Ellen Birkett Morris chats about her debut short-story collection this week on the blog. Welcome, Ellen!
Author Name: Ellen Birkett Morris
Book Title: Lost Girls
Book Genre: Short Stories
Release Date: Out now
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Please tell us about Lost Girls.
The Southern Review of Books described Lost Girls this way. I couldn’t put it better: “The female characters in Lost Girls both startle and uplift us, but most importantly they demand to be seen. Set in and around the fictional southern mining town of Slocum, each of the seventeen stories in this collection features complex women and girls in pivotal moments of loss, self-discovery, and rebellion.”
Great description! What sparked the idea for the collection?
The kidnapping of a young girl from my neighborhood when I was 18 sparked the creation of the title story. As I wrote more about women and girls I realized that their stories needed to be told.
What drew you to the short story genre?
I love writing short stories because I get to decide where to enter the action and when to leave. I get to be with the characters as they experience peak moments when their lives change forever and watch them as they become more fully themselves.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
Revision is challenging, knowing when a piece is finally done.
And what do you love most about it?
The ability to take things I’ve felt and transform them through fictional situations. The chance to create characters and worlds that come close to capturing the beauty of human life.
If you were talking to someone who wasn’t familiar with your writing, why should they want to read Lost Girls?
Because they’ll get to accompany the women and girls in my stories as they take a stand, fall in love, stand up to those who want to silence them, find their colors and let go of their grief. It’s a chance to feel something, to be transported.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I love to cook and I also love to enter contests.
Are you working on a new project?
I’m sending out a finished novel and working on a second novel set in Hawaii around the world of astronomy.
Where can readers find you?
Lost Girls explores the experiences of women and girls as they grieve, find love, face uncertainty, take a stand, find their future, and say goodbye to the past. A young woman creates a ritual to celebrate the life of a kidnapped girl, an unmarried woman wanders into a breast feeder’s support group and stays, a grieving mother finds solace in an unlikely place, a young girl discovers more than she bargained for when she spies on her neighbors. Though they may seem lost, each finds their center as they confront the challenges and expectations of womanhood.
ELLEN BIRKETT MORRIS is an award-winning writer, teacher and editor based in Louisville, Kentucky. Morris is the author of SURRENDER (Finishing Line Press). Her fiction has appeared in Shenandoah, Antioch Review, Notre Dame Review, and South Carolina Review, among other journals. Her commentaries have been heard on public radio stations across the United States.