Catching Up with Past Interns

I am happy to bring you an exciting post this week that has been in the works for a while– an interview with Superstition Review interns from previous semesters. Here’s what they had to say about what they’re up to now, how SR helped them get there, and what they wish they had known when they were interns. Enjoy!

Superstition Review: What have you been doing since your internship with Superstition Review?

Sara Scoville: After graduating from ASU in May ’09, I have continued to conduct research for a collection of essays I’ve been working on since my last semester. The topic focuses on interaction and the relationships that form in the online gaming community amongst alpha males. I also work full time as a supervisor at a direct marketing company.

Melissa Silva: I’m now applying to work as an intern for Nordstrom. As a Capital Scholar, I’m applying to work for NPR and other media outlets in DC this summer.

Riki Meier: I’ve been working full-time at ASU during the day, and also taking a few independent study courses. Late last fall, I completed several graduate school applications, and I’m excited to say I was just accepted into the English PhD program at Tufts University! They are offering me full funding for five years. I’m absolutely thrilled as I know Tufts has an excellent program and I also love the Boston area!

Carter Nacke: Since working at Superstition Review, I have turned my focus to graduating. I’m pleased to say that I’ll be graduating in May with a degree in Print Journalism from the Cronkite School.

Alex Linden: Since my internship with Superstition Review, I finished my last year at Arizona State and applied to MFA programs for Poetry. I now attend Oklahoma State University and this semester will finish the first year of my MFA.

SR: Do you think your experience with Superstition Review has helped with what you’re doing now? How?

SS: I believe it most certainly has. I’ve worked for the same company for 12 years, so it was definitely nice to do something different. Trish is an amazing person and I absolutely loved learning from her! One thing that I appreciated most about her is the amount of trust and faith she had in me. It’s because of her belief in my abilities that I have a stronger sense of confidence in both my writing and professional life.

MS: Experience with publishing and Excel I think has helped reassure companies that I’m qualified to work for them.

RM: I do think that my work at Superstition Review helped my admission chances at Tufts, as Tufts has a reputation for wanting well-rounded (and diversified) applicants. Although I am going for a research degree, I think the fact I worked as an editor at a national literary magazine demonstrated that I don’t have only an analytical mind; I have a strong creative inclination as well.

CN: I think my experience did help. While I was in charge of financing and fundraising (which I’d never done before), SR helped me learn to balance work and school. I also saw first-hand how magazines are produced, which is extremely helpful for my magazine writing class.

AL: My experience with SR has definitely helped with what I do now. I believe my chances of getting into MFA programs would have been much less had I not done the internship. More importantly, I was exposed to the literary world and inspired to pursue similar work in the future. I now read for the Cimarron Review.

SR: Is there any advice you’d like to give current Superstition Review interns?

SS: Have respect for everyone involved throughout the entire process. Ask for help if you need it, and be willing to help if someone needs you. The success of the issue is dependent upon every single intern, so open lines of communication are of the utmost importance. Also, be proud of and enjoy what you’re contributing to the literary community.

MS: Work hard and try to learn as much as you can. I learned a lot about communicating professionally online and using Excel.

RM: For the current editors soliciting work from writers, I would say that one should approach soliciting writers like they should approach applying to graduate schools. One should have a number of “long-shots” writers on the list that one dreams of publishing, but the chances of publishing that person may be slim. Soliciting someone like Toni Morrison or Salman Rushdie may be analogous to applying to graduate school at Princeton or Harvard. If you diversify your solicitation list, you have far greater chances of getting lots of great literary pieces for review!

CN: Current interns: Get your stuff done early. Take it from someone who knows, assignments and work can pile up on you before you know what’s going on!

AL: Take advantage of every opportunity your internship provides. Research other literary journals, contact the writers you admire, and don’t read all of the submissions at once. 🙂

Spotlight on Rebekah Richgels, by Danielle Kuffler

rebekahrichgels_1Danielle Kuffler: What is your process when reviewing a submission?

Rebekah Richgels: I generally skip the title and dive straight into the story. If it is poorly punctuated or confusing, sometimes I have to start over. Once I am about a third of the way through, if I’m not invested in the story yet I call it a No. As I read, I look for character development and depth, interesting subject matter that draws me in and keeps me reading, and a coherent plot. Ideally these things also come with good prose. If a story has all that I say Yes. I love that we do a blind read of the stories so we aren’t swayed by the author’s fame or lack thereof.

DK: What has been your best SR moment?

RR: My best moment with SR was definitely when Sara Scoville and I interviewed TC Boyle. I was really nervous ahead of time, but he made everything really relaxed and the whole experience turned out amazingly.

DK: What has been your worst SR moment?

RR: It’s not that bad, but my worst SR moment was at the beginning of Fall 2008, when I accidentally solicited from a poet and he emailed back telling me he didn’t do fiction. I tried to respond in a joking way and also pass the blame, which made us all look pretty unprofessional. I learned from it, though, and I’m a lot more thorough with my solicitations now.

DK: What is your favorite book or author/poet?

RR: My favorite author is John Steinbeck, but I also love reading pieces by Rick Reilly, former writer for Sports Illustrated.

DK: What was the first book you ever read?

RR: I’m not sure about the first book I ever read, but the first ones I remember reading were the Boxcar Children series. I read so many of them that I even had a dream where I was reading one.

DK: What skills of yours are most beneficial to SR?

RR: I like to think that I work pretty hard to get through the things we need to do. I can sit down and run through a lot of work in a day if that’s what we need to catch up. I think I do a good job, too, of explaining situations to other people, like Sarah Dillard, my other fiction editor, so that she felt up to speed with our jobs here.

DK: What are you reading currently?

RR: I just finished Leaving Atlanta, Tayari Jones’ first book, and am starting Which Brings Me To You, the collaborative novel between Julianna Baggott and Steve Almond. I am also reading Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney for my Literary Forms class.

DK: What is your favorite work of nonfiction?

RR: I guess I would have to say Ghost Soldiers, the book about the Bataan Death March, because it was the first nonfiction book I had ever chosen to read. I really prefer the fiction world.

DK: What is your favorite work of art or artist?

RR: I love Rodin. For some reason, his sculptures seem especially beautiful to me.

DK: What are some advantages to working in the online format of SR?

RR: The best advantage of working online is the space. We have no limit to how much we publish, and aren’t limited by printing costs either.

DK: What kind of experiences have you gained at SR that will help in your future?

RR: I have learned better responsibility and independence, as well as increased diplomacy and really great connections to the literary world.

Superstition Review Interviews T.C. Boyle

T.C. Boyle with Sara and Rebekah

Rebekah and Sara with T.C. Boyle

On February 25th, Changing Hands Bookstore hosted T.C. Boyle for a reading and questions on his most recent novel, The Women. Fiction Editor Rebekah Richgels and former Fiction Editor Sara Scoville spent about an hour interviewing the author before the event. Rebekah comments on the experience.

The idea of chatting with T. C. Boyle about his work seemed nerve-wracking at first because he’s a well-known author who has published 20 books. He arrived and we made our introductions, then Trish set up the camera and we dove right in. Sara and I had created banks of questions to choose from, but as we talked we became more comfortable and found ourselves going “off script.” Mr. Boyle entertained us with anecdotes but also respectfully considered our more serious questions. Changing Hands was the last stop on his nationwide book tour, but he answered our questions as though he was hearing them for the first time.

As we probed into the details of his literary career–his various styles, how he gets to know his characters, how he comes up with ideas–it became obvious that we were speaking with a natural talent. This is a man who finds a subject that interests him and spends months gathering and gleaning information so that when he finally sits down to write about it he sounds as knowledgeable as someone who has devoted their life to this one topic. He writes seven days a week, probably without fail, not because he has to make himself move forward with a piece, but because he has made writing so natural that it is almost like eating.

Though he is promoting his 20th book, Boyle has already submitted his 21st–a collection of stories including “Wild Child,” mentioned in his novel Talk Talk–and is more than halfway through his 22nd, another novel. He has an ability to write so that subjects are engaging and fresh, so that his characters are real, and so that each story draws you in. He writes with an ease that makes all authors jealous and makes publishers celebrate. Interviewing him was a priceless experience, and one that I am so excited to be able to share with all our readers. The podcast interview will be available on April 20th, the launch date of Issue 3 of Superstition Review.

T.C. Boyle

T.C. Boyle