One of the things we want to do here at Trust & Treachery is give you a chance to get to meet our authors. Over the next few weeks, you will see bios and Q&As for our amazing contributors. Today is poet Ray Succre. Stay tuned as additional authors are added every Monday.
Editors, Trust & Treachery
Ray Succre is 35 and currently lives in Coos Bay, Oregon, a small, coastal town where art is sparse and, when it does exist, is of a general relation to driftwood, deer, dying romance, or various maritime subjects. He has tried to leave the town numerous times. He is married, has a seven year-old son, and loves the south coast. He is a novelist and a writer of poetry, and has recently returned to college in order to become Mr. Succre, an eventual teacher of English and writing to the next generation. He relocated with his family to Iowa City in June 2012.
As an author, Ray’s work can be found in hundreds of publications across two dozen countries. His work has been published in numerous journals, anthologies, and sites, and his early work also appeared (with excellent company) in The Book of Hopes and Dreams, a charity anthology edited by Dee Rimbaud, out of Scotland. Ray has been nominated for the the Best of the Web Award, as well as the Pushcart Prize on several occasions, and he is also a winner of the Adroitly Placed Word Award, for spoken word.
Ray’s novels Tatterdemalion (Cauliay Publishing 2008), and Amphisbaena (Cauliay Publishing 2009) are widely available in print and were released to strong reviews. They are available through most bookstores and are easily found through any online outlets. A third novel, A Fine Young Day, is available, as are the others, through the Kindle store. His first complete book of poetry, Other Cruel Things (Differentia Press 2009), is available free online as an ebook.
Do you have any recent events to announce (of publications or anything else exciting)?
Having spent a few years in community college, I was recently accepted by the University of Iowa, and will begin in Fall 2012. I’ll be relocating my family in June from Coos Bay to Iowa City. On the press side of things, my third novel, A Fine Young Day (my take on a horror novel) was just released through the Kindle platform.
What inspired you to write this story?
It’s based on a true story that happened to me when I was four. My father used to tell me about it laughing. I was the kid that got bit on the head while explaining how an electronic toy truck worked to its owner. In actual life, I didn’t bite the other kid back. This poem is me wondering what would have happened if I had, and the point behind why the unexpectedness of a bite could get one praise or a laugh, while a retaliatory action would not. A learning lesson.
What books and/or authors have most influenced you?
I’ve pulled a lot of mileage from Milton, Steinbeck, Spenser, and Whitman, but influence is tough to nail down. For every line reminiscent of a particular author, there’ll be another that isn’t. Trying to figure out why I like something is a big part of learning from it.
What are you reading now?
I just finished a large Edith Hamilton myth collection (a comfort setup from when I was a kid), several collections of work by various poets, and, due to school, a ton of plays throughout history. My favorite of the term was Oedipus Rex, though Tennessee Williams is pretty amazing. I had a Shakespeare sequence, too, adding the tetralogy and a few comedies to my Shakespeare readings. I very much enjoyed the class.
What are your current projects?
Releasing A Fine Young Day online, and formatting Other Cruel Things, a book of poetry that came out in ’09 through Differentia Press, to release it on the Kindle. I’ve been revising Thank You and Good Night and Miel, two other novels, much lately, and hope to release one of them Summer. Quitting smoking.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Revise the older works and write the new works better. This process never actually ends until you do.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. For all of it. You’re why I’m here. Tell your friends why you read and who. Convince them.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
Lately: “We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.” -John Waters
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I know it’s a mulchy answer, but honestly, being a dad is the best thing ever. I am most proud of my kid, who I see, at this point (having been a stay home dad for awhile), as one of the accomplishments my wife and I can both claim, and it’s the one for which I have the most pride. Sure, I’m proud of a few things I’ve written, and some strange feats that happened over the years, but all of that easily fits in the shadow of how I feel about being a dad. Okay, come and get me, Sentimenal Police.
What inspires you to write and why?
Everything, but most acutely, reading. If I read a line somewhere and enjoy it, the urge to write comes on instantly and I have to get myself to a page. It’s a bit of a compulsion, but a rewarding one, and there has never been a point where I didn’t enjoy it immensely.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism (this came from a publisher, regarding a novel): “This is not marketable. No one will like this.” Best compliment (from a reviewer, regarding the same novel): “Succre is one of my favorite living writers.”
Tell us something unusual (or fun) about you.
Unusual wears many disguises. I’ll say this: I can discern the level of remaining power in watch batteries, AA, AAA, and C batteries, by tasting them. I am freakishly accurate with this weird ability and have held my own against battery testing machines a couple of times now. While I’m sure there are others who can do this, I have yet to meet one. I treat it as a party trick.