Before You, you published eight stories with Eclectica, the last one “Owen in Her Head” from 2013. Do you see your short fiction as practice in any way for your debut novel? In your acknowledgments, you mention “Owen”, which I assume refers to the story published in Eclectica. How much (if any) did this story and others contribute to the success of You?
Bing, bing! Yes, I am referring to that story and I think writing short fiction is great practice.“The Way You Make Me Feel” was one of my first Eclectica stories; a teacher is obsessed with Michael Jackson. I think of it as a baseline place where I did a lot of stuff that excited me—pop culture references, alienation from modern social norms, the shadow of 9-11, twisted humor. And years later, “Owen” has a lot of that alienation, this woman leaves her husband because of a dream about Owen Wilson. She’s frustrated that she can’t get it together to enter a Glamour essay contest. And she has Facebook envy. There is thematic crossover with You. And Tom decided to run that story when I was knee deep in You and it was exciting to edit “Owen” while finishing the draft of You. I’m grateful for Tom and Matt DiGangi at Thieves Jargon, Rusty Barnes at Night Train and now Fried Chicken and Coffee. It’s a great feeling, when you write a short story and know where it might find a home.