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.

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