Monday, November 23, 2009

Susan Tepper Interview

Author Susan Tepper grew up on Long Island, where many of the stories in her short story collection DEER take place. Prior to settling down and studying writing, Tepper worked as an actor, singer, flight attendant, marketing manager, television producer, tour guide, interior decorator and rescue worker.

Tepper has received five Pushcart Prize Nominations for fiction and poetry. Her work has been widely published in the US and abroad. In 2006, her poetry collection Blue Edge was released by Cervena Barva Press. Tepper curates the reading series FIZZ at KGB Bar in NYC, and she is Assistant Editor of the Istanbul Literary Review (an online journal based in Turkey).

In each of the linked stories in your new collection, a deer of some sort appears. Was this intentional?

Actually, the stories were written over a period of about ten years, and I didn't realize the deer kept coming into so many of my stories. A publisher had taken a few for his magazine, and he pointed out the fact of the deer. I do use a lot of animals in my work, but the deer seemed to be most prominent. So I dug up all my stories that contained deer, and Steve Glines, the publisher of Wilderness House Press, suggested we put them into book form.

You write a lot of poetry, too, does this affect your fiction writing?

I think it does tremendously. Poetry comes from an emotional place inside your body, whereas fiction tends to be somewhat more grounded. I believe writing poetry has allowed my fiction to really open up and take off in unexpected ways.

Besides being a writer, your bio states that you have worked as an actress, singer, flight attendant, rescue worker, television producer, amongst other things. Has all this varied work experience made an impact on your writing?

Oh, yes. I draw on my past all the time, though not consciously. I never plot out my stories or novels, but just let the lines flow one into the next. I think if you allow yourself to take in a lot of life, many new experiences, it can't help but enhance your writing. I believe the writer has to be out there in the world, not locked in a room or in the mind. You write as much as you can, then you go out there and live life.

Do you see yourself doing anything else in the future, career-wise?

Nope. This is it for me. I'm addicted to writing. I couldn't live without it.

Please visit Susan’s website here, her new blog here, and see her upcoming tour dates here.

Bookmark and Share


  1. I read with Tepper at the Somerville News Writers Festival this Nov. Deer is a collection of short stories that definitely has legs, long ones at that!

    Best--Doug holder

  2. Susan's stories are great and well written. Each one is definitely unique. Well worth the read. I just heard Susan read at the Somerville Writers Festival and at The Enormous Room/Four Stories Series in Cambridge and she was great!
    Nice to see this interview with her!

  3. I have been reading Susan's stories (and poetry) for some years now and this Deer collection is exquisite. She has a unique way of seeing things and people, that I, as a writer, can't help but stop and admire and reflect for long. One thing is clear to me: Deer is just the beginning. I'm sure Susan is going to mesmerize us much much more in the near future.

    Ramesh Avadhani
    Bangalore, India