Monday, November 20, 2023

The 40 But 10 Interview Series: Kerry Neville


I had decided to retire the literary Would You Rather series, but didn't want to stop interviews on the site all together. Instead, I've pulled together 40ish questions - some bookish, some silly - and have asked authors to limit themselves to answering only 10 of them. That way, it keeps the interviews fresh and connectable for all of us!

Joing us today is Kerry Neville. Kerry is the author of two collections of stories, Necessary Lies, which received the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize in Fiction and was named a ForeWord Magazine Short Story Book of the Year, and Remember to Forget Me. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Gettysburg Review, Epoch, Triquarterly, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere.  Her fiction and nonfiction have been named Notables in Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. In 2018, she was a Fulbright Fellow at University of Limerick in Ireland, where she was Visiting Faculty in the MA in Creative Writing Program. She is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the MFA and Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Georgia College and State University.

Why do you write?

I love the shaping power of language, how a word, a sentence, a paragraph, a story or essay can gather all that feels chaotic and unwieldy into a meaningful (and often hopeful) shape.


What do you do when you’re not writing?

I teach in an MFA and undergraduate creative writing program (get to do what I love!), am a single mom, entertain my energetic dog, play tennis (great for stress), go for long wanders in the woods, and obsess about someday living in Ireland—west coast, County Clare.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I am an excellent baker of desserts (though a most mediocre cook). I love following recipes—the exacting specifications for cakes and tarts and pies. And if followed correctly, reliable and delicious results. Though I did have an epic fail in my attempt at baking Irish scones—flattened hockey pucks.


What’s something that’s true about you but no one believes?

I had a bona fide exorcism.


Describe your book in three words.

Exile, connection, and empathy.


What is your favorite way to waste time?

Binging mystery series on BBC and Acorn—four or five episodes on a rainy weekend day is heaven.


What is your favorite book from childhood?

It would have to be the entire Nancy Drew series which I read and reread, often devouring a book in one go on a Saturday afternoon—and then forced my younger sister to participate in my made-up sleuthing adventures around my neighborhood in Queens. 


What are you currently reading?

Dinosaurs, by Lydia Millet!


What is under your bed?

A lot of dog hair, stray socks, a lost earring or two, and on a good night? Lacy undies.


What’s the weirdest thing you’ve given/received as a gift?

A long-ago boyfriend gave me a copy of William Bennett’s The Book of Virtues as my going away present for graduate school. I was moving across country and that seemed to me to be some sort of warning or directive, as well as a sign that after 3 years he didn’t know me at all. I broke up with him two weeks later.



With the publication of REMEMBER TO FORGET ME comes the highly anticipated follow-up to Kerry Neville's award-winning debut, NECESSARY LIES. In this new volume, Neville peers with a steady eye into the universal struggle to lead a life of purpose and dignity. In "Zorya," we are drawn into the world of a former Ukrainian sex worker whose determination to embark on a new path with the dream of supporting her son and aging mother ends up subjecting her to even greater affronts. "Indignity" takes us into the mind of a Polish widow who comes to the United States determined to start her life anew only to discover that her job as caregiver puts her into a painful collision with her past. In "Lionman," we witness a circus freak whose unexpected chance to satisfy his hunger for human connection leads to a nearly inconceivable revelation. And in the title story, a devoted husband thinks he has survived life's final assault by consenting to have his beloved wife institutionalized for dementia—only to find that it's just the beginning of his heartbreak. With enormous compassion, Kerry Neville penetrates deep into the lives of people shattered as much by yearning as by loss. These are stories you won't soon forget.

buy a copy

No comments:

Post a Comment