Interview with Susan Perabo, Author of Why They Run the Way They Do
21 Feb 2016
“Why They Run the Way They Do” is a collection of short stories. Because “linked” stories are so popular these days, people often ask me how the stories are connected. This is a question I struggle to answer, but I can say this: All these stories are about people, except for the ones that are secretly about dogs; all these stories are about real life situations, except for the ones that are secretly about pretend life situations; all these stories include at least one emotion; all these stories are set on earth; all these stories contain all the vowels, including y.
What books are currently on your night stand?
Edwidge Danticat’s Untwine, Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton, Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women.
Which books would we be surprised to find on your shelves?
I like old Superman and Batman comics. I also read Archie Double Digest more than you might think.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest?
Disregarding death, I’d invite John Williams, my old teacher, and ask him to read “The Dead” aloud. Best hour ever.
Where is your happy place? Why does it bring you joy?
I like sitting on warm bleachers watching a little league baseball game. If the sun in shining and I have a coke, I could sit there all day. I love watching kids play baseball, even if they’re not my own kids. I love being warmed by the sun, even if it’s shining in my face and I have to put my hand above my eyes to see the batter. I love the sound of bat on ball, the smell of hot dogs, and the warm gust of wind that blows a cloud of infield dirt into the outfield. On a few occasions I have actually drifted off at a baseball game, not because I’m bored, but because I’m so relaxed. If the bleachers are not warm, it’s no longer my happy place. The warm bleacher is the essential ingredient in the above scene.
Of all the stories you’ve written, which one is your favorite?
Usually the story I’ve written most recently is my favorite. But I can say, looking over the collection as a whole now, that probably “Indulgence” is the one I like best.
What’s your favorite quote or scene from Why They Run The Way They Do?
Writing the end of “Indulgence” felt like getting on the highway and accelerating to 150 miles per hour, and feeling complete control over the speeding car, and having no fear of being killed or arrested. The ends of “Michael the Armadillo” and “Treasure” felt similarly.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I really try to remember to be grateful.
Susan Perabo is the author of the new book Why They Run the Way They Do.Buy The Book
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