Andy Plattner has published two story collections and has a forthcoming title, Offerings from a Rust Belt Jockey, which recently won Dzanc Book’s inaugural Mid-Career Novel Prize. The novel is scheduled for release in October 2013. He also has a forthcoming stories in Folio, apt and Sewanee Review.
Amoskeag: The 2012 issue has come to be known as the “Identity” issue; in what way does your work deal with “identity?”
Andy: Henry, the central figure in the story, is comfortable with where he lives and he is equally comfortable with not asking himself difficult questions. His older brother, Christopher, sees this attitude as a pronounced and unhealthy family trait, and this, in part, is why he’d rather go off to war than stay in their small West Virginia town. He does not want to turn out like his parents and he warns Henry against this as well.
Amoskeag: In developing your main and supporting characters, how do you see them losing or finding themselves?
Andy: Christopher does not find himself out in the world, but he never regrets having left home. Henry simply discovers that his choices have resulted in dramatic limitations on both his outlook and his self-worth.
Amoskeag: What is the one line, the one sentence in your piece that for you sums up the meaning of “identity?”
Andy: Probably the last sentence: “He was going to live the rest of his life in this house and he told himself not to worry about anything anymore.”
Amoskeag: How do you identify yourself as a writer — how did you get here? Who/what made you so? Where have you come from? What have you gone through?
Andy: In my fiction writing, I am interested in whatever truth I can uncover about the world. So, I guess you can say I very much identify with this. If the truth is ugly, so be it. I’d rather know than simply pretend. (I suppose Christopher from “Adored” is something of a self-portrait in this way.) I think many writers—especially the ones I admire–more or less wind up just wanting this. So, I don’t think I’m breaking ground at all here. Without getting into all the minutiae surrounding it, I suppose that I have gone through a meaningful maturation process as a writer. I feel like I am in a meaningful place in my work right now.
Amoskeag: What lies ahead for you?
Andy: More stories, a novel manuscript. I just finished a story called “Hot Springs” that I think is OK.
To view an excerpt from Andy’s short story “Adored,” click here.