The Story Behind The Story, “The Chemistry of You and Me” Evelyn Ehrlich

I wish I had a quirky story about how I got the idea for THE CHEMISTRY OF YOU AND ME, but the reality is, Cameron just walked into my head one day. I knew I wanted to build his story with the periodic table as the foundation, and after that, the characters and the non-linear plot unfolded on its own as I went through each element. Some chapters–like Lithium and Oxygen–were planned, while others, like Manganese, completely surprised me but made perfect sense once I wrote them down. It’s almost as if Cam’s story already existed out there in the ether, and my job was to find the pieces and figure it out.

-Evelyn Ehrlich, author of “The Chemistry of You and Me”

To purchase volume III, click here.

The Story Behind The Story, “Valentine’s Day” by Claudia Classon

Who hasn’t suffered from unrequited love–particularly the long-suffering high school kind?  In tenth grade I remember one particularly frustrating crush I had on a guy a year older than me who ignored every signal I aimed his way.  Just when I decided he was too into himself to ever have a girlfriend, he started going out with a girl in his class. Grr.  I finally got over the jerk and he graduated and went off to college the next year.  But then at the end of my senior year he came back and started hanging out with our theatre crowd again and my crush re-bloomed.  You guessed it: nothing happened.  I couldn’t really move on until I left for college myself.  P.S. he WAS too into himself to have a girlfriend.  So there.

– Claudia Classon author of “Valentine’s Day”


To order a copy of volume three, go here

The Story Behind The Story, “Just a Matter of Time” by Charity Tahmaseb

I was pondering time management and all the clichés that go with it, in particular everyone has the same twenty-four hours in a day. Then I thought: what if we don’t? What if those whizzes at time management are actually stealing time from the rest of us, leaving us to wander about, wondering where we’d left our car keys.

I put that notion into a high school setting, where there always seems to be a few teens who can breeze through everything. The only reasonable explanation is they really do have more than twenty-four hours in each day.

-Charity Tahmaseb, author of “Just a Matter of Time”


To order a copy of volume three, go here

The Story Behind The Story, “Her Tree Boy Blaze” by Lina Branter

Three separate things inspired my story. The first was a story someone told me about their brief stint in a remote boarding school. Apparently there was an old, abandoned cabin in the woods where students would go to hook up. Then I began to think about first sexual encounters and how even if you give official consent, it can still feel violating. I actually wrote a story about this but it never really worked well so I shelved it. Then I saw a call for submissions for stories about the Green Man (a figure in different world mythologies that represents nature and fertility)  and I realized that was the missing element to my previous story! I needed a Green Man!

-Lina Branter, author of “Her Tree Boy Blaze” follow her @linagordaneer

To order a copy of volume three, go here.  


The Story Behind The Story, A Different Kind Of Cute

I wrote this story for my thesis when I was a grad student at The Solstice Program at Pine Manor College. It came to me during a workshop where we were writing down memories from our teen years. The memory that came to me was sophomore year, homecoming. I had a WICKED crush on a soccer player—this was during my chubby year—and he and I had been doing a little flirty flirt in the hallway and at a few of his games. Homecoming came up and through friends, I was told that he wanted to meet me there. I was so psyched!

So I got together to get ready and drive to homecoming with 19 other girls all at my house. I have a picture of us all, posed in my living room in front of the fireplace. A picture that has circulated FB and was part of our slideshow at the 20 year reunion. We are coiffed and grinning, especially me. I wore a strapless dress because with my new chubby body came big boobs and the dress was black so I felt hot for the first time since putting on the extra 30 from freshmen year.

When I arrived at the dance, I saw him in the corner with his soccer friends and his little sister, who was in my algebra class, shuffled over and said that he wanted to dance with me. . . this was a boy who definitely was in a higher social stratosphere than me, and I was so nervous. A slow song came on and he and I locked eyes, like every teen movie from the 80s and 90s. We met in the middle of the dance floor and he wrapped me in his arms and we swayed together. . . and he gave me little (very wet) kisses on my bare neck. And then. . . .it’s kind of a blur when I look back, but I know there was the heavy stench of alcohol, and I know that he left the dance floor and returned, sweaty and smelling of both throw-up and alcohol.  I know there were slurred declarations of love and that he continued to wrap his arms and lips around me. . . in a way that required his sister to try and peel him off. . . I am pretty sure he was eventually escorted out of the dance. My one chance with my super crush was ruined. . . forever.  We never, ever spoke again for the rest of high school.

To order a copy of volume three, go here. (This is Hannah’s Amazon Author Page, which has all three volumes of Sucker.)

She is NO Sucker, Interview with Molly Cavanaugh, Senior Copyeditor Goddess

6 (somewhat) Random and 2 Serious Questions With Senior Editor Goddess Molly

1. Which story is your favorite from volume 2 and why? (I will not be offended if it isn’t mine J )

This is a tough one, obviously, because all the stories were so great, but since I guess I’m not allowed to say the Acknowledgments (even though there’s such a great shout-out to yours truly in it!), I think my favorite was “Do You Remember Fred?” It’s so hard-hitting, and it really packs in a lot into a very small space—I’m pretty sure it’s the shortest of any of the stories. And, though I wish it weren’t, it’s very realistic.

2. What song best describes your experience with editing stories for Sucker?

“Beautiful,” by Christina Aguilera, because a) wasn’t that a great song?, and b) I always hope the writers know we think their stories are beautiful in every single way, and that my critical words won’t bring them down! We’re just polishing already awesome work to help it stand out as the beautiful art it is.

3. You have detailed your journey with celiac disease on your (super funny and informative) blog Based On A Sprue Story. So, if I come to your house for dinner what would you make for me?

Thank you for the compliment on my blog! I never thought I’d get into blogging, but now I love it. Celiac disease translates to “gluten-free, not by choice.” Because I’m also vegetarian (that one is by choice), I might serve an Indian dinner (based on rice, legumes, and lots and lots of coconut milk); socca (a chickpea-flour pizza/flatbread thing sure to be the next foodie craze); or maybe pineapple fried rice with tofu—that’s on the menu for tonight! For dessert, maybe brownies, made with a blend of GF flours, or ice cream, which is usually GF unless it’s got chunks of glutenful cookies in it. Oh, and if what you’re really asking about is drinks, that’s easy: almost anything other than beer!

4. What advice do you have for writers who want to submit to us?

DO IT. But do it after you’ve given yourself some time to set aside your piece—for at least a few days—then reread and revise it. Ideally, get a second opinion or two from a friend. We love to help you edit, but considering how much competition there is for space, it’s best to come in with something already in good shape. Also, consider writing about male, bi/gay, or other-than-Caucasian characters. If you can do it well, you’ll really stand out in a sea of straight white girls. (No offense intended to straight white girls; I am one myself, after all.)

5. You are an editor by day (for pay!) as well as our editor. What has this career (so far) taught you about writing and publishing?

I’ve learned that everyone really does have an opinion on everything—even things you’d think nobody other than we copy-editing folks would care about, like commas or the spelling of the word tabbouleh (I work on a lot of cookbooks). You need to learn to tread carefully, and know when to cite an authority (the Chicago Manual of Style is God) and when to just let it go. Breaking the rules sometimes pays off. The fine line between “error” and “style” hasn’t become any clearer since I started; if anything it’s hazier.

6. Favorite punctuation mark and why?
Definitely parentheses (I guess that’s two marks). I’m not even going to try to count how many times I’ve used them in this interview, for example.

7. I make all the writers come up with a one-sentence tagline for their stories. Come up with a one-sentence tagline for your life so far.

Although I seem to have become a twenty-something living in New York, I assure you it’s nothing at all like Girls.

8. Did you edit these questions as you read them?  J

Just a little. ;)