We're honored to feature new fiction by Chris Stanton in Issue Three of Orson's Review. Issue Three of Orson's Review will be published on September 24th, 2019.
We're also very fortunate for the time Chris took to chat with us about the writer’s journey. Check out the discussion below.
*The following interview involves Orson's Publishing (OP) and Chris Stanton (CS).
OP: How did your journey with the written word begin?
CS: I went to an incredible elementary school in Columbus that focused on reading and the arts. I read fiction constantly as a little boy, and that morphed into writing short stories in high school. Then I went on to major in Dramatic Writing at New York University.
OP: Is fiction writing your primary occupation?
CS: No. I’m a media relations assistant at UCLA full time, but I work on writing and art in the evenings and on the weekends.
OP: What about this story are you most proud?
CS: My stories often involve protagonists who are stuck in a rut, then they encounter something that shifts their perspective and gets them moving again. I think “Toby the Great” is a solid example of that.
OP: Tell us about your writing process. Do you approach all pieces of writing in the same way?
CS: I’ve written a novel as well as short stories and screenplays, and in all of them, setting out a road map is key. I tend to do a lot of brainstorming and outlining in notebooks before I sit down to write.
OP: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that impacted your writing?
CS: When I was a little boy, I wanted to be an actor. Then in high school, I became obsessed with the Olympics and wanted to become a sportswriter. That shifted after Aliens was released in the summer of 1986, and I applied to film schools to study screenwriting.
OP: Tell us about the biggest sacrifice you’ve made while pursuing writing.
CS: I learned discipline in grad school at USC, which was sorely lacking in my creative life. That meant that I often had to skip social activities to stay home and write after work and on the weekends.
OP: How many books do you read in a year?
CS: 20-25. All fiction!
OP: Do you attend readings? If so, tell us about the best one you’ve ever attended—what made it so good?
CS: I haven’t been to a reading in a long time, and I’m embarrassed!
OP: What do you want most out of your literary community?
CS: Los Angeles is so huge that I don’t really feel like I’m part of a literary community – yet.
OP: Do you believe that an MFA is crucial to success as a writer today?
CS: Not crucial, but training (as well as connections that colleges afford their students) definitely helps.
OP: What do you cross your fingers for as a writer?
CS: I’m grateful for any breaks that come my way. But in the meantime, I have to put my head down, do the work, keep learning and keep my expectations low.
OP: Where do you see your journey with the written word going?
CS: With my interest in both writing and art, I would love to create projects that tell stories by combining the two. But my interest in both fiction and screenwriting will stay alive!
Chris Stanton is a creative writer and artist from Columbus, OH who lives and works in Los Angeles. His first novel Kings of the Earth was recently published, and he created the graphic novel Nick Pope with the late Christopher Darling. His short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines and he has shown his paintings and drawings in exhibitions across the United States.
Be sure to check out Chris Stanton’s fiction in Issue Three of Orson’s Review, which will be published on September 24th, 2019.