I'm at a loss at the moment, because I don't have a cute How I Met Jeffrey Ricker story to introduce this interview. I haven't met the man yet, and I can't remember how I initially became aware of him. Was it in comments on Rob Byrnes' blog? Perhaps. Was it word of mouth, while talking with another writer about other writers we know? Maybe. Did he contact us first? I wish I was better organized, and maybe I could confirm or deny that supposition.
In any case, it doesn't matter much. Something compelled us to send Jeffrey Ricker an email and ask him to submit a story for Fool For Love, and I'm glad we did, because Jeffrey is a good storyteller. And not only is he a good storyteller, but he's a professional. The story he submitted was compelling. It was well edited. It was formatted to industry standard. It was sent on time. It was accompanied by a polite and respectful email. Everything about Jeffrey and his story was an editor's wet dream come true.
Unfortunately, as Jeffrey reminded me in the following interview, we rejected his first submission. But, because he was such a professional and a good writer, Becky and I had no trouble getting in touch with another editor who was editing an anthology more suitable for Jeffrey's story and submitted it on his behalf along with a glowing recommendation. Then, we asked Jeffrey to try again. Luckily for us, he did. His second submission, a story titled "At the End of the Leash," suited our needs perfectly and we were pleased to accept it.
While attending the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival one year I sat in the audience for a panel discussion titled "It's a Business, People," a class reminding people that writing is a business and how to treat it accordingly. At the end of our interview, Jeffrey told me that he'll be attending Saints and Sinners this year. I'm looking forward to finally meeting him in person when I'm there. Because he's a good writer who's easy to work with and fun to talk to, I'll have no problem grabbing him if he's nearby and introducing him to everyone I know, saying, "Work with this guy. He's great!"
Timothy J. Lambert: First "Dakota" and now "At The End Of The Leash." I know you're working on a novel. Is it about a dog?
Jeffrey Ricker: There's a dog in it, but it's not about a dog. And let's hope the book actually isn't a dog, either. I've got a couple ideas in the "I'll get to this later" file that have to do with dogs, and one of them may or may not be a book. I don't know. They're waiting patiently for now. I love cats just as much as I love dogs, but for some reason I find them harder to write about.
TJL: You're also a journalist. Which do you prefer writing, articles, personal essay, memoir, or fiction?
JR: Definitely fiction. One of the main reasons I didn't become a working journalist is because I hate reporting. Loathe, loathe, loathe it with a hot, fiery passion. I love to interview people, though, when I'm interested in them or in what they do, but covering a city council meeting? Please, never again. Also, trying to get people to talk to you when they would rather give themselves a root canal is not a pleasant experience for either party.
Fool For Love: New Gay Fiction, which includes "At the End of the Leash" by Jeffrey Ricker, will be published in January 2009--any day now!--by Cleis Press. Click here to order it from Amazon.com.
Previous fools for love: