Gale Massey answers the Rogue 9
Q: What’s your favorite word?
Gale Massey: Bonkers. It’s fun to say and it explains so much of what’s going on in our world these days.
Q: Where do you like to write?
GM: In the Before Times, I loved going to a common work zone in downtown St. Petersburg where I could write alongside other quiet workers. Now that the pandemic has changed our world, I write in isolation in a small studio on our property. It isn’t the same, but it works well enough.
Q: What do you do when you need to take a break from writing?
GM: I go for long walks and figure out what’s for dinner.
Q: If you could have lived in a different time period, what would it be?
GM: I would love to live in an era where women were leaders in government, where people were considered more valuable than corporations. This might mean that I would like to be a younger woman living in the near future United States or present-day New Zealand.
Q: What’s your favorite drink?
GM: It will always be a cup of Pikes Place a few minutes after I wake up.
Q: When you were ten years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
GM: I remember wanting to be a missionary but if I’m honest it was because I wanted to travel and in my ten-year old mind that was the only way I was going to get the money to do that.
Q: Do you have a literary hero? A teacher, mentor, family member, author who inspired you?
GM: So many, but my earliest and most important literary hero is Connie May Fowler. Our lives began with such similar impoverished circumstance in Central Florida but she wrote about her early life so profoundly that I saw myself in her stories. She’s a trail blazer, a wonderful human, and a generous teacher.
Q: Describe your very first car.
GM: My mother was so eager to get me out of the house that on my sixteenth birthday she presented me with a clunker and got me a job in a sweaty cabinet shop to pay for it. I don’t remember the make or model of the car but it was a long four-door sedan with a cough. A month later the engine caught fire. After that, I got myself a job at the mall and bought a two-door coupe.
Q: Do you write what you know or what you want to know?
GM: In a way, both. I draw on my experience of being a woman in this world to tell stories of how girls and women are crushed, or how they survived, or possibly even got ahead despite our society’s splintered and unreasonable expectations. I want to add stories to the literary canon about women because there are thousands of pitfalls for a girl to fall into and if they make it to adulthood, the demands are enormous. To honor this truth, it’s time to give more space to those stories and I want to contribute to that. I like to start with a character fighting for survival against all odds. A situation like that is almost always great fodder for a story which means there are millions of stories to be written about women and girls.
Gale Massey is the author of the noir collection, RISING AND OTHER STORIES (April 13, 2021; Bronzeville Books), and the novel, THE GIRL FROM BLIND RIVER, which received a 2018 Florida Book Award and was a finalist for the Clara Johnson Award. Her work has been featured in Lambda Literary, CutBank, CrimeReads, Sabal, the Tampa Bay Times, Saw Palm and Tampa Bay Noir. Gale was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference and a fellow at Writers in Paradise, and has served as a panel judge for the Lambda Literary Awards. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in both fiction and nonfiction. You can visit her online at galemassey.com.