The Chamber published Mr. Carr’s story “Catacombs of the Doomed” on April 23.
Tell us something about your life.
I was born in impoverished conditions in Cincinnati, Ohio and joined the military for seven years, three in the Army, four in the Navy, right out of high school. During my stint in the Army I was a military journalist. After the military I completed my university degree in English/Theater and afterward worked in healthcare management while writing plays that were produced in several U.S. States. After owning my own theatrical production company, I was able to retire early and took up writing short stories in June 2016. I’ve had 500 stories – new and reprints – published since then.
What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?
The entire process of writing and then submitting a short story to a publication is grueling and sometimes brutal, and I’ve done that successfully over 500 times. That is an accomplishment that few others can lay claim to.
Why do you write?
I needed a verifiable legacy, and that is why I write.
What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)
I guess it might be called a process, but I don’t really think of it as that. I write at least 1000 words a day, usually divided into two sessions of writing 500 words each session, writing 500 in the afternoon and the other 500 in the evening. I do permit myself to take time off from writing whenever I want. I don’t adhere to the dictum that you have to write every day. I edit as I write and do one final read and final editing before submitting it as soon as it’s finished. Since I know even before I begin what publication I’m writing for and what they’re looking for, I never need to hold onto a story and search for a publication to submit the story to, unless it has been rejected the first time. No one, ever sees anything I have written until it is published.
You have written over 500 short stories but published your first novel, Redbird, in 2019. What was the transition from writing short stories to writing a novel like for you? If I recall correctly, Hemingway said that a novel is a “different animal” from a short story.
I absolutely hated writing the novel. It didn’t suit my pace of developing a story, required way too much time plotting and planning, and it felt like I was purposely extending the boundaries of the story simply to make it fit a novel word count. I’m not one to say “never” but I can’t see repeating writing a novel, ever.
Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?
No one, absolutely no one, sees my work before it is published.
Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?
I have a list of ideas for short stories I plan to write but the list would make no sense to anyone else as it is mostly just story titles or very brief notes.
Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?
My short stories are published all the time and it would bore you to tears if I gave out what was being published and when. Despite coming from a theater background, I hate reading my works aloud. Interviews, and I’ve done a lot of those, seem to happen spur of the moment.
What do you hope to achieve as a writer?
To write that . . .one . . .perfect . . . short story that will be studied and discussed long after I’m dead.
What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?
Other than rejections from editors who sometimes think their role is to be a literary critic, I can’t think of a time when a short story of mine actually received a bad review. Not enough people read my novel to review it one way or another. Well it got a few good reviews on Amazon, but it was my friends who bought and reviewed it.
What advice do you have for novice writers?
Rejection happens to every writer, don’t take it too seriously. Also don’t become to enamored with your own work. That leads to all kinds of bad writing decisions. Learn grammar and never take advice from someone who knows less about writing than you do.
What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?
(1) Life experience: go everywhere you can, see as much as you can, experience as much as you can, remember everything or keep notes. (2) learn how to use Google. (3) Read. Read. Read. Even the back of a cereal box can be informative.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)
My website: https://www.stevecarr960.com/
My Amazon bibliography: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07CRL1PHF?ref
My publishing imprint Sweetycat Press website: https://www.sweetycatpress.com/about
Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?
Few writers, other than journalists or advertising copywriters, actually make a living by writing. Keep your expectations low and hold on to your day job until you have a healthy bank account, and even after that, resist being okay with living in your parents’ basement.