014

Diversion: Vermont Fiction, from Green Writers Press

Sometimes we really do read books that aren't mysteries ... and we were very excited this year to note the growth of Vermont's Green Writers Press and the arrival of its well-received anthology CONTEMPORARY VERMONT FICTION. Many thanks to press and anthology editor Robin MacArthur for taking part in an interview about the book!

1. It's great to see your newly published collection, *Contemporary Vermont
Fiction.  *Was there a special "Aha!" moment that triggered your desire to
pull this book together?

This idea of this book had been brewing in me for many years. I began obsessively reading and writing Vermont-based fiction when I was eighteen--when I left home for college--and I haven't quit since. I think stories are an amazing way to know a place in a deeper and more complex way. As for actually publishing it; Dede and I met up last summer and within 10 minutes had decided to make this dream happen. Green Writers Press and Contemporary Vermont Fiction are a match made in heaven!

2. I see you have a number of high-profile authors here, like Howard Frank
Mosher, Annie Proulx, and Wallace Stegner -- are there any debut authors
included, or authors you think should be better known?

Miciah Bay Gault is an amazing writer and the editor of the wonderful literary journal Hunger Mountain. She doesn't have a book out yet, but her stories have been published in great places, and I have no doubt her book will find a home soon. And there are quite a few authors in the book whose work I have admired for many years, but who may not be as well known: Ellen Lesser, Laurie Alberts, Peter Gould, Suzanne Kingsbury, Bill Schubart.  In a state like Vermont you don't have to look very far to find an amazing writer whose voice deserves to be heard. 

3. What characters in *Contemporary Vermont Fiction* might appeal
especially to readers of mystery and suspense? And are there any
suspenseful stories in here?

There aren't any stories that I would specifically call mystery, but Joseph Bruchac's story is full of suspense and intrigue. It has me perched on the edge of my chair every time. 

4. How about in the publication process -- any suspenseful moments as you
brought this collection together?

Oh, plenty of them! There were so many last minute changes by authors and ourselves that we wondered whether this book would ever make it to press. But we made it, and the collection, as is, feels just right.

5. Green Writers Press has a special mission -- how does this title fit
into the mission?
I'm a big believer in the role that art can and should and needs to play in the environmental movement. Green Writers Press's mission is to "make the world a better place" and I believe that if we know places better, and have a more empathetic understanding of our neighbors' lives, we will be both more compassionate residents of our communities and more reverent caretakers of our land (and rivers, and resources etc.). So call me a dreamer, but I believe that more books about places will, yes, make the world a better place. 

6. What's ahead for you? Will there be a volume 2 collection, or do you
have some other projects you'd like to tell us about?

Who knows, there may be a volume 2 someday! For now I'm going to sit down and work on my own collection of stories set in Vermont, and enjoy spending time with my two young children. How to juggle the creative and the parenting life is the big mystery in my that never fails to surprise and delight.

Thanks, Robin! This anthology is already a classic, and a treat for any bookshelf that especially features Vermont ... and any literary collection, too.

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