The Wolves Are Howling for Fiction
Publishing Executive, together with the Saturday Evening Post, joined forces a few weeks ago to throw a party in celebration of the Post’s Great American Fiction contest. As I wrote about in Publishing Executive‘s November/December issue, the venerable and long-lasting Post has a tradition of publishing high-quality fiction by well-known American writers—everyone but Hemingway, as Post Associate Publisher and Editorial Director Steve Slon likes to say. Prize finalists, media and a collection of magazine and book publishing executives gathered to celebrate Lucy Jane Bledsoe, who claimed the prize for her short story “Wolf.”
The author (“I’m Lucy in New York; Lucy Jane in the South”) is not a newcomer to publication, but this prize, she hopes, will take her to new levels and wider readership. “Basically I would love more people to read my work,” she says (who wouldn’t?). “I have a dedicated audience, but would love a bigger audience. I mostly published with indy presses. I would love it if this led to breaking through to a bigger audience.”
Bledsoe’s story tells of a long-married couple whose lives are changed when the husband (a man named Jim who has suddenly and inexplicably begun introducing himself as Anatoly) decides to become a wolf-watcher, taking his wife along on trips to Yellowstone Park to join the small group of dedicated folks who perch themselves day after day on the side of the road and train their telescopes on the wolf packs that roam the hills beyond, coming to know intimately each member of the packs and its habits.
Bledsoe got an inkling that she was being considered for the prize when Post editor Patrick Perry wrote to her with a few questions about the story. “He, said I ‘might be’ a finalist. It was one of those moments where I thought ‘Maybe this means I won, ‘cause why would they be asking those questions?’ Then I thought ‘don’t go there.’ Then he wrote and said I had won.”
“The award means a great deal to me,” the author says, and goes on to explain her love of what she calls “traditional story telling techniques.” She describes her work as a “21st century interpretation of human behavior” and goes on to explain: “Sometimes my subject matter feels a little experimental. We’ve done dysfunction and alienation over and over. It’s more difficult to write about what makes a person authentic and what drives our mentality, and do it without being new-agey.”
She feels validated by the prize because “I feel like the judges saw that in my story. They told me that they saw that, how I was writing about people connecting, but not in a simplistic way.
I would love it if the award had people see that story and see what I’m doing and if more people connected with that.”
With a novel called The Evolution of Love already completed and yet another one being worked on (A Thin Bright Line), Bledsoe says she is “poised” for any attention that comes her way and that she hopes to find a literary agent who loves her work. Her New York City celebration left her feeling validated and invigorated as she returned to her California bay area home. Of being selected and published by The Saturday Evening Post, she says “The stream of writers they’ve published is just so cool.” Bledsoe, one assumes, is glad to join the pack!
You can read Bledsoe’s story in the January/February issue of The Saturday Evening Post, on newsstands now or at this link.
(Note: We admit it: we secretly hope all you literary agents who are reading this and represent fiction will contact us and ask how to get in touch with Lucy to request a copy of the manuscript. Feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org)