Monday, June 3, 2024

The 40 But 10 Interview Series: Steve Gergley


In 2023, I 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!

Steve Gergley is the author of The Great Atlantic Highway & Other Stories (Malarkey Books '24), Skyscraper (West Vine Press '23), and A Quick Primer on Wallowing in Despair (Leftover Books '22). His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Pithead Chapel, Maudlin House, Passages North, Always Crashing, Rejection Letters, and others. In addition to writing fiction, he has composed and recorded five albums of original music. He tweets @GergleySteve. His fiction can be found at:

Why do you write?

Because real life is way too boring and repetitive, and nothing interesting ever happens. In fiction, anything can happen at any moment, and that’s exciting.

What made you start writing?

I love movies, and I wanted to create miniature movies inside people’s heads that I had total control over.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work, exercise, listen to a huge amount of music, listen to audiobooks, play video games, watch some movies, and try to relax and take it easy. 

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m very good at sensing how much time has passed while doing any activity. I would’ve listed this as a useless talent, but it ensures that I’m never late to anything, and that’s been really helpful over the years.

What’s the best money you’ve ever spent as a writer?

Getting multiple professional critiques on my work from journals like Driftwood Press and Fractured Lit. Having editors from those magazines pull apart my stories with the cold, emotionless precision of a surgeon helped improve my writing a huge amount years ago.

Describe your book poorly.

It’s about people who go places and then weird things happen. Or it’s about people who don’t go anywhere and the weird things come to them.

If you could spend the day with another author, who would you choose and why?

Willim Gaddis. If he was still alive today, I think it would be hilarious to just sit around and listen to him rant for hours about all the crazy things going on these days.

What is your favorite way to waste time?

Reading about interesting things on Wikipedia. It’s staggering how many weird, interesting things have their own pages on there. The Depths of Wikipedia Twitter account is a great account that highlights some of the best of these curiosities.

Do you read the reviews of your books or do you stay far far away from them, and why?

I don’t read them. I’m grateful for all the work and time the reviewer puts into reading and writing about my books, but the only thing that matters to me is if I’m satisfied with how the book turned out. And I don’t submit a book to publishers if I’m not satisfied with it.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what’s the one book you wish you had with you?

A book that could tell me how to survive on a deserted island. 


A gun-toting conspiracy theorist breaks into a famous actor’s house to search for kidnapped children. An impulsive warehouse laborer drops a dangerous quantity of LSD in the middle of a daytime shift in an attempt to build a friendship with his aloof coworker. A lead actress falls in love with her ursine costar while shooting a new movie in Alaska. A guitarist in a local hardcore band finds herself caught up in a wild chase through a strip mall after her most prized possession is stolen in the middle of a show. And a millennial couple encounters naked cult members, a transatlantic highway, the ghost of Robert Oppenheimer, and microscopic people in their teeth, all while trying to navigate the ups and downs of their years-long relationship. 

In this collection of weird, dark, and moving short stories, these characters and others grapple with the strangeness and chaos of living in a world where anything is possible and nothing makes sense.

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