Melanie Surani grew up in Memphis, TN before taking extended trips to Toronto, Canada, Eichstätt, Germany, and Philadelphia, PA. She lives with her husband and cat in New York City, where she is hard at work on her next novel.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read by myself, I believe was The Foot Book (Dr. Seuss). I was so enthralled that I could read the whole thing, that's all I did for a while.
How do you approach cover design?
I like to scale down the story to its most condensed form. It's tricky conveying genre, tone, plot, and character in a single image.
Sweetheart in High Heels
on March 14, 2012
Light, short mystery. Kind of tried too hard to be funny in places. The stargazing toward the end took me out of the story a bit.
The Devil and Jimmy Biscuits
on July 31, 2018
Jimmy is a 15 year with some demands for the Devil (wishes, to be specific). As you might expect, ol’ Satan had his own ideas.
This story is an easy, quick read that left me smiling the whole way through. It has moments of humor, thoughtfulness, and because we’re dealing with a character as basal as Satan, it challenges ingrained ideas.
“I’m not sure you fully understand the implications of the proposition," Lucifer replied slowly. "Your soul, the part of you that lasts forever, in exchange for three wishes. Wishes that I presume will benefit your temporal personage?”
Jimmy stared with a perplexed expression.
“Your earthly body, genius.”
“Oh,” Jimmy said brightly. “Yeah, exactly.”
“Go home kid,” Satan said, “before you get hurt.”
Lucifer is powerful, able to grant a wish, and already suggesting said wish will not be chosen well. The “Go home” suggests maybe he’s not as big a dick as culture portrays.
Thinking Satan isn’t a dick goes against everything I learned as a lifelong Christian. Instead, I should wish him to sit on a tack (ouch!), not be afraid of him, and most of all: never, ever mess with him (this means not entertaining witches like Harry Potter, not hugging trees like those nature-worshiping faeries in Fern Gully, and not acknowledging someone else has power, like that hussy Synergy on Jem and the Holograms).
The nice thing about being an adult and letting a piece of fiction be a piece of fiction is that I can read about someone who’s supposed to be my enemy and see the good in them. Or at least be curious about who they are.
But as great as the main characters are in this story, the supporting cast is just as good. Mig, I love you.
This short story is funny, it challenges ideas we already have, but also conforms to the idea that people get what’s coming to them. I mean, you don’t expect a story about Satan to be completely above board, do you?
Taylor Dunn is also the author of another short story called Fear and Loathing in Shanghai, which I beta read, but haven’t read the finished product. Also available is a full-length novel (also featuring Lucifer) called Clockwork Angels (which I beta read as well, and it’s one of my favorites). If these works are anything to go by, this author will be entertaining us for a long time.