May 14, 2014

Blog Tour: The View From Endless Street

With me today is Rebecca Lloyd, who's stopping by on her blog tour. She's here to talk about her new short story anthology, The View From Endless Street.

With this collection of short stories set in the south of England and beyond, Rebecca Lloyd explores relationships and the brave or foolish things they can make people do. These stories about murder and ghosts, delusion and desperation, obsession and arson, show readers a sometimes sweet, sometimes macabre vision of humanity. Rebecca Lloyd channels Roald Dahl’s wit and flair for the unexpected in this collection that will appeal to the quirky side of the literary reader.

Paul: Creating a short story anthology seems quite different from writing a novel. How did you set out to get this collection published?

Rebecca: Quite a number of the stories had already been published in literary magazines and ezines over the years. I always did have a yearning to get my stories together in a short story collection, and so you have to think what have these stories got in common, which stories belong together. I once compiled a collection called ‘Water Stories,’ and then although it was shortlisted in a literary competition, that collection of stories was wasn’t published, so I pulled the whole thing apart again, and tried to think about the separate stories in a different, perhaps more enchanting, way. So, water always features heavily in your stories, but forget about that, what else links them? You have to analyse your stories and figure out how you can present or package them – it’s difficult. What linked all the stories in The View From Endless Street was simply my own reflection about the human life around me when I lived in London. I’m very easily moved to compassion and I even know the moment in my life when that became intrinsic in me, and I was  probably only about five or six years old, not much more. So, for this collection, I’m not sure that I gave it a linking theme, but I put it out again as a collection of my most important stories and sent it off to publishers, as you do.

Paul: Several of the stories in the book have been published previously. Were the rest written specifically for the anthology?

Rebecca: I didn’t write any of them specifically to create that particular book, it was just me choosing or leaving out stories and trying to reach a word number of roughly 70 thousand, which is ‘novel length.’ I have only once written specifically to create a whole book of short stories, and that was called Whelp and Other Stories and it was shortlisted in the Paul Bowles Short Fiction Award 2014, but it isn’t published yet. Whelp has a strong and deliberate theme running through it; each story in it is part of a central idea, and I really, really loved writing that; I was truly focussed. I actually miss not being in the process of writing that.

Paul: I find it difficult to write standalone stories, and short stories in particular. I much prefer writing novels as part of a longer series. What's your preference?

Rebecca: I think I’m naturally a short story writer, although I have written novels, but the only one I’ve had published is Halfling, by Walker Books for 9 to 13 year olds. Writing short stories is very much a different process from writing novels. I would liken it to the difference between running a marathon as a novel writer and doing a high jump as a short story writer. But I do think the short story in the good old tradition of fabulous writers like John McGahern became horribly soiled by the stupid thing called ‘flash fiction’ where you are, [meanly and stupidly in my opinion], supposed to write a story in less than 1,000 words. I mean all that’s about is showing how clever you are, and I think novels and short stories should always remember the reader and the readers’ pleasure.

Paul: While The View From Endless Street has been published by WiDo Publishing, you have books which have been published by other companies. What has it been like working with multiple publishers on so many projects?

Rebecca: Well while The View From Endless Street was being published by WiDo, who as you know, as some of your books are published with them too, are Americans, my other collection of stories, the darker ones perhaps, were taken up by Tartarus Press who I’ve admired for a long time because the authors they publish are the ones I’m drawn towards. Tartarus have kindly published a beautiful hardback of my short story collection ‘Mercy.’ So that’s only two books published at the same time and just by coincidence. I don’t suppose for a moment that it’ll happen again. Although I think it would be reasonable to say, as getting short story collections published is a very hard thing, that I’m as pleased as could be about it.

Paul: You're clearly a busy and prolific author. What's next for you?

Rebecca: I have been called prolific before, although I don’t really notice that, and the other thing I’ve been called is a writer of weird stuff, and I’m not kidding you, I didn’t realise I was a weird writer before WiDo likened me to Roald Dahl and Tartarus accepted me into their author group. So, I thought something along the lines of if you really think the things I write are weird, let me  deliberately write ‘weird.’ So that’s what I’m doing and I’m really enjoying it. It could be that before I’d put some restraint on my most twisted thoughts and ideas, but not for this collection which has not got a title yet – I’ll probably call it Fetch because that’s one of the stories in the collection, and I’m sure everyone knows what a fetch is, easy to look up if you don’t. Other than that, I’d like to see Whelp and Other Stories published because it resonates very strongly with me and touches on all those areas that arrest me, such as cruelty, vulnerability, fear, ignorance and innocence.

Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca. We wish you the best of luck with the new book!

Rebecca Lloyd writes short stories and novels. Her stories are dark and strange and many of them have been published in literary magazines and anthologies. She won the Bristol Prize 2008 for her story The River and her short story collection Don’t Drink the Water was a semi-finalist in the Hudson Prize 2010 while her novel Under the Exquisite Gaze was shortlisted in the Dundee International Book Prize. Her children’s novel, Halfling, was published by Walker Books in 2011, she is co-editor, with Indira Chandrasekhar, of Pangea an Anthology of Stories from Around the Globe, published by Thames River Press in 2012, and developmental editor of The Female Ward by Debalina Haldar, published by Thames River Press in 2013. She has had two short story collections published in 2014, Mercy by Tartarus Press and The View From Endless Street by WiDo Publishing and a third collection Whelp and Other Stories was a finalist in the Paul Bowles Short Fiction Award 2014.

You can follow Rebecca on her Facebook page.


  1. Congratulations to Rebecca on the new release! I think short stories are the hardest things to write...novels come much easier for me. But I do love reading them.

  2. Elizabeth, thank you so much for reading the interview. I imagine that as writers we are naturally inclined towards one form or the other. I would love to become truly engaged in writing a novel once more so that I could have more experience with the structural intricacies of novel writing but I would have to find subject matter that really made me wild to be able to do that. The unpublished novel of mine Under The Exquisite Gaze was told through the nine voices of the women characters in it, so it didn't in any sense conform to what is normally expected of a novel, I reckon.
    I think I probably am just a 'short talker'. I was in a car with my 3 year old grandson the other day and he started singing Twinkle twinkle little star, and so I took up the refrain and couldn't remember the words, so I filled in the missing words with 'blah-blah-blah' and got seriously into trouble with him about that. That's not to suggest that novels have too many words in them, but that I just can't do that much writing/talking and so on.
    Paul, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, it's impressive looking and it makes me want to have one myself!

    the tour for the book has now gone over to India and into Out of Print magazine, a short story magazine in which some very surprising and bold stories appear.