I know Hannah Goodman in a few different capacities: Hannah as a reader, Hannah as a truly funny person I hope will continue to contribute to Inside the Writers’ Studio episodes (catch Hannah awkwardly trying to explain her choice of reading materials in the IWS episode “Writing Advice from Real Writers“), and Hannah as an author of young adult fiction.
I recently read the first two of the three available books in her Maddie Hickman series (My Sister’s Wedding, My Summer Vacation, and Fear of Falling) and was reminded of how much I loved reading YA when I was young enough to fill in the little check boxes on the order forms the teachers would hand out in school (Apple books, anyone?). I’d missed that excitement, but reading Goodman’s stories brought it all back.
Adult fiction is great, but it just isn’t the same.
When I learned some time ago that Hannah was going to create her own YA literary journal, I was excited – not for her, but for me. (Okay, her too, but mostly for me.) I knew that if I were ever going to read a collection of YA short stories (I’d never read a single YA short) I’d want them to be good, and that if Hannah were making the selections, they would be.
More recently – now – I’m also excited to have this opportunity to be a stop on Hannah’s blog tour in promotion of her second Sucker volume (congratulations on II!), because it gives me a chance to invite others who don’t ordinarily read YA to give it a try as grown-ups, as well as to invite writers of shorter YA fiction to check out, and submit to, Sucker Literary.
Q: How would you describe Sucker Literary to a potential new reader?
Hannah Goodman: Gritty, compelling stories that have flawed, relatable characters…bumping and traversing their way through the rocky terrain of adolescence. The writing is fresh, and sometimes provocative and sometimes humorous, and sometimes both.
Q: I’m most familiar with Young Adult fiction in the form of short novels. I read them by the stack when I was younger. YA short stories, though, are new to me. What are some of the topics/issues/subjects/conflicts addressed in the stories Sucker has published so far?
HG: Sex, drugs, rock and roll. . . Seriously, take a look at the last volume! Complicated and imperfect relationships are usually featured in all of our stories as well as the inner turmoil that the characters experience as they try to navigate their way into the adult world, which doesn’t make sense or play fair most of the time.
Q: How is Sucker being received, and who’s buying it? (Are parents buying it for their children, or are younger audiences finding it and buying it for themselves?)
HG: I don’t know. . . This is the part of publishing that I have a very low skill set in : ) I have brought in two lovely gals, Ami and Kacey to help with this part. Ami is conducting a survey with teen readers who have received a gift copy of volume 2 and Kacey has tackled the social media aspect. Although I work with teenagers, I don’t like to press them into reading my work. . . although they all have. But it seems like our readership is wide in terms of age. From teens to parents to grandparents. Our reviews are few and pretty good. . . so far.
Q: What does YA short fiction bring to the literary landscape that is unique and valuable?
HG: These stories are conversation starters. Between peers (teens) and between parents and teens. They do not have answers to life’s big questions. . . but they do pose the important questions and that really is the adolescent experience. The uniqueness comes from that. There is very little short form YA literature and the value really is that the stories open the dialogue up about the imperfections, the fears, the anxiety, and the elation that comes with the teenage experience.
Q: What do you, as a writer of young adult fiction, find most compelling about it? Why is that your chosen genre?
HG: I’m fascinated by the confusion and constant flux of teenagedom. How quick we are during adolescence to change our minds because we are learning new ideas and having new intense experiences—all as we are growing both physically and emotionally. The years between 13 and 19 are not about acquiring basic human skills of survival, (as with early stages of development), but the parts of the human experience that are less clear, less black and white, and more complicated. This is when you question all the beliefs that your parents passed on to you and begin to form yourself. What could be more fascinating than that?
Q: What inspired you to start the journal?
HG: SUCKER was an idea that I had as a result of trying to get short fiction published and seeing there was no home for YA…my kind of YA, the kind that I first saw featured in Michael Cart’s Rush Hour series—where the stories pose questions that are BIG. Who am I as I make my way into the world? Who are my friends, my parents? What do I believe in? What makes me excited? What makes me sad? Who do I love and who do I hate? Stories that touch on the darkest parts of adolescence but also shed light on the possibilities of growing up.
Q: What are you looking for in submissions to Sucker?
HG: Specifically, for volume 3, which has an open door day on August 1, 2013 (http://www.suckerliterary.com/submissions/open-door-day/), I would love some magical realism and speculative fiction that isn’t so much about the “world” the author has created but the relationships between characters set against the world. Broadly, I want writers to take risks and talk about the inner workings of the teenage experience. . . the stuff that is complicated and has no exact “answer”.
Q: What will readers absolutely not find in an issue of Sucker?
Anything preachy or naggy : )
Q: Where is Sucker available?
HG: Amazon both print and e-book.
Thank you, Hannah.
Sucker will reopen the doors for Volume 3 submissions one day ONLY, August 1, 2013. Find the guidelines HERE.
Website: Sucker Literary
About Hannah, founder and editor of Sucker Literary magazine:
Hannah R. Goodman is a YA author represented by Erzsi Deàk of Hen&ink Literary Studio. Her YA novels have won awards and garnered praise but her proudest endeavor is Sucker Literary. She owns The Write Touch, offering a variety of services for clients of all ages. Hannah is a member of SCBWI as well as a graduate of the Solstice MFA program at Pine Manor College. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and three cats: Lester, Maisey, and Judy. More about Hannah can be found on her website: hannahrgoodman.com