Thursday, April 19, 2012

Guest Author: L.M. Stull

Friend and author L.M. Stull has released a new collection of stories and poems. Always gracious and generous with her time, Ms. Stull dropped in with us at the Reaches to discuss some of the inspirations and contentions in her collection and also how it fits in with her overall writing endeavours.

First, a little about the book. Contemplations includes 6 poems and 17 short stories -- including the very first short story she wrote, My Vintage Rose. Lisa tells me she began writing short fiction about a year and a half ago and has, as she puts it, "dabbled in quite a few genres." In total, she estimates that she's written a little over 100 shorts and poems during the course of her writing life. For this collection, she chose from her body of work those stories which spoke of the human spirit and were of the literary genre, as opposed to any paranormal, fantasy and horror pieces.

I was lucky enough to be able to get an advance copy of Contemplations, and, afterward, I had some questions for L.M.

Lisa, this collection of shorts and flash fiction runs the gamut from mild to confrontational. Was that a conscious decision or do you tend to write what flows from you and then decide what to do with it upon completion?

Yes, it was indeed a conscious decision. I write about all things human and real. And real life isn’t always happy or sad. So, with each piece I pen, I attempt to force myself to dig deep and touch upon a different aspect of life (and resulting emotion) that we all experience (or witness) at some point in our life or another.

Your novel, A Thirty-Something Girl, sees you tackle a few thematic elements that are also touched upon in the collection. Is there something to this observation? 

Most definitely! The elements which I tackle in my writing are very personal to me and are often a reflection of elements in my own life (and the lives of those around me).

What time of day do you do most of your writing?

The majority of my writing is done at night. Late, late, late. I find peace and much inspiration in the quiet darkness of the night. It is the time of day when my thoughts and emotions often run wild.

I'd like to say I could tell that you write at night, based on the work!

Tangental to that, I also noticed many stories feature female characters that are central. I enjoy this perspective and how it may enlighten me as both a man and a writer. In terms of gender, do you write with a particular half of the species in mind? Or a particular audience in mind?

I tend to write from a female perspective simply because, well, I am female. Ha! However, I try to talk about emotions that both males and females can relate to. As far as a particular audience, it isn’t my intention to pinpoint any particular group, and therefore my readers tend to be extremely diverse.

I know that many of these tales were flash fiction or shorts that you wrote and then shared in the writing community or on your own blog. But are there any stories in the collection that are being shared for the first time?

The majority of the pieces in this collection have been, at one time or another, shared with my blog readers. There is one new piece of poetry that was added, along with the very first piece written, a 5-thousand word short entitled My Vintage Rose, which many of my more recent readers and followers have never read.

Many readers loathe the ambiguity found in the finales of some literary writing, even by writers they otherwise adore. I ride the fence on this because some writers seem to manage both kinds of work. The stories here tend to have a definitive end. Is that deliberate? And do you have a fairly solid understanding of how they will turn out for readers when you begin?

As a reader, I love reading stories where there is not a definitive end. However, as a writer, I am better able to evoke emotion and feeling in others by having a definitive end. I guess it comes down to writing style. And I do, indeed, know how each of my short stories will end before writing them. I usually see my stories in their entirety in my mind before even the very first word is written. Many have even been the result of a dream.

Wow! I too have been inspired by dreams. Sometimes entire worlds are created there and I come away bent on reliving them on the page. Good to know I'm not alone here!

I’m always curious about how writers decide what to cut and what to include, both in anthologies and in long, narrative novels. When you were in the process of gathering the stories for publication, did they congeal into a group naturally? Or did they all look starkly different to you as you edited and compiled?

When I first returned to writing, I was all over the place, dabbling in a multitude of genres (fantasy, horror, paranormal). Over time, I recognized my strength was in writing literary fiction that touched upon deep-rooted emotions (both happy and sad ones) that live within each of us. So when I sat down to pick the pieces for this collection, I wanted only to include ones which fit this description.

Additionally, readers will notice that the beginning of Contemplations is, in fact, very dark and sad. But, as you continue to read on, the message within each of the stories, as well as the overall tone of them, continues to progressively lighten. I thought this was appropriate, as this progression is quite representative of my own journey in life over these past few years.

In a way, then, it's almost like a novel because there's a deliberate arc of feeling across the entire work. Very cool, Lisa and I want to thank you for sharing with us!

More about L.M. Stull

Before penning her first novel, L.M. Stull found her voice and style by crafting a variety of short stories, poems, and flash fiction. Compromised of the very first words she uttered as a writer, Contemplations is a collection of tales and prose about life. Some happy. Some sad. Contemplations is filled with a multitude of writings that are sure to touch each reader in one way or another.

A Washington, DC native, L.M. Stull spends her days chained to a desk at a law firm in southern Virginia. When she’s not feverishly taking orders from attorneys, she writes. Her stories tell of the human spirit – sometimes sad, sometimes not – most can relate to them on some level or another.

L.M. is the author of A Thirty-Something Girl and Contemplations: An Anthology of Short Fiction & Poetry

Learn more about her writing on her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

Her work is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.


  1. Thank you SO much for having me here Jason, YOU ARE THE BEST!!!


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