Daniel Moses Luft lives just north of Boston with his wife and two kids. He’s had stories published or forthcoming in Beat to a Pulp, Spinetingler and Powderburn Flash. The story “Skinner Alive” published in the e-anthology Action: Pulse Pounding Tales is a sequel to “Boxed,” his story that appeared in the Level Best anthology Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm.
Your story, “Strictly Male Fantasy” seems to portray the inner workings of a bar pretty realistically. Is this an arena you know something about?
Yes, I am very familiar with bars. I have been a bartender for almost fifteen years and I worked for a long time in Harvard Square where the story takes place.
“Strictly Male Fantasy” has the flow and feel of a well-polished bar story, something told over and over. Is it an often retold tale, or something you just made feel that way?
Wow, that really makes me feel good that it’s polished. The story had been kicking around in my mind for awhile and it contains bits and pieces of a lot of things I’ve seen or heard about. People who worked with me might recognize a few things that ended up in the story. So maybe I have told this it before but I just never told it in this exact way. The little speech that Fitz gives about the 1980s definitely overlaps with the location of my 80s experience, so that kind of shorthand speech was pretty easy to write.
Your story in Dead Calm was your first published fiction, but since then you’ve had several stories accepted for publication. What advice do you have for writers who want to up their level of submissions and acceptances?
The thing that’s been working for me this year is to make everything even simpler. For a long time I tried to pack too much physical detail, motivation, plot, and back-story into everything I wrote. I killed a lot of stories that way. “Strictly Male Fantasy” has four characters in it and I don’t know that much about three of them. But I know enough for a ten-page, single-scene story.
What are you working on now?
Right now, this week, I’m writing a short story with three whole scenes in it and it feels long to me. After that I have a number of partially complete stories and have no idea which I will pick to finish.