About Amelia Gray
Amelia Gray is the author of four books: AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, THREATS, and Gutshot. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Tin House, and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.
Sam: Can you tell me a little about how Gutshot (FSG Originals, 2015) came about?
Amelia Gray: I’ve written short stories here and there for six years. For a long time the collection was called In the Moment but that didn’t land right for me. It was true to the spirit but not to the action of many of its stories. And then a few weeks before final edits needed to be in I thought out of the blue: Gutshot.
SS: Which of the stories did you write first? Were they written in order? If not, how’d you go about deciding the order in the collection?
AG: “These Are the Fables” is the first one, I started it in 2009 while I was editing my last collection Museum of the Weird. I wanted to order in a way that grouped things together thematically and also provided a kind of rising and falling tension. Ordering was the very last thing I did, in one of the last nights I had the manuscript before it went into layout. I printed everything out and put each story across the available surfaces in my bedroom and just started moving things around.
SS: Do you have a favorite story in the collection?
AG: I like “Gutshot.” It was the last story I wrote for it.
SS: The cover art is pretty intense. Can you talk a little about it?
AG: Isn’t she lovely? Strick&Williams did an interview about it here. I wasn’t familiar with Vicente’s work before they suggested it for my book but I’m an acolyte now.
SS: Can you give me 5 adjectives you think best describe Gutshot?
AG: Vicious, viscous, vigorous, venomous, vaporous
SS: What drink would you say best characterizes the work? You don’t have to name a specific brand (unless you want to).
SS: What are you working on now?
AG: A bag full of green beans.
Inspiration: I went straight for the adjectives on this one. I wanted something that would burn, that would make you realize you’re alive. If vaporizing alcohol wasn’t such a terrible idea, this drink would be vaporized. (Note: Don’t vaporize this drink.)
2 oz jug wine, red
2 oz rye whiskey
1 oz lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup, optional
1 rye-soaked black cherry
Method: Build in collins glass over ice and stir. Top with cherry.