E-book coming soon
About the book:
Drawing on the rich complexity of the American Midwest, Kim Suhr peoples her debut book of fiction with characters that we know, carved out of the Wisconsin landscape and caught between expectation and desire. An Iraq war veteran stalks the streets of Madison. Four drunk friends hunt deer outside of Antigo. A mother tries to save her son. A transplanted New Yorker plots revenge against her husband. A man sobers up and opens a paintball range for Jesus. A woman with nothing to lose waits for her first kiss.
Personal and powerful, Kim Suhr’s Nothing to Lose shows us a region filled with real people: less than perfect, plagued with doubts, always reaching.
A brief interview with the author:
Tell us about your book and how the seed of idea turned into story.
Nothing to Lose is a collection of short stories that all take place in various towns and cities across Wisconsin. Each of the stories had different seeds. The opening story comes from an image of a man wearing night vision goggles that came into my mind when I woke in the middle of the night. Another story came from overhearing someone say, “My kids grew up in the viewfinder of my husband’s camcorder.” Another was to the prompt, “I never, never, never, never, NEVER would have believed that would happen…” The final story came from someone telling me she had a friend who decided to follow all the advice on her Dove chocolate wrappers. What all of the story seeds share is the question that followed: “What if…?” And that is when the stories sprouted.
What did you draw on most from your vast warehouse of writing background to complete your first published novel short story collection?
Persistence. I submitted the collection over thirty times before I got a yes—and over a hundred and thirty submissions of the individual stories to literary journals. I had to believe in the stories, keep striving to make them better (Revision is your friend!), and not let “no” be a deterrent.
How different is it for you to write fiction and non-fiction?
Actually, a good story is a good story, so I don’t find writing narrative nonfiction and fiction all that different from each other. In nonfiction, the story already exists, so it’s like the description of sculpting attributed to Michelangelo, to take a piece of marble and “remove everything that isn’t David.” In fiction, we get to create the “marble” ourselves. But ultimately, the reader of both expects the same thing: to see a change in a character and to understand why and how it happened.
What do you learn from your writing studio students/workshops?
I have learned perseverance, generosity of spirit, and the power of community. In teaching my writing students particular skills or techniques, I must first become adept in them myself. This process allows me to return to my beginner’s mind and put my own writing to the test.
What’s coming up next?
I am working on the audiobook version of Nothing to Lose, then probably an e-book as well. I have a couple of short stories in process and a few chapters of something that wants to be a novel. (Ssshhhh! Don’t tell anyone.)
Kim Suhr lives and writes in southeastern Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in Midwest Review, Stonecoast Review, Rosebud and others. She holds an MFA from Pine Manor College, where she was the 2013 Dennis Lehane Fellow in Fiction. She is director of Red Oak Writing and a member of the Wisconsin Writers Association Board of Directors. You can follow her at: