Missy Marston, "Baby's on Fire"

It's December 19. Missy Marston, author of The Love Monster, has learned not to stand directly in front of the speakers.

How would you describe your story?

MISSY MARSTON: This is the story of a menopausal woman buffeted about on gusts of hormones. It is about rock and roll and middle-aged romance. And teacups.

When did you write it, and how did the writing process compare to your other work?

MM: I wrote this story this spring in response to a request. My first book, The Love Monster, has a few serious fans. They really are few but they are mighty and they have ideas. One of their most dearly held ideas is that I should write another book with the same characters. There is a bit of a love story in the novel and they want to know how it works out. I wrote this story to explore what the characters’ lives might be like now, about 14 years after the original story took place.

At the same time, I was writing a story called "Urge to Kill" for a comedy project about a woman in the throes of postpartum madness. The two stories are a kind of set; the lunatic bookends of female fertility.

What kind of research went into this story?

MM: Absolutely no research went into the writing of this story! I have never written anything that borrows details so shamelessly from my own life. I own those teacups. All but December and January. But it won’t be long. I am coming for you, teacups.

What, to you, makes the short story a special form? What can it do that other kinds of writing (novels, poems) can't?

MM: As a reader, I love short stories. They can be so potent and precise. As a writer, it is a form that has intimidated me. There is no room for approximations. It is only in the last few years that I have felt that my short stories are reasonably successful. I use them as a way of testing out voices or characters for novels. To see if things can come to life and grab some attention.

Where can people go to learn more about you and your writing?

MM: People can find me on Twitter, and I have a blog where I am supposed to write about writing but mostly write about music. 

What's on your Christmas list this year?

MM: For Christmas this year, I would like the December and January teacups from the Royal Albert Flower of the Month series, and some red-hot middle-aged lovin’. Thanks, Santa!

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Michael Hingston