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Q/A I

Mike Larremore

n October, Propeller began a print division, Propeller Books, with the goal of publishing projects—especially those more profit-oriented publishers may choose to skip—by writers we’ve worked with and admire. Mary Rechner has been publishing fiction in magazines and journals for a number of years, and we’ve always admired the risks she takes in her stories, as well as the intelligence and humor with which she captures characters in moments of disorientation. Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women, Propeller Books’ first title, is also Rechner’s first collection of stories, and we probably can’t craft a compliment superior to the one Malena Watrous gave Rechner when reviewing the book for The Believer. “With no frills, no gimmicks, just a gimlet eye and quicksilver prose, Rechner defamiliarizes the mundane and makes it marvelous,” Watrous wrote. We sat down with Rechner in a small recording studio recently, to ask her how she became a short story writer, who she reads, and how she views her own work now that it’s between cov-

ers rather than scattered among various magazines. The following transcript is just a few minutes of a longer conversation, more of which can be heard on the Propeller podcast. Propeller: There are nine stories in the book, but I know that you’ve written more than that. How did you decide which of the stories belong in a collection, and which stories don’t make it? Mary Rechner: Well, some of the stories I started, they never really gelled. One of the big realizations that I’ve had is just when to let a story go. There might be something good about the story, but if you can’t figure out, over a year or two of coming back to the piece, how to make it really work, then I think I just have a kind of cut-my-losses perspective, and just feel like I need to write a different piece. Maybe I can come back to whatever was preoccupying me when I have the chops to write the story, or have all the different elements I need to write the story, but if after a couple years the story’s not coming together, and I’m losing interest in

Propeller 2.4  
Propeller 2.4  

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