We're honored to feature a new story by Mike Sutton in Issue Two of Orson's Review. Issue Two of Orson's Review will be released on March 19th, 2019.
We're also very fortunate for the time Mike took to sit down and chat with us about his journey as a writer.
*The following interview involves Orson's Publishing (OP) and Mike Sutton (MS).
OP: How did your journey with the written word begin?
MS: I felt my first fondness for writing in ninth grade. My English teacher required each student to submit a weekly paper using an assigned literary tool. One week, we’d tackle similes. The next, metaphors. I started spinning together a story and fell so hard for the craft that I continued that story every week, adding a new chapter with the all-important literary tool tucked away inside.
OP: Is fiction writing your primary occupation?
MS: No. Lawyering requires plenty of writing, but none of the sexy stuff.
OP: What about “Kemosabe” are you most proud?
MS: The piss jug.
OP: Tell us about your writing process. Do you approach all pieces of writing in the same way?
MS: I write the same way I tackle most things, with discipline and hard work. My alarm starts screaming at 4:40 every morning, and I write until it’s time to head for work. I don’t idle well, so you can bet any free time gets gobbled up by reading or writing. I usually handwrite the first draft. There’s something about pressing pen to the paper that helps me feel more, helps me focus and let the voice pour through. I keep a handful of stories moving at once, so if I start hitting a concrete wall on one, I move to the next and see if the stars have something for me there.
OP: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that impacted your writing?
MS: I never had a particular dream job fixed in my mind. I did have an oddball fantasy about ruling the world, but given today’s political climate, I’d rather not.
OP: Tell us about the biggest sacrifice you’ve made while pursuing writing.
MS: Time. For me, writing is a pleasure. It’s hard work and demands much, but I sure do love it.
OP: How many books do you read in a year?
MS: I try to read one book a week. I usually manage it (or more), but every now and then I tackle a big boy by Stephen King that takes a bit longer.
OP: Do you attend readings? If so, tell us about the best one you’ve ever attended -- what made it so good?
MS: I attend readings as often as possible. A good friend of mine and a damn fine writer, Eli Cranor, gave a reading in Fayetteville, Arkansas, of his award-winning story, Don’t Know Tough. He’s been a tremendous mentor for me as he tackles writing fiercely and with passion. He brought the goods to that reading.
OP: What do you want most out of your literary community?
MS: Presence. I love it when a crowd shows up for a reading. There’s genuine passion for writing in Arkansas. I sure wish more “big name” authors would give us a try.
OP: Do you believe that an MFA is crucial to success as a writer today?
MS: Personally, I’d say no. I don’t have an MFA and it doesn’t appear to be impeding my pursuits.
OP: What do you cross your fingers for as a writer?
MS: Every so often, I cross paths with a snippet of writing that touches me so deeply, it leaves me shaken. It stirs something deep inside. If I can ever manage that, boy.
OP: Where do you see your journey with the written word going?
MS: I don’t have the slightest clue. I’m enjoying myself and the folks I’m meeting. If that’s all that comes of it, I’d count it a win.
Mike Sutton calls the rolling hills of Northwest Arkansas home, where he practices law and writes in his free time. Prior to entering the legal profession, Mike served in the U.S. Air Force as a military police officer and attended Ouachita Baptist University, where he studied History and English Literature. You can find Mike writing in one of Fayetteville’s local coffee shops or on the water, fishing pole in hand.