How I Got That Story: Anglea Jane Fountas, Literary Fiction

When I met Angela, probably seven years ago, she was wrestling with turning her 70-page novella into a novel. Soon after, she discovered that she was not, as she said, “a long distance runner. I’m a sprinter.” She delved into literary fiction, the short-short, and took off, winning in head-spinning succession:

  • Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship, 2009
  • Writer-in-Residence, Richard Hugo House, Seattle, 2008–2009
  • Arts Special Projects Grant, 4Culture, King County, Seattle, 2006
  • CityArtist Projects Grant, Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Seattle, 2006
  • Jack Straw Writer, 2006
  • Alumni Fiction Award, University of Alabama, 2000
  • Research and Travel Grant, University of Alabama, 1999
  • Teaching Writing Fellowship, University of Alabama, 1999
  • Alumni Fiction Award, University of Alabama, 1999

When you started writing, what were your top three DREAM PUBLICATIONS?

The New Yorker
The Paris Review
The Atlantic Monthly

Has that changed? If so, how.

Yes, that has changed because I’ve been reading all of these regularly and have gotten to know them better; these were my first dream pubs because they were “the” places to publish. My big dream pubs now are: Zoetrope: All Story, McSweeney’s. One Story.

Some of my other recent dream pubs (more realistic targets) were Quick Fiction and Sentence, and both of those came true. (Mind you, I’ve been reading these regularly for quite a while now so the work I submitted was along the lines of what they publish. Read: I did my research!)

Given your current success, what would you say was your tipping point?

My tipping point was advice I received from Carole Glickfeld, whom I paid to read my novella (which I’d been working on since grad school). She asked me why I didn’t just stick with my strength, which was shorter stories (in the 2-8 page range) and then branch out into longer works. Well, I did that and wrote mainly short-short stories for a couple of years and got many of those published. Then I returned to longer stories after I received those two grants. (Ed. note: this interview was contucted in 2009.}

How many pieces do you have out for consideration at any given time?

As many as are ready. Right now I have 6 individual stories circulating, and some of those have been simultaneously submitted. And my short story collection is out to four book awards and being prepared for three more.

When not writing, teaching at Richard Hugo House, or winning awards, Angela runs  the website Write Habit.

Next on “How I Got That Story”: Michelle Goodman, Freelancer Extraordinaire. She wrote the book; literally.

Also check out Goodman's "The Anti-9 to 5 Guide"


Author: allehall

I am a writer. I write to explore childhood: literary essays and short fiction, journalism, and three haiku. My published work expresses my belief that everything which did or did not happen to me as a child is manifesting in everything that is or is not happening to me today. More importantly, it is also manifesting for my children. I believe funny is the new navel-gazing, and that the best funny keeps a penny's worth of serious in an accessible pocket. Little-known fact: I have a completed novel decorating the inside of a desk drawer. Perhaps it is not funny enough.

2 thoughts on “How I Got That Story: Anglea Jane Fountas, Literary Fiction”

  1. Oh, I like this! Thanks for posting the link over at Seattle WriterGrrls. I’ve been working along the same path and it’s always good to hear of others who’ve done the same AND succeeded. 🙂

    1. Dear S.O.,

      So glad to have your comment. Posting into blog-sphere can be a bit confusing: Is this blog helpful? Should I be covering celebrity gossip? Anyhoo, if you have a chance to study with Angela, take it. Just coming off her Hugo House residency, she is taking a break from anything other than work and writing. I assume she will emerge whole and shinning, ready to teach!

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