Theresa Weir (a.k.a. Anne Frasier) is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three books and numerous short stories that have spanned the genres of suspense, mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal, and memoir. Her titles have been printed in both hardcover and paperback and translated into twenty languages. Her memoir, The Orchard, was a 2011 Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, Number Two on the Indie Next list, a featured B+ review in Entertainment Weekly, and a Librarians’ Best Books of 2011. Going back to 1988, Weir’s debut title was the cult phenomenon AMAZON LILY, initially published by Pocket Books and later reissued by Bantam Books.
Writing as Theresa Weir she won a RITA for romantic suspense (COOL SHADE), and a year later the Daphne du Maurier for paranormal romance (BAD KARMA). In her more recent Anne Frasier career, her thriller and suspense titles hit the USA Today list (HUSH, SLEEP TIGHT, PLAY DEAD) and were featured in Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, and Book of the Month Club. HUSH was both a RITA and Daphne du Maurier finalist.
Well-known in the mystery community, she served as hardcover judge for the Thriller presented by International Thriller Writers, and was guest of honor at the Diversicon 16 mystery/science fiction conference held in Minneapolis in 2008. Frasier books have received high praise from print publications such as Publishers Weekly, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Crimespree, as well as online praise from Spinetingler, Book Loons, Armchair Interviews, Sarah Weinman’s Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, and Ali Karim’s Shots Magazine. Her books have featured cover quotes from Lisa Gardner, Jane Ann Krentz, Linda Howard, Kay Hooper, and J.A. Konrath. Her short stories and poetry can be found in DISCOUNT NOIR, ONCE UPON A CRIME, and THE LINEUP, POEMS ON CRIME. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers.
Welcome to SFWG! You’ve had a successful career in both the traditional publishing world and as a self-published author, how has short fiction, its audience and its viability changed since you began?
Self-publishing has made it easy to get short stories to readers. In the past, short stories had to sell to magazines, be part of an anthology, or be posted to blogs. It’s very cool to be able to write a short story and upload it to the Internet.
What advice do you have for writers beginning to write short fiction?
Short fiction is so different from a novel. I think of short fiction almost like a good joke, with a hook and a quick build and a punch line. I always try for a twist ending, but sometimes I don’t achieve it. I also think of a short story as a circle. I try to bring the story back to the beginning, but sometimes that’s not possible and the story ends up being more of a straight line. I think practice is the power behind a good short story. If you write one that’s not so great, write another one. And another. You will improve.
How is writing short stories different from novels for you, in terms of your approach, process and mindset?
Years ago I was invited to be part of a short-story anthology and I turned it down, saying I could never write a short story. But now I’m kind of addicted. I love being able to tell a complete story in a short space. And I love not having to deal with the sagging middle and a lengthy outline. I think short stories come closer to perfection than novels. With novels, I usually have something I wish I’d done differently. With a short story, there’s a lot less chance of that because short stories are so distilled.
Do you think an author can make a living off of being a short story writer alone?
I wish we could. I’ve heard of people making a living from it, but I think it would be really, really tough. Maybe if you have hundreds of stories available.
How often do your short stories become novels, or vice versa?
I don’t think I’ve ever turned a short story into a novel, but I did write a short story called Santa’s Little Helper with characters from one of my novels. However, I have taken really short stories and expanded them to make long short stories.
Thanks Theresa! Interested in reading her work? Find it here.