Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Sara Schaff.
Sara Schaff is the author of two short story collections The Invention of Love and Say Something Nice About Me. She is a CLMP Firecracker Award Finalist in fiction and a finalist for the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award for short fiction. Her writing has appeared in Catapult, Kenyon Review Online, Yale Review Online, The Belladonna, Michigan Quarterly Review, LitHub, and others.
A graduate of Brown University and the MFA program at the University of Michigan, Sara has taught at Oberlin College, the University of Michigan, and St. Lawrence University, as well as in China, Colombia, and Northern Ireland, where she also studied storytelling. She lives in the North Country and is an assistant professor of English at the SUNY Plattsburgh.
In this episode Sara and I discuss:
- How approaching her characters emotions more authentically created a significant change in her writing style.
- What a writer can do to best bring a reader into the story, and help a reader fully get to know their characters.
- Why feedback from other writers isn’t always helpful if it relies too much on suggestions for fixes and harsh criticisms, and not enough on building community.
Plus, their #1 tip for writers.
About the Author
Sara Schaff is the author of the story collections The Invention of Love (Split Lip Press 2020) and Say Something Nice About Me (Augury Books 2016), a CLMP Firecracker Award Finalist in fiction and a 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist for short fiction. Her writing has appeared in Catapult, Kenyon Review Online, Yale Review Online, The Belladonna, Michigan Quarterly Review, LitHub, and elsewhere.
A graduate of Brown University and the MFA program at the University of Michigan, Sara has taught at Oberlin College, the University of Michigan, and St. Lawrence University, as well as in China, Colombia, and Northern Ireland, where she also studied storytelling. Sara lives in the North Country of New York State with her husband, the poet Benjamin Landry, and their daughter. She is an assistant professor of English at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
The Invention of Love
The stories in The Invention of Love are about, among other things, women taking control of their lives, even as they fall apart. What is love, if not an invention—not just a human instinct but an artful construction? The women who people The Invention of Love, Sara Schaff’s second story collection, long to conceive of themselves as artists, as lovers, as good sisters and daughters—while contending with financial insecurity and the reality of twenty-first century womanhood. A college student finds her voice as an artist through a tiny lie. A woman grieves her mother’s death by shopping for houses she can’t afford and will never live in. Against the backdrop of the 2016 election, a copywriter contends with misogyny in the workplace by using that very misogyny against her incompetent male boss. Nostalgic for the women they were or might have been—or still might yet become—their stories illuminate the moments where everything changes—even when what changes is how we must see our futures.
If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
(Right-click to download.)
If you liked this episode…
Also, remember that sharing is caring so if you know anyone who might enjoy this podcast, please tell them about it or leave us a review so other listeners will want to check it out.
Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!