Interview by Troy Palmer, 2013.

LF: First of all, tell us about your new publishing site, WhiskeyPaper

LCS: I wanted to start WhiskeyPaper because I love reading stories. I love writing them, I love reading them. I'm a reader for Hobart and I review lit mags for The Review Review and the only thing I hadn't tried was starting a lit mag of my own. And since my husband has good taste and is a voracious reader, I made pretty eyes at him and we decided to start it together. We want WhiskeyPaper to be a place for good writing and accessible stories. I don't mind a little experimental here and there, but really we want good, solid stories that everyone can relate to. We're also looking for light. I love stories that hold fast to hope in some way. We don't dig darkness or scary things. The world is plenty full with all of that stuff.

LF: You and I have had a number of conversations on Twitter about music. What role does music play in your writing process?

LCS: I love talking to you about music! I'm always listening to something when I'm writing, just depending on my mood. I'm real big on how things make me feel. So I'll hear a song, love how it makes me feel… and want to write a story that makes me feel that same way. It's hard to pin down exactly what it is, but it's something I feel. Almost all classic rock gives me that same feeling. I listen to classic rock a lot when I'm writing. That's why I always end up writing about Kentucky, Neil Young and kissing in a pickup truck. It's the music, man. I also love listening to soundtracks, oldies and country music when I write because they're repetitive and they're usually telling a story. So I get ideas.

LF: What were you listening to during the writing of In This Room Where We Practice Dying Every Night?

LCS: I listened to a lot of hippie music when I was writing In This Room Where We Practice Dying Every Night. That's just me doing me, but also my main dude, Tim, is a surfer and would be listening to oldskool Ben Harper, some Bob Marley, probably Phish, Incubus, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews Band… stuff like that. I listened to a lot of Grateful Dead when I was writing. I love brushy, chill, beachy music.

LF: We once said of In This Room Where We Practice Dying Every Night that it’s a story about putting faith in moving forward. What would you say it’s about?

LCS: I love “putting faith in moving forward.” I'd also say that the story is about being okay. What it takes to be okay. How being okay can look a lot of different ways. Although it's really Tim's story, I wrote it from his wife's point of view. I wanted to make sure we couldn't get inside his head unless he told us something. But I also wanted to make sure that he did tell us things. That he shared his heart with his wife and that their marriage was sweet and good and okay… so that Tim could deal with the issues he had with his dad and know that his wife was going to support him and love him no matter what. And at the end of the story I talk about God and faith, because I'm a Christian. God, Jesus, faith… they're all super-important to me. And I never try to be heavy-handed about that stuff but I just really believe in hope. Hippie music and hope. Anyone who reads my stories is going to get a lot of that from me. I'm not sorry, y'all! :)

LF: What are you currently reading?

LCS: I'm reading some Margaret Atwood, some Erica Jong. I just finished reading two books by Alicia Erian. Was re-reading some short stories by Raymond Carver. I also just finished reading No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. Oh, I loved that book.

LF: As a writer—and now publisher—of short stories, what is about them that you like most?

LCS: I love feeling like I'm getting things done. Like, even if it's a just an illusion. So in writing short stories and especially flash fiction, I get a reward because it's done and it probably didn't take me a crazy-long time to get it finished. Same with reading short stories… although I've been with the same man for over seventeen years, believe it or not… I'm kind of a commitment-phobe. It's hard committing to a novel or a very long story. When I read a short story, I know I don't have to commit too much and if we don't click, I can ask for the check early and duck out while they're not looking. And if I fall in love, I will read the story over and over again. When I finish reading a story I love I cannot wait to go right back to the beginning and start over.

LF: What's your favourite whiskey?

LCS: Maker's Mark and Bulleit are probably my favorites. I like it by itself, maybe a little ice. I'm also a lightweight and not a big drinker. I just love the word 'whiskey.' I think it's so pretty. Forever ago, I made my twitter name, kissingwhiskey, because it's a line from “Stay or Leave” by Dave Matthews and I think it's so pretty and I love how it makes me feel. I also have a story called Whiskey & Ribbons because it was the name of the story collection I was working on. So when we were thinking about names for our lit mag, I just used it again because why not? People have a pretty quick response to the mention of whiskey. They either want to talk about how much they love it or hate it, how drunk they got on it one time when they were in college, how they'll never drink it again or how they have a short glass of their favorite every night. And so, we loved WhiskeyPaper. Because it's simple and it looks good. Champagne is my favorite fun drink though. I'm sure I'll write a story called champagne something or other soon enough. You know how I do.

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