Kelly Link is known as an author of dark and humorous stories. Her latest collection, Get in Trouble, offers readers nine more. Link visited Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn to celebrate the release of the book.
She read from the story “I Can See Right Through You,”, a story that originally appeared in McSweeney’s.
For this story, she drew inspiration from a celebrity interview–she tries to recall who, and thinks it was probably Kate Winslet–where the celebrities discuss working on a long and challenging project together and then later having to come together for publicity. She also adds, “I wanted to write both a vampire story and also a ghost story.”
When Link builds her worlds, she tries to include just about everything she thinks up in the story. She says that sometimes she ends up adding things and rarely removes anything. Including as much of everything as possible is her general philosophy for writing short stories. She lately has been working on a novel, and thinks the novel as a form requires much more streamlining than stories.
Link has already sold a novel, although its not quite fully written yet. People who write novels were telling her that many of her ideas were preoccupied with the sort of concepts that novels are often written about. Also her stories kept getting longer and longer.
Although Link’s writing is funny, she says that wasn’t always the case. One of her earliest stories, “Water off a Black Dog’s Back,” she explains, is not really all that funny.
“Maybe I’ve gotten funnier,” she quips.
“Funny stuff really serves the scary story,” she explains. Link has always enjoyed ghost stories, especially as a child. She also read a lot of fantasy fiction like Tolkien. In her early twenties, she ended up working in a children’s bookstore and had the chance to reread many of the books from her childhood. Some of them stood the test of time, but others, not so much.
The one thing Link didn’t read much of when she was younger was comic books. And that might be why even though she enjoys writing about superheroes, her characters often lack the convictions of traditional heroes. Besides, she adds, many of those stories have been told and this way she offers something unique.
“Whenever I try to imagine myself having a superpower, I always imagine it will be super lame,” Link adds.