Stevan Allred has survived circumcision, a tonsillectomy, a religious upbringing, the 60’s, the War on Poverty, the break-up of The Beatles, any number of bad haircuts, years of psychotherapy, the Reagan Revolution, the War on Drugs, the Roaring 90’s, plantar fasciitus, the Lewinsky Affair, the internet bubble, the Florida recount of 2000, the Bush oughts, the War on Terror, teen-aged children, a divorce, hay fever, the real estate bubble, male pattern baldness, and heartburn. He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
The Alehouse at the End of the World, his debut novel, was published by Forest Avenue Press in November 2018. In this interview with Writing Under Pressure, he explains the fantastic leaps of imagination he allowed himself to take in crafting this comic epic:
I was between writing projects, stumbling around on the internet, looking for something to write about, when I discovered the story of James Bartley, a man who claimed to have been swallowed by a whale in 1891. So I started with that, the idea of a man swallowed by a whale, and I gave the man a quest, to find his long lost beloved. Where was she? I was looking to write something free of the tethers of ordinary reality, and I already had the whale bit in mind. I figured if readers were still with me after I had my fisherman swallowed by a whale, I could go anywhere from there, so why not to the Isle of the Dead?
Stevan began working on A Simplified Map of the Real World, his debut collection of short stories, in 2004. "I knew early on that the stories would be linked, that I would set them all in the same small town, Renata, and that this would be my chance to build something like Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County." The central theme is love--romantic, familial, gay, straight--and how love fails us and yet we keep coming back for more. Point of view characters from one story wander into others, and we see them through their own eyes as well as through the eyes of their neighbors, ex-wives, and children. "I had so much fun putting the collection together. Finding ways to connect the stories, playing with all the points of view, it made the writing a real pleasure. I hope that sense of joy comes through to readers, even when the stories get dark." Ten of the 15 stories have been published by various literary journals and websites.
Stevan's work has appeared in: Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life, Clackamas Literary Review, Bewildering Stories, Real, Windfall, Second Writes, Soundings, Perceptions, The Text, Inkwell, Mississippi Review, Ilya’s Honey, The Iconoclast, Rosebud, I Wanna Be Sedated: Thirty Writers on Parenting Teenagers, Pindledyboz, Beloit Fiction Journal, The Organ, The Cereal Box Review, whatevermom, The Gobshite Quarterly, The Paumanok Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Contemporary Haibun Online, Lite: Baltimore’s Literary Newspaper, The Portland Mercury, Syzygy, Writers Northwest, Northwest Writers Handbook 1995, Stepfamily Advocate, Fireweed, Portland Review.