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Julie Duffy talks about entertaining short story magazines...

READERSVOICE.COM: Where do you live and what’s your weekly routine?

JULIE DUFFY: I live in eastern Pennsylvania, but was born and raised in Scotland and feel I have a foot in each culture. I’m a mother, so my weekly routine ebbs and flows with the school year. I’m the only person in the house who’s happy on a Monday morning! I’m a bit of a binge-writer, so I tend to work really hard on one thing until I run out of juice, then switch to something else. For example, I might queue up a batch of articles or writing prompts for the website, then go for a walk, come back and work on some fiction.

RV: Do you think there would be a mainstream market for a magazine of entertaining or interesting short stories, or has the heyday of entertaining short story magazines gone for good?

JD: I really do think there is still a market for that. I think it would have to be well curated and well marketed. Look at the way we read now: Facebook is essentially Chicken Soup For The Soul. Most of the stories people re-post are short, highly fictionalised morality tales. People (who don’t consider themselves readers) lap them up. I think that a good stream of flash fiction or short stories could do rather well. In fact, in Britain, women’s magazines still routinely publish fiction. I suspect that there is taste for realistic—possibly voyeuristic—fiction that a smart publisher could take advantage of if they were clever, themed it well and kept the quality high without being too high-brow (I get a bit impatient with literary magazines because I don’t enjoy naval-gazing stories, preferring a bit of action!).
Perhaps we need to catch a new generation of short story readers at Middle Grade or YA level, since they seem to like to read on paper, and when they do read, they read voraciously.

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– copyright Simon Sandall