Interview by Press Literary Editor Jo Ely, with Alan McMonagle of alanMcmonagle.com. Read his story “Bleeding Boy” featured in The Woven Tale Press Vol. III #12.
Firstly, congratulations, Alan, on your recent two book deal with Picador. This is wonderful news and well deserved recognition for your work. You are clearly one to watch. I wonder what first drew you to the short story form. [Alan has previously published two short story collections.] And what caused your later shift toward the novel?
Thanks a lot, Jo, and yes, it’s been an exciting couple of months, and, I suspect, yet to fully sink in (that would be down to the delay mechanism I come with). As to my leanings towards the short story, it was probably the manageability of the form initially that appealed to me. And an early belief that I was chock-full of ideas, and full of ‘look-at-me, aren’t I wonderful’ nonsense every time I thought I had converted one of these ideas into a short story. I also had a tendency to take words like ‘short’ and ‘story’ at face value and so quickly convinced myself that I was naturally prolific. Ha-ha. Of course, I eventually discovered that a short story is neither necessarily short or for that matter prepared to adhere to that age-old ‘once upon a time’ convention. As I developed and acquired some stamina as a writer I began to fathom how a novel or at least how my idea of a novel could accommodate what I was interested in writing about. I have just completed my first novel and having managed to get it done makes me want to try another, and another. That said, I enjoy flitting from one form to another. I have published poems, written a few radio plays, and so long as the ideas keep landing I will always have a yen to convert them into short stories.