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Why you must read Morgan Bell’s Sniggerless Boundulations

Sniggerless Boundulations Morgan Bell

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Sniggerless Bouldulations is my debut collection of short stories, a cross-section between dreams and reality. The collection is an examination of the horrors of life, in the form of vignettes, micro fiction, flash fiction, and short stories. Themes include fear, time, aging, anxiety, and jealousy. In this collection of fifteen stories there are bizarre medical conditions, industrious creatures, conniving cops, killers, dead bodies, a rescue mission, homoeroticism, nonchalant students, a secret garden, and the road to hell.

What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Hipsters, nerds, academics, bohemians, paranoid people, amateur psychologists, people with short attention spans.

Complete this sentence for us: if you like _________________, you’ll love my book.
Haruki Murakami.

Have you got a favourite story from the collection?
It changes from time to time depending on what my mood is. After spending some time with my eccentric family on the weekend, and then discussing with my boss at work today the tendency for people to settle personal grudges with their neighbours by appealing to authorities, I have found myself really re-appreciating the story Granted for its juxtaposition of two separate narratives on the theme of taking things for granted. It depicts some really colourful personalities, placing two seemingly unrelated scenes side by side as a sort of compare and contrast. It is also set in my home town of Newcastle Australia, and was inspired by the phrase “from the valley to the sea”. It is the most local of all the stories, and having moved out of the area recently I like to think of it when I’m homesick.

Tell us about the characters in the stories.
Each of the fifteen stories tells the story of a different character. There is Telfer Speck who is a strong silent simpleton, a mashup of American civil war vet and Australian bush ballad folk legend. There is Mrs Jackson, an incredibly frazzled school teacher struggling to hold back the tide of apathy. There are various queer characters, and ordinary people holding tightly to their social-construct identities.

Which of them is most like you?
They are all me, little aspects of me, but those common aspects that you could easily see in yourself too. A good book reads you.

That’s so true.
Have you written any other books that we should read next?
I have a story in a speculative fiction anthology called Novascapes, my story is called “The Switch”. The anthology features works by Margo Lanagan and Kirstyn McDermott. Another of my short stories “Midnight Daisy” can be read online.

Why short stories? Any plans to write a full length novel some day?
I used to think that short stories were inferior to novels, until I began to really study them and see where all the craft lies. I was introduced to the stripped back minimalist story-telling of classic American short-story authors like Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff through my friendship with the Director of the Hunter Writers Centre, Karen Croft, and my participation in her weekly writers group over a three year period. Once you learn how to appreciate them, short stories are a delight, and often much more layered than their bulked up cousin ‘the novel’. Having said all that I would love to write a novel, and I am working on the skeleton of a speculative fiction novel right now, but it is a completely different headspace. Those who can do both have my admiration.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a 32 year old woman, currently living in Sydney Australia and working as a city traffic engineer. I have a post-grad qualification in Technical Writing, and am currently studying post-grad Linguistics. I have two tabby cats, Romilly and Sansa (the latter named after Lady Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones), and two goldfish, a black moor called Carl and a red comet called Kindra. I love looking up name origins and etymology.

That reminds us, why Sniggerless Boundulations? What does it mean?
In the style of Lewis Carol’s Jabberwocky and Roald Dahl’s Vermicious Knids, my Sniggerless Boundulations is a nonsense phrase. I like wordplay and experimenting with language, I am currently a post-graduate linguistics student, and I have vivid dreams where odd nonsense words are impressed upon me, if I’m lucky I will remember them after I awake and note them in my ideas journal. Semantically the intention is to evoke a progression of steps away from creeping paranoia.

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?
http://sniggerlessboundulations.webs.com.

How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
@queenboxi
https://www.facebook.com/morganleighbell.

What’s next?
I have another short story collection coming out at the end of the year, Laissez Faire.

How easily do new storylines come to you? If we give you four random words – Man, Woman, Mexico, Future – can you give us a brief storyline?
“Did you know these Coronas are not imported from Mexico, they brew and bottle them right here in Australia and slap the word ‘imported’ on them just to hike up the prices?” the man scowled, “in future we will only drink VB in this house!” he instructed the woman.

“But VB makes me sick,” protested the woman, “the only beer I can drink is Coronas.”

Jerry put down his listening device. These people did not sound like criminal masterminds, they must have bugged the wrong apartment.

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