Tag Archives: Naked Summer

Interns Tyler Fields and Nakkia Patrick Interview Andrew Scott About His New Book, Naked Summer

Last year, editor, author, and BSU English professor Andrew Scott released a brand new book, Naked Summer: Stories. In honor of this wonderful achievement, interns Tyler Fields and Nakkia Patrick interview him to discuss various aspects of his new book as well as his publishing process, future plans, and his writing inspirations. See the interview and Andrew’s short bio below.

*Photo provided by Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott is the author of Naked Summer, a story collection, and the editor of a forthcoming anthology, 24 Bar Blues: Two Dozen Tales of Bars, Booze, and the Blues. He holds writing degrees from Purdue University and New Mexico State University, where he was twice awarded a Frank Waters Fiction Fellowship. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Esquire, Ninth Letter, The Cincinnati Review, Mid-American Review, Glimmer Train Stories, The Writer’s Chronicle, and other publications. With his wife, writer Victoria Barrett, he edits Freight Stories, an online fiction journal. He teaches at Ball State University and lives in Indianapolis.

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Jared Sexton’s Interview with Andrew Scott About His Recently Published Book! (Part 1)

Congratulations to Andrew Scott, assistant professor of English, on the publication of his first book, Naked Summer (Press 53, 2011.).   In order to mark the occassion, we asked another English department faculty member, Jared Sexton, to interview Andrew about his first full-length book and his life as a writer, editor and teacher.  Below is the first installment.

1. You’re a son of the Midwest. You were raised here, educated here, you teach and live here, and your collection, Naked Summer, reads like a love letter to this region. What do you think is so special about the Midwest and Midwesterners in general? Is there something about them that makes for good living or writing?

One of my mentors writes about a place after she’s left it, when memory mixes with imagination, and that’s what happened to me, too. I was born in Lafayette, Indiana, but when I moved to New Mexico for grad school, the physical distance teamed up with a strange longing that I couldn’t have predicted. New Mexico was as far away as I could get, after all, and I desperately wanted to live somewhere else. I’d been accepted into all of the MFA programs that actually considered my application, and all were outside the Midwest. I think I subconsciously goofed up the applications to Iowa and Ohio State — forgot to send GRE scores to one, missed a deadline for the other — because I didn’t want to stay in the Midwest. 

Susan Neville has an essay about how Hoosiers have to decide if we will stay or leave. I really wanted to leave, and it was good for me to live somewhere else for a while, especially a place as rich and weird and lively — but also deadly — as New Mexico. For many years, nearly every story I tried to write came from Tippecanoe County and its environs. I decided to embrace my place, my home state, in the service of fiction.  

All of the clichés that are heaped upon Midwesterners — that we’re simple, quiet, unassuming, honest, generally good-natured, etc. — help create tension when a writer engages them in fiction, because a lot of readers (and certainly most publishers) on the coasts don’t expect people in “the flyover” to have rich inner lives. I think that surprise factor, dumb as it is — oh, Midwesterners are complex people, too! — can often be an advantage for writers. Some of the most surprisingly brutal books of the past few years have come from the Midwest, such as Bonnie Jo Campbell’s American Salvage, Donald Ray Pollock’s Knockemstiff, or Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone

2. You and your wife are both writers and editors, partnering on the successful journal Freight Stories. What do you think you’ve learned from that different focus that has helped you as a writer or reader?

Editing is a different skill set. Many writers are also good editors, but not all. Victoria Barrett and I have been editors for thirteen years now, first for Puerto del Sol, the literary journal we edited at New Mexico State, but also with Freight Stories, the online fiction journal we founded in 2008. This year, Victoria started her own boutique press called Engine Books. Her first contracted manuscript is a story collection from Patricia Henley, whose debut novel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Not too shabby. 

For me, editing is rewarding work. It’s also work that has an end. The composition and revision stages my own fiction must go through can be exhausting. But with editing, I’m just a facilitator, a connector, the link between the writer’s vision for a story and the reader’s perception. I have to find a way to help present the best version to readers. Sometimes that means marking up every page, and many stories we’ve published have received that kind of attention from me. But sometimes it means backing off. For example, Lee Martin’s “Bedtime Stories” is only a few pages long. When we accepted that piece, I knew it was good, but I was determined to put Lee through the same editorial scrutiny as any other writer we’ve published, though he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. I spent two or three hours on those few pages, questioning every choice, but in the end, I didn’t make a single suggestion. It was like sparring with Sugar Ray Leonard in his prime. I was way out of my league, but that experience made me a better prose-maker. Often the editor changes the story. But sometimes, the story changes the editor. 

3. You’ve told me in conversation that the collection has been a work-in-progress that you’ve tooled around with for a while now. Could you take us through a brief, albeit informational, tour of the many ups and downs you’ve had with this manuscript?

I have started other projects in the years since finishing the MFA, and some of those are finally starting to gain momentum, including a few graphic novel projects that I’m excited about. But this collection was always there, and I revised it once or twice a year, top to bottom, during the last decade. A lot of writers might have abandoned it. Don’t most MFA grads ditch their thesis projects? I simply couldn’t bring myself to do that. 

I began approaching agents near the end of 2008, just as the recession really started, perhaps the worst time in decades for the book business. In short, agents often read and enjoyed the stories, but all of the ones I was interested in working with wanted a novel instead, or at least in addition to this story collection, and I wasn’t ready.  

Meanwhile, an independent press out of North Carolina, Press 53, had started publishing well-respected story collections by authors I admired, so I submitted my manuscript in the fall of 2010. Eight weeks later, I had a contract. Five months after that, you read my book. 

Along the way, I learned how to stick with a project and how to trust my judgment, but also about the role luck plays in so many aspects of publishing.

Good News #2

This is the second post of our “Good News” series—a series to highlight the accomplishments of the English Department’s graduate students and faculty. Here’s what they’ve been up to:

Adam R. Beach’s essay “Global Slavery, Old World Bondage, and Aphra Behn’s Abdelazer,” was accepted for publication in Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, and will appear in their Winter 2012 issue.

Peter Bethanis’ short story “Poet and Clown” was accepted for publication in Art Times.

Cathy Day has received a Beatrice, Benjamin and Richard Bader Fellowship in the Visual Arts of the Theatre from Harvard University’s Houghton Library. Each fellow is expected to be in residence at Houghton for at least four weeks during the period from July 2011, through June 2012. Her project for the fellowship is entitled, “Looking for Linda: The Scrapbooks of Mrs. Cole Porter.”

Tiffany Ellis delivered a presentation of her paper, entitled “Cohort-Oriented Project-Based Learning in ESL Teaching,” at the meeting of the Indiana Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (INTESOL). The meeting took place in Indianapolis, in November of 2010.

Ashley Ellison’s essay “Connecting Memory and Research Through Eco-Composition,” is forthcoming in Indiana English. She will give a presentation with the same title in June at The Association for the Study of Literature & Environment’s conference, in Bloomington, Indiana. In March, Ellison presented a workshop with Elmar Hashimov at the East Central Writing Centers Association conference. The conference was titled “Communicating Across Cultures: The Role of Culture in the Tutoring Session,” and took place in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Robert Habich’s book, Building Their Own Waldos: Emerson’s First Biographers and the Politics of Life-Writing in the Gilded Age, has been published by University of Iowa Press. His coauthored 2010 book, Romanticism and Transcendentalism, 1820-1865, which is part of the seven-volume Research Guide to American Literature, has been named an Outstanding Reference Book for 2011 by Library Journal.

Joyce Huff has joined the editorial board for Fat Studies, a new journal from the Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Erin Banks Kirkham’s essay, “Catherine, Crispin, and the Midwife’s Apprentice: Names and Identity in Children’s Literature,” was published in International Congress on Medieval Studies, in May 2010.

Sean Lovelace’s short story collection, Fog Gorgeous Stag, is scheduled for release on July 12th of this year by Publishing Genius.

Michael Meyerhofer’s third full-length book of poems, Damnatio Memoriae, won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest, and will be published in April/May of this year. His fifth chapbook, Pure Elysium, won the Palettes and Quills 2nd Biennial Chapbook contest, and is scheduled to be published this month. Meyerhofer also had two prose poem/flash pieces, “Ode to Dead Batteries” and “The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic, 1962,” place as finalists for Mid-American Review’s Fineline Competition, and both were published as Editor’s Choices. He had another poem, “The Stuttering Headsman,” published by Hayden’s Ferry Review in their 2010-2011 issue. He has poems forthcoming in North American Review, African American Review, Southern Indiana Review, New York Quarterly, Hobble Creek Review, and others, as well.

Matt Mullins’ short story collection, Three Ways of the Saw, is scheduled for release in spring 2012 by Atticus Books.

Miranda Nesler’s article, “Closeted Authority in The Tragedy of Mariam,” is forthcoming in Studies in English Literature, 2012.

Chaehee Park co-authored an essay with Megumi Hamada, entitled “Word-Meaning Inference: A Longitudinal Investigation of Inference, Accuracy, and Strategy Use,” which was accepted for publication by Asian EFL Journal. Park and Hamada both presented “Using Think-Aloud as a Metacognitive Strategy in L2 Lexical Inference Instruction,” at the meeting of the INTESOL in Indianapolis, in November 2010. Park also presented “L2 Spelling Investigation: A Comparison of English Learners of Korean and Native English Speaking Children,” at the meeting of the American Association for Applied Linguistics in Chicago, in March of 2011.

Martha Payne presented a lecture entitled, “The Reality of Myth,” as part of the Nick Smyrnis AHEPA Lecture Series at the University of Indianapolis, in March 2011.

Monica Robison’s article, “The Power of Words: Othello as Storyteller,” was published in Storytelling, Self, Society, in January 2011.

Andrew Scott’s collection of short stories, Naked Summer, will be published in June 2011 by Press 53.

Congrats to all our grad students and professors!