A Brief Interview with Tobias Carroll

RS: In addition to being a fiction writer and the managing editor of Vol. 1 Brooklyn, your Instagram account also details your voracious reading habits. What advice do you have for people who want to schedule out more time for reading?

TC: It's funny–I left my day job to freelance full-time in early August, which has largely done wonders for my mental health. The one thing that it's had an adverse effect on has, strangely, been my reading time–partially because said former day job involved about an hour of commuting time each way. So I've been having to relearn how to set aside that much time in a day for reading.

As I've been freelancing more, more of the reading that I do is for a specific assignment; in a case like that, I'll remind myself that what I'm doing is, indeed, work, and find myself somewhere comfortable to sit for a few hours. I've also been taking refuge at coffee shops; I was also heading to a local park, but given that there are no fire pits available there, I may have to hold off on that for the next season or so. 

You're teaching a class in December called Publish or Perish detailing how best to prepare and submit fiction to magazine editors. Can you tease out any free tips from the class?

I don't want to give too much away. That said, one of the primary pieces of advice I'd give to anyone is: take the time to research whether the place you're submitting a story to is a good fit for it. If you're writing great horror fiction, a journal that specializes in experimental prose poetry might not be the best place to send your work. (And vice versa.) That doesn't mean that you should always err on the side of caution, but as someone who reviews submissions, having a sense that a writer has a sense of what we're all about goes a long way. 

What's your favorite holiday movie/song/food item?

I have a pretty soft spot for The Ref, as movies go–though I'll also admit that it's been a while since I last saw it. As for songs: I'm pretty fond of the Dust-to-Digital compilation Where Will You Be Christmas Day?, in part because listening to it is one of the few holiday traditions that I can cite as my own. Though when I'm visiting family for Christmas, inevitably someone–probably my dad, possibly me–will put the Jingle Cats CD on and see just how long we can all go without turning it off. Food item? My mom makes an excellent vanillekipferl.

For beautiful photos of coffee and books, follow Tobias on Instagram.